4th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Attorney-General in a position to give the House information as to what steps, if any, he intends to take in regard to the wharf labourers’ strike in Sydney ?
– I am not in possession of any facts other than those published in the press. I am aware that the men of . another branch of the industry have ceased work, but the position so far as jurisdiction is concerned is not altered by that fact. The President of the Court is of the opinion that he has no jurisdiction. As I promised the honorable member, I am inquiring into the matter.
– With reference to a question asked by the honorable member for East Sydney on the 26th ultimo, which implied that inconvenience was being caused to the public in obtaining money orders owing to inadequate space being available in the temporary office in Moore-street, Sydney, and to my promise to have inquiries made in the matter, I have now received the following report from the Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney : -
The public are not inconvenienced in obtaining postal notes or money orders owing to inadequate space at Ocean House, Moore-street, such space being ample and commodious. Occasionally temporary congestion arises when a large number of the public clamour for immediate attention, and, in order to minimize this, a redistribution of the tellers has just been effected. A rearrangement and extension of the counter accommodation lias also been determined on, and when this is completed it is expected that- the accommodation and attendance will be adequate foi all demands.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Have State clerical officers who entered the State service since 1001 any right of transfer to the Commonwealth Clerical Division?
– The Public ServiceCommissioner has furnished the following information : -
No right is conferred upon such officers, but- they are eligible for appointment under the provisions of the Public Service Act.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Whether articles patented in the Commonwealth can, without the patentee’s permission, be made and used by the Commonwealth Government without compensation being paid to the owner of the patent?
, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
The second quotation is believed to be a. correct report. Where a defendant is charged with a series of similar offences, it is usual to select a ‘ few of these for prosecution, and, if a conviction with substantial penalties is obtained upon those, not to proceed with the others. Mr. Morley’s observation was quite . in accord with the practice in such cases, and with his instructions.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Queensland Labour newspaper, the manager of which has been made a member of the Royal Commission on the Sugar Industry, an article appears, entitled “ The Sugar Problem,” in which the questions to be investigated by that Commission are apparently prejudged in the following statements -. - “ The Royal Commission is given ample scope by its creators ; and when it commences its work, it will find that scope considerably enlarged.” “ The production of sugar, . as a finished article, is in the hands of unscrupulous private enterprise.”. “It is imperative that the people establish a refinery ; and the forthcomingCommission will find some solution of the problems.” “ Wages all round will then adjust themselves, and the people will get their sugar at a reasonable price, there being no huge middleman dividends to support.” “As set-off to the recent sugar strike, that mammoth sucker, the Colonial Sugar Co., promptly shot the price-list to a height unheard of and undreamt of.” “The State will have to build refineries; and its reluctance to do so will be met by the two-bladed sword of bounty and duty, which the Commission must not hesitate to use.” “ Private enterprise, with its scandalous price-list, can then be made to feed out of the hand”?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are! - 1and2. I am not aware any member ofthe
Sugar Commission holds the views expressed in the article referred to, which I have not seen; nor did I hear of it until the honorable member brought it under notice.
The only member of the Commission, within my knowledge, in any way associated with a newspaper was the Honorable A. Hinchcliffe, who, I am advised, wasbusiness manager of the Brisbane Worker, but was in no way responsible for the articles which appeared in that, publication.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will he have a return prepared and made available for public information, showing ‘in each State-
– Returns in connexion with the land tax are being prepared, and will be submitted to Parliament as soon as available.
.- I move -
That, in the opinion of this House, the sale of intoxicating liquors should be prohibited within the precincts of this House.
In introducing a similar motion last session. I paid particular attention to the purely: local aspect of the question, but to-day I shall direct attention to a wider horizon, and ask honorable members to consider the matter as one of national importance. The sale of intoxicating liquors within the precincts of this House affects not only honorable members and others who have access to the refreshment rooms, but also the citizens of Melbourne, the electors of Victoria, and the people of the whole Commonwealth. No question within the realm of politics more deeply concerns the nation than this matter of the use of intoxicating liquors. It is of all questions a universal problem, and, indeed, the most perplexing with which the world has to deal to-day. . It is the one item that is demanding of every
Parliament a reasonable solution, and this, the National Parliament of Australia, cannot view with unconcern the sale of intoxicating liquors, not merely in this building, but in the country generally. That that is the view taken by interested people outside the House is evidenced by the fact that yesterday I received the following telegram -
Queensland Good Templars wish you success.. Gratified note abstemiousness Federal Parliament. Carrying resolution would have farleaching moral effect, strengthening, encouraging reformers who are grappling drink problem. Australia’s Parliament by raising prohibition standard- beginning at home - can assist great world movement £or righteousness.
That telegram was signed by the Grand Chief Templar, Mr. Page Hanify. I received al’so a letter from the Sons of Temperance of Victoria, from which the following is an. extract : -
I can assure you of the hearty sympathy and good wishes of every member of my society, and trust the members of your honorable House will rise: to the occasion and set a noble example to our land by supporting you in your, action, thus consummating the desire of so many in cur cause.
The letter is signed by Mr. Herbert R. Francis, General Secretary. These letters, together with over a hundred telegrams and letters upon the same subject that I received last year, show that there are outside this House a large number of people who are looking at this question from the national point of view, and are not merely concerned with its local aspect. I was rather interested last year in the public notice given to my motion, and particularly pleased with some comments made by the Melbourne Herald. I had the honour to draw from that newspaper a comparison between my own attitude and that of the late Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone, who was described by Disraeli as being inr toxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity. The Herald went on to point out how intemperate 1 was in my language, how extravagant I was. in. my illustrations, and how unfair I was to the members of this Parliament. I explained when I introduced this motion last session, however, that, anything I might say with regard to it would have- no reflection on, and no personal application to, the members of this Parliament. I repeat that statement today. I propose to discuss this question free from any personal application, and wish only to ask honorable members to realize that, since we are charged with the national’ affairs of Australia, and concerned with- those things which are for the welfare of the Commonwealth, we cannot ignore oar responsibility by refusing to consider what would be at least the moral effect of our action, in prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in the- Parliamentary Refreshment-rooms, and upon the whole question of the sale of intoxicating liquors throughout Australia. In order that honorable members and the public generally may not imagine that I arn. a lone voice crying in the wilderness regarding the viciousness. of the liquor traffic, the degrading, and debasing effects of the use of alcohol, and the national waste and the national loss, both in money and in lives,, that result from this traffic - in order that honorable members may realize that I am supported in my attitude of uncompromising hostility to the traffic - I propose, to make a few quotations from statements made by persons in. all walks of life in regard to this question. I begin with a quotation from a speech made by the late Queen Victoria,, when addressing some South African chiefs at Windsor in 1895 -
I am glad to see the Chiefs. . . . I approve of the provision excluding strong drink from their country. I feel strongly in this matter, and am glad to see that the Chiefs have determined to keep so great a curse from the people.
Sir George Sydenham Clarke, when Governor of Victoria, said -
We cannot measure it, but we know what an amount of evil’ intemperance is causing amongst us. We know, for example, that it distinctly lessens the brain power, and therefore the intellectual and industrial productiveness of the people. We know that it imperils physical health and helps to_ fill oar asylums. We know that it entails crime and squalor on. thousands of homes ;. and, lastly, we know that it will stamp its baneful influence on generations and generations yet to be born.
Theodore Roosevelt, in Munsey’s Magazine, wrote -
The. friends of the saloon-keepers denounce their opponents for’ not treating the saloon business like any other. The best answer to this is that the business is not like any other business, and that the actions of the. saloon-keepers themselves conclusively prove this to be the case. The business tends to produce criminality in the population at large and law-Breaking among the saloon keepers themselves. When the liquor men are allowed- to do as they wish-, they are sure to debauch not only the body social, but the body political also. The most powerful saloon-keeper controlled the politicians and the police, while the latter, in turn, terrorized and blackmailed all other saloonkeepers. If the American people do not control it, it will’ control them.
– I rise to a point of order. Since the honorable member’s motion relates to- “the sale of intoxicating liquors within the precincts of this building, I wish to know, Mr. Speaker, whether he is in order in introducing’ matters relating to the sale of liquor in the United States of America, and the liquor trade in general? I contend that he is going entirely beyond the scope of his motion.
– On the point of order-
– I am prepared to give my ruling. I understand that the honorable member for Brisbane is merely bringing forward illustrations to substantiate his argument in support of the passing of his motion. He is in order in doing so.
– I can promise honorable members that before I have finished they will have ample argument to induce them, I hope, to decide that since the liquor traffic has these evil effects in other parts of the world it is our duty to take up an attitude of hostility towards it in this House.
– The honorable member is wasting the time of the Parliament, which might be used to some better purpose.
– The honorable member ought to withdraw that remark.
– Viscount Wolseley, when Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, said -
There are yet some great battles to be fought, some great enemies to be encountered by the United Kingdom, but the most pressing enemy is drink. It kills more than all our newest weapons of warfare, and not only destroys the body, but the mind aud soul also.
Let me quote now what the statesmen say. These are the words of Richard Cobden -
The temperance cause lies at the foundation of all social and political reform. The Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain says -
If I could destroy the desire for strong drink in the people of England, what changes should we see? We should see our taxes removed by millions sterling ! We should see our gaols and work-houses empty ! We should see more lives saved in twelve months than are consumed in a century of bitter and savage war !
Lord Rosebery says -
Though I am not a fanatic in temperance reform, I view the uncontrolled conditions of the liquor traffic as a serious danger for two reasons : -
No one can deny that there is a great deal too much drink in this country, and that much of the crime and much of the pauperism, and almost all the degradation prevalent in this country are attributable to the curse of Drink.
The liquor traffic is becoming too great a power in the State. I go so far as to say this - That if the State does not soon control the liquor traffic, the liquor traffic will control the State. The temperance movement has my most enthusiastic support, because it will put an end to a political ring which threatens to throttle and control the Commonwealth itself.
Lord Randolph Churchill wrote as follows : -
Imagine what a prodigious social reform, what a bound in advance we should have made if we could curb and control this devilish anil destructive liquor traffic. Imagine, if by some reasonable wise legislation, we could diminish the facility of recourse to the public-house, what a large proportion of these scores of millions spent on drink would be diverted from the liquor trade, and flow over to other trades and industries. All trades would benefit ; more food would be purchased, and better kinds of food ; more clothing and more furniture ; more education would be given to the children, and better kind of education.
Viscount Peel, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing Laws, wrote -
It has come to be a struggle for mastery between the State and a trade, and the time hasfully come for the decision of the question - who is to be master?
The following was the opinion of the Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone: -
It has been said that greater calamities, greater because more continuous, have been inflicted on mankind by intemperance than by the three great historic scourges of war, famine and pestilence combined. That is true, and it is the measure of our discredit and disgrace.
Prince Bismarck said -
If it were possible to extend the field of legislation, so that protection could be afforded to workmen against the demon of drink, a large portion of the Social question would be solved at one stroke.
An honorable member reminds me that the late King Edward and the present King George both said that they had no objection to, but would rather prefer, their health being drunk in water instead of wine. The Lord Mayor of London, at the annual meeting of the Post Office Total Abstinence Society, spoke as follows : -
He could state from personal experience that he thoroughly believed in total abstinence. . . . Total abstinence from all intoxicants made for better health. Had they any doubt on that point! Had they ever reflected that, when a man wanted to obtain the best physical results, he became a total abstainer for the time being with that object in view? Athletes, for instance, invariably became total abstainers for the time being. … It was part of his duty to sit on the Bench and hear all kinds of trouble .discussed in’ the cases which came before him. He had there discovered that drinking in excess was productive of an immense proportion of the trouble and the crime afflicting our nation, and disgracing more or less the national flag. ‘ He noticed in further confirmation of that view that the Posmaster General had stated that intemperance was responsible for 35 per cent, of the dismissals and 66 per cent, of the loss of good conduct stripes in connexion with the Post Office. The experience of all departments of life was in the same direction.
The Right Hon. John Burns said -
If the waste slopped at the direct cost, the trouble would be large, though computable, but the bane of drink is that the chief mischief only begins when it has passed into circulation, and it returns after many days in crime, disorder, disease, squalor, and all the abominations drink causes.
Sir T. Whittaker, M.P., said;
The trade blasts and blights human happiness, degrades and pauperizes, shames the purity of women, darkens the home, and makes child life miserable, terrible, and horrible.
Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P., said-
I am not a teetotal fanatic, but never shall I lose an opportunity of saying that in this country those who have to make their living, and especially those who have to make it under great disadvantages, are little better than lunatics if they do not cast behind them the incalculable temptations and the infinite perils of moderate drinking. If I wanted living object lessons to preach this gospel to the world of youth, I could point it out on the Treasury bench of the House of Commons, at this very moment. There are three teetotallers at least on the Bench - Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Runciman, and Mr. Burns - and there is not one that hasn’t helped himself in life and that isn’t the better and fitter for his work because of his teetotalism.
That reminds me of the fact that in this Parliament we are very fortunate in that regard. I believe that at least seven of the ten Ministers are teetotallers, and several of them have been life-long abstainers. The Hon. J. G. Appell, Home Secretary, in introducing the Liquor Bill in the Queensland Parliament last month, said -
The Government fully realize the importance of this measure in view of the great interests involved - the physical and moral benefit of the people of the State, and the great interests^- the financial interests - connected with the liquor trade. . . . The question above everything else is the welfare of the people - irrespective of any loss that may be caused to the State revenue owing to a decrease in the amount of liquor consumed.
The Brisbane Worker in an article on 2nd September wrote as follows : -
When you are counting the ruling Powers of the earth, don’t omit Bung. If you do, your estimate of the world’s forces won’t amount to much.
Bung is one of the greatest monarchs of our day. There is not another who exercises so wide a sway, or claims jurisdiction over a race so numerous, or has such absolute dominance over the bodies and souls of his subjects.
Yet Bung has no country of his own. He doesn’t need one. He is more powerful in the countries of other sovereigns than they themselves are.
He does just what he pleases with their possessions; not infrequently it happens that the very king on the throne is his abject slave.
He goes into their courts of law, and dispenses what is known as justice.
He goes into the parliaments; and the legislation bears evidence of his work. Many of the things we call “ laws “ are only beer stains on the statute book.
He goes into the homes of the people, and fathers - even mothers - prostrate themselves before him, and strip their children bare to offer him sacrifice.
You can’t afford to ignore Bung -when you are reckoning up the ruling Powers of the earth. Under Capitalism - the supreme Despot - he is mightiest of the vassal kings.
Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., said ;
National greatness did not depend upon the size of our armies and our fleets only. The country that was the most righteous was the greatest.’ And it was because the drink traffic tended to hinder the realisation of that ideal that they of the working-class movement, especially the socialist clement in that movement, were bound to be the most pronounced in their opposition to the success of democracy. There was no man who was engaged in public work, whatever his position in politics, who could fail to be impressed with the magnitude of the evil of intemperance. There must be differences of opinion concerning the question as to whether alcoholic liquors should be used at all, but there could be no question about the terrible evil which drunkenness inflicted upon our nation. Those best acquainted with the Labour movement would bear him out that the strongest ally there was on the side of reaction was intemperance. It made every movement more difficult, and tended lo thwart many a well-meant effort.
Mr. Philip Snowden says on. this matter ;
The traffic is largely responsible for murder, suicide, immorality, and petty crimes; it is poisoning the bodies of the children before they are born ; it sends thousands to the grave before they have learned to lisp ; it gives to tens of thousands who survive a shattered constitution and weakened will; it predisposes them to every form of illness; it is destroying the capacity for motherhood, and weakening the natural instincts of the mother. It wastes all this human life, and it involves an incalculable loss of social’ wealth through physical inefficiency, mental incapacity, and loss of self-respecting ambition. It wastes the value of the lost time and expense through sickness, and the maintenance of prisons, police courts, homes, and asylums due to drink. Drink is, in fact, one of the most destructive evils, destroying mind and body, which curses the human race.
John B. Lennon, Treasurer of the American Federation of Labour, says -
I am against the saloon because I have been in the organized labour movement all my life and know what the saloon has done and is doing against the workers of our country. I know that every particle of influence that goes out from, the saloon must mean the reduction of real, wages, that every cent spent in the saloon is so much wasted. I am against the saloon because organized labour has always insisted that thechildren shall be kept out of the factories and work-shops-; yet the saloon is driving them into industrial1 life faster’ than we are able to keep them out.
The numbers are increasing every day of those who are determined that this blot of the saloon, this infamous, thing that is destroying our homes and our Government, that threatens the future of democracy,, must perish.
Richard Trevellick says -
In my work of Labour reform I am brought face to. face with the liquor traffic. It foils our efforts to get good laws. I must get the saloon out of the path to secure the elevation and prosperity of Labour.
Terence V. Powderly says -
Boycott the saloon, and in five years we will have an invincible host arrayed on the side of truth and justice.
John Swinton says -
The use of strong drink has always operated against Labour in its conflicts against the unfair encroachments of capital.
Mr. John Verran,. Premier of South Australia, has taken a very courageous stand in regard to> not only drink, but gambling, which he calls the twin curses. He says -
I will make no uncertain, stand, about, the questions of drink and gambling, the great twin curse. Although we hear a lot of clap-trap and filthy language being used against the Church of God, that Church, is the one home, and refuge to-day. Any man who goes into Parliament and is not prepared to fight for the Church is neglecting his duty to the country.
The late Robert Ingersol’l, in one of his brilliant lectures dealing with the drink question, says -
Intemperance cuts down youth in its vigour, manhood in its strength, and age in its weakness. It breaks the father’s heart, bereaves the doting mother, extinguishes- natural affections, erases conjugal loves, blots out filial attachments, blights parental hope, and brings down mourning age in sorrow to the grave. It produces weakness, not strength;, sickness, not health ; death,, not life. It makes wives widows ; children orphans; fathers fiends; and all of them paupers and beggars. It feeds rheumatism, nurses gout, welcomes epidemics, invites, cholera, imports pestilence, and embraces consumption. It covers, the land with, idleness, misery, and crime. It fills your gaols, supplies your almshouses, and demands your asylums. It engenders controversies, fosters quarrel’s, and’ cherishes riots. It crowds your penitentiaries and furnishes victims to your scaffolds. It is the lifeblood of the gambler, the element of the burglar, the prop of the: highwayman, and. the support of the midnight incendiary. It countenances the liar, respects the thief, esteems the blasphemer. It violates obligations, reverences fraud, and honours infamy. It defames benevolence, hates love, scorns virtue, and slanders innocence. It incites the- father to butcher his helpless offspring, helps the husband to massacre his wife, and the child to grind the paracidal axe. It burns up men, consumes women, detests life, curses God, and despises heaven. It suborns witnesses, nurses perjury, defiles the jury box, and stains the judicial ermine. It degrades the citizen, debases the legislator, dishonours statesmen, and disarms the patriot. It brings shame, not honour; terror, not safety; despair, not hope; misery, not happiness; and with the malevolence of a fiend, it calmly surveys its frightful desolation, and unsatisfied with its havoc, it poisons felicity, kills peace, ruins morals, blights confidence, slays reputation, and wipes out national honours, then curses the world and laughs at its ruin.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I., page 276, says-
From a sociological stand-point we are compelled, by incontrovertible evidence, to acknowledge that it (alcohol) is, of all causes, the most frequent source of poverty, unhappiness, divorce, suicide, immorality, crime, insanity, disease and death.
The late Cardinal Vaughan said -
The houses of the liquor trade are as so many vampires that suck the life-blood out of the bodies of the poor. While we strenously defend the sacred’ rights of private property, how can we defend the property that depends for its value upon the physical and religious ruin of a countless number of human bodies and souls ?
Cardinal. Manning says -
The drink’ traffic is a public, permanent, and ubiquitous agency of degradation. . . .. The drink trade is our shame, scandal, and sin, and unless’ brought under by the will1 of the people, it will be- our’ downfall.
Archbishop Ireland says -
Would God place in my hand, a wand with which to dispel the evil of intemperance, I would strike the door of every saloon, every” distillery, of every brewery, until the accursed traffic should be wiped from the face of the earth.
Father McGory says -
Yon may ask where do I stand? You have a. right to know.
Creep up close to the heart of God, who hates every evil thing. Ask Him where He stands, and put me down1 on that side.
Or, if that is too much trouble, go to- the poor pale-faced woman, the ragged and half-starved children, the innocent victims of. the accursed traffic. Ask them where they stand, and put me down there.
Or, if that is too much trouble, go out to your cemetery, and, creeping in- among the graves of the victims- of the demon drink, ask yourself as you contemplate their ruin-, wherein the name of all that is: holy, a man should stand. When you have your answer put me down there.
I stand here to-night giving no quarter and asking none; conscious that I am- sustained by Heaven, indorsed by every good woman and every honest man. But if I should stand alone here, I should, stand,, conscious; that one with God is a majority.
Another authority says -
The saloon is- the enemy of God. Its forces are’ against the forces, that make? for righteousness. It rnakes a brute of the being God created in His own1 image and likeness: Its- very atmosphere reeks with blasphemy ; it destroys all faith, all virtue, all’ love toward God, reverence for God, likeness to God ; it is the organized expression of the kingdom of Satan among men.
The saloon is the enemy of man. It bloats his visage, corrupts his heart, weakens his will, sears his conscience, makes a common sewer of the body intended to be the temple of- God’s spirit, sends an- immortal sou] feeling into outer darkness. ‘ . . ?
The saloon is the enemy of the home. It puts out the fire, empties the larder, turns the protector of the family into a thing of” terror and abhorrence, ‘clothes the wife in rags, and brings the children to suffering and shame.
The saloon is the enemy of the State. It is the breeding place of all plots and conspiracies that threaten the downfall of society. It is the Gibraltar of bad politics, the gathering place of - thugs and repeaters, the market of the purchaseable vote, the fountain head of municipal wrong doing.
The saloon is the enemy of the Church. Beside every sanctuary the Devil would open his pit. It builds up a barrier between the soul and Christ, fills men with hatred toward everything lovely and of good report, bars the way to the sanctuary, and laughs at the thought of God and eternity.
Henry Grady, speaking of the “ Mission df the Liquor Traffic,” says - - ‘ To-night it enters a humble home to strike the roses from a woman’s cheek, and to-morrow it challenges this republic in the halls of Congress.
To-day it strikes a crust from the lips of a starving child, and to-morrow it levies tribute from the government itself.
There is no cottage humble enough to escape it, no palace strong enough to shut it out. It defies the law when it cannot coerce suffrage. It is flexible to cajole, but merciless in victory, lt is the mortal enemy of peace and order, the despoiler of men and terror of women, the cloud that shadows the faces of children, the demon that has dug more graves and sent more souls unshrived to judgment than have wasted life since God sent plagues to Egypt, and all the wars since Joshua stood before Jericho.
It comes to ruin, and it shall profit mainly by the ruin of your sons and mine.
It comes to mislead human souls and to crush human hearts under its crumbling weight.
It comes to bring grey-haired mothers down in shame and sorrow to their graves.
It comes to change the wife’s love into despair, and her pride into shame.
It comes to still the laughter on ‘ the lips of little children.
It comes to stifle all the music of the home and fill it with silence and desolation.
It comes to ruin your body and mind, to wreck your home, and it knows it must purchase its prosperity by the swiftness and certainty with which it wrecks this “world.
The curse of drink brings mourning instead of rejoicing, tears instead of laughter, rags instead of clothing, disease instead of health, insanity instead of strong mind, crime instead of law and order, death instead of life.
Dr. D. Wallace Smith says :
If drink makes it harder for a man or a woman to lbc honest, truthful, pure, upright, and efficient, it is a thing to be condemned. If strong drink robs men and women of their “best qualities, their character, and their souls, then, in God’s name, away with it.
According to the Indianapolis News -
The saloon is a running sore on the body politic. It is a vicious, contagious, dangerous plague spot. ‘ There is not room for it and liberty both to live. One or the other must go.
This is Abraham Lincoln’s opinion -
Whether or not the world would be vastly benefited by a total and final banishment from it of all intoxicating drink seems to me to be not now an open question. Three-fourths of mankind confess the affirmative with their tongues, and I believe all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts.
Then General Grant tells us that -
The intoxicating cup is of the devil, and leads to hell, and we will neither touch, taste, or handle the poisonous liquid, nor have any fellowship with those who fatten on the woes and miseries of mankind by its sale and manufacture.
Drink is the greatest curse, because practically all crime and all disaster are the result of it. Nearly every great disaster in the country, barring accidents of nature, is due to drink….. Ninety-five per cent. - I will make it no less - of desertions and acts of lawlessness in the army is due to drink. If I could, by offering my body as a sacrifice, free this country from this fell cancer, the demon drink, I would thank the Almighty for the privilege of doing it.
General Booth is of the opinion that -
The mighty torrent of alcohol, fed by 10,000 manufactories, sweeps on, bearing with it, .1 have no hesitation in , saying, the foulest, bloodiest tide that ever flowed from earth to eternity.
The late Dr. MacLaren, of Manchester-, says that -
No single vice drags after it more infallibly such a multitude of attendant demons as the vice of drunkenness, which is the crying sin of England to-day. . . By the soul only axe the nations great and free, and a nation can bc neither where the drink fiend has its way.
Another divine, the Rev. W. Walsh, of Scotland, has expressed himself in these terms -
A monopoly, the most gigantic, determined, and unconscionable that ever dug its fangs into the vitals of mankind, is represented by the traffic in alcoholic liquors. It is bound up with the selfish interests of every class in tie community - from the working man, up through the parson and the bishop, to the M.P. and -the peer - and from the legislature’s triumphant eight looks down upon the shaking or the fall of other institutions; while they crumble and totter, it apparently flourishes in immortal youth.
A French authority, the late Professor Brouardel, of Paris, wrote -
This invasion of alcoholism ought to be regarded by every one as a public danger, and the principle that the future of the world will be in the hands of the temperate ought to be inculcated as a truth that is incontestable.
Let me now turn to the statements of authors and poets. Rudyard Kipling tells how, in the city of Buffalo, he saw two young men get two girls drunk, and then lead them reeling down a dark street. He writes -
Then recanting previous opinions, I became n prohibitionist. Better it is that a man should go without his beer in public places, and content himself with swearing at the narrowmindedness of the majority; better it is to poison the inside with very vile temperance drinks, and to buy lager furtively at back doors, than to bring temptation to the lips of young fools, such as the four I had seen. I understand now why the preachers rage against strong drink. I have said ‘ There is no harm in it taken moderately,’ and yet my own demand for beer helped directly to send these two girls reeling down the dark street to - God alone knows what end. If liquor is worth drinking, it is worth taking a little trouble to come at - such as a man will undergo to compass his own devices. It is not good that we should let it lie before the eyes of children, and I have been a fool in writing to the contrary.
Marie Corelli, writing on the subject, says -
As for the drink evil, I wish that every one into whose hands this book may fall would honestly try to realize the widespread misery, disease, pauperism, crime, and lunacy for which that hideous vice is responsible, and would add his or her wish to mine, in a strong prayer that the wicked financial fortunes derived by the few out of the physical debasement of the many may be checked and finally come to naught, so that the British people, released at last from the dominant sway of the liquor traffic, may rise to the best of everything in them - the best of brain, the best of work, the best of health, and the best of life. A temperate people must always be a strong people, and to hold our own in the days that are coming we shall need all the strength that sound minds and sound bodies can _ give us. There is no room in Britain for a national vice which betrays a national weakness.
Other authors whose opinions I might quote are Hall Caine, the late E. P. Roe, “ Ralph Connor,” and “ John Strange Winter.” In the centenary edition of the poems of Robert Burns is a short address to William Steward, one of his acquaintances. It gives the experience of one who knew the sufferings that come to every drunkard after a debauch, and is as follows -
In honest Bacon’s ingle neuk,
Here maun I sit and think; Sick o’ the warld and warld’s folk, An’ sick, damn’d sick o’ drink.
I see, I see, there is nae help, But still doun I maun sink I
Till some day laigh enough I yelp : “ Wae worth that cursed drink.”
Yestreen, alas ! I was sae fou, I could but yisk and wink;
And now this day, sair I rue The weary, weary drink.
Satan, I fear thy sooty claws,
I hate thy brimstane stink, And aye I curse the luckless cause,
The wicked soup o’ drink.
Drink is a foe that has overcome such great men as Pitt, Addison, Sir George Trevelyan, Charles Lamb, Hartley Coleridge, and “ Bonnie Prince Charlie “ in England, and Webster and Poe in the United States of America.
– No one recommends the abuse of intoxicating liquors.
– I shall deal with that objection later. I wish now to make a series of quotations of the views expressed by persons in the liquor trade. I have no quarrel with them individually. They must accept full responsibility for what they are doing, and are answerable to their own consciences, but it is the traffic with which I am at war. During the recent local option contest in New South Wales, Mr. Richard Kenna., the licensee and owner of the Grand Hotel, Bathurst, wrote -
I have an interest in three hotel properties, and under these circumstances it is compulsory for me to handle filthy lucre accruing from the sale of detestable liquor. The public will be surprised to hear I abhor my hotel associations. Five years’ experience convinces me that in any phase the liquor traffic which the union is attempting to defend is a curse and a scourge to humanity. I could wade through a category of deplorable scenes of crime, starvation, and ruin, of which I have been an eye-witness, through this cursed liquor traffic.
When before the Victorian Tariff Commission, Mr. Saul Joshua said -
There is humbug in all trades, and that in the spirit trade is beyond description.
Referring to the evidence of Mr. P. Daly, the secretary of the Victorian United Licensed Victuallers’ Association, the Australasian said -
The public have long suspected that they were being slowly poisoned, and it will be consoling to receive the official assurance that their suspicions were perfectly well founded.
In an essay written by Charles Buxton, M.P., a famous brewer, and published iri. the North British Review, these passages occur -
It is in vain that any engine is set to work that philanthropy can devise, when those whom we seek to benefit are habitually tampering with their faculties of reason and will - soaking their brains with beer, or inflaming them with ardent spirits. The struggle of the school, and the library, and the Church all united, against the beer-house and gin-palace, is but one development of the war between heaven and hell. . . Add together all the miseries generated in our time by war, famine, and pestilence, the three great scourges of mankind, and they do not exceed those that spring from this one calamity.
From a book entitled Growing towards the Light, written by Mrs. Henry A. Doudy, an Adelaide lady, I quote an advertisement, said to be genuine, written by a publican named R. P. Love, the owner of Eagle Bar, at Sumas, Washington -
Friends, I have opened a shop for the sale of liquid fire, and embrace this opportunity to inform you that I have commenced the business of making
Drunkards, Paupers, and Beggars for the sober, industrious, and respectable portion of the community to support. I shall deal in
Family Spirits which shall take men from the ranks of productive industry, and excite them to deeds of
Riot, Robbery, and Blood, and by so doing diminish the comfort, augment the expenses, and endanger the welfare of the whole community.
I will undertake, at a short notice, for a small sum, and with great expedition, to prepare victims for the
Asylums, Poor-houses, Prisons, and Gallows.
I will furnish an article which will increase the amount of fatal accidents, multiply the number of distressing diseases, and render those that might have been cured, incurable.
I will deal in drugs which will deprive some of Life, many of Reason, most of Property j which will cause fathers to become fiends, wives widows, children orphans, all of these mendicants.
I will cause many of the rising generation to grow up in ignorance, and prove a burden and nuisance to the nation.
I will cause mothers to forget their offspring, and cruelty to take the place of love.
I will sometimes even corrupt the ministers of religion, obstruct the progress of the Gospel, defile the purity of the Church, cause temporal, Spiritual and Eternal Death.
And if any should be so impertinent as to ask why I have the audacity to bring such accumulated misery upon a comparatively happy people, my honest reply is,
The drink trade is lucrative, and some professing Christians give it their cheerful countenance.
I have a Licence, and if I do not bring these evils upon you Somebody Else Will.
I have purchased the right to do my best to demolish the Character, destroy the Health, shorten Lives, and ruin the Souls of those who choose to honour me with their regular custom.
I pledge myself to do all that I have herein promised. Those who wish any of the evils specified above to be brought on themselves or their dearest friends are requested to
Meet me at My Bar, where I will, for a few cents, furnish them with the certain means of accomplishing their wishes.
A matter in which we are all interested is national efficiency, particularly for defence. I have here the full text of a speech on this subject delivered by the German Emperor a short time ago. Let me read some extracts from it - 1 can assure you that in the course of ‘my reign of twenty-two years, I have observed from experience that the greater part of the crimes which have been appealed to me for decision ought to be reported as the result of the alcohol evil. . . . The next war, the next naval battle, will demand from you sound nerves. Nerve power will decide the victory. Now, the nerves are ruined, damaged from youth by the use of alcohol. . . . The nation which absorbs the least amount of alcohol will carry home the victory.
By order of the Emperor, a copy of Alcohol and Virility, a German temperance publication, is handed to every recruit on entering the military and naval service. Vice-Admiral King Hall, who is now in charge of the Australian station, in an address at the Seamen’s Institute on 4th May last, said -
A total abstainer all my life, and believing in it implicitly, I gladly say a word on the subject to-night. My father became an abstainer when he was captain of a man-of-war, and I followed his good and wise example. Personally it affects me favorably in three ways - I am better in health, in pocket, and in nerves. . . . At least 60 to 70 per cent, of our troubles come from alcohol, and therefore we must leave it alone. I personally, on leaving England, thanked His Majesty King George for permitting us to drink his health in water, and His Majesty said he was pleased to think so many did so.
In conclusion he said -
I have seen the evils of intemperance and the blessedness of total abstinence, and cannot but speak of what I know.
I have here a statement showing that -
A test of precision in marksmanship was made in the Swedish army. Out of thirty shots fired in quick succession the abstaining days gave an average of twenty-three hits.
On a second series of days, the men were allowed brandy containing alcohol equal to what one would get in two to two and one-half glasses of beer. Twenty to thirty minutes later they had their firing test. The record of the hits showed, on three days, an average of only three hits out of thirty shots.
Another series of tests was performed without alcohol. This gave an average of twenty-five hits.
The wind, weather, and light were all better on the alcohol days, so that, other things being equal, the marksmanship should have been better instead of far worse, but the soldiers thought they were shooting better.
I shall now give the House a quotation relating to the experience of one of our own British ships. Vice-Admiral King Hall states -
The H.M.S. Natal affords an interesting illustration of the effects of alcohol on the nerve’s. They keep a daily record of the big gun practice, and it has been noticed that there are distinct and regular gradations in the shooting record, which is at its worst the day after leave, and at its best at the day before leave. This the men. call the “ grog curve.” A deputation waited on the captain and asked him not only to arrange the battle firing test for the day before leave, but also to postpone the giving of the daily portion of rum until the evening of that day,, the result being that the Natal has won the battle-firing test two years running.
With regard to the effect of alcohol on national efficiency, I propose to make only one more quotation. The Queensland Royal Commission lately appointed to inquire into the question of the health of miners reported that -
Some attention was given to the part played by alcohol in connexion with the health of miners. The death register examined revealed a considerable number of deaths in past years reasonably ascribable to this cause, and although the relative proportions appear to have fallen of late, it is probable that its influence is still considerable. The free use of alcoholic brinks exercises a well-recognised predisposed effect in the production of tubercular pulmonary disease.
The late General von Moltke also made the significant remark on one occasion that there was more danger to Germany from beer than from the whole of the French army. , ‘
I leave the matter of national” efficiency, and propose now to deal with the effect of strong drink on physical efficiency. The Safeguard writes -
A strong nation cannot be made out of weak citizens. No nation can be stronger than the band which binds its individual citizenship together. That band consists in the spirit of brotherhood in the hearts of the people. The genius of the liquor traffic is diametrically opposed to this spirit of brotherhood. The saloon has absolutely no respect for law. It obeys only when it must. This’ is true under any and all conditions. An evil tree cannot be made good by building a fence around it, nor can access to that tree be prevented by limiting the number of the entrances. An institution which thrives only as it destroys men will never hesitate to destroy laws.
Professor Sikovsky, of St. Petersburg, has said that -
Alcohol diminishes the rapidity of thought, makes the imagination and power of reflection commonplace and deprived of originality, acts upon fine and complex sensations by transforming them into coarse and elementary ones; provokes outbursts of evil passions and disposi- tions, and in this way predisposes men- to strife and crime, and upsets habits of work and perseverance.
Then again we have the statement of Dr. Theo. B. Hyslop—-
In spite of the evidence of the ravages of alcohol in filling our hospitals, our prisons, and our asylums, there is gradually creeping over the country a more intelligent appreciation of the fact that if we are to maintain our health, our morals, and our sanity, we must set ourselves with renewed vigour to the task of averting disaster by overcoming the curse of alcoholism.
Professor Sims Woodhead says -
People taking alcohol are interfering very seriously, first of all, with, the building up of the body, and, secondly, with the getting rid of these waste and poisonous products which are constantly acting against our interests. Alcohol is a poison in itself - but it is worse than that - it interferes with the tissues of the body, and in getting rid of the poisons which ought to be gotten rid of.
Sir Victor Horsley has declared that ;
We know that alcohol lowers the temperature of the body. It. can only do that by diminishing the activity of the vital processes. It also diminishes very greatly the power of the muscles, and it diminishes the intellectual power of the nervous system. To call an agent that causes such diminution of activity throughout the whole body a food is ridiculous.
Sir William Gull, M.D., has said-
I should say .from my experience that liquor is the most destructive agent that we are aware of in this country. A very large number of people are dying day by day, poisoned by “alcohol, but not supposed to be poisoned by it. I ‘hardly know any more potent-cause of disease than alcohol.
Here, again, is a statement made by Professor Huxley -
I can say without hesitation that I would just’ as soon take a dose of arsenic as I would of alcohol under such circumstances (as a brain stimulant). Indeed, on the whole, I should think the arsenic safer ; less likely to lead to moral and physical degradation. For no conceivable consideration would I use it to whip up a tired and sluggish brain.
Professor A. Forel, of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, has said that -
Alcohol in all forms and doses is a poisonous substance, which disturbs the human organism to its foundations, is extremely dangerous . possesses not the slightest usefulness, and, therefore, should be absolutely excluded from human diet.
Sir Frederick Treves, in the course of an address delivered at the Church House, Westminster, made this statement -
I do not propose to trouble you with any detailed accounts of the effects of excessive drinking, and the lamentable diseases that follow from it. The train of physical wreckage that lies in the wake of drunkenness is, unfortunately, a matter of only too common knowledge. 1 -should like, rather, to occupy your time for ten minutes in dealing with the effect of alcohol on the body generally….. As a work producer alcohol is exceedingly extravagant, and, like other extravagant measures, it is apt to lead to .a physical bankruptcy. It is well known that troops cannot march on alcohol. I was with the relief column that moved on to Ladysmith. It was an extremely trying time apart from the heat <if the weather. In that column of some 30,000 men, the first who dropped out -were not the tall men, or the short men, or- the big men, or the little .men - but the drinkers, and they dropped out is clearly as if they had been labelled with a big letter on their backs. . . . There is a great desire on the part of all young men to be “ fit.” A young man cannot be fit if he takes alcohol. By no possibility can he want it. No one who is young and healthy can want alcohol any more than he can want strychnine.
I would now invite the attention of the House to a statement made by Mr. Thomas A. Edison, the famous inventor, who, in the course of an address delivered in England lately, said -
I think you people have too many whisky shops here. Coming down from Liverpool I noticed that at every place we stopped, it seemed to be all whisky shops, with just an occasional grocery store trying to squeeze its way. I am sorry, very sorry, for this is not a good thing for the people.
As to the effect of alcohol on physical efficiency, I propose now to refer to the experiences of Polar expeditions. Let me quote, first of all, a statement made by Professor David, of the Sydney University, at the great reception in the Town Hall, Sydney, given to him upon his return from tlie Antarctic -
Throughout the long journey, extending over at least four months, the party never had one drop of alcohol. On one occasion, for a comrade, it being a birthday celebration, they had just a little wine, and* they found their resistance to cold dropped, so they dropped alcohol.
I would quote in this connexion certain interesting statements from a journal of the proceedings of the forty-third session of the Supreme Lodge, International Order of Good Templars, held at Hamburg in June last -
From the days of Commander Nares, who set out in 1875, with four Good Templars, to reach the North Pole, until the present time, total abstinence has been satisfactorily tested on all such expeditions. Nansen, the Norwegian explorer, returned the Scotch whisky sent to him as being useless to him on his Antarctic travels. Commander Peary, the American explorer, declares : “ No man can drink alcoholic liquors who goes to the North. It would mean death to the man, and a menace to the expedition.” Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer, gives as his opinion that “ alcohol is useless in these climates.” Lieutenant Shirase, the Japanese explorer, and Captain Scott, the British explorer, both of whom (on separate expeditions), are now proceeding to the South Pole, have fitted out their expeditions on similar lines.
I .propose now to follow my references to the experiences of Polar expeditions by some statements regarding expeditions in tropical countries. I have here an extract from Across Papua, by Colonel Kenneth Mackay, CB., Chairman of the Federal Royal Commission, who crossed Papua in 1906 -
Personally, I . . . have used tea as a daily drink from Beira to Cape Town, over 8,000 miles, in India, and from sea to sea in Papua, with such good results that I would never dream of drinking anything else in a tropical country, or when engaged in work that demanded constant and severe exertion.
Whatever may be said against tea, one thing is beyond all possibility of denial - alcohol is the very worst drink a man can indulge in in Papua. It is directly responsible for more breakdowns than all the diseases put together, and, indirectly, accounts for an enormous percentage of malarial deaths and recurrences. . The natives who are universally free from alcohol craving, call all liquor “silly white man’s medicine.” As regards Papua, they could not give it a better name.
Sir William McGregor, who had a wider tropical experience than perhaps any other living man has had, when LieutenantGovernor of British New Guinea - now Papua - presented a report to the Victorian Parliament, in which he wrote -
In my experience people that are total abstainers in the Colony enjoy better health, and have a lower mortality than those that are not abstainers. There is a wide-spread popular belief that some stimulant is required in the tropics, especially by people that have in a cooler climate been accustomed to it. This will not stand the test of experience. It is a matter that any one not a total abstainer can prove for himself in a month. I have not known a missionary that was of intemperate habits ; but it is easy to see that the missionary that has no alcoholic stimulant with his meals is healthier than he that has. The principle applies to all residents in the country, but it is easier to see in the case of the missionaries than among other classes, because their habits and practice are more regular and uniform. The missionaries that as a class are total abstainers are the healthier, and stand exposure better than others. The man that is a total abstainer bears very much better the onset of fever than the man that is not; and he is also less liable to other diseases.
One rather interesting feature of this question of the effect of alcohol on physical efficiency is the position taken up by railway companies in various parts of the world. Honorable members are jio doubt aware that every railway company in the United States of America absolutely prohibits the use of intoxicants by its servants, who are subject to immediate dismissal if they are found indulging in them either when on or off duty. A somewhat similar practice obtains in Queensland.
– And also in New South Wales.
– The railway servants of Queensland are liable to immediate dismissal if found indulging in intoxicating liquors while on duty. I have here an interesting extract from a placard that appears on the railway stations in Berlin -
The use of alcoholic drinks is prohibited during working hours. -Mention of the injuries which the misuse of alcoholic drink causes the physical and intellectual powers of the employees has repeatedly been made. It has been proved, not only in railway service but in all other branches of labour, that the use of alcohol lowers capacity for effective work.
We have, therefore, strictly forbidden drinking during working hours, and now call attention afresh to this regulation. This prohibition includes all employees, watchmen, and common labourers, and is aimed not only against stronger drinks, but against all kinds of beer and wine. The bringing of such drink to work is forbidden. The violation of this prohibition will be punished with fine. Second offence dismissal.
In regard to the Prussian State railways it is stated -
The experience of the last five years of the prohibition of drinking during service has given good results in the railway personnel. Cases of the violation of rules and of quarrels among employees have become rarer. The number of cases of sickness due to alcohol has fallen. Knowledge of the clanger from the use of alcohol wins ground constantly, especially among the younger men.
Aroused by the startling revelations in connexion with the South African War, King Edward appointed an Inter-Departmental Committee to investigate how it was that 60 per cent, of the volunteers for military service in South Africa were rejected by the doctors as unfit for military duty. The Committee’s report stated -
Next to the urbanisation of the people . . . the question of drink occupies a prominent place among the causes of degeneration. The close connexion between the craving for drink and bad housing, bad feeding, a polluted and depressing atmosphere, long hours of work in over heated and often ill-ventilated rooms . . . is too self-evident to need demonstration ; nor unfortunately is the extent of the evil open to dispute….. Drinking habits among women of the working classes are certainly growing, with consequences extremely prejudicial to the care of their offspring, not to speak of the possibility of their children being born permanently disabled….. Evidence was placed before the Committee showing that in abstinence is to be sought the source of muscular vigour and activity.
One immediate result of the publication of that report was that over forty towns and cities in England spent money placarding the walls and hoardings with warnings in regard to alcohol and physical degeneracy. That movement originated, I believe, in France, where the people, aroused by the enormous decrease in the physical vitality of the nation, particularly among the young men, placarded Paris and other French cities and towns on the question/ Here is an extract from a placard dis-played in Paris in 1902 by order of the French Government - «*Alcoholism causes a great variety of diseases, many of them most deadly - paralysis, insanity, disorders of the stomach and of the liver, and dropsy. It is one of the most frequent causes of consumption. It complicates and renders more serious every acute illness : typhoid fever, pneumonia, or erysipelas, which would be mild in a sober individual, will rapidly kill the alcoholic.
That movement also extended to Australia, and, I believe, the city of Ballarat has the honour of being the first in the Commonwealth to warn its citizens of the dangers of alcoholism. I have here a placard which has been distributed in Queensland, dealing with the proceedings of the French supervising Council of Public Aid in 1902, and giving extracts from the posters put up in the French cities by the French Government, and from the posters put up in British cities. I shall not read this placard, but will simply mention that it was submitted to the mayors of a number of Queensland towns, and was signed by the following: - H. Thompson, Mayor of Brisbane; Andrew Gillespie, Mayor, South Brisbane; R. Ruddell, Mayor, Bundaberg; Walter G. Amrose, Mayor, Gympie ; J. F. Bergin, Mayor, Toowong; Thomas T. Burstow, Mayor, Toowoomba; E. C. Carl, Acting Mayor, Cairns; J. L. Pearson, Chairman, Mount Perry; Bertram T. De Conlay, Mayor, Warwick; James Lacey, Acting Mayor, Croydon, and Peter Neilson, Mayor, Laidley.
Even in India the same kind of education is proceeding. The following is an extract from a placard circulated by the Bombay Temperance Council: -
Liquor does more harm to body, brain and soul than anything else on earth. Liquor is man’s greatest enemy because : It robs him of health, happiness, home and honour. It turns a good man into a bad brother, a bad son, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad workman, and a bad master. It professes to make a mam strong, but makes him really so weak that he cannot stand up straight or walk straight when under its influence. It professes to make a man happy, but gives him a headache and a remorseful heartache after. It professes to make a man bright and smart, but makes him act like a madman instead. It makes a man cruel and heartless towards his loved ones, and also towards himself, as nothing else could possibly do. Liquor has been the means of blasting millions of most promising young lives, and destroying the happiness of thousands of homes. If yon are wise and desire to live a happy and useful life, please make a solemn vow that you will have_ nothing whatever to do with that dangerous liquid fire and poison called “ Liquor.”
Let me quote what leading doctors say on the question. Dr. Breinl, Director of the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine, Townsville, in his report on the results of his journey to the northern parts of Queensland, indicates that alcoholism, does much to impair the health of the Queensland cane-cutters. He says -
Is the white man able to stand the strain of cutting cane in the tropical parts of North Queensland without having his health permanently injured?
The consideration, and, if possible, the solution of this question, seems to be of vital importance for the development of the sugar industry in North Queensland, and would also throw some light upon the White Australia question generally. In my personal opinion, alcoholism and other debilitating habits do much more than cane cutting to impair the health of the workers.
Professor Anderson Stuart, of Sydney, stated lately, in a lecture -
It is by the muscular system of the body that we do work, and there is no more frequent excuse for the consumption of alcohol than that it increases the working power of the body. We’l now, that is n little true and a great deal not true. It is a little true to this extent, that by the temporary stimulation of the heart it enables a man perhaps to do a little bit of a spurt, but that spurt is very soon over. The staying power has suffered ; and you can ask yourself what is it in the world that does most - the spurt or the stay.
Sir Victor Horsley, in reply to a press correspondent, wrote as follows : -
My work as a surgeon commonly means a day of hard physical manual work, as well as intellectual, and I do it best on water. But I should like to add that as regards the instru ments he mentions, namely, the pick and the shovel, I have had considerable experience of them, too. The last occasion on which I did continuous work of the kind was some years ago, when I was occupied for two or three weeks in excavating deep trenches in heavy boulder clay to explore some Roman foundations. M<day’s digging was always at least eight hours’ long (usually more), my hands were kept in good condition by alcohol applied externally, and when at the end of the day I returned home I went to a refreshing tea, and did not narcotise myself in the public-house on the road.
Some day “ Moderate Drinker “ and his fellow citizens who subscribe so liberally to the maintenance of the drink trade will agree with me that no nation which habitually narcotises itself gives itself a fair chance in the International struggle for existence.
Professor Sims Woodhead says -
I want you to realise that those who have made a careful study of this alcohol question are satisfied that the best work is done by any individual - and I don’t care who he is - if he abstains from the use of intoxicating liquors.
Dr. Lauder Brunton expressed the follow; ing views : -
We find that the highest powers of the mind are first affected by alcoholic drink - judgment, for example; the whole of the lower powers of the’ mind, ‘such as imagination, being made more active than before. Herein consists the prime danger, of such drinks; the true lights of the mind are quenched by them, and the false and misleading ones are kindled.
Dr. Lorenz, the famous Austrian surgeon, stated ;
I am a surgeon. My success depends upon my brain being clear, my muscles firm, my nerves steady. No one can take alcoholic liquor without blunting those physical powers which I must keep on edge. As a surgeon I must not drink.
I have also some rather interesting statements on the question of how the capacity for hard physical toil is affected by the use of drink. An immense work is at present going on at the Barren Jack Reservoir, now being constructed in New South Wales, and no intoxicants are permitted on the areas of the works. With regard to the Panama Canal, the following has been published : -
The work of making a great canal from Panama to Colon, uniting the Pacific with the Atlantic, was commenced in 1879, but suspended in 1889. The district was called “ the white man’s grave,” owing to the fearful death rate. The open saloon for the sale of intoxicating liquors to the workmen was considered by many one of the causes of this evil. In 1904 the United States Government purchased the property for $40,000,000 (^8,000,000), and by an International treaty agreed to construct the canal at a further cost of $140,000,000 (^28,000,000). In recommencing the work the canal commissioners determined to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors along the whole route, except at Panama and Colon, where the saloons were already licensed under the laws of the Republic. The results have been most advantageous. Sir Harry Johnston, K.C.B., says: “The whole of the canal zone (10 miles on either side of the canal banks) is ‘ teetotal.’ No alcohol is sold by the canal commissioners at its hotels or boarding houses, and the general result of these stern measures - the improvement in health and the absence of crime - amply justifies this anti-alcohol policy. Of course, there still remain some Americans (and some Britons) who kill themselves with alcohol if it can possibly be managed, and so “ alcoholism “ emanating from the grog stores at Panama and Colon accounts for a few deaths among the employes - just enough to show one what a pandemonium might rage here in the little army of 26,000 men but for the prohibition policy of the Canal Commissioners.
Here is an interesting quotation with regard to the same matter -
In South Africa, during the General Election in Cape Colony (1909), Mr. Merriman, the Prime Minister, stated to a deputation of . the W.C.T.U. ; “ The wine-drinking Latin races are notoriously healthy ; in fact, the Italians actually endured conditions, while working on the construction of the .London Tube Railway, which the English navvies found insupportable.” This statement was absolutely untrue. The general manager respecting this matter, said : “ The statement that Italians were employed in the construction ‘of London tubes because Britishers failed, is quite untrue. Italians might nave been employed in some instances, such as to do Mosaic pavement work, at which they are experts, but for general labour they were not employed.”
On the question of national crime and disorder, as affected by the sale of intoxicating drinks, let rae quote a few authorities who know what they are talking about. Sir John Madden, the Chief Justice of Victoria, in a letter dated Government House, 23rd November, 1900, wrote -
J regret to have to say that excess of drink beyond all doubt or question, is either the cause or the object of a large proportion of the crime of our community. Much of the gravest crime is directly traced to the influence on or to the mental disablement produced by alcoholic liquor in those who commit it. On the other hand, a great deal of less grave crime is committed with the object chiefly of obtaining such liquor.
Sir Hartley Williams, of Victoria, said ;
I have observed with painful interest the very numerous instances in which prisoners who have been tried before me, have, under the influence of drink, committed offences which it was manifested they would not otherwise have committed . I do not hesitate to say that one-half of those falling within the class of first offenders, who have been tried before me in the country, have committed the offence for which they have been placed upon their trial while under the influence of drink.
Judge Docker, is thus reported in the Sydney Morning Herald - in dealing with an important licensing case connected with the borough of Mosman yesterday afternoon at the Darlinghurst Appeal Court, he took occasion to refer to the practice of drinking in its relation to crime. He thought that drink was responsible for a great deal of the crime that was committed, and in his position he had considerable opportunities of judging in this matter. He supposed that, if it could be prohibited, they would have a kind of Garden of Eden or an Arcadia.
Sir Charles Lilley, late Chief Justice and Premier of Queensland, said -
Constant observation has founded in my mind the settled belief that the use of intoxicating liquors is the prime factor in the production of crime. There are other vices and passions which occasionally tend to crime, but even there drink will very generally be found awakening and arousing them to destructive energy. In almost every crime of violence the drunkenness of the prisoner and his victim either urged on or tempted the criminal to the commission of the offence. I have further a firm conviction that if the women of this country would refuse to sanction the use of intoxicating drinks in their homes, and on festive occasions everywhere, and if they would furnish a constant example of abstinence themselves, they would bring a priceless blessing to their country, and secure the eternal gratitude of the future generations of Australia.
Mr. Justice Hodges, speaking in the Melbourne .Exhibition Building on the 15th September, 1898, said -
I wish to say again to-night, that drink ties at the .root of most of the evils of the com?munity. I am not, and never have been, a member of any total abstinence, or even temperance, society, and am no faddist, but by virtue of the office I hold it is my duty .to watch the causes which contribute to the falling, of my fellow-citizens; I say this deliberately, that not only is drink responsible for more crime than any other single cause, but it is responsible for more crime than all other causes put together. The stages of most men’s downfall are marked by the one pervading evil - drink. If you want to study the awful influences of drink on human life in one of its saddest phases, go to the Divorce Court. Almost all the wretchedness there paraded has its origin in drink.
Mr. Justice Hodges further said ;
After close upon nineteen years’ experience in the Criminal and Divorce Courts I can repeat what I said publicly some years ago, that drink is either directly or indirectly responsible for more crime, more sin, more domestic misery than all other causes put together. It is appalling to no.te the number of crimes that are traceable to drink, and still more awful to sit in a Divorce Court and hear detailed the squalor, the poverty, the domestic misery, the utter destruction of home life that result from indulgence to excess in intoxicating drinks.
A late Chief Justice of Victoria, Sir William a’ Beckett, said -
I say advisedly that in nine cases out of ten that come before me judicially in Australia intoxication or the public house, was directly or indirectly the cause.
Mr. Justice Simpson, of New South Wales, said -
There is not the least doubt that drink is the cause of a good deal of crime. I have seen it in every phase of life during my experience as Crown Prosecutor, Chairman of Quarter Sessions, and as a Supreme Court Judge. I have no hesitation in -saying that were it not for the drink there would be a very great diminution in crime. In the Divorce Court I see wretchedness and unhappiness and misery, all frequently brought about by drink. My experience is that many of the cases of cruelty that come before the Court are tie result of drink.
Judge Molesworth, Chairman of the Metropolitan Licensing Bench, Victoria, said -
I think drunkenness is the cause of a great deal of the crime that exists among us.
Mr. Justice Kerferd, who went from the brewery to the Bar, said - the calendar began and ended with drink. Judge” Dowling, of New South Wales, said -
Since 1849 he had sat either as a judge or police magistrate - and was in a position ‘to know what was the cause of our gaols being so full - and had probably tried more criminal cases in New South Wales than any other man. He felt convinced that if nine-tenths of the Colony’s public houses were closed he, as a criminal Judge, would soon have nothing to do, and the gaols of the country would be almost empty.
Sir Frederick Darley, late Chief Justice of New South Wales, said -
Seven-tenths of the crime in the community cun be traced directly, or almost directly, to drink. At the first assize at which I presided, every single case was directly traceable to drink.
Many years ago, Sir William Denison said -
In my position as Governor, not only of this Colony (New South Wales), but also of the neighbouring Colony of Tasmania, I have had full experience of the baneful effects of intemperance, and I can safely say that ninety out of every hundred of those unfortunate persons suffering the penalty of their crimes can trace their misfortunes to intoxicating liquors.
Then I have the report of the InspectorGeneral of Penal Establishments in Victoria, a statement signed by the warders of the Sydney prison, and other docu-. ments, all showing the evil effects of intoxicating liquor from the point of view of national crime. . I must pass over the American and English authorities owing to want of time.
One startling fact is the loss of life entailed by the sale of intoxicating drink. Dr. Norman Ker estimates that yearly 120,000 deaths are directly attributable to drink; and Dr. Richardsonsays that in ten years in the United States drink creates 200,000 widows and 1,000,000 orphans. Life assurance tables give very striking evidence in this connexion. There are fourteen British life assurance companies who have special provisions all in favour of the total abstainer; and a rather interesting statement was made lately in regard to the Australian Mutual Provident Society, with which we are particularly concerned. Mr. Richard Teece, the actuary of that society, has, according to the Rechabite - taken the favorable experience of the A.M. P. and compared it with the temperance section of the United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident institution with this result : - Actual deaths among select A.M. P. lives, 8,259; according to the British Temperance experience these would have been 7,607; excess in A.M. P. 652. The inference is that if all the A.M. P. policy-holders had been abstainers there would have been 652 fewer deaths among them ; that their wonderfully low mortality would have been lower still. But this is only half the truth. If the abstainers in the A.M. P. were in a separate section - as they ought to be - and Mr. Teece had been able to compare moderate drinkers by themselves with abstainers, the con trast would have been much more striking. The many abstainers in the A.M. P. have helped to keep down the average death rate. As it is, Mr. Teece says : - “ In view of the remarkably favorable mortality experienced in this society, this result should be a useful weapon in the hands of temperance advocates.”
There is rather a pathetic aspect to this question in so far as it relates to children. Dr. Mary Stone, of Melbourne, said -
A large number of children of drinkers are physically or mentally abnormal - 82 to 93 per cent., according to different authorities. . . . Dr. Sullivan personally investigated 600 children, born of 120 drunken mothers, and found 55 per cent, were still-born or died before they were two years old ; and of the survivors, 4. 1 per cent, became epileptic (the ratio in the general population being below? per cent.). Other investigators have found 12 to 15 per cent, of the surviving children of alcoholics have become epileptic. Also, the families tend to die out.
There is nothing more startling than the fearful mortality amongst children in consequence of the abuse of alcohol by parents. Sir William Broadbent says -
Children should never know the taste of any alcoholic drink, and stimulants should be absolutely forbidden during school life. In adolescence they impair self-control, and are a source of danger. At all ages when taken to relieve feelings of weakness or faintness, serious danger of falling under their influence is close at hand.
Dr. James Ewing, of Leeds, says ;
What we want to drive home as members of the medical profession is that if people will not give it up for their own sakes as fathers and mothers they should give up taking alcohol for the sake of their children, because they might be implanting in their child the craving for drink, which it would be unable to resist when it came into the world.
Dr. Edis says ; “ Infant mortality is mainly due to two causes, the substitution of farinaceous food for milk, and the delusion that ale or stout is necessary as an article of diet for nursing mothers.
Sir Henry Parkes once gave a lecture on the subject, “ The shocking effects of drink in parents and its baneful influence on the children.” Sir Henry Parkes said -
When the innocent and promising boys and girls get up of a morning, let them feast their eyes upon the beautiful in nature, and not glasses and’ bottles, the remains of a night’s drinking in the home ; adorn the tables, the mantel, and the sideboards with flowers - cultivate the lovely plants yourselves; teach the little ones to plant and grow them about the home, and never under any circumstances allow them to see the beer bottle and jug brought into the house, or the effects of their maddening and debauchery contents, consumed with idle and backbiting chattermaggery and slander.
Speaking of drink and infanticide, a note in the Lutheran Standard says -
Eighty years ago, when the Norwegians were a drinking people, . 300 of every 1,000 childrenborn, died before they reached their first birthday, anniversary. Now, since they are a sober people, the ratio is 80 and 90 per 1,000. In Bavaria, where the drink evil still exists, of every 1,000 born, 300 do not survive a year. Of the 237,000 born last year, 6,500 were stillborn, and 69,000 died within a year.
Although the mortality tables, as given to us by the Prime Minister, show that we in Australia are particularly fortunate in regard to our children as compared with other countries, the fact remains that we lose hundreds of young lives annually through the curse of drink.
I propose now to deal with another aspect of the question, namely, the evil of intoxicating drink as affecting national industry. In this connexion, the following figures taken from the Commonwealth Year-book, 1909, may prove interesting -
There are two or three interesting comparisons which I wish to base on the figures just given. In the first place, let me compare the total value of the output of breweries and distilleries, and the number of employes engaged therein, with the value of the output and the employment given in a number of other industries. That is best shown by the following table :-
Let me now give the output of and wages paid in breweries and distilleries compared with the output of and wages paid in several other industries. It is as follows : -
There is one worker employed for every ^252 spent in hats and caps, for every ^517 spent in furniture, for every ,£325 spent in boots and shoes, and for every £2,231 spent in alcohol, while Mr. Joshua, the great brandy manufacturer, has stated that with 1,000 men he could drown the world in spirits. The annual expenditure on alcohol has been estimated roughly at £15,000,000. In the following table 1 have bracketed together the industries supplying the things that we eat, the industries supplying the things that we wear, and I have made a third group of the saw-mills and agricultural implement factories. Each of these groups of industries is compared with the breweries and distilleries.
From the Budget speech delivered by the Treasurer last week, I have ascertained that the expenditure on all the Commonwealth Departments for 1911-12 will not exceed £r 1,1.45, 064, while there is to be expended on the Navy ,£1,515,000, and- on new works £2,791,365, a total of £15,451.429, which is only equal to the annual expenditure on intoxicating liquors in Australia. To make another comparison : The estimated expenditure on old-age pensions is £2,235,927 j on defence, including the construction of the Fleet, ammunition factories/ new works, and departmental expenses, £3,974,515.; 011 posts, telephones, and telegraphs. £5.127,160; a total of £11,337,602, or £3,662.-398 less than the annual drink bill of Australia. Tlie total increase in the value of land, buildings, plant, and machinery in all the industries of Australia from 1903 to 1909 was £14,999,176. whereas the drink bill for the period totalled £84,000,000. While in 1.908 the estimated expenditure on alcohol was £15,000.000, the money spent on bread was £7.250,000, on sugar £3,750,000, on lea £2,000,000, and on education £2,214,812, the four items only about equalling the expenditure on alcohol- The expenditure on railways and tramways was £h 769:383, or only half what was spent on alcohol. Without this expenditure on alcoholic liquors, we could carry our people and their products free on the railways, and let them live rent free, too. Our expenditure on telegraphs and telephones is £3,827, 160, but while we are thus starving an important Department because of the difficulty of raising all the revenue needed, we are squandering £15,000,000 on drink. The following table shows the consumption of the individual States and of the Commonwealth per head and per annum : -
The total expenditure of the Commonwealth for the whole period averages £13,000,000. As the time allotted for the discussion of general motions is almost at an end, I ask leave to continue my speech at a later date.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member be allowed to continue his speech?
Honorable Members. - “ Yes “ and “ No.”
– Leave to continue can be given only with the unanimous consent of honorable members.
– Do I understand that we cannot divide on the question ?
– There can be no division on it.
– Then I shall conclude. As ray time has now expired, and 1 must close, somewhat abruptly, and perforce jettison many further statements and arguments I have here available. I strongly commend the motion to the favorable consideration of honorable members.
Question put. The House divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 19th October (vide page 1626) on motion by Mr. Ryrie -
That a Select Committee (with power to send for persons and papers) be appointed 10 inquire into the pay and allowances of the warrant, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Permanent Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
That such Committee consist of Mr. Charlton, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Mathews, Mr. Mcwilliams, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Bruce Smith, and the mover.
.- According to the business-paper, the resumption of the debate on this motion stands in the name of the Honorary Minister, and I think it is to be regretted that some Ministerial utterance is not forthcoming.
– A Ministerial utterance was made by the present PostmasterGeneral.
– Do I understand that the Ministerial utterance which has been made expresses the corporate Ministerial will in this connexion ? I am told that the present Postmaster-General, the only Minister who has spoken to this question, gave an emphatic opposition to the whole inquiry asked for.
I sincerely regret that the Government do not recognise the advisableness of granting the inquiry for which the honorable member for North Sydney asks, for I am fully convinced that no section of the Public Service is worse considered in the matter of pay and conditions than is the Permanent Defence Force of Australia. The mover of the motion asks only for an inquiry into the pay and allowances of the warrant, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Permanent Military Forces of the Commonwealth. For the moment I cannot understand why he should not have included the commissioned officers of the Defence Forces in his motion, so as to embrace the pay and allowances of the Forces as a whole. I presume that he felt some reluctance to move in that direction in view of the fact that he has, perhaps, friends or relatives in the service. I should be very happy to see this inquiry all-embracing in its scope, and with the permission of the mover, and the concurrence of the House, I should like to move that the proposed inquiry embrace the pay and allowances, not only of the warrant, non-commissioned officers, and men, but also of the commissioned officers. The pay of the non-commissioned officers and men has been fully and clearly dealt with by the honorable member for North Sydney.
– I think that there is a better chance of carrying the motion as it stands.
– I would rather have part than lose the whole, and if the proposal to extend the inquiry to the commissioned officers is defeated, the balance of the motion will have my most cordial support. It seems almost invidious to propose to consider the pay and allowances of every section but one of the service. To so restrict the inquiry might suggest that this House was merely seeking popularity for the observance of a democratic principle, or something of the sort, when really, I take “ it, what is desired by the mover of the motion, and the House as a whole, is that we shall go thoroughly into the whole question of whether or not the Commonwealth Defence Force is adequately remunerated for its services.
One reason I would submit in favour of this inquiry is that we Have had, for the last ten years, a constantly-increasing cost of living going on all over Australia.
– Throughout the world.
– And especially throughout Australia. The proportionate increase in the Commonwealth has been greater than that of any other country with the statistics of which I am acquainted.
– We have not had bread riots such as have occurred in the Old World.
– I do not desire to enter into controversial matters, but I say, without fear of contradiction, that the cost of living, certainly in New South Wales, has gone up, I should think, nearly 40 per cent, since 1900.
– In what direction - increased rents or increased cost of food supplies ?
– The general living rate, as a whole, has increased. The position is so serious that the Government of New South Wales have had to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole subject. There are many causes for the increase. In our efforts to facilitate labour getting a fair remuneration for its services, through the medium of either Wages Boards or Arbitration Courts, we have undoubtedly put up, to a certain extent, the cost of commodities. I am not putting the matter controversially, and do not give that as the only reason for the increase. If a man receiving higher wages in one industry has to pay more for the necessaries of life owing to the wages being put up in the industries which produce those necessaries, his position is not so prejudiced, because his wages have gone up with the increase ; but a man in the Government service, receiving a fixed pay, feels the pinch all the time. The difficulty all through in regard to the Permanent Military Forces is that, although the present pay and allowances might have been a. fair thing in 1900, it will require a good deal of argument to satisfy us that they are adequate to the extent of the services rendered, and to the cost of living to-day. If wages in general employment go up, and the cost of living as a whole rises, the pay and allowances of the Public Service of the Commonwealth ought to go up in equal proportions.
– Should not the Minister of Defence make proper provision for the payment of those under him? Mr. KELLY. - He ought, but he has refused point-blank to have an inquiry into the matter.
– Why take the responsibility off his shoulders ?
– This motion does not absolve him from a shred of responsibility. It simply gives him the opportunity of having an impartial body to go into the whole question of wages, and will strengthen his hands if he is anxious to increase the pay and allowances of the Permanent Forces. He will afterwards have to act on his own responsibility as to whether he accepts or rejects, or as to how far he will act upon, the recommendations of the Committee.
The honorable member for North Sydney appears to have chosen his Committee quite impartially. There are on, it men from both sides of the Chamber. There are the honorable member for Newcastle, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, and the Honorary Minister, from the Ministerial side; and there are the honorable member for Franklin, the honorable member for Parkes, the mover and myself, from this side. I cannot see why the Ministry should refuse to appoint so impartial a Committee. I had hoped that the statement which emanated from the present Postmaster-General was only the expression of his own individual opinion, and that the Government would see the desirability of letting the House know, through an impartial body, what is a fair rate of wages and allowances in this service. There are enough strong Government supporters nominated on the Committee to see that recommendations for increases in pay, &c, are not made greater than the Government would perhaps like.
– In any case, the Committee would not finally decide what wages should be paid.
– As I have already pointed out, it will be only an advisory Committee. If a Committee consisting of violent partisans were to be appointed and conduct its labours with the definite object of embarrassing the Minister, I could understand him being afraid of being placed in the position of refusing to act on its recommendations ; but the body proposed by the honorable member for North Sydney is an impartial bond fide Committee of inquiry into a subject which ought to be dealt with in common fairness to the non-commissioned officers and men of our Permanent Forces. I sincerely trust that the Government will support the proposal. In order to make it all-embracing, and to absolve us from any charge by a recalcitrant Minister of endeavouring to seek popularity with one section of the Defence
Forces on approved democratic lines, I propose to move an amendment to include also the commissioned officers of the Permanent Forces. I understand that a comparison of the scale of officers’ pay and allowances in the Australian Forces with those in the British Defence Forces- shows that junior officers with us are paid better than junior officers in the Home service; but that above the rank of LieutenantColonel - or is it Major? - the pay and emoluments in the British service are very much better than they are here. That is a curious anomaly which might well be inquired into in this connexion, although I do not think it is nearly so important as the inquiry into the pay and allowances of the non-commissioned officers and men. That is a most urgent matter, and in common justice to them ought to be attended to at once. I move -
That the word “ commissioned “ be inserted before the word “ warrant.”
– I second the amendment. It seems incredible that the Government should offer any objection to so simple a proposal as that now before the House. After all, the Committee is asked for only with a view to inquiring into the pay and allowances of those connected with the military service. The Committee may make recommendations to the Government, but the Government alone have the right and power to say whether they shall be given effect to, or whether the present conditions shall remain. The mover of the motion desires to ascertain whether the rates of pay in the sections of the service specified are commensurate with-the cost of living in the community, and adequate for the duties they have to perform. Surely it is not the desire of the Government, or of the party supporting them, or, I hope, of any honorable member, that our military service should be paid less well than any other branch of the Commonwealth service. If these men are underpaid, it is our duty, in looking after their interests, and the interests of the community generally, and in enforcing the general wish of the people of this country, to see that their wages are increased to a proper and reasonable standard, according to the nature of the duties they have to perform. It has been said that the junior officers in the Australian service have a higher rate of pay than that which prevails in. Great Britain. But it is more apparent than real when we look at all the facts. A com parison of the rates for certain grades shows that a company sergeant-major in the Imperial service receives 6s., and in the Australian service- 6s. 3d. ; a- sergeant gets 5s. and 5s. 6d. respectively ; a corporal, 4s. and 4s. 6d. respectively ; a bombardier, 3s. gd. and 4s. 3d. respectively ; and a gunner, 2s. 5d. and 4s. respectively.
– There is something wrong about the last figures.
– The figures from which I am quoting are compiled by those within the service who should know something about the rates of pay, but I take no personal responsibility for their accuracy. Those who compiled them should be in a better position to speak with authority on these matters than we who are mere la ymen, without any inside knowledge of the workings of the Department. Although the figures indicate that a. slightly higher rate of pay prevails for those officers here, it is not in any way proportionate to the higher rates of pay prevailing in general outside occupations here as compared with Great Britain. I believe the pay of ordinary citizens in the Commonwealth is no less than from 80 per cent, to something like 130 per cent, in some occupations greater than in Great Britain. If the rates of pay of those officers were increased in proportion to the difference in the cost of living, and the difference in wages as between citizens in Great Britain and Australia, I understand from the list which has been supplied to me that the pay of a company sergeant-major here would be 10s. od. instead of 6s. 3d. ; of a sergeant, 9s., instead of 5s. 6d. ; of a corporal, 7s. 2d., instead of 4s 6d. ; of a bombardier, 6s. 9d., instead of 4s. 3d. ; and of a gunner, 4s. 4d., instead of 4s. I do not say that those are the rates of pay that should prevail. That could be determined only after inquiry into all the circumstances. We should ascertain definitely what is a fair rate of pay for the services which these people perform for the Commonwealth in their military capacity, in the light of the cost of living, general rates of wages outside, and other vital considerations. It seems, from what we can learn so far, that the rates of pay in the permanent Defence Forces of the Commonwealth are very small as compared with those received by the Imperial Forces, when those conditions are taken into account. I do not know whether the utterance of the Postmaster-General on this subject Inst week was merely the expression of his own opinion, or was indicative of the attitude of the Government as a whole. If it was the latter, I sincerely trust the Government will reconsider their position in relation to the question, and at least allow a Select Committee to be appointed in order to ascertain all the facts. No harm can be done by an inquiry of this kind, and I can see no reasonable objection to the passage of the motion.
– I support the motion as proposed to be amended by the honorable member for Wentworth. The Government would be well advised to permit an inquiry of the kind into the whole question of the pay and emoluments of officers and men. I cannot see that any ill could result, but, rather, that a Select Committee would prove a great source of help to the Ministry in launching the new defence scheme. There are a great many readjustments required from various aspects of administration. For instance, a Select Committee could investigate the question whether a number of officers now performing civilian duties should be under the Defence authorities or under the Public Service Commissioner. At present, the control is divided, with consequent confusion. Since seven honorable members are to form the Committee, I suggest, having regard to the state of parties in the House, that it would be well if the Government party were given the odd man rather than that the personnel should be as proposed in the motion. It is, in my opinion, a very proper thing that the Minister representing the Defence Department in this House should be a member of a Select Committee of this character, because he will be able to see that the Department is properly represented and its interests safeguarded. An inquiry of the kind would, I think, save the Ministry some unpleasant duties. Honorable members will have seen that, at Home,, the Postmaster-General has consented to a thorough inquiry into the staff arrangements of the whole Department ; this, in England, is considered to be no reflection on the Minister.
– The consent was given under .threat of a strike.
– The point is that such an inquiry is held to tie no reflection on the Minister.; and, on more than one occasion, there have been inquiries by Commissions into the administration of the War Office. Very often, schemes -of reform are suggested, and taken advantage of by the Government, with good results to the
Department, the country, and all concerned. If I thought that an inquiry of the kind would in the slightest degree embarrass the Minister, I should vote against the motion, but, as I say, I think the Government would be well advised to accept the proposal. It may mean the obtaining of information from the War Office ait Home; and if the Committee do not conclude their labours before the end of the session, they might, as is done frequently, both .here and at ,Home, be constituted a Royal Commission. There is a scheme for the payment of officers suggested in Lord Kitchener’s recommendations, but I see no reference to that in the Estimates ; the whole matter would be better for an inquiry by an impartial body, such as that now suggested.
– I do not see that the Government have anything to fear from the motion now before us. I do not support the appointment of a Select Committee because I hope to obtain any political kudos thereby. While I cannot vote for the amendment to include officers in this inquiry, I think the subject ought to be probed to the very bottom. We have heard, on many occasions, that, in regard to pay, our forces do not compare favorably with other forces in the Empire, particularly those in the oversea Dominions; and I have no doubt that on this point valuable information could be obtained by a Select Committee. The military authorities regard themselves as quite immaculate when they get on to their little thrones in the different administrative offices throughout the Commonwealth; and this is the most difficult of all Departments to obtain any sound information from. The present PostmasterGeneral, when speaking as Honorary Minister some weeks ago, said that all the information contemplated in this motion could be obtained from die Department. My experience, however., is that, though the officials of the Department will give .the information asked for, they will give neither more nor less - they simply say “ Yes” or “No.” If a private member desires to enter into details, a hurdle is always put up in front of Mm. When, some years ago, I assumed the task of helping to put defence matters in order, -my friends in Queensland told me that it was only a question of time when I would join she ranks of those who had set out on a similar mission of reform and had failed. Their words have come true—I am “ full up “ of it. One who spoke to me in that strain was the Prime Minister himself, and another was the Minister of External Affairs. The Prime
Minister told me, when I came down here as a raw political recruit, that I had “ taken on a job ‘ ‘ the magnitude of which I did not realize. I “ took it on,” however, but I am satisfied as to the truth of what the right honorable gentleman then said. If there is nothing to hide or fear, I ask the Prime Minister to accept the motion.
– Boiled down, what is it that is desired ?
– If a Select Committee be appointed, the members of it will boil down the information and present it to the Government and the country. When the Honorary Minister said that all the information desired could be got from the Department, the honorable member for North Sydney very wisely said, “ That is no good to me; I wish to have the information supplied by a Committee that will have some weight in the House.” We are not content with the opinions of individual members expressed in academic discussion. The privatemembers’ business day is neither more nor less than a farce - it is a day to give us an opportunity to “blow off steam.” You, Mr. Speaker, have for years known my opinions on military matters. If a Committee can bring fresh light to bear on the Department, it may allay a great deal of bad feeling, both in and out of the service. The Permanent Forces are the skeleton of our army ; the men who compose them are the instructors of the Citizen Forces, and will give stiffening in time of war. But however small our Permanent Force, it must be contented if we are to get the best work out of them.
– Would the proposed inquiry bring about contentment?
– If I did not think so, I would not support the motion. Last year, with the sanction of the Minister of Defence, the matters which have been referred to were discussed by members of the Forces, and a petition presented to the Minister and to every honorable member. But it went the way of all petitions - into the waste-paper basket. The more I think over the matter, the more certain I- am that a Select Committee should be appointed. We have entered upon a big defence policy, and it is not right or proper that our soldiers should be unfairly dealt with. We shall always have soldiers, so long as the world continues. Those of us who cherished the idea that peace was within a reasonable distance have had their illusion shattered within the last month by the action of Italy in grabbing territory from
Turkey, altogether without - warning. We ought to take a lesson from that occurrence. I hope that even at this late hour the Prime Minister will consent to the appointment of a Committee. It will not do harm to the Government, and no harm is intended.
– In the warmth of his heart, the honorable member for Maranoa, as an old soldier, thinks that the carrying of the motion is the right way to bring about what he desires.
– I honestly think so.
– I as honestly think that it is not. In my opinion, the Government should not consent to an investigation of the administration of the Defence Department by a Select Committee. If honorable members think that the Minister of Defence is not capable of making the necessary representations to the Cabinet, and the Cabinet of presenting the necessary proposals to Parliament to secure proper pay and conditions for the commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the permanent service, another sort of motion should be moved. The honorable member for North Sydney says that he has excluded commissioned officers from the scope of the Committee’s inquiry, so that we may not suspect him of an ulterior motive, but the real question is, What is the proper course to pursue with a view to the proper administration of the Departments of government? If the Minister of Defence, whose term of office is not very long, has failed to do justice, an attack should be made on him in a different way.
– I had no intention of attacking the Minister, nor had the mover of the motion. The motion of the honorable member for Gwydir for the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the administration of the Postmaster-General was accepted by the Government.
– Not by this Government.
– We fought the motion very hard, because inquiries of the sort proposed are inconvenient.
– Every Government must determine what is the proper course to pursue. Some honorable members could an exceedingly interesting tale unfold regarding what happened when the motion of the honorable member for Gwydir was moved. The proposal under discussion is the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate the conditions of the recruiting, housing, clothing, as well as the pay, of non-commissioned officers and men.
– The motion speaks only of pay and allowances.
– Incidental to the inquiry, an investigation such as I speak of would be necessary.
– Such an inquiry would have to be made.
– It would not be sufficient to make an ‘inquiry regarding pay and allowances without taking into consideration other conditions. The present session will not be a long one, and the inquiry asked for could not be concluded before the prorogation. I am averse from having a Select Committee whose inquiry is unfinished converted into a Royal Commission, especially one appointed to obtain information which the Minister of Defence is able and willing to make available to honorable members, and I promise that it shall be made available to them. In that way, they can obtain as full a knowledge of the case as can be gained by the investigation of a Committee. No doubt, certain honorable members are ready to serve their country and their own opinions, but this is not the time for the proposed inquiry.
– That is the old gag: “ The time is not opportune.”
– Not even trie mover of the motion would say that the proposed investigation could be finished before the end of the session
– He is game to take it on.
– That may be so. But it is not reasonable to suppose that the inquiry could be finished before the prorogation. The Budget debate, which will be continued as soon as the Works and Buildings Estimates have been disposed of, will give every member an opportunity to ask any question he may wish to put to the Government, and I promise that all information asked for shall be given in as direct a fashion as possible. I cannot, of course, make myself acquainted with the details of administration in all the Departments, and have no personal knowledge of the remuneration of the Permanent Forces ; but no Minister has been more anxious to deal out substantial justice to the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of our Defence Forces than is my honorable colleague, the present Minister of Defence.
– Some very flagrant grievances have not been dealt with.
– The honorable member will agree with me, at all events, that much has been done, and that our expenditure has been greatly increased. Much more is yet proposed to be done. It is easy for the honorable member for Parramatta to say that if he had remained in office he would have done this and that; but this Parliament will have to make up its mind as to what is to be expended on defence, and as to what extra taxation shall be raised to maintain our defences in an efficient state. All these matters hinge on the question now before us. If outstanding grievances can be pointed out, the Minister of Defence will look into them and make recommendations to the Cabinet ; and I, as head of the Government, will ask Parliament to remedy those grievances, even if extra taxation be necessary to allow that to be done. During all the campaigns on this question I have never hesitated to say that our national defence system must be efficient; that those engaged in it must be properly equipped and dealt with fairly, and’ that the people who want that defence should be asked to pay for it. I appeal to honorable members not, at the very inception of a big scheme of national defence, to intervene with a Committee of Inquiry between the Minister and the Forces. Senator Pearce is one of the most active, energetic, and able Ministers of Defence we have ever had. Whilst the appointment of a Select Committee would not directly reflect upon him personally, it would weaken his position at the present time; and instead of strengthening- the position of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Service, it would, in my opinion, do them an injury. I am not going to say that an inquiry into matters of defence is unjustifiable in any circumstances, but such an inquiry ought not to be entered upon lightly, nor without full and deliberate consideration. I ask that this motion for a general investigation be not pressed. I cannot support it, and I do not think it is wise that the House should agree to it.
. - It is a matter of regret that the right honorable gentleman at the head of the Government did not address himself to this question earlier in the debate.
– It was my misfortune that I could not.
– I am not suggesting that the right honorable member has been in any way neglectful, for I can well understand that his many duties make it impossible for him to be always in the chamber. But if he had had an opportunity to speak at an earlier stage of the debate, and had done so, I think he would have cleared the air very considerably. I intend to support the Government, even if they go to the extent of resisting the proposal for the appointment of a Select Committee. It is to be regretted that the mover of the motion did not ask straight out for a Royal Commission. The appointment of a Select Committee at this stage of the session would be- useless. The Committee would lapse before anything could be done. As the honorable member for Maranoa has pointed out, if we are to have an inquiry, it must be of an exhaustive character. A Select Committee must either lapse at the end of the session, or be converted into a Royal Commission.
– Would the honorable member vote for the appointment of a Royal- Commission?
– Certainly not. I should not vote for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the Defence Forces of Australia unless a very strong case was made out for it. This proposal relates, not to cadets and others who, under our compulsory training system, must of necessity attend a certain number of drills, hut to a body of our- fellowcitizens who, of their own free will, have joined the Defence Forces.
– But every man who goes to work does so of his own free will.
– Not necessarily. A craftsman- - a carpenter, a blacksmith, or an engineer - certainly does not, of his own free will, remain in his own. particular trade; he does so, because he is receiving good wages ia it, or, because certain other circumstances compel him to do so.. There is a certain amount of pressure brought to bear upon- every man to follow his own trade, but the rank and file of our Permanent Forces, who are drawn largely from the labouring classes, are not bound to remain in the Forces. They can retire and do other labouring work.
– Would it not be wise to get as much information as we nan?
– Does the honorable member, who has held office as a Minister, believe that it would be right to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the Military Forces, of the Commonwealth? I am not going to. say that at no time would such an inquiry be justified, but none save the gravest circumstances would warrant the appointment of a Royal Commission, which would, so to speak, put the Government and our military experts on trial. We know that the more we keep our military service free from politicians and politics the better. Politicians are not the best men to have as commanding officers or officers of the general staff.
– That is what “the “ boss “ always says.
– The honorable member must realize that there is a vast difference between the position of those who bear arms and. that of the civilian section of the community.
– And those who bear arms should get better, not worse, treatment than is extended to civilians.
– I am not here to advocate the unfair treatment of any section of the community. Ali that I urge is. that, during this debate,, a strong, case has not been made out for the. appointment of a Select Committee against the. wish- of the Government. The debate will, I think, be a sufficient indication to. the Government that the House is of opinion that, if there are any grievances - and I believe there are - in connexion with our Defence Forces, the sooner the Minister removes them the better. There may be some grievances of a minor character, but any substantial grievance should, undoubtedly be removed. We have ample opportunities to discuss such matters without adopting the extreme- course we are asked’ to follow. Some honorable members opposite have sought to draw an analogy between the Postal Commission and that which we- are now asked to appoint. I fail to see any analogy. Military affairs are always looked upon as exceptional, since, in connexion with them, we have to deal with men who bear arms. Their position is totally different from that of postal employes.
– And they should receive exceptional treatment.
– I am not urging that those who bear arms should, because of that fact, be compelled to suffer grievances. The point of my argument is that the exceptional character of their work is such that we would not be justified in coming between them and the Government, unless a very strong- case were made out for action on our part. I agree with the honorable member for Maranoa that we should view very seriously any grievances under which our Military Forces suffer, for I am one of those who do not believe that the era of peace has yet arrived. We constantly hear that it is at hand; but I well remember hearing, as a boy, the statement that the Great Exhibition of 1851 was going to bring about an era of peace, and that the lion was going to lie down with the lamb. Modern history has falsified that prediction. Only a few years afterwards the British Empire was involved in a big war, and, as the honorable member for Maranoa has mentioned, a war is now being carried on by two other nations. The only element of doubt in regard to that war is whether or not another great Power thought of doing what Italy seized the opportunity to do. Whether it did or did not the opinion has been freely expressed, not only in Australia, but on the other side of the world, that it did. I appeal to honorable members to be very careful not to come between the Government and the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth in the way now proposed, until all other legitimate parliamentary means of securing redress of grievances have been exhausted. If the Government are prepared to resist the appointment of a Select Committee I shall support them, but I do not wish them to gather from my attitude that, if grievances on the part of members of our Defence Forces are repeatedly brought before Parliament, the time will not arrive when I shall be compelled, however reluctantly, to support an inquiry if I come to the conclusion that the Government are determined hot to remove the causes of dissatisfaction.
– I wish briefly to justify the vote that I intend to give on this motion. If I thought, for one moment, that the Select Committee asked for would have the desired result, I should support its appointment, but I have no confidence whatever in such a Committee. What will it do? It will simply inquire into this question at great cost to the country. Its report will be laid before Parliament, nothing will come of it, and the Minister will be able to shirk his responsibility. Cannot honorable members see the move? I am of opinion that it is simply a move to deal with the highly-paid officers.
– That is not right.
– Whether it is right or not, what has been the trend of the debate? Has it not been that the rank and file are receiving a very fair amount of remuneration for the work performed?
– No one said such a thing.
– Throughout the debate it has been so. It is questionable whether the figures that have been submitted are accurate. We repeatedly hear it stated outside the House that the lower-paid noncommissioned officers and the men in our Defence Forces are receiving such high pay that the best men are being attracted to the service. The proposed Committee, if appointed, will in bringing down their report to the House, forget all about those whom I should like to see receiving better pay - that is, the very lowly-paid men in the ranks. The honorable member for North Sydney knows very well that they will not get a rise. Why does not the honorable member be straight and say “ T want to get some kudos- “
– On a point of order, I submit that the honorable member for Denison is reflecting upon me when he says, “ Why cannot the honorable member be straight?” I take exception to that remark, and ask you, sir, to make him withdraw it.
– I am sure if the honorable member for Denison has said anything offensive he will withdraw it.
– Most decidedly I will, but I am at a loss to know how the honorable member could understand my meaning before I completed the sentence. T have no confidence whatever in the mover of the motion. Why does he come here, just when the Minister of Defence is about to inaugurate a great system laid down by officers brought from abroad, and spring upon the House a motion that will put honorable members in a most awkward position by compelling them to take sides on a question that the majority of them know nothing about? In my opinion it is merely - and if I am out of order when I say it I will withdraw - an electioneering dodge. If that is out of order I will withdraw it, but it is in my mind, and I wish to give utterance to it.
– Order. The’ honorable member must not make a statement simply on the chance of its being in order. It happened that the statement which the honorable member made was not out of order, but had he made a statement which was out of order he would have put me in the position of being able only to call upon him to withdraw it. I think that is the worst form of disorder that any honorable member can indulge in, and I warned the House the other night that any honorable member who followed the practice would have to take the consequences.
– I bow to your ruling, but in my opinion honorable members have no right to try to jam us into a corner by moving something which they think will bring them “kudos with a big section of the community in their various electorates.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable member in order in imputing improper motives to honorable members who have already spoken on the motion?
– If the honorable member imputed improper motives, he would not be in order, but I did not understand him to do so.
– He said we supported the «notion for no other reason than to get kudos out of it.
– That is not imputing improper motives.
– He said the motion was moved in order to jam honorable members into a corner.
– Order I
– I said nothing of the sort. I am not going to take the responsibility which certain honorable members would like to throw upon me. Coming as I do from an electorate in which a number of my supporters are military men, I want to explain to those gentlemen the attitude I am taking up now, and my reasons for it. In the first place, I have every confidence in the Minister of Defence ; but what self-respecting Minister would remain in the position while a Committee of irresponsibles from this House dictated to him how he should run his Department? I am opposing the motion, and until it is shown that the Minister of Defence has failed as a Minister, I shall not support the appointment of any such Committee. That has not yet been shown, and not an argument has been brought forward to show us why we should vote for the motion. Honorable members have not brought forward a specific case to show where any particular body of men are paid very low wages or are suffering to any extent. There may be individual cases. I have had individual cases brought under my own notice, but I believe that, given time, the Minister of Defence will rectify those grievances. He has been, however, only a few months in office, and the same thing applies to exMinisters of Defence. What we have suffered from in the past in regard to our Military Forces has been the short tenure of office of the various Defence Ministers. The present Minister has had no time to remedy these grievances. Members who have been a long time in this House, and should know better, come down to support propositions which would involve the country in enormous expense, and for what purpose? Can any honorable member show me where a Select Committee of this House has yet done any good ? When a Minister or member wants to throw responsibility on to somebody else he gets a Select Committee appointed.
– The Tasmanian Customs Leakage Commission !
– That cost £600, and I am looking for something to come out of it, but it has not come out of it yet. No good result will come out of this Committee if it is appointed. I want to tell the poor fellows outside that the motion is simply put up to make them believe that a certain section of the House want to do something for them. That has been my experience in the past of this sort of thing, and I have had enough of it. Some honorable members have said, “ If we get this Committee, much- good must accrue,” while another section say, “ There may not be anything done at all.” The honorable member for Lang admitted that there might not be anything done - that there might not be any necessity to give an increase of wages. Are this House and the country to be put to the expense and trouble of this Select Committee for the purpose of finding out that nothing need be done? I have always thought that honorable members had a good case when they came to the House and asked for the appointment of a Committee.
– How much would it cost?
– The honorable member knows more about moisture in butter than about the Military Forces. Neither he nor I can know the cost, but I am surprised when I look at the cost of Royal Commissions and Select Committees. I hope that when -honorable members move for the appointment of any such body, they will have some sound reasons to give the House. Why “do they not point out the glaring cases, and show where they exist? I happen to be the representative of a military centre, and not one of the Military Forces has approached me about any grievances under which they suffer as a body. If they did approach me, I should try to get the trouble remedied for them. If I could not do so in any other way, I should, on the motion for the adjournment of the House, point out the grievances which the men were suffering under, and I should expect the House to assist me to get the wrong righted. As the honorable member for Hindmarsh very clearly put it, we are not dealing with the postal, or any similar Department. We are dealing with the Defence Department, which is altogether different in its management from all the others. If it were not so, how is it that the whole of the Defence Department has not been placed under the control of the Public Service Commissioner? It is simply because the House and the country desire to throw the responsibility on to the Minister. 1 have every confidence in that gentleman, and the moment I cease to have confidence in him I shall say so. If the Minister is to be hampered by irresponsible people inquiring into the working of his Department, it will cause no end of dissension throughout the Commonwealth. If, for instance, the Committee reported that a certain section of the non-commissioned officers were under-paid, and the responsible officers of the Department did not feel inclined to recommend an increase, in what position would the Minister of Defence be, and what condition would the Defence Forces find themselves in? Should we be likely to have that discipline which is essential for the carrying out of any proper Defence scheme? The Committee, if appointed, would not achieve the effect which its supporters say it would.
– Does the honorable member believe in these men joining a union to secure better rates of pay?
– Employment in the Defence Forces is altogether different from employment outside. If the men in the Defence Forces formed themselves into a union, and were called out for the defence of the country, and just about the same time took it into their heads to strike, what position would we be in? If honorable members say these men are justified in forming a union, then I am logical in saying that they would be justified in striking if they did not get their just dues from the Government. It is for the Minister of Defence to take the responsibility of seeing that the men get their rights. If the Minister does not do so, it is for us to express our want of confidence in him, and compel the Department to do justice to the men who defend the country.
– Would the Government allow this to be a non-party question?
– How could the Government allow this to be a non-party question? The present Minister of Defence has a policy altogether different from that of his predecessor; and if he made a mistake, would the question not be a party one then? Such must be party questions so long as we have responsible government. If I voted for the appointment of this” Select Committee, I should be simply expressing a lack of confidence in the Minister. I desire the men in the ranks, and the non-commissioned officers, to understand that there is no one in the House more desirous than myself of giving them proper conditions ; but a proper means to that end must be adopted. I oppose the motion, for the one reason that it will not benefit those whom we desire to benefit, namely, the lower-paid men in our Defence Forces.
– I am pleased that this motion has been submitted ; and it has my hearty support as one directed to the betterment of the conditions of employes. I regard the members of the Military Service as employes of the Government ; and I do not desire to see them treated differently from any public servants. I, therefore, suggest that the Government be requested to bring die members of the Defence Forces under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and thus afford a true solution of the problem. If these men are underpaid, as suggested, it is our duty to see that they are given a fair return for their labour. The honorable member for North Sydney will, I think, support an amendment in favour of legislation to bring these men under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– Order ! The honorable member is, I think, going beyond the motion.
– That being so, I must oppose the motion, because I do not see why a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire into the payment and conditions in any particular public Department.
– These men are the lowest paid of all - that is why.
– The Government ought to see that every public servant has a fair and decent wage. A Select Committee can only make recommendations; and if the Government oppose the appointment of a Select Committee, what chance is there of having any recommendation carried into effect? In our Defence Forces we employ engineers, blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, and so forth; and if outside employers have to pay a certain wage, and observe certain conditions under an Arbitration Court, I do not see why our military employes should’ be deprived of the benefits of our industrial legislation. The conditions at Thursday Island arid at- Queenscliff, for example, are vastly different ; and as any Select Committee would have to travel in order to obtain evidence at first hand, I do not see how their work could be completed during the present session. During the recess, however, the Minister will have an opportunity to obtain reports from the different centres ; and next session he may be in a position to introduce a Bill to bring the Military Forces under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and thus settle the conditions for all time. I understand that these men have grievances connected with their food, clothes, accommodation, and so forth ; and, under the circumstances, I suggest that, the honorable member for North Sydney should withdraw his. motion,, and rely on the Government to see that justice is done. If I were a member of the Military Forces, and received a miserable wage, I should leave the service.
– The “ boss “ always says that !
– These men have no excuse if they are underpaid. There is a demand for labour all over the Commonwealth ; and if they are men, they ought to fight for their rights, or leave the service. Honorable members who are supporting the appointment of this Committee do not, some of them, interest themselves in the welfare of the lowly-paid man in outside employment. Any Select Committee appointed would have a wide field to cover; and, as I have already pointed out, the Minister of Defence, in recess, could consider the question of housing, food, clothes, holidays, canteens, and the class of liquor supplied, and so forth. All these form part of the military organization, and call, I suppose, for investigation. I might further suggest that honorable members should visit Thursday Island and other military centres with benefit to themselves and to the country. The honorable member for North Sydney- has been connected with the Military Forces* for a number of years;- and, consequently,, he has the comparatively easy task of talking “ shop.” But other honorable members, myself included, are not fighting men, and it would be well if the Government could arrange such, visits of inspection as I have indicated. I agree with the honorable member for North S Sydney that the men of the Permanent Forces should be fairly remunerated and properly treated, and no doubt the result of the debate will be to cause the Minister of Defence to look carefully into the whole matter. We, on this side, are at all times ready to do everything that can be clone to better the condition of the community, and the employes of the Commonwealth. As such the men of our Military Forces have nothing to lose by putting themselves in the hands of the Minister of Defence.
Dr. MALONEY (Melbourne) [6,.i3).- I object to the motion on the same ground as the honorable member for Parramatta, considering that the party possessing a majority in the Chamber should be more largely represented on the proposed Committee than the minority. I do not remember any instance in which on a Committee the bigger party in the House had not a majority of at least one representative.
– I am willing to make achange.
– That removes one objection to the motion. There are more officers and men in, and passing through,, my constituency than in any other constituency, because Melbourne has only one member, while Sydney is divided into four electorates; but I have not yet heard either officer or man make a complaint about pay. The last speaker referred to the food supplied to our Permanent Forces, and to the clothing. As an Australian, and a member of this House, I say that the uniform that is good enough to fight in should! be good enough for attendance at banquetsand the like. The honorable member for North Sydney, who has risen to the important post of colonel, knows that theuniforms, dress and undress, of an officer of high grade cost not less than £50.
– More than that.
– My information is that a staff -officer’s uniform costs nearly £100. When with others I recently visited
Great Britain to attend the Coronation, I was unwilling to go to the expense of a Court dress, but on representations being made through the Prime Minister to the King, he, with a courtesy that was exquisite in the extreme, waived that requirement. A Court dress would have cost at least ,£30. and might have cost .£120. By appearing in ordinary attire on that occasion the representatives of this Chamber anc! the Senate set a great example. We hope that our Defence Force will be one of the fighting forces of the world, and that in its simplicity, verve, and splendid discipline, it will vie wilh the most patriotic army the world knows, that of Switzerland. As it is proposed to finish this session by Christmas, though I cannot see how that can be done, it would not be wise to begin the inquiry which the honorable member for North Sydney asks for, but the Minister might take the debate as an instruction to obtain data as to the cost of each army unit in the world. In Sir Edward Owen’s classic work 011 the Swiss Republic, there is a comparison of the armies of Europe, and I think that, whereas a unit in Great Britain costs .£65, one in Switzerland costs only £l That great authority, who was, and is still, I think, an officer in His Majesty’s Forces, showed that Switzerland could mobilize 250,000 men in three days, a thing which Great Britain could not then do in six weeks. What we need is a fighting force; we do not want frivolous giltspurred roosters, to use a phrase that has become famous. We know that bright facings are marks for sharpshooters, which render gay uniforms dangerous to their wearers. No time in a soldier’s life is more glorious than that in which he is taking part in the defence of his country, and the uniform in which a man is willing to face an enemy, and in which, if necessary, lie would be proud to die, should be good enough for meeting the mightiest man in the Empire, even the King himself. I ask the honorable member for North Sydney would it not be better to withdraw this motion, and obtain an inquiry into all the grievances of the military. Take the question of salaries. Major-General Sir Edward Hutton received ,£1,500 a year and allowances. When a member of the State House, I endeavoured to ascertain what the allowances covered, but could not get the information. Our Ministers would not refuse any information that members might ask for. Count von Moltke received only £1,500 a year when leading 750,000 Germans triumphant through France.
– My motion deals only with non-commissioned officers and men. I purposely made no mention of officers.
– I hope that no comparison will be made between professional and amateur soldiers. In my opinion, promotion in the Permanent Forces is often blocked unfairly, men not ‘being given a proper trial. It was told -me -within the last three days that an officer has the right to take any man as an orderly, and that orderlies do not ‘have as much drill as other soldiers. It is not the intention of Parliament that soldiers shall be told off to run errands, and do work that a boy could do. I must vote against this motion, but if a proposal is made for an inquiry into the .grievances of the Defence Forces, with a view to securing better pay and conditions, should that be necessary, it will command my support.
– The honorable member for Denison put forward some strange reasons for opposing the appointment of Select Committees and Royal Commissions. Although his experience is as little as mine, he contended that the inquiries of such bodies do no good. But we know that over 60 per cent, of the recommendations of the Postal Commission have been adopted by the PostmasterGeneral.
– The reforms as recommended would have been made in any case.
– We have no guarantee of that. Grievances must be laid bare before notice is taken of them. The Postal Commission’s inquiry certainly did good. Last session a. constant agitation was kept up, more particularly by the representatives of Tasmania, for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the alleged Tasmanian Customs leakages, and it is, to say the least, peculiar that one of the representatives of that State should now assert that these inquiries are of no use whatever. The honorable member said that he did not believe in Royal Commissions or Select Committees.
– He said that he did not believe in the appointment of the Committee asked for by this motion.
– I am not in favour of the suggestion made by the honorable member for South Sydney that we should refer the grievances of these men to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. His proposal seemed to me to be an attempt to heap ridicule on the motion. Imagine the grievances of our Naval and Military Forces being referred to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court, just as the Japanese, for instance, were contemplating an attack upon us. What would be our position? I should just as soon advocate a strike as the reference of this matter to that Court.
– Do not talk out the motion ; ask leave to continue.
– As the time allotted to the consideration of private members’ business has almost expired, I ask leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
– Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member have leave to continue his remarks at a later date?
– I object.
– I hold the view that the grievances of our Naval and Military Forces should not be disposed of by a reference to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. Supposing our soldiers and sailors said, “ We want 8s. per day and an eighthours’ day “-
– If the honorable member will ask leave again to continue his remarks at a later date, the honorable member for North Sydney will not object.
– He objected a moment or two ago when 1 asked for leave.
– It is a question of the pay and conditions of our Military Forces. The honorable member ought not to talk out the motion.
– The honorable member for North Sydney should not have objected to leave being granted the honorable member to continue his remarks.
– He wanted a vote to be taken. That was why he objected.
– Leave will be granted now.
– I rose to support this motion, yet, when I asked for leave to continue my remarks, the mover of it objected. I throw the whole responsibility on the honorable member for North Sydney and the honorable member for Wentworth.
– 1 object strenuously to the honorable member referring to me in that connexion. He has succeeded now in talking out the motion.
Royal Commission on Sugar Industry - Public Service Examinations - Telephone Service - Federal Capital Expenditure - Defence : Pay in Stores Branch - Shearing Industry : Arbitration Court Award - Old-age and Invalid Pensions.
Question - That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair, and that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply - proposed.
– I wish to take this early opportunity to direct the attention of the Government, and especially of the Minister of Trade and Customs, to the very substantial grievance which I think this House will be under if the Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into the sugar industry, is not supplemented in its numbers. The honorable member is aware that, speaking broadly, the general practice has been to constitute Royal Commissions, so far as they represent political opinions, of almost equal numbers, the greater number being representatives of the majority in Parliament; even in those circumstances the endeavour has been to avoid the selection of representatives of the Ministry of the day who are definitely and distinctively marked with a particular brand of opinion, regarding the questions into which they are to inquire. It is evident, in this connexion, that the Government themselves realized the difficulties of the position. They occupied some time in making an appointment, and their replies to questions put to them showed both what the original aim of the Government was, and then how it came to be discarded. On the 5th of last month the Minister of Trade and Customs announced the names of those who had been chosen to constitute this Commission. They are well known : Mr. Justice Gordon, of the Supreme Court of South Australia ; the Honorable Albert Hinchcliffe, M.L.C. ; Mr. Robert McC. Anderson; Mr. R. M. Shannon, and Mr. Thomas William Crawford. In answer to a question the Minister, as reported at page 1174, of Hansard, said that Mr. Hinchcliffe was Secretary of the Australian Labour Federation, and was connected with the Worker newspaper, that Mr. Anderson was a commercial man in Sydney, being a member of the firm of Allan Taylor and Company; that Mr. Shannon was a Sydney barrister and cane-grower, and that Mr. Crawford was
President of the Australian Sugar Producers’ Association. On 26th October last the Minister was asked if he was correctly reported in Hansard of 21st September, in saying that -
The Government have decided that the Commission shall be a non-political Commission.
(P- 7°3-) . . . . . ,
We think it is wise to appoint an outside body whose members may inquire into the conditions surrounding the sugar industry free from all political bias. (p. 705.)
T think that honorable members on both sides will take these two statements as representing what the Commission ought to be, and what it was intended to be by the present Government. The Minister of Trade and Customs replied, on the same date, that he was aware that Mr. Hinchcliffe was a member of the Queensland Labour party, and business manager of the Brisbane Worker; that he was aware that Mr. Shannon stood for Parliament as a selected Labour candidate-
– I did not say that.
– The honorable member said, “ The facts are probably as stated.”
– The honorable member was putting into my mouth words that I did not use.
– But the Minister did know,
– No, I did not know about Mr. Shannon.
– The honorable gentleman had said before that Mr. Shannon was a Sydney barrister and cane-grower at Mackay. He was asked on the 26th October - -
Is he aware that Mr. R. M. Shannon has stood for Parliament as a selected Labour candidate ?- and, bracketing that question with others, he replied, “ The facts are probably as stated.” They have been repeatedly stated in the press, and have never been contradicted. I presumed that the honorable member himself knew that the facts were as stated.
– It is quite possible that they are, but I do not know that they are.
– They have not been contradicted, although stated in the press over and over again.
– The honorable, member said that I was aware of these facts, and I said that I was not - that is the only difference.
– I do not know that I put the Minister’s answer in that way, but it seemed to me that I was doing him full justice in quoting that portion of his reply. It is fairly clear, from his next reply to the series of questions put to him on the date named, that he knew a good deal about these members of the Commission. For instance, he was asked -
Does he think that the personnel of the Royal Commission is in keeping with his statement to the House, as quoted above, on the 21st ultimo.
That was the statement that the Commission was to be non-political and free from all political bias. He replied -
Yes; but I do not think it would have been humanly possible to select any person as a member of the Commission whose mind was wholly free of any political opinion.
No one suggested that he could, or would, do so. He has certainly not done so. The honorable gentleman went on to say -
The intention of the Government as expressed in my previous announcement was that the selection of the members of the Commission should be non-political in character, or, in other words, should be preferably chosen from other than members of the Federal Legislature.
That ridiculous qualification has next to no relevancy to the preceding statement. If the members of the Federal Legislature are the only persons who are political in character, this is an extraordinary community. The fact is that almost the whole community is political in character.
– Does not the honorable member think we are the people?
– We are the political people, and ought to be. When the Minister went on to say that “ the selection has been in accordance with that intention,” he said something impossible to justify by any evidence that has been or can be produced. Let it be understood clearly that I do not propose, in the course of my remarks, to reflect personally upon any one of the gentlemen chosen to constitute this Commission. If we had now an open choice, and had to determine who should be selected, the occasion would be a proper one to debate the qualifications of the gentlemen for this position, their freedom from bias, the absence of political motives, and other questions of the sort; but it is now too late to do so. I let that pass.
– Why did not the honorable member’s Government appoint the Commission? They had six months in which to act.
– Anticipating that such irrelevancies would be introduced, I have come prepared to deal with them, and shall do so in their proper order. If any good purpose could be served by challenging these gentlemen, I should have endeavoured to acquaint myself with the general circumstances of their career and opinions, but I recognise that they have been appointed by the Government, and at present constitute the Royal Commission. My purpose tonight, therefore, is to start from things as they are, without saying what they ought to have been. I may point out that, although the Commission has formally commenced business, it has so far taken only a few steps j so that, if the Government is to fulfil to any degree the statement made by the Minister that the Commission was to be non-political and free from party bias, there is only one way of doing so. I do not suggest that it should be done by adding men of opposite political opinions, because political opinions should not be taken into consideration in such a choice. I regret to find that all the members of the Commission, excluding, of course, the Judge and Chairman, have more or less definite political leanings. My present suggestion is simply that if this Commission is to be formed on the basis which we have been accustomed to see accepted both in the State and Federal Parliaments, it will be necessary to add to it two or three members distinctly outside the political sphere, but qualified to undertake an investigation of this kind with strict impartiality. If that were done, the Commission could still be brought, to some extent, into line with the Minister’s own statement. If it is not done, the position is hopeless. We are face to face with the facts which, as the Minister said, “are probably as stated.” I think they are evidently as stated - that Mr. HinchclifFe is an active member of his own party, and still actively associated with and interested in it ; that Mr. Shannon has been a selected Labour candidate j and that Mr. Robert McC. Anderson is quoted as having said in the Sydney Daily Telegraph that it is well known among his friends that Labour and its representatives have had his sympathey for many years past.
– He is every inch a gentleman.
– I am not denying it. Mr. Crawford, another member of the Commission, stood for Parliament as a Liberal candidate, although the Minister of Trade and Customs did not commit himself to an indorsement of that fact. However, as it has not been challenged, we may take it as being correct.
– Mr. Crawford was a Fusion candidate against the honorable member for Herbert at the last election.
– I did not know that he was a candidate, but am taking it as indisputably proved. While I do not think that should disquality him, I think it is unfortunate that at least three of these gentlemen should have already taken an active part in political affairs on the same side as the Government and its supporters, that another member has expresed his entire sympathy with them, and that, excluding, of course, the Judge, the solitary individual who has entertained political opinions of another colour is Mr. Crawford.
– Can the honorable member imagine any Commission whose members would not have very strong political idea? of their own?
– I do not contend that the Government should have attempted the impossible task of discovering persons who had no political opinions. But to select people who are qualified to act on a Commission and who have political opinions is a very different thing from making the majority of the Commission consist of active politicians - men who take an active part and interest in public affairs, who stand as candidates, and who are pledged to a particular party - giving them the absolute majority on n. Commission. Even now this can be remedied if two or three other relatively non-political persons, with no active political career behind them, or’ who have not taken part in public affairs, are selected to sit with those already appointed. If you looked over the list of the Royal Commissions, so far as I remember them, appointed in the States or in the Commonwealth, you would find a Commission of this sort consisting of a majority who probably shared in some general way the political opinions of the Government of the day, or agreed with their policy on the particular question involved, and a minority, usually only one less than the majority, although it might be two less in some special circumstances, who, without being active politicians, were known not to share those opinions, to some extent.
This is a question in which, unfortunately, the political element cannot be ignored, because the party represented by Ministers and members opposite in this House has on this very question a distinctly pronounced opinion, which must affect the inquiry about to be instituted. Nationalization stands as one of the most prominent objects of the Labour party’s programme, and among the industries which have been selected from time to time by their representative men as illustrations of industries which would, in their opinion, be properly nationalized, the sugar industry has been mentioned continually. In those circumstances we cannot be blind to the fact that we have here a Commission which, directly it is appointed, has an absolute and overwhelming majority on one of the greatest issues in favour of the particular policy favoured by the Government. In fact, always leaving out the Judge and chairman, -only one out of the four members who sit with the Judge is not attached to the party which has declared beforehand that the sugar industry ought to be nationalized.
– Cannot he bring in a minority report?
– He can, and that is all that could be done if he were assisted by another. He happens to have been a Liberal candidate, and, without saying that that is an absolute bar, it is still as unfortunate in his case as in the other. I should have preferred that some gentleman should be chosen who had not been a Liberal candidate, but who was not associated with the Ministerial party in any way.
– He was not chosen because he was an ex-Liberal candidate, but because he is the president of the largest organization connected with the growers and refiners.
– Were the others chosen for similar reasons?
– No. Mr. Hinchcliffe represented the workers.
– Then there is Mr. Shannon on the Commission. At least, there should have been two, if not three, who would go into all questions absolutely unbiased. If the gentlemen appointed are either active members of the Labour party or associated with it, then on this question, before they commence the inquiry, they will have practically determined in their own minds what the treatment of the sugar industry ought to be.
– I think the honorable member is now indulging in unfair criticism.
– I absolutely differ, with respect, from that view, because I can point to the advocacy of nationalization in the programme of the party.
– I may have misunderstood the honorable member. I understood him to say that the Commissioners who have been appointed have already made up their minds as to certain action. That is only a matter of opinion, and I do not think such an expression ought to be allowed at the present time.
– That is correct, but not complete. I said it was so, as far as nationalization of the sugar industry was concerned. One of the most important questions that will be considered and decided by the Commission is the question of nationalization or non-nationalization. When those gentlemen belong to a party which puts nationalization in the forefront of its proposals, it is surely fair to say that they have made up their minds in favour of the nationalization of sugar.
– I do not think the honorable member is justified in taking up that attitude.
– I will say, then, that they are in favour of nationalization generally. That, alone, is a. grave consideration that must be taken into account.
– They are certainly in favour of nationalization of monopolies.
– The sugar industry is alleged to be a monopoly. But I impeach no gentleman who has been named on the Commission.
– You are going very near it.
–I have referred only to the one aspect, which is forced upon me by the published declaration as to the political opinions of these members of the Commission. Otherwise, I should not have known which side any one of them was upon.
– To whom did the honorable member refer ?
– To Mr. Hinchcliffe, Mr. Shannon, and Mr. Anderson.
– Does the honorable member know when Mr. Shannon was a Labour candidate? Was it twenty years ago?
– I did not know there were Labour candidates twenty years ago.
– It was over fifteen years ago. Mr. Crawford has been a Labour candidate since then. He was a “ rat.”
– Then the one Liberal we thought we had, we have not got. Personally, I think it would have been much better if these gentlemen had no public political associations. I do not want to argue that point again. I mention it merely to point out that, as a consequence, from the political point of view, the balance of the Commission is more weighted on one side than any Royal Commission I ever remember. Even in the case of Select Committees or other bodies appointed by this House, the almost universal practice has been to make very little difference between the numbers on each side.
The House, after all, had the final decision of the subject-matter to be inquired into in its own hands. In the circumstances, if this Commission, without addition, is allowed to enter upon its task, honorable members opposite and the Government will be to blame for having constituted it in such a way as to evoke suspicion and distrust, and provoke challenge, even before its work is commenced. Of course, it will be by their work that the members of the Commission will be judged, and properly so. But it is most unfortunate that public opinion should be biased in this way at the very outset by the creation of a Commission in which the proportions are _ so unusually in favour of one way of thinking and acting. I do not know that Mr. Crawford is not still a nationalizer - he may retain his old faith or have embraced a new one - but at all events the Commission commences its inquiry without that support from public opinion, and without that confidence which Royal Commissions should enjoy. Its task will be so much the harder. The Government will not be assisted to their ends by a onesided Commission. It may even prove that Mr. Crawford still retains some of his old views. If so, the whole Commission, excluding the chairman, is of one political colour and complexion. In the choice of the chairman the Government appear to have made a very wise selection.
– By accident, I suppose.
– No. They have picked a gentleman of judicial attainments, and who, in addition, enjoyed a long political career, with Ministerial experience. He therefore brings very valuable knowledge to bear upon the subject, which I am sure he will handle in accordance with judicial principles. I do not think the Minister has heard a word of . challenge of that gentleman from any quarter. I understand the secretary of the Commission has also been appointed.
– He is Mr. Hall, an Inspector of the Customs Department. Is he a good man?
– A very good man.
– Is there a private secretary as well?
– The Judge himself will appoint him.
– Who pays him?
– The Commonwealth will pay him.
– Is he to advise on questions of international law?
– We have nothing to do with that. That is an arrangement with the Judge himself.
– I draw a contrast between the Commission now appointed and the Commission we proposed to appoint eighteen months ago. There are two classes of Royal Commissions - one the expert Commission, on which we seek to obtain the services of persons identified with an industry, who are to make a searching investigation and then present results to be dealt with by the Legislature in a more or less judicial fashion. The other is the more familiar kind of general Royal Commission. The purpose then is not to appoint experts or those engaged in an industry. They take evidence, and then present their conclusions to Parliament. As I have said, the universal practice in the Mother Country, and, I think, in the Commonwealth and all the States, has been to take care that the minority was always sufficiently strong in numbers to be able to press its inquiries as thoroughly as the majority, and also to present, on any particular points, a minority report, setting forth their grounds for not agreeing with the majority. There is no such balance in the present Commission. The Commission we proposed was to consist of a gentleman recommended to us as the best expert in all the processes of dealing with sugar, from the growing of the plant until it was turned into the refined article; and another said to possess an unexampled knowledge of the financial side of sugar - the cost of all the processes, values, and so forth. The Judge was then to acquaint himself with all these general matters which are necessary to complete the case, and to present a purely judicial report. The two gentlemen to whom I have referred were Mr. Desplace and Mr. Crompton. Their names and reputations were all that were known to the Cabinet, and, therefore, we had, -and have, no knowledge whatever of their politics. They were recommended to us simply as, in the opinion of those who know the industry, the two best experts available in the whole of the Commonwealth. The Judge could be compared with any Judge on the bench for his qualifications for conducting an inquiry of the kind, especially of a commercial character, owing to his experience in the Arbitration Court as well as in general practice. I am not contrasting the two Commissions in relation to their character, because one was an expert Commission and the other a Commission with judicial authority.
– What was the scope of the proposed Commission?
– The widest possible - it could not be wider.
– My impression is, as ;the honorable member for Kooyong has said, that the scope was as wide as could be. Since then there has been a proposal submitted by the honorable member for Franklin for the appointment of a Royal Commission, frankly political, chosen from this House and representative of both sides, in no disproportionate fashion.
– Would the honorable gentleman support that proposal?
– I have no complaint to make that that proposal has not been carried, or any complaint to make of the character of the Commissioners appointed, nor do I question the capacity of any of the members. But the customary balance to which I have referred does not exist. Judging solely from a political point of view, the Government have three representatives on the Commission to one. The Judge, of course, is non-political. Under the circumstances, no provision is made for a minority strong enough to have its views thoroughly represented. It is not too late to repair this defect.
– The honorable member means that the Judge may be in favour of nationalization.
– I reckon the Judge neither for nor against nationalization, but as occupying a judicial position apart from all questions of political policy. There are four ordinary working members, three of one complexion and one, possibly, of another. While it appears to me very unfortunate that there is any political complexion at all, since it is there the least we can do is to add another member or two of unknown political opinions, but sufficiently qualified, commercially and industrially, to render effective service.
– They all might turn out to support nationalization.
– They might, of course. But, apparently, the three Commissioners to whom I refer are notoriously political in their feelings.
– - I think the honorable member is not correct in that.
– Personally, I do not know, but directly the appointment was made I was informed by honorable members from the Northern State of the political complexion of those three Commissioners.
– It was well known to the Minister.
– It was not well known to me.
– I do not suggest for a moment that members should be appointed because they are Liberals, or of any other way of political thinking. This is the last opportunity we have to redress the balance and of casting this Royal Commission in the mould that every other Royal Commission I ever heard of in this country has been cast, so as to give a minority sufficient to enable an effective minority report to be presented on points of difference with the majority. This should be done in order that the inquiry may not be prejudiced from the outset by the clear impression at present that it is political, and altogether one-sided. The political complexion cannot be got rid of unless this is done-
– There is the Judge there.
– He stands above all those qualifications”.
– Does he not sign the report ?
– The position which the Judge occupies, and the task which he enters on, is one covering an enormous field, but still he must trust largely to his colleagues. This is the last opportunity of putting this Commission into line with other Commissions, instead of leaving it the tara avis it is at present. If ever there was a real and substantial grievance which Ministers have created, and which they have still power to remedy, this is one, and I hope the Government will at once avail themselves of the opportunity of correcting their mistake.
[8.21). - Doubtless, whatever the Government did in the appointment of this Royal Commission would not give satisfaction to the other side, excepting, of course, honorable members opposite had been allowed to select the Commissioners.. The honorable member for Ballarat, as Prime Minister, had the opportunity to appoint a Royal Commission ; and he stated repeatedly, during the referendum campaign, that the Commissioners had been selected, but that the inquiry had been stopped by the present Government.
– I never said such a thing.
– The honorable member did ; he was so reported in the press.
– The Minister had better find out the facts before he makes the statement.
– I am not in the habit or making statements that are without foundation, or that I have to withdraw. If it be found that my assertion is incorrect, I shall willingly withdraw it. But the honorable member for Ballarat said at the Melbourne Town Hall, as reported in the press, that a Royal Commission had been appointed by his Government, and that the present Government cancelled the appointment, and refused to allow the Commission to proceed. As a matter of fact, that Royal Commission never was appointed by the late Government. The honorable member, from the time he promised to appoint a Royal Commission, was in office six months; and, during that time, he never reached the final stage in the appointment. Names have been mentioned, and it is said that certain members of the Commission that has now been appointed hold political views favorable to the Government. I am given to understand that Mr. Shannon - I have heard this since, strange to say, from honorable members opposite - was about fifteen or sixteen years ago a Labour candidate. As to what he has been since I am not aware, but the honorable member for Darling Downs may know.
– I cannot say whether Mr. Shannon was a Labour candidate, but I think he was secretary of a workers’ organization in Mackay in 1902 or 1903. I really do not know sufficient to say, but I think he is still a member of a worker’s organization.
– Of that I am not aware. So far as Mr. Anderson is concerned, I know that he has never been actively associated in any shape or form with the Labour party. I never heard the man’s name until he was suggested as a member of the Commission.
– Who suggested his name?
– Well, not the honorable member who interjects.
– What Minister suggested the name?
– It was not the honorable member for Wentworth, because he is not a member of the Government, and was not even a member of the Fusion Government. Whether he will be a member of any future Government I do not know.
– Will the swelled-head Minister tell me what Minister recommended Mr. Anderson?
– I shall reply to any question the honorable member likes to ask civilly - he need not put on his Oxford manner here.
– Is it parliamentary for the honorable member for Wentworth to speak of the Minister of Tradeand Customs as a swelled-head Minister.
– I did use the word, and I apologize for doing so, but it was drawn from me by the references made by tlieMinister to other less fortunate and gifted persons than himself.
– I have not the slightest intention of saying who recommended that gentleman as a member of the Royal Commission. ‘The honorable member ‘tor Ballarat stated that outside the two membersof his Commission that he mentioned, hehad never heard the names before.
– Of the experts, yes.
– If the honorable member can say that of the Commission which he, as Prime Minister, was alleged to haveappointed though he never got any further-
– Whose fault was that?
– It was not a fault; the electors of the country–
– The Minister is attributing it. as a fault.
– It was not a fault. The people thought that the honorable member for (Ballarat had been proposing to do something long enough, and that the time had arrived for something to be done. The appointment of the Commission now does not satisfy him. I stated at the time that Mr. Hinchcliffe was Secretary, or President - I am not sure which - of the Australian Labour Federation. He will represent the workers as well as any one who could have been selected.
– He is one of the whitest of Australians.
– He is not a bad sort of man. I do not know whether the Commissioners hold the political opinions spoken of by the Leader of the Opposition.
– The Minister appears not to know much about them.
– If the Minister knows nothing of his own knowledge, he must have been told.
– The Minister chiefly responsible for the Commission knows nothing about the Commissioners !
– Since the Commission’ has been attacked by honorable members-, opposite, I have more faith in it than I had before. Members of the Opposition profess to know more about the personnel of the Commission and its political opinions; than any one else, but no word of criticism has come from any one connected with the sugar industry. At any rate, no word has reached me, officially, or otherwise. I have not seen an article, even in Queensland newspapers, adversely criticising the Commission. I do not think it is intended to alter the personnel.
– I said “ add “ to it.
– I do not think it would be wise to add to it. If Ministers admitted that they had chosen Commissioners who should not have been chosen, they would not be worthy of the positions they occupy. There is hardly a man in any walk of life, or, at least, in any prominent position, who does not hold political opinions.
– They have all been converted lately.
– A great many have been converted, and more are being converted every day. The Commissioners may have said that they believe in this, that, or the other.
– Some of them are “ come-backs.”
– I believe that one of the Commissioners, at one time, was a Fusion candidate, and, before that, offered himself as a candidate for selection in the Labour interest. He is like many others connected with the honorable member’s party, who have left, or been kicked out of, the Labour movement.
– Does the Minister refer to the Commissioner whom he called a ratter a few minutes ago?
– I did not refer to the honorable member.
– The Minister referred to Mr. Crawford.
– If I said anything offensive to Mr. Crawford, I withdraw it. He holds the highest official position, so far as the refiners and growers are concerned, being President of the Sugar Producers’ Association. He represents them, and, I believe, will represent them well. I shall lay before the Cabinet what has been said, but I shall be very disappointed if the personnel of the Commission is altered or added to, because I believe that the Commissioners are fair men, and will make a fair report on the industry. What every one desires is the truth.
– Is the extent of the Commission the same as that of the previous Commission ?
– It is as wide as it can be made.
– Is it the same?
– I do not think so.
– Can the Minister say to what extent it differs from the other Commission ?
– I could not do so, unless both were before me.
– I think that the scope of the two Commissions is exactly the same, although the honorable member for Capricornia questioned it.
– I am not responsible for what the honorable member for Capricornia says; but, as he takes a great interest in this question, he is likely to be correct. We have tried to make the inquiry as wide as possible, believing that the people desire the exact truth in regard to the industry, and we think that they will be told it by the Commissioners.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth) J8.33].- The Minister has carefully disguised the real issue, which is : Does the personnel of the Commission give effect to his oft-repeated promise to the House that he would appoint an impartial, judicial, non-political Commission ? The words used by the Minister as late as the 21st September last were -
The Government have decided that the Commission shall be a non-political Commission.
We think it is wise to appoint an outside body, whose members may inquire into the conditions surrounding the sugar industry free from all political bias.
– Every one understood that “ non-political “ meant “ “nonparliamientary.”
– It would appear that, in the Minister’s phrase, a parliamentarian is non-political when he is not a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, because one of the Commissioners, Mr. Hinchcliffe, is a member of the Queensland Parliament !
– The honorable member would not cai] a Legislative Councillor a politician ?
– I call the business manager and chairman of directors of the official organ of the Queensland Labour party a. politician. I do not think any man opposite will have the effrontery to deny that Mr. Hinchcliffe is a politician.
– I think that he is a statesman.
– The honorable member is welcome to his opinion. I do not complain of the individuals composing the Commission ; I do not know any of them. But
I complain of the failure of the Minister to keep his promise to the House regarding the character of the -personnel of the Commission. When the political antecedents of the Commissioners, honorable enough in themselves, though, in my humble judgment, debarring them, because of their political complexion, from accepting positions on a non-political, unbiased Commission of Inquiry, are pointed out to the Minister, what is his reply? It is that he “is noi aware.” What sort of a Minister is it who recommends gentlemen for a Commission and is not aware of their antecedents ? Are Royal Commissioners appointed as if they were crossing-sweepers, taken on for a casual job? The Minister was whip and secretary of his party. Is any man who holds such a position ignorant of the political antecedents of prominent standardbearers of the party in any State of Australia i
– This is preference to unionists.
– The thing is ridiculous. The Minister may shelter himself behind the statement that he is not aware, meaning, I suppose, that he is not aware officially. He seems to be aware officially of very little when it suits him to be ignorant. He tells us that the Commission has been appointed in accordance with his promise, saying that -
The promise was that the Commission should be preferably chosen from other than members of the Federal Legislature.
No one takes exception to the Judge who is to be chairman of the Commission, but, apart from him, every member of the Commission is a self-confessed politician. The Minister contends that the Commission is non-political and unbiased because the Commissioners are not members of this Legislature. If we are to have a Commission of politicians, why not select from the cream? Why not choose politicians who have been elected by the people to deal with national concerns ? Why go into the hedges and byways to seek politicians who are not in the front rank?
– We have too much to do.
– I think I have said enough to dispose of the Minister’s causistry.
I wish to point out, in regard to an answer to a question to-day, that the Minister seems to be singularly uninformed about the utterances of one of the Commissioners appointed to this allegedly unbiased and non-political body. The gentleman to whom I refer is not only a pro minent Labour leader in the State of Queensland, but sits in the Legislative Council of that State in the Labour interest. This man, who is supposed to be unbiased and non-political, and to be ready to consider with an open mind questions affecting not only honorable members opposite, but every producer in the sugar industry, and every consumer of sugar in the Commonwealth
– A better man could not be found.
– Nor a more unbiased man, nor one with a more open mind ! Let us hear what he said on the 26th July last, when dealing with only one side, and, to my thinking, the least important side of the subject. Speaking in the Queensland Parliament about one of the interests involved, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, he said -
I certainly think that if it was for this reason alone, it was a misfortune that the recent referenda proposals of the Commonwealth Government were not carried, as they would have enabled the Commonwealth Government to put an end to this huge monopoly which is coercing the small man, and making the workers suffer as they have suffered.
This is the impartial Commissioner ! A man who has nailed his colours to the mast !
– Does the honorable member think that the Commissioners must have no convictions, and no views?
– Every politician must have views on this subject, but the Minister, in appointing politicians, has not carried out his promise to make the Commission an unbiased one.
– Where could he get men such as the honorable member suggests?
– I shall deal with that in a moment. T ask honorable members opposite whether it is proposed to use the Commission for propaganda work in regard to the constitutional changes which they favour ?
– That is hardly fair.
– The honorable member will not be in order in proceeding on those lines.
– I find no fault with Mr. Hinchcliffe; the fault lies with the Minister in appointing him to a body that was to be impartial. Mr. Hinchcliffe told the Queensland Legislative Council that he was sorry that the referenda proposals were not carried, because they would have enabled the Sugar Refining Company to be dealt with. He has prejudged the case, and, curiously enough, in the direction ardently desired by honorable members opposite. I am not attacking this man for holding this opinion ; he is entitled to hold the Views that fit in with his conscience. But if a man holds strong views beforehand about the merits of a case, why appoint him as a Judge to deal with it ?
– Every Judge appointed from this Parliament held political views.
– But here is a man appointed to act as a Judge on a particular political issue; here is a man occupying a position on the staff of a Queensland Labour journal, which he cannot continue to hold - in my judgment - if he goes back upon these views-
– I think the honorable member is now going beyond a fair discussion of the matter.
– Perhaps, I am. I make no personal reflection on these Commissioners; but it is inadvisable that men occupying positions which require, for their maintenance, strong partisanship, should be selected as judges of a particular political question that requires to be dealt with in an unbiased way.
– Our Courts are pure, so far.
– This same member of the Commission went on to say, on the same occasion, in the Queensland Parliament -
I am satisfied from my own personal knowledge of many of these districts that the conditions are anything but desirable.
And so on. He was satisfied, from his own personal knowledge, as late as July last, that the conditions were anything but desirable. His colours are nailed to the mast. He has announced himself most definitely on this particular question, yet he is one of the men selected to act on a Commission which, to use the Minister’s own words, was to be non-political and free from all political bias.
– Why does not the honorable member take his “ gruel “?
– Then it is “ gruel.”
– G-r-u-e-1. I shall have to spell everything for the honorable member.
– I do not think the honorable member could ; I do not think he is any better at spelling than I am.
– I am just as good, anyhow.
– I did not say the honorable member was not.
– It will not be pulling your nose that I shall be doing.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member for Maranoa to allow the honorable member for Wentworth to continue his remarks.
– This seems to be getting quite a fashionable challenge.
– You are a snipe.
– The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– I will not withdraw it.
– Do I understand that the honorable member refuses to withdraw the remark?
– Yes, I say that I will not withdraw it.
– I again ask the honorable member to withdraw the remark.
– I withdraw it.
– I had not the slightest intention of insulting my honorable friend, whom I always regard with the utmost respect.
– The honorable member did not insult him. It was a misapprehension.
– An entire misapprehension. To return to the point that I was discussing, let me say that it is bad enough” that one of these judges should hold the views of a strong political partisan, but we find that, of the four appointed to assist the only impartial man upon the Commission, no less than three share the views of my honorable friends opposite.
– Did not two or three of them recant?
– Only one has recanted apparently, and the Minister of Trade and Customs has applied to him an epithet that I should be very sorry to use in respect of a Royal Commissioner.
– The honorable member knows that I withdrew the remark.
– Mr. Anderson did not belong to our organization.
– Mr. Anderson gave an interview to, I think, the Sydney Daily Telegraph on the 21st ultimo, in which he said -
It is well known among my friends that Labour and its representatives have had my sympathy for years past.
– The same interview appeared in two newspapers.
– The interview, I am given to understand, was given in exactly the same terms to two newspapers, so that I presume it is absolutely accurate.
– I have heard honorable members opposite say that Labour has, in certain respects, their sympathy.
– I asked the Minister of Trade and Customs who first mentioned this gentleman’s name to him, and for some reason he at once became very heated.
– He did not accuse the honorable member of having done so.
– No. I presume that he must have had in his mind the name of a colleague. I do not want to go too closely into- this particular matter, because it is not within our province ; but this gentleman, and the Minister whom we all have in mind as having mentioned his name to the Minister, are very fortunate in their mutual friendship. If the statement attributed to Mr. Anderson is correct - and I have no reason to doubt its veracity - then it could not have been unknown to members of the Federal Ministry that his leanings had been in the direction of Labour for years past.
With regard to the other two members of the Commission, I think it is equally deplorable that either of them should have been politicians on one side or the other. My desire was that there should be appointed to this Commission men who would be as free as any persons could be from leanings in any particular political direction. The difference between a chosen politician and a man who is not a politician, but has, necessarily, political leanings in the one direction -or the other, is this : That a man in the political arena who has declared himself emphatically on the one side or the other, loses, to a large extent, political caste if he changes his opinions. It is well known that the moment a member of Parliament changes his political views he is howled at and denounced-
– I think the honorable member is now going beyond a reasonable discussion of the question.
– I did not intend to do so. I remind you, sir, that I am not now discussing the actual personnel of the Commission. I am discussing, rather, the question of whether a politician can change his views with as much freedom from attack as can a. man who, while having political leanings, is not a politician. It will be conceded by every one who knows his subject that a- politician is in a singularly unfortunate position in this respect ; and for that reason I have been anxious all along that the men appointed to conduct this inquiry should be absolutely free from any professed political views on one side or the other - that, in fact, politicians should not be appointed.
If the Government and their supporters insist upon the appointment of politicians, why not appoint to this Commission persons who are responsible to the authority that has to foot the bill for whatever we do in this regard - the people of Australia? Why should not they select first-class politicians -if we are going to take politicians at all - men who are responsible . to the people for the proper administration of matters relating to the sugar industry throughout Australia ? Why appoint men who are just as bound to one side or the other as we are, but who are hot trusted by the people who will have to foot the bill ? .
– Politicians in this House would angle for votes.
– Then we are the only politicians in Australia who would angle for votes, and are, therefore, not fit to sit upon a Royal Commission? That is the most extraordinary reflection on the Federal Parliament we have ever heard ! It would be unfortunate to appoint members of the Federal Parliament to such a Commission, but it is still more unfortunate to appoint men who, without speaking disrespectfully of them, are, in actual political eminence, second-rank politicians as contrasted with the Federal politicians of Australia.
An effort will be made by honorable members opposite to make this a question of whether or not the Colonial Sugar Refining Company should be sat upon. The question, however, is infinitely larger. The question of whether or not the Colonial Sugar Refining Company should be sat upon is relatively small when we consider the many complexities of this problem. We have, in the first place, to consider the producers, the sugar-growers, the refiners, the jam and preserve manufacturers - who must use sugar in their manufactures - the men they employ, and the fruit-growers. The price of sugar enters largely into the question of what profits fruit-growers will get from selling their fruit to jam manufacturers. We have also to consider the beet-growers, who are entitled to have considered the question of whether or not the whole sugar industry of Queensland is worth keeping at the price. We have, further, to consider the general taxpayers, who will have to foot the bill under any nationalization scheme ; and also every buyer of sugar throughout the Commonwealth, who naturally wants to get his sugar as cheaply as he can.
– Should not all this be said after the report has been presented?
– After the judgment has been given we are to begin to criticise the i judges ! This is a new form of reasoning we are getting from the Labour benches. I can well understand men like the honorable member for Capricornia being pleased with the constitution of this Commission, because, not only is it of his own political colour, so far as the majority of its members is concerned, but it is also a Queensland Commission, appointed to conduct an Australian inquiry.
– Mr. Anderson comes from Sydney.
– And Mr. Justice Gordon comes from South Australia.
– Three States are represented.
– Mr. Shannon has been living in Sydney for years, I think.
– His interests are in Queensland.
– So I am assured. Place of residence is neither here nor there; we have to take into consideration where a man’s interests lie, and, for all essential purposes, this is a Queensland Commission. I am not at present canvassing whether the bounty or duty should continue, but the people of Australia are entitled to have appointed a Royal Commission that can satisfy them that it will give unbiased consideration to the whole question of whether or not the duty, bounty, and Excise, or any of them, shall continue^ - whether the whole system, as introduced by Parliament, ought to be continued, or whether sugar ought to be admitted free into the Commonwealth, like kerosene. That is a big problem affecting every Australian constituency. I have heard honorable members from Western Australia and Tasmania advocating the remission of the duty. Are not the people of Tasmania, who must buy sugar to make their jams, entitled to have their views considered ?
– No Tasmanian has advocated the remission of the duty.
– They have urged the reduction of the duty.
– They have, and that is a proper subject for discussion in, connexion with an inquiry of this character. It is of no use to have an inquiry if only one side is to be considered, and that a side on which the Commission have already made up their minds. If we are to have an inquiry, let us have an inquiry throughout; and for that purpose we require a Commission Australian, non-political, and unbiased in character.
The personnel of this Commission is absolutely out of keeping with the promises often reiterated to this House by Ministers.
It is a public misfortune, when we consider the ramifications of the, industry and the enormous interests involved, in which the Colonial Sugar Refining Company do not play a predominant part, that the Commission should have been appointed in the way it has been. I make no reflection upon any particular member of it. The man w’hose inclinations or aptitudes have drawn him into the political arena cannot be blamed for being outspoken on one side or the other ; but the moment any man declares his measured conviction upon one side of a special problem, he puts himself out of court as a judge upon it. This Commission, in spite of Ministerial promises, has been constituted upon those lines; and I deeply regret that the Minister holds out no hope of making any alleviation of this bad state of affairs by appointing new members who would help to divorce it from its political and partisan character.
– -There is another section of the community in whom we might take a little interest. Examinations are held periodically of the youth of Australia who de-; sire to enter the Public Service.
– Is not the honorable member going to discuss the sugar question ?
– I am just as well aware as is the honorable member of what the sugar question means in this debate. It is a matter of party, and nothing else. I am pleased that the Minister of Home Affairs is present, because. I do not think his Department gives the young people of Australia a fair deal in the examinations it conducts of candidates for the service. I desire to enumerate the inconveniences thosecandidates have to suffer.
– Is this a cover for the retreat of the Government?
– The Opposition think the only grievance in the world relates to the personnel of the Sugar Commission.
– Does the honorable member think it is a subject that should be ignored?
– The honorable member can talk sugar to his heart’s content’ when he addresses the Chair. The candidates for these examinations have_ many grievances. Like the examiners, they arehuman, and the examiners, being human, . make mistakes for which, unfortunately, some candidates have to suffer. It is known and admitted that mistakes havebeen made in the past in the setting of examination papers, and that afterwards- some mistake was made, if not in the consideration of the examination papers, at any rate in giving information as to who had passed, and who had not. What took place created a fear in the. minds of many that the results, as published in the newspapers, were not correct, and they desired to find out whether a mistake had been made so far as they were concerned. A. young man of seventeen or eighteen, living in the back-blocks of Victoria, underwent an examination. His coach, a man of very high education, was satisfied that a mistake had been made somewhere in connexion with the English paper, for which the young fellow was “ plucked.” He asked if it was not possible for the candidate to come to Melbourne, and peruse the paper to see where he had made a mistake. The Department, however, will not allow that to be done.
– Why not?
– That is what I ask. lt seems a most peculiar attitude for the Minister and the Department to take up.
– A man cannot peruse his paper at the University.
– The University is a musty old conservative institution, run for the benefit of the few. We are supposed to run this concern for the benefit of all. The interests of the many who spend years of study, and a great deal of money, to qualify for these examinations ought to be considered. Why cannot arrangements be made for them to see the papers, and ascertain where the mistake was made? ls it because the examiners, or the Department, are afraid it will be discovered that they themselves have made mistakes? A sense of human feeling from one set of individuals to another ought to allow what I suggest to be done. The attitude of the Department is preposterous. If the Department are afraid that too many will ask to be allowed to examine the papers, let them charge a small fee if they like, although I do not see that that is necessary. No possible harm can be done by allowing the candidates to see the papers afterwards, unless it is that the Department are afraid of exposing their own mistakes, and do not want to see the people who have been wronged righted.
– It is monstrous if the papers cannot be looked at afterwards.
– I quite” agree with the honorable member.
– Can candidates look at the papers in the University ?
– The fact that an institution of that character refuses to be progressive should not affect us. The authorities of the University like to preserve their old ideas, and keep it a close corporation. We are supposed to have broader and more progressive ideas than the University Council have. The Public Service examinations are held in large halls. There are some highly intelligent men, whose voices cannot be heard 10 yards away, yet readers of that sort are employed, and candidates are “ plucked “ because they cannot hear the mutterings of a man who has no right to be there. We ought to hold examinations with a view to getting the best possible officers for the public Departments, and not with the object of persecuting candidates.
– The examiners set puzzles.
– They set Chinese puzzles regarding matters which are of no use to the candidates. It is supposed to make their minds active by being set questions which cannot be answered, and have to be given up in disgust. The Minister ought to alter the present system in his Department. A one-sided idea of giving points is adopted. Definite points can be given in such subjects as spelling, or arithmetic, or geography. If a man is asked where Timbuctoo is, and replies that it is somewhere in the Stilly Islands, it is known at once that he is wrong, and points can be deducted.
– Where is Timbuctoo?
– I do not know; I suppose it is somewhere near China. However, in our Public Service examinations, the examiners assess so many points for handwriting. By what standard ought handwriting to be judged ? There have been candidates whose handwriting was laughed at by their fellow students, but the latter were somewhat surprised when the former came out “on top “ in this particular. A man who is thoroughly well up in all the other subjects may be “ plucked “ because the examiner does not think his handwriting artistic enough, though it may be quite legible for all practical purposes. This is not the way to get the best men into the Public Service.
– Handwriting is very important in a correspondence clerk.
– If the handwriting is legible, the student ought to pass, provided that he is otherwise well qualified. As it is, an examiner may give 250 marks for handwriting, and another examiner, in the case of handwriting equally good, may give only eighty or ninety marks. One of the brightest girls I know in Australia spent years in studying for the Public Service, and her parents spent much money on her education. At school she was looked upon as one of the best ; and in her first Public Service examination she got nearly the maximum number of marks for her handwriting, though she was lower in the other subjects, and, while she passed, she just missed being called upon. At the next examination she was “plucked” because her handwriting did not satisfy the examiner. Now, if this girl’s handwriting was good for, say, 250 marks on one occasion, she ought to be deemed good enough in this respect for the Public Service. Parliament and the Minister should not allow students to be penalized, but, rather, ought to assist them in passing their examinations. I should like to know why the candidates cannot see the examination papers after the examinations are over. Can any reason be suggested for refusing this request ? Then, if the reader at an examination does not make himself audible, is it fair to “ pluck “ those candidates who are furthest away, and have difficulty in hearing ? Of course, if the Minister does not agree with me in the views I have expressed, I cannot help it ; but something ought to be done. During the last eighteen months I have heard complaints inthe case of fifty or sixty young candidates - I take no notice of parents, who think all their “ geese are swans,” or of ‘ coaches “ - who have been ‘ ‘ plucked ‘ ‘ for some disability over which they have no control. I should now like to bring under the notice of the Minister representing the Minister of Defence the peculiar system of payment in the Defence Department. In the Stores Branch, at Victoria Barracks, both permanent and temporary labourers are engaged ; and the pay is 8s. a clay. On the occasion of the last camp at Kilmore, the permanent employes who went there received as expenses 8s. a day for the first week and 6s. a day for the subsequent weeks ; but the temporary men were allowed nothing. Is it possible for a Labour Government to conscientiously say that that is fair ? If Ministers are satisfied with an arrangement of that kind, I am afraid that a number of their followers are not. I have endeavoured to have this grievance redressed by the Minister, but I have not succeeded ; and I must simply keep hammering away until I do. I do not like mentioning these matters ; but I consider it my duty to do so, and I shall take advantage of every opportunity to obtain fair terms for these men.
.- I desire to bring under the notice of the Government a grievance which arises from a portion of a recent award in the Arbitration Court in connexion with the shearing industry. Without wishing to cast any reflections, I must say that I do not think the Judge can have fully realized the consequences when he gave that award. The award of Judge Higgins contained the following -
The minimum rates for woolpressing to be paid to members of the claimant organization shall be (if the Ferrier press or the Rack and Pinion press or the Adelaide box press heused - If rations not found -
Greasy wool - by hand, 43d. per- cwt., or is. 3d. per bale; by hand, if dumping included, 6d. per cwt., or is. 7£d. per bale; by power, jd. per cwt., or 9 1/2 d. per bale ; by power, if dumping included, 4c!. per cwt., or is. id. per bale.
The portion of the award to which I particularly desire to call attention is -
For pressing by any other presses, id. per cwt., or 3d. pet bale extra.
It will be seen that this really creates a monopoly in the manufacture of the three presses mentioned; and that, of course, is not desirable. The manufacturers of other presses employ a large number of men, as will be realized by any honorable members who have visited the works where the Kurtz press is manufactured in Sydney. Who is going to buy a Kurtz press when he can buy a Ferrier, a Rack and Pinion, or an Adelaide box press, for a little more money, in view of the fact that he will have to pay more if the first-mentioned press is used ?
– Is any reason given for this condition?
– Yes ; and the reason given shows, in my opinion, that the Judge did not realize that hi; was really giving a monopoly to three firms. Mr. Justice Higgins said -
The claimant asks me to discriminate between the presses which are fast and the presses which are slow, and to prescribe a higher rate for the latter. This demand seems to be reasonable as regards piece-work rates; for if the payment is to be by results, the employes should get higher rates where slow or imperfect appliances are used.
That would apply if there was an unlimited quantity of wool to be pressed, but that is not the case. Where there are only a certain number of shearers, say, twelve or eighteen, the quantity of wool shorn can be easily pressed by a Kurtz machine.
– Do I understand that the honorable member is discussing a recent award in an arbitration case?
– I am referring to the consequences of part of the award in an arbitration case affecting a shearing dispute.
-The honorable member may not do so.
– I shall, of course, abide by your ruling, sir. If an award placed a great disability on pastoralists, could it not be referred to?’
– Only on a specific motion. I understand that the honorable member was criticising an award of the Arbitration Court. He may do that only on a specific motion.- Nothing beyond a reference is permissible otherwise.
– I was referring only to the consequences of an award which is a serious matter for many engaged in pastoral pursuits, and for all manufacturers of wool presses other than the Ferrier, Rack and Pinion, and the Adelaide box press.
.- Attention should be paid to the remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney, who pointed out that a recent award of the Arbitration Court would throw the manufacturing of wool presses into the bands of two firms. If that happens, these firms will be able to form a ring or trust, and increase prices. Admittedly they manufacture good presses; but, no doubt, they now receive fair prices for them, and it would be a pity if they were placed in a position in which they could gradually make their prices higher and higher. The award of the Court has raised wages.
-I ask the honorable member not to discuss the award.
– I was merely pointing out that those engaged in pastoral pursuits have to pay higher wages every year; and if a trust is formed in connexion with the sale of presses, their profits will be still further diminished. They, on their part, cannot increase the price of wool, because they export their product, and have to depend on the world’s market. They should not be put at the mercy of manufacturers by an award which had no such intention. I wish, also, to ask the Postmaster–General if he will reduce, as far as possible, the guarantees demanded for telephone extensions into the backblocks.
– The honorable member can discuss that during the Budget debate.
– This is grievance night, and I have a grievance in the matter, because I have been trying for some time to have the present system altered. I hope that the Postmaster-General will state his position, either during the Budget debate, or at some other convenient time. I wish, further, to know whether the Government intends to formulate a scheme whereby the people will be required to contribute in some way towards the Old-age and Invalid Pensions Fund.
– They do that now by paying taxes.
– The fund is supplied out of the Consolidated Revenue, but the present system is not calculated to improve the national character, nor to insure the payment of pensions at the rates which have been fixed. No one more ardently wishes to see pensions paid to deserving persons than I do; and it should be our aim to increase the rates, if possible. But we need a sane business basis, so that both those who are now in receipt of pensions, and those likely to need them, shall be sure of relief. When the honorable member for Hume introduced the pension system, he estimated that it. would cost £1,250,000 250,000 a year; but it is already costing ,£2,000,000 a year.
– And many deserving persons are not receiving pensions.
– In many cases I have been unable to obtain pensions for applicants, or have obtained pensions which are inadequate. For technical and other reasons, the applications of most deserving persons are sometimes refused.
– It may be that they possess property which, although returning nothing, has a capital value for which deductions are made, which prevent the payment of pensions.
– Very often an applicant has only a roof over his head.
– I know an estimable citizen, seventy-four years of age, who is incapacitated by an incurable disease from earning his living, and whose family is not in a position to assist him. He cannot get a pension, because he transferred property about twelve months before the Act came into force. The transfer was effected through me, so that I know that it was not made to enable a claim for a pension to be preferred. The property was transferred because it was heavily mortgaged, and the owner, being incapacitated, could not earn anything to meet the interest.
– What consideration did she receive for the transfer?
– Whatever he received, he had nothing when he applied for a pension.
– Had he been backing horses?
– He had not been following the Minister’s example.
– If he could prove that he had nothing, he could get a pension.
– When the application was made, the money received for the transfer had been spent, and the transfer was not effected to secure a pension.
– If the applicant is legally entitled to a pension, he will receive it. Otherwise, of course, nothing can be paid to him.
– It may be that the case does not come quite within the Act, although it seemed to me that it did. I did not press the matter when, after review, the decision of the Deputy Commissioner was upheld.
– The honorable member should have another “go,” as I do.
– The present system is defective. I should like to see a base put under it which will support the structure, so that those entitled to assistance may be sure of getting it. The Labour party have gained a good deal by advocating old-age pensions here, and on the platform.
– The Old-age Pensions Act would not have been passed without our assistance.
– I do not detract from what the party has done; but the Government should make the payment of pensions absolutely sure, and see that the systern adopted does not sap the self-reliance of the people, and so weaken the national character. If people know that they have only to keep out of gaol, and be of good character, in order to be entitled in their old age to a pension, some will be tempted not to make efforts which they otherwise would make.
– That is a slur upon Australia.
– It is not. The history ofall nations shows that the handing out of largesse leads to a number of people being, so to speak, good for nothing. In ancient Rome there were many who did nothing but receive from the State their daily bread. They were of no use to the Empire when it was tottering ; about all they could do was to create a disturbance if the games in the circus were insufficient. We should adopt a system under which all adults earning a living would be made to contribute to a fund-
– Every adult is contributing by way of taxation now to the oldage pensions fund.
– But that fact is not sufficiently brought home to the minds of the people.
– Has the honorable member a scheme to suggest ?
– If I were on the Treasury bench I should come down with a scheme and carry it through. If we had in force some such system as is in vogue in Germany, under which the employer and employed contribute to an insurance fund which is subsidized by the State, the position might be improved
– But it costs so much.
– If it were impracticable in a. country like this, then it might be possible to found something in the shape of a national friendly society to whose funds we should have to contribute, so that when we readied a certain age we could draw a pension if we required one.
– What is the scheme tonight? Does not the Opposition want the Works Estimates passed?
– I should have finished long ago, but for the interruptions to which I have been subjected.
– Is not the country waiting for the Works Estimates to be passed?
– The Minister is a real patriot !
– I ask honorable members to cease interjecting.
– It is about time that the Ministry seriously thought of initiating a system whereby the youth, the strength, and the manhood of Australia would do something in the direction of contributing to the building up of a satisfactory fund such as I have suggested, or contribute a satisfactory amount towards what we have to pay annually in respect of old-age pensions. It is only fair that those of us who can afford to do something for our less fortunate brethren should be required to do so. If some such scheme were instituted many people would realize more fully than they do now that their thrift was going to provide a fund for the unfortunate and the needy.
We have made so many inroads on the liberty of the subject by way of legislation that I think we might well go a step further and impose on society some scheme under which those who could afford to do so would be required to assist to maintain those who cannot help themselves.
.- Some more satisfactory reply should have been made to the indictment by the Leader of the Opposition in respect of what would seem to be the very partial Sugar Commission appointed. It is unfortunate that this House has to take in hand the duty of criticising the personnel of that Commission. We are proud to believe that the whole of the people of Australia take a keen interest in politics. It is one of the healthiest signs of the vitality and virility of Australian people that they are not only conducting their enterprises with energy and ability, but are taking that interest in the affairs of their country which is so necessary if the laws passed by the National Parliament are to be a true reflex of the people’s will.
– That is why Labour is on the Government benches.
– I admit that the Labour party managed to “ fluke a victory “ at the last general election, but the people were only twelve months in recognising that they had made a huge mistake, and they availed themselves of the first opportunity to show that they had come to that conclusion by rejecting the Labour referenda proposals.
– What about the recent Western Australian elections?
– They cannot be claimed as a victory, since Western Australia was the only State that polled a majority in favour of the referenda. The people of that State last month simply affirmed the vote which they had given at the referenda.
– Then there is the recent Liverpool Plains election, in New South Wales.
– In New South Wales Labour won one seat and the Liberals won the other. To return to the question I was discussing when interrupted, it is most unfortunate that the executive power of the Government was used for the purpose of making what appear on the surface to be partisan appointments to the Sugar Commission. No Commission has been appointed by this, or by any other Parliament, in connexion with which it was more vitally important that men of thehighest standing - men who were, at least, outside the active region of politics, and’ had not declared any political bias - should be selected. Although we know that it wasimpossible for the Minister to select men free from all political bias, he could, at least, have avoided selecting men who had been openly expressing their political views, either as candidates for Parliament or through the public newspapers. The field of selection was so wide and broad that it would have been quite possible for the Minister to choose men in whom every section of the community would have had the utmost confidence. It is most unfortunate that the Commission should have to set out on its work of investigating the conditions of what is the largest single industry of the Commonwealth with the public mind already biased against it?
– What ?
– I venture to say that the public cannot have in this Commission the confidence that it ought to have.
– What about- -the Commission appointed by the honorable member for Ballarat?
– I am speaking of a Commission that has been actually appointed, not of one that was never _ appointed, or, if appointed, did not actively enter upon its duties.
– The honorable member is prejudging the members of this Commission.
– I am not. Just as our Judges and magistrates should be, not only free from bias, but above the possibility of any suspicion being attached to them, so the members of this Commission should be absolutely free from any political bias. It is most unfortunate that the executive power of this Government has been so far used in a manner that has gravely and seriously shaken public “confidence in its administration. The public policy of a Government can be, and should be, criticised in a proper way. We know that the policy of this Government is decided, first of all, in some other place before it is submitted to this Parliament. Ultimately, it is brought before us and discussed as a public question ; but the executive acts of- a Parliament should leave its administration free from any possible suspicion that might be attached to it. The Government having decided that the Commission should be composed of persons out- side this Parliament - that it should be of an absolutely judicial character, and one that would have the confidence of every section of the community - should have adhered to that decision. The previous Government took steps to appoint a Commission on a basis that has been advocated for some time by a member of ‘ the present Ministerial party. For nearly two years the honorable member for Capricornia has consistently and sedulously advocated the appointment of a Commission that would be representative, of the five important interests involved. If the Government had carried out their oft- repeated promise that the Commission would be so constituted as to represent impartially every section of the community we should have known that, upon receiving its report, we could mete out justice. The industry affects every householder in the community. It is one of the most important industries in the Commonwealth, and is already in the hands of one important trading company. We want to ascertain, by means of the Commission, whether the consumers of Australia are paying too much to support the sugar industry. At the same time I believe that we, as the National Parliament, should so frame our laws that they will cause industries of the widest variety to spring into existence, so that we may establish a truly national system of production and, at the same time, a self-sustaining community. With our tremendous resources we can establish in this great continent every industry that is necessary to supply the needs and services of the highest type of civilization. It is possible that, under present conditions, the people of the Commonwealth may be paying far too great a price for the support of the sugar industry. We wanted exact information on that point, but the Government and Parliament agreed that it could not be properly obtained by appointing a Commission of members of this Parliament, because such a body would smack too much of party politics. I believe that is the reason that Parliament decided that the Commission should be purely non-party, with a. judicial chairman, capable of imparting a judicial, as well as a practical, character to its investigations. We hoped that its report, when presented to the House, would be so representative of every important interest affected by the industry, that this Parliament would be able to evolve from it a complete and comprehensive policy on the ques tion. Unfortunately we have now a Commission which shows on the surface that there is political bias in connexion with its members. It is unfortunate that that should be the case when the Commission is starting on its career of investigation, but the matter is one which, in the interests of Australia as a whole, might reasonably be discussed here free from party considerations. It is a most unfortunate blunder on the part of the Executive that it should have been made possible by the appointment of the members of that Commission
– I wish to ask your ruling, sir, as to whether the honorable member for Wimmera is in order in discussing the personnel of the Royal Commission in the way he is doing. He is reflecting upon a Commission which has been appointed, and it is a rather serious matter that any Royal Commission should be discussed in that way.
– The honorable member will be quite in order in discussing the personnel of the Commission. It is left to the good taste of each member to decide how far he shall go. If there is any point at which I can intervene, I shall do so, but so long as the honorable member confines himself to the question of the personnel of the Commission there can be no objection to his remarks.
– It is with the greatest reluctance that I undertake this task of drawing attention to the serious blunder made by the Cabinet in appointing a Commission which lays itself open at this early stage of its career to the criticism that has been levelled against it. It would have been possible to appoint, from prominent business men and representative workers of the continent, a hundred Commissions that would have successfully withstood any fire of criticism that might have been directed against them in this chamber. In the present circumstances it is not possible for this Commission to escape the criticism which ought to be levelled against it. I hope it will be possible for the Commission to say when it brings in its report - if the Government does not think it advisable before then to retrace its steps-
– The honorable member is now. going beyond the limits of fair discussion.
– I bow to your ruling, sir, and can only say that I am glad that it has been made possible to criticise the Commission at the commencement of its duties in the way that has been allowed to-night. I wish to refer to the remarks of the honorable member for Wilmot in respect to old-age pensions. I am one of those honorable members who have always believed that old-age pensions should be entirely freed from the taint of charity. I believe that our so-called charitable institutions are only regarded as charities because we have not reached that altitude in our Christian civilization which would remove the taint of charity altogether from them, and cause them and their support to be regarded as part of the economic, as well as the ethical, duty of every citizen in the Commonwealth.
– Did the honorable member vote for the Surplus Revenue Bill?
– I did. The honorable member apparently has the same erroneous idea with respect to my attitude on that matter as he had when he said the Age had called me a bogus protectionist. The honorable member should verify Wis quotations before he levels them at honorable members on this side.
– The Age included the honorable member amongst them.
– If the honorable member can produce the passage with my name mentioned, and not bunched in a general reference to a number of others, I shall be prepared to take some notice of it. There will never be a better opportunity than the present for the Government to introduce a, scientific scheme of old-age pensions, building up a fund, and giving encouragement to merit, thrift, and industry on the part of the people of Australia. It is an extraordinary thing that in all British communities there is a disinclination on the part of Governments to bring in an old-age pensions Act, based on thrift as well as on Government assistance. A scientific scheme can be introduced by which the people, during their years of strength and vitality, could build up a fund that would help to pay them the allowances, gratuities, or honorariums due to them when they reached a certain age. From about t.88o, until the pensions scheme was passed in the last session of the present British Parliament, about a dozen Royal Commissions reported on the question. The various Friendly Societies were made use of, and experiments were tried, but, so far, it has not been found possible in Great Britain to place old-age pensions on a scientific basis.
With an “over-flowing Treasury, and greatprosperity throughout the Commonwealth, the present would have been a golden time: for this Government to lay the foundation of an old-age pensions scheme that would’ be largely self-supporting, encourage thrift and industry, and be infinitely more universal in its application than the present system. In view of their professions, this is peculiarly a question that might be undertaken by the present Government. I havein my mind a case which I believe is typical of hundreds, if not thousands, of others. A couple began to purchase a house sometwenty years ago in one of the suburbs of Melbourne. They have paid off nearly ;£66o, and still owe about ,£100 on it. Thethrift, self-denial, and industry they havedisplayed to secure a home for themselves ought to be commended and encouraged, but’ the amount of .£600 which they havepaid brings them nearly up to the margin: fixed in both cases, and they are allowed a pension conjointly of, I think, only 2s. 8d. per week. A margin of .£310 is allowed by the Act, but why should any deduction be made from the pensions in a case of thatkind ? There is a very grave and seriousanomaly in the Act in this way - that a man. can earn nearly up to 10s. per week, and can receive a pension of an equivalent amount, but if he has property worth £3.1.0, which is regarded as equivalent tothe capital upon which 10s. per week could be earned, he is cut off from the chance of getting a pension. Such a provision discourages people from providing themselveswith a home, and discounts that thrift and industry which the Government ought to bethe first to encourage.
– Why not make the pension universal ?
– There is a great deal to be said in f avour of that view, but it cannot be done unless we revise the whole existing scheme. We could establish a universal scheme on a thoroughly actuarial and; scientific basis, like that of Germany. In F ranee, Belgium, and other European countries, scientific systems on a sound economic basis are being successfully carried out by municipalities. The municipal-form of government has been made use of on the Continent in many important directions, which we have not yet followed in Australia. The London County Council extends its operations considerably beyond anything done by municipalities in Australia, and that tendency is even more marked on the Continent. We could institute a universal system of old-age pensions in Australia in such a way as to remove all possible taint of charity or pauperism from it, and so enable the old people to claim, as a matter of right, the pensions which they themselves have helped to build up during their years of health and vigour. There is not a citizen who has helped to make this country what it is, either as a servant of the State or in his private capacity, who would not be able to draw a pension in a spirit of independent enjoyment that would be impossible if it were provided entirely by the State. In Germany the system I am advocating goes like clockwork. I speak on the authority of a comprehensive report presented two or three years ago by Sir John Cockburn, who attended the International Conference of Workmen in Rome, and was able to obtain invaluable data at first hand. This report shows that it is possible for the State, while contributing only a minor portion of the combined fund, to build up a system that is universal in its application. In Germany only some of the big traders and largersalaried officials, who are compelled to take out policies, are excluded. On the employer devolves the duty of deducting the contributions from the wages, and he has to add double the amount thus collected. All these individual contributions are placed in a separate fund, so that each person has a separate account. The result is that at seventy years of age a pension of £13 a year is paid, and this is probably regarded to be quite equal to £26 in Australia. So large is the element of thrift, and so great is the accumulation of money, that it is possible in Germany to pay £13 a year, to which the State contributes only £2 10s. Under a scientific actuarial system, to which everybody contributes ; whereas in Australia the whole of the old-age pensions is paid out of the public Treasury, and a large number of the most deserving people are excluded from participation. I give the Treasurer and the Acting Treasurer credit for an efficient and sympathetic administration of the Act ; but the Act itself requires amendment. I know of no better opportunity than the present to bring this matter under the notice of the Government j because I feel that a much better system could be evolved at a cost much smaller than that we at present bear. The whole basis of the old-age pension system ought to be altered and extended in such a way as to cover double the number of recipients, while, at the same time, encouraging thrift, and altogether removing from it any taint of charity, and at a much smaller cost to the State.
.- To say that I was surprised at the praise of our telephone system by the honorable member for Denison is but to mildly describe my feelings. Had I not known something of the subject, I might have believed him, seeing that he has just returned from his travels through the world, and that he started out with the knowledge of an electrical engineer. I cannot think that the honorable member really believes, as he most forcibly told us he did, .that we have the best possible telephone system. I can prove, without difficulty, that there are other systems very much ahead of what we enjoy here. I am in possession of some little information which, had the honorable member had the advantage of it, would have made him less certain in many of his statements. The Daily Telegraph of Sydney, of 3rd November, 1910, contained an article on the subject. It is very fortunate that I happen to have the information which I am about to read, because otherwise the House might have been misled by the honorable member for Denison, who I understand is the political electrical authority of the Commonwealth -
ADVOCACY OF THE AUTOMATIC NO LISTENING EARS.
Must the ‘Phone Girl Gol
Los Angeles, California, has more automatic telephones than any other city in the world. Over 28,000 are in use where six or seven years ago there was none. A hundred other American cities have the system also. People who have had experience say the automatic will ultimately supersede the manual system. They say the time is near when we will never again hear a feminine voice say, “Yes, this is Central.”
Mr. Arthur Holliday, a representative of the Los Angeles Examiner, the Chicago Examiner, and other American newspapers, who is in Sydney, indorses the statements of a correspondent published in the Daily Telegraph yesterday morning pointing out advantages of the automatic system. He said business people had found it very much more satisfactory than the old system, principally on account of the quickness in raising a number, and on account of the absolute secrecy of the conversation. “ From my experience in Los Angeles and other cities, I think the automatic system would exactly meet the requirements of a big hustling city like Sydney.”
Points of Advantage.
Mr. J. R. Bainton, M.I.E.E., electrical engineer, who spent eight months in America recently studying the telephone systems, said there were many reasons why the automatic telephone must take the place of the manually-operated system. An unlimited number of subscribers could be connected with the automatic system, whereas 10,000 was about the greatest number that could be comfortably connected with an exchange on the manual system. After 10,000 tha manual exchange became unwieldy, but even with 100,000 on the automatic the simplicity of the system would not be affected. “ There are no operators’ salaries to pay,” he continued, “ nor replacing of the switchboard lamps, as on the central battery system. No cords nor plugs nor jacks are required. There can be no rush of work during busy hours of the day, because each subscriber connects himself. Confusion in the operating-room is thus avoided. The automatic system is popular because of its absolute secrecy. There is no chance of a conversation being interrupted or overheard nor of an attendant at the exchange listening. The operation of calling up a number is not only simple, but quick, and since you are not dependent on any one else, if your number is engaged you know immediately. A subscriber can test his own line for himself. He can call up his own number, and the “ busy “ signal will ring. That shows that his line to the exchange is in good order. Furthermore, at the main exchange a 10,000- number board can be tested in half-an hour. On the manual system it takes about three hours. Another important point is that the wear and tear on the automatic system is inconsiderable. One .very great advantage of the automatic system is that with it you can justly charge on a flat rate basis. Since there are no attendants, there is no extra expense from a large number of calls, so that the toll rate is unnecessary. There is no need to record the number of calls.”
It is most important that Parliament should have this information, which shows that there are in other parts of the world systems which are as good as, if not better than ours, and less expensive. Any system enabling subscribers to have communication without the intervention of telephone attendants would lead to a great saving of temper. “
– How is the system operated?
– I am about to explain that. The article continues-^
Mr. Sainton instanced Columbus (U.S.A.) as a city where the automatic system had given great satisfaction. He said that subscribers who had had experience with both the automatic and manual system very much preferred the former. The population of the city was 185,000, and a few years ago the Citizens’ Independent Telephone Company was formed to bring about their own independent installation, which is now on the automatic system. They have at present actually ‘connected 17,000 telephones, charging forty-five dollars (£$) a year, and so forcing the Bell (manual) Company to reduce its rates to the same figure from ninety-five dollars, which they were previously charging. Business men now had the two systems connected with their offices, and they could generally make a call with the automatic in one thrid of the time required by the manual. The reason why the Bell Company continued to carry on was because it had been so much longer established, and had long-distanced lines throughout the country. “ I visited the main exchange at Columbus,” said Mr. Bainton, “ and there, where the bulk of the calls passed through, I found that the total number of people looking after the automatic apparatus was fifteen. Yet here in Sydney, with only 7,000 telephones, there are 150 on the staff.”
I hope that the honorable member for Denison is listening to what I am reading. There are not more than 7,000 telephones in Sydney on one board.
– There are 33,000 telephone subscribers in Sydney.
– In Sydney, with only 7,000 telephones on a board, there is a staff of about 150, but at Columbus, with 17,000 telephones, only fifteen operators are employed. To continue the quotation - “ We arrived at Honolulu when the system had been installed about three weeks. It was a holiday, and we thought it would be a good opportunity for the exchange officials to be putting everything in good order. But there were only three people in the building, though there were 2,300 subscribers connected with the exchange. The board was installed for 5,000 subscribers, the building is fireproof, and the arrangements were the best df any svstem we sow.” “ The cost of equipment for small boards on the automatic system,” said Mr. Bainton, “ would be considerably more than that of the manual boards, but the cost per subscriber is almost a constant figure, whereas with the manual system board the cost per subscriber increases as the size of the exchange increases. In a city like Sydney the cost of the automatic system would be a little greater than that of the manual system.” T.he automatic system had been put before the Commonwealth Chief Electrical Engineer (Mr. John Hesketh), who was impressed with its advantages.
Mr. Bainton stated that it was surprising to note the interest being taken in automatic telephones by Continental engineers. The German Government had recently appointed a commission to inquire into the system, and finally placed an order for 30,000 instruments with a large manufacturer in Berlin. The French Government appointed a commission to study the question in the United States, and it was practically decided to call for prices for a large order.
Let me now give the opinion of a London expert -
The London Times of July 20 last prints, in its engineering supplement, a report by Major W. A. J. O’Meara,. chief engineer of the British Post-office, dealing wilh the automatic telephone. The major is cautious, but it is obvious that he is impressed. “ We have yet to learn from actual experience,” he writes, “ whether the automatic and the semi-automatic equipments provide sufficient flexibility to cover the wide range of requirements of the British public, how far the mechanism is reliable in the care of such men as we can train to maintain it, and how the cost nf first installation and the annual charges in respect of depreciation, maintenance, and traffic operation compare as a whole with similar costs in respect of existing types of installation. Clearly, if the new designs of equipment on testing out actually ‘ prove in ‘ there can be no doubt as to the course we must be prepared to adopt. “ I have to confess that I was much impressed with all that I saw in the fields of automatic telephony, and I feel that infinite credit is due to the manufacturers of the plants for the efficient manner in which the staff detailed to maintain the switch equipments have been trained. “ As an instance of the great flexibility of the automatic system, I may mention that whilst I was at Urbana it was demonstrated to me that so far as the selecting devices are concerned, it is possible to arrange for a practically unlimited number of subscribers to be connected to exchanges in a multi-office area. The operation of calling a subscriber, No. 2,401,104, was performed in my presence, the line used being made up of junctions from the Urbana exchange via the University and Champain (Illinois) exchanges and back, via the University to Urbana. “ Perhaps of all the interesting questions which were discussed, the most important is that relating to the development of the automatic and semi-automatic equipment. It was my good fortune to see no less than five different types of switch equipment, designed to provide automatic and semi-automatic telephone service, and I also had the advantage of discussing the question of providing service by means of these new types of equipment, not only with those who advocate these systems, but also with those who are opponents of the automatic systems. A matter which has been much debated,” he continues, “ is that relating to the probable attitude of the public towards a service provided by means of full automatic systems. The question naturally arises whether the public will take kindly to the task of calling their correspondents when once the novelty of the apparatus has worn off. I think the non-committal answer of “ wait and see “ is the safest at the present moment. True at the present time, some 200,000 full automatic stations are in operation in North America, and the advocates of the system point to this fact in support of their contention that the public prefer this system. “ On the other hand, the opponents of the system claim that it is the novelty of the thing which appeals to the public, and suggest that the users are also stockholders in the operating companies, that the pleasure arising from a feeling of ownership in the plant is responsible for the enthusiasm, where such exists, and that as soon as the plant begins to age, and the service in consequence shows signs of deterioration, the present feeling of satisfaction will give place to one of disgust. The whole question certainly requires the serious consideration of telephone engineers in this country.” Mr. A. Da Costa, writing to the editor, says -
Sir, - Your Honolulu correspondent suggests a proceeding which would be of considerable value to the Commonwealth, namely, the introduction f an automatic telephone service. The installation would doubtless be expensive, but the maintenance would be a decimal only of the present cost of our two obsolete boards, in Sydney, at any rate. It may not be known to the public that the city board, so much talked about, is on the next shelf to the old magneto. Many people talk about the common battery board now being installed, but few ask why it is not extended ; fewer still, perhaps, know it is a back number. Why not make one bite of the cherry, and get up-to-date machinery V
The automatic system is worked in this way -
Suppose a subscriber wants to get into communication with No. 1871. He places his finger on the number one and rotates the movable plate of the dial until stopped by the projecting bar. In turn he places his finger on the numbers 8, 7, 1, moving the outer dial as before to the projecting bar. Then he takes up the receiver, and finds he is in communication with No. 1871. The whole operation can be performed in four seconds. This system entirely dispenses with the telephone girl, and obviates any delay.
I propose now to give the Minister of External Affairs my authority for the statement -
A representative of the Daily Telegraph secured striking testimony yesterday in favour of the automatic telephone system from Mr. W. O. Brain, Chief Electrical Engineer of the Tramway Department. Mr. Brain must be regarded as an unbiased authority, as he was specially instructed by the Chief Commissioner for Railways to investigate the matter of automatic telephonic communication during his recent visit to Europe and America, when he represented the department at the International Railway Congress held at Berne, in Switzerland, in July last.
Has the Commonwealth Government troubled to send even a telephone operator to England or America to make inquiries ? No; they have tried to force on us the obsolete system in which the honorable member for Denison so strongly believes -
Mr. Brain, when interviewed, was very hesitant in regard to making a statement, and it was evident that he did not wish to reflect in any way on the management of the local telephone service. “ I went over the whole of the Telephone Exchange in Columbus (Ohio, U.S.A.), where, I believe, is one of the largest equipments of automatic telephones in the world. There was plenty of evidence of the automatic system giving complete satisfaction. This is best evidenced by the fact that the system is being rapidly extended in that city. In Columbus there are altogether about 17,000 telephones connected with the exchange and automatically operated, so that it will be seen that the system can be successfully applied in larger towns than Sydney, where there are only about 7,000 subscribers. In that city their main central exchange was connected to a number of branch exchanges. The absence of attendance upon the instruments enables them to make a larger number of branch exchanges, and so reduce, the length of line. The automatic system is simple in operation, and prevents any possibility of delay. As soon as you have manipulated the outer dial you are in communication with the telephone of the person you wish to reach. In the city of Columbus both the common battery system and the automatic system are in operation, and the automatic system is preferred by the general public, as it guarantees an immediate call - although I must say that the attention given under the Bell telephone service in America is excellent…..
I also saw the installation at Honolulu, described in to-day’s issue of the Daily Telegraph; and was informed by the manager that it was displacing an up-to-date common battery system which had only been installed a matter of four or five years. It really takes American spirit of enterprise to ‘ scrap ‘ a new and costly installation like that, but it shows that they realise that the automatic system had important advantages.”
I should like the honorable member for Denison to allow this information to soak into his mind, so that when next he speaks of the wonderful system in use in the Commonwealth, he will propose its displacement by the automatic system. Four or five members of this Parliament who returned recently from England, via Canada and the United States, speak in very high terms of the automatic system in use there, and tell me that they experienced no trouble whatever in getting into . touch with subscribers. They consider the system is far ahead of anything we have in Australia.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Supply (Consideration resumed from ist ‘November, vide page 21 1 8).
Divisions i to 5 (Home Affairs), £824,915.
.- There is one item in these Estimates to which I wish specially to refer, and that is the proposed vote, “ Federal Capital at Canberra, towards cost of establishing, ,£100,000.” It is true that the Minister of Home Affairs said last night that of this amount only £66,043 was in respect of new service, £33j957 being a re-vote; but the fact remains that we are asked to vote, altogether, £100,000 for this purpose.
– Why not wait till we reach the item?
– The honorable member made two speeches last night, and I am going to deal with this question now. There is one peculiar feature of the Estimates relating to the Federal Capital which I desire to bring under the notice of the Committee. We find that the proposed votes in respect of the Northern Territory and Papua are dealt with under a separate heading, and details are set out; whereas in the case of the Federal Capital we have an item covering a lump sum, and giving absolutely no details. On the last page of the Works and Buildings Estimates honorable members will find a division relating to the Northern Territory, in which are set out items relating to alterations to the Darwin hospital, artesian water bores, roads, fords and bridges, and so forth. All the details are set out, and the Government are bound by the items given. Then, again, in the General Estimates, the cost of administration is specified in every case, and details given. In connexion with the Federal Territory, however, we are asked to vote a lump sum of ,£100,000 under these Estimates, and we are told that that lump sum includes ,£15,000 in respect of administration and survey. I take strong exception to the cost of administration being included in a vote for Works and Buildings. Why is it not included in the General Estimates, as is the case in regard to the cost of administration of the Northern Territory and Papua ? Why, also, are not the works and buildings to be carried out at the Federal Capital distinctly specified?
– The administration referred to, so far as the Federal Capital is concerned, relates to the officers conducting the necessary works.
– We know that it relates to the administration of the Territory ; but why should the cost of administration be included in a lump sum with the Works and Buildings Estimates?
– Would the honorable member include the cost of the engineer of the proposed railway?
– I notice that details of expenditure are set out in the Estimates in regard to Northern Territory works. Every officer is specified, and the works themselves are individualized. I think the same should be done in connexion with Federal Capital works ?
– Is it proposed to appoint any officers in the Federal Territory ?
– We do not know. Last night the severest criticism in connexion with this subject came from two New South Wales members, one of whom is particularly rabid on the question of the Federal Capital. I refer to the honorable member for Wentworth, who admitted that it was necessary to approach the question of expenditure on the Federal Capital with an eye to “ rigid economy.” Last year the
Government asked for a blank cheque for £50,000. They did not spend the whole of it, not because the money was not available, but because certain works could not be pushed forward for lack of a railway. It was found to be ruinous to pay for the cartage of material, and therefore works were stopped pending the construction of a railway.
– The railway was included on last year’s Estimates.
– But some trcable arose in connexion with the purchase of lands. The route of the railway would probably traverse private lands, and the Government wanted to take possession of the whole of the lands, instead of taking some piecemeal. This year we were told that it is proposed to expend money on a weir on the Cotter, a bridge over the Murrumbidgee, a pipe line, a temporary railway, a power plant, a brickmaking plant, a roadmaking plant, and timber. But we do not know how much money is to be spent on each of those works, though full details are given, with regard to the Northern Territory. For instance, there is .£500 for the Pine Creek railway. Surely, we have just as much right’ to ask for details regarding expenditure in the Capital Territory. We ought not to vote hundreds of thousands of pounds without knowing how the money is to be spent. There ought to be a Department for the Territory, and a clear idea ought to be given to us as to what the Government propose to do. This idea of giving a free hand is totally unsound. I can quite understand honorable members who are desirous of seeing the Federal Capital established beginning to get alarmed and’ to fear that the country will object to this wild expenditure. I am quite prepared to join with any other honorable member in taking a stand for the express purpose of compelling the Government to come down with clear and distinct estimates of expenditure, with particulars as to how much they propose to spend on particular works, and how long a period the expenditure is proposed to cover. We must put an end to this blank-cheque business. As £50,000 was voted last year without any details being furnished, we can hardly blame the Government for asking for ,£100,000 thisyear. I should not wonder if they asked for £250,000 next year. There is a rebate of £33,000 on account of last year’s vote.
– Is the £100,000 in addition to the balance of last year’s vote?
– I understand that the £100,000 is in addition to the ,£16,000 spent last year. But we really do not know what is being done, how much is being spent, or how many years the expenditure is to be spread over.
Mr. MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports) [10.56J. - I wish to say a few words with regard to expenditure on the erection of postoffices. The Treasurer went into this matter yesterday, and I listened with pleasure to a certain portion of his remarks. But 1 wish to be particularly clear as to what is to be done. We have items of expenditure amounting to £^700,000. and then there is another item of £600,000 to be allocated to Trust Funds.
– That is to cover more than one financial year. We shall bring down a schedule.
– I am pleased to hear that. In the first year after I was returned to this House I was very much surprised that men experienced in parliamentary affairs should have allowed such a silly system to continue as that which we have had in connexion with expenditure. What takes place is this : A sum of money is placed on the Estimates for building a postoffice, say, at Croajingalong, or Buckley’s Crossing. On 30th June, after the expenditure is authorized by Parliament, the unexpended balance of the vote goes back into the Treasury. I am inclined to think that the Treasury looks upon these unexpended balances as a kind of nest egg with which they are able to inflate their revenue for the next year. On the present Estimates, there is a sum of £1,000 for a post-office at South Melbourne. Between the present time and the end of the financial year, not more than that sum may be required to be paid to the contractor. But if the full amount is not expended, the balance will go back into the Treasury on 30th June next, and between that date and the time when Parliament votes the necessary money again, either the contractor will be deprived of the cheques that are due to him, or the work will have to be stopped. I trust that the Home Affairs Department and the Treasury will come to an understanding so that even if the whole of a sum voted is not spent at the end of the financial year, the works for which the money was voted will not be suspended.
– The honorable member is very lucky if he is to have a post-office erected in his constituency !
– There was a sum of money for this purpose on the Estimates during the first Federal Parliament.
– There has been a vote on the Estimates for this purpose for the last ten years.
– The amount appropriated stood at ^5,000 for some years. Last year it was .£1,500; this year it is £1,000. I make no complaint on that score, because I am aware that not more than £1,000 will be required to be paid to the contractor before the end of the present financial year. I shall be rather pleased if the ^£600,000 mentioned by the Treasurer is devoted to works of that character, so that there may be no stoppage of operations. The Prime Minister has already said that it would be used for works extending over many years, instead of closing them up at the end of one financial year. That is the common-sense way in which all Commonwealth works should be carried on. I have never been able to thoroughly grasp why the other system has been followed so long. We- have found Treasurers coming down for a- sort of indemnifying vote years after moneys have been expended. The right honorable member for Swan on one occasion objected to certain moneys being passed for payment, and it transpired that some of the amounts had been spent during his own regime some two years before. The idea now put forward by the Treasurer is a good one, and I hope it will be extended, always on condition that a complete schedule is presented in each case, so that we may know what the money is being used for. I hope the Treasurer will take into consideration the advisability of coining our own bullion in Australia. He says that we lose nothing by having it coined in Europe, but we have three mints in Australia, and the present staffs, with additional hands and more machinery, could coin the whole of our money, and we know that the demand for silver and copper coinage in Australia will increase every year. That work will give a great deal of employment, and involve a great saving, because it must cost many thousands of pounds to have our coinage produced in other countries. It is not my intention in the future to oppose any votes for the Federal Capital site at Canberra, because I recognise that it has been selected, and that we shall have to make the best of it, bad though it may be. We are, however, not treating the land-holders in the Federal Territory properly. They are under great disabilities, which ought to be immediately removed. The land of some of them is partly in the Federal Territory, and partly in New South Wales, and in those cases they do not know what to do. Perhaps the part cut out is the worst part of a man’s holding, but if he sells it cheaply it may be taken as the value of the rest of his land. Many land-owners there have their “property mortgaged, and the mortgages are falling due. It is a matter of great difficulty for them to get a new mortgage arranged for, in view of the present insecure tenure. In justice to them, some arrangement ought to be made in the Treasury for taking over almost immediately the land of’ those who desire that course to be followed. I hope the Minister of Home Affairs will see that those people get a fair deal in the very near future.
– Sooner or later the silver coinage will have ‘to be made in Australia. It was only minted overseas for the sake of convenience. There is a great deal to be said for the contention of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that the work ought to be done here, and the Government will take it into favorable consideration. With re-, gard to the end of the financial year, it is a constitutional provision that the accountsmust close once a year. The amount of £600,000 referred to is for special works that will bring the Post and Telegraph. Department up to date. At the same time,, provision will be made more than in any other year for the continuance of those works.
– Is it understood that the first item is to be passed, and the detailstaken afterwards?
– The first item must be passed before we adjourn.
– Does the Minister of Home Affairs intend to make a statement ?
– I have a statement here.
.- A number of complaints have been made with reference to the accommodation at the post-offices in our big cities. I notice that we are suffering from a great lack of accommodation for the Federal public offices in Melbourne, which are being pushed out here, there, and everywhere ; and I presume the same thing applies to every capital city in the Commonwealth. A number of build- ings have had to be rented, and it is about time we pushed on more vigorously with the erection of the Commonwealth offices now in progress in Melbourne, lt stems an iniquitous system to keep on paying rent. 1 do not know whether the Melbourne building is progressing as expeditiously as it might.
– It is moving.
– I am glad to hear it. I want to see our Departments housed in their own building, so that the rent bill may be considerably reduced. Instead of (having to run all over the city to find the various Departments, we ought to have them all under the one roof
– The building now being erected will not hold half of them.
– It should have been made large enough to accommodate as many of - the Departments as possible; but we are increasing our rent roll instead of decreasing it. There is an ever-increasing expenditure in connexion with the Government Printing Office; and, in my opinion, the arrangements in this connexion are not of a businesslike nature. The same remark may be made of the Customs Department in the administration of the Commerce Act. We have to pay through the nose for services rendered by the State Departments ; and our printing is now so extensive that it is time we had an office of our own. We already have a branch for the printing of the Commonwealth notes and for the printing of the postage stamps; and we are . expending, I suppose, ,£20,000 or £30,000 annually in printing. Further, there are conditions, particularly in the printing office, that should not be tolerated by any Government who believe in paying their employes well. Complaints on’ this score are sometimes made to Federal members and sometimes to State members ; and, between the two stools, the unfortunate men and women, who perform their work efficiently, come to the ground. It is to the credit of the Prime Minister that he has been prepared to say that, the Commonwealth will pay a fair price for the work done; but when we are spending so much I object to have to go practically cap in hand and request the State to make reforms. I believe that the Agricultural Department nf Victoria is charging more than is fair for the services rendered to- the Commonwealth, and this and the other :items I have mentioned are among those on which we can save money. There are one or two roads in the Commonwealth that might very well be made military roads. On either side of the road leading to the cordite works at Maribyrnong the Commonwealth has purchased land for horse depots, and thus deprived the shire council of rateable property and revenue ; and yet the local authorities are expected to construct and keep the road in repair. I am glad that a vote in this connexion is on the Estimates; but more expenditure is necessary to make the road passable. In my opinion, we have lost considerably by the road not being constructed long before now. As to the discussion on these and similar topics, members on the Government side very often suffer from selfeffacement that does not do them any -good or credit as representatives, and this, I may say, is largely because of the loquacity of the Opposition. Later I shall have some remarks to make oil the telephone system in both town and country, and also on the question of the Federal Capital site. As to the latter, I can now speak from personal observation, whereas previously I could only speak on information supplied by Ministers who had previously denounced the site as the worst on earth. Since my- visit I am more than ever convinced that it is about the most undesirable place in which we could have the Capital. I was looking forward to this project to show what could be done under Government control without hindrance from the High Court or State limitations ; .but, unfortunately, in consequence of the collusion between members on- the Opposition and Government sides, there is little opportunity for honorable members to revoke the very undesirable compact that has been entered into.
.- In moving -
That this House do now adjourn,
I wish to mention that the consideration of the Works and Buildings Estimates will be taken to-morrow, and continued until it is finished. We want this business settled as early as possible, and it is understood that the Opposition speakers are not to have more time than the Government speakers.
– I do not know what my right honorable friend means when he says that we on this side are not to have more time than the Government speakers. I do not know what time he is alluding to. My experience is that all the arrangements made with the Government this session for the early termination of debates have simply resulted in letting loose a flood of eloquence on the other side. Honorable members opposite seem to be as dumb as oysters until some arrangement has been entered into with this side, and then they flood the chamber with oratory as though they would never stop. I do not understand that sort of thing at all. As regards this sitting, I do not see what the Government have to complain of. We discussed grievances for two hours only-
– For three hours.
– We discussed grievances for two hours before complaints began to be made. Had we on this side appointed the Sugar Commission, honorable members opposite would have discussed the appointment for days, not for hours. Really, it is time that they stopped these mock heroics which they are getting up every day. It is coming to this, it seems to me, that the Opposition will not be expected to speak at all. But I am afraid that we shall have to do a little talking, despite the Caucus. ‘ We do not settle things beforehand, and so we have to do our talking in the House. There seems to be a spirit abroad on the Government side that, because they have an overwhelming majority, therefore nothing should occur on this side. The sooner they get that silly notion out of their heads, the better for us all, and the better for the good temper of the House. I said nothing about the Sugar Commission to-day. I had some notes prepared, and was quite expecting to speak, but when the debate had proceeded till 10 o’clock, I waived my right to speak on the subject. And this is the reward we are getting. I hope that the Works and Building Estimates, will be passed without unnecessary delay. I am anxious to see them put through ; but when the Prime Minister talks in a minatory tone, as he has done -to-night, I have to express the hope that he will be a little reasonable.
– I am sorry that I ruffled the feathers of the honorable member for Parramatta, especially as he had such a good certificate of character this morning from a gentleman whom I need not name.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.23 P-m-
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 November 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1911/19111102_reps_4_61/>.