4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. SPEAKER took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Quarantine Accommodation : Sydney, Townsville, and Thursday Island : Case or s.s. “Eastern”: Port Darwin - Post and Telegraph Department : Administration : Employes Grievances : Telephone Construction : Revenue and Expenditure : Sydney Post Office - Defence Department : Drill : Drill Halls : Travelling Expenses and Equipment of Cadets : Scottish Regiments : Kilts : Liverpool Manuvre Area : Garrison Artillery : Minister of Defence : Rifle Clubs : Militia Officers :Drill Sergeants’ Pay - Brisbane Strike - Governor of Bank’s Travelling Allowances - Case of Mrs. Dowell - Electoral Redistribution, New South Wales - Federal Capital Designs - New Zealand Trade Reciprocity- Australian Notes and Silver Coinage - Surcharge on Australian Timber - Atlantic Cable Service - Wireless Telegraph Stations : Pacif ic Islands.
Motions (by Mr. Fisher) agreed to -
That the Standing Orders be suspended in order to enable the Committees of Supply and Ways and Means to be appointed before the AddressinReply to His Excellency the GovemorGeneral’s Opening Speech has been agreed to by the House, and to enable all other steps to be at once taken to obtain Supply, and to pass a Supply Bill through all its stages without delay.
That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.
In Committee of Supply:
– I move -
That a sum not exceeding£882,768 be granted to His’ Majesty for or towards defraying the services of the year ending 30th June, 1913.
I ask for one month’s Supply on the rates sanctioned in the Estimates for last year,, except that the advance to the Treasurer is only 1 50, 000, which. is the smallest sum proportionally that has yet been asked for.
– A matter to which I should like to draw attention is the trouble in the Sydney General Post Office. Ballot-papers have been distributed throughout Australia, and the telegraphists everywhere are being urged to sanction extreme action by the executive of their union. It would appear that an attempt is being made to engineer a strike of the telegraphists; that is the reading to attach to the statements which have appeared in the newspapers. The facts indicate a very seriously disturbed condition of affairs in the Post Office. Now if there is one thing more than another that honorable gentlemen opposite are bound to remove, it is the discontent in the Post Office. “ At the last election they got the votes of most of the employes in the Post Office by promising to act as their political saviours, rectifying their wrongs, and putting everything right at the earliest possible moment. But all they have done so far is to pass an Act handing the Public Service over to the Arbitration Court.
– Is the honorable member opposed to that?
– I see no need for it. ThisGovernment, surely, ought to rectify the wrongs.of the public servants ; there is no need to hand them over to an Arbitration Court or to any one else.
– Npt even to the Public Service Commissioner ?
– Is he an Arbitration Court? The honorable member should not make irrelevant interjections’. Does he say that the Public Service Commissioner has not acted justly towards these men ?
– I think that he has.
– Yet the honor: able member has provided for the sending of them to the Arbitration Court.
– By way of appeal.
– Why? The Minister who was at the head of the Post Office declares that the men have been dealt with justly.
– That is my opinion.
– It is the opinion of one who has been the responsible Minister that the men have nothing to complain of, yet his Government has sent them to the Arbitration Court for justice. What is the meaning of that ? Why are expensive processes of litigation multiplied uselessly?
– Would the honorable member remove the Public Service Commissioner ?
– No. But although the ex-Postmaster-General declares that the Public Service Commissioner has clone justice to these men, he refers them to the Arbitration Court.
– Another agitator trying to stir up trouble in the Public Service!
– They are after votes.
– Of course, honorable members opposite never are !
– The members of the Labour party screeched for nights from, this side of the chamber about the woes and injustices of the public servants, and said, “ We are the men for you ; we will give you justice.” But now that they are comfortably ensconsed in positions in which they receive big pay and have power, they declare that everything in the Public Service is right. The ex-Postmaster-General declares that the Public Service Commissioner has given the postal officials justice.
– That is my opinion. If he had not done so, it would have been the duty of the Government to remove him.
– Does the exPostmasterGeneral think that the Act passed last session for the handing over of the public servants to the Arbitration Court was necessary ?
– I think that it was. They have the same right to appeal to an Arbitration Court as any one else.
– What is the good of such a right if nothing can come from its exercise?
– Tf the Arbitration Court thinks that the men should get more they will be paid more.
– They do not wish to go to the Arbitration Court. The Minister says, “ I have done you justice. Tf you desire anything different, go to the Arbitration Court.” The point which I wish to make is that the men are discontented, and, throughout the length and breadth of Australia, extreme action is being urged. What does that mean but a strike of telegraphists. The employes have balloted on the question, and I suppose that an ultimatum will come to the Government. There seems to be anything but peace in the Post Office after two years of Labour administration. Of course, the Minister of External Affairs is perfectly frank and candid, and says that there is not a tittle of justification for the discontent.
– I never said any such thing.
-Then, I suppose, we may take it from the honorable member that there is nothing to complain about.
– I did not say that.
– The Minister has said that the employes have had justice done them.
– Say what I said; namely, that I think the Public Service Commissioner has done justice to them.
– Then they have nothing to complain about.
– They may have a different opinion.
– What is this quibbling Minister talking about? He says that the men have had justice; and I ask, if that is so, what more can they want? I am justified, I think, in saying that, in his opinion, they have nothing to complain about.
– There is mercy, and there is justice.
– The Minister now says that the men are asking for mercy, and not justice.
– I did not say any such thing.
– Honorable members opposite had justice dealt out to them when they were placed on that side of the House, but’ they are dissatisfied.
– That was socalled justice, for once, misapplied ; and the people who did the act have been sorry for it ever since.
– They will have an opportunity next year to rectifv the mistake.
– And they will rectify it at the earliest possible moment.
– Then the honorable member has nothing to complain about.
– What have we to complain about? We are all right. I direct the attention of the champion of the Post Office, the honorable member for Gwydir, to the statements of Ministers here.
– There is only one Minister who made a statement ; why say “ Ministers “ ?
– Is there such a thing as Ministerial responsibility on the Government benches?
– Yes. there is.
– If there is Ministerial responsibility, then a Minister, who says that justice has been done to the Post Office employes, speaks on behalf of the Ministry. The conduct of the relationship between the employes and the Government is a matter for the whole Government, and not for a particular Minister. That is the theory of responsible government; and, therefore, the Government, and not a particular Minister, have alleged in this House that justice has been done to the employes.
– What does the honorable member wish the Government to do?
– I shall tell the honorable member in a moment. I hope that the Government will pay attention to the trouble in the Post Office in Sydney, at any rate ; I speak only of Sydney”, because I do not know so much about the other States. In spite of the statement of this self-satisfied Minister that justice has been done, many of the employes are smarting under a tremendous sense of injustice.
– Can the honorable mem ber give us any idea of what the trouble is to which he is referring?
– I should be glad to hear the honorable member on the subject.
– I am asking the question of the man who makes the allegation.
– I am making the allegation that a general strike is threatened according to statements in the newspapers, and that a ballot has been taken on the question.
– The honorable membei does not advocate or support a strike, does he?
– The honorable membei for Parramatta was in a strike once !
– I have been ir more than one strike.
– Hear, hear ! And a good fighter the honorable member was !
– I have settled as many disputes as has any man opposite.
– Question 1
– The honorable member knows nothing about the matter.
– Do I not?-
– I wish the honorable member would settle the dispute in the Opposition ranks, if he is such a mediator 1
– I hope honorable members will be quiet while I ask the Prime Minister on what principle or basis, or by what rule of equity, Mr. Miller, the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, is to be paid three guineas a day for travelling expenses.
– And his first class fare !
– And his first class fare, of course. The AttorneyGeneral told us a night or two ago, with tears in his voice, how he had been at times unable to see a day ahead ; but the Labour Ministry, since they came into office, have created more big fa’t salaries, and more big fat travelling allowances, than any preceding Government. The latest instance is that of a man who is to be paid £4,000 a year, or eleven guineas a day, salary ; and three guineas a day travelling expenses.
– He cannot spend it !
– How is he going to spend it, I . should like to know. Mr. Allen, the Secretary to the Treasury, who, under the Minister, controls the whole finances of the Commonwealth, receives, as a travelling allowance, 17s. 6d. a day in his own State, and a guinea a day outside. Yet Mr. Miller is to be paid three guineas.
– What for, I wonder ?
– I do not know. The honorable member for Swan, who has travelled much more than I, has a better idea than I can suggest of what may be spent in such a way ; and even he cannot justify an allowance of three guineas.
– The Chief Justice of Western Australia is paid 30s. a day travelling allowance.
– Where is the analogy between the Chief Justice of a State and the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank?
– What is the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth allowed?
– -I presume he is allowed three guineas a day.
– Who granted that allowance to the Judges?
– I do not know.
– The honorable member does know !
– What I say is that there is no analogy between a Judge and the Governor of the bank. A Judge is supposed to keep himself away from the crowd, and has to provide for his associate besides.
– And, therefore, his expenses ought to be less !
– Honorable members opposite think they can laugh themselves out of any difficulty, but they will not be able to laugh themselves out of this one on the platforms of the country. There is not a man opposite, outside the Government, who, in his heart, can justify the payment of three guineas a day expenses to a bank official.
– What are the High Court Judges paid?
– According to the newspaper reports, Mr. Miller stipulates that his travelling allowance must be the same as that of the High Court Judges, and, therefore, I take it that their Honours are paid three guineas a day.
– Who gave them that allowance? Not our Government.
– I do not know. I should say that it was a Government dependent upon the support of the honorable member. At any rate, the allowance paid to the High Court Judges could have been prevented by the honorable member and his friends.
– Yes, but the honorable members’s leader and many of his followers were responsible for the Government then.
– A Judge of the Supreme Court in New South Wales gets £2 2s. a day travelling allowance.
– And should Mr. Miller have a greater travelling allowance than a Judge of the Supreme Court?
– Yes. Me is doing more useful work than a Judge is.
– We are getting on. T only want to know what the mind of honorable members opposite is on this matter.
– The honorable member knows that many big companies pay as high as ^3 3s. a day travelling expenses.
– What companies ?
– I am not in a position to say, but I know them.-
– How these men know all the inner workings of the big companies ! The other day they were telling us what went on in the bank parlours. Here is another of them telling us about the inside working of these trusts, and professing to know what travelling expenses they pay. I do not.
– We paid Mr. Tait, our Railways Commissioner in Victoria, ,£3.000 a year and expenses.
– Has the honorable member any idea of the expenses paid to the Railways Commissioners now?
– Yes. The Commissioners have special trains whenever they want to travel. It costs a great deal more than ^3 3s. a. day.
– More than that for personal expenses?
– For travelling in special trains.
– Never mind about that. This allowance is plus firstclass travelling fares. What do the Rail~ ways Commissioners get as travelling expenses ?
– I tell the honorable member it costs a great deal more than ^3 3s. a day.
– That is a general statement. The honorable member cannot come up to the scratch. We get more bluff and more laughter. Here is a statement that Mr. Miller - a good man ; I do not say a word against him - is to be paid ^3 3s. a day when he is travelling. I venture to say that Mr. Miller, as an officer of the Bank of New South Wales, did not get more than j£i a day.
– Fifteen shillings per day as an inspector.
– A jump from 15s- to £3 3s. a day.
– The banks always starve their servants.
– The biggest sweaters in the community, the banks.
– Does the honorable member say that £3 3s. a day is not a penny too much?
– I do not think that it is too much. The man is justified in receiving it.
– Are the Government justified in giving it to him?
– That is frank. Here is an honorable member saying that Mr. Miller ought to get it, and that it is not too much. I wonder what the honorable member for Corangamite is so amused about. Does he think that this officer ought toget£33s.a day expenses?
– What does the honorable member himself think ? Does he think that Mr. Miller ought to get 5s. a day?
– I think he ought to be paid an adequate, reasonable allowance.
– What is that?
– I think £3 3s. a day is too much. Is that plain enough?
– What is reasonable?
– I think that no man in his position will require to spend £3 3s. a day when travelling. When the Public Service Commissioner himself only takes £1 is. a day whilst travelling the Government need not have piled the allowance on to this gentleman to the extent of £3 3s. We must deal reasonably with these men in high positions, and they must be in reasonable relations with the public of Australia: This allowance will take some justifying on. the part of the Labour men in Australia. The public will want to know why this man wants £3 3s. a day when travelling, whilst nearly every other high officer in the Public Service has to eke it out with 17s. 6d. a day in his own State.
– There are harder things to justify than that.
– All right; my honorable friends can laugh as much as they like. I am merely expressing my own opinion about it in no uncertain way. I think it is wrong to give a man£3 3s. a day travelling expenses when he may mix with his fellows in an ordinary hotel at much less cost than that. If £3 3s. a day is a fair thing for Mr. Miller, £11s. a day is not enough for Mr. Allen. It is not enough for the Land Tax Commissioner, or for the Public Service Commissioner. There is not all that distinction between Mr. Miller and these other high-salaried officers of the Public Service.
– The honorable member wants to come down to the level of the cheapest bank in Australia, I suppose.
– I am only orr one matter just now - travelling expenses. I am glad of these interjections. They will all go down in Hansard.
– That is where we want them.
– Yes, I know it is !
– Honorable members opposite want them to stop there, and not go out to the public.
– Many things: take place in this Parliament that the supporters of honorablemembers opposite know nothing about, or they would make short work of their representatives. Unfortunately these laughs cannot go into Hansard. In comparison with this statement of Ministers that £3 3s. a day is not too much for Mr. Miller, we have the statement of the Minister of ‘External Affairs, ex- Postmaster-General, that there is no justification for the trouble that is taking place now in the Post Office, since justice has been done to the officers. I hope, therefore, that there is going to be no trouble.
– I did not make that statement.
– The Postmaster-General is generally asleep.
– Asleep or reading.
– Reading Hansard, to see what the honorable member used to say in the good old days !
– The honorablemember should not talk about that. I should like the Prime Minister to saywhy Mr. Miller has been given a travelling allowance of£3 3s. per day? Would he not take less, or was it offeredfreely and voluntarily by the Government? I understand that the Administrator of the Northern Territory is to receive £2 2s. per day in respect of travelling expenses when away from the Residency. Is that so?
– Yet Mr. Miller, when travelling in these more comfortable latitudes, is to receive£3 3s. per day. Why this distinction ? There is a distinction in the respective salaries, but there ought not to be such a distinction as this in the matter of travelling allowances. Surely travelling in the Northern Territoryis as expensive as it is down here. Then why this distinction? I do not wish to delay the passing of this Bill, but desire to express the hope that there will be no trouble in the Postal’ Department as the result of what is taking place. The Minister would do well to see if he could not settle that trouble at its source, instead of allowing it to develop, and to assume, maybe, the form which strikes have taken in other parts of Australia.
While on this matter, we cannot help contrasting the attitude of this Government in its relation to strikes with that of the Government of the Old Country. We have been hearing a lot of the Brisbane strike lately, and T think it is time we were told whether the Prime Minister did anything at all to try to settle it?
– He did all that any one could have clone to prevent it from spreading. He withheld the military.
– It could not have spread much more than it did. The question I am now asking, however, is what he did to try to prevent the strike? We read of Mr. Asquith having spent days in an effort to prevent a great strike in the Old Country, and he broke down under the strain of it all when confessing his failure in the House of Commons. What effort did the Prime Minister make to prevent the Brisbane strike?
– What did the honorable member do when he was in power to prevent a strike?
– To what strike does the honorable member refer?
– The Newcastle strike. Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- There was no strike at Newcastle during my term of office.
– There was.
– I do not remember, but I do not think there was whilst I was in office.
– The honorable member has a very convenient memory.
– That is an insulting remark, which the honorable member is entitled to make. He never addresses a word to me across the table that is not most insulting.
– There was a strike in Newcastle in November, 1909, when the honorable member for Ballarat was Prime Minister.
– Will the honorable member suggest anything we could have done to prevent that strike?
– Does the honorable member wonder now at my interjection?
– I have nothing to say to the honorable member until he is prepared to cease his insulting behaviour.
– How these Christians love one another.
– The honorable member for Maranoa, I venture to say, does not think that the Brisbane strike ought to have taken place.
– I do not believe in a general strike.
– When I ask whether the Prime Minister did anything to prevent the Brisbane strike, I am met with the answer, “ What did you do when you were in office in 1909?”
Several Members interjecting,
– I must ask honorable members to cease this cross firing. Interjections are distinctly disorderly, and they are so numerous that the honorable member cannot proceed with his speech.
– On a point of order, Sir, I desire to know whether the honorable member for Parramatta is in order in provoking interjections by constantly addressing individual members of the House.
– I have listened carefully to the honorable member for Parramatta and have not heard him make’ one disorderly remark.
-Id esire only to say, so far as my relation to strikes is concerned, that whenever I have seen an opportunity to interpose, with advantage, in any strike I have always done so.
– The Prime Minister might answer the honorable member’s question in the same way.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that the Prime Minister could have done nothing to prevent the Brisbane strike?
– The Newcastle strike occurred when the honorable member was in office. What did he do to prevent it?
– The honorable member knows that I could not have done anything in regard to that strike. The Peter Bowling type of men at Newcastle would not have allowed me to get near them, but they would not have objected to their champions of the Labour party interposing. Surely the Prime Minister could have done something had he tried, to stop the Brisbane strike. Did he try ? Did he do what Mr. Asquith has done?
– He did not do what the honorable member and his party wanted him to do - he did not send troops to Brisbane.
– Ten times in every speech the statement comes across the table that we want to go and shoot down unionists, but honorable members know in their hearts that it is false and incorrect.
– Why did you want to send soldiers there at all, if it was not to shoot down unionists? What are soldiers for?
– Did we want to send soldiers there?
– You would shoot down unionists.
– Who said so?
– The honorable member for Bendigo said so last night.
– He said nothing of the kind - heabsolutely denied it.
– May I remind the honorable member for Maranoa that, in the speech which the Prime Minister made in Brisbane, he said that he would place all the resources of his Government atthe command of those responsible for protecting life and property? Clearly, if unionists menace life and property, what does that statement mean?
– Hear, hear !
– Come on, now.
– Thev would not do it.
– What is meant by the statement that “ all the resources of this Government to protect life and property will be made available “ ?
– The honorable member for Brisbane proved that it never was in danger.
– That is quite an irrelevant matter. The Prime Minister went farther in the same speech, and told the unionists straight and plainly up there at one of his meetings that there were occasions when it might be necessary to call out the Military Forces of the Commonwealth. For what purpose? Honorable members opposite ought not to push this matter too far. They cannot make any party capital out of it.
– You bore the baby, and you will have to carry it.
– We have carried our baby a long time.
– You will carry this baby, too; and without a fiver, either.
– This is the heaviest baby which you will have to carry.
– Then you are very glad of it?
– In fact, it is a political god-send for you?
– That is right.
– I have no more to say about that, if you are pleased.
– You did not think that the gun was loaded.
– The gun is not loaded in the way which the honorable member suggests. If anybody has loaded the gun, it is his own Prime Minister in the statement which he made in Brisbane that the resources of this Government will be placed at all times at the disposal of those who are responsible for the protection of life and property. That statement means “ If unionists in Brisbane endanger life and property, then I, Andrew Fisher, Prime Minister of Australia, will take care to prevent those unionists from doing anything of the kind.”
– Or Liberals.
– Yes. Every Government which fulfils its fundamental and primary obligation must do that. There is not a line showing that any member of this Government ever went near Brisbane to try to settle the strike. They never went amongst their confreres up there. I believe that members of the Labour party did their best in that respect, but no member of the Government did, and certainly not the Prime Minister. That is in striking contrast to the indefatigable effort of Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd-George in another part of the world to settle strikes. I hope sincerely that the PostmasterGeneral, notwithstanding the statements of the ex-Minister, who says that justice has been done to the men, and who by inference, also says they have no cause for complaint, will settle the troubles existing in the Sydney Post Office. I believe that there is a state of things there which ought not to be tolerated. What is happening there is what has already happened on a larger scale in regard to the Post Office as a whole. I remember making a criticism here of the way in which the Central Staff was formed. The Postmaster-General of the day got nearly all the men from Queensland, which does about a third of the business which the two big States do. The Queensland system therefore was the one inaugurated” in the Commonwealth. Queensland called the tune for the government of the larger States, with three times the postal business.
– They sent some very good men from Brisbane.
– I am not denying that. I am not going to say a word against the quality or the ability of the Brisbane men. I am on quite another point, and that is the experience, and the kind of experience which they must necessarily have had. What is happening to-day in the Post Office in New South Wales?
– You want a Brisbane man to straighten that up. Send for a man and get him down there.
– They have a man now, I understand, from Western Australia, another small State.
– He went there before.
– I refer now to the accountant, Mr. Triggs.
– “ No Western Australian need apply “ is the motto over there.
– This gentleman, I understand, came to Sydney to inaugurate a new system of account keeping. He brought men from over here and put them over the heads of men there. They have not made any improvement. There is no improvement as far as I can get to hear ; but things are even worse than they were before. It is about time that some Minister tried a process of reform from within the Department, instead of placing men from smaller States over the heads of men who have grown up in the service in the older States.
– Do you mean to say that the smaller States as well as the larger States cannot produce brainy men?
– 1 am not suggesting that for a moment.
– What are you suggesting, then ?
– I am merely suggesting that the smaller States may have different systems of management and control than have the States which are very much larger. That is all.
– Can any one be transferred without the consent of the Public Service Commissioner?
– Mr. Triggs did not belong to the Federal Public Service. He was taken out of the Railway Service in Western Australia.
– A good man, too.
– I do not care where he was taken from. I am making no complaint against him. My complaint is that it is not fair to keep fetching one man after another to the Sydney office from other places. I am not on Mr. Triggs now. He has sent a lot more men over there, and they are making no improvement. In fact, some have been withdrawn because they were not up to the work. Discontent is seething, through men feeling that they are not being treated properly. There are men there with thirty-five years’ experience, who are passed over to make room for others.
– Have they the necessary ability ?
– There is not a breath of allegation that they are incompetent or incapable.
– Was there one man sent there without the consent of the Public Service Commissioner?
– I suppose not.
– That is it.
– What then?
– You must ask the Commissioner.
– What then?
– You bring influence to bear upon him.
– Hullo! What is that?
– I know that you do.
– We do not.
– Did you not bring influence to bear with the Deputy PostmasterGeneral ?
– He is a personal friend of yours, anyway.
– I think that he is a most capable officer.
– Order !
– I should like to get in an interjection, if I can.
– That is a very good admission to get from an ex-Treasurer, that political influence is being used with the Public Service Commissioner.
– Only by your party - not by ours.
– Order !
– There is so much trouble about this matter that I will not say another word.
. -The present critical state of affairs in the Public Service, and particularly in the Post and Telegraph Department, calls for much more serious consideration than has been given to it this morning. It is not quite creditable to honorable members sitting behind the Government that, in the face of the very serious condition of affairs, they should meet the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta with sneers, jeers, and laughter. We are face to face with a very serious position. Only a few days ago I had a communication from my own constituency in which I was implored to use my best efforts to prevent the men in the Post and Telegraph Department from proceeding to the extremes to which they are apparently being driven by the failure of the Government to carry out their promises to them. There is no doubt that these men have well-grounded reasons for the complaint they make, in view of the lavish way in which money is being squandered in other quarters in allowances made by Ministers to themselves and others, and in the more than generous salaries offered to officials who are being appointed to new positions. Those who are in the Service have some right to protest that they are being overlooked. When we remember the very lavish promises that “were made by Labour candidates at the last election to remedy all the evils that afflicted the Service, and particularly to look after the interests of the rank and file, these men are fully justified in reminding the Government that they have not, so far, carried out their election promises. We all know some of these public servants, and we know them to be reputable citizens and fair-minded men. We may fairly assume that the seething discontent throughout the Service is not without very substantial foundation. The honorable member for Parramatta was challenged by honorable members opposite to say what should be done to allay this discontent. I agree very heartily with the honorable gentleman that to send members of the Public Service to the Arbitration Court, with its slow and costly proceedings, in order to obtain justice, is neither right nor judicious. These men expect, and have a right to look to, Parliament to see that they get a fair deal, because they are not subject to the same conditions as employes outside the Public Service. They have some advantages in being removed from competition, but they have also many disadvantages in being unable to compete for positions that carry more than the or- dinary pay and prospect of the average member, at any rate, of the lower ranks in our Public Service. One thing is quite obvious in this connexion. We see a regular rise in wages almost all round, and that has been largely conceded on the plea that the cost of living has been materially increased during recent years. In view of the increased cost of living at the present time there is no doubt that our public servants are getting less remuneration for their work to-day than they were when the services were federated. On this ground alone they have a right to look for more consideration than they are getting at the present time.
– Most of them are getting far more than they received under the last Administration.
– I admit that there has been something done to improve their position, but I say that the actual state of affairs has not been fairly faced by the present Government. Though they declared their intention to put things right in the Public Service they have failed to fully consider this factor of the increased cost of living. The men are entitled to have their grievances considered fairly and squarely. I believe that the Commonwealth Statistician is now engaged on an .inquiry into the increased cost of living at the present time. It is commonly believed in my own State, at any rate, that the cost of living has increased within the last ten or twelve years by at least 25 per cent. If that be so, there is still room for considerable improvement in the remuneration paid to our public servants before their conditions are as good as they were when Federation was accomplished. I do not ask for more than that at the present time, but the matter is one which the Government should seriously consider if they are to carry out the promises they made to the public servants.
– They have done so.
– They have not done so. The least they can do is to take into consideration the increased cost of living, and to remember that this affects all the officers of the service and not merely a section who have been able to press their claims home better than others. The increased cost of living presses very severely on the rank and file, who, at the best, have been getting little more than a living wage. They have a right to have their altered circumstances considered, and their salaries fixed with some relation to the cost of living i believe it can be shown that the cost of living has considerably increased throughout the Commonwealth, and the salaries paid to our civil servants should be at least increased proportionately.
.- It is not my intention at this stage to reply to the statements which have been made by honorable members on the other side, butI agree with them that the Government should do all they possibly can to bring about a better state of affairs in the Post and Telegraph Department. I further desire to say that I am aware that the Government are working to that end. They found the service in a very bad state, and since they have occupied the Treasury benches they have been endeavouring to make the necessary improvements to meet present requirements. They have increased very materially the amount previously paid to employes in the Post and Telegraph Department.
– By nearly£300,000.
– By nearly£300,000 within two years. This goes to show that the Government are making a determined effort to remedy the grievances of the service. I agree with the last speaker,that, so far as possible, we should obviate the necessity for these public servants to go to the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, but I have a very vivid recollection of discussions which have taken place from time to time when little troubles were threatening, such as those which have to-day been referred to, and it was claimed that members of Parliament, by making speeches such as those we have just heard from honorable members opposite, were really inciting those outside to do something they were not entitled to do, and which was against the law. I say now, that if more speeches are made on the lines of those to which we have just listened, and any disturbance arises in the Post and Telegraph Department, we shall the fairly entitled to claim that the public servants have been encouraged and incited to take action by such speeches. Seeing that we have established an Arbitration Court, to which public servants may appeal for the redress of any grievances under which they labour, honorable members are scarcely justified in standing up here and inferentially declaring that they should seek a remedy elsewhere. Complaints which are voiced in Parliament are calculated to make the employes in our
Public Service consider that they have been unfairly dealt with. But the Government have endeavoured to do justice to them by increasing their salaries and by saying, in effect, “ If you consider that you are labouring under disabilities, you are quite at liberty to bring your case before the Arbitration Court.” Obviously, that is the course which dissatisfied employes ought to follow, instead of threatening to hold up the post and telegraph service.
– Surely the honorable member will not deny that the grievances of public servants are a legitimate subject for public discussion?
– I do not. But it is the duty of honorable members to advise them - if they have -grievances - to seek redress of them in the Arbitration Court. I do not say that the object of bringing forward these matters in Parliament is a political one, ‘ but it appears to me that there is something behind the scenes, and I doubt if in so acting honorable members are not inciting and encouraging public servants to do certain things. I am satisfied, however, that if anything happened in that connexion it would not be the Government who would suffer, because the truth is mighty, and will prevail. But I chiefly rose to point out that the Ministry require to be very careful in sanctioning prosecutions under our compulsory system of military training. We all recognise that that system is yet in its infancy, and we know that no new system can be introduced without some defect in it being soon made apparent. Trouble has arisen in connexion with compulsory military training, because the Act is a new one, and because the instructional officers had not a sufficient opportunity to become thoroughly seized of the requirements of certain districts. Our Defence Act compels lads within 5 miles of proclaimed areas to attend so many drills during the year. In many instances, they have been obliged to walk several miles at night through the lonely bush to reach the parade grounds. As a result, some of them have not attended the statutory number of drills. I ask. is it fair to institute aprosecution in such cases ? Are the parents of the lads, and the lads themselves, to be given no consideration ? In my own district, youths have been compelled to walk from 3 to miles in Order to attend the parades when they should have been drilled at their own doors. I know, too, that one mine was actually laid idle by reason of a parade having been fixed for a Saturday. In many instances, drills have been ordered for Saturday when two shifts were working at the mines, and great inconvenience has thereby resulted. I ask the Minister of Defence to take this question into his serious consideration. I observe to-day that the newspapers say that no exceptions can be made in the case of lads who have tailed to attend the statutory number of drills. I would further point out that parents are frequently put to a serious expense in endeavouring to prove to the Court that their lads were justified in missing certain drills. I maintain that in cases in which it is no fault, either of the parents or the lads, that the latter did not attend the statutory number of drills no prosecution should be instituted, and the instructional officers should be directed to inquire into all cases before taking action. Particularly should this apply to the first six months of. the operation of the Act. If, subsequently, the lads do not attend the required number of drills there will be some warrant for prosecuting them. But a great wrong will be done in many cases if proceedings are instituted under existing conditions.
– I desire to make a few observations on this Bill. I am astonished at the new doctrine which has been laid down by the honorable member for Hunter. He has affirmed that if members of the Opposition attempt to ventilate the grievances of public servants on the floor of this House they will be open to the charge of inciting those servants to proceed to extremes.
– The honorable member who made that statement may well be charged with attempting to incite the cadets to absent themselves from drill.
Mr.W. ELLIOT JOHNSON. - Are we to understand that our public servants are to continue to labour under injustice year after year and that no member of Parliament is to raise his voice on their behalf without being open to the charge that he is inciting them to a certain course of action ? Is it the doctrine of the Labour party that our public servants have no rights? If they have no rights to come to this Parliament for a redress of their grievances, to what tribunal can they appeal ? Whether that be the opinion of the honorable member for Hunter or not. there are members of the Opposition who will endeavour to see justice done to our public servants, and who will be prepared to accept responsibility for anything which their advocacy of the rights of those servants may entail, notwithstanding any covert threats or insinuations which may emanate from the so-called Labour party. I could not help smiling at the smug complacency of the exPostmasterGeneral - the honorable member for Barrier. He declared that there is no discontent in the Post Office - that everything in the garden is lovely.
– I did not.
– I took the honorable member’s words down. He told us there was not a tittle of justification for discontent in the Postal Department.
– He did not use the word “ tittle.”
– The words I have used convey the purport of what he said.
– In this Chamber and elsewhere. He said, “ Justice had been done,” and if justice had been done, how could there be justification for discontent? When Postmaster-General the honorable member assured the public, through the press, that there was no cause of discontent, and no discontent in the Postal Department.
– I have not said any such thing.
– While the honorable member was PostmasterGeneral there was more seething discontent in the Department than ever before or since. He has the reputation of being the worst Postmaster-General who ever held the position, and gave least satisfaction to the employes of the Department whose interests he was supposed to go there to serve. They could not get their grievances redressed or obta’n any satisfaction from the honorable gentleman. He had no remedy to propose. He himself was all right - he could ride in a motor car, draw a big salary, and get three fairly decent meals a day. If he thinks there is no discontent in the Postal Department, let him ask his supporters if they are not inundated with letters of complaint from postal officials. If he says that there is no discontent, he must refuse to read the newspapers and the correspondence which comes to him, and close his ears to the complaints which are heard by every one else. If he does not read the newspapers, let me read one or two press statements, which may enlighten him. This is from the Sydney
Morning Herald of Wednesday last -
The New South Wales association have now determined to try and bring the whole of the operators in the Commonwealth on to one common platform, and in this way secure united action in any movement decided upon. A ballot-paper was prepared by the New South Wales association a few weeks ago, and forwarded lo every operator in Australia. The operators were asked to answer some very pertinent questions in their ballot. First they were to say if they were in favour of the adoption of a common platform by the Australian Commonwealth Post and Tele- graph Officers’ Association, and, if so, would they be willing for the New South Wales branch to submit claims which, with a common platform in existence, would avmly to the whole of the States.
The chief complaint of the Sydney operators is about the broken shifts. They have tried time and again to get the system altered. There is apparently no reason for it, and it causes an immense amount of inconvenience, keeping operators from their homes for unreasonable periods, although their hours on duty may not be long.
At present the hours actually worked average six and a quarter hours per day, except in times of heavy pressure of work, through breakdown, itc.; but the men complain that, with the broken shift system in vogue, the are away from their homes for several hours longer than they actually work, and they assert that there is not the slightest need for a broken shift
It should be easy to remedy that grievance, but apparently no attempt has been made to remedy it.
– Does the honorable member know how long the broken shift arrangement has been in existence?
– That is not the question. This arrangement is found to be irksome. The Labour party is in office, and got into power bv tickling the palates of the electors, declaring to the public servants, in order to get their votes, that once they obtained office all their grievances would disappear ns if by magic. Here is a grievance which, apparently, the Labour Government has no intention of dealing with. Another cause of complaint is the rates of pay.
At present telegraph operators of the 5th Class receive a minimum salary of£60 per annum, rising bv increments to a maximum of£200. Fourth Class operators are paid a minimum of £210 per annum, rising to a maximum of£235, and a few of the senior staff receive a minimum of £210per annum, with a possible maximum of£300.But the most pertinent question of all on the ballot-paper for the oncrators to answer was whether thev would lova’lv support extreme action if a common p’atform were agreed upon, and the majority of the Slates decided to take such action. What extreme action means is not stated, but amongst the Sydney operators it has but one meaning, namely, the whole of the telegraph operators in the Commonwealth to cease work when called upon.
Yet the honorable member for Barrier has, on more than one occasion, assured the public that there is no cause for discontent, and that, as a matter of fact, there is no discontent in the Post Office.
– I never in my life said that there was no discontent.
– Then it is very strange that the statement has been attributed to the honorable member by newspapers all over the country.
– Read it.
– I have seen the statements, but at the present moment have not the press reports at hand in the Chamber. This Labour Government has a bigger majority than ever fell to the lot of any of its predecessors, but what has it done to remedy the grievances of the postal , officials ? Has it taken any action to give effect to the recommendations of the Postal Commission? That Royal Commission’s inquiries extended over many months. It took voluminous evidence, and made certain recommendations. To how many of those recommendations has effect been given? The Commission was sympathetic, and, were’ any but a Labour Ministry in power, Labour members would be insisting upon the carrying out of its recommendations. We should have had members of the Labour party girding at the Government day after day, week after week, and month after month, in order to ascertain why the recommendations of the Royal Commission had not been carried into operation. Why has the Chairman of the Royal Commission not insisted on action being taken?
– Because, so the Minister says, “justice” has been done.
– The Minister may say that “ justice “ has been clone ; but in the extracts I have read, and those I propdse to read, there is abundant proof that nothing like justice has been done or even attempted.
– Does the honorable member’s leader support that statement?
– I am not troubling about my leader ; I am talking “off my own bat,” as I usually do, from facts that have been brought before the public. There is ‘ a further quotation from the same source -
Tlie ballot-papers have all been returned to Sydney, and the count has been made, but the result will not be made known until the executive of the association meets to consider the report of the scrutineers. However, it is rumoured that the desires of the New South Wales association have been fully secured, and that the great majority of the operators of the Commonwealth had voted “Yes” to all the questions, including that of taking extreme action if ‘ necessary.
It is nearly time that a serious view was taken of the situation. It is all very well for members of the Government, and their supporters, to laugh and joke, and make a jest of the grievances of the public servants; they are in a position to do so, because there is a great phalanx behind them, and they feel pretty secure. But it must be a serious thing for the community at large if any serious trouble arises in connexion with such an important Department, affecting, as it does, every section, and interwoven, as it is, with our commercial, industrial, and social life. It is about time that the Government and their supporters, and also the members of the Royal Commission, took this matter seriously to heart, and endeavoured to devise some means of removing pressing matters of complaint. We are told that “ justice “ has been done; but some honorable members opposite must have a very distorted idea of what constitutes “ justice.” In order to convince honorable members that things are not quite so snug in the Department as the ex- Postmaster- General would have us believe, I shall read a quotation from one of the numerous letters I have received, without, of course, disclosing its source.
– Do not disclose the source, that is right !
– The Postmaster-General knows that the letter comes from an authoritative source.
– I should like to know where it does come from !
– No doubt; let the Minister ask some of his own supporters. Does the honorable gentleman think that I am the only member of the House who receives letters of the kind? I venture to say that there is not an honorable member who has not constituents employed in various branches of the Public Service, and who is not a recipient of numbers of complaints.
– They may be quite trumpery complaints !
– I am speaking of complaints of a legitimate kind that have a right to be adjusted on their own merits. I have here a complaint that the recommendations of the Royal Commission, in regard to the salary and conditions of employment of the sorters, have not been carried out, in redemption of the promise stated to have been given to Messrs. Henderson and Wilson, representatives of the Service Association in question, when they were in Melbourne in November last. It will be within the recollection of the Postmaster-General that at that time certain representations were made by a deputation ; and he, I understand, promised to have some of the requests made acceded to. At any rate, the communication I have received states that such a promise was made, and has not been carried out. The writer goes on to say -
I may state that this matter is of vital interest to postal sorters, owing to the fact that they are in the unenviable position of being practically the only members of the community who have not received an increase in wages (o meet the increased cost of living.
– Does the honorable member believe that statement?
– I believe that it is written in all sincerity. If I did not believe the writer was voicing a bond fide complaint, I should make no reference to it here.
– Has the honorable member ever taken the trouble to verify the statement ?
– I received the letter only yesterday.
– Did the PostmasterGeneral always verify the statements he made when in Opposition?
– I never made remarks of this description’ without having justification for them.
– As I say, the letter was received only yesterday, and it came to me officially. I take it, therefore, that, so far as one of the organisations is concerned, there is reasonable ground for the complaints made.
– Is the letter from the Mail Branch ?
– I shall not say from what branch it is sent. Here is another statement I also received yesterday -
Away back in August, 191 1, five district engineers for country centres were appointed. It was represented that place going all wrong because everything had to come to Sydney.
This is in connexion with one of the country offices ; and the communication proceeds -
Further, an elaborate scheme was drawn up and the Commissioner told all he had to do was to appoint district officers and away they would go. Result : five men appointed from ist August - one to Newcastle, one to Goulburn, one to Armidale, one to Dubbo, and one to Hay. At the end of November one was started at Newcastle in a half-hearted sort of way. In April, 1912, one started at Dubbo in a still more halfhearted sort of way, and because Central Office pressing to know what was being done. Then last Sunday week, 2nd June, 1912, after a letter from the Commissioner, out goes another to Hay. That seems a dead finish, and the two other appointees, although drawing their screws as from the 1 st last August as district engineers, are still “clerking” in Sydney. This lop-sided business of having three districts and two not formed is leading to endless confusion, and it will soon be chaos unless remaining two men take up duty and get whole State uniform.
I have not had an opportunity to go into the matter, nor, indeed, would it be possible in Melbourne to inquire into all the circumstances; but certainly it appears from the letters I have read that all is not as it should be in that connexion. I wish now to allude to the delays that have occurred in connexion with telephone construction. Numerous complaints have reached me, and I have also had an opportunity of comparing notes with other honorable members; and the information to hand shows that telephone construction throughout the country has been held up owing to the Department not having a sufficient reserve of stores and materials. Wire runs out, cabinets are not available, and instruments are not to hand in sufficient numbers to meet current requirements of extension and expansion of the telephone service.
– That is a condition of affairs that will not occur again.
– I am very pleased to hear the Postmaster-General say so. It seems to me to be one of the first requirements of a business firm that it should look ahead a little, and provide for inevitable and easily ascertainable increases. Persons have been clamouring for telephone conveniences all over the country. Officers have been sent to report on these requests, and have reported favorably. Lines have been authorized. Those who are entitled to the conveniences have, however, had to wait month after month - the months, perhaps, running into a year or more - and arte still left without them. It is found that the reason is that the Department has not been in possession of suffi cient material for construction. That is a condition that should not exist, and would not be tolerated in any privately conducted concern. I am very glad to learn from the Postmaster-General that, in future, it is not likely torecur. I shall leave the Post and Telegraph Department for the present, because I understand that the Minister desires to leave the Chamber on public business. We recognise, of course, that Ministers cannot always command their own time.
– I have a deputation waiting for me.
– It is inevitable that these interruptions should happen, and I shall reserve the other remarks that I have to make connected with the Post Office.
– The honorable member will send me that quotation in which, as he alleges, I said that everything was all right in the Department?
– I did not say exactly that, but that the Minister had said words to the effect that justice had been done, and there was no cause for complaint in the Post Office. When Ministers say something that has been said by somebody else; they do not, I think, always pretend to retain in their memory the exact words used. What I said was the general sense of what the Minister for External Affairs had stated.
– But the honorable member will send the quotation along?
– I shall certainly look it up for the Minister. I wish now to allude to a matter affecting the Department of External Affairs. We members of the Opposition are in the unfortunate position of nearly always having to rely for our information upon reports which have appeared in the newspapers. We are not in the confidence of Ministers, and have not access to the officials of their Departments. The case to which I wish to allude has been reported in the public press, and certainly deserves to be brought under review. I refer to the case of Mrs. Dowell, who, as has been reported, is a halfSamoan, though she is the daughter and wife of British subjects, and a resident of New Zealand. It is stated that she was bailed up on asteamer in Sydney, where she was breaking her journey in the course of a holiday trip to the East in company with her husband. This lady, I believe, would be entitled to take up her residence in Sydney, if she chose, without any question or interference on the part of the immigration restriction officers. If the facts are correctly stated, there is ample justification for scathing condemnation of the officers. The Argus, in a leading article yesterday, said -
II is lamentable that Mi. Thomas should regard as “ satisfactory “ the explanation given by the Sydney Customs officials of their conduct in exacting terms before allowing Mrs. Dowell to . land in the Commonwealth, for as Minister for External Affairs, he may in a case like this be supposed by the outside world to voice the opinion of the Australian people; and that the Australian people should be credited with such contemptible littleness as was exhibited in this matter is a thought that wounds and- humiliates. The insult put upon Mrs. Dowell and her husband violated the most elementary principles of hospitality, and the officials responsible for it should have been severely reprimanded. It may be presumed, indeed, that they would never have ventured upon such a course had they not felt pretty certain that their officiousness would, if questioned, be defended and approved by the Minister.
Further down, the Argus says -
If ever the national pride of Australians was humiliated and dragged in the dust it was in this instance. We venture to say that no one of decent- instincts could read the particulars of the episode without feeling ashamed.of it.
I take it that the Minister has received all the particulars in connexion with this case, which, if we are to believe the press reports, must cast a reflection upon our hospitality as a people, and upon the administration of the External Affairs Department. I trust that the Minister will be able to give this House such a version of the affair as will entirely remove the stigma which attaches to it in the public mind as the result of reading the report which has been published in the newspapers. It is further reported that the permission to land has been granted for only one month, and that at the expiration of that period it is to be renewed. As an Australian by adoption, representing an Australian constituency in the Australian Parliament, I feel very strongly that if this lady is a British subject, and the wife of a New Zealander, she, in common with any other British visitor passing through this country in like circumstances, should not be subjected to such an insult - an indignity both to herself and her family. I desire now to refer to the question of quarantine.
– The honorable member ought to be able to speak with authority on that subject.
– I have recently undergone a not altogether pleasant experience, which enables me to speak rather feelingly on the subject. I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether steps cannot be taken to expedite the completion of the quarantine station at Thursday Island. At present, a wharf is being built on one side of the island to give access to the station, and, in view of the fact that many vessels coming from China and the East - where, at the present time, there is an outbreak of small-pox, and, I think, in some parts, of cholera - make Thursday Island their first port of call within the Commonwealth, it is desirable that this station should be finished at the earliest possible moment. Its early completion will do away with the necessity for sending from Thursday Island to a quarantine station, far south, ships arriving with cases of infectious disease and numerous contacts on board. There is another quarantine station on Magnetic Island, just off Townsville, but I believe that some steps have been taken with a view of establishing a station on the mainland contiguous to the town, so that the Government medical officer will find it more convenient to attend cases in quarantine, whilst, at the same time, carrying on his ordinary practice. If that is the intention of the Government, I hope no time will be lost in equipping the station with the most up-to-date appliances, so as to obviate the necessity of sending passengers, who may have developed smallpox after leaving Thursday Island, some i, 800 miles out of their road to the Sydney quarantine station, thus subjecting them to the added discomfort of mal-de-mer, and the remaining passengers to an increased risk of infection. Not only is this the position at the present time, but great inconvenience and loss is entailed upon the shipping companies, passengers, and shippers of cargo, passengers and cargo being overcarried hundreds of miles, and having, in many cases, to be brought back over the same course, with a consequent delay of several weeks. I cannot understand why the lady on the Yawata Maru, who unfortunately developed suspicious symptoms two days after leaving Thursday Island, was not landed at the quarantine station at Magnetic Island. The station might not have been fully equipped, but there should have been no difficulty, since there was only one patient to be landed.
– There is no wharf at which passengers could be landed at Magnetic Island.
– A wharf was not necessary. Beautiful sandy beaches fringe the island, so that a landing could be easily effected, and, as a matter of fact, picnic parties from Towns vi lle, from day to day, visit one part of it. Another point is that the bay is very sheltered, and, just now. during the prevalence of the south-east trade winds, there is an absolute calm prevailing in those waters. It seems to me that there would have been no difficulty in landing the patient at Magnetic Island, and in securing for her the services of a nurse and the necessary medical attention. There was no nurse on board the Yawata Marti, and no lady whose services could be utilized in that capacity. The unfortunate sufferer had to be removed to the hospital in the stern of theship, immediately over the propeller, where, if she were at all sensitive to tnal-de-mer , she would feel the extreme motion of the ship, added to the racing of the propeller, when the vessel was in a rough sea, as she was, for some portion of the voyage. In addition to these discomforts, the lady, who was carried on to Sydney, was unable on the voyage down the coast to have the services of a female attendant, and had to be assigned the services of a Japanese “ boy.” I hope that no such experience will befall others, and that some temporary arrangement will be made in future to receive infectious cases at Magnetic Island pending the establishment of the shore station. Many other matters in connexion with the quarantine station at Sydney might be referred to. There is room for a great deal of improvement.
– We have spent more there in twelve months than the State Government did in ten years.
– The Commonwealth took overthe station from the State with all the obsolete equipment then in use. Since then it has been spending money in some parts of the quarantine area, with a view of improving and bringing the accommodation more up-to-date. The new quarters for the accommodation of Chinese and Japanese are certainly very good, though no hot water service appears to have been provided for in the bathing portions. Much yet remains to be done tc bring the European buildings up-to-date.
– I think that we have done more at the Sydney quarantine station than it any other station. The trouble is that the States starved the stations, knowing that they were to be handed over to the Commonwealth.
– Probably there is a great deal of truth in the interjection.
– It is a fact, as you know.
– I do not know that the States starved the quarantine stations, but I do know that the Sydney station is obsolete in very many essentials, and that there is room for an immense amount of improvement. I understand that the Minister has before him a scheme which has been submitted by the officer in charge of quarantine for some extensive improvements. These I hope will be put into operation at the earliest possible moment. I have not observed in the Supply Bill any item which seems to cover any immediate proposed expenditure.
– No; it is included in the ordinary works and buildings estimates.
– One of the essential things which I think are required at the earliest possible moment is a lift from the landing stage up to the hospital. This could be provided very easily. It would avoid the necessity of carrying a patient by a long circuitous route up the side of the hill to the ward. I bring these matters under the notice of the Minister in the hope that he will expedite the necessary improvements which are contemplated. I desire now to say a few words in regard to the Defence Department. I would like to know why the Minister of Defence has decided to abolish the wearing of the kilts in connexion with the Scottish Regiment. It must be remembered that the kilts and the various tartans associated with them are of very great historic interest. Apart altogether from national and clannish sentiment associated with them, the pages of our history of empire teem with deeds of heroism and deeds of valour which were inseparably associated with kilts. I cannot conceive of a reasonable objection to a continuation of the wearing of this most picturesque uniform, which has excited the admiration of the people of all countries, both because of the picturesque character of the uniform itself and also because of many of the most valiant deeds of empire building with which it has been associated. As the descendant of a Scotchman, and as one who only escaped being a Scotchman by three days, I feel that it is a quite unnecessary and uncalled for indignity which has been put upon my ancestors and upon Scotch people generally. I sincerely hope that the Minister will consider the feelings of Scotch people and the immense services which Scotch regiments have rendered to the Empire, recall the order, and let us have an opportunity of occasionally seeing these splendid men in their magnificent uniforms on parade when our military forces are under review. We cannot afford to ignore sentiment and tradition. They really play a very great part in the building up of our Empire, and we should, as far as possible, I think, unless there is a real necessity for the proposed action for practical reasons - and Lord Kitchener says there is not - try to avoid hurting the feelings of any section of the members of the British Empire who have chosen to make their homes in Australia, .and particularly to those who are willing to take an active part in the defence of their country. For the time being I will leave the question of Supply alone, as other honorable members no doubt wish to speak on the Bill.
.- I desire to address a few words to the Acting Minister of Defence about the treatment of cadets. In many of the scattered centres in country electorates the cadets are suffering severe hardships through having to. travel too far to drill. In many parts of my electorate, for instance, there are large centres of population, and yet cadets have to travel four and five miles, in some cases six miles, to drill. In many cases, too, they have to travel by train. I think that the Minister of Defence ought to take the earliest opportunity of allowing cadets in uniform to travel free by train to and from drill.
– Or by tram.
– I would go even further, and ask that the cadets should be provided with free conveyance to and from drill, whether by coach or tram or train. There are several instances of very great hardship in my electorate, where working men have two or three sons of drilling age. It means a good deal to a man who gets 7 s. or 8s. a day when he has to provide train fares for his sons to go to drill. I think, too, that some steps ought to be taken to provide the cadets with boots. They are provided with uniforms, and it is more necessary for a cadet to have a pair of good boots than to have a uniform for travelling to and from drill. Some steps should, I think, be taken to provide the cadets with at least one pair of boots each year. Many working men in my electorate complain bitterly about the expense to which they are put in providing their lads wilh boots, and in paying for their travelling expenses to and from the places at which they ar« drilled.
– Are there drill sheds in the honorable member’s electorate?
– No, there are not. In some areas citizens have been patriotic enough to place halls at the disposal of the Defence Department as drill sheds, but in many areas people are not so fortunately situated as to have halls suitable for the purpose. I hold that if in any area a drill shed is not voluntarily placed at the disposal of the Defence Department, the necessary accommodation should be provided by the Department itself. The large centres of population should all be made centres for drill ; and arrangements should be made for free transport of the cadets to and from the drill sheds. Something has been said about the Liverpool manoeuvre area, but I shall not touch upon that matter at the present moment. The honorable member for Wentworth gave us some interesting information the other day about a proposal to fill up Sydney Harbor, in order to provide a manoeuvre area. I hope the Minister will not allow that matter to drag on very much longer. In connexion with the Electoral Office, I wish to remind the Minister of Home Affairs that New South Wales members are suffering a great injustice at the present time. Commissioners for the redistribution of electorates in New South Wales were practically appointed before the close of last session, but up to the present time no one in that State has any idea as to the way in which the electorates are to be redistributed. Schemes have been adopted, and maps drawn up for the redistribution of >every other State in the Commonwealth, and all interested know exactly what is going to happen in those States; but we in New South Wales know nothing about what is to be done, notwithstanding the fact that the Commissioners were appointed over six months ago. That is not a creditable state of affairs.
– What is the reason for the delay ?
– That is what I should like to know. I am bringing the matter under the notice of the Minister of Home Affairs, in order to discover the reason.
– The honorable member should bring it up in the Caucus.
– This is one of those questions on which honorable members on this side are as free as is the honorable member for Swan; and this is the proper place in which to deal with such a matter.
– I should bring it up in the two places, if I were the honorable member.
-The Minister of Home Affairs should consider seriously the representations of honorable members on this question, and expedite the redistribution of electorates in New South Wales. I wish now to make some reference to the designs sent in for the Federal Capital. “ I wish the Minister of Home Affairs to consider the advisability of purchasing the design which was placed first by Mr. Coane in the minority report of the Selection Committee, and a fourth by the whole Committee. The three men responsible for drawing up this plan are native-born Australians. We should not permit all the plums in this connexion to go to America, when native Australians have shown such great skill in the drawing up of the plan to which I have referred. The gentlemen who were deputed to judge the designs sent in speak very highly of this plan ; but the majority, I understand, cut out practically the whole of the engineering portion of it. I know little of such matters, but I am given to understand by experts that practically the whole of the engineering portion of the design to which I have referred will have to be adopted eventually in connexion with whatever plan is followed for the building of the Capital.
– There are no engineering difficulties at Canberra.
– That is quite true; but the honorable member should remember that we must have an engineer to advise in connexion with the sewerage of the city, and in making provision for storm waters and channels. AVe could not get the necessary plans for dealing with these matters drawn up without very considerable expense. The authors of the design to which I refer have been put to considerable expense in preparing their plans. Their engineering designs were cut out by those who signed the majority report, and it seems to me very unfair that our Australian designers should be left entirely unrewarded-
– Does the honorable member say that we shall have to adopt the engineering portion of the plan, whatever scheme is followed in the building of the city ?
– I do. That is the opinion of several experts in city designing. It is, in my opinion, very unfair under the circumstances that the authors of this design should go without recognition.
– If the Government accept any portion of their design they should be paid for it.
– It is because I think so that I bring the matter up here. If the engineering proposals for dealing with storm water and sewerage submitted by the authors of this design are adopted, it is only fair that the merit and work of the designers should be recognised.
– Would these engineering plans fit in with the beautiful design received from America ?
– I am given to understand that they would fit into the plan which took first prize.
– Did not that plan provide engineering details?
– No. None of the other competitors paid as much attention to engineering matters as did the authors of the design of which I am speaking. That is the reason why I bring the matter under the notice of the Committee. I hope that the Minister will take a note of what I have said, and will see that these men who have incurred considerable expense in securing this technical information are rewarded. I think, that native-born Australians ought not to be overlooked in connexion with the designs for the Federal Capital’. As I shall have a further opportunity of discussing such urgent matters as the Liverpool manoeuvre area I shall not trespass upon the patience of honorable members any longer at this juncture.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to a statement which was recently made by the honorable member for Flinders to the effect that the growing expenditure of the Postal Department is altogether disproportionate to its growing revenue. The honorable member pointed out that whilst the revenue of the Department has increased during the past two years by 13 per cent, its expenditure has increased by 23 per cent. Can the Postmaster-General give the
Committee any information on the subject? It is only just to him that I should frankly accept my share of any responsibility connected with the growing expenditure of that Department during the past two or three years. I do not know whether the criticism of the honorable member for Flinders covers the expenditure which I authorized, because he did not give any particulars, nor did he refer to any special branch of the Department. But I apprehend that it covered the increased expenditure in the Postal Department as a whole. He expressly excluded public works, which are provided for in the Estimates of the .Department of Home Affairs. Assuming that the increased expenditure to which he alluded, did not refer to public works such as post-offices, but referred exclusively to the Postal Department, it is only right that I should point out that whilst I was in office I had occasion to investigate the deficiencies in the Estimates of that Department. I found that the Department had practically been starved for several years previously, that due provision had not been made for its growing requirements, that there was a deficiency in staff, material, and supplies, also in maintenance, and in new works required for the postal and telegraphic services.
– There was not enough plant for the business?
– Just so. I accordingly convened a meeting of the electrical engineers of the Department with a view to placing the Service in a thorough state of efficiency, and to this end they set out the public works which could be executed during the year 1909, and those which could be deferred till the two following years. A Conference of Electrical Engineers was held, consisting of Mr. Hesketh, Mr. Nelson of New South Wales, Mr. Jenvey of Victoria, and the electrical engineers of Queensland, South Australia, West Australia, and Tasmania. These gentlemen conducted an exhaustive inquiry, as the result of which they formulated a scheme embodying the requirements of the telegraphic and telephonic services of the Commonwealth, and they framed certain schedules setting out particulars relating to expenditure extending over three years in each of the States. The general summary which they recommended was as follows : - New works in connexion with telegraphic and telephonic services, £1,828,052; maintenance, £558,649; annual cost of additional staff at the end of three years - engineering, £102,489 ; telephonic, £29,000. These recommendations were considered by me, and, after consultation, with the Treasurer and my colleagues, were adopted. The scheme contemplated an expenditure amounting to nearly £2,000,000; and, as we could not provide for such a vast outlay within one year, we decided to give effect to the recommendations of the Conference by instalments extending over two or three years. We were advised by the officers of the Department to adopt that course, because it was pointed out that, even if we had the money, it would be impossible to carry out these works, and to make the necessary new appointments within one year.
– Does the honorable member say that thu Government of which he was a member made provision on the Estimates for that expenditure?
– We made provision on the Estimates for the expenditure of
– In addition to the ordinary expenditure ?
– I should like to see the return.
– I hold in my hand the original report recommending this scheme. It bears the initials of the Treasurer, who undertook to place it on the table of the House when delivering his Budget, so that I apprehend that a large amount of the increased expenditure referred to by the honorable member for Flinders must be- included in the scheme which is provided for in this report. If there be any increased expenditure under other headings, which would account for the disproportion which exists between the growing expenditure and the growing revenue of the Department, it is only fair that the Postmaster- General should give us particulars of those headings. It seems to me, however, that the increased expenditure so provided for by the Postmaster-General’s predecessor was intended to make up for the deficiencies of previous years, and to place the Department in a state of efficiency. In regard to the maintenance of old lines, I may say that many of them require to be almost reconstructed to put them in a condition of safety as well as efficiency. It would also be necessary to provide the additional staff necessary for carrying out the new work. I am sure that a scheme such as that will meet with the unanimous approval of honorable members. The particulars were submitted to the House when the right honorable member for Swan made his Budget, and votes were carried. I informed the House that the increased expenditure provided for 1,500 additional appointments, and would amount to ^57,663. In the year following that in which I left office, additional appointments to the number of 1,165 were made at a cost of .£1 19,979- I have not the particulars regarding the appropriations under their special headings for new electrical work, telephone work, maintenance, and material, but no doubt the information will be forthcoming during the Budget debate. With the increase of expenditure there should be an improvement in efficiency, and less public complaint.
– Is this a criticism?
– I am merely asking for information, and telling the Committee what I know. I volunteer this statement now in order that it may not be said later that I allowed the Department to be attacked without shouldering my share of the responsibility for increased expenditure. It is only fair to inform the PostmasterGeneral that, within the last twelve months, I have heard several complaints about the delay in constructing telephone lines for which approval has been given.
– The causes of complaint are rapidly growing less.
– In my district two telephone lines, which were approved of two years ago, are still unfinished. I have been informed by constituents that the poles are lying rotting on the ground awaiting the wire and instruments.
– I should like to have particulars of these cases.
– The poles have been lying on the ground for nearly two years along the route of the approved telephone line from Bendigo to Laanecoorie, and that from Raywood to Kamarooka, the explanation being given that the material for completing the lines is not available. I have heard other members make similar complaints. I am glad to hear from the Postmaster-General that the cause for complaint will soon cease. I am aware that large expenditure cannot be made right away, because time is needed to procure materials, and to get together the necessary staff to deal with them. But complaints 0:1 the ground of delay should no longer be allowed to pass unheeded, seeing that there is now plenty of money at the disposal of the Department. When I took office, the officials informed me that Parliament had neglected to grant the supplies necessary for the work to be done, and that consequently the service was comparatively inefficient and starved. Now there is no longer that excuse. There are abundant funds at the command of the officials, and the necessary work should be carried out with the greatest expedition. Parliament and the public will not begrudge an increase of expenditure in improving the efficiency” of the postal, telegraph, and telephone services, because those services mean so much to the public convenience, and have to be paid for at the rates which Parliament imposes. I hope that the Postmaster-General will be able to supplement the information which I have given as to possible increases in the expenditure of the Department, and to show that there will be no extravagance.
– I shall deal first with a matter affecting the administration of the Postmaster-General, who this morning is much in the position of a target, being shot at by all. Since the censure debate commenced, I have received a communication which I have not had an opportunity to bring publicly under the notice of the Minister, because one of the stupidities of parliamentary procedure, on a par with our silly system of commencing each session with an Address-in-Reply, is that when a motion of censure is moved no business can be transacted. The men in the mail and sorting branches, according to a communication which has been sent to me, have received no increases. I do not know whether the statement relates to their classification, or to their minimum, but I hope that the Postmaster-General will look into the matter. My next subject relates to defence. I have no desire to interfere with the discipline of the Forces, but it appears to me that the spirit actuating the Board of Control is dogmatic and tyrannical. When it issues an edict, that edict cannot be upset, and must be obeyed. There is no bringing reason to bear upon it. The Australian Garrison Artillery is a militia corps, which has been in existence for years, and is a credit to the Defence Forces, its full strength being something like 400 men. The corps is one to which every encouragement should be given. It is now commanded by an officer who does not belong to the Permanent Force. Whenever it has been under a permanent officer, it has fallen back, because permanent officers do not like night drills, or Saturday afternoon parades. In Victoria the militia officer who was in charge of the Garrison Artillery has been removed.
Sitting suspended from I to 2.1J p.m.
– In regard to the appointment of the military officer to which I referred before the luncheon hour, I may point out that, in one aspect, there is no comparison between Melbourne and Sydney. In Victoria the barracks and the Department are very far apart, whereas in Sydney that is not so; and in Sydney the men have received a thorough training, as is proved by their higher classification. The officer to whom I refer is a very popular man in the force, and the Department ought not to be anxious to get rid of such a man. There are 400 men in these militia forces; and I may point out, as I have already indicated, that their classification is higher than that of the permanent men, and that they do not relish the idea of a permanent officer being placed over them. A permanent officer is accustomed to paid men, whereas there is a sort of friendly feeling between the militia officer and the ranks. Of. course, some respect ought to foe paid to the recommendation of the Board. 01 otherwise such a body would be of no use; but I think the Minister of Defence would be wise to retain the present officer at Ieas’ until the expiration of his term. It would be a serious loss if we had not the services of these efficient militia men in time of trouble, because the majority of them are young, just over the twenties, and full of enthusiasm. I hope that what I have said will be sufficient to induce the Minister to bring about a more acceptable condition of affairs, because I have been urged to take this step by the men, to whom I promised that I’ would do my best. To turn to another matter, I hope that the Prime Minister will consider the desirability of resuming the Post Office site in Sydney. Whatever improvements may be made there, the present site will prove too small, even taking into consideration the additional accommodation provided at the railway station. In any case, the site I have in my mind would provide splendid premises for the Commonwealth Bank. I have during the greater portion of my life been in a position to know the values of city properties in Sydney, and I feel confident that it will not be possible to obtain suitable bank premises unless at a rent beyond all reason. A frontage of 15 feet by 25 feet in Pitt-street commands a rental of £13 a week, while another of 20 feet frontage is valued at £24 a week. We all know that Sydney is practically the centre of Australia, and I hope these few remarks will have their due effect upon the Government.
.- I should like the Treasurer, in considering the question of reciprocity with New Zealand, to note that there are some anomalies which, as a preliminary to the closer relationship we all desire, ought to be removed. At present New Zealand is treating the Commonwealth in a way that is not calculated to bring about a better understanding, or to’ expedite the present negotiations.
– The negotiations are only informal as yet.
– I do not know whether the Prime Minister is- aware that in New Zealand commission is charged on Australiancoined silver before that silver may be used for ordinary trading purposes. This is to place our silver in pretty much the same position as that of the bank notes in pre- Federation days, and it is a matter which should be attended to without delay.
– I presume that the honorable member is also referring to Australian notes in New Zealand ?
– I take it that the notes are treated in a similar way to the Australian silver.
– They are both promises to pay I
– It is an anomaly that in New Zealand, which is an integral part of Australasian territory - in a Dominion which carries on a large trade with Australia - a commission should be charged on Australian silver coinage, amounting, I believe, to 2d. on the 6d. An instance came under my notice in travelling on a tram car in Auckland the other day, when a 6d. tendered by a lady was refused on the ground that it was an Australian coin. Such a state of affairs might be conceivable between antagonistic countries of different races and aspirations, but, as between Australia ‘and New Zealand, it amounts to an anomaly which should not be permitted to continue. I hope that the Prime Minister will endeavour to bring about such an alteration as will enable Australian notes and silver to pass current over the whole of Australasia, without the charging of any commission upon them. There is another matter in connexion with New Zealand which I wish to mention. The New Zealand Government makes a surcharge of 50 per cent, for the carriage of Australian timber over the railways of the Dominion in excess of the charge for the carriage of New Zealand timber. This, in my opinion, is an anomaly which should be removed before New Zealand can expect to open up negotiations with the Commonwealth with respect to trade reciprocity. There is no justification for charging these excess freights. Large quantities of redgum, silky-oak, and other Australian timbers are used in New Zealand. It cannot be grown in the Dominion, and does not enter into competition with locally grown timbers. Yet the New Zealand Government, without rhyme or reason, charges this extra freight upon it. There are one or two other matters in connexion with our relationships with some of the islands of the Pacific that I had desired to mention, but I am afraid that it would take me too long to go into them to-day. It is, however, opportune that I should ask the Postmaster-General what is being done to expedite the construction of a Stateowned cable across the Atlantic. This is a matter that has been long delayed, and there is no. excuse for further hesitation to proceed with the work. At the Press Conference, in London, a resolution was unanimously passed urging that the Governments of the various countries interested should enter into communication with one another in order that they might as speedily as possible come to an agreement with Great Britain to lay an Atlantic cable, that would be the means of giving us a complete Stateowned service between Australia and England, via the Pacific. The state of things existing at present may be illustrated by the charge made for press messages. The charge is gd. per word, of which 5d. per word is taken for conveying the message over the Atlantic cable - a distance of 3,000 miles ; whilst only 4d. per word is absorbed by conveying the message across Canada and the Pacific - a distance of 10,000 miles. A resolution was carried at the Imperial Conference in favour of the construction of this cable. It is an anomaly that so exorbitant a charge should be permitted to be made for the transmission of messages over the Atlantic cable.
– Who gets the money from that cable?
– It is owned by British capitalists. I do not think that the Government requires any stronger backing than is afforded by the resolution passed at the Conference of press representatives from all parts of the Empire, and the resolution agreed to at the Imperial Conference.
– What does the honorable member advocate?
– The laying down of a State-owned cable. At the present time the Pacific Cable is owned and controlled by the various Governments’ interested. It is part of our national property. In order to make that cable pay as a purely business concern, it is necessary that we should attract a greater volume of business. The best way of encouraging business is to see that the charges for transmission across the Atlantic are reduced to an amount something like proportionate to the charge made for the Pacific part of the transmission. The cable for the whole distance should be owned by the Government. There is no question of introducing a new principle. It is merely a question of completing a business proposition that has already been commenced.
– What about a line of State-owned steamers ?
– It will tax our energies to look after one subject of this kind at a time. This may be an opportune time to ask the Postmaster-General what has been done in connexion with the report of various representatives of the Electrical Branch of his Department regarding recommendations made in November, 1909, to establish wireless telegraphy stations at certain South Sea Islands. No doubt the Postmaster-General is familiar with the resolutions passed by the important Conference held in 1909. It was shown that, in the interests of closer trade relationships with those islands of the Pacific that are mostly held or controlled by Great Britain or Australia, it was necessary to establish upon them wireless telegraph stations. The experts pointed out that such stations would help very considerably to make the Pacific Cable pay ; that they would make for a greater volume of trade between the islands and the Commonwealth and New Zealand ; and would also help to develop and bring them more fully under the control of Australia or Great Britain than they are at present. Such an undertaking, it was further urged, would help to develop the islands contiguous to the Continent, and only by the establishment of closer trade relationships with them would it be possible, it was said, to prevent their passing, in all probability, out of the control of Great Britain. Another point made was that these stations were absolutely necessary in the interests of shipping between Australia and Canada and the United States, the volume of which will be largely increased as the result of the completion of the Panama Canal. Very little has been said concerning this proposal. I know that there has been some difficulty in establishing the wireless telegraph system even round the coast of Australia. It is to be regretted that the work has been so long delayed, but I believe that the PostmasterGeneral is making every effort to expedite it. Why not proceed at once to carry out the whole system? The House should certainly know what attitude the Postmaster-General takes up on this very important question of bringing the islands of the Pacific into closer communication with the Commonwealth by means of wireless telegraphy. I wish now to refer to one or two points relating to the Department of Defence. It is certainly time that the Government announced a definite policy respecting the establishment of drill halls in connexion with the compulsory training system.
– It is” stated in this morning’s newspapers that the establishment of such halls is to be part of the Government’s policy.
– I am glad to hear it. I have another complaint to make, of which, I hope, the Minister representing the Minister of Defence will take a note. In passing, I may say I am strongly of opinion that the Department should be represented in this House by the Minister directly responsible for its administration. No Commonwealth Department requires a keener scrutiny. No Department presents so many difficulties and complexities, calling for constructive legislation and the close attention o’f this House, as does the Department of Defence, and the Minister directly responsible for it should be a member of this Chamber. We should then be able to obtain direct from him the information we require concerning the great defence system we are now initiating. I want to register my ob jection to the shameful way in which the rifle clubs throughout the continent are being neglected. According to a report recently issued, our rifle clubs, instead of increasing side by side with our permanent citizen soldiery, are decreasing. That is a most unfortunate position. In 1903, we had in Victoria 341 rifle clubs ; but, in 1910, that number had been reduced to 298. Notwithstanding that our population is making a more reasonable increase than was formerly the case, and that our expenditure on defence has increased by millions during the last few years, we find this unfortunate decline. I do not know whether the fault lies with the permanent military authorities, who appear at the present time to be partially overruling the Minister of Defence, but we find that one of the most useful bodies that could be established over the wide area of Australia in connexion with our defence scheme is being studiously neglected. We are spending over £4,000,000 a year on defence, and yet, owing to the neglect of the Department to look after those very necessary institutions, we have a decline in the number of our rifle clubs. The system of compulsory training has met with the general approval of the people. We believe it is necessary, but we know that it does not apply to men after they have reached a certain age. When mea reach an age of between thirty and forty years there is a likelihood of their training for war purposes being neglected ; but, in the rifle club system, which I think should also be made compulsory, we have afforded to our trained men an opportunity to keep themselves in touch with shooting practice after they have been placed on the list of reserves to maintain them as permanently efficient marksmen. The experience of the South African war affords evidence that if we train our “adult citizens as efficient marksmen we shall have the foundation of an effective defence force in that regard. The rifle clubs offer to the Commonwealth an opportunity of maintaining permanently at very little expense a great army of efficient marksmen apart from the permanent forces, who would make almost equally good soldiers if ever we had to defend this country. Not only should every encouragement be given to this system of rifle clubs, but we might with advantage go a step farther, and require every citizen of a certain age to practise shooting for a certain number of half-days a year. I consider that the rifle club system in Victoria has been neglected, because the Minister has failed to exhibit sufficient backbone in the administration of his Department, and has probably allowed the policy of his Department to be dominated by the permanent officers, who look unkindly upon anything which is outside the routine of their Department.
– That is a slander on both the Minister and the permanent officers.
– I am stating that there is a reason-
– You are indulging in a” islander on both the Minister and the permanent officers.
– A reason has to be found for the studious neglect of our rifle club system throughout Australia.
– There is not a studious neglect.
– If the honorable gentleman who represents the Minister of Defence thinks it is not worth his while to take a note of any objections which are made in this connexion it is necessary that honorable members should draw their own conclusion and find a reason for this studious neglect of a great institution which could be made a valuable adjunct to our permanent defence forces.
– You can find the reasons that suit your political party best, but you are making misstatements and slandering good men.
– The Acting Minister will have an opportunity to state the case for the Department, and explain why there has been such neglect of a valuable institution. Of course, when the Budget is submitted, we may find that some alteration is contemplated, but in the meantime I think it is due to the House that an explanation should be made. There are several cognate matters which I suppose will be more fully discussed when certain measures are presented and the Budget is being considered. For that reason I shall not occupy the time of the Chamber much longer. 1 do hope that in the interests of the Commonwealth some attention will be given to the three or four poInts of policy which I have raised. I admit that seme sums are included in the schedule to carry en the services. I hope that a direct line of State-owned cable communication between Great Britain and Australia will be established without delay.
– That is State Socialism.
– The honorable member was not present when I said that my suggestion did not introduce any new principle. We have a State-owned cable from Sydney to Vancouver, and control the telegraph line across Canada, and the only connecting link that is required is a line across the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain. We are losing thousands of pounds because of an insufficiency of business in connexion with the Pacific cable ; and in order to make it a payable concern it is necessary that we should either have the charges on the Atlantic cable reduced, or have a cable of our own across the Atlantic.
– Is there not a statement of Government policy in regard to that matter in the Governor-General’s Speech?
– So there was in the last Governor-General’s Speech, but we do not seem to be making any progress, and that is the trouble.
– We are doing our best.
– I was only emphasizing the matter, which is, I think, of very great importance. There is also the question of establishing wireless telegraph stations, on which I shall have more to say later. I hope that these two matters, as well as the greater encouragement of rifle clubs, will receive from the Government that attention which their importance deserves.
.- I would not have risen had it not been for the number of honorable members who spoke in the early part of this discussion, including the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and endeavoured to unjustly castigate a Department which has caused a great deal of trouble, not only to the present, but also to the preceding Government, without giving a word of credit to Ministers for what has been done. Perhaps I should except the honorable member for Bendigo, who gives two words of credit to himself and one to the other fellow all the time. Honorable members in their criticism and extravagant statements have shown a proneness to neglect the equities of the case. They will net acknowledge the work that has been accomplished in this great Department. I am very pleased to notice what has been done, during last session and the recess, with regard to the report of the Postal Commission. I find to-day that 80 per cent, of its recommendations have been carried practically wholly into effect. That does not show that the Government have neglected to attend to those matters which were capable of adjustment, and to try to redress many of the grievances which they knew existed. I like a fair statement to be made, because, in my opinion, this Department should not be tossed about from side to side, so to speak, to serve any political purpose. This is not a party question, but a question affecting the whole of the people, whoever may represent them. It is not fair for honorable members to use the Department as a kind of political football, either to try to gain kudos for themselves or to disparage the Government. This gerrymandering of political principles with regard to a big institution of this kind does not appeal to me. There is something yet to be done. Had the Postmaster-General grasped the nettle firmly in the first place, he would have had something more to say about the action of the Public Service Commissioner, who, dealing with the report of the Postal Commission in the light of what he thought to be inevitable, passed over certain matters, and in that way endeavoured to show that he was exercising some semblance of an independent judgment. If the honorable gentleman had looked more carefully into what was being done, he would have seen that, in almost every case, the Commissioner sought to placate the larger sections of the” service - that they were his sole study, and that in regard to them he acted very effectively - and left the smaller sections not only discontented, but suffering under a degree of injustice. I shall ask the PostmasterGeneral from time to time, if necessary, what is going to be done with the remaining portions of the report, exclusive of the main sections which involve management - a great question of policy. I am satisfied that, if he will look into the case fully, he will find that there are sections of the service who are not receiving that justice which has been extended to the larger sections. We cannot expect to get contentment in the Department when there is differential treatment. When the Postal Commission were conducting their inquiries, it was not with them a question of political placating; they did not pick out the largest sections and endeavour to satisfy them ; but went categorically through the merits in every section, and, so far as human skill could do it, tried to adjust the differences that existed on an equitable and satisfactory basis. The difficulties confronting the Postmaster-
General to-day arise from the fact that he has not looke’d into the grievances of the men, who have been left out of consideration in connexion with the improvements which have been made.
– That is not correct.
– I do not think that the Minister has quite realized the true position. I take the position of the sorters as an example of the difficulty to which I am referring. Their position was improved in a very remarkable way during the inquiry by the Postal Commission, and subsequently to the presentation of their report. But, whilst the position of the junior sorters was much improved, the senior sorters are left in a worse position than they previously occupied. We cannot hope to satisfy the officers of a Department in that manner. We must deal out justice all round. Apart from the question of management, which is, of course, the all-important question, I venture to say that if the Postal Commission’s recommendations with respect to the service had been wholly adopted, there would be little or no trouble for the PostmasterGeneral in the conduct of the Department for some time to come.
– It would have been a serious matter for the taxpayers.
– The additional expenditure involved would not be nearly so great as the honorable gentleman would try to make me believe. The expenditure necessary to carry out the remaining recommendations of the Postal Commission would be a mere bagatelle as compared with what has been necessary to give effect to the recommendations already adopted. I have gone thoroughly into the matter, and I know what I am talking about. There are only one or two branches of the service in which there is still discontent. Most of the men are satisfied. If the Minister takes the matter into his own hands, he can soon settle the grievances existing in the Department. But I must, at the same time, repeat that neither he nor any subsequent Postmaster-General can expect to strike at the real root of all the trouble in the Department if the present system of management is continued. The seat of all the difficulty is in the faulty organization, lack of discipline, and lack of ability in the management. Square pegs are to be found in round holes, men having been placed in responsible positions because of seniority of service only, and because they have had preserved to them their State rights under the Federal regime. These are the things which give rise to trouble in the Department, . and to politcal attacks upon it. I hope to deal with this matter in another way during the session. I am convinced as to what it is necessary to do, and I shall pursue my course as I think best. It is notorious that throughout the country there has been woeful indifference, to the nature of the duties which the officers of this Department have to carry out, on the part of those responsible for designing the buildings in which the work is done. I suppose that there is no country in the world in which one could find post-office buildings more ill-designed, ill-ventilated, badly lighted, and badly constructed.
– Does that apply to new buildings ?
– Yes, it applies to some of the new buildings. There is a lack of system. I know of offices in which the postmaster is so located that it is impossible for him to supervise his staff. Wherever such a condition of affairs exists the shirker is given opportunities to shirk, and the worker is overworked all the time. Discontent arises naturally under such conditions. We ought to systematize our methods of building post offices. There should be a standard post office of an ideal design, suited to the requirements of staffs of different size, and the postal inspector should in the work of adjusting old premises to modem conditions, and in the construction of new buildings, te called upon to work to that design. The trouble arises to-day, not so much in connexion with new offices as with the attempts made to fit modern designs to old plans. It has been my pleasure to make use of knowledge which I gained in my occupation before I entered this Parliament to point out practical defects in plans and to explain what I mean by a post office properly constructed for effective administration. Good light, room, and ventilation are, of course, necessary ; but it is also essential that these buildings should be so constructed that no man working in them shall be free from continual supervision. We could save a considerable amount of money if our post offices were so constructed. In one office which I have in my mind at the present time, if the necessary alterations in construction were carried out, the work might be better done, and it would be possible to save the expense of one man in seven of the present staff.
– Are not such plans being followed in the construction of new offices?
– I am not sure that they are. They are not being followed in the adjustment of old offices. The PostmasterGeneral knows as well as I do that if a good example were required of the kind of thing to which I am referring, one has only to cite the post office at Perth. There are a number of pigeon boxes in that building ; one branch has five or six rooms, some of which are on one floor and some on another, and there are little rooms off the corridors. There is no chance of effective supervision under such conditions, and the work of the Department falls behind. If we take the general past office at Sydney and consider what was spent during the last two years by the Works Department in putting the present gallery in the mail room, we shall have another example of the difficulty to which I refer. The gallery is of no use, and. it is altogether unfit for men to work in in the summer time. The only use to which it can be put at the present time is to accommodate, the dead-letter branch, though its construction was intended to relieve the congestion of the whole building. It has cost hundreds of pounds; it interferes with ventilation and supervision, and has impaired the efficiency of the whole building for the work to be performed therein. I mention these matters to direct the attention of the Postmaster-General to the fact that the work of the Public Works Department should be taken out of the hands of State officers. The whole responsibility for design, reconstruction, anr! new construction should rest upon our own Commonwealth officers. We should then have a chance to lay down some principles from which we might expect to secure the construction of effective and suitable buildings.
– The honorable member knows that we are making a movement in that direction now.
– I believe so, and S3me movement of the kind ought certainly to be made. I have been moving in the matter a little lately.
– The honorable member is aware that there is such a movement.
– I think there is, but I have no direct evidence of it so far. Illconstructed post-office buildings lead to lots of trouble and to overtime, which becomes necessary because work is left undone by men who shirk their work when there is no effective supervision. Opportunities are afforded in this way for “breaches of the regulations, leading to endless reports. I ask the Postmaster-General to carefully peruse the report of the Postal Commission, with a view to seeing whether he cannot remove the injustices which exist. Having remedied them, he will be in a position to devote himself to the broader question of organization in every branch of the service, and thus to make a name’ for himself. I am aware that the late Government did make a move in that direction. When the honorable member for Flinders condemns the present Government on the ground of extravagance in the Postal Department ; when he says that they are spending money lavishly
– His constituents do not complain in that way. They cannot get enough.
– When the honorable member for Flinders talks in the way that he has done, it strikes me that he is impaled on the horns of a dilemma. The honorable member for Bendigo, who occupied the position of Postmaster-General in the late Deakin Government, himself laid it down that this expenditure was absolutely necessary.
– An expenditure of £2,000,000.
– The amount was larger than that, and, of course, it must increase as time goes on.
– I made no reference to that expenditure. That was excluded from my calculations.
– Was it the expenditure upon works to which the honorable member referred?
– If the honorable member will refer to my speech, he can read for himself.
– The honorable member referred to extravagance generally in the Post Office.
– I think that what he had in his mind was the salaries which are paid there.
– The salaries paid in the postal service are, in my judgment, not what they ought to be, compared with the salaries which are paid to persons in equally responsible positions outside.
– The comparison which I made was based upon the exclusion of additions and new works, and I proved that the expenditure had increased by 23½ per cent.
– If the honorable member declares that the service is overpaid, I can understand his position. Is that what he means?
– I mean just what I say.
– The honorable member objects to the salaries which are paid to postal officials, and, consequently, must be in favour of their reduction. If that be his opinion, all honour to him for having the courage to express it. But it is not my opinion, nor does his view harmonize with the facts of the case. It does not accord with the action which was taken by the late Government. If the honorable member were Postmaster-General, he would find that he was unable to save much money by effecting a re-adjustment of salaries. But there are other ways in which money might be saved to the Department. That result, however, cannot be achieved by reducing the salaries of the rank and file, or, indeed, those of officers who are fit for their positions. As I intend to deal with this matter fully at a later stage of the session, I shall content myself with having drawn attention to the few points which I have enumerated.
.- There are one or two matters upon which I desire to offer a few remarks. I do not intend to discuss the Postal Department further than to say that it is, undoubtedly, seething with discontent. If the PostmasterGeneral could see his way to accede to the request which has been preferred by the letter-carriers and sorters by granting them a half-holiday on Saturday, I think that some of that discontent would disappear, and I am of opinion that very little inconvenience to the public would result. That is all I propose to say just now in reference to the Postal Department. But I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister of Trade and Customs a matter relating to quarantine. I think that the Government are deserving of the severest censure for the way in which . they have dealt with this question of quarantine since they took it over from the States. They have not only shown an utter disregard of the health of the general public, but they have violated the Constitution, which says that -
The Commonwealth shall not by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue give preference to one State or any part thereof.
In my opinion, quarantine is included under “ commerce.” That is the view expressed by Mr. Harrison Moore in the following passage : - “ Quarantine,” as ordinarily understood, would be included in the commerce power, and in the United States belongs to Congress simply as being so included. In the Australian Commonwealth it is expressly granted to the Parliament, whence the inference might be drawn that it is used in a sense which would embrace matters lying outside the commerce power, or that the power itself must receive a limited construction. But the true reason for the special mention of quarantine appears to be its essentially administrative character and the intention that the State Department shall be transferred to the Commonwealth.
Quarantine coming under the commerce power, there has been a distinct violation of the constitutional provision which I have read, preference having been given to Queensland to the disadvantage of New South Wales. Let me give an instance of this preference or favoritism. In October last the Eastern, on a voyage from the East, was between Port Darwin and Thursday Island, when it was discovered that a passenger had small-pox, of which disease he subsequently died. On arrival at Thursday Island the vessel was quarantined. She had 91 Malays and 153 Chinese in the steerage, and although the Pearl Fishers Association reported that some of these coloured persons were engaged to work in the pearl fishery, and suggested that they should all be landed on Friday Island in quarantine, the association providing accommodation and food, the Commonwealth authorities, through their local representative, declined the offer, and the steamer with all its passengers was sent direct to Sydney, 2,000 miles away. A vessel on board of which were supposed to be the germs of that dread disease small-pox was sent past the Queensland quarantine station at Magnetic Island, off Townsville, to be quarantined in the largest centre of population in the Commonwealth, and this notwithstanding that the destination of most of her passengers was Queensland.
– Why were not all the passengers landed and quarantined at Thursday Island?
– I doubt if there is sufficient accommodation there, but I do not know why they were not landed at Magnetic Island. The statement of the Minister of Trade and Customs was this -
Enquiries were being made as to the condition of this man when the vessel was at Port Darwin, in view of the large number of Asiatics on board. The permanent quarantine officer at Brisbane had advised against the landing of any passengers at Thursday Island. There was no quarantine stations north of Sydney where the quarantine pf this vessel could be performed, and the vessel would accordingly be brought on to Sydney, instructions having been issued to that effect.
If there is no quarantine station north of Sydney, the Commonwealth Government has neglected to maintain the quarantine stations of the States.
– That is not so. We have put some of them into better order than they were ever in before.
– The honorable member for Hume, when the Quarantine Bill was under discussion here on the 16th July, 1907, stated that the estimated value of the land and buildings at the New South Wales quarantine station was ,£123,000; at the Victorian quarantine station, ,£63,000 ; and at the Queensland quarantine station, ^66,000 ; the annual cost of administration in those States being respectively ^5,000, ^4,000, and £2,180.
– Queensland kept her quarantine station, and turned it into a leper station.
– Does the Minister say that the Commonwealth has not taken over all the Queensland quarantine stations? Has the station at Magnetic Island been taken over?
– Was there not ample accommodation for the Eastern’s passengers at Magnetic Island? If not, the Government was seriously to blame. Does the Minister think that it is fair to bring Asiatics, who may be infected with a disease like small-pox, straight to the most populous centre in the Commonwealth? The quarantine station at North Head is close to the largest pleasure resort in Australasia. Hundreds and thousands of people - including visitors from all the other States - go to Manly in the summer months to enjoy the pleasures of ocean bathing. The Minister knows that from experience. Is it fair to subject them to the risk of infection? Does the Minister realize what an outbreak of small-pox in Sydney would mean? It would be an easy matter for a quarantined person to get over the 7 -ft. fence which surrounds the quarantine ground; and any one doing so would find himself .immediately in Manly. If there were an outbreak in Sydney, it would spread to every quarter of Australia, because people would fly in all directions. Very few of the residents of Sydney are vaccinated; indeed, I do not believe that the vaccinated number more than one in every hundred.
– It is not compulsory.
– Quite so; and, as a matter of fact, the majority of the people are not vaccinated now.
– We were told by the doctor at the quarantine station at Manly that not i per cent, of the people in New South Wales are vaccinated.
– This is a very serious matter, because an outbreak of small-pox would amount to an absolute calamity.
– It might mean the loss of 10,000 lives !
– Further, I undertake to say that there is not enough lymph to vaccinate even one-fourth of the people in Sydney alone. If small-pox got a start in that city, we should have a panic and absolute pandemonium. I hope we shall have no repetition of a shipload of Asiatics being quarantined in Sydney.
– Does the honorable member advocate changing the site of the Sydney quarantine station?
– I do, indeed.
– Did the honorable member advocate this change when he was a member of the State Parliament?
– The question never came before me. Until I had the honour to represent that part of New South Wales I did not realize that the quarantine station constituted a great menace to the people of Manly. There is an excellent site on the northern side of Broken Bay, where there is no population, although- the land is not far from the city. As a matter of fact, many suitable sites could be found ; and while, of course, the Minister may urge objections on the ground of expense, we have to take into consideration the well-being of the people as a whole. The present quarantine station would make an excellent site for a park and pleasure ground - one of the finest in the whole of the country. One contention of mine, on which I shall not dwell, is that it is absolutely necessary that the North Head should be used for fortification. I, therefore, do not think that it is advisable the quarantine station should remain; and I hope that the Minister will seriously consider the matters I have laid before him.
.- I wish to bring under the notice of the Defence Department a matter of importance to many of our citizens, namely, the proposal to abolish some of the Scottish regiments on the first of next month. I desire to know from the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, and also from the Prime Minister, what is to be gained by this so-called reform? -What good will it prove to the Military Forces to abolish a uniform that is held in the greatest respect by Scottish people in this country? Do the (Government propose to blindly carry out the recommendations of Lord Kitchener, or are they going to use their own intelligence? It is said that uniformity “must be brought about ; but what is the gain of uniformity? Shall we thereby get a more efficient Force? It is said by some people that we ought to have a national standard of uniforms; but I venture to say that the men who form the Scottish regiments can be as good Australians as those who never wear the kilts. Scotchmen do not come here because they own a distinctive dress.
– And good legs !
– Yes, and Scotchmen are not afraid to show their legs. I have received letters from various organizations urging that the Government shall hold their hand until the facts have been placed before them. If the House is given an opportunity to vote on the matter, the Minister of Defence will have an “ eye-opener.” We are not ashamed of the national traditions of Scotland. If Lord Kitchener is consistent, why does he not bring about a similar reform in Great Britain? As a matter of fact, he cannot do so in the Old Country ; but he thinks that the Ministers of the Crown in Australia will simply shut their eyes and open their mouths and swallow all he gives them. That seems to be the policy of the Government; no matter what we may say to the Minister of Defence, he quotes Lord Kitchener.
– Does Lord Kitchener wear kilts?
– No; he has legs like a canary. As the honorable member for East Sydney has already pointed out this afternoon, Lord Kitchener recommends that the militia regiments shall have permanent officers; and because of that recommendation, a man who has given his time as a volunteer, and brought a regiment to a high state of efficiency, is to be superseded.
– That is not the only case.
– Quite so. It is proposed to substitute highly-paid permanent officers ; and the people will have to watch the military expenditure much more closely than in the past. I shall be no party to an extravagant policy of appointing highly-paid men to drill the militia when the work can be done just as well by militia officers. In the past the militia has been our only defence, and now we find the Militia Forces sneered at. The Minister of Defence takes his stand on the recommendations of Lord Kitchener; but I shall not be ruled by Kitchener or a military board either. As to the uniforms, why should we make enemies by a change, when no greater efficiency can result? It can only mean the creation of antagonistic feelings to the defence policy of the country. If Ministers can show good substantial reasons for the alteration, I shall be pleased to listen. But so far no good reason has been given. After the first of next month, the whole of the uniforms have to be khaki, and the representatives of the people in this House have not had an opportunity of saying whether or not they indorse this action. Are we really representatives of the people, or are we dominated by the Military Board? It seems to me that the Australian people have the ring of a military caste in their nose to-day, and because a Labour Government is in power they are prepared to put up with it. If I get an opportunity of casting a vote against the discontinuance of the Highland uniform I shall be pleased to do so, and I believe that the majority of the House will support me. In regard to discontent ‘ in the Post and Telegraph Department, I may say this : The Postmaster-General is the largest employer of labour in the Commonwealth. I know of no large employer of labour who is able to maintain complete harmony amongst his employes. There is always some discontent. It is not to be expected that a large service like the Post Office, employing thousands of men, should run smoothly in every possible respect. But for the remedying of grievances we have given the public servants the right to go before the Arbitration Court. If they do not choose to avail themselves of that opportunity, they will get no sympathy from me. I have the utmost confidence in the Arbitration Court, believing that it will deal fairly and justly with any public servants who appeal to it. I am not going to listen to any grievances from men who have not laid their case before the Court.
– They have an assurance that the Government will honour any award made by the Court.
– I am satisfied that this Parliament will agree to that. When we have a tribunal established to deal with grievances, it would be inconsistent on our part if we permitted them to be dealt with here also. Consequently, I hope that the Postmaster-General will stand firm and insist on these people going before the Court if they have any grievances to complain about. With regard to the accommodation at the Genera] Post Office, Sydney, I trust that the Minister of Home Affairs and the Postmaster-General will take the matter into their consideration. Thousands of pounds have been spent on alterations, but business is growing so rapidly that one cannot get into some of the rooms at the Post Office.
– Decentralization is going on there, and things will be better.
– You cannot decentralize from Sydney. It is the hub of the universe. I hope that the representative of the Minister of Defence will bring before him the request of a large number of honorable members, and that he will suspend the operation of the order abolishing the kilts of the Highlanders until Parliament has had an opportunity of expressing an opinion.
– With reference to the question raised by the honorable member for North Sydney and the honorable member for Lang as to quarantine, I wish to state that I shall make a full explanation when the subject comes up again. I may state, however, that the present position is not altogether the fault of the Commonwealth, but of the State Governments, which starved the quarantine stations before we took them over, and in some cases abolished them.
.- Several speeches have been made dealing with the discontent that unfortunately exists in the Post and Telegraph Department. I know from a number of cases which have been placed before me that a certain section of public servants have just cause for complaint. That principally affects some of the. older officers who have Been twenty years in the employment of the Government. It would be very easy for the Minister to settle these grievances. It is all very well to say that it would cost the country thousands of pounds to do so, but I believe that when we employ a man we should pay him properly, just as we insist on private employers doing. At the same time, I am sorry to have had to listen to the remarks df the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, which practically encouraged our public servants to strike.
– The honorable member has no right to say that.
– That is the inference which I drew from the remarks of the honorable member and others.
– It is a pity that the honorable member is not able to make a proper inference.
– Would the honorable member support the men if they went on strike ?
– I can conceive of no .greater calamity to the men themselves than that they should strike.
– The only objection which the men can urge against laying their case before the Arbitration Court is on the ground of expense. The sooner we make the proceedings of the Court cheaper and easier the better it will be in the interests of the community. It is a most remarkable thing that while some members of the Opposition consider that these men are underpaid, others, notably the honorable member for Flinders, consider that the Government has been very extravagant in the administration of the Post and Telegraph Department. The Leader of the Opposition, when in power, admitted that an expenditure of £2,000,000 would be necessary to place the postal service in an effective condition. We have not spent £2,000,000 yet. We have spent something like £300,000 in increasing wages, and £150,000 in bringing the telegraphic and telephonic services up to date. We are still a long way from a total of £2,000,000. Yet the honorable member for Flinders condemns the Government, saying that they have increased the working expenses by 23 per cent. I was pleased to hear the Chairman of the Postal Commission state that the Government have practically carried out 80 per cent, of that body’s recommendation. I am an out-and-out supporter of the recommendations of the Commission, and think that the Postmaster-General would be wise if he adopted its report in toto. Coming to the Defence Department, I wish to point out an anomaly which unfortunately exists. The Minister has very wisely increased the pay of the rank and file. But the result is that the sergeants who have to train the men are, in many instances, receiving less than the men they train. We pay the rank and file 3s. 6d. a day. By earning badges and good conduct stripes, some men are receiving 6s. per day. Yet some of the sergeants who instruct them, and who have had to pass examina tions, are receiving only 5s. per day. I call that a. sweating wage. The sooner the Minister rectifies that anomaly the sooner will our military service become more effective. Many of the young men in my electorate have to travel great distances to undergo compulsory military training, and I have repeatedly placed before the Minister the desirableness of paying their fares. It is unreasonable to ask the parents to saddle themselves with this additional expense, seeing that these young fellows are being trained to protect the wealth of the community. I have pleasure in supporting the remarks of the honorable member for South Sydney as to the abolition of the kilts. I am not a Scotchman, but I honour the sentiment that actuates the Scottish community in protesting against this change. We know that it is the desire of the Minister to have a uniform dress for our land forces, and this we must recognise is a very excellent thing; but I do not share the view of the Minister that the retention of the Scottish uniform would involve an additional expenditure of £30,000 a year. It costs about £2 1 os. per head to supply our troops with the ordinary uniforms, and about £6 per head is the cost of a Scottish uniform. The sentiments of the Scotchman, however, is so strong that he is quite willing to pay the difference. If the Government will advance the £2 10s. per head, the Scotchmen are quite willing to pay the balance, and that being so, the chief objection of the Minister to the retention of this dress should be removed. There is throughout Australia a strong objection to compulsory military training, and we are going to strengthen that objection by disregarding the sentiment of a great number of Scotchmen throughout the Commonwealth. I see no reason why members of the Scottish Regiment should not be allowed to wear kilts, or why the Irish Regiment should not have a distinctive badge. We need to encourage sentiment in Australia. We have not that sentiment which actuated the Scottish and the Irish regiments in fighting to uphold the honour of Great Britain, and I think it is a very unwise move on the part of the Minister of Defence to issue a mandate for the abolition of these regiments. An honorable member of the Opposition has referred to the inadequacy of the quarantine arrangements, and I desire to allude briefly to the want of quarantine facilities at Darwin. Whilst I was there the Taiyuan landed a passenger who was suffering from pneumonic plague - which, I understand, is a form of bubonic - and he was allowed to walk the streets.. Three days after he died. There are no quarantine arrangements at Darwin, which, instead of being the back door, is the front door to Australia, for it faces the rest of the world. Nearly all the ships coming to Australia from the East make it their first port of call in the Commonwealth, and if we are not alive to the danger of introducing these Asiatic diseases, it will be a bad look-out for Australia.
– I think it infamous that an honorable member advocating inquiry into grievances in a public Department should be told on the floor of the House that he is anxious to foment a strike. It shows the mind of honorable members opposite when we cannot discuss here a grievance of any kind without an attempt on their part to make political capital out of it. I want the public outside to understand that whenever any one here tries to ventilate a grievance, the Labour party immediately endeavour to turn his action to a political purpose, and that they make all sorts of accusations against any honorable member who dares to try to remedy grievances or to advocate an inquiry into them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported and adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Fishes) agreed to -
That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Ways and Means for raising the Supply to be granted to His Majesty.
Resolution of Ways and Means covering resolution of Supply reported and adopted.
That Mr. Fisher and Mr. Hughes do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented and passed through all its stages without amendment.
– I desire to lay on the table -
Electoral Act - Report, with Map, by Messrs. W. J. Gall and A. A. Spowers, a majority of the Commissioners appointed for the purpose of redistributing the State of Queensland into Electoral Divisions.
The name we propose for the new electorate is Landsborough.
House adjourned at 3.56 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 June 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19120628_reps_4_64/>.