4th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have received the following letter : -
Bloomsbury-street, Hyde Park, 15th October, 191 1.
Dear Mr. McDonald,
Will you, on behalf of myself and family, convey to the members of the House of Representatives our sincere thanks for the resolution of sympathy and appreciation passed by them. - Yours sincerely,
– Since we last met the Government has been reconstructed. The honorable member for Barrier is now Minister of External Affairs, and the honorable member for Kalgoorlie succeeds him asPostmasterGeneral. The list of Ministers of State for the Commonwealth is now as follows : -
The Honorable Andrew Fisher, Treasurer; The Honorable William Morris HUGHES,
The Honorable Josiah Thomas, Minister of
State for External Affairs;
The Honorable George Foster Pearce,
Minister of State for Defence;
The Honorable Frank Gwynne Tudor, Minister of State for Trade and Customs;
The Honorable King O’MALLEY, Minister of
State for Home Affairs;
The Honorable Charles Edward Frazer,
Barracks Accommodation - Cadet Fines - Cadet Travelling
– Is the Minister representing the Minister of Defence aware that last June I communicated with the Department, pointing out that it was not providing sufficient accommodation at the barracks, and is he also aware that in consequence of overcrowding fever has since broken out among the men?
– Are the barracks at Geelong? I thought that they were in my electorate.
– The barracks are 5n Melbourne, but men who are constituents of mine are there. I ask that proper supervision may be exercised in the future, to make overcrowding impossible.
– I shall take the earliest opportunity to place the matter before the Minister of Defence, who, no doubt, will see what can be done.
– I wish to know from the honorable gentleman what is the rule in regard to the imposition of penalties on young trainees in our Defence Force. As late as Saturday last a constituent caller! on me, and said that he had a son undergoing training, who was fined 5s. for smoking, and another 5s. for laughing or joking in the ranks. The man has ten children, and his wages amount to only about j[,2 16s. a week, so that to have to pay a fine of 10s. for his son is a serious matter to him. Cannot the regulations be altered so that- pains and penalties shall fall on the boys, and not on the parents ?
– I shall ask the Minister of Defence to furnish the honorable member with a copy of the regulations.
– Is the honorable gentleman aware that in the past the Governments of the States used to permit cadets to travel by railway free, when in uniform and attending, drill? Have negotiations been opened with them to provide for the free travelling on the same terms of those who are undergoing compulsory training? If not, will the State Governments be asked to extend the privileges formerly granted to cadets to those who are undergoing compulsory training?
– The question has been engaging the attention of the Minister for some time. I am unable to say what stage the negotiations have reached, but I shall obtain the information.
– I wish to know from the Minister of Home Affairs whether what is known as Packer’s union, an association of free workers, has received preference from his Department?
– I have not heard of such a union. When it comes before the Home Affairs Department I shall deal with it in a proper way.
– In view of the recent announcement of the Government with regard to the policy of preference to unionists, I ask whether the Prime Minister, or possibly the Attorney-General, can inform me where I may ascertain the names of the trade unions registered in the Commonwealth ?
– Speaking off hand, I should say that the honorable member would be able to get some information on the subject from the Registrar of. the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. I presume there is also a registry of unions kept in the different States. The honorable member might get further information from the Trades Hall.
– I wish to ask the AttorneyGeneral, without notice, whether it has been the practice of his Department to give preference to unionist lawyers?
– I do’ not know what has occurred in the Department during my absence, but I shall make inquiries, and. let the honorable member know.
– Has the Minister of Home Affairs read the following paragraph, which appeared in yesterday’s Argus : -
An international arrangement controls the steel rail trade, and it has ‘ sometimes happened that the desire of a State Government to give a contract to British makers has come into conflict with the international agreement that the order should go abroad. On one such occasion it is reported that the extra price paid by an Australian State Government for British, rails was divided between British and foreign makers.
As the Commonwealth will be a large user of steel rails, will the honorable gentleman take steps to see that the rails which we use are made under Government supervision ?
– Will the honorable member give notice of the question?
– Is- the Minister aware that the arrangement- referred to is for placing different weights of rails, in different factories, thereby decreasing the cost of manufacture?
– I should not have any doubt about anything these gentlemen might do under the circumstances, but we shall be very careful that they do not take us down.
– Has the attention of the Minister of External Affairs been drawn to the statement in this morning’s Age to the effect that freights and fares to Port
Darwin have been very much increased because of the withdrawal of the Commonwealth subsidy? Is he in a position to give the House any information on the subject ?
– My attention has not been drawn to the matter.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral inform me when the overtime pay due to the clerical staff of the .General Post Office, Sydney, will be given ? It has been promised for twelve months, and has not been received.
– I shall be pleased to ascertain the facts, and reply to the question later.
– I understand that the money has been paid.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General, without notice, whether, under the mail contract, he has such control over the refrigerated space on the Orient mail boats as would enable him to compel the company to provide separate air ducts in order to prevent butter shipped being apple-tainted.
– I shall be pleased to supply the honorable member with a copy of the agreement between the Commonwealth and the Orient Steam-ship Company.
asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
If the Government will extend the provisions of the Act relating to Penny Postage, so as to include Papua, at an early date?
– The penny postage in Australia applies to letters posted to Papua, but the law of the Territory as to postage from there has not yet been altered. A communication is being sent to the LieutenantGovernor on the subject, and probably action will be taken shortly.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
asked the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are - 1 and 2. Particulars are not available in the Department. Inquiries are being made.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time. The object of the Bill is primarily to amend the principal Act to remedy the defects therein which the judgment of the High Court in what is known as the Engine Drivers case has disclosed. In addition to the alteration necessitated by this judgment, however, the Bill covers .several others, most of them amendments in machinery, and such as experience in the working of the Act has shown to be necessary. I shall not, at this stage, deal with any but the principal amendment, which the decision of the High Court in the Engine’ Drivers case has rendered necessary. In Committee we can deal with each of the other amendments proposed as’ they come up for discussion. If honorable members will look at the Bill they will find that in clause 3 it is’ proposed to define “ industry “ as follows : - “ Industry “ includes -
Any business, trade, manufacture, undertaking, or calling of employers o» land or water; (b) any calling, service, employment, handicraft, or industrial occupation or avocation of employes on land or water ; and
a branch of an industry and a group of industries.
In the principal Act “ industry “ was defined, under section 4, to mean -
Business, trade, manufacture, undertaking, calling, service, or employment, on land or water, in which persons are employed for pay, hire, advantage, or reward -
Under the principal Act there are several classes of persons exempted, but only those engaged in the callings included in the sub-, section can come in in any circumstances. In the Engine Drivers case persons employed in driving engines on land asked for an award covering the conditions of employment in their industry, and the question arose, upon reference by Mr. Justice Higgins to the High Court, as to what “ industry “ meant, and whether a group of persons who followed one avocation could properly ask for an award covering perhaps twenty or thirty different industries. During the hearing of the case, for the first time, I think, it was seen how thoroughly capable this word ‘ ‘ industry “ was ot two entirely different meanings. His Honour the Chief Justice, in delivering judgment, pointed out that if the word were regarded in the passive sense it had one meaning, but if it were regarded in the reflective sense it had quite another. Generally speaking - divested of technicality - the arguments of counsel and the judgments of the Court turned upon this point : When a man is engaged, say, in driving an engine for an employer whose business is the making of jam, can another enginedriver, who is employed driving a locomotive engine, or a pumping engine in a mine, join with the engine-driver at the jam factory, and ask for an award governing the conditions of employment of enginedrivers in jam factories, soap factories, mines, and so forth? It was contended by the union that engine-drivers could join together in this fashion, and by the employers that they could not. The Court ruled against the interpretation sought to be put upon the law by the union. It ruled that “ industry “ would not bear such an interpretation, but that “ industry “ meant not the vocation or calling of the employe, but the industry of the employer in which the employ6 was engaged. Take the case of n. jam factory. The employer may employ persons not only for actually making the jam, but also for making tins, driver. Hughes. ing engines, looking after horses, driving; carts, managing elevators, and doing a hundred and one things. Those persons are engaged in distinct callings or vocations. The question was : Could those persons ire each of the distinct callings group themselves together, join with persons similarly engaged outside, and register as an organization under the Act? It was decided they could not. It was held by the Court that an award could be made which would cover every one of those persons, but that an award could not be made which would cover them and others engaged in the same trade but in a different industry outside. That is, that an award could not be made to apply, say, to enginedrivers in that particular industry, and also to engine-drivers in quite distinct industries. It would be improper for me - even if it were at all necessary - to deal with the judgment of the Court at greater length. We are not here to discuss - it is not our place to discuss - the merits of the judgment. It is for us to accept it as a fact ; and if we think fit to declare that, in our opinion, the interpretation of the law given by the Court was not that which the Legislature intended to attach to it, therefore, the law ought to be altered. Consequently, we are proposing in this Bill’ so to amend the law that persons engaged in any one avocation may join together andtake the benefits of the Act, irrespective of. the actual industry in which they are engaged. I want to point out how very important it is that this Bill should pass - and at once. I have here a list of the organizations registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It covers no less than sixty odd organizations, and no less than twenty of them are affected by the judgment to which I have referred. Consequently, all the persons embraced in these unions are at present outside the scope of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. They are unable to take advantage of that Act, except in such a piecemeal and unsatisfactory way as in the very nature of things prohibits them from enjoying it at all. This state of affairs is not only highly unsatisfactory, but is dangerous to industrial peace. I may state here that the judgment of the High Court was a majority judgment. MrJustice O’Connor and Mr. Justice Higgins, dissented from their colleagues. Mr. Justice O’Connor, in delivering hisdissenting judgment, set forth the arguments in favour of such an interpretation of the section as would enable the enginedrivers to take advantage of the Act. In so doing His Honour pointed out that one of the chief canons in the interpretation of Statutes was that we must ask ourselves, in looking at a section of an Act, four questions. These are: - First,* what was the common law at the time of the passing of the Statute ? secondly, what was the mischief sought to be remedied by the Statute ? thirdly, what remedy Parliament resolved upon to cure the defect? and fourthly, the true reasons for the remedy ? -
And then the office of all the Judges is always to make such construction as shall suppress the mischief and advance the remedy, and to suppress subtle inventions and evasions for the continuance of the mischief and fro privato commotio, and to add force and life to the cure and remedy according to the true intent of the makers of the Act fro bono publico. Applying those principles here - in so’ far as they are applicable to Legislatures” rather than to a. judiciary - we must ask ourselves what the Legislature was aiming at in passing the section in question. I do not think there can be any doubt as to what was meant. It was intended that those conditions which obtained in the various States in regard to this class of legislation, and those principles which govern the formation and organization of associations of labour, should apply in this case. In every State of the group, then and now, as His Honour Mr. Justice O’Connor pointed out, it was possible for any organization, composed of persons engaged in very many different industries, but following one vocation, to form an organization and enjoy the benefits of the law. Of arguments that can be urged against this view, I can see none that is of any importance. And clearly, unless the amendment of the law is made, we shall invite a. condition of things which makes foi further industrial disturbance. We have to face facts ; and one of the chief facts of the present day is the tendency of labour organizations, and also of organizations of capital, to cover a wider and still wider area. It is obviously desirable also, from another stand-point, that this amendment should be made. If we want peace we must have settlements, and, as far as possible, a final settlement, in every industry. Nothing is more conducive to disturbance than a differentiation in the rates paid to the men engaged in the same vocation, but in different industries. Suppose, for instance, that a soap and candle factory is employing engine-drivers, and that the soap and candle industry is brought before the Arbitration Court, and is the subject of an award. The Judge has, in framing an award, to pay regard, amongst other things, to the financial position of the industry ; and it may be contended that the industry will only permit of the payment of a certain wage. Suppose that the Judge accepts that position. Then clearly the wages and condition of all the employes, including the engine-drivers, will be limited to a certain extent by the financial exigencies of the industry. Later the Judge comes to the consideration of the position of another industry in a better financial position. I have appeared in four or five cases in which the employers declined to say that their industry would not permit them to pay the wages which were asked. In order to prevent that inspection of their books which otherwise would have followed, they said, “ We admit that the industry can pay the wages, but we think that it ought not to do so.” Brought face to face with that condition of things, the Judge will say, “I am now free from that restriction which hampered me in deciding the wages of the drivers in the other industry, because it is not a. question of whether the profits of the industry will stand an increase, but only a question of whether the work is worth an increase.” And he may say that the engine-drivers in that case shall get its. or 12s. a day - that is, is. or 2s. a day more than in the other case.
– If the same class of employes in different industries is to be paid at the same- rate, does it not mean that the least successful industry will lay down the conditions for the whole?
– Even so, one of two things must follow. Either men doing the same work in different industries A, B, C and D will get different rates - which would promote discontent amongst the members of the union of which all these men were members, and so all the conditions would be present for industrial strife - or else, as the honorable member has by interjection suggested, the rate fixed by the exigencies of the least profitable industry will fix the rate for the whole. Either of these things is most undesirable.
– Should not the value of the product of an industry determine what the labour employed therein shall get?
– I am not going to answer here any abstract economic queries. I do not believe myself that the cost of production has anything to do with value at ail. Value is not determined by what it costs to produce an article, but what the article will fetch. If 1 come along and am asked to make an article, and say that I want such-and-such a wage, and the employer replies, “ Well, the article will cost more than it can be sold for,” I cannot help ,that. The point is that the employer cannot get my services for less, because I am worth such-and-such a wage. The result may be unemployment, and so bring my wages down gradually until I am willing to make the article at a lower wage. Value is not determined by the cost of production, but cost of production rather adjusts itself to value. However, I am not going into that matter at any great length. The point I wish to make is that there are at least twenty organizations which are directly affected, and many more which problematically may be affected, by this judgment. It clearly does not express the intention of the Legislature, because, in the absence of direct evidence to the contrary, we must assume that the Legislature meant that groups of men would get the benefit of the Commonwealth Act exactly the same as they could do under any State Act then existing. Every State Act then or now existing does permit such a grouping as we demand, that is a natural grouping - a grouping such as experience and the evolution of industrialism have promoted and indeed demanded. Therefore, we merely propose to give effect to the intention of the Legislature. I shall mention some of these organizations, and will be very glad to supply honorable members who so desire with a complete list of them. The Federated Sawmill, Timberyard, and General Woodworkers Association of Australia is clearly inside the judgment. The organization as such would be useless without this measure.
– I think it was in that case that the question of the basis of the organization was first discussed.
– It may be so. It is not material. All I say is that, on a fair application of the judgment, it does cover this and similar organizations, and if it does - the opinion of the unions coincides with our own that it does - it certainly seems to put outside the scope of the Act a very large number of unions, and consequently does still further handicap the Court, which is sufficiently handicapped by the constitutional limitations. Since this is a statutory limitation, and clearly one not intended by the legislature, we ought to remove it at the earliest possible moment. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers is another organization affected by the judgment. So is the Federal Carters and Drivers Association, of which I can speak from personal knowledge, because I am its president. It is composed of men who drive horses. One man may be employed by a person who is engaged at, say, the Botany Scouring Works ; another at a soap and candle factory; another by a carrier, . who, in his turn, plies for hire ; another by Anthony Hordern and Sons, or Foy and Gibson ; while another man is employed by an iron foundry; and so on. These men, because they do the same thing, join together, and ask that an award shall be given so that every man who drives a horse in a vehicle shall receive the same rate of wage, irrespective of the industry of their employer. Again, take the Shop Assistants Union of Victoria. They cannot possibly get the benefit of the Act as it stands, because one man may be an assistant in an ironmonger’s shop, another in a grocer’s, one in a wholesale, and another in a retail, establishment, and so forth. Then we come to the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association of Australasia; Federated Agricultural Implement and Machinery and Ironworkers Association of Australasia; Firewood, Coal, Hay and Corn Trade Employes Association of Australasia ; Shop Assistants and Warehouse Employes Association of Australia ; Sewerage and General Labourers Association of Victoria ; Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, Victorian Branch ; United Operative Plumbers and Gasfitters Society of Victoria; doubtfully the Federated Furnishing Trade Societies of Australia ; Federated House and Ship Painters, Painters and Decorators’ Employe’s Association of Australia; Australian Society of Engineers; Wool and Skin Stores Employes Union of Australia ; Rubber Workers Union of Australia.; Federated Pastrycooks, Biscuit Makers, Ornamenters and Flour and Sugar Goods Union of Australia ; Federated Clerks Union of Australia and the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia. It is desired to enable employers to take the advantage of grouping themselves in the most convenient and natural way, and so it is very proper that all those in any one industry shall come together. For this reason the employes in any one vocation ought to be allowed to join one organization. We believe that this will be possible under clause 3 of the Bill, which, amending section 4 of the principal Act, provides - “ ‘ Industry ‘ includes -
I do not know that any useful purpose can be served by dealing with the other amendments. I might, however, mention that by clause 2 it is proposed to amend the Act so that unorganized employes may have the benefit of this legislation. I have no doubt that such employes can enjoy the benefit of the Act, but a doubt has been expressed; and this amendment can do no possible harm. I prefer at this stage to leave aside the other details. It is intended that this Bill shall validate, as far as legislation can validate, awards and registrations affected by the interpretation of the High Court, so that an organization may enjoy the benefits of an award in exactly the same way as if that decision had not been given - if that interpretation had not been put on the law.
– I move -
That the debate be now adjourned.
There is a little matter, however, to which it may be worth while to direct the attention of the Attorney-General. In subclause b of clause 3 there is reference to the “ avocation “ of employes. For the better refreshing of my memory, I have taken the venerable dictionary which adorns the table of the House, and on consulting it I find, as I expected, that the word “vocation” is defined to mean a man’s business, calling or employment - “ a calling or state of being called to a particular duty, employment, or profession ; employment ; calling ; occupation ; trade; profession; business.” On the other hand, “ avocation “ means exactly the contrary - “That which calls a man away from his proper business”; though also “ in common usage, a man’s business, pursuit, or calling.” I find that in the dictionary recently compiled, and already of very high standing, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word “ vocation “ means, first of all, a “ Divine call.” That might relate to the Minister’s calling to office; but the word also covers “ employment, trade, profession “ ; whereas, “ avocation “ means “distraction” - something that distracts from a man’s business - and also a minor occupation, vocation, calling.
– Does the honorable member observe >that “avocation” means “a man’s business, pursuit, or occupation; vocation or calling”?
– I think that must be taken in the secondary sense, as applied to some minor vocation, and not the principal or real vocation. Avocation has two meanings. However, I do not wish to argue the matter, but merely to call attention to it.
– Perhaps the safer way would be to use both “ vocation “ and “ avocation.”
Motion agreed to; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 13th October (vide page 1436), on motion by Mr. Tudor -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This is a Bill which, I think, should pass without much discussion. The original Act extended to the domestic trade of the States, as well as to Inter-State trade, and it also applied to external commerce. I had a doubt, though not a very pronounced doubt, at the time the original Bill was introduced, whether our navigation power is as wide as some pretty sound authorities think it is. It was decided in America, for instance, that the navigation power extends to all trades, whether purely domestic between one State and another, trade on the high seas, or trade between one port and another nf the same State. In America this jurisdiction is based on the assumption that the Admiralty power covers all the waters of the United States, and that there is power to pass such legislation as a Seamen’s Compensation Act. That would, at all events, have application to Inter-State trade, and possibly to trade between one port and another in the same State. It was decided in, I think, the case of Lord versus The Shipping Company, that if a vessel on a voyage between one port and another, in the sameState, went outside the territorial limits the laws of Congress, or, in other words,, the Federal power, applied to all conditions during that voyage. There is a. doubt, however, as to whether or not our powers are so extensive. I mention this matter, because, when we were discussing the Judiciary Bill last year, I suggested that advantage should be taken of it to submit a moot point to the High Court as a short and expeditious way of deter- “ mining the validity of the Act involved.
In the course of the speech in question I said that the question of our jurisdiction in regard to navigation, which was doubt- hil, might also be referred to the Court, lt was extremely doubtful, I pointed out, whether the Navigation Bill, then before another place, was valid, so far as it gave jurisdiction in Intra-State matters - whether that was a power which existed under the Admiralty provisions of the Constitution, or under the Navigation power. In such a matter the issue would be clean cut. I urged that that was a matter of considerable importance, and said that, perhaps, if the Navigation Bill became law, we might take advantage of the Judiciary Bill to test our Navigation power. The question, however, has been decided in connexion with the Seamen’s Compensation Act. It is, therefore, only right that we should, at the first opportunity, pass a measure in line with the decision of the High Court, and, so far as I can see, the jurisdiction upon which this Bill is now based ought not to be seriously open to challenge. Despite the case reported in 208 Law Reports - Adair versus The United States - in which the Supreme Court, referring to an employer’s liability case, said that had a similar Act to this, dealing with transport on land, been confined to Inter-State trade it would have been valid, writers have doubted the power to deal with employment - that is, the position of employes - as being directly and substantially connected with the commerce power. For reasons into which I am not going to enter, I believe, however, that the Bill, as it now stands, is within the acknowledged jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Parliament in respect of seamen’s compensation. In the recent High Court case Mr. Justice Higgins thought that the provisions of the Act of 1909 were severable. I forget how many judgments were delivered in that case, but Mr. Justice Higgins was, at all events, the dissentient justice. In the course of his judgment he said that, even taking up the test applied by the High Court, or the test of severability which was adopted in America and slightly varied by the High Court, he thought that the provisions of the Seamen’s Compensation Act of 1909, which were ultra vires, could be severed from those that were not ultra vires, and that the Act could be maintained to the extent to which it would have applied had it been limited, as is this Bill. One has, of course, to speak with bated breath and whispering humbleness of the decisions of the High Court, but it seems to me that sometimes, under the rules that have been adopted in the United States of America, and which have not been absolutely adopted by the High Court, in regard to the test of severability a fallacy occurs. A new test, instead of the American test, was applied in the bootmakers’ case, but whichever test we take it seems to me that there may be a logical fallacy in holding that if the same thing be expressed in two sections, or two paragraphs, as in the Australian Industries Preservation Act 1906 it can, under circumstances, be severed, but that it cannot be severed if it is expressed in one sentence. In other words, it seems that where, in a measure like this, the full extension of the section, which was not severed in expression, covered what was within our acknowledged power, and what was alleged to be outside our power, the provision was invalid, but that if instead of being in one expression the provision had been put in two different sections by enumeration rather than by the principle of extension, it would have been valid in part, because the one could have been severed from the other. That seems to me to be a somewhat pedantic interpretation of the principle to follow. The bad part can be severed from the good, provided that indoing so we do not establish a substantially different law. In holding the good part valid, and the rest of the Act bad, you do not defeat the whole Act. Where no possible injury can be done by regarding part of an Act as valid, so far as our acknowledged jurisdiction has been exercised - in other words, where a limitation of the extension would not affect the principle - it seems almost a pity to hold that the whole Act must be held to be bad. I could understand it being urged where an Act - say, a taxation measure - applied to a whole class, that if it were confined to a particular class something that the Legislature never intended might be done, by -pro tanto increasing the tax on or differentiating against the class that remained, and that, consequently, the whole Act would have to be declared bad. But in the case’ of the Act that we are now amending we should really be bringing it back to the full limits of our jurisdiction, and the part left out could be dealt with by the States. The High Court, however, whose judgments are entitled to the greatest respect, has decided the matter, and I think that the Government have properly brought down this measure, which apparently falls into line with the decision of the Court as to our actual jurisdiction.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 (Compensation for personal injuries to seamen).
– 1 presume that this clause would cover a case like that of the seamen on board the Yongala. That vessel, as honorable members are aware, was lost, and none of the relatives of the seamen on board was entitled to compensation under the original Act.
– lt would cover the Yongala case.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 18, schedules, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, and passed through its remaining stages.
Debate resumed from 13th October (vide page 1437), on motion by Mr. Thomas -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– Just before the House rose on Friday, I was explaining the object of this Bill. It was not intended at the time that the Act establishing penny postage was passed, that catalogues and price-lists should come under the category of books. The intention was that they should be classed, as they always were in the past, as printed matter and commercial papers. In order to overcome the difficulty which has arisen in regard to defining exactly what a book is, two courses are open to us. One is to remove altogether from the Act, as passed last session, the item allowing books printed in Australia to be carried through the post at the extremely cheap rate of 8 ozs. for id., and so to come into line with other countries, leaving the question practically as it was’ before the introduction of penny postage; while the other course is the one adopted in this Bill. We are anxious to do something for the legitimate Australian author, who writes a book in the ordinary acceptation of the term, and, in order to allow him to retain the concession made last session, we .propose to add the words “ except as prescribed “ after the words “books printed outside Australia,” and after the words “books printed in Australia,” respectively. If that is made law, the Department can, by a mere regulation, state what is and what is not a book. If a person claims that a catalogue ought to go through as a book, we shall be able to say, “ That catalogue is not a book.”
– Under what heading will it go through the post, then?
– As printed matter and commercial papers, at the rate’ of Jd. for 2 ozs. Another clause in the Bill leaves out the word “ serial “ from the definition of ‘ magazines.” In the Act of last session, we defined “ magazines “ as “magazines, reviews, serials, and other similar publications.” A number of business men are now claiming that if they issue a catalogue at regular intervals, it is a serial, and should go through the post at the cheap rate prescribed for magazines published in Australia. This amendment is to overcome that difficulty.
– How will pamphlets be dealt with? They may be regarded as small books.
– No. We say that a pamphlet should come under printed matter. That question, in any case, can be dealt with by regulation.
– Why cannot pamphlets be included?
– The best way is to accept the Bill as it stands, because, if we do not cover them by regulation, pamphlets will go through as books. The rate of id. for 8 oz. is a more liberal one than is allowed in any other part of the world, Jd. for s oz. being charged elsewhere for the conveyance of printed matter and commercial papers. If the Act be not amended, the Department will lose nearly £20,000 a year on the conveyance of catalogues and price-lists issued by business men, and posted as books.
– On what is the estimate based - on the volume of known business ?
– I am using figures that have been supplied by the Department. It must be remembered that the introduction of universal penny postage for letters was a great concession to the commercial classes, though I have always advocated that step, and would not retrace it. The low rate to which I referred was adopted by me because the rates for books and magazines printed in Australia were lower than those for books and magazines printed elsewhere, but many of the printed circulars of firms are quite big volumes. The price list issued by Lassetter and Company is an example. The alternatives before us were the abolition of the rate for books, or the retention of the rate for such publications as are ordinarily considered books, leaving it to the Department to say by regulation in regard to other publications whether it considers them to be books, and will, or will not, carry them at the book rate.
.- I do not think that any honorable member desires that the rate for the postage of books shall be increased, but I ask the Minister to reconsider his decision in regard to catalogues printed in Australia, and relating to Australian industries. Are we to understand that the £20,000 he spoke of is the total loss which would be suffered by the Department in connexion with mail conveyance if the whole of the Bill be not adopted ?
– The loss I referred to is estimated at from £18,000 to ,£20,000 - say £18,000.
– I should like to know whether the Department cannot afford to carry the catalogues I spoke of at the book rate of postage. If it can, I think it should continue to do so. It is the desire of all of us to assist the development of internal trade in respect to Australian productions, and if the ‘ book rate will cover the cost of conveying the catalogues I spoke of, it should continue to apply to them. Will the Minister tell us what difference to the revenue of the Department the adoption of my proposal would make?
– Catalogues not printed in Australia cannot be carried at the rate for books printed in Australia.
– I understand that the Department loses revenue by reason of the serial rate, and in other ways. The catalogues I spoke of are intended for the promotion of internal trade. They, of course, benefit those who issue them, but they are of advantage to the community also in bringing Australians into touch with each other.
– Do they not merely enable the big city storekeepers to take business from the country storekeepers ?
– These catalogues are issued by manufacturers very largely. How much of the £20,000 lost is due to the carriage of the catalogues I spoke of at the book rate?
– Most of it.
– Does not the rate cover the cost of carrying these catalogues?
– 1 should say not. No country in the world carries such - matter at the same rate.
– What I suggest would be of substantial assistance to Australian industries. As the matter stands at present, there is some doubt as to whether these should be considered books or not, and the Minister is quite justified in asking that that doubt should be removed. The object of the Bill is to remove these publications from the category of books, and put them in a category on which a higher rate of postage is charged. The honorable gentleman will be able to correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that some time ago a different practice in dealing with this matter prevailed in different States.
– That is so, but on an instruction from the Central Office the same practice is now followed in all.
– I shall not continue the discussion on the second reading, as we shall be able to get any further information required during the consideration of the Bill in Committee.
.- There is something in the request made by the honorable member for Darling Downs for a differential treatment of catalogues printed in Australia. The printing trade of the Commonwealth is very much interested in this matter. I have had handed to me, from time to time, catalogues and lithographic pictures and advertisements for certain kinds of whisky-
– The honorable member would not allow them to go free through the post?
– Unfortunately, the Postmaster-General permits these advertisements to go through the post at a very low rate, although they come to us from the other side of the world. I understand that before the Tariff Act can come into operation in connexion with this matter, printed matter going through the post must weigh not less than a certain weight. Printers have complained to me that this printed matter, brought from the other side of the world, is allowed to come through if it does not weigh more than a certain weight, and is addressed to one person. Thousands of these catalogues are printed and despatched through the Post Office at an exceptionally low rate pf postage.
– Not at a lower rate, I think, in any case than 2 ozs. for Jd.
– I made inquiries at the Customs Department, and was informed that they have no power to interfere with the introduction of this printed matter, and the Post Office authorities do not object so long as it does not weigh too much. I have before me a circular, which, I presume, has been sent to other honorable members as well, in which I find that it is stated that the rate on books, printed and published in Australia, is Jd. for 8 ozs. Am I to understand that the Minister proposes that that rate should be altered to d. for 10 ozs. ?
– No. The postage on books will remain the same.
– Then it is proposed merely to deal with periodicals, serials, and magazines?
– It is not proposed to alter the rates at all, but to enable the authorities to define printed matter by regulation, and to prescribe, for instance, that certain printed matter is not a book.
– I find that in the case of books printed and published in Australia the postage rate is 8 ozs. for Jd., whilst on books printed abroad the postage is 4 ozs. for Jd., and that magazines, reviews, serials, &c, printed and published in Australia at intervals of more than three months, the postage is Jd. for 8 ozs.
– It is proposed by the Bill to omit serials from that category.
– If this matter is printed and published abroad the postal charge is Jd. for 4 ozs. By making some concession, such as was suggested by the honorable member for Darling Downs, we should be treating no one unfairly, and would, probably, promote the printing and publication in the Commonwealth of catalogues such as the honorable member has described, in which persons concerned in the agricultural implement making industry and similar industries are interested. The distribution of such catalogues is a means of spreading information, and confers a benefit upon buyers as well as sellers. I find that books printed abroad in Germany, in Japan, or any other country, are carried throughout Australia at a postage rate of Jd. for 4 ozs., and catalogues printed in
Australia by our own people, and calculated to promote internal trade, are charged a postage rate of Jd. for a ozs. I think that some amendment might be made in favour of our Australian printers and business men who desire, to circulate, catalogues. We might allow such catalogues to go through the post at a rate of £d. for 4 ozs. That .would, I think, be a reasonable concession to make. I agree with the Minister that a very great concession has been made to commercial people by the establishment of penny postage, but that applies all round. I think this Parliament should be out every time to encourage Australian industry, and the Australian industry of printing has attained considerable dimensions. If it would lead to the employment of more people in the printing industry, I see no reason why we should not. permit catalogues, printed in Australia, to be carried through the post for 1/2d. for 4 ozs. I hope the Minister will give consideration to that suggestion, which, if carried into effect, would benefit not only the commercial world, but an army of workers engaged in the printing trade in the Commonwealth.
.- I agree with the honorable member for Maribyrnong, that in this matter we should, as far as possible, encourage Australian industry. I understand that the object of the Minister of External Affairs, in introducing this Bill, is solely to take catalogues out of the list of publications which are carried through the post at the cheap rate under which magazines are circulated.
– Catalogues and price lists.
– And to include them in the category of printed matter to which he maintains they properly belong, and on which a higher postage rate is charged.
– And in which it was intended by this Parliament that they should be included.
– I am inclined to think that the cost of postage is a very small matter in comparison with the actual cost of production of many of these catalogues. I think I am right in saying that the cost of production of many of the extensive catalogues issued by our big firms runs up to somewhere near 10s. a piece. I have one catalogue in my mind, issued by a Brisbane firm that issues catalogues somewhat extensively, in which it is stated that the cost of each of these catalogues to the firm is somewhere about 16s.
– I will guarantee that penny postage has meant a reduction of £1,000 a year in the postage of such a firm.
– The postage on such catalogues cannot, I think, be a matter of very much consequence. I really rose, however, to draw attention to an anomaly in connexion with telegraphic rates.. A statement was made during the debate on the Address-in-Reply to the effect that the introduction of penny postage had completed the federation of the Australian postal services. But whilst the present anomaly continues in connexion with telegraphic rates charged to persons who send messages from places on the borders of the States, we cannot say that complete federation has been accomplished.
– We could get over the difficulty by charging1s. for all telegrams.
– No doubt. The extra charge is only made on account of the first sixteen words. After that the rates are exactly the same. We can ascertain exactly what the Commonwealth would stand to lose by adopting a uniform rate throughout Australia. The Official Year -Book shows that the total number of Inter-State telegrams amounts to 2,582,000 per annum. A loss of 3d. on each of those messages would total . £32,275. Taking into account the possible expansion of business by a reduction of rates for border places, we may estimate that the Commonwealth would stand to lose not more than £30,000 per annum by the adoption of a uniform rate.
– The honorable member would charge a rate of9d. all round?
– I must ask the honorable member not to go into details in reference to the matter he has mentioned.
– As this Bill is for the purpose of amending post and telegraph rates, I thought it right to bring the matter under the notice of the Government, because people who live just at the borders of States feel that they suffer under an injustice, especially when they are sending telegrams only a few miles.
– I admit that there is an anomaly, but it is difficult to overcome.
– I consider that the Department ought to deal with the matter. No doubt, however, there will be an opportunity of mentioning it again later on.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
The First Schedule to the Principal Act is. amended - (i.) by inserting in Part II. the words “ except as prescribed “ after the words “ Books printed outside Australia “ and after the words “ Books printed in Australia” respectively; and (ii.) by omitting from Part II. the definition of and rates of postage for “ Magazines “ and inserting in their stead the following definition and rates of postage : -
Magazines - that is to say,
Magazines, reviews, and other similar publications, printed and published in. Australia for sale in numbers at intervals not exceeding three months and consisting of writings or articles on current topics, fiction, religious, technical, scientific, or practical subjects, for each magazine,½d. per 8 ounces or part of 8 ounces;
Magazines, reviews, and other similar publications (including newspapers), printed and published outside Australia for sale in numbers at intervals not exceeding three months and consisting of writings or articles on current topics, fiction, religious, technical, scientific, or practical subjects, for each magazine,½d. per 4 ounces or part of 4 ounces.
.- I should like the Minister in charge of the Bill to consent to the insertion of the words “ catalogues printed in Australia, id. for 4ozs. or part of 4 ozs.” 1 think that we should take advantage of the opportunity to confer this benefit upon the printing trade.
– At the expense of the rest of the community.
– The same might have been said about penny postage. In fact, I myself did contend that by penny postage we were giving a very liberal bonus to the mercantile community.
– We were, and it was a very fair thing to go on with.
– An argument in favour of the proposal which I now make can be based on much stronger grounds, because not only would it benefit the commercial classes who circulate catalogues printed in Australia, but it would also benefit a large body of workers - printers, machinists, bookbinders, lithographers, and all concerned in the production of catalogues. Commercial catalogues nowadaysare works of art, and very often provide a splendid means of circulating valuable information.
– Where would the honorable member propose to insert the words ?
– They might either be inserted at the end of paragraph b or in a new paragraph.
– - I should like to. inquire how the rates now proposed compare with those charged in England? Persons engaged in business in this country ought to be able to send their catalogues throughout the world at the same rates as English people send their catalogues to us. Otherwise Australian manufacturers and merchants would be at a disadvantage. 1 also wish to ask die Minister a .question concerning the words “ printed papers as prescribed,” used in the original Act. I am in the habit of sending small pamphlets through the post, generally containing a speech or two which I have delivered in this House. I do not send these pamphlets “on service,” I may tell honorable members.
– Because the right honorable member would not be allowed to do so, I suppose.
– Oh, it can be done, and some honorable members know how to do it. There is no definition covering the kind of publications to which I refer. When one asks any .one what the postage is, either he does not know, or he “ thinks “ that, inside Australia, it is d. for 2 oz. or part of 2 oz., and outside Australia, id. Cannot the Minister make the position clear as to the rate to be charged on pamphlets? I think that publishers in Australia should be put on as good a footing as publishers in England.
– They are on a better footing.
– As I understand the Act, it was clearly intended to give preference to Australian writers, printers, and publishers of books over books written, printed, and published abroad. If Protection was the real motive for the differentiation in the rates, there seems to be no reason why there should not be the same differentiation made in the case of catalogues as in the case of books. Why should the differentiation in the present Act be altered? If, on the other hand, there is an idea that we ought to encourage our literary talent to develop itself in that way, and create more opportunities, quite other considerations come into the purview. But I take it that, from the point of view of the Post Office, this is a business transaction, and is intended to contain a distinct preference to our workmen as workmen, apart altogether from the authors, the printers, and the publishers of books. If that is to be the governing principle, the proposal of the honorable member for Maribyrnong would seem to be entitled to consideration. It is no longer a matter of fiscal policy, but a matter of justice - ‘that is, a matter of fairly adjusting the policy which the Minister has declared it to be his object to carry through.
– I nearly always agree with the honorable member for Parramatta when he states a case; but I confess that I am not altogether convincedas to the expediency of making this amendment, as it differentiates between catalogues which come from abroad and catalogues which are produced here. I would like to see all catalogues carried at a low rate, because I cannot see where a competition between them arises. Take, for instance, a catalogue in connexion with one of the celebrated second-hand bookshops at Home. Surely it does not come into competition with any catalogue produced in Australia ; it deals with quite a different class of thing.. I do not think for a moment that the manuscript of a catalogue which applies to Australian productions or books would be sent to England to be printed and brought out. If that is done, I can understand that a differentiation should be made. Books are in a somewhat different position, because some Australian writers publish in England. I can understand a difference being made as regards the rate for the distribution of books or publications, so as to encourage local printing, because competition does, arise there. Perhaps the Minister will tell us if there is any possibility of substantial competition between the printers of catalogues outside the Commonwealth and the printers of catalogues within the Commonwealth. I think that the local trade cannot be injured. If that is so, my view would be to lower the rate. To some extent, we have encouraged trade with the Mother Country. I am not speaking as a Preferential Trader, but recalling a fact. It is not quite consistent with the system of preferential trade to differentiate as regards one of the means of attracting trade. The definition of “magazines” has been rather limited by adding the words “oncurrent topics, fiction, religious, technical, scientific, or practical subjects.” Take some magazines which deal with literature only; will they come in under this definition, or as fiction ? Again, some magazines do not deal with current topics, but with history. Under this definition, we may exclude magazines which we wish to come in. Take, for instance, the Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science, published monthly. . Very often an issue of this magazine deals with a special subject, and perhaps several men contribute from different points of view to the issue. There are some magazines which certainly do not deal with “ fiction, religious, technical, practical, or scientific subjects.” I suggest it will be well to add another species of fiction, and that is history and poetry. I hope that my suggestion will be considered
.- I think that the object of the Minister in granting the concession last year was to encourage the Australian author, and I hope that it will not be interfered with by this Bill. I should like the Minister to accept an amendment that these books, catalogues, and pamphlets, shall receive the concession where they are wholly set up as well as printed in Australia. While we should encourage the Australian author, we ought also to encourage the Australian printer. A number of partially-printed publications are brought into Australia, and there is a method whereby the importers are able to do without any local composition, and that is by the use of stereotypes and blocks imported from abroad. I think that the insertion of one or two words is necessary ; and, therefore, I hope that during the next few minutes the Minister will consider the question of putting in the words “ wholly set up and printed in Australia.”
.- The intention of my amendment was to protect the Australian printer, and I referred to compositors as well as ordinary printers. But if the insertion of the words suggested by the honorable member for Capricornia will meet the case more fully, I am quite prepared to submit the amendment in this form -
.- I ask the Postmaster- General to seriously consider the question raised by the honorable member for Angas as to the definition of “magazine.”
– There has been nothing to prevent magazines coming in.
– That is quite right, because this definition has never yet been applied. The present definition speaks of “magazines, reviews, serials, and other similar publications,” printed and published in Australia at intervals not exceeding three months. That is a wide definition, but the Minister now narrows it down to publications “ consisting of writings and articles on current topics, fiction, religious, technical, scientific, or practical subjects.” That limits the definition; and any magazine not coming within it may be excluded altogether. So far as I understand what is proposed the Minister aims at certain people who publish what they call “serials” in connexion with their business. For instance, a man who conducts a land agency office may publish a “ serial,” the first article in which deals with land valuation, and so forth, and the remainder of which is matter connected entirely with his own business, and probably consisting of lists of properties for sale. That, I understand, is the class of publication aimed at.
– The Postmaster-General, instead of eliminating what he considers to be objectionable, has gone the other way about, and proposes a definition which, in practice, he will find it difficult to apply.
– There is no desire to exclude any legitimate magazine; and I am prepared to accept any amendment which will meet the case.
-“ Current topics,” I suppose, means comment on political, social, and other movements. “ Fiction “ is probably in the realm of novels and stories, and I take it that “practical subjects” means farming and matters of that sort. As a matter of fact, we have no idea as to the meaning; and I ask where there is room for the historical magazine.
– I have no objection to insert the word “historical.”
– I know it is difficult to give an all-embracing definition, but I ask the Postmaster-General to look closely into the matter again.
– Every post-office in the world has been defining for fifty years, and something is always left out !
– But here we are defining by Statute, and not by regulation. Any question or doubt that arises will be referred to the Attorney-General, who will give a legal opinion; and, though the persons affected may feel that an injustice is being done, they will be informed by the Postmaster-General that he is bound by the law. 1 know that the Minister’s object is to exclude publications which are not really magazines ; but he ought to take care that, in his efforts, he does not hit the genuine publication.
.- As the Postmaster-General has raised no objection, I take it that he agrees with what I said about the necessity for providing that this concession shall be given to books that are set up as well as printed in Australia. We know that it would be quite easy to import the stereotype, and thus get the benefit of the lower rates.
– I am afraid that the honorable member’s proposed amendment would make it very difficult so far as the Postal Department is concerned.
– If people knew that the publications might be stopped at the Post Office, they would, I think, get their books set up and printed here, so that there would be no necessity for the postal authorities to make search. I desire to move an amendment in the direction I have indicated.
– I hope the honorable member for Capricornia will not press his amendment at this stage, because, in my opinion, it would be better to discuss it later when we come to deal with the question of catalogues. When the penny postage was under discussion, the appeal was made that <ve should help the Australian author, who, if protection is the policy of the country, ought to have some benefit if possible. In my opinion, the amendment of the honorable member for Capricornia might have the effect of handicapping the Australian author, because it provides that his book shall not only be printed, but set up in Australia. Catalogues, of course, are different from books. From a purely departmental stand-point it would be wise to accept the amendment, because the greater the difficulty surrounding the printing and publishing of these books the smaller would be the number of books which the Department would have to carry at this very cheap rate. The rate is so low that it cannot possibly pay. I know of no other country where books are carried through the post at a lower rate. In England the rate is 2 ozs. for Jd., and beyond that weight “includ ing books, &c,” up to 4 ozs., id. Our proposal will allow printed matter to be carried through the post as cheaply in Australia as it is in England, although there is a remarkable difference between the size of the two countries. In the United States of America the charge is Jd. for each 2 ozs., including books, whilst in New Zealand printed matter, including books, is carried through the post at the rate of £d. for each 2 ozs., or fraction thereof. In England, Canada, and New Zealand the rate is £d. for 2 ozs. in respect of books and printed matter ; but we provide that books, printed locally, shall be carried at the rate of 8 ozs. for Jd., so that we offer, in this respect, a much greater concession than is offered in the Old Country.
.- Yielding to the Minister’s request, I shall not press my proposal. I now move -
That after the word “ publications,” paragraph a, the words “ wholly set up “ be inserted.
I am dealing now with magazines, whereas the honorable member for Maribyrnong proposed to deal with catalogues.
– I can only repeat that, from the stand-point of the Postmaster-General’s Department alone there could be no objection to this amendment, since it would have the effect of making more difficult the local production of magazines, and would, consequently, reduce the number going through the post at this low rate.
– Magazines are set up here.
– Then there is no necessity for the amendment.
– There may be others.
– I do not consent to the amendment, because I think that the paragraph, as it stands, will encourage the publication of magazines in Australia. All that I have said respecting the suggestion made by the honorable member for Capricornia, in regard to the transmission of books through the post, will apply to this amendment. The Department can gain nothing by transmitting magazines at this low rate. The only reason why such a low rate is proposed is that we recognise that magazines have an educational value, and that we ought, therefore, to encourage their distribution among the people. That is why we have a low rate for magazines introduced from other countries, and a still lower rate for magazines locally produced.
– To carry out that principle logically the honorable gentleman should propose that those magazines be transmitted free of charge.
– We cannot carry every argument to its logical conclusion. If the amendment is carried it will tend to reduce some of the loss that the transmission of magazines produced in Australia now entails on the Department, but in the interests of the publication of magazines in Australia I hope that it will not be adopted.
– It is all very well for the Minister to say that the adoption of this amendment would benefit the Department, but we have to remember that the Department is designed to benefit the public. My desire is that the Australian printer, the Australian author, and also the reading public of the Commonwealth shall receive fair consideration. It seems to me that the adoption of this amendment would have a prejudicial effect on a number of useful Australian productions, part of the matter used in which is set up and stereotyped elsewhere. A considerable portion of the literary matter is written here, and the whole of the mechanical work of setting that matter is carried out in Australia, but the . continuance of such publications might be restricted by this amendment, for the reason that a portion is produced and stereotyped elsewhere. The reading public might be denied very useful information, while the Australian writers who find in these publications a useful outlet for their abilities would find it more difficult to publish their work.
– To what publication does the honorable member refer?
– I am not sufficiently acquainted with the technicalities of the business to go into details ; but there is a considerable amount of useful and informative matter in a publication like the Review of Reviews, which circulates all over Australia. I understand that a considerable portion of the matter in it is stereotyped in the Old Country, but, in addition to that, there is in it a large amount of material which is purely Australian.
– Yes ; and absolutely biased against this party.
– That does not matter. The honorable member cannot treat one paper differently from another because its politics are of a. different colour.
Since the Australian edition of the Review of Reviews came under its present management it has been very partial and biased against the Labour party. Another publication might deal much more fairly with the party, and even in the case of the Review of Reviews it would probably only be a case of changing the editor to make a considerable change in the character of the literary matter. The English edition has been very liberal and fair in its politics, and us editor takes very wide views. To what extent will the proposal of the honorable member for Capricornia affect magazines published in Australia, and at the same time deriving a considerable amount of their matter from outside? They also distribute purely Australian matter, written by Australian authors, and set up in Australia. They are doing good work in encouraging Australian literature, and to penalize them by extra postal rates would be to do an injury to the reading public of Australia, and to a large number of rising Australian writers, whom we should endeavour to encourage.
.- I make this proposition in the interests of Protection, while regretting that it is necessary to adopt such a means as a Postal Rates Bill to get some protection for the Australian printer. I hope the time will come when import duties will keep out of Australia the literature printed in other parts of the world, and referred to by the honorable member for Calare. We have a standard of comfort and living which we desire to maintain. I do not want to go over the whole ground of Protection, but it would appear to be necessary to do so, because the honorable member for Calare has just made a Free Trade speech. Free Trade is, or ought to be, a back number in Australia. America was mentioned by the Minister of External Affairs, whom I congratulate on the new portfolio which he has taken. In America a Review of Reviews is published. The British Review of Reviews is not imported into that country, as the Australian edition of the Review of Reviews is imported into Australia, because in America there is a prohibitive Tariff against printed matter of that sort. I hope that some day we shall have practically a prohibitive Tariff on a great deal of the printed stuff which comes into this country.
– Deal with it on the Tariff, and not on a Postal Rates Bill.
– The honorable member did not follow those lines. He argued that the higher rate of postage would be prohibitive in the case of the Review of Reviews. Tons of literature of all kinds, including penny publications like Scraps and Funny Cuts, now come into Australia free. There should be a high protective Tariff on it in the interests of those Australian authors for whom the honorable member for Calare has been pleading. If we encourage the Australian printing trade, we at once encourage the Australian authors. Quite a host of Australian short-story writers have to send their stuff abroad, while a number have to go to London and elsewhere to get a living. I am asking for only a small concession for the protection of Australian printers and authors, and I hope the Minister will withdraw his opposition to it. In a weak moment I interjected that the Australian matter in the Review of Reviews was biased against the Labour party. I hope honorable members will not think I want to penalize that magazine on that ground. I am willing to give the biased editor of the Australian edition all the protection that can be given to him by a big import duty and by concessions ir* postal rates, so long as he has all his matter set up and printed in Australia.
.- I hope the Minister will accept the amendment of the honorable member for Capricornia. The duty on blocks and matrices sent here from England at the present time is only, I think, Jd. per inch. The intrinsic value of the block or matrix is not great, because all the matter has already been used before in England or America, but it is used here, with the result that those who could cut the blocks in Australia have no work. The time is coming when we should give more encouragement to that class of employment, because it is very congenial to Australians. Tt is artistic work, to which the Australian people are specially adapted. So far as catalogues are concerned, I hope that the Postmaster-General will allow them to go through the post at a low rate, provided not only that they are printed in Australia, but that the matrices and blocks used in their production are made here. That would encourage a local industry which, if encouraged, would give a great deal of work. Personally, I would absolutely prohibit the sending of catalogues into Australia, and shall have something to say on the subject when we next deal with the Customs. Both Canada and the United States of America protect their people in the way I suggest our people should be protected. At the present time, blocks which have been used by firms like Harmsworth are sent out to Australia to be used again here, and this takes from our people the opportunity to get work which they would otherwise be called upon to perform. Although not a printer myself, I have made hundreds of pounds in my business from my connexion with the printing trade. There is a great deal of work involved in the production of catalogues, and generally a great many blocks are used, not merely to show the various goods which are advertised, but also to bring under the attention of the public the appearance of the business house, its work-rooms, machinery, and so on. The production of these blocks would give a great deal of work, and very congenial work, to Australians, if the importation of blocks were prohibited. I am always for the Australian. I would put him first, and the foreigner nowhere. I am sure that all connected with the printing trade will feel that the Minister has acted hastily if he fails to give effect to the views which have been stated by the honorable member for Capricornia, and supported by the honorable member for Maribyrnong and myself.
.- Any one who knows the difference between the standards of living in Great Britain and here must feel the need for protecting our workmen against the competition of other countries. The comparison of an American magazine such as Scribner’s with certain English publications will show how it will benefit even Great Britain to adopt the policy which the honorable member for Capricornia is asking the Minister to adopt. Many blocks after being printed from in America are sent to Great Britain, along with stereotyped matter, and there used again, but the result is not comparable for art or beauty with the American production. It is necessary for us to protect ourselves from the competition of the printing trade in Japan and in India. Some time ago I brought under the notice of the Customs Department the fact that matches were being sent here from Japan, on the labels of which were printed the words “ Trade Union Matches.” We are at a disadvantage as regards India, because, owing to the difference of currency, a half-anna will carry postal matter further than’ a penny. There are in Melbourne to-day canvassers or travellers for Indian goods, using Indian printed matter. The honorable member for Capricornia was one of our most consistent and persistent Protectionists, and while those in whose veins flows the rich, red Australian blood pity deeply the misery of the unfortunates in other lands, they know how necessary it is to protect our workers. If England adopted a protective policy, she would advance by leaps and bounds. This matter might be summed up in a nutshell, and if the Minister can see his way to include the words referred to, he will please, not only the honorable member for Capricornia, but every Protectionist in
– In common with the honorable member for Capricornia and other honorable members who have some knowledge of the way in which stereo blocks are introduced into Australia, I urge upon the Minister the adoption of the amendment. I might remind the Committee, that, for years, the different editions of the Encycopledia Britannica were printed from the one set of blocks. By some means the blocks were introduced into America, and copies of the work were printed from them there instead of in England. I do- not suggest that these stereo blocks would be imported for the printing of an edition of the work in Australia, but such a course could be followed, and I mention the matter as an illustration of the use which in these days is made of stereo blocks. The insertion of these words would protect the Australian printer. They would involve the setting up of the type in Australia, and if it were desired afterwards to stereotype the matter, that would mean more work for stereotypers. It is difficult to follow the ramifications of the industry involved in the publication of a catalogue or a book. First of all, there is the author, who prepares the matter in manuscript, or dicates it to a typist. The typewritten copy may go back to the author for correction, and it may have to be typewritten again, thus affording more work. Later it is sent to the printer, and is set up by a compositor or a linotypist. Then there are readers and others employed to revise the matter as printed. If it is to be stereotyped the stereotypists are called upon to take their share in the preparation of the work, and then it is put into the hands of the machinist, the bookbinder, and later of the bookseller. It is, in the circumstances, difficult to say how much employment would be afforded by the insertion of these few words in this Bill. I have no doubt that the Australian printer is fairly well able to look after himself, but we should be prepared to do all we can to extend the operations of Australian workmen, and give them protection in their industry. I do not see why we should not print and publish in Australia practically everything that Australians need to read. I believe that the time is not far distant when our Tariff (vail will be so high that, as the honorable member for Capricornia has said, it will have the effect of shutting out many thousands of books that are now imported from abroad, and of giving additional employment to thousands of people in our printing offices, and in the various industries connected with the publication of printed matter. I urge the Minister of External Affairs to accept the evidence of practical men who have been in the printing trade, and know what they are speaking about, when they ask him to include these few words in the clause. If he does so he will be acting, not only in consonance with the wish of the majority of members of the Committee, but of the majority of the people of Australia.
.- Reading the Bill, one’s first impression might very well be that the word “printing” covered the whole of the work connected with the printing and publishing of printed matter. But those who know something of the printing trade, and I have some association with it, are aware that the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Capricornia is necessary to make the clause clear, since “printing” is technically understood by printers to refer merely to the machining of the typed or stereotyped matter, and is comparatively the least important phase of the work. The more important work is the preparation of the matter for the printing or machining, and, as pointed out by the honorable member for Maribyrnong, there are many phases of the work giving employment to many different classes of workers. In the preparation of some blocks, for instance, the photographer is first employed, then there is the etcher, who produces the halftone or full-tone effects, and this is very artistic work, requiring very great skill. We have to consider the preparation of Hocks which have been spoken of as sent out here apart altogether from the typesetting. Now that linotype machines are used, the work of typesetting employs less labour than it did a few years ago. I am referring now to the production of magazines, in connexion with which, I venture to say, the largest amount of labour of different kinds is involved. New Protection is the policy of the Government, and of their supporters, and this matter can scarcely be considered apart from that policy. We should afford every encouragement to that policy. I rose mainly to call attention to a. phase of the question to which reference has not so far been made. Students of literature, even to a limited degree, will have noticed that very little encouragement is given to Australian writers. They are very greatly handicapped in the matter of publication, and many of them have to go to the Old World to secure publication of their works. In our libraries may be seen a good deal of literature from America, which is entirely American in tone. We have only a very limited Australian literature that can be said to be entirely Australian in tone. It will be agreed, I think, that, for the most part, magazine literature is educative, and in directing his attention to this phase of the question, I remind the Minister that more encouragement might be given tq the publication of Australian magazines. They are very limited in number, owing, naturally, to their limited circulation, in view of the comparatively small population of the Commonwealth; but they are greatly handicapped in being brought into competition with magazines from over sea published in countries in which magazinereaders may be numbered by millions. We have a population of only about 4,500,000 in the Commonwealth, and the number of readers of magazines amongst our people is comparatively few. Honorable members may have perused a particular number of Munsey’s Magazine which was published a few years ago, in which a reference was made to the work of publishing the pioneer 10 cent magazine. When the magazine was issued at 25 cents, the proprietor was losing money. But he found that by publishing at 10 cents per copy he was able to make a handsome profit. The story of his enterprise reads almost like a romance. Within six years after completing his organization, he had paid for ali his plant and apparatus, and had erected a gigantic establishment publishing 1,000,000 copies of his magazine per month. He was able to do that, because he had the enormous population of the United States of America to cater for. Cheapness is only possible where there is a large clientele. The reason why we have not had many magazines., iri Australia is, not from lack of ability on the part of our writers, but because our population has not been sufficiently large. Some curious facts have come under my observation recently. Many writers of novels and stories have to go to English publishers to have them issued. But, before an English publisher feels inclined to take up a work by an Australian writer, he often demands that at least some portion of the plot shall be laid in England, .finding that English readers are not greatly interested in novels which do not, to some extent, concern that country. Consequently, the free development of the genius of Aus-, tralian writers is, to this extent, limited, by the commercial exigencies of English publishers. This is not a good thing for Australian literature. Our writers are handicapped by the commercialism of the age in which we live. I do not think that we should impose a severe penalty on magazines imported into Australia if they were compelled to pay a little more postage. We should, however, give some little encouragement to and help Australian writers and publishers, as well as afford work to Australian printers. We shall not accomplish this object merely by inserting a provision with regard to magazines which are “printed in Australia.” It is the practice to send out to this country in stereotyped form stories written elsewhere. Some are even sent in papiermache matrices. Only the actual printing is done here. I am in favour of the amendment of the honorable member for Capricornia, because it would give real encouragement to the production of magazine literature in this country. At present, the Australian writer, compositor, artist, etcher, and photographer have no chance in competition with cheaply-imported stereotyped matter. Unless the amendment be agreed to, the effect will be merely to give encouragement to machining in Australia. That is all that “printed in Australia” means. It really is not worth while. If the Minister cannot consent to go further, he had better do nothing at all. It is useless to give encouragement to the mere machining in this country of matter which has been written, illustrated, and set up in another country. I am reminded by the honorable member for Maranoa that some large publishers in the Old World have already entered upon the work of publishing in Aus- tralia. I think that before long we shall have a very great change in this regard. When a man goes to consult a publisher here about getting out a book, he is told that his best plan is to go to the Old Land. I have stated some of the reasons which local publishers have given to me.
– Where did the honorable member go when he was about to publish his book?
– I did not publish my book for the sake of making money. I published at a loss by having the work done in Australia. All we can do is to tell outside publishers that we are prepared, at a very nominal charge indeed, to circulate their magazines through our Socialistic enterprise called the Post Office. These matters ought to be regarded from an educational point of view at all times.
– I am quite prepared to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Fenton) proposed -
That the following words be added : - [e] Catalogues wholly set up and printed in Australia, £d. per four ounces or part of four ounces.
.- Unless this amendment is accepted, catalogues which are printed outside the Commonwealth will be placed at an advantage over those which are partly printed inside the Commonwealth. In view of the other amendment having been carried, it naturally follows that this amendment should be accepted.
– I hold in my hand a circular issued by the master printers’ conference, and signed by a number of the leading printers. Under the head of books or printed matter, they deal with the difference between catalogues which are printed abroad, introduced here under the old regulation, and posted at the rate of £d. for 4 oz., and catalogues which are produced here, and posted at the rate of £d. for 1 oz. What I wish to know from the Minister is whether this provision will remove this evident inequity in the treatment of colonial printers and publishers of catalogues. At least we should put our printers and publishers on an equal footing with others.
– My amendment will do that.
– I did not catch the wording of the ?mendment. I am pleased to hear that it will meet the position. ja
Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Second Reading. Mr. FISHER (Wide Bay- Treasurer and Prime Minister) [5.55]. - I move - That this Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill confirms the agreement which was entered into between the Commonwealth Government and Mr. Petherick, who had a very valuable collection of literature of all kinds, including the historical records of Australasia and the Polynesian Islands, lt was a collection, not only valuable from a monetary and literary point of view but one which, if once allowed to be scattered, could not, in my opinion, have been recovered. During my first term of office I discovered through a mutual friend that Mr. Petherick had, under a verbal promise by a previous Minister, brought his valuable collection from England to Melbourne, and housed it in the Exhibition Building. Many persons were very apprehensive that, in case of a fire, the collection would be destroyed. Mr. Petherick, I remember well, was under the impression then that he was entitled to more consideration from the Commonwealth Government than he had received. After having interviewed him my feeling was that no effort should be spared to secure for the Commonwealth his collection of literature and historical records of every kind. Happily it fell to the lot of the honorable member for Angas, when he was Attorney-General, to finally conclude the agreement with Mr. Petherick, and, I think, with Mrs. Petherick. At one time it was thought that it would be sufficient if the agreement were signed by the parties thereto, but I agree with those’ who think that an agreement of this importance should be incorporated in an Act of Parliament. This Bill, which comes from the Senate, provides for the payment to Mr. Petherick of an annual fee for certain services which may be rendered when he is able to render them, or services which may be nominally rendered. If they are rendered in accordance with the wish, and under the direction of the Library Committee, that will be sufficient to satisfy the conditions of the agreement. 1 am entirely with those who drew up the contract in this liberal way. I think that rit is a good bargain, from our point of view, and we ought not to be too strict or discriminating regarding Mr. Petherick. He has done for Australia in this connexion that which, perhaps, no other living man could have done, and we, on our :side, ought to deal with him very liberally. 1 agree that for disciplinary purposes ;the archivist ought to be under the “Library Committee, but I do not think it is necessary to dwell on that point. This may be a suitable occasion for me to remind the House that gifts have been made to the Library from time to time, for which, I am sure, the Library Committee have thanked the donors, and the members of this National Parliament must be exceedingly grateful. 1 may express the hope that the last bequest has not yet been received of portraits or statues of notable public men, whose -memory may be perpetuated in this way, or, especially, of records, manuscript and otherwise, of an important kind that may now be in the possession of private people. 1 trust that those in possession of such records will accept the suggestion that they would be better preserved, and be of more utility to the Commonwealth and the public generally, if they were placed in the valuable collection already formed, and became part of the historic material of Australia and the adjoining islands. This Bill ought not to be delayed, for . in that there is danger. In the event of Providence removing the donor, matters might become very complicated ; and, indeed, if a layman may express the opinion, the collection might l>e altogether lost to the Commonwealth. On that point legal members will be better able to advise: but it seems to me that, until this Bill becomes an Act, we have no security in our possession of this valuable collection. f submit the measure in the hope that it will be dealt with and passed, not as a party matter, but as an agreement to be unanimously hailed as a fair bargain. Putting aside the question of payment, we have to thank Mr. Petherick for the way in which he held on to this rol lection, and for the manly and generous way in which he offered it as a national “heirloom to the Federal Parliament.
– It is very proper to introduce the Bill, because, even if the agreement were in itself sufficient, the responsibility was rather too much to saddle the Library Committee with. So far as I remember, the reason for the second agreement was that, at first, there was an assignment, called a deed of gift, to the President of the Senate, drawn up, I forget by whom, but as a layman would do the work - in good faith. For the security of the Commonwealth, the usual legal method was afterwards adopted, because the Commonwealth was accepting not only a gift, but giving some consideration for an exceedingly , valuable collection and the services of Mr. Petherick, subject to the Library Committee. The deed of gift might have divested the property in the books from Mr. Petherick to the President ; and it was desirable that any doubt should be removed bv a second indenture.
.- I desire to echo what the Prime Minister has said as to the great obligation we are under to Mr. Petherick for making this arrangement with the Commonwealth. Had this library and collection been dispersed, we should have had to pay thousands of pounds to get it together again.
– We should never have got it again.
– At all events, we should probably never have got it as complete as it is. Australia is deeply indebted to Mr. Petherick. There is already a very fine collection in the Mitchell Library in Sydney ; but there is no reason why, as far as possible, there should not be at the Capital of the Commonwealth a complete library of all works relating to Australia. It is most desirable that the suggestion made by the Prime Minister should be made widely known. The Library Committee would be exceedingly glad ot any gifts of books, pamphlets, or plates which throw any light on the history of this country.
– Manuscripts also.
– Any documents which may be of value when the historian undertakes to write the history of the Commonwealth of Australia.
– A history of the trade union movement would be a great idea !
– The history of any movement.
– Even the biography of the honorable member for East Sydney might be of some value. It is most desirable that the suggestion of the Prime Minister should be made known throughout the country. It is a common experience, in the outlying parts, to come across old and valuable books of historical value; and it would be better for. those to be in .1 central collection than to remain where they are likely to be lost.
– This debate may help in that way.
– I rose, not only to express gratitude to Mr. Petherick, but to emphasize the importance of such books and records being placed in safe custody. There -is a tendency, more and more, to impress Australians with the value of their own history ; and, ‘even from an educational stand-point, that is well. I am glad to see that the Australian Natives Association has taken the matter up in several of the States, and is doing much to assist in collecting early records, with a view to preserving them, in some imperishable form. This is most valuable work, which I am sure will be appreciated by all who take an interest in the history of this country.
.- I desire to add my tribute of admiration of the generosity of Mr. Petherick in presenting this collection to the Commonwealth. As one who has had the privilege of looking over the collection on a number of occasions, and of having some lengthy talks with Mr. Petherick, I venture to say that there are very few, if any, in Australia as capable as he in getting such books and documents together, and fewer who, having got such a collection together, would have the generosity to ‘hand it over to this Parliament. I hope that we accept this collection in the light of a gift - that we are passing this Bill, not in any sense as making a bargain to pay Mr. Petherick for what he has given, for the Bill is nothing of the kind. In the ordinary course of nature, the small amount which will be paid under an .agreement of this kind cannot in any way compensate a. man for a life’s work and sacrifice. .1 confess that, when I hear appeals being made for further gifts of the kind, 1 cannot help thinking that if those to whom the appeals are made could see the rather shabby way in which we have treated the Petherick collection by thrusting it away in a vault where no one can find it, the response might not be so generous. No doubt the Library Committee has its difficulties, but I regret that the things which are Australian should be buried very low.
– We are not masters of the House.
– If we are not entitled to remove books from one part of the building to another it cannot be helped ; but there is, in the north wing of the Library, a collection of autobiographical works and ancient novels which are rarely looked at, and might, very well give place to the Petherick collection.
Mr.- Groom. - They belong to the Stat? ©f Victoria.
– Quite so; but they Gould be well cared for in the basement. We should .have nearer at hand the collection which is more interesting .to the .Austalian people, so that we could see and examine it with greater ease. The .matter, however, is within the province of the Library Committee. The example- which Mr. Petherick has set is calculated to create a genuine Australian spirit, and we shall all feel gratified if others, noting it, act upon .the Scriptural injunction, “ Go thou and do likewise* ‘ ‘
– The introduction of this Bill gives us an opportunity, not -.only to express our appreciation of Mr. Petherick’s valuable gift to the Commonwealth, but to suggest that the little that has been done in the way of preparing matter for our future historians should be considerably amplified. I think we might- go further, and direct the preparation of a statement setting forth the meaning of the many native names given to towns and -districts in Australia. A great number of the people residing in .those towns and districts are quite ignorant of their meaning. In my own electorate there are many places bearing native names, many , of which were given to them by the aborigines and generally suggest ‘some feature of the country. In some cases, these districts bear the names of animals which .used to be found there, while in others striking characteristics of the country, .as it ‘existed in .the primeval days, have been perpetuated.
– Every name tells a tale.
– That is so. We know but little of the history of the language of the Australian aborigines, and we shall know much less unless we take steps to bring together all the available information relating to it. We should coIlect these names, ascertain their meaning, and tabulate them in such a way that future residents of these places will have a knowledge of their derivation. I dare say that not 5 per cent, of those who live in towns bearing native names are acquainted with their meaning, and I think that something should be done in the direction I have indicated. I join with those who have preceded me in expressing my. satisfaction with the action of the Government in introducing this Bill with a view of securing for all time to the people of Australia a collection of works that will undoubtedly perpetuate some of the very early, historical features of our great country.
When one travels, and sees what has been done in other countries in this direction - when one observes in other lands the value that is attached to everything of historical interest - one must freely recognise that there is much that we have not yet done which might well be taken in hand, and I hope that the suggestion I have made will be acted upon.
.- As one of the Library Committee who entered into the arrangements for securing this great gift to the Commonwealth, I desire to express my sense of the magnificent liberality displayed by Mr. Petherick. His action in presenting to the Commonwealth such a rare and valuable collection is certainly a very patriotic one. The collection embraces books of which there is no copy extant, while in other cases only one or two copies are available. It represents some thirty years of watchful care, as well as considerable expenditure, and although it is worth a good many thousands of pounds, Mr. Petherick freely gives it to Australia. Together with a number of other honorable members, I recently visited the Old! (World, where the importance of preserving old buildings and monuments and all that tells in a material way of the history of a country is realized to the full. In Great Britain, committee’s are being appointed to restore various old buildings. I agree with the honorable member for Cowper that we should take steps to ascertain the meaning of the native names given to many of our towns and districts before those who know their derivation pass away. I am satisfied that if some of the older families of Australia could only be brought to recognise how greatly we should appreciate such an action, they would come forward with many letters and papers that would be of great historical value to the Commonwealth. On the Library table at the present time we have a facsimile of a page from Captain Cook’s journal ; and in the libraries and museums of the Old World one sees documents and papers which money could scarcely purchase. The average man thinks that these matters are of no concern, but they are certainly of great importance to Australia. The Commonwealth is indebted to Mr. Petherick, and I am sure that we all appreciate his generosity in making such a handsome gift to the nation. Ever since the collection was taken over by us. Mr. Petherick has been working upon it, so that it is purely a gift to Australia. A good deal more might be added to it, and Mr. Petherick, I am sure, would be ready to assist us with suggestions. Referring to what the honorable member for Cowper has said regarding native names, it may not be generally known that Ballarat, or, more correctly speaking, “ Ballaarat,” means a place of rest.
– A resting-place.
– Yes, it is a very appropriate name, but, unfortunately, it is now the custom to omit the medial “ a “. The honorable member for Ballarat should take steps to have it restored.
– “ Ballaarat “ is now only the official spelling of the name.
– We should look to the Postmaster-General’s Department to see that .the correct spelling of these native names is retained. Whenever I am asked to give a name to a new postal district, I invariably suggest an aboriginal one, believing that we should have protection for Australian names as well as for Australian goods. The complaint made in regard to the housing of the collection is a very natural one. I am sure that the Library Committee does not approve of the collection being stored away in the basement ; but we have to remember that it is only a temporary home. We hope to get away to the Federal Capital byandby, and we shall have there a Library so built as to insure absolute safety. Any one who visits the wonderful Mitchell collection in Sydney will see what a costly task it is to provide a suitable place for a collection of this kind. It is easier said than done. I do not suppose the State authorities would object to our making use of one of the wings of the Library here, but many changes would be necessary in order to secure safety for the collection. It is hot the kind of thing that could be put upon open shelves. Books and papers of this kind must be. kept safe, and be under supervision. For many reasons of this kind, we have been forced to put the collection in the only place available for it in the building, and there Mr. Petherick has been very busy cataloguing and getting the work finished that will complete the collection. I hope that when we do go to the Federal Capital we shall appreciate the importance and rarity of the collection, and see that it is added to by every means in our power, before these documents and other historical records disappear from Australian life. The Committee have been getting collections made of descriptions of country life and incidents appearing in country papers. We have been having things of this kind, which give local colour, collected in clippings. They will be useful to future writers of Australian stories, and also to the historian of the future, because they record many facts and incidents of importance of which all trace would be lost if steps were not taken now to preserve them, while the men who can tell the story are still alive. I congratulate the Government on introducing the measure, and am sure the House will be unanimous in passing it.
.- I am very glad to see this Bill introduced, and hope it will be speedily passed. I do not think that we have moved in this matter as quickly as we ought to have done. We have a most valuable collection of early Australian records, and, although we are not housing it at present in a fitting place, I hope we shall have before long a national repository for collections of the kind, lt is quite time the Commonwealth took in hand the question of collecting the early material of Australian history. It will not only be serviceable to us, but it will be very serviceable to generations to come. I wish to add my meed of thanks to those which have already been accorded to Mr. Petherick. I feel that he has done not only a patriotic, but an extremely generous thing in offering this collection to the Commonwealth. Had it been dispersed by sale in England, where it was a few years ago, we should have had no chance of getting it together again. Now we not only have the collection, but we are very fortunate in having retained the services of Mr. Petherick himself as archivist. There is no one better fitted than that gentleman to judge of the value of records and any other interesting relics that may be offered to the Commonwealth for purchase. He will be able to guide us as to the true value of these things, as well as could be done by anybody we know, and he will be able to tabulate and place them in their proper positions far better than most other people could. On that ground alone we are very fortunate in having secured his services. “Mr. THOMAS BROWN (Calare) [6.25]. - I have had the pleasure of looking through Mr. Petherick’s collection, and consider it invaluable. Tt is certainly one of the best of the kind that I have seen, and if it were allowed to be broken up and distributed, it would be practically impossible for the Commonwealth to get together again all those valuable rarities that Mr. Petherick has been able to collect in his long lifetime, and as the result of his expert knowledge and experience in -that particular kind of work. I am pleased to know that the Government are now taking the matter seriously in hand, and propose to deal with it on the lines laid down in the Bill. I have felt that it was scarcely fair to Mr. Petherick or the Commonwealth that the question should be hung up, as it has been for so long. Ever since the collection was handed over to the Library Committee there has been a considerable amount of uncertainty about it. It has been in suspense, something like Mahomet’s coffin. Mr. Petherick did not know what the Commonwealth intended to do, and the Commonwealth, apparently, had not time to give to the matter that attention which was necessary and desirable in order to bring it to a proper settlement. In those circumstances, it is scarcely to be wondered at that Mr. Petherick was disposed - if he was so disposed, although I do not know that it was so - to feel that his gift was not altogether appreciated by and acceptable to the Commonwealth. I am sure, however, that those honorable members who have looked into the collection appreciate its high value, and that we are all delighted now to know that the Government are bringing the matter to finality. There are certain matters in’ connexion with it which I should like to urge upon the attention of the Government. The collection should certainly be properly housed, because, of course, the present accommodation is only a makeshift, and is very unsatisfactory; but, under the present arrangement with the State Parliament, whose premises we are occupying, we cannot encroach too largely upon their space. If, however, is is at all possible to give the collection better accommodation, the matter ought to be considered. At the, same time, I recognise that its natural home is in Commonwealth territory, and the sooner we get it there and properly housed the better it will be for all interests concerned. In connexion with this valuable collection of old Australian literature and records, I notice that Mr. Petherick has been engaged for a considerable time past in compiling a very unique catalogue of Australian literature of all descriptions from the earliest days. He has brought it, I understand, up to date, and to a high degree of perfection. The publication of that work would, be a most valuable addition to the collection, and of the greatest use to those engaged in historic or literary research. In addition to taking over the Petherick collection, the Government should arrange, if they have not already done so, with Mr. Petherick to complete that portion of his life’s work, and take steps to print and publish it. It should not be left in manuscript form. I believe the complete work will run into a considerable number of volumes.
– Run into volumes ! Does the honorable member mean that a mere list of the names of books would occupy that space?
– The work gives, not only the names, but also a short description of the contents of each book. This makes it all the more valuable. A mere list would be valuable to some extent, but a bibliography of Australian literature such as Mr. Petherick has compiled becomes a most valuable work. It is because of its great value that I am urging the Government to utilize Mr. Petherick’ s services in completing it, if he has not already done so, and then to have it printed and published. It would be of great value, not only to the Commonwealth and to Australian writers, but also to writers and libraries all over the world. I am glad that we have among us patriotic men of the stamp of Mr. Petherick.
Sitting suspended from 6.31 to J. 45 p.m.
– We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Petherick for the valuable collection which he has presented to the Commonwealth, because, in a young country like this, it is difficult to secure material such as he has brought together, which grows in value with the lapse of time. Material of this kind is very easily lost. For instance, in the campaign which preceded the adoption of Federation, a large quantity of literature was produced and published, mostly in pamphlet form, and it is surprising how little of it is obtainable now after a lapse of only twelve years. Except in the collections of those who have made a hobby of gathering together publications of this kind, practically none of it remains. At the time, it was not considered of value, and was not preserved, but in the years to come it will be invaluable. We should foster the collection of pamphlets, manuscripts, and letters. I noticed that much of the interest attaching to the Glasgow Exhibition was due to the display of old manuscripts. I there saw the original copy of Burns’ patriotic poem, “ Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,” as well as the manuscript of some of Sir Walter Scott’s great works. We should do what we can to preserve anything of interest pertaining to Australia. Something should also be done for the preservation of aboriginal names. It is difficult to ascertain the correct pronunciation of these names, which are generally musical, though they do not appear to be so when printed. Furthermore, as applied to districts, they usually have a meaning indicate ing the nature of the country, or something pertaining to it. It would be interesting to have these names tabulated, with their correct pronunciations, as nearly as could be ascertained, and their meanings. In most cases, the pronunciation which we have adopted is so far from the original that a blackfellow would be unable to recognise the words. No two Government Departments spell these names alike. The name of my electorate, Calare, is spelt in different ways, and so is the name of the place where I live. Possibly, none of the spellings is a correct phonetic record. The Government of New South Wales appointed a Commission to deal with this matter, but I have not heard whether it has submitted a report. In any case, no change has been effected. What is needed is an inquiry which will cover the whole Commonwealth. The work should be commenced at once, because the aborigines are rapidly disappearing, and, in the years to come, it will be impossible to get the information that is needed.
– I regret that the honorable member for Calare has not explained why the Library Committee has treated the Petherick collection so shabbily. Although that collection is in some respects unique, it is stored in a basement, on shelves where the books are not protected from the dust, and maps are stowed away in drawers and cupboards; it is treated as a collection would be treated by one who did not know its value, or had not the means to deal with it properly. I have no doubt that we took over Mr. Petherick’s collection largely because he felt that we were in a better position than himself to spend the money necessary for the proper protection of the treasures which he had passed his life in accumulating. The Library Committee should offer an explanation of its conduct in this matter. If honorable members visit the basement - I should not be surprised to hear that none of the members of the Library Committee have done so - they will find that some of these valuable records are not the better for having been in the custody of the Commonwealth for a year or two.
– That is not a fair reflection on the Committee, who have done their best.
– I did not hear a single word from the honorable member on the subject.
– Because the honorable member was not here before dinner, and the matter was discussed in his absence.
– Then why have not the members of the Library Committee protested in this chamber before? It is of no use for the ex-Attorney-General to try to support the honorable member for Calare and the other members of the Library Committee in this matter, because they had only to direct the attention of this House to the fact that they could not secure supplies to enable them to properly house this collection. If they had done so, honorable members would have seen to it that this Australian inheritance was properly looked after. If the members of the Committee with whom, I understand, the honorable member for Angas in his spare hours occasionally sits, had been seized with a proper sense of their responsibility they would have insisted upon this collection being properly looked after. The trouble is that the members of the Library Committee seem to have regarded themselves as appointed to fulfil perfunctory duties of an ornamental nature, because the House has paid them the compliment of appointing them to it. Their work is not regarded as a .trusteeship, and I doubt very much if the Committee have seriously considered the problem of properly housing this collection. If they have, their absolute unfitness for the duties of their position is shown by the shelving they have chosen for the collection.
– They are waiting until we go to the Federal Capital.
– I am afraid that that is the kind of consideration which must have influenced them. It is the worst economy in the world to refuse to spend a few pounds to properly shelve a priceless collection. Until this measure was introduced I had not heard a whisper of any reluctance on the part of the Governto provide proper shelving and accommodation for the Petherick collection. I understand, from the honorable member for Angas, that before the dinner adjournment the honorable member for Calare did express contrition–
– I did not hear the honorable member. I left the chamber at twenty-five minutes past 6 o’clock, and I did not hear what the honorable member for Calare said.
– Then apparently the honorable member for Angas was prepared to interrupt without knowing what he was speaking about. The members of the Library Committee appear to be anxious to protect themselves in this matter, but I am not making an attack upon them. It seems to me that they have regarded themselves as a sort of ornamental body, appointed for no definite purpose. I am glad to see, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Chairman of the Library Committee has taken steps to enable him to give some explanation, and, I hope, apology, for the neglect of the Library Committee in this regard. In view of the high office which that honorable gentleman holds, I think he should blush with shame, when he considers the neglect of the Library Committee to take the necessary steps for properly , housing the Petherick collection. I often go downstairs to inspect the collection, but when I do so, I am almost afraid to ask to be allowed to see the maps. They have to be dragged by Mr. Petherick out of cupboards in which they can scarcely be kept free from dust. They have to be unfolded and folded in the same way every time; and any one who understands such matters will agree that it does them no good to be handled in that way. I have often felt that what we want is a live Library Committee, presided over by a live chairman; a Committee that would really endeavour to do something to safeguard a collection in connexion with which it is thought worth while to pass an Act of this Parliament. Under this measure, we are to spend ^500 a year practically by way of purchase money for this collection. Mr. Petherick does not desire to sell it. He regards it as the highest privilege a man could have to make a literary collection of this unique character, and he wishes to be guaranteed the right to look after it. I venture to say that when he signed the agreement, he had not the least idea that the collection would be endangered in the way it has been by the neglect of the Library Committee. I notice that the Committee consists of Mr. Speaker, Mr. Anstey, Mr. Brown, Mr. Glynn, Mr. Groom, Dr. Maloney, Dr. Salmon, and Mr. Spence. I do not wish them to speak at the moment, but I do think that the members of the
Committee should be able to give some excuse for their want of action in this matter. They might bring up a report on the subject. Here we have a very valuable property, acquired at great expense by the Commonwealth, and a Committee appointed by this House has done next to nothing to make it safe. It is not housed as well as a second-hand bookseller would house a number of second-hand volumes by Marie Corelli. The Library Committee are responsible for the disgraceful way in which this collection! is now kept; and it seems to me that, instead of talking grandiosely about books which he would like to see purchased, it would have been better if the honorable member for Calare, as a member of the Committee, had given some excuse for the neglect of their trusteeship in the management of this unique collection.
.- As chairman of the Library Committee, I wish to inform the honorable member for Wentworth, who I know was joking, that he adopted a peculiar method, which might lead those who know him to think that he was “ pulling somebody’s leg.”
– I rise to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wish to know whether the honorable member for Kennedy is in order in suggesting that an honorable member, in addressing the House, was doing so in a jesting spirit. Although an honorable member may endeavour to restrain his feelings, he may be imbued with a stern sense of public duty. I should like to know whether the words used by the honorable member for Kennedy are in order; if not, perhaps they will be withdrawn.
– If the honorable member for Kennedy has used any words which are offensive to the honorable member for Wentworth, I have no doubt they will be withdrawn.
– I willingly withdraw; and I accept the statement of the honorable member for Wentworth that he was in deadly earnest in what he said. If that be so, there is only the more reason why some reply should be made to him. I am satisfied that no member of the House took his statement seriously; but, unfortunately, such statements, when printed outside, are regarded seriously. The honorable member made a charge against the Library Committee, and referred specifically to the ex- Attorney-General, the honorable member for Angas. I wish to say that there is no member of this House, and no one who has ever been a member of it, who has put in so much work Voluntarily, considering the busy man he is, as has the honorable . member for. Angas, in connexion with the Library Committee. He is one of its most active members, and has not spared himself in any way to further the interests of the Library. It is not right for any honorable member to make such accusations as those made by the honorable member for Wentworth, when he is ignorant of the actual facts. The Committee have done everything that was possible to have the Petherick collection housed and preserved in as efficient a manner as possible.
– How much has been expended on shelving, for instance?
– I cannot remember the exact amount that has been spent, but if the honorable member had frequented the Library more often, he would have known that the whole of these books are now carefully preserved in cases with glass doors. Evidently the honorable member cannot have been in the Library recently.
– The glass doors have only been put up within the last week or fortnight.
– Allow me to tell the honorable member that some months ago I signed the document that paid for the glass doors. The honorable member, therefore, has again made a mis-statement.
– I must rise to order. I submit that the honorable member is not only out of order in charging me with having made a mis-statement, but has also been deliberately unjust in saying that I have not been down in the part of the building where this collection is preserved within’ the last two or three weeks.
– Will the honorable member state his point of order ?
– I submit that it was out of order for the honorable member for Kennedy to say that I had made a misstatement.
– If the honorable member takes offence at that word-
– It is .not a question of taking offence. The honorable member accuses me of making a mis-statement, and that is the sort of thing tha<t will bring’ about a breach of the public peace. I should like to know whether that expression is not out of order; and, if so, whether it should not be withdrawn.
– The honorable member for Kennedy is in order.
– I am not aware that I said anything that was out of order; but 1 point out that the honorable member has made another mis-statement. He has stated that he was down in the rooms where the collection is. kept within the last three weeks, and that the books are not cased yet. Allow me to tell the honorable member that they were cased about June last.
– I tell the honorable member that they were. It is useless for him to say that they were not, because I know that they were
– The honorable member simply says he signed the requisition.
– I signed the paper under which payment was actually made for the glass doors. Personally, 1 do not mind what may be said about myself, but it is not fair that these things should be said about the Library Committee. I can assure the House that everything has been clone to make Mr. Petherick as comfortable as possible in the part of the building that he occupies. Statements that have been made about the collection not being housed properly might lead the public to believe that_ a valuable collection of historical material was being kept in some part of this building where it could not be carefully looked after. I quite admit that the rooms in which the collection is preserved are not the best that we could desire. Every one must realize that. But, unfortunately for us, this magnificent building, which the State of Victoria has been exceedingly good in allowing us to occupy, does not permit of better accommodation being provided. It is not reasonable to ask the State authorities to remove a large number of their own books from the upper Library, where they are at present shelved, to some other part of the building, where they would require to be re-catalogued at considerable expense to us or to the State - to say nothing of the damage that might be done to the books by so_ removing them. We have done our best to enable Mr. Petherick to place on view a portion of his collection which he desires to exhibit. The wish has been expressed in an article in one of the newspapers that the collection should -be taken away from this building and preserved in the new Melbourne Public Library building. I hope that no thing of the kind will be done. I trust that the collection will never leave the hands of the Federal authorities. We know its value and desire to preserve it.
– The next move should be to the Federal Capital.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. I admit that the shelving is not all that we could desire. But it would be of no use for us to incur heavy expenditure in placing the books on more elaborate shelving. The shelving which we have provided is quite adequate for present requirements. If we were to enter upon any great expenditure we might in the course of a few years be compelled to incur it all over again, because whatever arrangements we made for preserving the collection in this building might be quite unsuitable for preserving it when we get to the Federal Capital. I can assure the House, however, that the collection is being looked after, and I am satisfied that no one can look after it better than the gentleman who is in charge of it now - namely, Mr. Petherick himself. He has come to me on several occasions, and when we found out what his requirements were we endeavoured to meet them as as far as possible. The honorable member for Calare spoke of the value of a collection of the literature pertaining to the Commonwealth published prior to Federation. I venture to say that this Parliament possesses one of the best collections of that kind of literature in Australia. We have been collecting it from the very inception of Federation, as the honorable member for Angas can testify. The late Mr. G.. B. Edwards took an exceptional interest in the matter, “and in everything connected with the Library. As far as concerns historical records, of which the honorable member for Calare also spoke, I may state that the Committee is doing everything possible. One of the last acts performed by the late Minister of External Affairs, Mr. E. L. Batchelor, was to write a letter to the Library Committee handing over to us the administration of the money placed upon the Estimates for the printing of Australian records originally commenced by the New South W’ales Government. The subject will be dealt with at the next meeting of the Library Committee. I am very pleased that this work is to be handed over to them. What is proposed to be done in this matter is this. Eight volumes of records have already been published by the New South Wales Government. There are still in manuscript records extending from 1811 to 1836. These manuscripts still await publication. The New South Wales Government are prepared to hand them over to us for the purpose of publication. It will probably take a period of nine years to complete the task. Subsequently, we hope to extend the records from 1836 to 1856, when responsible government was established. From that date onwards, records will be collected and published so as to make a complete documentary history of Australia. I do not know of a body of men who have taken a keener interest in collecting and preserving the records of their people than have the members of the Library Committee. I do not make that remark because I am connected with the Library Committee. I know no more of their efforts than I have gathered during the last twelve months or so, but I do know that they have not left a stone unturned in trying to make the collection of records as complete as possible. I believe that we have the best collection of records of this particular class which is to be found in any library in Australia, not even excluding the Mitchell Library itself. In these circumstances, I hope the House will render all possible assistance. I may mention that, at the very beginning of their existence, the Library Committee determined to make .this not merely a Parliamentary Library, but a National Library for Australia. With that object in view, they have worked continuously and energetically during all these years, and, in my opinion, they deserve every credit for what they have done. I desire to again acknowledge die special interest which the late Mr. G. B. Edwards toot” in the work of the Library Committee. I believe that what he did in laying the foundation for a National Library will stand as a monument to him. I wish to thank the honorable and learned member for Angas and Senator Sir Josiah Symon for assisting me in the selection of books during the last twelve months when I have been chairman of the Library Commitee, and for the tireless energy which they have displayed. I can appreciate a joke as much as can the honorable member for Wentworth, who, I think, was not serious when he made his speech this evening. _ I can assure him that everything is being done to have the Petherick -collection housed, as well as possible, having regard to the inconvenient circumstances in which we are placed at present.
I believe that, when it is transferred to its future home, it will be a special feature of interest in the Federal Capital.
– I desire to make a personal explanation with regard to the remark of the honorable member for Kennedy that my statement that the Petherick Library is not yet properly protected was a misstatement. With the honorable member for Fremantle, I visited the rooms in which the collection is housed a moment or two ago, and found that the work for which the honorable member for Kennedy says he holds the receipt has not yet been done. Almost one-half of the collection is still without glass doors, and unprotected from dust, and the improved accommodation for the remainder was provided only recently. It may be that my memory was at fault when I said that I made a visit a fortnight ago, but I have been down to the rooms a couple of times this session, and the work was not done then.
– The honorable member must not debate the matter.
– I do not intend to do so, sir. Up to that point I find that my statement was correct, and that Mr. Speaker has apparently been misinformed. In regard to the treatment of the manuscripts, books, and so forth, if honorable members care to go down, they can see for themselves the state in which they are.
– Is this a second- reading speech ?
– The honorable member is not in order.
– As I am not in order, sir, in inviting honorable members to go down and see the dreadful state of this library I shall resume mv seat.
.- I confess that I do not know the value of the utterance made by the honorable member for Wentworth. I was not very much impressed with it. I rather felt that he was more concerned to express himself with his customary smartness than to deal seriously with the question before the House. My view may be right or it may be wrong ; we cannot know. I feel that I am impertinent in attempting to address myself to this question. I have not seen the Petherick collection but I will do so at the earliest possible moment. As a book-lover I admire and respect those who do collect, and I pay my deference to Mr. Petherick, who has rendered a great service in making this gift to the Commonwealth. I appreciate the action of the Administration by whom -this collection was taken over, and who, I trust, will, at a very early date, see that it is properly housed. If the honorable member for Wentworth feels that the books are not being adequately protected, I hope that, soon after this measure is passed, he will experience no further cause of complaint in connexion with this valuable library. I hope also that I shall be able to make a contribution of newspapers, and, perhaps, of a volume or two in practical appreciation of Mr. Petherick’s work and the action of the Ministry;
– I think it would be a very great misfortune of we were to allow any spirit of controversy to enter into this discussion. I can readily understand that the little difference between the honorable member for Kennedy and the honorable member for Wentworth arises from the fact that the former could not readily throw off the Speaker’s manner and the latter was treating a very serious question in his usual light-hearted way.
– We do not get the Speaker on the floor every day.
– I think that if ever there was a Bill brought forward in this House which ought to be discussed aside from party ‘feeling, it is this one. It does not ask us for authority to do something, but asks us to approve something which has been done. I heartily approve of what has been done’. I was a member of the Library Committee when this arrangement was entered into. I discussed the ‘ matter from time to time with Mr. Speaker Holder. I thought then, and I think now. that the Commonwealth is exceedingly fortunate in securing this magnificent collection for the moderate sum which would need to be invested in order to produce an ‘ annual salary, if so it may be called, to” Mr. Petherick as the Archivist of the Comonwealth. I have known Mr. Petherick in connexion with this collection for upwards of thirty years. He has had the true archivist’s spirit during all these years. I knew from time to time that he was gathering, at much cost to himself, and with great personal deprivation, this splendid collection of books, papers, manuscripts, maps, pictures, and a variety of articles ; and the amount which the Commonwealth is asked to invest in order to pay him his honorarium is ridiculous, because we are getting not only the collection itself, but also the services of Mr. Petherick, who is one of the most scholarly collectors in Australia. We are getting his services as the curator of this collection, and as the adviser of all those people - whose number we hope to see increase - who .take an interest in the archaeology of Australia. We should remember the name of Mr. Speaker Holder in this connexion. I think that the whole collection was first brought under his notice. He was a man of a scholarly mind, with a great love of literature and history. When he discovered that Mr. Petherick had this collection, and was willing to dispose of it to the Government on the terms arranged, he strongly advised that the offer be accepted, trusting to the love of history on the part of the Federal Parliament to confirm the arrangement he had made. In my mind, I shall always attach the name of Speaker Holder to this collection, because he was saturated with the idea of our possessing it. When I explained to him what I knew of the Mitchell Library - because I had the privilege of a personal acquaintance with the donor - he was intensely interested, and, perhaps, a little disappointed to find that the Petherick collection was not really so great and so varied as that which the New South Wales people have erected a special building for. At the same time, he anticipated that, by the Common1 wealth Parliament devoting a liberal sum every year to the increase of the collection, we should some day vie even with the Mitchell Library. As to the value, I may say that the Mitchell collection, which containsnot only books, but pictures, diaries, manuscripts, maps, atlases, coins, and a great variety of other material, has been estimated as worth ^150,000. The Petherick collection is not so large,’ but it is very valuable, and has occupied Mr. Petherick’s time, I should say, for forty or fifty years. We are getting this for the equivalent of ^8,000 paying Mr. Petherick ,£500 a year, which, for a scholar of his repute, is a modest consideration for so valuable an officer.
– - It is only an annual payment of ^500 a year.
-But that amount is the sum required to produce £500 a year.
– That sum will not produce £500 a year.
– Originally, it was intended to buy the collection ; and it was estimated to be worth ,£8,000.
– There were various estimates from £6,000 to £8,000
– Instead of giving that sum, we have made an arrangement to employ Mr. Petherick as Archivist’ at £500 a year, and that annual payment capitalised comes to a very small sum. Yet for £500 a year, we secure this collection, coupled with the services of Mr. Petherick.
– I understand that this ^500 a year is not continuous, but only during Mr. Petherick’s lifetime.
– So long as we have his services, we pay him £500 a year, lt is not proposed to pay the ,£500 after his death, but I think it would be as well not to anticipate that. In my opinion, this is a priceless collection, containing things which cannot be bought for money to-day ; there are many instances in which there is no copy or replica. During the early history of the Commonwealth, it is invaluable to us to have the advice of Mr. Petherick as collector of more data of the kind ; because we hope some day that the Commonwealth will have the finest collection of Australian historical data in all its various forms that is to be found in any part of the world. The Mitchell Library at present is the best; and 1 desire honorable members, who are not so familiar as I am with that collection, to know that Mr. Mitchell made it a condition of his gift that a special branch of the Public Library should be constructed in order to hold it. As a matter of fact, the New South Wales Government have actually constructed the Mitchell branch before they have built their library; and honorable members who visit Sydney may see a magnificent building in Macquarie-street wholly devoted to this collection. I do not at all agree with the honorable member for Kennedy, who, as chairman of the Library Committee, says that we should continue to preserve these valuable books and manuscripts in the basement of Parliament. We must remember that as soon as the Capital is sufficiently built for Parliament to meet there, it is intended to move the collection; but I think we ought to give the Victorian people an opportunity of seeing it. lt is not a collection to be laid out on a table, or on bookshelves, and the public allowed indiscriminately to inspect it. That is not done in the case of the Mitchell Library. There are very competent assistants to the curator who show the people over that library ; and, if it is desired to see the most valuable portions in the way of coins, manuscripts, diaries, and so forth, visitors have to be introduced, and shown over by the curator himself. I do not see why we should not, as an act of generosity to the people of Victoria, who have been good enough to grant us the use of this building for so many years, invite the Government of the State to afford some habitation for the collection in some part of the Exhibition Building. Mr. Petherick could be in attendance there as our Archivist, and the Victorian people, who care to avail themselves of the opportunity, might be enabled to see through the collection before it is finally removed to the Federal Capital.
– There is danger of fire at the Exhibition Building.
– I admit that danger; but, if the collection cannot be sent to the Exhibition, then I think the people of Victoria might have an opportunity to see it here. If a little more money were expended on the basement of Parliament House, it would be possible for the limited number of people who wish to see these things to do so in a more convenient manner. I quite agree with the honorable member for Wentworth that, at present, with all that has been done, the whole collection is very much cramped. Maps are put in drawers one on the other in such a way that sometimes twenty or thirty have to be turned over, and drawn out, with all the risk of injury, in order that a particular one may be shown. Seeing that we have paid no rent for this building, we could very well afford, I think, to lay out a little more money on the basement preparatory to inviting the people of Victoria to come and see these very curious historical documents. This is, I think, a convenient time to say that Mr. Petherick has been for years - in fact, the whole of his lifetime - preparing material for an index of Australian bibliography. It is a book which, if published, will fill half a dozen volumes, but it will be the most complete bibliography, or index to Australian historical data, that has ever been published. I should like the Library Committee to consult with Mr. Petherick and to consider whether it would not be possible for the Commonwealth Parliament, in return for this great collection, to contribute a sum sufficient to enable him to publish this work. It will never pay from a publisher’s, or an author’s point of view, but it will redound to the credit of the Commonwealth if this great work - for it will be a great work - is published for the benefit of the world. We all look forward to a glorious future for Australia, and I think the glory of our future will be very much enhanced if such libraries as that of the British Museum were supplied with a copy of a work including practically every known and literary detail with regard to the data of Australian history. I ask the chairman of the Library Committee to lay the suggestion before his fellow members with a view to ascertaining whether Parliament is prepared to advance a sufficient sum to enable Mr. Petherick to publish this work. Honorable members will find in the Bill a fairly comprehensive statement of the contents of this Library. The schedule in describing the collection to be acquired speaks of books, pamphlets, plates, maps, and manuscripts. The same classes of data are contained in the Mitchell Library. In that Library there are contemporary paintings of Cook’s ships as they left the English ports, and oil paintings of the ships that accompanied him as they returned to England. There is also a wonderful collection of pamphlets that were discovered in different parts of England - pamphlets that had been printed by people who had come out here, and who had recorded in them their, early experiences of the first days of Australia. I should like to assure the honorable member for Dalley, who confessed that he had not seen the Petherick collection, and also other honorable members, that a visit would convince them that it is by no means a dry-as-dust affair. They would find Mr. Petherick delighted to have an opportunity of showing them the great variety of material in his possession, and I am satisfied that an hour or two spent in looking over that material would create in them a new interest in the early history of Australia. I have much pleasure in supporting this proposed confirmation of the arrangement made with Mr. Petherick, and I congratulate, not only the Library Committee in having brought the matter to a head, but Australia, and the people of Australia, on having acquired such a valuable collection.
– I am very glad that this matter has at last been brought to something approaching finality. It has been hanging fire for many months, and has been causing Mr. Petherick some anxiety. I am pleased to learn from Mr. Speaker that something has been done to improve the means of keeping this collection free from the risk of injury, because for a considerable time it was a source of continual complaint on the part of Mr. Petherick himself that he could not secure proper accommodation for it, and that precautions that he had suggested for preserving it from the risk of injury from damp, dust, and climatic changes had not been adopted. The neglect to take these precautions gave him very much concern for many months. Whether he had had, up to that time, access to the Library Committee to explain to them the nature of his suggestions I do not know, but I strongly advised him to lay his grievance before some of the members of the Committee. I assured him that I believed the composition of the Committee was such that it would try to meet his wishes in any reasonable way. Whether he saw the Committee I am not sure, but for some time I met him frequently, and on almost every occasion he complained of the lack of proper provision against the risks of which he had spoken. I am glad that something has been done with a view to preserving this very precious collection. After Mr. Speaker had assured the House that he held receipts showing that the necessary work had been done the honorable member for Wentworth informed us that he thereupon visited the rooms in which the collection is housed, and found that the work had only been half done.
– All that Mr Petherick asked for was done.
– I am not taking the Library Committee to task. I have not had an opportunity to visit the Petherick Library since the opening of the present session. I used frequently to visit it, and shall do so again, but I have not seen it, nor have I seen Mr. Petherick, since the opening of the present session. The collection unquestionably is all that has been claimed for it, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace it. I am glad that this Bill has been brought forward, and that the whole matter has been dealt with, as it ought to have been some time ago. As to the suggestion made by the honorable member for Parkes that the collection should be removed to the Exhibition Building, and thrown open for public inspection, I think that a good deal of injury might be done to it by the transfer. The less such a collection is handled for transport purposes the better. Some oE the papers, documents, and valuable specimens are old and worn, and are very tender to handle. Moreover the Exhibition Building itself is hardly a safe place when we consider the risks of fire, and if the location of the collection were even temporarily changed every effort would have to be made to see that the building to which it was removed was, as far as possible, fireproof.
The public were permitted to have access to portion of the collection, as honorable members who were in the last Parliament will remember. On that occasion the Queen’s Hall was used for the purpose of displaying a number of articles, and many members of the public availed themselves of the opportunity of visiting it. Everything, of course, could not be shown in so small a space, but so far as space and the means at command would allow, some of the most interesting portions of the collection were made available for a brief time for the inspection of the general public.
– Members are allowed to show visitors over the Petherick Library now.
– Yes, but honorable members generally may not know that they can do so. I suppose the general public do not know where the collection is to be seen, and, if they did, they would probably have a great deal of difficulty in finding it. It is not housed in the best place, but I am sure the Committee have done the best they could in difficult circumstances. The room is, I think, fairly damp-proof. Although it may be cold and cheerless looking, we have to remember that it is only a temporary habitation, and the necessity for providing proper accommodation for the collection ought to be another argument to induce honorable members to push forward with the construction of the Federal Capital, so that we may make suitable provision at the earliest moment, with the most up-to-date contrivances against climatic and other adverse influences, to insure the safety of the collection for many years to come, if not, indeed, for ever. I wish to ask the Library Committee, or the House, whether it is not worth while to adopt a suggestion, which has been made by Mr. Petherick himself, that a special form of index should be used “in connexion with the collection. I understand that he has perfected a system of indexing, cross indexing, and cataloguing, by means of which the references to any event may be found at almost a moment’s notice. By this system any particular point in Australian history, for instance, may be traced through quite a number of volumes. It impressed me, when Mr. Petherick explained it, as being a very complete system, and he seems to have spent a tremendous amount of time over lt, and to have set his heart upon having it adopted. If the Committee have not already gone into the matter thoroughly, I would suggest, if I may do so without appearing to be impertinent, that it might engage their serious attention.
– I wish to express a word of appreciation on the consummation of the arrangement in connexion with Mr. Petherick’s magnificent gift to the Commonwealth. I am free to admit at once that I have not yet seen the collection. I am honest about it. I am sure there are a large number of members who have not seen it, but, perhaps, they will not admit it. I am sorry that I have not seen it, but I can assure the House that it will not be long before I do inspect it. I hope then to meet Mr. Petherick, and I am sure that he will take a great deal of pleasure in showing me, as he has shown other honorable members, many of the ancient relics and records which he has been successful in gathering together.
– I suppose -there will be a rush down there to-morrow.
– There will be. I should like to see a list of those honorable members who have not yet seen the collection. I think I am the only honest man among the lot, because I admit that I have not seen it. Mr. Petherick is deserving of the thanks of the whole community, and I am, indeed, pleased that such expressions of appreciation of his action have come from all parts of the House. It is quite right that we should appreciate the actions of such men as he, who have done such valuable service to their country. I am sorry that there are some men who have done invaluable work for their country in the past, and have not received at the hands of the public, or at the hands of the Governments of the States, or at the hands of the Commonwealth Parliament, the recognition to which they are entitled. if I mav be allowed to do so, I should like to refer in particular to Mr. William Farrer, the wheat expert, whom I can class among my intimate friends. He was an acquaintance of mine from my childhood, and he is a man who has done as much for Australia as any man we have ever had in this country. Honorable members who are interested in our primary productions will admit that that gentleman has done great service for this country.
– Does the honorable member propose to connect those remarks with the subject before the Chair ?
– I am dealing with the question of the recognition of the services of” men who have contributed in a great degree to our progress, or who have been responsible for handing down to us valuable possessions. Mr. Petherick has handed to us this valuable collection, while Mr. William Farrer has greatly benefited us in another way by giving us the result of all his researches and experiments in wheat growing. I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Farrer’s services were not recognised, and appreciation was not shown to him in the same way as has been done in the case of Mr. Petherick.
– The honorable member must not pursue that line of argument.
– I will content myself with saying that I highly appreciate the magnificent gift which Mr. Petherick has made to the Library of this. Parliament. I trust that the valuable collection will be suitably housed, and that, when the parliamentary buildings and the Commonwealth library are completed at Canberra, it will be properly provided for there. I hope that I shall be among those who will have the honour of visiting it at that time, and that Mr. Petherick will still be alive and well, and in charge of it, and able to show us his valuable and interesting records. I am exceedingly pleased that Mr. Petherick has been employed at his present work by the Commonwealth Government. I take it that the ,£500 per annum which he receives is only to be looked upon as a suitable recompense, to which he is well entitled. I am pleased to know that he will have congenial employment in looking after the valuable records and books which he has gathered together, and which I am sure he dearly loves.
.- It would be difficult to add much to the many expressions of appreciation which have been uttered regarding the wonderful results of the life work of Mr. Petherick in collecting his valuable Library of the early records of Australia. I have visited the Library on several occasions, but one visit was enough to demonstrate the industry, the research, and scholarly application of the gentleman who has brought together, and placed at the disposal of the Commonwealth, this magnificent collection. It is a mistake to speak of the collection as having been purchased by the Common wealth. In reality, the gentleman whose life’s work it has been to bring together the records of the early days of Australia, has offered it as a gift to his country. The honorarium which it is proposed to offer him is not more than an adequate compensation for thework of looking after the collection, and compiling the valuable index on which he is engaged. It is evident that more money is needed for the proper preservation of these treasures.
– And they should be added to.
– Every encouragement should be given to Mr. Petherick to add to them, and more money should be placed at his disposal for the proper treatment of the valuable charts and maps which form part of the gift, as well as for the preservation of the books. The index to which I have referred supplies an epitome of almost every book and document in the collection. The collection consists of about 11,000 items, of which about 6,000 are books, and the remainder pamphlets, plates, charts, portraits, curios, &c. Its present value is very great, but nothing like thevalue which it will have in the future. It should be made the nucleus of a much more extensive collection, to remind future generations of the patriotism, selfsacrifice, and ability of those who laid the foundation of what we hope will become a great country. In this connexion, I suggest somepermanent memorial of those associated1 with our early days or connected withthe establishment of our nationhood by the framing of the Federal Constitution. We have not shown the reverence for the past which is exhibited by the people of the United States of America, where it is cultivated in the State schools and in the universities. This sentiment is growing here,, and we should do everything possible tofoster it. We might very well perpetuate,, by marble statues or inscriptions in prominent places in our Parliament House,, the names of the great men associated with the foundation of the Commonwealth. A few years ago, when the new building for the University College of Arts and Sciencesin New York was designed, a Hall of Famewas set aside for the perpetuation of the memory of those who are, or who will become famous in the political, literary, and’ military history of America. It has been decided that about twenty names shall be chosen in the first instance, and four or five added annually afterwards. Great care has been taken to choose a Committeecompetent to select the names of those most entitled to the honour and reverence of their countrymen. This Committee is composed of professors of history, scientists, publicists, editors, authors, and Judges of the Supreme Courts of the Federation and of the States.
– The honorable member is now going beyond the question.
– I simply wish to point out that, in addition to preserving valuable documents, maps, and similar records, we should take steps to perpetuate the memory of those who have built up our nation, the pioneers whose names are the pride and glory of our history. With others, I congratulate the Parliament upon having secured this magnificent collection as a gift from Mr. Petherick. I hope he will be long spared to give his valuable assistance in still further perfecting the collection, and that Parliament will not hesitate, when the time arrives, to find the money necessary to preserve such valuable documents and records as they should be preserved, and to enable Mr. Petherick to complete the valuable index to it as a record of its contents, which might be distributed for the information of people in Australia who have not an opportunity to personally inspect it.
.- The main purpose which seems to be served by this debate is, for the first time, to let members of this Parliament, and the public generally, know that there is such a thing as the Petherick collection. I freely and frankly confess that I have not seen the collection, and that, until this Bill was introduced, I was not aware of its existence. I have no desire to apportion blame for my ignorance in the matter.
– The matter was considered by this House previously, and the Library has been open all the time.
– I have paid very frequent visits to the Library, but I have seen no notice there that a valuable collection of this kind was housed in any part of this building. I am delighted that this Bill is brought forward, though its consideration appears to me somewhat belated, and that some action is now to be taken to express, not only our appreciation of the value of the collection, but also the necessity for properly housing it. The debate should serve a useful purpose. There can be no question in the minds of honorable members of the priceless value of a collection such as this seems to be. Its value will increase in very great ratio as the years go by. It is not only a credit to Mr. Petherick, but an advantage to the Commonwealth, that we have a gentleman who is willing to give such a valuable collection for the benefit of the people of Australia. I do not know that the States can be said to have been altogether remiss in this respect, because the various State Governments have devoted some attention to the collection of early historical data within their own particular spheres of action. Now that we have a Commonwealth collection of the kind, we should take every opportunity to improve it, and especially to see that it is carefully and properly looked after. I agree entirely with the honorable member for Parkes, who suggests that this collection should be removed from its present location in the basement of this building to some place where it would be easily accessible to the general public as well asto members of this Parliament. I am accepting the statements of honorable members as to its value, and I may say that I have a profound respect for men who devote their time and money to making such collections. In my opinion, they are invaluable. To say that we have no better place to put such a collection, and to accommodate Mr. Petherick, the donor of it, than the basement of this building, is not to our credit. Mr. Petherick deserves, and his collection deserves, better of us. The Commonwealth will lose much in dignity, and a proper appreciation of such a gift, if we allow the collection to remain! any longer in the basement of Parliament House. I understand that the Government of Victoria are at present going in for a very large extension of the State Public Library.. The honorable member for Parkes suggested the Exhibition Building as a suitable place for this collection.
– I see the difficulty there, in the danger from fire.
– There would be considerable objection to locating the collection there; but I think we may assume that the new Public Library building in course of completion in Melbourne is not expected to meet only present requirements; and possibly some spare room might be found in that building which would be available for the housing of this collection. It has been suggested that, as we are likely to remove to the Federal Capital in a few years’ time, it would be unwise to go to any considerable expense in this matter ; but I say that any expenditure that would tend to the proper preservation of the books, papers, pictures, curios, and such other things as may be included in the Petherick collection, would be money well spent, even though it should be necessary later to remove the collection to the Federal Capital. I do not suppose that even the most sanguine of us expects that we will be housed in the Federal Capital within the next ten years; and to condemn the Petherick collection to the basement of this building for ten years would show an utter lack of appreciation of the value of the gift. As we are accepting the collection under the remarkably generous provisions of the agreement dealt with in the Bill, we should be equally generous in our acceptation of the gift and in our appreciation of “its value, and should see that Mr. Petherick, and the books and papers he is giving us, are properly looked after. On the passing of this Bill, the Library Committee should consider the matter of recommending to the Government a sufficient expenditure of money to secure that this collection will be housed in a manner that will be to the honour of this Parliament, and where it will be available, not only to members of this House, but to the public of the Commonwealth, at all times, and under such circums’tances as will guarantee its care and protection, and, at the same time, its proper appreciation and use by the public.
.- It is quite a pleasant change to find introduced in the midst of our party warfare a subject which can be discussed free from party bias, and on which only two definite opinions are expressed, neither of which can be said to come from’ either side in particular. The first opinion is that, as a Commonwealth Parliament, we have been very fortunate in being able to secure this magnificent collection on the terms indicated in the measure before the House. The second opinion is that it is a matter for regret that so unique and valuable a collection should be housed under circumstances which have made it absolutely impossible, even for members of this House, to know that it is in existence. When the honorable member for Brisbane stands up and tells us that, until this Bill was introduced, he had been quite unaware that we had such a collection in our possession in this building, that is a significant indication that, in some way or other, we have been remiss in stowing away in the vaults of this building what we acquired under the agreement included in this Bill. I admit at once the difficulty of making necessary and proper provision for a collection of this kind, in circumstances that are of a temporary character. In view of the fact that, in the course of a comparatively short period we shall remove to another part of the Commonwealth, it must be admitted that we cannot embark upon any very expensiveproject in connexion with this matter. It struck me that there is an opportunity of displaying at least a few of the more interesting features of Mr. Petherick’s collection just outside this chamber. The Queen’s Hall, as it is called, is at present a bare, barn-like structure. Surely some cases could be displayed’ around it containing some of the more interesting exhibits, which would relieve the bareness of the walls and give an additional attraction to visitors, apart from that of politics.
– Some of the exhibits were displayed in the Queen’s Hall for a while.
– I am reminded that some of the exhibits were there for a time, and I think they might have been kept there continuously.
– They were removed when it was considered undesirable to keep them there any longer.
– There may have been reasons for their removal ; but if they had been placed in locked cases they would have been as safe in Queen’s Hall as they are in their present quarters. It occurs to me in this connexion that it is hardly fair that Mr. Petherick should be obliged to spend the greater part of his time in the dismal vaults beneath this building. The temperature there is anything but pleasant, and the fact that the sunlight very seldom enters some of the rooms would, I think, justify Mr. Petherick in expecting that more comfortable surroundings should be provided. To come to the general question, I think it a very fortunate’ circumstance for Australia that we have had a gentleman with the enthusiasm and discernment of Mr. Petherick to make this collection. Any one who has only a slight acquaintance with history has no difficulty in coming to understand and appreciate the value of such a collection as this, commenced so early in the history of our own country. One needs to go only a little way into the history of other countries to realize what a. serious defect is, and has been, the lack of interest taken in historical documents in almost every part of the civilized world until comparatively recent years. While Australia has very little of a past behind her, still that little is of sufficient interest and importance to justify all the activities of the Federal Parliament. In time the collection with which we are now dealing must be enlarged, so as to make it more efficient and effective for all time. I think that the Parliament, and the Library Committee in particular, might very well direct their attention to securing as good a collection as possible, not only of the bibliography of our Australian aboriginals, but of all matters connected with their history and social conditions. In fact, we should as soon as possible make the beginnings of a museum of the history, the ethnography, and other peculiarities of that rapidly diminishing race which preceded us in the occupation of this continent. There is no doubt that in the past the Australian aborigines attracted very little attention, regarded as they were by the early settlers as an inferior race, and I believe by scientific men as perhaps the lowest race of human beings on the face of the earth. That view, however, has of late years been entirely abandoned, thanks to the investigations of men like Professor Baldwin Spencer, Mr. Gillen, and others, who have shown us that the Australian aboriginals were in many respects possessed of what might almost be called culture. Many of their social habits and customs are exceedingly interesting. A very earnest effort ought, in my opinion, to be made ,to preserve for future scientific purposes every scrap of knowledge that can be acquired with regard to the dialects of the Australian aboriginals. This alone is a very interesting field of investigation ; and I believe one that will be very profitable in the future, in view of the interest that is taken in philology, and of the immense issues that are frequently decided chiefly on a philological basis. Incidental to this consideration, I have often been disgusted, in travelling through Australia, to find ‘how comparatively few aboriginal names have been utilized in the nomenclature of our towns and districts. It is very amusing to any one who comes from the Old Country, as he travels in Australia and visits the various suburbs and townships, to find oneself running from an English town - as far as name is concerned - into an Irish one, thence into a place wilh a Scotch name, and perhaps back again into another with an English name, all within the space of a very few minutes. It is a thousand pities that, instead of this absurd and crude method of nomenclature being adopted, people did not fall back upon the very euphonious names of the aborigines. I hope that, in whatever direction we extend the work of Mr. Petherick, this matter of enlarging the knowledge of those who come after us in reference to the natives, will not be forgotten. I have very much pleasure, indeed, in supporting the measure before us ; and I hope, in common with other honorable members, that some steps will be taken to make the value of this collection more apparent to the general public, and much more accessible to students, than it is to-day. By so doing, we shall not only be treating the collection justly, but we shall to a certain extent be creating an interest in the subject which ought to be productive of useful results.
.- I rise to support the second reading of this measure, but in view of the great value attaching to the Petherick collection it is very regrettable indeed that the House was not asked before to confirm an agreement which I notice was arrived at two years ago. Further, I regret that on this occasion we are not asked to sanction the expenditure which is necessary in order to put these valuable mementoes in a more accessible place. I think that the Ministry might very well consider the advisability of inserting a clause to empower the Library Committee to incur considerable expense for that purpose, so that the true value of the. collection could be established in the public mind as well as in our minds.
– It could not be in a safer place than where it is.
– That may be so, but the place is so” safe that apparently no one can discover it.
– It is quite a mistake to think that valuable documents are given out of a collection of this kind to any person who chooses to call and ask for them. Precautions have to be taken to -insure their safety.
– I apprehend that if the works are so valuable that they cannot be safely made available they will be of very little use indeed to the public. I have learned to-night for the first time that it is permissible for members of Parliament to take their friends to the vaults to view this collection. If that is so, the fact should be made known.
– It is quite open to members of Parliament to take their friends to the rooms, subject, of course, to whatever regulations the Library Committee may make.
– That is an important piece of news. I indorse the statement of the honorable member for Parkes that the Petherick collection should be put in some place where it could be of very much more value than it is likely to be where it now is. So long as Mr. Petherick lives a great deal of value will attach to the books and records from the fact that he is at hand to explain them. Wherever they may be placed they will be absolutely safe in his charge, for there is no doubt that he is an enthusiast. His life has been spent in making the collection. To suggest that there is a danger of books being purloined or destroyed while he is in charge of them is, I think, an assumption which the Prime Minister was not justified in making.
– The honorable member knows nothing about the matter. At the British Museum he would not be allowed to handle a book without a special permit.
– That is all very well. But Mr. Petherick is placed in the vaults of this chamber, and in a climate which is not suitable. If any honorable member will make a visit to it this evening he will find that the place is very suggestive of rheumatism, and a good many other things. That is, I think, hardly just to Mr. Petherick, seeing that he has handed over the collection to the Commonwealth, and is to get nothing more than a salary of .£500 a year. In my opinion, he should be provided with better accommodation. The Government are to blame for not having afforded us a much earlier opportunity to express our opinion on this subject, and also for not having placed the collection in a very much ‘ better, and by no means less safe place than at present.
– The debate has been interesting, and if it were continued for another day I think that the Petherick collection would be magnified until it would appear to be equal to the best in the British Museum.
– I do not think that any one has said that.
– I have a very high appreciation of this collection from the Australian point of view, and whatever fault is attachable to the last Government, no blame lies against the door of the present
Government. When I closed with the offer of Mr. Petherick during my first term of office, the collection was housed in a room in the Exhibition Building, where, if a fire had taken place, not a single volume could have been saved. Subsequently, the Government retired, and their successors entered into an agreement with Mr. Petherick, which the House is now asked to confirm. Last session was a very busy one, and the passage of this Bill was interrupted by the prorogation of Parliament. The agreement which was first entered into was thought to be sufficient, but the honorable member for Angas was not sure whether it would do, and therefore a second agreement, covering the whole case, was prepared and embodied in a Bill which, I think, was the better way to proceed. I agree with a great deal of what has been said by honorable members regarding the wider use of native names, but no blame is attachable to the Commonwealth Parliament. I do not know that any statement made here will effect an alteration. Speaking generally it is the surveyors and the State Ministers who are to blame.
– The Lands Department.
– And the Railway Department.
– The State Ministers have a considerable say in the naming of places. I have known a Minister of Railways to alter the name of a place. I recognise, of course, that the PostmasterGeneral may have some control in this regard. I am one of those who believe largely in the use of native names, because they are descriptive of places. Generally, when one understands what a term means, one knows exactly the character of the locality, .for instance, whether it is watered or hilly, or the kind of growth which it produces. From that point of view the use of the native name is valuable. This discussion has, I think, been useful in another way. Not only will it draw public attention to the historical documents, in the Petherick collection being valuable, but it may induce many persons to present historical documents to parliamentary libraries so that they can be taken care of, and ultimately tabulated. It is quite an error for honorable members to think that this collection is valuable from a mere spectacular point of view. These documents are really of value to men and women who wish to investigate the early history of the country, and who can devote their time and talent to discovering the real facts. In many instances there may be two documents or more declaring a certain event to have taken place at different times, and, though each statement :may be honestly made, the truth may lie in -one or the other, or in neither, and between the two. It is only by close and competent investigation that these documents can prove to be of value; and, therefore, it is of no consequence whether they be shown for one year or more. No greater mistake could be made than to remove these documents from this building with a view to displaying them elsewhere. The supervision and protection would prove very expensive.
– They are objects of -study, and not of amusement.
– Exactly; and many of them could not be allowed to pass into the possession of visitors except under the personal supervision of an attendant. We need not exaggerate the importance of the documents ; but, in the meantime, while they are being properly catalogued, and the person to whom we are greatly indebted for their collection is here to describe them, they “ought to remain within Parliament House. The collection is placed in the vaults because there is no better place in the building ; but so far from the basement being disagreeable, there is plenty of natural light on most occasions, and, while in -the winter the rooms are heated, in the -summer they are exceedingly cool and pleasant. I had not the pleasure of hearing what Mr. Speaker said on behalf of the Library Committee, and I understand that -there is no. bar on members taking their friends, ‘under proper circumstances, to view the collection ; and, therefore, all who -desire to do so will have ample opportunity. I am glad to find that the feeling of the House, in regard to this matter, is in accord with that of another place. “We have too long delayed taking action, not only to preserve historical records, but to commemorate the learned and able men who have done so much for this young country, and who are passing away, leaving very little behind by which we can recognise them in feature or otherwise. I “hope that, before the session closes, the Government will have an opportunity of appealing to honorable members to place a substantial vote on the Estimates to commemorate the notable and leading men of -the early Federal days. This is a fitting occasion to refer to the subject, because death is telling all too heavily on us, and the time is ripe for such action as I have suggested.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 (Short title).
.- I cordially concur in the remarks which have been made as to the value of this collection. It is a rare collection, and has found its proper place. The life work of Mr. Petherick has been thrown into its careful acquisition from some sources which are now closed, and has resulted in the recovery of many documents and records which would otherwise have been lost. This would have left a blank in our early history. I congratulate the Government on the passing of a Bill which will enable us to present to the future Library of the Federal centre of Australia a collection worth very much more money than we are paying. It will be a lasting possession of the Australian people.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 2 and 3 and schedule agreed to, and the Bill passed through its remaining stages.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 20th September, vide page 664) : Clause 1 verbally amended and agreed to.
Clauses 2 to 4 agreed to. Clause s (Acquisition of lighthouses, &c).
– I move -
That the following new sub-clause be added : - “ 3. The Commonwealth may purchase from any State or person any lighthouse tender, store vessel, stores or equipment or other property used by it or him in connexion with any lighthouse or marine mark.”
This provision is necessary to enable us to take over any vessel or property used at the present time in connexion with these services.
– Is such a provision really necessary ?
– I have been assured by the Attorney-General’s Department that it is. It is doubtful whether, in the absence of such a provision, we should have this necessary power.
– I should like, in the first place, to ask the Minister whether any agreements have been made with the States with regard to the acquisition of lighthouses or properties relating to them, since the Conference of 1909 ?
– Not since then.
– As to the necessity for this amendment, surely on the passing of the Bill, as it stands, there would be power on the part of the Commonwealth to buy anything necessary for the services to which it relates.
– I raised that point, but was told that this provision was necessary.
– It would be a novel principle to suggest that every time the Commonwealth inaugurated a new Department, the Bill providing for it would have to contain a provision authorizing the Commonwealth to acquire property for the purposes of the particular Department concerned.
– The Attorney-General’s Department held that it was doubtful whether, under the Bill as it stood, we had power to take over certain property.
– Held by the States?
– I am not quite certain as to whether the doubt related to property held by the States, or by a private person.
– There can be no doubt as to our power to acquire any property for public purposes.
.- I am under the impression that the Minister is seeking power under the proposed new subclause to purchase lighthouses that are privately owned, and that are not part of the public services of a State. The Constitution gives us power to take over lighthouses, but there may be a doubt as to whether lighthouses which are not within a State Department can be acquired. I cannot otherwise see why we have not power to take over all that is necessary for this service, seeing that we have power to make laws with respect to it.
– Are there any private lighthouses ?
– I am not aware of any.
– Under the Constitution, we have power to take over beacons, buoys, and lights, and I wish to know whether it is the intention of the Government to take over the whole, or only some, of the lighthouses and lights which are the property of the various States.
– Some of them.
– We might come to an agreement with regard to a light that was not under our control, but which it would be better for us to manage.
– There is no rule laid down as to the lights to be acquired. - Mr. Tudor. - The Commonwealth and State authorities have agreed upon a list of lights to be taken over.
– I suppose that the most expensive lights will be handed over to the Commonwealth.
– All the ocean lights will be handed over, but the inner harbor lights will remain under the control of the States.
– During the debate on the motion for the second reading of this Bill, I asked the Minister of Trade and Customs whether it was proposed to take over some of the signalling stations used in connexion with deep sea shipping.
– It is not intended to take over any station that is not directly connected with a lighthouse.
– It has been the practice to transfer men from lighthouses to signalling stations, positions in the two services being looked upon as interchangeable. A man is sometimes taken away from a lighthouse on a lonely part of the coast, and put in charge of a signalling station. After serving there for a time, he is sent back.
– Some signalling stations are also lighthouses.
– And some are not. It would be an advantage to take over the signalling stations as well as the lighthouses.
– Even those in our cities?
– I am talking of the signalling stations used in connexion with deep sea shipping.
– The signalling station in Sydney is used in connexion with deep sea shipping.
– - I have in my own electorate three signalling stations used in connexion with deep sea shipping, and thereare others along the coast. They give the shipping information as to the state of thebars at the river mouths, and so forth, and these, together with reporting stations, certainly come within the scope of navigation.
.- Insupporting the motion for the second reading of the Bill, I stated that one of my reasons for favouring the proposed transferto the Commonwealth was that the Stateswere allowing some lighthouses to fall intoa state of disrepair. In making that statement I went further than I intended. What I meant was that the States, knowingthat the Commonwealth was going to take over this service, had not kept the lighthouses as much up to date as they would otherwise have done. In other words, they had not put in new lights to the extent that they would have done had they known that the service would remain under their control. I did not wish to infer that they were wilfully allowing lights or beacons to fall into disrepair, because I am well aware that, in some of the States, the Marine Boards have done their best to keep in good condition the lights under their control.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 (Power to erect or alter lighthouses, &c).
.- It is, perhaps, premature to expect the Minister to state at this juncture where new lights may possibly be erected, but it may be generally taken for granted that there is a necessity for new lights on the coast, and an equally urgent necessity for improving many of the existing lights. The lighthouse expert has already reported the result of his investigations on the Victorian coast. Some time ago a statement was made by the Minister in regard to the number of new lights that were likely to be authorized immediately. There is a good deal of truth in what the honorable member for Wilmot said as to the State Governments, in anticipation of the Commonwealth Government taking charge of the service, not keeping the lights up-to-date, but those who are aware of the increased tonnage of shipping, the increased value of the trade done in our ports, and the increased number of people continually travelling on the coast, must agree that the question requires immediate and special attention. 1 can give the Minister a list of at least twelve places between Cape Byron and Cape York where lighthouses are almost an immediate necessity.
– There are cases where too many lights are as dangerous as not enough.
– Experts who have examined the coast are unanimous that along that particular stretch of coast there are too few lights, and that even the existing lights are. not sufficient to achieve the purpose for which they were placed there. Lights that were good enough ten or twenty years ago are altogether unsuitable for present day requirements.
– I stated in my second -read ing speech that so many suggestions had been made as to new lights, and the spots where they should be placed, not only by those engaged in navigation, but by many outsiders, that the Government decided to engage an expert to go round the coast and deal with the whole subject before any action was taken. That is the reason why Commander Brewis is now going round the coast. He was engaged by the Government about last May. He has to take the opportunity when the vessels which visit the lighthouses are going around on their work. Tasmania is the next place on the list, and we hope that if he can get out of quarantine he will go to the Tasmanian coast in about a week or ten days.
– In hurriedly looking over the Bill, I do not see that it gives power, directly to construct submarine signal stations. That work is all important in these days on our coasts, especially at and near Wilson’s Promontory. There are two or three islands there where it is very difficult to get a light which shipmasters can see on particular occasions.
– Submarine signal stations are badly wanted on the. Barrier Reef.
– They will not have the same effect on the Barrier Reef as they will in the locality I have mentioned. The value of submarine signal stations, which have been successfully established in other parts of the world, is that a ship can pick up its position in the worst weather, whether lights can be seen or not. The signals can be heard sometimes - though the cases are rare - as far as 12 or 15 miles away, but in nearly every instance clearly 3 or 5 miles away. The ship can get the sound easily either on the port or starboard side; it can turn round until the sound is got equally on both sides, and then the captain will know exactly where he is, and practically how far he is off. We ought to take power in this Bill to establish submarine signal stations, which will be a great guide and safety to all shipping. With regard to the point raised by the honorable member for Brisbane, my information, from those whose opinion I value most, is that there is almost as great a danger in having too many places lighted as in having too few, because the number of lights becomes confusing.
– Tt is admitted that there are too few on the Queensland coast.
– There is no doubt that the Australian coast can be better lighted.
It is also undoubted that the Commonwealth will have to light it better or we shall hear about it. This Bill will mean practically about ^.1,000,000 of transferred properties coming over as a burden to the Commonwealth, and we shall have to levy certain rates. The officer employed for the purpose has already made a cursory examination of the coast, as the Minister told the Committee, and. has come to some conclusions. There will have to be a thorough survey of the coast as soon as we take over this power and have authority to deal with the matter. There is no doubt there is a demand for a considerable expenditure of money in repairing and keeping in order the present lights, in placing better lights in some of the lighthouses, and in establishing new ones. That demand will be made early and persistently. The Government do not desire to shirk their duty in any way in the responsible position which they hold. I am sure no Government would do so. But all we can do at present is to pass this measure, and give the Government ample power to safeguard the interests of shipping and the good name of the Commonwealth.
– Wilt the officer’s report be available during the passage of the Bill ?
– So far as Bass Strait is concerned, yes.
– Of course the report is not complete. I rose to repeat what my colleague had said, that, in taking over this new service, the Commonwealth Government mean to carry it out thoroughly, to have a safely lighted and completely lighted coast all round Australia, and to have the most modern means for the protection of life and the safety of shipping property that money can purchase. That includes, not only submarine signalling, but wireless communication from as many of the stations as possible.
– We cannot expect the Minister at this stage to say what new lighthouses he is going to build, but as regards Queensland I understand that the expert’s report will be fairly complete.
– He has been from Brisbane to Port Darwin, with the exception, I think, of the Gulf coast.
– I think there is also information in the Department showing that at one or two places on the Queensland coast there is an urgent necessity for new lights, especially north of Rockhampton. Will the Minister promise to make provision on the Estimates for some of the more urgent lights?
– We hope to start work during the present financial year on some of the more urgent lights.
– The Treasurer is sympathetic, so I hope that a sum will be placed on the Estimates. There are three or four lights which are urgently needed. I agree with the Prime Minister that power should be taken to provide for submarine signal stations.
Amendment (by Mr. Hall) agreed to -
That the following words be added : - “ (d) Construct submarine signal stations.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 negatived.
Clauses 10 to 14 agreed to.
Clause 15 - (1.) A person shall not -
wilfully or negligently injure, damage, destroy, or run foul of any lighthouse or marine mark the property of the Commonwealth, or any light exhibited on any such lighthouse or marine mark ;
without lawful authority remove, alter, ride by, or make fast to any marine mark the property of the Commonwealth.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the following words be inserted at the end of paragraph a : - ‘ or any ship, vessel, stores, equipment, or other property used by the Commonwealth in connexion with a lighthouse or marine marks service.”
– The Minister must bear in mind that protection for submarine signal stations is also needed.
– I think that is covered by the words “or other property.”
– The clause provides that a person shall not “ wilfully or negligently injure.” It would be a pity to convert a civil liability into a criminal offence. Negligence is the basis of a civil obligation.
– Both words are contained in the Merchant Shipping Act.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That after paragraph c the following words, be inserted : - “ (a*) trespass on or without lawful authority enter or go upon any lighthouse or marine mark, or any ship, vessel, or property used by the Commonwealth in the lighthouse or marine marks service.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 16 -
The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be prescribed, for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and in particular prescribing the light dues payable in respect of ships passing or deriving benefit from any lighthouse or marine mark the property of the Commonwealth on the coast of Australia.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the words “ and in particular prescribing the light dues payable in respect of ships passing or deriving benefit from any lighthouse or marine mark the property of the Commonwealth on the coast of Australia “ be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 7a. - (1.) The Minister or any authorized officer may at any reasonable time in the day or night inspect any marine mark or any lamp or light which in his opinion may affect the safety or convenience of navigation and whether such lamp or light is the property of a State, or of any authority of a State, or of any private person, and for that purpose may enter any property whether of a public or private nature. “ (2.) No person shall hinder or obstruct the Minister or any authorized officer in exercising his powers under this section.
Penalty : Fifty pounds. “ (3.) In this section ‘ authorized officer ‘ means any person having a general or particular authority in writing from the Minister to inspect marine marks or any lamps or lights.”
The object of this clause is to give the officers of the Department power to inspect lights at any time. It is considered by those who have gone into the matter that this power is necessary, and in accordance with their decision this clause has been drafted.
– Am I to understand that the Minister proposes to take power to inspect State lights that may not have been taken over by the Commonwealth ?
– Yes, if they interfere in any way with Commonwealth lights. We have assumed such a power over private lights.
– The same power is taken in clause 8 already.
– I venture to point out that this is taking power to interfere with State property. Whether that may be necessary or not, my object inris ing is to ask the Minister whether he considers that we have power to do what he proposes ?
– The Commonwealth lights will be those which we intend that mariners shall be guided by.
– I quite see the merits of the proposal.
– If there should be any light which is calculated to interfere with a Commonwealth light, or to mislead mariners in any way, we propose to take power under this clause to put such a light out if necessary.
– I do not wish the Minister to misunderstand me, because in speaking on the second reading of the Bill I pointed out that it might be necessary in some cases, in these cays of brilliant electric lighting, to take steps to prevent mariners being misled. Whether the clause now under consideration is the best way out of the difficulty is a matter which I think will need to be seriously considered, because it involves what would otherwise be a trespass. If, in this matter, we are going beyond our powers, the Federal authority would, in taking action under this clause, be guilty of a trespass on a State property. To put a. light out would amount to a trespass. 1 raise the question whether we shall not be going beyond our powers in assuming under this Bill a right to interfere with a State property.
– I do not see what advantage the Government will gain by carrying this amendment. We shall have the power to inspect our own property in any lights that are taken over by the Commonwealth, but I doubt whether, under the Constitution, the High Court would admit the authority of the Commonwealth to interfere with State lights.
– Any sensible Government would interfere if such lights endangered shipping.
– That may be so; but we have to reckon with the High Court, and over and over again the Court has asserted State rights as against the rights of the Commonwealth.
– We have the power under the Constitution to take over these lights.
– But the difficulty is that the clause proposes to deal with lights that we are not taking over.
– A State Government might establish a light alongside a Commonwealth light, which would render the latter absolutely useless. We must have the power to protect our own lights. If the Commonwealth lights are not to be those which will guide mariners, it would be better for us not to exercise our powers under the Constitution in this matter at all. I direct the attention of honorable members to the Hornby Light, near Sydney Heads. It is a low-power light, and I am not sure whether it is a fixed or a revolving light. It will be taken over under this Bill, and if they so desired, though I do not think they’ would do so, the New South Wales Government might erect a light close to the Hornby Light which would make the latter absolutely useless. If we take over the control of lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys, we must be in a position to see that no lights are displayed which will be likely to mislead mariners.
– I hope the Minister will not think that I desire to frustrate his efforts in any way. We are all aiming at the same thing in this matter, and that is to make our guides to mariners as perfect as possible. It is quite possible, in these days of electric lighting, for other lights to be mistaken for those which are intended to guide navigators. It does not follow that because there may be some difficulty in carrying out our intentions, we can arrogate to ourselves the power to interfere with State affairs. This clause would give the Federal authority power to trespass on State property. For instance, the moment one enters Sydney Harbor he is surrounded by lights of different kinds.
– They are under the harbor authorities.
– Of course they are ; but the honorable member does not see that the Minister is proposing that Commonwealth officials should have the power to enter a State lighthouse under the control of a Marine Board of a State, and possibly put the light out because the Commonwealth authorities think it might interfere with a Commonwealth light.
– That is an excellent power to have.
– 1 do not question that, but it may be inconsistent with our constitutional powers. It seems to me that there is a way out of the difficulty. I am quite sure that if the Minister of Trade and Customs pointed out to a State Minister, or to a State Marine Board, that there were lights in a harbor, or on the coast, which were a menace to navigators because of their liability to interfere with the guidance of the Commonwealth lights; the State authorities would be willing to alter them or have them altered. It is quite another matter to arrogate to ourselves the power to interfere with the property of a State Government.
– Does the honorable member suggest that the States have a right to interfere with our lighthouses ?
– No; but the honorable member professes to have some legal knowledge on this subject-
– The honorable member is very offensive.
– I do not wish to be; but the honorable member ought to appreciate the legal force of this argument. Suppose that a State passed an Act in which it says, “ We are going to take power to enter the Commonwealth’s lighthouses if they interfere with State lights.” We should be face to face with a pretty state of affairs then. The State would have arrogated to itself power to enter Commonwealth lighthouses, and the Commonwealth would have taken power to put out a State light. If the Commonwealth erects lights for the guidance of shipping masters, it does not want to have a State interfere with them.
– If a State passed an. Act of that kind 1 should not object. It is a question of power.
– I have pointed out that it is a question of power. The Prime Minister’s argument is a very good one. 1 think it is very desirable that we should have this power. But it is a question as to how we can acquire it. That is the consideration that I point out.
.- Personally 1 have no doubt about the desirableness of the Federal Government having such a power as is contained in this clause. But I should like the whole control of lights affecting navigation to be centred in the Federal Government, instead of matters being left, as they will be after this Bill is passed, under dual control. We are taking power over certain lighthouses. But other lights will be left under the control of the State Governments. At the same time this particular clause will, if carried as at present drafted, give the Federal Minister and any authorized officer power to go and interfere with those lights that are left deliberately under the direct control of the State Governments, and the expense on account of which is borne by them. I can quite understand that if there happens to be a State light that conflicts with a Federal light, it is necessary that the Federal power should prevail to the extent that there is a conflict. The Minister must be held to have supreme power in this respect. But the clause provides that the Minister may exercise this power to the extent of going on State property if at any time in his opinion any State light affects the convenience or safety of navigation. There may be a light in a harbor under the control of a State Government which does distinctly interfere with the convenience or safety of navigation, but may not in any way whatever conflict with a light under Federal authority. In such circumstances the necessary power will be in the hands of an authorized officer. But under the next sub-clause we may be getting into difficulties with State authorities. I doubt the wisdom of so doing. I question the desirableness of giving power to an officer to interfere with a light which is specifically a State property and which does not in any way conflict with a Federal light. I suggest that, in certain circumstances, we may get into difficulties with State authorities under whom the control of certain lights will be centred. I doubt the wisdom of courting such difficulties. That is why I rose earlier in the discussion to suggest that some attention might be given to this clause before we let it pass from under our review. I should like the Government to have full control over all marine lights, marks, and buoys ; but if there is to be a dual control, it is necessary that we should respect the control exercised by the States in order to avoid conflict.
– I will not delay the Committee, but I wish to point out that this clause is not drafted so as to give power to the Federal Minister or his officers to act in an arrogant manner, or in any manner that would be offensive either to a State or to a private person. That is not the desire at all.
– I did not imply that by using the word “ arrogate.”
– I do not think that the honorable member did. But the power to protect navigation and shipping must rest somewhere. This clause contemplates that if any person lights, we will say, a bonfire, in any conspicuous place, a Federal officer will have the right, if the light so created be a source of danger, and may interfere with shipping, to order it to be put out. Surely that is a proper power to take. Or persons might mistakenly erect a brilliant light which would decoy shipping into danger. Either the Commonwealth has the power to protect shipping in this way or it has not. At the same time, we cannot contemplate such a thing occurring as that a Federal Minister would interfere with a State light before communicating with the State Government in reference to it. Such courtesy would always be shown to a State. But at the same time it is right that we should protect the public, and, therefore, it is right that this clause should go into the Bill. I entirely differ from the honorable member for Adelaide in reference to the matter. I think that no injustice can be done to a State, or to any private individual, which will not be compensated tenfold to shipping in respect of the protection of life and property.
– I do not think that the Prime Minister has touched the real question. He has dealt with the justice and common sense of it. I am with him in those regards. But we have to deal with something more hard and fast. We have to deal with the law. It is an unfortunate circumstance that the Government have found it necessary to divide the control of lights into two parts. As the honorable member for Adelaide has pointed out, they have left one set of lights in the hands of the States, and another set in the hands of the Commonwealth. Because of that division a difficulty is created. If the Minister will look at clause 6 of the Bill, he will find that he could very well provide for some arrangement with the States.
– To take over all lights.
– No ; but it would be easy to insert in clause 6 some provision by which the Minister could have (he ready opportunity to point out to a State that there was a conflict in regard to lights, and that steps should be taken to remedy it. What I complain, of is that the Bill as it stands runs the head of the Government into a noose. I am entirely with the Prime Minister as to the expediency ot what is proposed. I am dealing with the legal difficulties of it. I am guarding the
Government against a legal difficulty which they do not seem to have noticed, either in preparing their proposed amendment or in the Bill itself, because in new clause 8a the same difficulty will arise. The whole of this measure seems to have been framed on the supposition that the Commonwealth is legally entitled to do anything it chooses to make navigation, along the coast safe.
.- I think that the trouble to which the honorable member for Parkes has very properly referred arises from the fact that we are legislating in regard to lighthouses without taking them over. It is a bit rough on the States that, after leaving them the lighthouses, we should regulate how they are to use them. Under this provision we mayshut up lighthouses. We have practically taken that power in clause 8, which has been passed.
– The honorable member has no doubt as to our power?
– No. But I have a doubt about the justice of exercising the power in this way. The effect of this proceeding struck the honorable member for Parkes so strongly that he very properly threw some doubt on the existence of the power. But I think that we have the legislative power to do this.
– Under clause 8 we have the power to compel the States to modify lights, but not the power to inspect them.
– Yes, we have passed a stronger clause than this. On a previous occasion I pointed out that it is rather rough on the States not to compensate them for a property when we take it over. What we are doing is to pass a law telling the States how they are to use a property when it is not taken over. We are not substituting anything. As .the hour is late I suggest to the Minister that we should have an opportunity to think this matter over in bed after our prayers. I do not know that we ought not to make a provision that where, in the exercise of this power, we shut up a lighthouse, and do not substitute anything, it ought to be taken over from the State, and paid for, and then the hardship pointed out by the last speaker would be got over. However, I prefer to discuss these matters in daylight rather than at this hour.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
.- 5 move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 713. When any lighthouse has been acquired’ or erected by the Commonwealth, it shall assoon as practicable be connected by telegraph, or telephone with a convenient telegraph or telephone office, and the expense incurred shall becharged to the Department administering thisAct.”
In my speech on the second reading I announced my intention to submit this amendment, because I think that all lighthouses, wherever practicable, should be connected with the nearest telegraph or telephone station. In Victoria we have one or two lighthouses which are not so connected. Repeated applications .to have themconnected have been met by the Post and Telegraph Department with the statement: that the proposed connexions would not pay,, and, therefore, it had nothing whatever todo with them.
– I do not suppose that the lighthouses will pay either.
– No. I ask the Committee to insert this provision in the Bill, so that the expense shall be charged to the Department administering this Act.
– I accept the amendment. .
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 8a. - (1.) Every harbor authority or other local authority having control of any harborlights or the lighting or marking of any navigable waters shall, as prescribed, make returns to the Minister in relation to the following matters : -
the description and situation of each light under its control, and (£) the description and situation of each marine mark under its control.”
The clause provides for returns of harbor lights and marks to be supplied by the States, so that we may ascertain the exact number of lights, and how they will conflict with any lights of the Commonwealth.
, - I think that the objection which I raised just now applies more strongly to this amendment. I believe that the States can snap their lingers at a provision of this kind. What power has this Parliament to say that the States shall supply the Com-monwealth with information as to the management of their own properties ? It is not a question of what is desirable. We have not the power to do this.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 9. - (1.) Light dues, in accordance with the prescribed rates or scales, shall be levied and shall be payable with respect to the voyages made by ships or vessels or by way of periodical payment as the regulations prescribe. “ (2.) The regulations may prescribe the rates or scales of light dues to be payable by ships or vessels and all matters necessary or convenient to be prescribed to carry this section into effect. “ (3.) When rates or scales of light dues have been prescribed under this Act, light dues prescribed by or under any State Act shall cease to have any effect : “ Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall release any ship or vessel or any person from any liability in respect of any light dues prescribed by or under any State Act which became due before the rates or scales of light dues under this Act came into force.”
– I desire to know whether the Minister has considered the question I raised some time ago as to protecting the Government from actions? On that occasion I mentioned that in Western Australia an action was brought against the Government for negligence in regard to a light. In section 158 of the Post and Telegraph Act, the Postmaster-General is protected from an action “ by reason of any default, delay, error, omission, or loss, whether negligent or otherwise,” in the transmission or delivery of a postal article or telegram. I think it is very necessary to enact a similar provision in regard to lighthouses. My opinion is that the Commonwealth will not be liable. But in the case I referred to there was a local Act - and we may have local Acts, too - by which a lighthouse was considered a public work. It was an important case, which was to go to the Privy Council, but the Government of the day - this occurred after I ceased to be at the head ofaffairs - compromised the matter by making a payment. It seems to me a monstrous thing that the country should go to great expense in providing lights for the protection of shipping, and, through some negligence for which they are not responsible, should be mulct in, perhaps, very large damages.
– We cannot go further at this stage of the Bill. But as the Senate will have to accept the amendments which we have made a new clause can be inserted here to cover what the honorable member desires if it should be found necessary. I shall have the matter looked into.
– I do not desire to do more than bring the matter under the Minister’s notice.
– I would point out to the Minister that in the Senate no new clause can be inserted in the Bill.
– I was going to ask the Minister a question on that point, sir. I suggest that he should agree to report progress now, and leave the adoption of the report to another day, so that the suggestion may be considered.
– The Senate can add to our amendments.
– What the honorable member for Swan suggests is a substantive provision which does not arise out of any amendment we have made.
– At the report stage we can give notice of an amendment, if that is found necessary.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I desire to call the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to a telegram from Sydney which appears in this evening’s newspaper, stating that the New South Wales Navigation Department to-day received a report from the acting principal lighthouse-keeper at Port Stephens, dated 13th October, relating to the loss of the steamer Macleay. The telegram goes on to state -
After referring to the orders given for the steamer to be sent out to search for the Macleay, the lighthouse keeper calls attention to the bad telephone. He could not hear some messages sent to him from Newcastle, and they had to be repeated from Raymond Terrace.
This shows the necessity there is for seeing that the telephones at such important stations are in proper repair. The telephones ought to be duplicated for the reason that the officials of the Department are not allowed to touch the telephones if they get out of repair ; and, in the present instance, the nearest electrician is at Dungog, 50 or 60 miles away, and, of course, he could not be communicated with owing to the state of the instrument. The geographical position of the place makes it difficult for any communication to reach the pilot, or the lighthouse keeper, unless by telephone..
.- In the absence of the Minister of External Affairs, I desire to call the attention of the Prime Minister to certain information which, no doubt, has already come to his knowledge. I understand that, from time to time, the Minister of External Affairs has consented to the importation of certain artisans, and it appears from news published in the press to-day that there is likely to be considerable industrial trouble in consequence.
– In Melbourne, and I understand that there also may be trouble in other centres of population. I further understand that in the agricultural implement industry trouble may be precipitated by the Department giving consent to the importation of artisans in anything like undue numbers.
– Under contract?
– Practically. I know that some applicants for workmen have been careful to specify for men of a certain trade, and, what is one good thing, for trade unionists. To-day, there have been registered 20 sheet-iron workers, 17 turners, 27 fitters, 23 machinists, 22 blacksmiths’ strikers, 5 wood workers, 40 blacksmiths, and a number of labourers. Another cause of complaint is that men who have been employed for a considerable number of years at certain establishments, and have rendered good and faithful service, have been supplanted by new arrivals ; and it is in this connexion that difficulty is likely to arise. Provided the State Governments supply the land, I, personally, have no objections to immigrants coming here to settle, but if we bring out large numbers of artisans, there may be considerable trouble. I believe that some of the State Governments propose to indulge in a. vigorous immigration policy, and they have been waited on, and informed that there arc at present a large number of men out of work. We all admit that employment largely depends on the progress of our primary production ; and already there are signs that the production for this year will not equal that of last year. This may lead to considerable dislocation of the labour market, and if we bring out large numbers of artisans, we shall be piling up trouble for ourselves.
– What is causing the decreased production?
– The butter industry isa strong indication; and, in two States, at. any rate, the production of butter will be a long way behind that of last year.
– Owing to climatic conditions.
– True; and those conditions will also affect the harvest.
– Only the other day,, the Labour party was claiming credit for the excellent seasons.
– Very likely the seasonswould have been much worse but for the righteous Labour party. This evening’snewspaper informs us -
Mr. Whitehead, Secretary to the Labour Bureau, and Miss Cuthbertson, Senior Inspectress of Factories, w.ho were to select the skilled workers, were to leave for London on November 1, and unless otherwise directed, would seek to obtain the full number of workers, agreed upon by the Conference.
There was a Conference ; but, in my judgment, quite a wrong conclusion was arrived, at, although some workers took part in it. Honorable members”, if they look at tonight’s newspaper, will find that there is. likely to be considerable trouble in the agricultural implement industry, owing to the preference given to new arrivals, and to thelarge number of men who are being brought: out.
– Are they under contract?
– Some of them; the Minister having given consent in some cases. The Government ought to be very careful inpermitting this consent to be given; and I mention the matter now so that the Minister of External Affairs may seriously consider the position. The preference given to new arrivals has led to a considerable amount of bickering already; and it is said that thisaction is taken in the interests of what isknown as the Free Workers’ Association. We are told in the evening newspaper that some forty blacksmiths were put off sometime ago at McKay’s Sunshine works; and. that since then, forty blacksmiths whoarrived from England under contract havetaken the places of those who were dismissed. We are further informed that” there is no objection to the importation of artisans when the necessity arises; but theworkmen here certainly do object to wholesale importations of men to take the placesof those who will have to walk the streets. The representative of the men, in the newspaper interview, goes on to say that he looksupon the situation as being extremely grave.
That is a serious statement coming, as it does, from the responsible officer of a union of men employed in an industry where there has recently been great trouble; and we ought to do all we can, by word and art, to prevent a precipitation of industrial trouble. I hope that the Minister of External Affairs will be informed of this matter, and will do his best, at all events, to mollify the feelings of these men who consider that workers are being sent out here to take their places.
– Was the McKay affair a lock-out or a strike?
– Both. .
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– That encouragement should not be given by the Commonwealth Departments to the bringing out of artisans. Some have been brought here under contract, and have taken the places of others.
– The men here object to others being brought out under contract.
– Yes. We have the statement that forty were brought out under contract, and took the places of men already here.
– How could the Department help itself?
– The Minister could say, “ Yea,” or “ Nay “ to a request for permission to bring out artisans.
– Could he?
– That has been done. Ministers seem to me to be encouraging artisans to come out here, and their coming out may lead to serious industrial trouble. It may mean that many men who have paid taxation in this country for years will have to walk the streets, while persons from the other side of the globe take their places.
.- I wish to draw the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to a cablegram, appearing in this evening’s issue of the Herald, which serves to emphasize the necessity for pushing on with the wireless telegraph installation in Australia. The cablegram, which is headed, “ Steamer wrecked.” “ Wireless call for aid “ “ Passengers rescued.” and is dated “ Vancouver, Monday,” is as follows : -
The Canadian Pacific Railways Co.’s steamer Princess Beatrice, 1,290 tons, has gone ashore on Noble Island.
Aid was summoned by wireless telegraphy, and the British steamer Venture went to the assistance of the wrecked vessel.
Three hundred passengers on the Princess Beatrice were taken off by the Venture. The Princess Beatrice is a total wreck.
There may be similar wrecks on this coast at any time. Australia is practically the only country that has not a wireless installation. Wireless telegraphy in Australia is a monopoly, which was granted to the PostmasterGeneral in 1906. The money for the work was voted long ago, and yet nothing has been done. The wreck to which the cable refers is by no means the first in connexion with which the lives of all on board have been saved through the agency of wireless telegraphy ; and, for the credit of the Commonwealth, the installation of a wireless system here should be pushed ahead.
.- A few days ago, reference was made in this House to the report presented by Mr. Piddington, the Commissioner appointed by the New South Wales Government to inquire into an alleged shortage of labour there. Whilst in Sydney yesterday, I had occasion to go to the public offices, and saw there practically an army of unemployed. There were lined up in front of the Premier’s office door eighty-two men, who follow Mr. McGowen’s own calling. Every one of them was a practical boilermaker, and all wanted employment. It is not more than three months ago that application was made to the Minister of External Affairs to permit men .in the iron trade to come to Australia. I bring this matter under the notice of the House, because we have been told that there is a great demand for men in the trade. I hope that the Minister will take this matter into consideration before granting any permits for the introduction of contract labour in respect of any trade or calling. There are periods of scarcity of labour in connexion with every trade; but a scarcity of labour extending over only a few days should not be sufficient to induce the Government of Australia to rush men here from other parts of the world. A large number of men in the iron trade have come to Australia within the last six months.
– They have got wind of the wages.
– No. We should have a better class of mechanics coming here if the wages were higher. In my boyhood, I saw on the hoardings in England advertisements setting forth that mechanics in Australia were receiving £1 and 30s. a day.
– That was in the golddigging days.
– My argument is that, if we could raise wages to £1 a day, we should have a better class of artisans coming out. Skilled labour in portions of the building trade in London is scarce to-day, and plumbers are receiving £2 2s., and up to £2 5s. a week. They are not likely to come out here for an extra 2d. an hour ; and, unless we can offer a much higher wage, the best class of men will not emigrate to Australia. Unfortunately, many of those coming here are not the best class of tradesmen. My foreman has repeatedly said to me, “ I hope that better men will be sent out, or that we shall be able to get some more of our own better class of tradesmen.” The Premier of New South Wales was, no doubt, much annoyed that the body of men to whom I have referred should have been paraded outside his office. He was quite prepared, I am assured, to accept the men’s word that there was a scarcity of employment in his trade; but they were lined up in order to prove beyond doubt that there was a dearth of employment. Many of the men were personally known to the Premier, and he was grieved to find that such a mistake had been made as to the employment offering.
-Possibly there was a strike on.
– No; there was simply a lack of employment. When an employer finds that only two or three men, instead of twenty, answer an advertisement offering employment, he at once begins to think that there is a scarcity of labour, and urges the Government to send out men from England. I. and many of my party, desire that emi- grants from England shall come to Australia ; but we do not want to have a rush of artisans who will simply have to walk about doing nothing. Only on Saturday morning a policeman drew my attention to the fact that three new arrivals were selling newspapers in one of the streets of Sydney. We want those who come here to obtain better employment than that.
– The honorable member for East Sydney has told us something of this army of unemployed, but he has not informed the House of the further fact, that Mr. McGowen assured the men that he had been advised by Mr. Cutler that he would require 250 in about a month hence.
– But are these men to go hungry for a month?
– No. My complaint is that the honorable member has kept back some of the facts. There is only a temporary trouble. I think the Premier of New South Wales said that, in a couple of weeks, over forty men would be wanted in one place alone. If the stream of immigration to Australia is to be stopped, because at a particular time a few men are out of work for a week or two, the Labour party had better say at once that they do not believe in immigration. That would be the more honest course to take. There will never be a time in this or any other country where temporary troubles in connexion with the employment of men in particular trades will not arise. The honorable member ought to have told the House that Mr. McGowen said the difficulty could be got over almost immediately, and that they would not only need the eighty men now out of employment, but three or four eighties besides. Those are the facts of the case as I read them in to-day’s newspapers.
The honorable member for Maribyrnong evidently has not read the Contract Immigrants Act. If he had he would see that the Minister of External Affairs has very little option left to him provided that certain conditions are complied with. I do not see how, under the Act, the Minister could refuse any immigrants admission to Australia so long as they complied with certain conditions which are laid down very clearly. It is provided in clause 5 -
The Minister shall approve the terms of the contract only -
When a copy is filed with him, and, if he so requires, is verified by oath ; and
if in his opinion -
the contract is not made in contemplation of or with a view of affecting an industrial dispute ; and
That is to say, that they are not coming out here as strike breakers. It is also provided -
If these men fulfil those conditions how can the Minister refuse them entrance? So long as it is proposed to pay them standard rates, and guarantees are forthcoming that they are not coming out here to break a strike, the Act says they must be permitted to enter. It is of no use for the honorable member to complain of the Minister.
He has simply done his duty, and if, in addition, there is a guarantee that the men shall be trade unionists when they come here the Minister has no option but to admit them.
Mr. RYRIE (North Sydney) [11. 81- I trust the Minister of External Affair’s, whether he has the power or not - I think it has been made clear by the honorable member for Parramatta that he has not - to prevent these artisans from coming to Australia under contract, will not attempt to exercise it in face of the rinding of the Royal Commission of New South Wales to the effect that the labour market there was 3,000 artisans short, and in face also of the results of the inquiry held in Victoria. I am not quite clear as to how that inquiry was conducted, but I understand .that there was a conference between Ministers and Trades Hall representatives, and that they came to the conclusion that there was agreat shortage of this class of labour in Victoria. I trust the Minister would not dream, even if he had the power, of attempting to exercise it. The honorable member for Maribyrnong said he did not object to people coming here to be placed on the land. Quite so. The honorable member, and those who think with him, say, “Put these people on the land, but make a ring and combine of the working men who are here at present and prevent any more artisans being imported here to compete with them in their work. Give the present unionists in Australia a monopoly of the whole of the work, and make the prices for all the machinery, and other things manufactured by those artisans, so prohibitive that these unfortunate men when they do get on the land will be forced off. it because they cannot afford to live.” I hope the Minister will not agree to do anything to prevent these artisans coining here in as great numbers as they may care to come. I hope we shall get them here in thousands. Honorable members opposite forget that we want population in Australia. Competition is good for all trades, and I hope to sec a stream of immigration of all sorts.
– The honorable member, would like to see six men competing for one job.
– The honorable member would like to see competition for everything except labour. I hope the Minister will not take such a narrow-minded view of the matter as to prevent honest British workmen coming to Australia. The proposition is ridiculous. We have this great country given to us as a heritage. Captain Cook discovered it and planted the Union Jack upon the soil. We have been given the right to govern ourselves under the freest Constitution in the world, and then we tura round and - slam the door in the face of honest British workmen—men from England, Scotland and Ireland - saying, “ Keep out of here. We do not want you because you will cut down our wages.”
– The honorable member does not care about honest British labour. All he wants is cheap labour.
– I would not give the honorable member “.tucker.”. I hope the Minister will, on no occasion, agree to prevent these honest. British workmen being brought out
.- I hope the Government will not take the advice of the honorable member for North Sydney, but will exercise a wise discretion in controlling immigration as far as that can be done. They should see that the people brought here are of a class that will do the best for themselves and the best for Australia. During my visit to the Old Country I discovered that the British people generally did. not wish to part with the best section of the community - the men and women who would make the best settlers’ in Australia - but that they were very anxious to be clear of a large number in the slum areas, who presented a problem which it was not easy to solve. If Australia could take that problem over they would be very satisfied to let Australia have them. I discovered that there is,’, in London, a philanthropic association that is shipping some of those people to Australia. From what I could learn a considerable number of them are not the most desirable people for the purpose of Australian settlement. ‘They are not brought here under Government agency, State oi Federal, and according to the information submitted to me the Government would bc acting in the best interests of Australia -if it exercised some supervision with ‘regard to their health and their suitability for our requirements before they are allowed to enter.
– When the honorable member for North Sydney was speaking, honorable members opposite were interjecting about placing men on the land. I would like to remind them that only 3 per cent, of the land in Australia has been alienated, .and that only 4 per cent, is in process of alienation, which means that 93 per cent, still belongs to the States. Why, then, do honorable members opposite talk of no land being available, and of people being brought here to starve ? Why do they want to keep Australia a close borough for labour? We want labour. The country is crying out for population. In connexion with the remarks made about agricultural implementmakers, let me tell honorable members opposite that this is a bad season all over Australia, although people anticipated a good season.
Mr. Laird Smith__ Cheap labour does not mean the best labour.
– The honorable member, and those he represents, demand a six hours’ day, and then they want to come down to a four hours’ day. That is said by the honorable member’s own class.
– The trouble about men of your class is that they will not work at all.
– I can understand that the honorable member does not believe in work at all. Perhaps he would like free drinks as well. The country is crying for population. I know what the needs of three of the six States are from personal experience. Yet the Labour party would keep out immigrants. Men must be satisfied with a reasonable standard of living, because we have to compete with the nations of the world, and accept their prices. We cannot live wholly on our own productions. The Prime Minister has said something to this effect. We shall never be a nation worthy of the name until we have a steady flow of immigrants to this country, and a national policy of development. I am as much in favour of bettering the conditions of living as is every other reasonable and right-thinking man, but to check the flow of population to our shores will do nothing to bring that about. It annoys me to hear this talk about there being no land for immigrants.
– I shall bring the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong before the Minister whose Department they concern, and the matter referred to by the honorable member for Cowper will be looked into.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at H.18 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 October 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1911/19111017_reps_4_61/>.