House of Representatives
13 November 1912

4th Parliament · 3rd Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 5394

QUESTION

ELECTORAL

Rolls - Electoral Divisions, New South Wales

Mr KING O’MALLEY:
Minister for Home Affairs · DARWIN, TASMANIA · ALP

– Yes Yesterday the honorable member for South Sydney asked a question, regarding the printing of the Commonwealth electoral rolls in New South

Wales, to which I promised to reply to-day. I am informed that the printing of the Federal rolls is now proceeding at the Government Printing Office, Sydney, under an assurance that the whole work will be completed in good time.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Has the redistribution scheme of New South Wales electorates yet been referred back to the Commissioners for reconsideration?
  2. What was the reason for the delay in instructing the Commissioners to prepare a fresh redistribution ?
  3. In view of the inequalities at present existing in the number of electors in various electorates, will he give an undertaking that a further scheme of redistribution will be submitted for the consideration of Parliament before the close of the session?
Mr KING O’MALLEY:

– T - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -

  1. Yes.
  2. There was no delay. The vote of Parliament was given only on the 8th instant, and formal notification thereof received late yesterday. Meanwhile the Chief Electoral Officer had advised the Commissioners of the vote.
  3. I do not know whether the amended scheme of redistribution will be submitted in sufficient time to be dealt ‘with by Parliament before the session closes.

page 5395

QUESTION

IMMIGRATION

Outbreak of Measles

Mr TUDOR:
Minister for Trade and Customs · YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP

– Yesterday the honorable members for Maribyrnong and Melbourne asked questions regarding the outbreak of meascles on board the IrisJiman. In reply to the honorable member for Maribyrnong, I have been informed that the first case of measles was in a passenger who, judging by the date of the onset of the disease, must have been infected before leaving England. Measles is, I am, informed, a very infectious disease, and is infectious from the earliest stage of the disease. The other cases were apparently due to infection from this case and from subsequent cases. I am informed the only way to curb such an outbreak is -

  1. For the medical officer to make routine thorough inspections of all passengers daily during the voyage.
  2. To provide sufficient proper observation and isolation hospital accommodation.
  3. To remove to hospital any passenger showing the least suspicion of communicable disease. If such measures are not carried out an. outbreak like that on the Irishman is. almost certain to occur.

As to the question asked by the honorable member for Melbourne, I am informed that-

The total number of. baths on board for passengers was six, a wholly inadequate provision for 1,300 persons. The Board of Trade does not, apparently, require any hot or cold baths to be installed.

page 5395

QUESTION

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Horse Breeding for Defence Purposes

Mr WATKINS:
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931

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

  1. Does he not consider it would be more wise and judicious to breed horses in the Northern Territory for military and Commonwealth requirements than to continue purchasing them as at present at such high prices?
  2. If so, will he confer with the Minister for External Affairs, with the view to the commencement of the necessary breeding establishments’ with the least possible delay?

Mr. FISHER (for Mr. Roberts).The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -

  1. The horses now being purchased are necessary for immediate requirements.
  2. This matter is already under consideration.

page 5395

KALGOORLIE TO PORT AUGUSTA RAILWAY

Supply of Karri Sleepers

Mr HEDGES:
FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

asked the Minister of

Home Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Is the. contract between the Commonwealth Government and the Western Australian Government for the supply of 1,500,000 karri sleepers signed ; if so, on what date was it signed?
  2. On what date does the deed of contract provide for the first delivery of karri sleepers to be made under the contract?
  3. How many sleepers each day, week, or month does the contract provide shall be delivered at each end- of the railway?
  4. Is there any fine or penalty for non-delivery of a specified number to be delivered each day, week, or month; if sot what is the fine or penalty?
  5. What is the- date for the completion of the contract for the supply of the 1,500,000 sleepers?
Mr KING O’MALLEY:
ALP

– The The deed of contract has not yet been signed. I have promised to lay a copy of the document on the table of the House when it is signed.

page 5395

QUESTION

POST OFFICE OFFICIALS

” Outback “ Service.

Mr WEBSTER:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Whether it is an adopted rule of the Postal” Department to offer favorable climatic districts to officers who have long “outback” service?’
  2. Was one of such officers appointed to a vacancy at Bunbury, or was such position given to an officer from Perth, who had no “ outback “ service ?
  3. Will the Minister endeavour to apply the policy of the Department, so that justice may be done to those with long service “outback”?
Mr FRAZER:
Postmaster-General · KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I shall endeavour, as far as possible, to give consideration to the officer who has done “ outback “ service.

page 5396

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (CORPORATIONS) BILL

Motion (by Mr. Fisher for Mr. Hughes) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to alter paragraphxx. of section fifty-one of the Constitution.

Bill presented, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.

Motion (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -

That the consideration of the second reading be an Order of the Day for a later hour this day.

Mr. Fisher. - Yes.

Mr SPEAKER:

– If the honorable member for Parramatta objects, what is proposed cannot be done. The House must consent unreservedly.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We wish to know the effect of the proposal.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The proposal is that the second reading of the Bill just introduced be an Order of the Day for a later hour.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I object.

Ordered -

That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for to-morrow.

page 5396

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (INDUSTRIAL MATTERS) BILL

Motion (by Mr. Fisher, for Mr. Hughes) agreed to-

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to alter paragraph xxxv. of section 51 of the Constitution.

Bill presented, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– By leave, I move -

That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for a later hour.

I am taking this course so that we can have a discussion of the matter on the first measure.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I object.

Ordered -

That the second reading be made an Order o£ the Day for to-morrow.

page 5396

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (RAILWAY DISPUTES) BILL

Motion (by Mr. Fisher, for Mr. Hughes), agreed to-

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an. Act to alter the Constitution by empowering theParliament to make laws with respect to industrial disputes in relation to employment in State railway services.

Bill presented, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– I ask leave: to move -

That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for a later hour this day.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I object.

Motion (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -

That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for to-morrow.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– May I ask aquestion, sir?

Mr SPEAKER:

– Yes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There appears to be some misunderstanding.

Mr Mathews:

– It does not matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Very well.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Mr Thomas:

– The agreement with the. leader of the Opposition is withdrawn. We shall go right along now.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– What agreement ?

page 5396

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION. (TRUSTS) BILL

Motion (by Mr. Fisher, for Mr: Hughes) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution by empowering the-‘ Parliament to make laws with respect to trusts,., combinations, and monopolies.

Bill presented.

Motion (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -

That this Bill be now read a -first time.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

. Iwishtoaskforsomeinformation. I want to know where we are. Here are six separate Bills being introduced.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Do I understand that the honorable member has risen to a point of order?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– No, sir.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member cannot speak on this motion.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Are you about to put a question in respect to another Bill?

Mr SPEAKER:

– Yes, a motion for first reading.

Mr Joseph Cook:

Mr. Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member can speak on the next motion, not on this one.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a first time.

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

. -Iaskleave to move -

That the second reading be made an Order of the Day for a later hour this day.

This is to provide for the convenient discussion of the whole question.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I want to know what the effect of this proceeding is to be.

Mr Fisher:

– It will have no effect beyond letting all the Bills go on the business paper, and getting a general discussion.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– On the six Bills?

Mr Fisher:

– On the first Bill, but covering the whole of them.

Mr Glynn:

– And without any limitation of speech on the others?

Mr Fisher:

– Honorable members can speak on the others if they please.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– If you had stated that at first, I would not have objected.

Mr Fisher:

– I did state it.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I objected because-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Is the honorable member asking a question?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– No, sir.

Mr Fisher:

– This was done last time.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Yes, and so long as that arrangement is kept I have not the slightest objection to offer, but we really do not know where we are. Everybody is taking charge of the business of the Government. One would think from the way he goes on that the Minister of External Affairs was the Prime Minister.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am discussing the question, sir, arid pointing out that, owing to the interference and intrusion of other members, it is impossible toknow where we are. It is about timethat the Prime Minister took charge of the business of the House, and did not leave it to the silly grinning people to whom-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member is now discussing something; which is not before the Chair. The question is whether the second reading of this measure shall be made an Order of the Day for a later hour of this sitting, or for to-morrow. If the honorable member objects the ordinary course must be followed.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

- Mr. Speaker-

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member cannot discuss that. He must either object to the question or allow it to go.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Cannot I discuss the question at all?

Mr SPEAKER:

– No.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– May I be allowed, to make a personal explanation, sir?

Mr SPEAKER:

– Yes.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– When the Prime Minister asked in the first instance for leave to make the second reading of the Bill an Order of the Day for a later hour, he stated that the idea was to have a discussion on the whole of the Bills, as we had on the previous occasion. I asked him whether the time limit would apply to the second-reading debate on the first measure, and he said that it would, except in the. case of the Leader of the Opposition. On that understanding, I immediately objected, because it is impossible, I take it,, for a number of honorable members to give due weight to these large proposals-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member is now going beyond the scope of a personal explanation.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I am explaining why I objected to the motion in the first instance. If honorable members are to have the rightto speak for an hour and five minutes onthe second reading of each Bill, I would not object at all.

Mr Fisher:

Mr. Speaker is the custodian of the rights of honorable members.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order.

Mr Fisher:

– There is some misunderstanding.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Let us know what the arrangement is.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to order. I wish to know about this arrangement which was come to last night.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order. The honorable member must see that that is not a point of order.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to order.

Mr SPEAKER:

– That is not a point of order at all. It has nothing to do with the question.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Well, it is a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order. When the next question is put will be the proper time for the honorable member to make a few observations.

Mr Glynn:

– May I ask you a question, sir? 0

Mr SPEAKER:

– Will the honorable member wait a moment until we get this matter settled?

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 5398

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (NATIONALIZATION OF MONOPOLIES) BILL

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– I move -

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an -Act to alter the Constitution by empowering the Parliament to make laws with respect to industries and’ businesses declared to be the subject of a monopoly.

Last night I understood the Deputy - Leader of the Opposition to agree -with me that the same course should be adopted on this occasion as was adopted on the last occasion when -similar measures were before the House, and that is, that a general discussion should take place on one Bill, and that the other measures should be debated according to the rights of honorable members under the “Standing Orders, neither extending nor limiting them. That is the position which *we take up. I think it is a course which is convenient both to honorable members and the people of the country.

Mr Glynn:

– We can speak to all and speak to each.

Mr FISHER:

– Yes. The honorable member can exercise his undoubted rights when the other measures are brought on. With the consent of Mr. Speaker, a general discussion can ensue. The intervention of the honorable member for Richmond, and the reason he gave, do not affect the position at all. We propose to ask that the opener of the debate, namely, the Attorney-‘ General’, and the Leader of the Opposition, may have unlimited time, and that the rest of the members shall confine themselves to one. hour, and five minutes.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The right honorable member does not propose that we should confine ourselves to one hour and five minutes on the general question?

Mr FISHER:

– - Yes.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That will be quite insufficient.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– The Prime Minister proposes an arrangement which, in his own words, is precisely the same as that adopted on the last occasion. But the right honorable gentleman forgets that on this occasion there is a difference, that we are tied down to one hour and five minutes in the general discussion on the second reading of six separate Bills. My. own impression is that time would be saved by removing the limit so far as the’ preliminary discussion is concerned - that if the general discussion on the second reading of the first Bill were without limitation, an immense amount of time would be saved at subsequent stages.

Mr Mathews:

– We have had strong indications from the Opposition that that would not be so, but that they would fight each Bill.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Without consulting my leader, or any other members of my party, my impression is’ that if there’ were unlimited discussion on the second reading of the first Bill, we need not all discuss every Bill separately, except,- of course, in Committee. If only one hour and five minutes is to be allowed to each member on the general discussion, the arrangement will be more or less of a farce, for it will mean1 nothing. If the Prime Minister and the party behind him are going to stand on their rights, and enforce the new Standing Orders strictly, I am not sure that we on this side ought not to stand on our rights, and prevent the Attorney-General from roaming all over the Bills. in a way that we are not permitted to do.

Mr Fenton:

– Honorable members opposite cannot do that, because the AttorneyGeneral has the full right of speech.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– It is a matter of the rights of the House, and it does not” rest on the ipse dixit of any honorable member, not even the Speaker,- who, I take it, is bound by the rules of this Chamber. If honorable members opposite are going to take this lofty attitude, they will find that two can play at that game. That is all I have to say at present.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I first heard of some arrangement a few minutes ago, and it is very important to honorable members on both sides to know what the terms are. I agree absolutely with the view now made clear by the Prime Minister. I must confess I did not quite catch the meaning of his earlier statements, though that, of course, may have been due to the noise in the chamber. As I understand the position, however, it is desired to do what was done on the previous occasion, namely, to have a general discussion on the first Bill in relation to all the other Bills and to the Constitution.

Mr Fisher:

– Yes.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– And subsequently to give an opportunity, as the Standing Orders require, to discuss each of the Bills separately. With that I am entirely in accord, and there can, I think, be no dispute in this connexion. I am speaking now as one who supported, and who still supports, the general application of the time limit. But it would be unfortunate, no matter what the views of either party may be, if any member who desired to express his views on a fundamental change in the Constitution were prevented from doing so by any time limit. This is one case in which it is absolutely essential that the time limit should not be applied. For my own part, it would be quite impossible for me to state at all fairly and effectively, with the utmost attempt at conciseness of which I am capable - and I think I am capable of some attempt at conciseness - my views on the relation of these proposed amendments to the Constitution and to one another. I hope I may not be regarded as egotistical in saying this, because I fancy I am merely expressing the position in which other honorable members find themselves. No doubt some arrangement is necessary, but if the arrangement implies that there is to be a limit on the general discussion -

Mr Frazer:

– The honorable member has heard the statement of the Prime Minister.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– With that I am entirely in accord, with the exception I have indicated. I do not think that the Postmaster-General quite understands the position. I quite agree that there should be a general discussion, and a separate discussion on each Bill, but it is quite impossible for the general discussion to be effectively carried out with a limit of one hour and five minutes on each member. Any one who has really studied this subject carefully ought to ‘have an opportunity to cover the whole ground; and it would be a dangerous and bad thing if, with regard to proposed changes in the Constitution, a time limit were imposed. I am entirely in favour of the general and rigid application of the time limit in most matters, but on a question of this sort it ought not to be applied.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I desire to make a personal explanation. There seemsto be an impression abroad that the PrimeMinister last night made an arrangement with me as to the course to be followed in connexion with these Bills. The Prime Minister is frequently doing that sort of thing.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member is going beyond a personal explanation.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I submitthat I did not; I desire to say, if I may, that I made no agreement.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member is quite in order in doing that, but he was going quite beyond a personal explanation.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I have no intention of doing so. All that occurred wasthat the Prime Minister met me in the lobby and told ‘me what he had decided todo. If that is an arrangement “ I donot know the meaning of the word. I understand an arrangement to be something concurred in on both sides.

Mr Webster:

– Did the honorable member object when the Prime Minister stated* what he intended to do?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I told the PrimeMinister that I thought the time allowed* for the general discussion was not enough ;, it is absurd on the face of it, and will not save time in any way.

Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports

– This is a question that I should like to see debated exhaustively, but a simple sum in arithmetic shows that, if each member occupies the full time allowed, six and a half weeks will be occupied in the discussions on the second readings.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Suppose that is so?

Mr GLYNN:
Angas

.- It is a-, good arrangement to have a general discussion on all the Bills when the second reading of the first is proposed. This, I taker it, will have to be done with the permission of the House, and whatever privilege attaches to the Attorney-General will be conceded to every other honorable member ; that is, it will not interfere with the right of each honorable member to take his full hour and five minutes in connexion with each specific Bill.

Mr Fisher:

– No.

Mr GLYNN:

– Yesterdav morning a suggestion of the sort, I understand, was made by the Attorney-General, but I only heard of it when the House met in the afternoon. I suggest that in the long fun it would lead to conciseness on each particular Bill if the time limit in the general discussion were extended from one hour and five minutes to one hour and thirty-five minutes. I do not believe that honorable members will wander unnecessarily in dealing with these amendments ; but if there is to be a general discussion come suggestion of the kind I have made ought to be adopted.

Mr Frazer:

– That would prolong the session until after Christmas.

Mr GLYNN:

– I am suggesting what I believe in the long run would lead to conciseness; and it is a suggestion I made last night when I was spoken to on the subject by one or two honorable members on this side. The full time may not be taken up by all honorable members, and I believe that an extension to one hour and thirty-five minutes for the purposes of the general discussion would have an effect on the discussion on each particular Bill subsequently. I merely make the suggestion. It is for the Government to say what can done.

Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong

.- I understood that the arrangement made was that the Attorney-General was to introduce the first Bill this afternoon, and that the debate was then to be adjourned until Friday, when the Leader of the Opposition was to reply. I understood that both the Attorney-General and the Leader of the Opposition were to be allowed unlimited time to discuss the general principles of the Bills, after which each ordinary member was to be entitled, under the Standing Orders, to one hour and five minutes.

Mr Fisher:

– Each subsequent speaker.

Mr FENTON:

-The honorable member for Flinders and others seem to think that the subjects which we are about to discuss are entirely new. But every one knows that She session before last-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member must not refer to the merits of the question.

Mr FENTON:

– We are conversant with the matters to be discussed upon the Bills. To ask that each honorable member shall be allowed to speak for more than an hour and five minutes is, in my humble judgment, to ask for too much.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Is the honorable member quite sure that he is conversant with the subject?

Mr FENTON:

– I know the honorable gentleman’s logical power and his capacity for condensation. I am prepared to listen to him. As he is particularly concise, I feel sure that he will be able to give us his views fully in an hour and five minutes. Personally, being desirous of eating my Christmas dinner at home, I am of opinion that the Standing Orders should be adhered to strictly, so that the business may be transacted as rapidly as possible.

Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot

.- I feel sure that the Prime Minister will shorten the debate if Ke will allow every honorable member who desires to speak on the second reading of the first constitutional measure to take his time. If every honorable member is to occupy an hour and five minutes on each of the Bills, far more time will be occupied than if a fair amount of time were allowed on the first measure. There would then be little need to occupy much time with the second reading of the subsequent Bills. I take it that the subject is one to which each honorable member desires to address himself seriously. I am satisfied that there will be no unnecessary padding in speeches. There certainly is no reason for “stone- walling. “ If the Prime Minister wishes to afford the House the best opportunity of discussing the question, he should realize that each Bill is so intimately connected with every other that, to make the debate intelligible, an honorable member must be allowed to roam over the whole field. I am sure that time will be saved if that is permitted, because then there will be no need to make long second-reading speeches on the whole of the Bills.

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

.- I hope that the arrangement indicated by the Prime Minister will be adhered to. As one who has lectured on the referendum ever since 1891, and whose lectures were limited to an hour and a half, I cannot see why any honorable member should require more than an hour to sneak on the subject. We know that not a single vote will be changed by any speech made on either side of the House.

Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir

.- My first impression was that it would be wise to adhere strictly to the standing order in the discussion of the Constitutional Bills. But on reflection I am bound to admit that the question is a very grave one indeed. It is one of the most important questions that has ever been discussed in this Parliament; one of the most important that may ever be discussed, taking into account the width of its application and the far-reaching character of tEe proposals of the Government. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that, whether votes are changed by speeches or not, honorable members have a right to express their opinions for the benefit of their fellow members and for the benefit of the people outside who will read our speeches. I think that nothing will be gained by restricting honorable members from stating their case in the most convenient, clear, and expressive way, so that the whole ground may be covered. On reflection I also disagree with the proposal to give preferential treatment to the Minister in charge of this business and to the Leader of the Opposition. Other honorable members have the same rights as they. No two men in this House monopolize all the wisdom. There are others who are able to express themselves in as concise and clear a way as those two gentlemen may be. I realize that much time cannot be saved by severe restriction. I am also of opinion that if the restriction is imposed’ there will be a long, and possibly acrimonious, debate on each subsequent Constitution Bill, instead of a good-tempered discussion on the first Bill. All the questions covered by the Bills are interlaced and inter-related. They all affect social, commercial, and industrial aspects of the life of this country. It is necessary to show the public how the various links in the chain affect the policy of the Commonwealth, and how the chain, as a whole, is strengthened by each link in regard1 to carrying out the policy which the Government and their party desire to pursue. I do not know that it will be necessary for any speaker to enter into details in the discussion of each Bill. The essence of each proposal should ‘be indicated pretty clearly in the general debate. Every honorable member should have an opportunity of making his views intelligible to the people who will read his speech for their own enlightenment in the future. I think it should be left to the good sense 0i honorable members not to introduce unnecessary matter, but to restrict themselves asclosely as possible to the subjects to be brought before the House.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- New standing order 257A, which imposes the time limit on speeches, makes an exception in regard to debates on the AddressinReply and no-confidence motions. Surely_ it cannot be asserted that the subjects whichwe are about to discuss are of far moreimportance to the country than such debates. I think that the Prime Minister would be conducing to the saving of time if he allowed an exception in the case of the Bills seeking to alter the Constitution. There will be no saving of time if honorable members are strictly limited. If a time limit is to be imposed on ordinary members of the House, then let it be applied all round. Do not let us have any preferential treatment in respect of either the Minister moving the second reading of any Bill or the honorable member who happens for the ‘time being to be the Leader cf the Opposition. We are all equally interested in a proposal for the amendment of the Constitution, and therefore I put it to the Prime Minister that if any exception, be contemplated he should consider the advisableness of allowing us all to come under the operation of the Standing Orders upon equal terms.

Mr Fisher:

– There is a proviso to the time limit fixed by the Standing Orders.

Mr GORDON:

– Under the Standing Orders there is no exception, so far as a Bill of this character is concerned, even infavour of the Minister charged with the duty of moving that it be read a second; time.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

.- 1£ the desire of the Prime Minister in proposing that we shall adhere strictly to thetime limit imposed by the Standing Orders is to save time I am confident that he will, not achieve his object. Such a course of action would really involve the waste of a great deal of time. Personally, I do not anticipate thai I shall desire to exceed the limit imposed by the Standing Orders, but there are many important aspects of the question involved to which other honorable members are much better able to addressthemselves than I am. If it be the desire of the Government to dispose of the debate on these Bills in a reasonable time, then I think that they should agree to allow the fullest possible discussion on the motion for the second reading of the first Bill - a discussion covering the whole of the groundtraversed by the remaining measures. If. that be done I” shall be prepared to sacrifice my right to speak on the motion for the second reading of the remaining Bills and to deal with them only in Committee.

Mr Fisher:

– Why not let this matter go, and in the interval we shall surely be able to come to an understanding?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– If the Prime Minister will give us some assurance of what he is going to do-

Mr Fisher:

– The honorable member shot out his gun right away.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I wished to preserve the rights of honorable members. I was under the impression that the right honorable gentleman contemplated what would amount to a very serious inroad on our fights.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We were not placed in possession of the proposed arrangement before we came into the -House.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– Quite so, and I objected because I recognised that once the desired leave was given there would be no going back.

Mr Fisher:

– The honorable member objected later on.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The position was not explained until I did object. I submit that, in the circumstances, it would be reasonable to allow the debate on’ the motion for the second reading of the first Bill to cover the whole scope of the six measures.

Mr Fisher:

– That is what I am proposing, and that is what the honorable member is objecting to.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I repeat that I am not speaking for myself in asking that honorable members be allowed to speak for an unlimited time on the motion for the second reading of the first Bill. I do not, anticipate that I shall require to ex’ceed the time limit of one hour and five minutes, but there are honorable members who are specially competent to throw a great deal of light upon important phases of this proposal which the House and country should fully understand. I hope, therefore, that my suggestion will be adopted.

Mr RILEY:
South Sydney

.- I desire to fall in with the suggestion made, I understand, by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, that a general discus sion, without any time limit, should take place on the motion for the second reading of the first Bill on the understanding that honorable members agree not to repeat the second-reading, debate on each measure.

Mr Mathews:

– Any individual member could break that arrangement.

Mr RILEY:

– I think, at all events, that it would lead to a great saving of time without actually imposing any time limit on honorable members who wish to speak for more than an hour and five minutes.

Mr Finlayson:

– On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I desire to know whether this question can be discussed when there is no motion covering it before the House?

Mr SPEAKER:

-I said at the outset that I understood that a motion was to be submitted, and that as an effort was being made to arrive at an agreement I should allow a certain amount of latitude.

Mr RILEY:

– My desire is really to save time, and I think that an arrangement between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to have a general discussion on the motion for the. second reading of the first Bill, and not to repeat it on the remaining measures would be beneficial to the House and the country.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We cannot bind ourselves to that.

Mr WEST:
East Sydney

.- I am strongly of opinion that if these measures are to be disposed of within a reasonable time, and every honorable member is to be given an opportunity to express his views respecting them, the Standing Orders should be strictly adhered to. When we have made a departure from the Standing Orders we have had occasion sometimes to regret our action, and if they be suspended on this occasion no one can tell where the debate will end. Under the Standing Orders each member may speak for an hour and’ five minutes on the motion for the second read: ing of a Bill, and if further discussion be desired an amendment can be moved on which every honorable member would be allowed’ to make a second speech. We have been threatened with something of the kind by the; Opposition this morning. Then again, when we went into Committee, every honorable member would have the right to make two speeches of. half-an-hour each on each clause* and if an amendment were moved there would be an opportunity to make yet another speech. It will, therefore, be seen that if the Standing Orders are strictly adhered to each honorable member may occupy at least two hours and five minutes in the discussion of each of .these Bills. We can with very good reason assume that honorable members opposite will take full advantage of every opportunity afforded by .the Standing Orders to occupy time in discussing these measures.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member is now going beyond the question.

Mr WEST:

– I should like to remind honorable members that in the Imperial Parliament the Minister in charge, in bringing under the notice of the House of Commons a question of such magnitude as the naval expenditure of the Empire, did not occupy more than an hour and five minutes in explaining the Government proposals. And Mr. Lloyd-George made his Budget speech, in which reference was made to the Government proposals for insurance, and other matters of vital importance to the people of the United Kingdom, in an hour and thirty minutes. The time is coming when members of this House should marshal their facts, and when speaking avoid the introduction of extraneous matter which has no earthly connexion with the question before the House. It is hard upon honorable members who wish to carry on the business of the country expeditiously to have to sit here and listen to speakers who do not confine themselves to the subject-matter of the measure before the House as they might do without any necessity for the extension of the time .limit. Every representative of the people in this House is entitled to discuss these measures, but it should not be difficult for honorable members to say what they wish to say in connexion with them> within the time prescribed by the Standing Orders if they will only marshal their facts, and not introduce a lot of irrelevant matter, a practice which ‘ only makes honorable members ridiculous in the eyes of the people.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I join with other honorable members in urging upon the Prime Minister the desirability of asking the House to consent to the suspension of the time limit to speeches, so far as the debate on the second reading of the first of these Bills is concerned. Honorable members on this side are earnest in their desire to get through the work as expeditiously as possible, consistently with efficiency. We are as earnest in our desire to bring the session to an early close, consistently with doing, justice to the important matters which haveyet to be discussed. I believe that if the time limit is not insisted upon in the discussion of the first of these Bills a great deal of time will ultimately be saved. This is the most important business we have had to deal with this session. It is the question of all questions which the people of the Commonwealth are waiting for. I protest as strongly as I know how against any curtailment of absolute freedom of speech in dealing thoroughly with the question involved in these Bills. I imagine that the majority of honorable members in discussing the second reading of the first of these measures,, should the proposal be accepted, will not exceed the time limit of an hour and five minutes ; but there are some honorable members whowill require to exceed that limit considerably, and we should be acting against the best interests of the country if we sought, in any way to curtail freedom of speech in discussing these measures. 1 It is highly necessary in the interests of the people that a full opportunity should be afforded for the expression of all the facts and arguments for and against the great principles involved in these Bills. If there is to be a limit of speech in dealing withthese measures, it must apply all round.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– It is going to.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– There must be no exception in the case of the Attorney-General or the Leader of the Opposition. I wish to remind the Prime Minister that under the standing order applying the time limit it would not be competent to extend the time, for the AttorneyGeneral on one side or the Leader of the Opposition on the other, if a singlehonorable member on either side ^objected.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The honorable member need not worry ; we will stick tothe standing order.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member should not now discuss the standing order referred to.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– If I wasnot in order in doing so I shall not transgress further, but I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the point to which I have directed his attention, he will now reconsider the whole matter in the interests of real expedition, and will ask honorable members to agree not to apply the time limit to the debate on the second reading of the first of these Bills.

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– I do not at all regret the debate which has taken place. I thought there would be no opposition at’ all to the proposal that the second reading of these Bills should ‘be made an order of the day for a later hour so that the general principles might be discussed on the first Bill. The debate has shown that the idea is a correct one. The only new feature that has arisen is the question whether we should have one debate on the whole of the Bills in dealing with the first of them and no second-reading debate on the others. If that course were to be followed, it would be necessary to suspend the standing order imposing a.time limit upon speeches in the case of the debate on the first measure. Am I to understand that that is the desire of honorable members opposite?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– No, it is not. We stand by our rights. All we want is the same right all round.

Mr Riley:

– Then we shall adhere to the Standing. Orders.

Mr FISHER:

– If honorable members will permit me to say so, it will not promote the business of Parliament or the interests of the people if in all cases they insist upon standing on their rights. Even you, sir, though you possessed the greatest talent, would be unable to make the business of Parliament run smoothly if you insisted at all times upon a strict observance of the Standing Orders. My suggestion is that honorable members should allow the Bills to come on and be discussed-

Mr Groom:

– And each honorable member to be allowed unlimited time for their discussion.

Mr FISHER:

– The honorable gentleman should have allowed me to complete my sentence. Why should not honorable members allow the Attorney-General to open up the debate on all these Bills? There would then be a day intervening during which we should be able to consult with members of the Opposition as regards terms.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The honorable gentleman cannot do that. There is nothing fair about that.

Mr FISHER:

– I am sure that the House will consent to give unlimited time to the Leader of the Opposition, and the Government will ask nothing for themselves that they are not prepared to give to the Opposition.

Mr Mathews:

– The honorable gentleman cannot bind the Opposition.

Mr FISHER:

– I say that the Government will not ask anything for themselves which they are not prepared to concede to the Opposition. The Government have to make the attack in connexion with this matter - they have to prove their case. The Opposition, on the other hand, will probably defend the position which obtains at present.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Will the Government consent to allow honorable members the same time in Committee as the AttorneyGeneral occupies ?

Mr FISHER:

– If effect were given to the original suggestion, I would even go so far as that.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– And give us unlimited time in Committee?

Mr FISHER:

– Honorable members have unlimited time in Committee now. It is only necessary to move for the insertion of a word here or there-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member must not discuss that question.

Mr FISHER:

– Unless the matter is going to be approached from a very much higher plane, it will be very difficult to proceed with business at all. The AttorneyGeneral, for obvious reasons, is not present this morning. He wishes to be allowed to open up the whole case, and I believe that that is the general desire of honorable members.

Mr SPEAKER:

– In putting the motion, I wish honorable members clearly to understand that the debate which has taken place this morning must not be regarded as a precedent. With the consent of .the House, I permitted that discussion, .but, strictly speaking, it was not in order. I may add that the idea has been expressed that if honorable members desired to discuss some Bills, other than that immediately under consideration, that could not be done unless they appeared upon to-day’s business-paper. I wish to point out that it could be done.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I take it that no reference to these Bills, save of an incidental character, will be permissible, except by leave of the House?

Mr SPEAKER:

– That is a question upon which I shall be prepared to rule when the proper time arrives.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill presented, and (on motion by Mr. Fisher) read a first time.

page 5405

BEER EXCISE BILL

Motion (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an

Act to amend the Beer Excise Act 1901.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

page 5405

QUESTION

ESTIMATES

In Committee (Consideration resumed from 12th November, vide page 5346) :

External Affairs

Division 31 (Administrative), £14,975

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

. -Iwish to make a few remarks concerning the attitude of the Government towards the question of immigration. Here again we cannot fail to remark what happens in Committee. We find that, whilst honorable members are tied down in their speeches to a limit of half-an-hour, the Minister is at liberty to occupy as many hours as he chooses. I am glad to see that the honorable gentleman is taking an active interest in advertising the resources of the Commonwealth in London. But I cannot speak too strongly about the condition of affairs which was revealed by the honorable member for Echuca last night. Government money is being used for the purpose of circulating statements which are a disgrace to the people making them, traducing the public men of this Commonwealth, and broadcasting libellous statements over the length and breadth of the world. This is a new departure in connexion with the government of Australia. I have never before known a Government to descend to party tactics of that sort. It has been left to the present Ministry to use public funds for the purpose of circulating, throughout other parts of the world, statements of a purely personal and derogatory character concerning the public men of Australia. I think that the honorable member for Echuca, who dug out these facts and published them in Hansard, rendered the community a service by showing the way in which the Government are misusing public funds. It is beyond a joke when we pay money to send such statements across the seas under the specious plea of advertising Australian resources. The statement concerning the Leader of the Opposition will for ever stand as a disgrace to the present Government. We may leave the poet McDougall, “ in his fine frenzy rolling,” severely alone. The matter for which he is responsible is impersonal, even if it is silly and untrue. But when it comes to circulating, across the seas, personal attacks on political opponents at the public expense, it is time to draw the line. Moreover, there is this aspect of the matter : that this thing has been going on out of sight - underground, so to speak. It is only now that we hear of it - a long while after it has taken place.

I submit that there ought to be a little more publicity given to the doings of the Department of External Affairs than is given to them. When these things have been done, we ought to be taken into the confidence of the Government. That is to say, information which has been paid for by public money has as much right to be laid on the table of the House as have documents concerning other public transactions which our statutes require shall be duly tabled. But this kind of thing goes on, and we know nothing of it until it comes to light accidentally. I protest against the precedent which has been established by the Government of spending the taxpayers’ money to circulate, overseas, where littleis known of what is going on here, scurrilous, personal attacks on political opponents.

It is a pleasure to turn from this kind of thing to some other publications which the Minister of External Affairs is circulating in other countries ‘ for the purpose of attracting immigrants to our shores. Nothing can be more urgent, imperative, and serious in its import to the future of Australia than the peopling of this continent. Every public writer, every judge of political affairs, every traveller, observes this anomaly, that we have an immense territory with only a sparse population crowded on the coast-line, immense vacant areas lying behind, and the vulnerable points undefended and without defenders. But I see no prospect of anything being done to alter this state of affairs. This Government has had control of the Northern Territory for two years, but has done nothing to induce population to go there, or to prepare the way for settlement. The place has been filled with highly-paid officials. That is the only result of its expenditure up to date. It is time that a statement was made by the Minister of External Affairs as to the steps to be taken to increase the population of the Territory, and to develop its resources. There are all sorts of anomalies in connexion with the appointments which have been made to the Commonwealth Public Service there. The man who is doing important work, and possesses the necessary training and qualifications, gets a lower salary than the man who happens to be a particular friend of Ministers. That is the rule of the appointments there.

Mr Thomas:

– What about Professor Gilruth and Mr. Bevan?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Contrast Mr. Francis and Mr. Ryland, who are getting £650 and .£800 respectively. I like my honorable friend’s mock indignation when any one presumes to criticise his actions.

All that is needed to secure immigration is the placing of funds at the disposal of our officers, but the Minister has told us plainly that he has turned down the recommendations of our responsible representative overseas. He will not find the money for an efficient and adequate scheme for peopling Australia, though it passes my comprehension why he should not do this. Ministers say that they are in favour of immigration, and are publishing broadcast in the Old Land statements to the effect that millions of acres of land are to be obtained in Australia for next to nothing, yet they will not move a hand to bring population here. The States have taken action on their own account, and it is a thousand pities that the Commonwealth is not heading and leading the scheme.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– We cannot control land settlement.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– When the States asked us a little while ago to find money to bring population to Australia, they undertook to look after the immigrants on arrival, arid to provide land for them.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– No, they did not. The Prime Minister asked that he should be allowed a voice in the selection, and that was refused.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– It was suggested that the Commonwealth should provide ,£150,000 a year for the payment of passage money. That is all we can do, apart from the States, because the control of the lands is in the hands of the States.

Mr Fenton:

– The immigrants who come here are not settling on the land ; they are crowding into the cities.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Are they? This Government put this . statement into the Governor- General’s Speech delivered at the opening of the present session -

Although there has been a very marked increase in the volume of over-sea immigration, to which the Land Tax and general policy of my Advisers has largely contributed, we are unable to regard the rate of natural increase of population in the Commonwealth with other than the deepest concern.

Yet the Minister of External Affairs has turned down the practical proposal of the High Commissioner and the practical proposal of the Governments of the States. He is telling people at the other end of the world that we have land on which they can settle, but that is all that he will do.

Mr Thomas:

– A fair thing.

Mr Anstey:

– I wish that the honorable member would not shout so much.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I can appreciate the attitude of the honorable member for Bourke. He does not believe in immigration. But while he is saying that these hypocritical Ministers here are spending the public money in telling people in the Old Country that they ought to come here where there is an abundance of land available, while the Caucus says, on the other hand, that people are crowding into the cities, and must not be allowed to come here.

Mr Fenton:

– That is what the Government of Victoria are doing.

Mr Brennan:

– We are trying to draw settlers to the Northern Territory, anc? these people are crowding them into the cities

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– How hard are my honorable friends trying to get immigrants to the Northern Territory? They have been in charge of that country for two and a half years.

Mr Brennan:

– We are offering therm good land for nothing.

Mr Thomas:

– Why say two and a half years? The honorable member might as well stick to the facts.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– In January next it will be two years.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Then I am wrong to that extent. We have had twosets of Estimates for the Northern Territory, and this is, I think, the third set. It seems to me that we shall have a few more sets if the present Government remain in office, before any people go to the Northern’ Territory, as immigrants. In the meantime I shall call attention to some statements which the Minister of External Affairs is circulating in the Old Country. It furnishes a fine commentary on the statements made by the poet McDougall andothers on the platform when they are out on the propaganda.

Here is what they say officially -

There is no land famine in Western Australia. People do not go to the West to seek land; they go to get it. And they remain. Think of it ! Western Australia is 624,588,800 acres, of which the total area alienated or in process of alienation is only 20,000,000. In the agricultural division of the State there are 70,000,000 acres, with a rainfall of from 10 to 50 inches.

Forty million acres are adapted for wheat and sheep, and 20,000,000 acres for dairying, fruit-growing, and intense culture. This is. the point : The land is good and cheap ; there’s plenty of it left, and the rainfall is regular.

The article is headed, “ A Gargantuan Repast for the Land Hungry.”

Mr Thomas:

– In what newspaper does It appear?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– In Australia

To-Day, which, I understand, the Minister sends Home.

Mr Thomas:

– Have you any objection ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– No, and I congratulate the Minister upon spending money in that way.

Mr Thomas:

– Who wrote the article?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am only pointing out how this article gives the lie to their propaganda on the platform.

Mr Thomas:

– Who wrote the article?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I do not know. I am not concerned as to who wrote the article. But the honorable gentleman ought, to know the name of the writer, since he subsidizes the newspaper. He ought to have known, too, who made the slanderous references to the Leader of the Opposition, which he sent across the seas with public money.

Mr Thomas:

– That I sent across the seas?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Of course . It is the Minister’s Department that I am speaking of. Is he responsible for its administration ?

Mr Thomas:

– Was it sent before I went to the Department, or since then ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I think it must have been sent before the honorable member went there.

Mr Thomas:

– Oh ! you think so.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– What of that?

Mr McWilliams:

– It is the same Government.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Yes. The quotation continues -

The vacant fertile spaces must be settled. The most liberal land conditions in the world enable that; a steady and profitable local market for agricultural produce invites to the task ; and the State’s geographical advantages and adjacency to the markets of Europe, South Africa, and the Orient enhance the opportunity.

Money is no object. If the settler is not a capitalist, the Agricultural Bank will oblige with loans of from £25 to £2,000. He can purchase freehold land on twenty years’ terms, or take a ninety-nine years’ lease.

No trouble about getting there. The hand of welcome to the eligible settler is outstretched across the seas. There is a standing invitation to capital, energy, and courage, and there is an assisted passage to the approved immigrant. He or she can get from London to Fremantle for as low as £6, and then by the nomination system, friends and relatives can be invited to follow almost equally as cheaply.

The proposition in a nutshell Nature provides the material - soil, sunshine, and rain; the State provides the means - railways, roads, money, expert advice, free education, storage and export facilities, religious, political, and social free-_ dom; the settler provides the motive power - ‘ energy, enterprise, and hope - and he reaps the benefits. But if he has not those three qualities, there are no benefits.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– To what State does that apply - Western Australia?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Yes. There are other publications of a similar . character which deserve to be read. Here is one, for instance. Let me put these things side by side as they ought to be put. . The poet McDougall says -

Worker, waif, and landless brother,

One of earth’s unhappy tribe.

That goes across the seas, and the trouble is that the article I am about to quote does not go with it, because, if it did, it would furnish the antidote. Here is what the present Minister is sending over the water; whether it will overtake the other I do not know -

There are no violent distinctions between classes, and wealth is evenly distributed. Life is free and easy.

Mr Thomas:

– Who wrote that? In what newspaper does it appear?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– This article appears in the Farmer and Grazier, to which the Minister has just paid£150 or £200.

Mr Anstey:

– Are you responsible for that equal distribution of wealth?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The Minister is responsible for sending this newspaper across the seas. It is a great pity that they do not send these articles over Australia, too. If we could only get these honorable gentlemen to take that course we should not have to move out of our homes in connexion with the next election.

Mr Page:

– Where is the newspaper printed ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am not sure, but I think it is printed in Sydney. The Minister, of course, can tell the honorable member if he likes. The article continues -

The people of Australia are happy, contented, and prosperous, and they live in probably the truest democracy known on earth.

These are my sentiments entirely. I think it is a grand country, and I congratulate the Minister on sending this newspaper across the seas, but I hope that be will not send any more trash.

Mr Brennan:

– You see how we put both sides of the question fairly.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

-Is that the idea ? And does that show absolute earnestness in the matter of immigration? My honorable friends opposite’ are supposed to be doing this for the purpose of inducing people to come to our shores, and now the honorable and learned member suggests that the Minister should give them what will attract them here and then something that will repel them, putting both sides of the case.

Mr Page:

– It is a good job that the honorable member and myself did not see that before we came out here; it would have settled us, all right !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– When the honorable member and I came out, we did not hear this talk about the cities, and we had to look out for ourselves.

Mr Page:

– I am not a bit sorry, either !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Nor am I ; but this sort of stuff ought not to be sent abroad.

Mr Mathews:

– It is bringing people here on false pretences.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– What is?

Mr Mathews:

– The people who come out here get deuced little of the land, and the honorable member knows it !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– All I have to say is that I do not know any place on the face of the globe where the land conditions are easier th”an in Australia.

Mr Mathews:

– Then I differ from the honorable member.

Mr Anstey:

– Does the honorable member say that wealth is equally distributed here?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The Minister does.

Mr Thomas:

– How dare the honorable member say that? I am not responsible for everything that appears in a private newspaper.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– -The Minister ought to be responsible for everything which he pays for with public money to send overseas.

Mr Thomas:

– I did not pay for that.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The Minister has paid for it.

Mr Thomas:

– I paid for the advertisement in the newspaper.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The Minister cannot get out of the difficulty in that way. He has bought, I think, 10,000 copies of this newspaper with public money in order to circulate them overseas, but now he is repudiating the statements made.

Mr Thomas:

– The honorable member said that I wrote the article, or was responsible for it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I did not say the honorable member wrote it.

Mr Thomas:

– What did the honorable member say?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– If the Minister keeps his ears open he would hear what I say.

Mr Thomas:

– What did the honorable member say?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I said that the Minister was responsible for the circulation of this newspaper overseas at public expense.

Mr Thomas:

– It would be very easy to stop the circulation of it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I do not desire that the circulation ehould be stopped.

Mr Mathews:

– It ought to be stopped ; it is a waste of money, and leads people astray. The vote ought to be reduced considerably.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– In the same publication there are several articles relating to what is called share farming; and people are invited by the Minister to come out and engage in it. We are told in the newspaper that share farming is “a magnificent stepping stone” - that to the farm labourer it opens a way, and “ perhaps the only way “ for him to become something more than a farm labourer, and “ to be put well on the road of himself becoming a landlord.” I quite agree with those statements, but I am not sure that the Minister, holding -the opinions that he does, is quite the person to invite people to come here in order to become landlords when they have gone through a preliminary process of share farming. There are two or three articles on this subject, and it is quite evident that the Government are entirely in favour of the principle of share farming.

Then I observe that there has been issued another edition, I take it, of a book that was published about two years ago by a previous Minister of External Affairs, the late Mr. Batchelor. The book may have been revised, though, so far as I can see, it has not been altered in any way ; and the first point to observe is that here again people are invited to come to Australia and enter into share dairy farming-

Mr Mathews:

– It is a delusion, and a snare !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Share wheat farming is also spoken of, and forms the basis of another article j indeed, there are quite a number of articles of the same kind in the book. The question I am concerned about is whether this is a landless country, so far as the settler or the poor man is concerned. We all know how fierce the propaganda of honorable members opposite was when they described the people of this country as being in the ‘grip of the land monopolists - as not being able to get land on which to settle on easy terms. That is what they said on the platform, but the book represents what they circulate in the Old Country when in office. The author commences with New South Wales, and the lands there being opened up for settlement. He tells us that on the tablelands, which occupy nearly 26,000,000 acres in the eastern division, over 5,000,000 acres still remain in the possession of the Crown.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bamford:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr POYNTON:
Grey

.- I should like to know what has been done in the direction of an arrangement with the South Australian Government as to the charge for the handling of material at Port Augusta wharf. Negotiations in this connexion have been going on for some time in reference to the handling of material for the transcontinental railway, and I understand that while 9d. per ton is charged to the general public for the shunting of wheat, and so forth, the Commonwealth are being asked to pay is. 9d. per ton. Then, as to the use of South Australian trucks by the Commonwealth Government, which may be necessary in view of the difficulty as to the gauge, what arrangement has been made as to the charges? The Victorian Government, in the case of 10-ton to 15-ton trucks, which they may have occasion to use, pay the South Australian Government 3s. per day, but the Railways Commissioners of South Australia are asking the Commonwealth Government to pay no less than 12s. a day for 5-ton to 8-ton trucks. Information would also be welcomed as to the outcome of the interview with Mr. Francis, the officer who represents the South Australian Railways Commissioners in the Northern Territory; Has it been decided to resume control of the Port Augusta to Oodnadatta railway ? The latest information I have from the press is that no agreement can be arrived at with the South Australian Government; and this means, as the only alternative, that the Commonwealth Government will have to give twelve months’ notice of their intention to resume.

Mr Thomas:

– We intend to give the necessary notice, but that cannot be done until the 1st January.

Mr POYNTON:

– That will, of course, get over the difficulty. In the meantime, however, the high charges will continue at the Port Augusta wharf ; and, under all the circumstances, it occurs to me that there ought to be some policy declared in connexion with our railway management. The Government have entered on a railway policy, and have constituted a Department called the Construction Branch. At present we have a sort of divided control. For instance, the survey of the through line to Western Australia was undertaken by the Department, under the control of Mr. Deane. At the same time, the proposed surveys for railway construction in the Northern Territory will be under a different Department altogether. Surely that is not an economic method of carrying out public works. The time has arrived when we ought to have a Commonwealth Railway Department, which should be in a position to carry out such undertakings. Is it, for instance, intended that all the plans and drawings for the Northern Territory surveys should be carried out in Melbourne? If so, the system of divided control will not only lead to expense, but also to confusion and discontent. The old saying about “ too many cooks “ will be in evidence. Some time ago I made the suggestion that, as the Commonwealth requires a number of horses for military purposes, we should establish a horse-breeding establishment in the Northern Territory. An arrangement might be made between the Department of Defence, the Post and Telegraph Department, and the Department of

External Affairs for regulating a horsebreeding establishment there. Horses are required, not only for Defence purposes, but also by the Post and Telegraph Department in the different States. This would be a very useful way of utilizing a large portion of the Territory, because, whatever may be said against it in some respects, there is general agreement that in the vicinity of the Macdonnell Ranges we have some of the finest horse-breeding country in Australia. The horses sent from there top the market, and a large number of Indian buyers eagerly purchase them. I venture to say that we should do more good in the matter of developing the Northern Territory by adopting that suggestion than by publishing bushels of advertisements in the United Kingdom. The Northern Territory is not going to be developed by immigrants. It will be developed by the sons of pioneers from other parts of Australia. In parts of the country, where subdivision is going on, and there is a tendency to limited sheep-breeding, young men with. Australian experience will be forced into the northern areas, where there is ample scope and the prospects are good. I have all along urged that one of the most important factors in developing the Northern Territory will be a good railway policy. We may spend £20,000 a year, or even £100,000, in advertising, but we shall do very little in the matter of development without railway construction. There is room for many railways in the Territory, and when they are constructed people will go there. Development will follow.

Mr Sampson:

– How is it that the part of the Territory already supplied with railways is not developed?

Mr POYNTON:

– The honorable member is thinking of the tropical portion of the Territory. I hold the opinion that we are making a mistake in trying to develop the Northern Territory from the tropical end.

Mr Page:

– What about the line to Oodnadatta ?

Mr POYNTON:

– That is in South Australia, and does not go within nearly 200 miles of the Northern Territory. I am not questioning the quality of the land at the tropical end of the Territory, but tropical production is a problem that we have not yet solved. Development there must necessarily be slower than where the climatic conditions approximate to those to which settlers have been accustomed in other States.

Mr Sampson:

– Does the honorable member contemplate closer settlement and cultivation in the interior of the Northern Territory ?

Mr POYNTON:

– Yes I do. Of course, if the honorable member means by closer settlement small areas and intense culture, I do not contemplate that anything of the kind will happen in the Northern Territory at present. But there is certainly room for the cultivation of cereals and for mixed farming, sheep and cereals, in the MacDonnell ranges and beyond.

Mr Sampson:

– What is the rainfall?

Mr POYNTON:

– The rainfall is from 14 to 25 inches.

Mr Sampson:

– The statistics do not show that.

Mr POYNTON:

– There has been some talk of a survey. I hold in my hand a report with plans of surveys of a number of routes, marked A, B, C, D, and E, in the Northern Territory, north of Oodnadatta. ‘ The work was done by one of the most capable officers we have in South Australia, Mr. Graham Stewart, who gives fuller details than we have had in connexion with the survey of the route of the Western Australian railway. I propose to place before the Committee a few details as to the character of the country, and the number of points at which a permanent water supply is available. In the first 70 miles of the route of the flying survey the country traversed is similar to that from Hergott Springs to Oodnadatta. Thereafter until Laura Creek - a distance of 284 miles - is reached, the country is well grassed to a large extent, and is capable of carrying both large and small stock, whilst it is also suitable for the growth of cereals if railway communication be established. Mr. Graham Stewart’s map shows that at a distance of 23 miles from the starting point of the proposed line a two years’ water supply is available; at the 26-mile point there is a supply sufficient to last some months : at 42 miles »i permanent water hole ; at 59 miles a soakage giving a considerable volume of water ; at 82 miles waterholes containing a supply sufficient to last twelve months ; at 88 miles permanent water; and at 95 miles a six months’ supply in Blood’s Creek. At the 106 miles point Mr. Stewart found a nine months’ supply; while- at the Goyder River, 143 miles from the starting point, there is a twelve months’ supply. At 148 miles good water can be obtained in the bed of the Finke River, while at the 179 miles point there are wells on the banks of that river. The Alice Well is to be found at the 202 miles point, and the Oraminna Rock waterhole, 265 miles out, provides a constant supply. Passing through the Heavetree Gap over the Macdonnell Ranges we find the Todd River with good supplies in some of the larger waterholes. It may be explained that these watercourses during certain periods of the- year are .flooded, and that immense quantities of water pass down them. During the summer months some of the waterholes dry up, while in others there remains a supply sufficient to last from six to twelve months. In the beds of “these streams good water can be obtained in almost every case. I cite these facts in order to show the Committee the facility with which water can be obtained along the route as compared with the route of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. At a distance of 295 miles from the starting point the Duck Ponds and Allan’s Waterhole are tq be found, and 327 miles out Burt Creek is encountered, and provides a good supply. There would be no difficulty in obtaining supplies of water for large bodies of men along the whole route of this survey, and with the exception of sleepers everything required for the line can be obtained at convenient distances along the route. Such a railway would tap some of the best country in the Macdonnell Ranges. Mr. Allan Davidson, who was prospecting in the central region, has furnished some interesting particulars. On the Macdonnell Ranges route three belts of auriferous country are passed through, and from a mining- stand-point there are great possibilities of development. Mr. Davidson, who spent three years in the central regions, reported that there were vast fields where prospect trials had yielded from 15 dwts. to 2 ozs. per ton. On the Wide Range, which is some 7 miles long, 3 miles wide, and about half-a-mile high, there aTe at work to-day a number of’ small mining parties. We are sometimes asked why there has not been a more general development of these mining fields. One reason is that it is impossible for a miner to get an ounce of dynamite carried up there at any price. Camel teams provide the only service, and the Afghans will not carry explosives. On the top of this range a number of parties are working not high-grade stone, but stone yielding, say, an ounce to the ton.

They are to be seen breaking .it out with’ hammer and gad, and this stone is carried by the lubras to the foot of the range, where it is sent on to Arltunga. People ask why this country has not developed; but is it possible for it to be developed until the proper arid necessary plant “and material can be obtained? There is some excellent land along the route. Along the Coglan Creek there is rich pastoral land; while along the Finke River, which has a wide sandy bed, gum. trees grow luxuriantly, and a number of sleepers could be obtained there. For thirty miles, to the Goyder River, patches of exceptionally good grass land are to be found. Mr. H. B. Corbin, B.Sc, who was at Arltunga, has given a description of the character of the country to be found up there. He states that it is fine pasture land, and should be suitable for the growth of cereals. The soil is there, the climate is there, and the annual rainfall rapidly increases from ii inches at Alice Springs up to 25 inches per annum’. I have here a report showing that -

From the Macdonnell Ranges the’ route leads over easy country for railway construction, nearly level, with no great watercourses to cross. . . . The country passed over for the 170 miles from Alice Springs is all fitted for pastoral purposes, with some Tolling downs of rich soil, magnificently grassed, and fit for the growth of wheat. For the most part water in abundance is to be had at shallow depths. At the foot of Central Mount Stewart flows the Hanson .’Creek, where permanent water exists a few inches under the sand, and by using plough and scoop in the bed of the creek large reservoirs can be scooped out, yielding unlimited supplies of water. Abundance of water can be had at very shallow depths in the Stirling Creek, which flows through a very rich country, producing grasses and .herbage in profusion, exceptionally good for agricultural and pastoral purposes.

He speaks in the same way of a number of other places, but I shall not detain the Committee by making further quotations. I wish to say that I have such confidence in that country that I believe there would be no difficulty in obtaining men to carry out railway construction there, and to settle the country. If the railway were constructed I believe that the chief difficulty would be to keep the Lands Department abreast of the demand for land. .1 am satisfied that the construction of the line would lead to the settlement of a very large number of people. Until we adopt this course our liabilities in connexion with the Territory, which now amount to nearly £500,000 a year, must of necessity in crease. This question must be faced no matter what Government is in power. Unless we adopt a progressive development policy we shall have done no good by taking, over the Northern Territory. In the districts to which I have referred, extending from the Macdonnell Ranges to the Barklay Tableland, and close to the border of Queensland, there is abundance of good land which may be occupied under conditions with which people now seeking for land are familiar, because the region is temperate, and possesses as good a climate as one could wish to live in. The adoption of the policy I suggest would be the best means to assist the development of the more tropical regions of the Northern Territory. No matter what Government may be in power during the next Parliament one of the first propositions submitted in this House should be the construction of a railway through the country to which I have referred. I venture to say that we would never have reason to regret the construction of such a line, and that, as the railway proceeds, population will be attracted to the Territory. In my opinion, unless this course is followed no development of any importance can be expected in the Northern Territory.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I wish to offer a few observations as to the manner in which we should deal with the Northern Territory. In the first place, I wish fo say that I am extremely disappointed that the Minister of External Affairs did not let us know what the policy of the Government is in regard to its development.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– He has what is better than a policy. He has behind him the block vote of honorable members opposite.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I was particularly disappointed last night to find so many honorable members opposite apparently approving of the Minister’s omission .to supply the House with information as to the policy of the Government in connexion with the Territory. This is quite contrary to what the House, and the people have been led to expect, and to what I know the people in South Australia in particular do expect. They have been looking for the announcement of a development policy of a comprehensive character by the Federal Minister in whose charge the Northern Territory is.

Mr Thomas:

– Naturally, in view of all they did in the last forty years.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– They have been led to expect this, especially in view of the statements made more than once by the present Minister of External Affairs, and indorsed just now by interjection, that during fifty years of their control of the Northern Territory the people of South Australia did nothing with the country. I expected that in the circumstances the Minister would have taken advantage of the opportunity to show that he possesses some of the qualifications of a statesman. No position under the Federal Government today offers greater opportunities for the demonstration of statesmanship of the highest order than does that of the Minister of External Affairs. When the Territory was under the control of South Australia it was so far separated from the Seat of Government, and members of the State Parliament bad so few opportunities to get a grip of matters pertaining to the settlement of the country, that the Minister controlling its affairs in submitting the estimates for the Territory each year always made a statement reviewing everything that had been done in the Territory during the previous twelve months.

Mr Thomas:

– That would not take long.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– It rarely took less than an hour and a half, and let me say that it would tax the genius of the present Minister of External Affairs to submit, in an hour and a half, the comprehensive statement which we ought to have of what the Government are doing, and propose to do, in the Northern Territory.

Mr Thomas:

– I thought the honorable member said that it took a Minister in the South Australian Parliament that time to say what the Government had done, and not what they proposed to do.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– The honorable gentleman has not devoted even five minutes to telling this House what the Federal Government propose to do. The South Australian Minister controlling the affairs of the Northern Territory, in submitting the Estimates for the Territory each year, gave the members of the South Australian Parliament the minutest details as to every item of expenditure, and also a statement of what he proposed to do during the ensuing twelve months in connexion with public expenditure and to encourage the establishment of new enterprises in the Territory.

Mr Thomas:

– Did he do that every year for forty years?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– That was cone every year without exception. The Territory has now been under the control of the Commonwealth for two years, and, in view of our larger powers, great facilities, and resources, the Government should give the people some idea as to what is their policy for the settlement and development of the Territory. The expenditure upon it is growing, and is now more than £250,000 annually. We have an army of officers there, who have been recently appointed.

Mr Thomas:

– What does the honorable member mean by saying that the expenditure is now £250,000?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I am speaking of the entire vote required for the Territory.

Mr Thomas:

– Does not that cover the payment of interest on Northern Territory loans ?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I am aware that it does. It would be to the credit of the Minister of External Affairs if he made a statement for the information of the people as to how much of the vote represents interest on the debts of the Territory existing when it was transferred to the Commonwealth, and how much represents liabilities due to new enterprises initiated by the Federal Government subsequent to the transfer of the Territory. I do not intend to say very much about the appointments which have been made in the Territory. I have previously spoken very strongly upon them. But if the Minister and the Government had set to work with a determination to get in the men whom they have appointed to the principal positions there with as little real practical experience and local knowledge as possible, they could not have exceeded better than they have done. What I say is indisputable.

Mr Thomas:

– Has the honorable member ever been to Port Darwin?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I have not, but I know people who. are resident there. I get letters from them, and I know exactly what they think of the way in which the “Minister is handling the affairs of Port Darwin and of the Northern Territory generally. The general consensus of opinion there is that the Government have studiously avoided availing themselves of the services of men of experience.

Mr Thomas:

– Tell me their names.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– That is the opinion of nearly everybody in the Territory. If the Minister wishes me to enter into details, I can do so in respect of every man who lias been appointed. The Minister has not made more than three good appointments so far as real experience is concerned.

Mr Thomas:

– Give me the names of the men in the Territory whom I could have appointed.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I am not going to supply the names of individuals in a small community like the Northern Territory, for very obvious reasons. But I can supply the Minister with what is very much more effective from my point of view, namely, a statement concerning the officers whom he has appointed, and the recommendations which have been submitted to the Government by those officers.

Mr Thomas:

– The honorable member cannot find any fault with Mr. Day?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– He is about the only practical man whom the Minister has there.

Mr West:

– That is pretty rough on Mr. Francis.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– He is in another Department. He is in the Railway Department, and is an experienced and competent man in every respect.

Mr JOSEPH Cook:

– If he is a thoroughly competent man he ought to be receiving a lot more money.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– He is receiving a less salary than is paid to some other officers who have not any experience to fit them for the positions to which they have been appointed.

Mr Thomas:

– Will the honorable member send me along the names of the men at Port Darwin who can help me?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I will do nothing of the kind. I will condemn the Minister on his own actions, and on the evidence which has been laid on the table of the Library. In the Minister’s own party, outside the chamber, this matter is discussed with a good deal of disgust and condemnation. If that is the principle on which the Public Service of the Northern Territory is going to be built up we shall have a Service of which we shall not be proud - a Service which will cost this country an enormous amount-

Mr Thomas:

– Does the honorable member think that Mr. Jensen is an incompetent geologist?

Mr.- RICHARD FOSTER. - I am not dealing with Mr. Jensen just now, but I do not say that he is one of the most competent men who could have been found in the whole of Australia.

Mr Thomas:

– Is there any man in Port Darwin who could have taken his place?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I am not going to be side-tracked by the Minister, as my remarks are limited to half-an-hour. But if the honorable gentleman had adopted the course which ordinary prudence suggested, he would, in filling these offices, have consulted the Governments of the States.

Mr Thomas:

Mr. Jensen was a State officer.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– The Minister should have consulted the Queensland and South Australian Governments in particular, and have asked them if they could not exhibit a little self-sacrifice by giving the Commonwealth one of the best men available in their Departments. Had that been done, we would have had in the Northern Territory officers with a lifelong experience of it, whose services had brought them in touch with every step in its development.

Mr Thomas:

– It is a pity that the honorable member did not do that when he was a Minister in the South Australian Government.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– It seems to me that in all these appointments the aim of the Minister has been to secure men who know as .little as possible about the Territory, and about the work to which they have been appointed. We have men controlling affairs there who are dependent upon their subordinates to learn the first principles of the business which they have to take in hand.

Mr Thomas:

– Who says so?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I say so,

Mr Thomas:

– But the honorable member has not been there.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– The people of Australia know it, too.

Mr West:

– Does the honorable mem”ber object to Mr. Bevan?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– I am speaking of the men who have to deal with the development of the land policy in the Territory. Of course, a lawyer may be placed in .almost any position. But is ,the Minister making the best use of the officers he has got ? What have they done since they have been in the Territory?

They have taken one trip, and may have made more, but I am entirely ignorant of what has happened there, and so are other honorable members. We should not be ignorant. We should be informed from time to time of what happens in the Territory. In considering the estimates of expenditure for the current year, we should have before us information regarding everything that has been, done by the Government in the Territory since it took it over,, and should be told what are the proposals for the future. I gather from the press that the Administrator and Director of Lands have been away in the country foi some weeks, and have recently returned to Palmerston, and I imagine that the Minister has received a progress report giving, their impressions of what they have seen.. That should be submitted to the Committee. The wet season has now set in at Palmerston, and for several months travel and inspection in the tropical regions of the Territory will be impossible. I hope,, however, that these officers will not be allowed to remain idle at Palmerston, but that they will be transferred to the southern, regions of the Territory, where the rainyseason will not prevent travelling, so that we may get’ their opinion regarding the character of the country round about the Macdonnell Ranges.

Mr Fowler:

– The inspection of that country is badly needed.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– Yes. In beginning with the development of the Northern Territory within the tropics, the Government tackled a problem which needs the fullest experience and the best judgment for successful handling. Ministers have begun their work in the most difficult manner, and cannot hope for results for many a day to come. Had they begun at the southern end, the work would be simplicity itself. But experiments in tropical agriculture cannot demonstrate the commercial success of undertakings in a year or so. It will take many years,, and require much expense, to determine whether certain ventures will be profitable in the Northern Territory. At the present time the Government is applying toomuch Socialism in these experiments. Had they begun at’ the southern end things would have been much easier. The Commonwealth has acquired some hundreds of miles of railway beyond which are 200 or 300 miles of country such as any nation would desire to possess. Over an area of 22, 000,000 or 24,000,000 acres there is an assured rainfall ranging from io£ to 22 inches. With proper development that country would give returns compensating for the outlay, which is growing rapidly. Let the officers of the Northern Territory, who cannot do much, if anything, in the tropical regions during the rainy reason, inspect the southern regions, and tell us how t their observations compare with the records of the South Australian Survey Department, which, if not in the possession of the Commonwealth, can be easily obtained. The development of the southern portion of the Northern Territory will convince honorable members that the Territory is a greater prize than many of them imagine. You have said, Mr. Chairman, that the Territory is going to be populated by i the sons of Australians. I do not think that the Northern regions will be so populated. Our own people are doing too well in the temperate parts of the Commonwealth to be attracted to the tropical regions to. seek their fortunes. To populate the tropical regions you must go to the Old World, where the workers are not so well off as our people are. If you offer them- proper inducements and encourageanent they will turn these waste areas into (profitable- fields.

Mr. Atkinson. Under the leasehold system ?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– If I had any way I would give them freeholds, and consent to almost any conditions that would Head to settlement and development.

Mr Thomas:

– South Australia offered freehold tenure, but population did not go 4o the Northern Territory.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– The people of South Australia are too well off in their own State to go to the Northern Territory, and so are the people of Victoria.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– We have to administer the biggest unpeopled area belonging to any nation on earth; and, on the highest moral ground, we have sio right to continue ownership unless we justify that- ownership by occupation and use. Of the men now representing the Government in important positions in the Territory, not one has had any previous experience of the country, and I desire to know whether these men are to be forced to Hearn everything from the beginning, or whether the Minister proposes to obtain all the information possible from South Australia, whose officers had control of the Territory for about fifty years.

Mr Thomas:

– What did South Australia do with the Territory when she had it?

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– SouthAustralia did not do a great deal in the way of development, but if the Minister does no more than he promises: to do now, he will do much less than the State did, with the exception of spending infinitely more money. In dealing with the Territory, we have to take into consideration pastoral, agricultural, and tropical production, and mining development; and in regard to those the officers have yet all their experience to gain. I believe that it is the intention of the Government to appoint an outside Royal Commission of three experts or more, to advise as to the course the proposed railway shall take, and I suggest that the Government should go further, and appoint a Royal Commission on a much broader basis to advise, not only as to railways, but as to pastoral and agricultural occupation, tropical production, and mining, in regard to which a great deal of data is already in existence. As to mining, there is a report prepared by the Reverend Tennison Woods, an eminent geologist, in 1886. That gentleman had a great idea of the Territory from a mineral point of view, and his report would be of- great use. Then, again, the South Australian Government had in their service one of the most reliable geologists in the person of Mr. H. Y. L. Brown; but, unfortunately, that gentleman, being a man of independent means, has retired at a comparatively early time in life, However, I am sure that the advice and services of Mr. Brown would be made available.. As to the pastoral, agricultural, and tropical production, much assistance could be got from a Royal Commission consisting of Mr. Brown, the SurveyorGeneral, or the next most efficient officer, and another expert on tropical production. A Royal Commission of this kind could make a personal inspection of certain parts of the country, and any recommendations they might offer would be of infinite service, not only to the Government, but to the Government’s representatives in the Territory. At present the Government and Parliament know practically nothing about this enormous new country.

Mr Thomas:

– That does not apply to the honorable member, who comes from South Australia.

Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925

– It applies to me so far as personal knowledge of the country is concerned. The only advantage I have is the knowledge I have gained through the Parliament of South Australia, and that is only an index to the larger knowledge possessed by the State Government. Of that knowledge the Minister of External Affairs ought to avail himself. Then, again, we ought to have further information about the experimental work at the demonstration farm. We do not know whether we are proceeding on proper lines, and, as regards tropical agriculture, it will require two or three years to prove certain possibilities. If we are proceeding on the wrong lines, of course the demonstration will be valueless. There has already been a labour trouble in the Territory, and, without discussing the question of day labour versus contract labour, I suggest that the Minister, in this new country, should, as far as possible, adopt the contract principle, and that, in manual labour, piece-work should be adopted, so that a man may be enabled to make even £2 a day so long’ as he gives value for the money.

Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera

.- We are entitled to know, after two years of government of the Northern Territory

Mr Thomas:

– One year and ten months.

Mr SAMPSON:

– It is not worth splitting straws over. We are entitled to have from the Government an outline of their general scheme of development, showing how far the expenditure and administration are to be accompanied by efforts to attract people to the Territory. I notice from the Estimates that something like £80,000 is set down for administrative expenses, but, so far as I can see, only £[20,000 or £30,000 is to be expended on what may be termed real developmental work. If we flood the country with public servants, without a proper scheme of production being laid down, we shall simply increase the deficit which the Territory in the past has cast upon the shoulders of the people annually. An Ordinance Kas been laid on the table which is supposed to contain a land settlement scheme. This House will have to accept or reject the whole of that Ordinance, because it is not possible for us to take it clause by clause and shape it in the way we think best for the Territory. In this Ordinance it is proposed to deal with more land than has been dealt with, I suppose, by any single Act of Parliament passed in Australia hitherto. In the Northern Territory there is an enormous area of 520,000 square miles, and it is proposed to deal with that area in an Ordinance which has the force of an Act, but with which this House is not permitted to deal in detail.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I do not think the honorable member ought to discuss the Ordinance now.

Mr SAMPSON:

– I take it that, up to the present, the Ordinance is merely a paper laid on the table, and that it is not open to discussion until a motion is submitted that it be disallowed.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member knows that he will have another opportunity to discuss the Ordinance.

Mr SAMPSON:

– But no motion to disallow the Ordinance has yet been tabled.

Mr Thomas:

– That shows the House is satisfied with it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member must not discuss the Ordinance in detail.

Mr SAMPSON:

– Until a motion to disagree with the Ordinance is submitted, the Ordinance simply lies on the table as a parliamentary paper.

Mr Page:

– The honorable member cannot discuss it ad. lib. all the time.

Mr SAMPSON:

– Why not?

The CHAIRMAN:

– Any member has the right to disagree with the Ordinance if he wishes.

Mr SAMPSON:

– There is as yet no motion to disagree with the Ordinance.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member can submit a motion if he wishes.

Mr SAMPSON:

– The original notice of motion in connexion with the previous Ordinance has been discharged from the notice-paper, thus leaving the whole question an open one until a definite motion is tabled in regard to the new Ordinance, which will then become part of the business for discussion as a separate question.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I am not going to allow a general discussion on the Ordinance. If honorable members would not have another opportunity of discussing it there might be something to be said for the attitude of the honorable member. With’ the exception of a general reference I shall allow no discussion of the Ordinance.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I submit that we have a right to be heard fully on the Ordinance. The Northern Territory, under existing law, is administered in the same way as a Crown colony under the Imperial Government ; and its legislation and its administration are Executive acts. The Northern Territory Administration Act provides that until the Parliament makes other provisions for the government of the Territory, the Governor-General in Council may make Ordinances that shall have the force of law. It is true that we have power to set aside any Ordinance by resolution of the House, but such a resolution may or may not be moved. Meantime, an Ordinance of this kind is an ordinary administrative act of the Government . I understand that the honorable member does not desire to deal in detail with it, but I shall claim the right to do so. The Government might to-morrow, or when Parliament is not sitting, alter the Ordinance or take any other administrative action. That being so, if your ruling is to be upheld, how are we to discuss a matter of this kind? This Ordinance stands in exactly, the same position as does any departmental regulation made by any Minister, and it would be going a very long way indeed to say that the Committee is not on these Estimates to have the opportunity to discuss it, in detail or not in detail, in common with any other administrative act on the part of the Ministry. The right to discuss the administrative acts of the Minister does not rest on the ground that there may be no other opportunity to discuss them.. As I understand it, the right to discuss all matters of administration rests upon the fact that the House, adopting the traditions of the House of Commons, has always claimed the right to criticise every Government act when asked to vote moneys. If honorable members opposite allow this opportunity to slip away the result will affect them as much as it will affect us. Under the Northern Territory Administration Act the right of the Governor-,General in Council to make Ordinances regulating the conduct of matters in the Northern Territory stands exactly on the same footing as does the right of the Minister to make any departmental regulation, and you, sir, would be making a deep cut into what has always been recognised as the privilege of the House in dealing with the Estimates to say that we are not to discuss this Ordinance, because there may be another opportunity to deal with it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I think that the honorable member is forgetting that the motion on the notice-paper relating to the Ordinance in question was discharged last night, and that there is now no reference on the notice-paper to any Ordinance. I think that the honorable member will admit that there can be no discussion of an Ordinance which is not in existence. The honorable member may discuss the land policy of the Government in relation to the Northern Territory, but he cannot discuss any particular Ordinance.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Ordinance, I understand, was framed the other day, was laid on the table of the House, has been published in the Govermnent Gazette, and is at present in- force in the Territory. The mere fact that there is no reference to it on the notice-paper does not deprive us of the right to deal with it just as we may deal with any other administrative act to which there is no reference on the notice-paper.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The honorable member has only to let the Ordinance alone and discuss the facts in relation to the land policy.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– No; I claim the right to discuss the Ordinance as an administrative act.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I submit that anything that has to do with the determination of a land policy for the Northern Territory is open for discussion on these Estimates. The Minister of External Affairs is really the Minister of Lands for the Northern Territory, and therefore all acts of administration in regard to the lands of the Northern Territory are open to review at this stage. When we discussed the Land Ordinance on a previous occasion the point was raised that the land policy of the Territory should be dealt with, not by an Ordinance, but by means of an ordinary Land Bill. Surely these matters of policy are open to discussion. If not, we may not discuss the lands administration of the Territory. We have on these Estimates items in respect of surveyors, the salary of the Administrator of Lands in the Northern Territory, and proposals for investigating the country. All these are parallel to the issue of an Ordinance determining the terms of land settlement. I submit that every detail of administration, whether by Ordinance, Bill, or Executive act, may be discussed.

Mr McWilliams:

– This is the only opportunity we shall have to discuss the land policy for the Northern Territory. You, Mr. Chairman, have said that any honorable member may take action by notice of motion, but the Government have deprived honorable members of the only opportunity they had to bring forward a motion, and to have it dealt with. That being so, if you adhere to your ruling, the only way in which we could secure the discussion of the Ordinance would be by moving what would be practically a motion of censure. There is now no other opportunity to discuss the Ordinance except as an act of generosity on the part of the Government.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Exactly. It depends on the indulgence of the Government.

Mr McWilliams:

– Quite so. We ought not to have to ask the indulgence of the Government to discuss what is undoubtedly one of the most important subjects with which the Parliament has to deal - the administration of the lands of the Northern Territory. When the Minister is asking for Supply to enable him to carry out the government of the Territory, which is directly under his charge, it is opposed to all British precedent that the Committee should be deprived of the opportunity to discuss any subject covered by the Estimates. The discussion of a land policy for the Northern Territory and all administrative acts relating thereto is a matter of right rather than a privilege, and I hope that there will be no restriction of debates on these Estimates.

Mr Sampson:

– On the point of order, Mr. Chairman, I think that upon further consideration you will recognise that if the Committee abandoned its right to discuss this question at the present time, it might not have a further opportunity to deal with it. The Ordinance itself is merely a parliamentary paper, but it takes the form of a regulation having the force of law unless it be disagreed with. It would be competent for the Government to say that we should not discuss it, and it would -then have the force of law, since the consideration of a motion to disallow it must be subordinated to the consideration of Government business. We have had no intimation from the Government that the Ordinance will be submitted for consideration. I submit that we have the right to discuss such a question as it arises, and that if you deny us the right to deal with the whole question on these Estimates you will take from us one of the greatest privileges that we enjoy.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It seems to me that it is inescapable that we have the right in connexion with the Estimates now before us to discuss this Ordinance as an administrative act. The very fact that it does not appear on the notice-paper constitutes a reason why it should now be open for discussion. The only way in which it can be placed on the notice-paper is for an honorable member to give notice of motion that it be disallowed. If notice of such a motion had been given that fact might be taken to preclude our right to discuss the whole question at this stage. No such notice of motion, however, has been given. The Ordinance has been gazetted, and it is just as much an administrative act as would be the issue of a regulation. The question at issue is one as to the right of honorable members toventilate grievances on the Estimates. lit view of the arguments which have been advanced, I trust “that you, sir, will not adhere to your ruling, that we are not at liberty to discuss the question of the issue of a Land Ordinance for the Northern Territory at the present time.

The CHAIRMAN:

– When I intervened while the honorable member for Wimmera was speaking I had in my mind the fact that one Land Ordinance for the NorthernTerritory had been discharged from the business-paper, and that no new Ordinance appeared upon that paper. I have since been given to understand that the newLand Ordinance has been gazetted, so that it has the force of law. In these circumstances my ruling is that the Ordinance may be discussed.

Mr SAMPSON:

– In referring tothe Land Ordinance for the Northern Territory a few moments ago I desired to enter my protest against the Committee being treated in the way that it is being treated by the Government. It is well known that we cannot discuss the Ordinance in question clause by clause, notwithstanding that it deals with the largest area of land which has yet been dealt with by any Parliament in Australia. Of course the merits of a leasehold, as opposed to a freehold, tenure will have to be determined before we can lay down the beginning of a scheme of settlement for the Northern Territory.

Mr Thomas:

– No Government could grant a freehold tenure in the Northern

Territory until the Northern Territory ^Administration) Act had been altered.

Mr SAMPSON:

– I know that that Act provides that no more land shall be alienated from the Crown, My complaint is that the Government has not taken the necessary steps to repeal that portion of the Act which prevents the adoption of a freehold tenure - that they have not brought down a Land Bill which could be dealt with in the same way as every other important measure is dealt with, namely, clause by clause. Of all matters for the internal development of this continent none transcends in importance the question of land settlement in the Northern Territory. I cannot understand why the Government have so far forgotten their responsibilities as to decline of their own volition to bring forward a Bill dealing with this question, and thus afford honorable members an opportunity of discussing it in the most complete manner possible. I hope that before Parliament rises we shall have a chance of debating the merits of a freehold, as opposed to a leasehold, system of land tenure there.

I regret that the Government have failed to crystallize into a Bill some definite scheme for the settlement of the Northern Territory. There seems to be a conflict of opinion as to where the railways through that country should run, and as to whether settlement should proceed from the north towards the south or vice versa. I think the Government should be able to state clearly the form which their land and railway policies will take. It ought not to be difficult for any practical administrator to arrive at. a conclusion as to which is the best way to begin the settlement of that immense country. The honorable member for Grey, who has had a good deal of experience of it, believes that settlement should be pushed forward from the centre of the continent - that is, from Oodnadatta - towards the northern areas. In other words, he is of opinion that settlement should proceed from the temperate part of Australia towards the tropical zone. I disagree with that view. I recognise that, in the future, Central Australia may carry a certain number of stock, and that it may prove to be rich in mineral wealth. By that means it may add to the productive capacity of the Commonwealth. But if we intend1 to settle that’ portion of this continent with an agricultural population we shall require to find some means of growing cereals with a lower rainfall than that with which they have hitherto been grown. The rainfall map of Australia shows that the centre of the continent has a precipitation of less than 10 inches. Near the Macdonnell Ranges the rainfall may be a little heavier, but there is an enormous area extending to within 350 miles of Port Darwin which has too low a rainfall to carry anything like an agricultural population. It seems to me that it would be idle to attempt to settle that class of country first. In my judgment, the only method of procedure open to us is to begin settlement from the north and to confine it to areas of considerable rainfall, at the same time conserving water from the rivers and undertaking the construction cf developmental railways from the coast inland to the settlements established along those rivers. I believe that there is a possibility of the Northern Territory carrying an agricultural population. But if we attempt to establish settlement in country which has a semi-tropical rainfall varying from 5 to 15 inches our efforts must be doomed to failure.

Mr Chanter:

– Where is there a rainfall of 5 inches?

Mr SAMPSON:

– In the centre of Australia.

Mr Tudor:

– Are there any recording stations there?

Mr SAMPSON:

– There are recording stations along the railway line near Oodnadatta, at which the rainfall is less than 5 inches. There is one important method of encouraging dense settlement in the Northern Territory, namely, by conserving the waters of the rivers and by establishing irrigation colonies along their banks. There are areas along the Adelaide River where it is possible to grow rice in abundance. There are also some auriferous areas, with a rainfall of some 50 or 60 inches, in which it is possible to grow cotton or jute goods. Probably we use ,£2,000,000 worth of jute goods- each year.

Mr Tudor:

– About £1,500,000 worth. Mr. SAMPSON.- It ought to be possible to produce the whole of those jute goods in the auriferous areas of the Northern Territory, which now enjoy the biggest rainfall that is registered there. That fact, however, will have to be- established by means of experimental farms. There are the Victoria, Daly, Katherine, Ferguson, and Edith Rivers, all of which are1 compassed within 250 miles of Port Darwin itself. Within that area there is a good rainfall. It should be possible along almost every one’ of those rivers to foster closer settlement -colonies by storing their waters and establishing systems of irrigation. In order to do that, however, it would be necessary to construct lines of railway to tap these irrigation areas. That circumstance brings me back to the fundamental system of land tenure. It matters not how much we spend on the storage of water or on the construction of railways, we may take it for granted that every one of our schemes will fail if we do not give the individuals who are prepared to go upon that country and to cultivate it, security of tenure. If I had the time and opportunity, it would be possible to show that the land tenure proposed by the Government for the development of the Northern Territory had been tried and found wanting in every country in the world.

Mr Higgs:

– The honorable member is now anticipating the . discussion of a motion.

Mr SAMPSON:

– Yes. I understand that the subject of land tenure will be dealt with under a separate motion. I believe that the Northern Territory is capable of great production if properly handled, and the Minister of External Affairs, I contend again, should have submitted to Parliament a scheme for its development. But ‘all that we know is that the Government are spending between £70,000 and £[80,000 a year, mostly on administration, and that the railway is to be extended from Pine Creek to Katherine River. This is not a matter that should be dealt with in piece-meal fashion; there should be a general scheme for the development of the Territory. Comprehensive reports should be obtained from experts regarding irrigation possibilities and railway requirements, and we should be told what it is intended to do. In addition to the expenditure on administration, between £[20,000 and £25,000 is being spent on experimental work, which is the only sign of an attempt to develop the Territory.

Mr Thomas:

– Would the honorable member have sent settlers to the Territory before administrative officers, or administrative officers before settlers ?

Mr SAMPSON:

– I should have first appointed a Commission to report on railway requirements, and a second Commission of experts to report on the locking of rivers and the establishment of irrigation colonies. Then I should have appointed ai Board to classify the lands of the Territory. As it is, we are no further forward1 than we were twelve months ago. I hopethat before the session closes at least an outline of policy will be placed before Parliament. The Minister might well have obtained an opinion regarding the irrigation prospects of the Territory from Mr. Elwood Mead, the chairman of the Victorian Irrigation Commission, an engineer and expert of great repute, possessing wide experience in the United States, who has travelled over a great part of Australia. Twelve months ago we. mighthave had a report from that gentleman, or some one possessing similar qualifications. It would have been possible to obtain the services of an eminent Indian engineer, for example. In India 200,000,000 of a population of 300,000,000 are supported directly or indirectly bymeans of irrigation schemes, which vary greatly in character, the water in somecases being derived from’ the rivers, and, in others, from subterranean sources. At present we have no reports from experts regarding the classification of the land with a view to showing its agricultural and pastoral possibilities, nor have we any general scheme of development before us. There are one or two other matters connected with the administration of the Department of. External Affairs with which I should like to deal, but as the time allowed to me under the standing order has nearly expired, I shall postpone my remarks upon them until another occasion.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- the Minister of External Affairs might well be envied for the splendid opportunities given to him to display statesmanlike qualities in the development of Central Australia and the Northern Territory. The Territory handed over to the Commonwealth by South Australia constitutes one-sixth of the area of the continent, and hardly an acre of it is under cultivation. The Minister has a free hand in its development. He can inaugurate a policy of his own, and can enter upon great national undertakings such as no other Minister has had an opportunity to direct since Federation began. The honorable gentleman has inquired several times during the debate what South Australia did with the Northern Territory during the half-century that she held it.

Mr Mathews:

– Absolutely nothing.

Mr GORDON:

– I am surprised that one of the most intelligent members of the House should make an interjection of that land.

Mr Mathews:

– I admit that South Australia kept the Northern Territory white.

Mr GORDON:

– I shall take the opportunity to give the honorable member and the Committee some account of the history of the Northern Territory under the rule of South Australia. It is a history with which all patriotic Australians should be familiar. In 1843, during a time of great financial stress, the Government of the then recently proclaimed province of South Australia sent Captain Sturt, one of the greatest of Australian explorers, into central Australia to ascertain what the country was like, and in the hope that he would solve the mystery concerning the existence of a great inland sea. During an expedition which” lasted over two years Captain Sturt penetrated into the heart of the continent, and actually visited the centre of what is now the greatest silver field in the world, standing on the ridge of Broken Hill. Twenty years later my State sent out John McDouall Stuart, Sturt’s trusted colleague, who, after three attempts, not only penetrated into the heart of the continent, but succeeded in planting the Union Jack on the shores of the Indian Ocean. South Australia then accepted from the Imperial Government the responsibility of controlling the Territory recently discovered by Stuart, and sent some of its best men to Darwin to warn all comers that the Empire’s flag at the Residency had to be respected. Then South Australia carried the telegraph line right across Australia, along Stuart’s track, thus linking up the old world and the new with telegraphic communication. Finally, she commenced a railway, and carried it to a point 700 miles north of Adelaide, pledging the credit of her small population to find money for the undertaking, and, at the same time, building 150 miles of railway from Darwin southward. The State also established the Botanic Gardens at Darwin, and carried out numerous experiments of great value. She sent surveyors through the Territory, and thus made possible pastoral occupation, arid caused a railway survey to be made between Pine Creek and Oodnadatta. The maps, levels, and other information tabulated by that survey are now available to the Commonwealth.

Further, South Australia built a lighthouse on the shores of the Northern Territory, had its coast-line charted, ‘ had the splendid harbor of Port Darwin buoyed, and constructed a magnificent jetty which is now the property of this Government. Notwithstanding strong pressure, the State refused to open the Territory to coloured labour, arid for over forty-four years kept it white, finally, when approached by the Commonwealth Government in the name of the people of Australia, handing over her responsibility to the Commonwealth. The honor of the Commonwealth is involved in the carrying out of the contract undertaken when the Territory was transferred to it by South Australia. Many problems call for solution to-day, but none should arouse the enthusiasm and patriotism of members and of the public more than the development of central Australia and the Northern Territory. When South Australia controlled the Northern Territory, it was rightly named; but the title no longer applies, and the Government might well consider the advisableness of substituting another. The words “ Northern Territory “ suggest exclusively tropical conditions, whereas a large part of the area known as the Northern Territory is within the temperate zone. I ask the Minister whether he does not think it would be a wise departure to alter the name to, say, “ Territoria.”

Mr Thomas:

– If the changing of the name will bring people, we will call it anything the honorable member chooses.

Mr GORDON:

– I do not think it would have that immediate effect, but, at the same time, there is a good deal in a name. It would be easier, I suggest, to refer to that portion of Australians “ Territoria “ than as the Northern Territory; but if the Minister thinks it better, as we already have a Queensland on the eastern shores, we might call this other portion “ Kingsland “ or “ Centralia.” However, I appreciate very fully all the’ difficulties under which the Minister labours; and the honorable gentleman has no reason to be restless under the criticism that is being offered. Honorable members are naturally very anxious that something should’ be done in the direction of obtaining fair return for the enormous expenditure which is undertaken in the hope of settlement. We have to remember that the Minister has many problems to solve in connexion with this great stretch of country. We are apt to forget that, the area of the Northern Territory is two and a half times that of France, and four and a half times that of Great Britain, while it is one-fifth larger than New South Wales and Victoria put together, and represents nearly one-sixth of the whole continent of Australia. We must not be impatient with the Minister or the Department because, in the space of a few years, they are not able to accomplish miracles in the way of peopling the country, or in carrying out works to fit it for occupation. I desire, however, to call the Minister’s attention to what seems to me a very important point in connexion with the management of the Territory. When we speak of the “ Northern Territory,” our minds are apt to go at once to the Darwin and the tropical portion, whereas some of the best parts, through which I have had the privilege of travelling, are to be found in the south or temperate region, in the direction of Alice Springs in the Macdonnell Ranges. I ‘supplement the suggestion of the honorable member for Wakefield that, during the wet season, when the officials are unable to carry out survey work and other acts of administration, it would be advisable for them to direct their attention more particularly to the region of which Alice Springs is the centre. Indeed, I have often thought that possibly it would have led to an earlier occupation of Central Australia if the capital of the Territory had been in the Macdonnell Ranges rather than at Darwin.

Mr Fenton:

– Is that part of the country occupied in the least?

Mr GORDON:

– Only a portion of it is occupied at the present time, but it is in the temperate zone, and the climate is excellent all through the year. If the Minister cannot see his way to have a representative resident in that portion of the country, I suggest the advisableness of the Administrator and some of his officers taking up their quarters there during three or four months of the year, and furnishing a report regarding it.

Mr Brennan:

– Even the Administrator admits that that portion of the country will probably have to be administered separately.

Mr GORDON:

– Quite so. We have to realize that the distance is nearly 1,000 miles from the southern border to Darwin ; and when we bear in mind the difficulties of transportation, we realize how difficult it is for an Administrator in the north to ad vise his Minister and carry out administrative acts so far as the southern portion is concerned. It is all very well for us in the south to find fault with Ministers,. Departments, and officials in the north for not having made more progress. We have to remember the limitations under which those officers are working. For several months in the year they are practically unable to get from place to place owing to the difficulties of transportation ; and if I were to put in a sentence the solution of the problem, of the country, I would say that it lies in transportation.

Mr Archibald:

– It is the beginning and the end of it.

Mr GORDON:

– It is the whole question, so far as Central Australia and the Northern Territory are concerned. In this connexion I may here read the following letter which I received only a few days ago dated from Atnarpa Station, Vid Alice Springs, Central Australia.

I have been a resident of the Territory and Central Australia for the past thirty-three years, and I claim to know a bit about it and its capabilities, and I venture to give you a few useful hints concerning the country from Tennants Creek south to Charlotte Waters and east to the Queensland border, and west to Central Mr Wedge, and north to Mr Davidson. I have travelled all over this track of country, and, having had forty-seven years of experience with cattle and horses, I claim to know a bit about them. The country is adapted to the raising of stock on profitable lines. Water can be got in abundance by wells or overshot dams across small creeks, where almost permanent supplies could be impounded at reasonable costs. When distant stock owners have fat stock the road is seldom good to permit the stock reaching the Adelaide market in prime condition, and they have to be sold as stores. A large area of country is lying idle all for the want of the Transcontinental Railway to get the stock to market when in prime condition, instead of disposing of them as stores- for half their value.

In 1891 I visited Frew’s station to the east of Barrow Creek, towards the Gulf of Carpentaria, where I saw some of the finest cattle ever bred in Australia; but that run had to be abandoned because of the difficulty in moving stock from the wellWatered country on the east of Barrow Creek, to the Adelaide market, in view of the dry stretch of country south of the Macdonnell Ranges. At the present moment there is a gentleman, Mr. Warburton, in Melbourne, who has a cattle station to the west of Macdonnell Ranges. Mr. Warburton, who has been in that part of Australia for over twenty years, informs me that it is practically impossible to get cattle from the centre of Australia to Oodnadatta, north of our railway system, because of the dry stretch of country between. He has just brought down a mob of horses, but has been unable to move his cattle owing to the stock route being closed for want of permanent water. I ask the Minister to remember this fact, and to see if it is not possible to improve the stock routes, so as to keep them open throughout the greater portion of the year, and thus encourage lessees to stock their runs, and, incidentally, to give the consumers of Australia cheaper meat. This country is by no means a desert. In fact, the more 1 see of Australia, and the more I study its conditions, the more I am driven to the conclusion that it does not lie with anybody, or any critic, to label any portion of the Commonwealth of Australia a desert. We were in the habit a few years ago of referring to various portions of South Australia as desert. You, Mr. Chairman, know that some portions of your own district were regarded as desert country a few years ago, and that now that same country is taxing the shipping companies, and, in another portion of the State, the Railway Department, to move the produce to market. That is owing to the occupation of the country, and the fact that farmers and stock-raisers have proved that it is by no means a desert. The day will come - though, it may be, not in our time - when this great portion of Central Australia, which has been referred to by various writers and critics as little better than a desert, will be carrying its fair share of population. At this point I should like to read a quotation from the latest book written by Professor Spencer, and the late Mr. Gillen. It will ;be remembered that Mr. Gillen was for many years telegraph stationmaster in the Macdonnell Ranges, and that his duties carried him over a large portion of the country. This extract is one of particular interest, as showing the fluctuations of this part of the country, and as indicating the possibility of development in the future. At the same time, it gives us a ray of hope when we find experienced men of the stamp of Professor Spencer and Mr. Gillen writing like this -

In post cretaceous times the weathering away of the land surface-rock, accompanied by a pluvial period, transformed this central part of the continent into a rich lacustrine area, covered with luxuriant vegetation, and inhabited by giant birds -and marsupials (now extinct), with crocodiles, chelonians, and fishes (now only found in the northern tropical parts of Australia). Later on, a period of desiccation supervened, which “has persisted to the present ‘day, its most extreme effects being seen in the country that centres in Lake Eyre and Amadeus. Whether this desiccation is . now increasing or diminishing in intensity it is impossible to say. Should the former be the case, and should it continue, then in years to come the central steppe-lands will pass into the condition of a desert. As yet, how. ever, except during severe droughts, they are far removed from being anything of the kind, and all that is needed to transform the greater part of the centre into a valuable territory is - firstly, some scheme of water conservation on a large scale; and, secondly, adequate means of communication with the coastal districts.

That suggests an interesting theory regarding Central Australia, and must encourage us to make efforts to check this retrograde movement. It must encourage us to endeavour to secure a permanent settlement by water conservation works, which would be .for the benefit, not only of existing lessees, but of the country as a whole. Some reference was made by the honorable member for Wimmera to the rainfall of this portion of Australia, and when he spoke of a rainfall of 5 inches it would at first sight appear to be rather low. We have to remember,. however, that from Oodnadatta in the south - one of the driest areas, where the average is in the neighbourhood of 5 inches - the rainfall varies and increases right through the continent until the average at Port Darwin is 62 inches.

Mr Archibald:

– It is 10 inches in the southern districts,

Mr GORDON:

– It ranges from 5 to 10 inches from Oodnadatta to a little beyond Charlotte Waters. But even in that dry region the country to-day is in profitable occupation. Some of the finest cattle that are coming into the Melbourne market are being trucked 700 miles to Adelaide and thence 500 miles to Melbourne. Then, again, the Minister’s officers will be able to tell him that some of the best remounts that are being shipped to-day are coming from that dry region of Australia. If the Minister and his colleagues are looking for a district for the breeding of good! horses, either for the Commonwealth Defence Forces or other purposes, they cannot go to a better part of Australia than those vast saltbush plains, covered with gibber stones. It is there that the hardiest horses are raised, and they do not require the services of a shoeing smith. Whilst. there are difficulties that must be faced so far as agriculture is concerned in tropical portions of Australia, we have a great extent of country lying to the south, in the temperate zone, and some effort ought to be made to build up settlement in that direction, and gradually to carry it northwards. The Minister, in addition to having obtained the authority of this House to carry out a survey for railway extension from Pine Creek to the Katherine, has already given an undertaking, I understand, that he will begin the work of ascertaining the possibilities of railway extension from the south northwards from Oodnadatta.

Mr Thomas:

– I intend to submit a resolution to the House before the session closes.

Mr GORDON:

– I am glad to hear that a simultaneous survey is to be made from the south northwards, and north southwards, and I hope that every effort will be made by the Minister from time to time to supply this House with the fullest information as to the possibilities of developing, not only the tropical, but the southern portions of what I should like to call Territoria. It is all very well for some honorable members to point to the difficulty that is experienced in connexion with the occupation of the tropical portions of Australia, but we know that over a series of years experiments have been carried out in the Botanic Gardens at Darwin by Dr. Holtze, now of the Botanical Gardens, Adelaide, and subsequently by his son, and that they have been able to give very valuable information as to what can be grown in the tropical parts of this continent. Then we have the demonstration farm recently started at Batchelor, and the Director of Agriculture and his officers are doing their utmost with the opportunities that present themselves to show what may be done in the direction of tropical agriculture.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Fowler:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

– The honorable member’s time has expired .

Mr THOMAS:
Minister of External Affairs · Barrier · ALP

– I desire to congratulate the honorable member who has just resumed his seat, on the non-party spirit in which he has dealt with the Northern Territory. I venture to say that no member of this House is a greater authority on the Northern Territory than he is, inasmuch as he has travelled through it from north to south on, at least, one occasion, and has paid several visits to Darwin. He is, therefore, in a better position than , are most honorable members to appreciate the difficulties of the problem that confronts us. lt is an easy matter for those who have never visited the Territory, and who know nothing about it, to find fault with what we have done, but the honorable member for Boothby has dealt with the whole question very fairly, and I must certainly express my appreciation of his speech. Before dealing with the Territory itself, I desire to reply to one or two criticisms that have been hurled, either at the Department, or myself. In the first place, I was rather surprised to hear the assertion made last night by the honorable member for Wentworth that, prior to our coming into office, it had always been the custom for a Minister in submitting the Estimates of his Department to make an introductory and explanatory statement concerning them. On looking up Hansard, I find that when the Fusion Government were in office, not one Minister made a statement in introducing his Estimates.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– We had not then taken over the Northern Territory.

Mr THOMAS:

– But not one member of that Ministry made an introductory statement in introducing his Estimates, although we were told it was the general’ practice for Ministers to do so. As the Estimates went on, and information was asked regarding any item, that information was given, and the same course has been, and will be, followed by us. The honorable member for Echuca complained rather strongly yesterday about the action of the Government in giving what he described as a bribe to a Labour newspaper to insert an advertisement in its columns, and to supply copies of the issue in question for distribution in England. When a question was asked in this House some time ago in regard to this matter, the information was supplied that the advertisement in question appeared in the Labor Call on 20th April, 1911. It is a rather small matter, but I think it worth mentioning, that the Argus next day announced that the advertisement appeared on “ 20th April,” the year 1911 being purposely and deliberately omitted. Then, again, it is stated in yesterday’s issue of the Argus that this advertisement was given while I held office as Minister of External Affairs. It is said that I took this action. I am not here to say that I repudiate in any way what my late colleague, Mr. Batchelor, did as Minister of External Affairs. So far as I know, every promise that he made, and every act that he desired to be performed, has been fulfilled by me, and I believe that no more honorable man than he was ever sat in this House. I venture to say that Mr.

Batchelor was in no way actuated by a desire to bribe the Labor Call by giving it the advertisement to which reference has been made. The papers show that in the ordinary way the advertising agent for the Labor Call made a request to the Department - just as the representatives of other newspapers do - for advertisements. He submitted a proposal that for£60 a large advertisement would be published, and a special article written. This proposal went on in due form to Mr. Clarke, who, at that time, was the official in charge of the advertising of Australia in England. He dealt with it, and in due time it came before the Minister with a statement by Mr. Clarke that he thought£60 was a fair price to pay for the advertisement and the special article, which was also to be written and published.

Sir John Forrest:

– Is Mr. Clarke still in the Department?

Mr THOMAS:

– He is now in the Northern Territory.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– Dees the honorable member think that any party journal should be used for such a purpose?

Mr Riley:

– All the Opposition journals are party journals.

Mr Fisher:

– They get nine-tenths of the advertisements, and yet they are not satisfied.

Mr THOMAS:

– As an officer of the Department, Mr. Clarke approved of the proposal, and the question of whether this was or was not a party journal did not concern him. Such offers have always been submitted either to him or to his successor, Mr. Edward. They are dealt with from a business stand-point, the departmental officer considering whether it is worth the money, and whether the proposed advertisement would advertise Australia. He has nothing whatever to do with the politics of the paper concerned. The correspondence shows that, in the opinion of Mr. Batchelor, there was in England - and particularly among the Labour Leagues and organizations - a wrong impression as to the views of the Labour party with respect to immigration. Rightly or wrongly, but with the most honorable motives, Mr. Batchelor took the stand that the circulation of a certain number of copies of the issue containing this advertisement and special article amongst the Labour organizations in England would give Labour people there a correct view of the policy of the Labour party in Australia.

Mr Hedges:

– Does the honorable member consider that the Labour Call voices the opinion of the Labour . Party in Australia ?

Mr THOMAS:

– I do not say that, but I do say that the advertisement in question was inserted with our consent, and, together with a special article, was specially paid for. The honorable member for Parramatta, to my mind, has taken up a rather peculiar position. He finds fault with me, I understand, for advertising in some other papers-

Mr Joseph Cook:

– On the contrary, I congratulate the honorable member.

Mr THOMAS:

– But the honorable member asked why I did so, unless I was prepared to accept responsibility for everything that appeared in those newspapers. In his speech to-day, the honorable member practically sought to make me responsible for everything that appears in a newspaper in which we insert an advertisement.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– That is not stating the case. The Government purchase these papers, and they are their own to distribute.

Mr THOMAS:

– Take the position in regard to Australia To-day. That publication, which is issued by the Commercial Travellers Association, is a very fine production, and well calculated to advertise Australia. But, because we insert in it an advertisement for which we pay, and pay a certain amount for its distribution in the Old Country, are we to be held responsible for every article that appears in it?

Mr McWilliams:

– If one purchases a special issue, he has to do so.

Mr THOMAS:

– That means that as Minister of External Affairs I would not be in a position to advertise Australia in England unless the newspaper in which I advertised reflected my own opinions in everything which it published.

Mr Fisher:

– There would not be many advertisements in those circumstances.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– A misstatement of the whole position.

Mr THOMAS:

– Is it? If no advertisement from my Department were to appear in the Age or the Argus unless I agreed with every statement which those journals published, even less money would be paid for advertisements in them than is paid at the present time. The honorable member for Darling Downs criticised the Government for not having done sufficient to advertise Australia. That was the gravamen of his charge. When it was pointed out to him that during the current year ,£20,000 was to be appropriated for this purpose, his reply w.as, “ Oh, yes; but you have a High Commissioner now, and ,£20,000 merely represents the amount which was expended in advertising Australia last year.” If it is of such vital importance that Australia should be advertised in England, why did not honorable members opposite .appoint a High Commissioner earlier? The reply is that they wanted to fix things up politically. Yet they have the temerity to talk of political appointments.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– Did not the honorable member sit behind the Government which appointed the High Commissioner?

Mr THOMAS:

– I - I do not think so. He was appointed by the Fusion Government. I believe that the appointment of Sir ‘George Reid as High Commissioner was a very good one. I say that, not merely because of the way in which he has filled the office, but because he has overshadowed all the Agents-General by his great personality.

Sir Robert Best:

– Then why impute dishonorable motives?

Mr THOMAS:

– The most cordial relations exist between Sir George Reid and myself. When Mr. Batchelor died, I received an extremely nice letter from him in which he spoke of the very kindly relations which had always existed between that gentleman and himself, and in which he expressed the conviction that those relations would continue between myself and himself. But Sir George was not appointed High Commissioner because of his suitability for the office, but because of the political exigencies of the time. Had there been no Fusion Government - had the honorable member for Ballarat been in office with a majority of his own behind him - the right honorable member for Swan would have been sent to London. Do not make any mistake about that.

Mr Hedges:

– All the Minister’s party voted for Sir George Reid.

Mr THOMAS:

– I do not object to his appointment, but I have no hesitation in saying that he was appointed because of the political exigencies of the day.

Mr Mcwilliams:

– The Minister was about his strongest supporter.

Mr THOMAS:

-^1 think he has done excellent work. He has advertised Australia magnificently.

Mr Sampson:

– He has been a splendid asset.

Mr THOMAS:

– I think so, and in two> or three private letters to him I have emphasized that view. The honorable member for Darling Downs complained that the Government have done nothing to advertise Australian products. Let us see what has. been accomplished in this direction since the inception of the Federation. In 1-904-5, -there was no money provided for the purpose of advertising Australia in England. But £268 was spent. The next year.,, when the honorable member for Ballarat was in office, ,£200 was appropriated for the purpose of which ,£188 was expended.. There was no reckless extravagance exhibited in that year. In the following year £5,000 was appropriated to advertise Australia in England, of which only £1,209. was spent. In the next £20,000 was appropriated for the purpose, but only ,£3, 946 was expended-

Mr Fisher:

– Who was in office then ?

Mr THOMAS:

– The honorable member for Ballarat and the honorable member for Darling Downs. The following year £20,000 was appropriated for the same purpose, of which ,£8, 100 was expended. During a portion of that time the late Mr. Batchelor was in charge of the Department of External Affairs. In 1910-n, while that gentleman was still in office, £20,000- was voted by Parliament to advertise Australia, of which £15,640 was spent. Last year £20,000 was appropriated, of which £19,719 was expended. It will be seen, therefore, that during the two years that Mr. Batchelor and myself were in charge of the Department, £35,359 was expended in advertising Australia; whilst during the six years of administration by honorable members opposite, only ,£2.2,364 was expended. A great deal of that money was spent in advertising our products - in agricultural shows, and in having windowsfilled with Australian produce at various railway stations. Credit for these details is due to the High Commissioner; but the fact remains that although money was provided for the purpose before the Labour party came into power, it was not spent.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– We had no High Commissioner then?

Mr THOMAS:

– Why did not honorable members opposite have a High Commissioner ?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I do not know. The honorable member’s party held the balance of power. Why did not they insist upon his appointment? The only answer to the Minister’s question is that the Labour party prevented previous Ministries from appointing a High Commissioner.

Mr THOMAS:

– I venture to say that, from the stand-point of advertising Australia, the Government have done more than has been done by any previous Administration. Was it not a great advertisement for the Commonwealth when we gave nearly £400,000 for the acquisition of a site for Commonwealth offices in London? Those honorable members opposite who talk about advertising in London never even bought a site for offices there.’

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Why did not they buy a site? Because the honorable member’s party prevented them.

Mr THOMAS:

– How could we prevent previous Governments from doing that when they had a majority in both Houses of this Parliament? Not only had they a majority, but they also had the “ gag.’

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The Government have a more effectual gag to-day than we ever had.

Mr THOMAS:

– In order to advertise the Commonwealth, we desire that the building to be erected in London shall contain a great deal of Australian material in the way of marble and timber, and that Australian artists shall have practically all the say in its decoration. All these things tend to encourage immigration to this country. We have been accused of doing nothing in that direction. Let us see the number of immigrants who have entered the Commonwealth during recent years. 1 find that in 1906, 2,845 immigrants came to Australia; in 1907, 12,514; in 1908, 12,150; and in 1909, 28,933. 1° 1010 th Fusion Government were in office about four months of the year, and the Labour party for about eight months. If we divide that year into two equal periods, we find that during the first six months 18,7.73 im: migrants entered the Commonwealth. The Labour Government came into power that year, and during the six months that it was in office 18,773 immigrants landed in Australia. But in 1911 the immigrants had increased to 77,703, and during the first six months of the present year no less than 43i785 have come to Australia.

Sir Robert Best:

– The States are responsible for that.

Mr Sampson:

– Does the Minister take credit for that?

Mr THOMAS:

– Before the Labour party took office,, we were told that people would leave the country if the Labour party ever came into power, and that they would take their money with them. Prior to the last election we were assured that if the Labour party were triumphant there would not be sufficient ships to take away the people who would wish to go. As a matter of fact, there are not sufficient ships to bring out the people who wish to come here.

Mr Sampson:

– Does the Minister take credit to the Government for the tide of immigration which has set in?

Mr THOMAS:

– I am coming to that. In the two and a half years that the Labour Ministry have been in office, 140,261 immigrants have entered Australia as against 75,215 immigrants who came to this country during four and a. half years of previous Administrations.

Mr Anstey:

– Honorable members opposite wish to explain the position away ; but previously they affirmed that if the Labour party came into power no immigrants would come to Australia.

Mr THOMAS:

– It is only fair to give the States full credit for the assisted immigrants that have come to Australia, although the Commonwealth has done a great deal to advertise the country in Great Britain.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Who has done the advertising ? The High Commissioner ! And who appointed him?

Mr THOMAS:

– Who has given him money to carry out his work ? In addition to the assisted immigrants, unassisted immigrants, that is, persons who have paid their own fares, have been coming here in large numbers. It speaks well for Australia, and for this Government, that such persons are coming here. In 1906, the unassisted immigrants numbered 1,256; in Wl > 7>345J in 1908, 5,631; in 1.909, 19,113; in 1910 - I give the Liberal party credit for half the immigration during that year, although they were in office not quite four months - 20,766 ; and in 1911, 37,962.

Mr West:

– The existence of the Labour Government was responsible for that increase.

Mr Groom:

– Was it not the land tax?

Mr THOMAS:

– I agree with the honorable member for Darling Downs that the policy of the Government had something to do with it. During the first six months of 1912, 25,514 assisted” immigrants have come here. Therefore, in two and a half years of Labour administration,. 73,859. unassisted immigrants have come to Australia, as against 43,728 in the four and a half years of Liberal administration, giving it credit for two months during which it was not in office. The honorable member for Darling Downs has complained that we have not chartered steam-ships to bring people here. I am in favour of people coming to Australia, but would not pledge the country for four years ahead. No Lands Minister in any of the States would do that. Victoria has done for immigration as much as, if not more than, any other Government.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The Minister’s time has expired.

Mr LIVINGSTON:
Barker

– The Northern Territory will never be properly developed if the work is begun at the northern end, and the Minister of External Affairs has taken the right step in authorizing a survey for the extension of the railway from Oodnadatta to the Katherine River. I would remind him, however, that, although he has accused the State of South Australia of having done nothing with the Territory, it has done a good deal. In the first place, it has kept the Territory white. It would have been much more difficult to clear the Territory of undesirable aliens than it will be to people it with the right sort of population. Furthermore, the country between Oodnadatta and Pine Creek has already been surveyed for railway purposes, and a map was prepared many years ago, when it was proposed to construct a railway on the land-grant principle, describing the country all along the route. According to that map, there is a rainfall of 4 inches at Oodnadatta; of 12 inches at the Macdonnell Ranges; a little further north, of 15 inches; then of 18 inches; increasing as you go towards the coast. By having all the information regarding the Territory which has been published in South Australia, collated and put into proper order, it will be seen that very little need be done in the way of surveying. Only lately, reports have been obtained from Mr. David Lindsay, who assisted to compile a work which was laid before this Parliament, and who, some time ago, lectured, first to the members of the House of Representatives, and afterwards to the members of the Senate. That gentleman is living in South Australia to-day, and his services would, no doubt, be available to the Commonwealth Government. In addition to his work, a great -deal of extremely valuable information has been collected over a number of years by many writers and explorers. Mr. Simpson Newland,

Mr. Stuart, Mr. Gosse, Mr. Giles, Mr. Barclay, Mr. Crawford, Mr. C. Winnecke, Mr. W. J. Tutkins, Mr. A. A. Davidson, Mr. J. A. G. Little, Mr. A. K. Holden, Mr. J. P. Hingston, and Captain Creswell, have all written concerning the Territory. The last named compiled a very valuable report on the possibilities of horse-breeding in the Territory. According to that report, we have some of the best country in the world for breeding army remounts, and a fine military station could be established at the MacDonnell Ranges. But it will not be possible to do much with the Territory, or with the country round about the Macdonnell Ranges, until the railway has been extended to it from Oodnadatta. There is sufficient capital available in Australia for the development of this country, and many men, if there were a railway to enable them to visit it, and learn its value, would give their sons the capital with which to develop it. No one would be more capable of opening up that country than young Australians. A splendid horse-breeding station for military purposes could be established, which might be made one of the finest in the world. But no one would think of sending his son out into that country until it had been opened up by the construction of a railway. It is idle, of course, to think that we shall stop with the construction of one railway. The beautiful country in Western Australia will have to be tapped by branch lines. There is no greater authority on the Territory and the country to the south of it than you are, Mr. Chairman, because you have studied it for years, and to-day you have spoken of the mineral wealth that lies undeveloped there. In> addition to the writers I have mentioned, we have the honorable member for Boothby. I was pleased that the Minister gave him credit to-day for what he has done for Australia. He has travelled all over thiscountry, and has written a very goodpamphlet about Northern Australia, which every one would find profit in reading. Then we have Mr. J. S. Little, the Hon. J. Langdon Parsons, Mr. H. S. Linton, Mr. H. Y. L. Brown- formerly Government Geologist of South Australia, and oneof the most practical men that ever came tothe country - the late Sir Charles Todd, Mr. E. E. L. Flint, and the Hon. John Lewis, M.L.C. The opinions of all these writers, if collected and. put together in one book for easy reference, would be found extremely valuable

Then we have Mr. J. C. Parkes, Professor Tate, Mr. C. C. Herbert, and Mr. G. W. Strawbridge, late Surveyor-General of South Australia ; it will be seen, therefore, that quite a quantity of valuable information is available. In Territoria we are told-

This may prove to be the future wheat granary of Australia. It has an elevation of. from 400 to 1,500 feet above the sea level, a. rainfall of 15 to 40 inches per annum, and in no part is it more than 350 miles from a sea port. If this great region of 80,000,000 acres were brought under successful wheat cultivation, and allowing only half to be actually producing the moderate average of 10 bushels per acre, we should have an output of nine times the present total quantity grown in Australia, and enable Australia to supply the markets of India, China, and Japan, all of which are within 10 days’ steam of the ports of Wyndham, Victoria River, Darwin, Roper, McArthur, and Burketown.

The following figures relating to the six largest stations show to what a remarkable degree the reserves of stock are being added to :-

We have no need to look far for information regarding the Northern Territory, for it is all provided in the book from which I am quoting. There is no doubt that the rainfall is quite good enough, as the following figures show : -

I strongly suggest that all this information should, be. gathered together and placed in one book, so as to be easy of reference. The Northern Territory is a much finer country than Canada, with an entire absence of the snow-bound winter months. There is no doubt that if the Territory had been in the United States there would have been a railway right through it twenty or thirty years ago, and the country by this time would have been well developed. The difficulties in the way of railway construction are almost nil. There are no deep cut tings or other engineering obstacles to overcome in the Territory proper; but if it is decided to divert the line into Queensland, then some heavy, broken country will be encountered. We in South Australia knew what ought to have been done in the Territory, but we had not the necessary money. We fully realized that what was required was a railway through the MacDonnell! Ranges, and we were fully convinced that, with this means of communication, settlement would have followed rapidly. I am glad to observe that the Minister of External Affairs is putting his heart and soul into this work ; and if he is doing wrong at all, it is in the beginning in the tropical north instead of in the temperate south. As an old Australian bushman, I think the idea of sending a man in a motor car to report on the country in the neighbourhood of the Macdonnell Ranges amounts to a huge farce ; and, perhaps, it is fortunate that the car broke down.

Mr Thomas:

– Who proposed to go right to the MacDonnell Ranges in a motor car?

Mr LIVINGSTON:

– Did not the Administrator start on a tour of inspection in a motor car?

Mr Thomas:

– I do not know what the Government are expected to do. The honorable member tells us that there has been inspection, enough, while the honorable member for Wakefield suggests the appointment of a Royal Commission to undertake further inspection work.

Mr Page:

– Fifty years ago wool used” to be carried on bullock drays, but now it is= carried in motor cars.

Mr LIVINGSTON:

– But for the bullockdrays we should have had a bad time in Australia.

Mr Page:

– But they are out of date now.

Mr LIVINGSTON:

– There is no doubt that when there is a railway from Oodnadatta to Pine Creek we shall have bullockdrays all along the route bringing in wool’ and produce for transport. Mr. David Lindsay is to be complimented on his splendid book, Territoria, which contains a vast amount of valuable information, showing that the Northern Territory is one of the brightest spots open to settlement in the civilized world. There is the favorable climate, and the people here to develop the country, and all that is now required ismeans of communication. As I have pointed out, if a mistake has been made, it is in commencing the work of development at

Port Darwin, where, for one part of the year, it is too hot, and for the other part of the year too wet, to do anything.

Mr THOMAS:
Minister _ of External Affairs · Barrier · ALP

– When my time expired I was proceeding to frankly state my position in regard to immigration. I am strongly of opinion that the Commonwealth should advertise Australia in the Old Country and on the Continent; and in the case of such a country as ours there is not the slightest necessity to overdraw the picture in order to attract people. The honorable member for Darling Downs and others have suggested that something more should be done in order to assist immigrants who are desirous of coming from England ; and we are told that to this end it is necessary that we should enter into a contract with some shipping company or companies and guarantee them a certain sum for a period of four or five years. I unhesitatingly say that I would never be a party to a contract of the kind, pledging us for a term, like that to receive a certain number of immigrants. Further, I am convinced that there is no Minister of Lands in Australia who would be prepared to enter into such an agreement. The Victorian Government, as I have said, have done a great deal in the way of bringing immigrants to Australia. It was suggested by the honorable member for Darling Downs that the Queensland Government had done quite as much ; but, however, that may be, the Victorian Government have done a great deal, and the Minister of Lands in this State is very sympathetic in this connexion. A little while ago, however, when there was danger of a drought - which, fortunately, was averted by timely rain - Mr. McKenzie declared that it would be necessary for his Government to “ease off,” even in regard to the immigration of farm labourers. It is generally understood that, as a rule, assisted immigrants shall not be artisans, but. those connected with country pursuits.

Mr Anstey:

– The Victorian Government cabled to England to stop immigrants.

Mr THOMAS:

– I was not aware that the Victorian Government had’ gone so far ; but the fact strengthens my argument.

Mr Anstey:

– It was not Mr. McKenzie, but Mr. Hagelthorn, who cabled.

Mr THOMAS:

– It would be suicidal for us, in our present circumstances, to undertake to receive a large number of immigrants over periods of years. In times of good seasons, of course, all would be well; but difficulties might arise, and then we should find ourselves in an awkward position. I am a strong believer in irrigation, and hopeful that it may assist largely in solving the question of settlement. No doubt the development of irrigation will take a great many years, but once it is established, we shall not be so dependent as we are on the rainfall. As soon as things are ready in the Territory I shall be prepared, as Minister, to ‘advise expenditure towards bringing immigrants to that part of Australia ; but outside the Territory I am not prepared to take any such step, for, in my opinion, settlement in other parts of the Commonwealth must be left to the States. It is the duty of the Commonwealth to advertise Australia, and I think we are doing that effectively. We have to face the fact that deputations have waited on Mr. McGowen and Mr. Scaddan in reference to immigration ; and it would be wrong for us, as a Commonwealth, to do anything to help to bring immigrants into the various States. Therefore, I say, if we advertise Australia, we have done all that can be expected. I may mention that, some little time ago, the Government received a cable from the High Commissioner drawing attention to the congestion on the immigrant vessels, and stating that he had been approached by the shipping people with a view to a service being established of six vessels, steaming 15 knots, and carrying each 1,000 immigrants. We requested the High Commissioner to- submit that proposal to the AgentsGeneral in- England’. He did so ; and we were informed by him that, after carefully considering it, they reported that there was no substance or business in it. Some honorable members say that I should come down with a bold and comprehensive policy for the development of the Territory, and they also ask what we have done so far in this direction. In reply, I should like to point out that, since last year’s Estimates’ were passed, we have appointed an Administrator who, those who know him will admit, is a man of great energy. He has certainly not allowed’ the grass to grow under his feet since he has been in the Territory. We have also appointed a Lands Board consisting of the Director of Agriculture, the Director of Lands, and the Surveyor-General. We have likewise appointed, since last year’s Estimates were passed, a Government Geologist, and a number of surveyors to lay out the land. I do not think it is possible to have settlers there until, we have made preparations to receive them. When the honorable member for Wimmera complained: that we had an army of officials in the Territory, but had not placed any one on the land, I made what I think was the reasonable inquiry, “Who ought to go there first? The settlers or the officials?” I think it is obvious that we must have officers in the Territory first of all to administer the affairs of the country before we can expect people to settle there.

Mr West:

– The Minister even sent a Judge there before there were any criminals in the country.

Mr THOMAS:

– No. I am sorry to say that there were one or two men awaiting trial before he arrived. We must hesitate to ask people to go to the Territory before we are ready to receive them. Some immigrants here are returning to England because they say that the treatment they have received is not that which they were led, by advertisements and statements made in the Old Country, to expect.

Sir John Forrest:

– What does the honorable gentleman mean by “ being ready for settlers” ?

Mr THOMAS:

– In the first place, the land must be surveyed and classified. Then we have to advertise the land. The right honorable member shakes his head, but all these matters have to be attended to, and must take some little time. Under the Land Ordinance, we provide that immediately land is ready for selection it shall be advertised, so that every one shall have a fair opportunity to apply for it.

Sir John Forrest:

– I suppose that a man who goes up there finds it impossible to get a bit of land, although there are millions of acres available.

Mr THOMAS:

– I do not think there will be much difficulty in that regard! as soon as we are ready. The surveyors are at work ; they have surveyed a certain area of land, and it will soon be submitted to the Classification Board. We must determine, first of all, the character of the country that is to be offered for . selection. There is a great deal of difference, even as to the character of the country around Darwin, Pine Creek, the Katherine, and the demonstration farm at Batchelor. Some say the landis good; others say it is bad. Then, again, a number speak highly of the land on the Daiy River. But it would be a suicidal policy for us to settle a number of selectors on inferior land, with the result that they would return in a very short time decrying the country.

Sir John Forrest:

– Could they not be allowed tochoose land for themselves?

Mr THOMAS:

– They can do so. We have up there officers who ought to be experts, and if they think that a certain area of country is inferior, they ought surely to advise the people to that effect.

Sir John Forrest:

– Some blocks could be laid out in a month.

Mr THOMAS:

– Blocks are being laid, out ; but this work could not be undertaken until we had secured surveyors, and at first we had very great difficulty in obtaining any. We did not receive one reply to our first advertisement.

Sir John Forrest:

– The pay, I suppose, was insufficient.

Mr THOMAS:

– I do not know that that was the trouble. The real reason is, I think, that all the States are very busy in connexion with land settlement. We offered a salary of £450 a year.

Mr Hedges:

– I do not think that that is enough by 50 per cent.

Mr THOMAS:

– That may be the honorable member’s view; but, in any event, some time elapsed1 before we could secure the services of a surveyor.

Mr Higgs:

– Prior to the advent of the Labour party in politics, surveyors could be obtained by; the score for £200 a year.

Mr THOMAS:

– At all events, we have now several surveyors at work. We found a surveyor in Queensland who was prepared to accept an appointment, and we set him to work. He has since been followed by two or three more. I mention this only to show some of the difficulties; that surround us in dealing with this, problem. It is most difficult to get any ‘ work carried out in the Territory. One of the items for which the Works Estimates provide is the erection of stores at Darwin for the storage of about£20,000 worth of material for house construction. A big supply of such material could not be ordered because there was no building in the Territory in which it could be stored.

Sir John Forrest:

– Why was not a store erected ? I suppose the Minister imposed impossible conditions.

Mr THOMAS:

– No.

Sir John Forrest:

– The Minister provided for peference to unionists.

Mr THOMAS:

– In the first place, we provided for absolute preference to unionists, and that condition was given as a reason for the failure of contractors to tender. We therefore withdrew it, and accepted a tender from a contractor who said that he would complete the work in sixteen weeks. Before signing the contract, however, he stated that the specifications provided for the use of certain material that he would have to import, and it would, therefore, take him six months to carry out the work. We then arranged that he should use other material, although it would cost us £40 or £50 more, because we were anxious that the work should be expedited. We are also very anxious to erect buildings for the housing of the officials who are sent up there. I recognise that officers in the neighbourhood of Darwin would be much happier, and more likely to succeed, if they had their wives and families with them, and I proposed at first to erect the necessary buildings by day labour. Finding that we could not get the full staff necessary, I gave way on that point, said that we would erect what buildings we could by day labour, and call for tenders for the construction of the rest. We did so, and accepted a tender, but the contractor, when the time came for him to commence operations, backed out. We have now let a tender to another man, who says that he is prepared to carry out the work. One reason for this difficulty in securing labour is that the building trade is very active in the south and east, and that men who can obtain work here are not prepared to go up to Darwin. A number of unionists, who said that they represented certain people in the Territory, called on me, and pointed out that it was very inconvenient for men to go there if they could not establish their homes in the Territory. I admitted that it was, and I said to them, “ You belong to the carpenters and painters societies, and I have a proposal to make to you. Let us decide upon the price to be paid for these buildings; the Government will find the material and the money, and you can find the men to erect them.” So far, no response has been made to that offer. Honorable members, I think, will gather from my statement an idea of some of the difficulties with which we have to contend. I think, however, that we are doing something. Means of communication are undoubtedly important, and railway construction will have to be carried out very extensively before this vast extent of country can be settled. Some years must elapse, however, before the necessary railways can be constructed. We have communication by sea which will be somewhat helpful, and we have purchased a steamer which will enable people to go from Darwin to the Mc Arthur, and will also carry to market the produce of the settlers. We have submitted to the House proposals for the survey of a railway to the Katherine River, and that line will cost £600,000.

Mr Hedges:

– The Government do not know what it will cost by day labour.

Mr THOMAS:

– Then I will say . that it will cost at least£600, 000.

Mr McWilliams:

– Does the honorable member think that it will help to settle the country ?

Mr THOMAS:

– Honorable members opposite say that we can do nothing without railways, and I am pointing out that we are making a beginning in railway construction. Some of the representatives of South Australia say that we should start at Oodnadatta and continue the railway northwards.

Mr Archibald:

– Hear, hear!

Mr THOMAS:

– The honorable member says “Hear, hear !” but the problem’ we have to face is the settlement of the Northern Territory. It would take years to build a railway from Oodnadatta to Darwin, whereas I think that we ought to do something immediately in the north. I do not object to the building of a railway from Oodnadatta northwards, but I consider that we ought to do something in the north as soon as we can, with a view to promoting settlement there. I am hopeful that before the year closes some of the land now being surveyed will be thrown open for selection. People- from America, Wales, and Russia have gone there, and have inspected the land.

Mr McWilliams:

– The Meat Trust people ?

Mr THOMAS:

– I think not. I refer to persons who are willing to take up land, and I am glad to say that in each’ case they spoke favorably of what they had seen. All these enterprises, however, cannot be started in a day. We have had to take over a Territory which had no officers to administer it, and we have had to send up officers. We know that it is not an easy matter, for people to settle on the land, even in the southern States, notwithstanding that the several Lands Departments have large staffs who have been at work for many years. Every one must admit that it will take a little time to make a start in the Northern Territory.

Sir John Forrest:

– There were plenty of people available who knew the Territory.

Mr THOMAS:

– Will the right honorable member mention their names ?

Sir John Forrest:

– There was Mr. Lindsay.

Mr THOMAS:

– The right honorable member can refer to only one man. We have sent a geologist to the Territory, and we shall shortly be sending a mining man to assist him, as we intend to develop its mineral fields.

Mr Riley:

– Are the stock which have been sent there doing all right?

Mr THOMAS:

– From the information which has been forwarded to me, I gather that they are doing very well. Of course, we cannot expect a demonstration farm to accomplish much in a few months.

Mr McWilliams:

– Does the Minister say that the stock on the experimental farms are doing well ?

Mr THOMAS:

– I am told so. The other day I had the pleasure of seeing some cinematograph pictures of the Northern Territory, and certainly the sheep and horses looked exceedingly well. The policy of the .Government is to push on with our railways there. Parliament has already authorized the survey of a line from Pine Creek to the Katherine River. We are getting ready for settlement, and so soon as the land is available we shall do our best to secure our settlers.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:
Balaclava

– I entertain no opposite view from that which has been expressed by the Minister. But in developing the Northern Territory I think that our railways should be pushed northwards from the more settled parts in the south. When in Canada a couple ot years ago I inquired closely into the system of land settlement which . obtains there. I found that the Canadian Government cut up land alongside their railways into blocks resembling those on a chessboard. If we wish to settle the Northern Territory we had better start from the South Australian end, survey the blocks, erect houses upon them, and fence in the blocks. As a rule, immigrants who desire to settle upon the land have very little capital.

Mr West:

– We want to study our own people first.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– There is plenty of room for all. « The same trouble is experienced in connexion with closer settlement in Victoria. A man who possesses a couple of hundred pounds is obliged to spend the bulk of it in erecting a dwelling upon his block, and in fencing it. My own idea is that the Commonwealth should erect houses upon the blocks which are thrown open for settlement. The settler’s slender capital will be required to enable him to purchase implements and stock, and to make his land productive. He requires sufficient money to tide him over his first year’s operations. He cannot expect to secure any return until that time has elapsed. Personally, I would not charge settlers any rent for their blocks for several years. I would allow them time to get firmly on their feet before asking them to pay anything. In Canada any person is at liberty to take up a block of 160 acres, and, if he does so, he thereby acquires an option for a certain time over an adjacent block of a similar area. He is not required to reside on his holding straight away. He is at liberty to work as a farm labourer, in order that he may be assisted to keep going. In that way he becomes established on the land. If we have a survey made of the proposed transcontinental line into the Territory, and build, say, the first 100 miles of it, the land alongside it should be cut up into blocks, and houses should be erected upon them.

Mr Hedges:

– Has the honorable member seen the country?

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– No; but I am expressing my view of it. The first settler would have his pick-

Mr Fairbairn:

– There is no rain at Oodnadatta.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– A man would not settle upon a block in a locality where there was practically no rainfall. By means of water conservation I believe that a large area of the Northern Territory could be made to grow lucerne, which provides an excellent food for stock, and which can be converted into splendid hay. Only a day or two -ago, I read that Mr. Elwood Mead has affirmed that rice can be grown in this country. If, in California, it can be sown with the ordinary seed drill, harvested with the reaper and binder, and threshed - in other words, if it can be dealt with just as we deal with cereals - we ought to be able to raise sufficient rice to supply our own requirements, and to give us a surplus for export. The statement of Mr. Mead affords conclusive proof that the crop may be harvested by machinery better than it can be harvested by means of manual labour. In the Northern Territory, thousands of tons of rice ought to be grown annually. But our railways ought to be extended, from the South Australian end of the line. In my opinion, the Government are going the wrong way to work. In settling Australia, we did not attempt to first settle the land which was most remote from the chief towns. The same principle should be followed here. If that be done, I believe that within the next ten or fifteen years, we shall have a large settlement in the Northern Territory extending north- ward, instead of settlement starting from the north, and extending southward.

Mr ARCHIBALD:
Hindmarsh

. - The honorable member who has just resumed his seat has struck the true note in connexion with the development of the Northern Territory. I quite recognise that we. shall have to spend a large amount of money to develop a tract of country which embraces one-sixth of the whole of Australia. It is deeply to be regretted that even in this Parliament there should be such an absence of knowledge in regard to the Northern Territory. When we hear an honorable member declaring that there is only a 5-inch rainfall in the Territory, it is really lamentable.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I think that he was quoting from the Commonwealth Year-Book.

Mr ARCHIBALD:

– I do not care from what book he was quoting.

Mr Sampson:

– The official figures show that just north of Oodnadatta the rainfall is 4.67 inches.

Mr ARCHIBALD:

– The honorable member ought to know that that country is in South Australia. I know there are portions of South Australia which have only a 5-inch rainfall. But they are not in the Northern Territory. If the honorable member will turn up Coghlan, he will see the division which exists between the Northern Territory and South Australia, and also the rainfall of the Territory. This immense tract of country extends for something like a thousand miles, and enjoys a rainfall ranging from 15 inches to 80 or 90 inches at Porth Darwin.

Mr Sampson:

– About 60 odd inches at Port Darwin.

Mr ARCHIBALD:

– I do not know where the honorable member gets his information.

Mr Sampson:

– From the Commonwealth Year-Book.

Mr ARCHIBALD:

– It is a remarkable fact that whilst I was in South Australia, I never saw an indication that the rain fall at Port Darwin was less than 70 inches.

Mr Sampson:

– The honorable member requires to look up the rainfall tables again.

Mr ARCHIBALD:

– I think I know as much about the rainfall of the Northern Territory as does the honorable member. The settlement of that country ought not to be a party question. Seeing that either for good or ill we have to shoulder this big responsibility, we cannot afford to make statements concerning the Northern Territory which are not accurate. Nothing is to be gained by depreciating the country. I do not say that all the land in the Territory is like the Garden of Eden, lt contains a lot of first-class land, a lot of moderate land, and a lot of poor land. But I rose chiefly to appeal to the Government to reconsider the lines of their policy in regard to the settlement of the Territory. In my opinion, they are beginning at the wrong end. I do not say that in the past there were a sufficient number of officials to properly administer that country. It is recognised that every country of European origin will always develop upon the lines upon which it has been built up. Guizot lays that down in his European Civilisation, and every student recognises the absolute truth of his dictum. It is too late in the day for Australians to begin to turn everything upside down, and to attempt to unlearn the whole history of settlement in this country. What are the lines on which the continent has been settled and developed? What is the policy that was adopted and followed by those who preceded us? They began at the south, and worked northwards;, the pioneering work, being done, by the pastoralists, who were followed by the farmers, and thus came closer settlement. I have never complained of the expenditure by the Governments of the States on the construction of railways for the opening up of the country. That was the policy of the right honorable member for Swan when he was associated with the Government of Western Australia. His successors followed his example, and the Governments of South Australia and of other States have acted similarly. The doctrine that railways must not be constructed until it can be seen that they will pay may do for Europe, but cannot be applied to Australia. Here we should run railways in order that population may follow. Why should the Commonwealth Government try to reverse the policy that has come to us from our fathers? There is no money in tropical production. Australians do not farm for fun, or for the benefit of their landlords, as in the Old Country they farm to make money, and there is not the money in tropical production that there is in wheat, wool, and meat. I have nothing to say against those who have made money in the pastoral and farming industries. Most of them have spent the best years of their life at the game, and have done well, although some who have not been good judges of country, or have been hit by droughts, have gone under. Our people are acclimatized in the temperate zone, and have made their money there. If the Northern Territory were our private estate, we should develop it as I suggest, but, being politicians, we are influenced by State prejudices. I think it would be a good thing to have a Resident, with a staff of half-a-dozen men, at Alice Springs, to obtain accurate information for the advice of the Minister, and to bring about the removal of prejudices which now exist, notwithstanding the information that has been collected by South Australia. It is recognised that tropical production with white labour will never pay until there have ‘been great improvements in agricultural machinery. We have resolved that the cheap labour of other countries shall not be employed in Australia. In the southern States of America they have succeeded .in growing rice with white labour and the .application of machinery, and it will be only in that way that we can grow that crop and tropical productions ; but there will not be a big boom in tropical land for a long time to come. On the other hand, the sons of our pastoralists and farmers have, many of them, a little capital and plenty of enterprise, and would be willing, if there were railway communication, to pioneer Central Australia. I think that we should restrict our expenditure on the Northern Territory until we have opened it up by railways, following in this matter the example of the States. In a few years to come, the population of the United States of America will probably have increased so much that all the wheat grown in that country will be consumed locally, and any one who studies the wheat market of the world will see that there are possibilities of tremendous expansion in wheat growing in Australia. I believe that Australia is, as it has often been described, the best country under the sun. A great deal of money has been made here, and a great deal will continue to be made here.

Even the worst part of the Northern Territory is infinitely superior to Canada. No comparison is to be made between a country like Canada, where stock have to be housed for many months in the year, and a country like Australia, in which it always does well in the open. But we know how Canada has been boomed by the agents of the Canadian-Pacific railway, who are to be found all over Europe. Their advertising must yield a princely return to pay for the cost of it. Were Australia boomed only 1 per cent, as much as Canada, our immigration would be doubled or trebled. I admit that north of Oodnadatta there are 200 or 250 miles of poor country. But then you get into good country, eminently suited for pastoral occupation and farming. The States have made mistakes, and we shall do the same. But it is universally acknowledged that the extension of railways is a wise policy. In my opinion, it would be better to leave the Pine Creek railway as it stands, and to push on northwards with the Oodnadatta line. If that is done, persons from the temperate zone will follow the railway, and settlement will extend as it has done in Canada. Possibly in time we shall do well to act on> the suggestion of the honorable member for Balaclava, and provide houses for settlers, charging them rent. That has been done in Canada, but I do not think we need do it yet. The development of the Territory from the north, to which this Government seems to be pledged, will be a mistake, costing any amount of money. What is needed is revenue from the rural industries to bear the expense of developing the tropical portions of Australia, which cannot be done in ten, and probably not in twenty, years. There will be no difficulty in developing the southern part of the Territory. We have simply to follow the beaten track of our predecessors, and, whatever mistakes they made - and they may have been mistaken in dividing the country into blocks too big - they made no mistake in settling on the principle of pastoral pursuits and farming going hand” in hand - in depending on the cultivation of wheat and wool, which is the healthiest occupation in Australia, and from which, I should say, more money has been made than from any other industry.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Fawkner

.- I cannot altogether agree with the views expressed by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. In the present state of our development, to take the railway from Oodnadatta to the Northern Territory would be nothing short of a disaster. At Oodnadatta the rainfall is just over 4 inches, and, as that place is 480 miles from Port Augusta, we can imagine the result of placing farmers in that part of the country. Further north, at Alice Springs, the rainfall is about 11 inches, and at Port Darwin it is 62 inches. My own opinion is that country with a 4-inch rainfall cannot be settled, except in large areas with a few head of horses and cattle. That,, however, cannot be called settlement from our point of view, because the problem before us is how to fill this country with people, so that it may not be taken possession of by some alien race with a different civilization and standards of living.

Mr Gordon:

– The district with the rainfall of 4 inches is in South Australia.

Mr Sampson:

– At the southern boundary of the Northern Territory, Charlotte Waters, the rainfall is 5^ inches.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– With the exception of cattle and sheep stations, there can be no settlement until we reach the tropical areas. In the western parts of Queensland or New South Wales, we find no population of any consequence, except where irrigation is resorted to ; and the only portion of the Northern Territory which can carry a dense population is where there is a 60- inch rainfall, an area, I suppose, about the size of Tasmania. Of course, when we have before us the development scheme which the Minister, in answer to a question, informed me he would be ready to give us early next year, we shall know precisely what is going to be done. Up to the present, however, no Australians are going to the Northern Territory, and there is not the least chance of their doing so, for the simple reason that they are better off in the States, with a splendid climate and civilized surroundings.

Mr Archibald:

– They do not get the land so cheap in the States.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– If they got the land for nothing I do not believe they would go, because the climate in the Northern Territory is very trying. My own idea is that we shall have to draw population to the Territory from some of the southern European races. Of course, like every other honorable member, I should be glad to see the population made up of our own people ; but if I did not express my opinion in this connexion, I should be “ funking “ the question, and doing Australia harm. I shall be very pleased if the Minister can show us that it is possible to settle the Northern Territory with our own kith and kin ; but I am strongly of opinion that it cannot be done.

Mr Thomas:

– Our own people will have to play a very important part in the Northern Territory, but we shall have to have the help of Southern Europeans.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I am very glad that the Minister agrees that that is the only possible way.

Mr West:

– If the honorable member goes to the Library and reads a report issued in the United States on settlement by Southern Europeans there he will change his opinion.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– No doubt some Southern Europeans have caused great trouble in the United States ; but the question is whether, as an alternative, we are to have Chinese or leave the country empty.

Mr West:

– We had better leave it empty.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– But can we keep it empty, seeing that the island of Java, with nearly 40,000,000 people, is a very little distance to the north?

Mr Anstey:

– The people of Java had 200 years in which they could have come to Australia; why did they not come?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– The honorable member is indicating that Australia is not good enough for the Javanese.

Mr Anstey:

– Yes.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– It is quite possible that Java is a richer country, with a better rainfall. At any rate, in these matters we ought fo go very cautiously, and be careful not to make any mistake. I hope that our South Australian friends, now that they have made such a magnificent bargain, will give us time to breathe before they suggest any fresh agreement. At present, however, they seem to be clamouring for a railway, with the single idea of booming Adelaide; but we did not “come down with the last shower,” and we quite understand the position. The best method, in my opinion, is, first, to deal with the tropical zone, because all we can hope for in the country more specially fitted _for sheep and cattle stations is a population of, say, 250,000. In passing, I should like to make some reference to the Papuan steamer, the Merrie England, which is now a wreck. I am not at all surprised that the vessel has been wrecked.

Mr McWilliams:

– It was about all she was fit for.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I do not know that; but I am informed by a reliable friend, who travelled in her, that the last time she came to the Australian coast she had only one certificated navigating officer on board, and that was the captain. That is a disgraceful state of things.

Mr Thomas:

– How long ago was that?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– About last June. According to the Navigation Bill, the vessel ought to have had at least three certificated navigating officers; and surely the Commonwealth ought to set an example in this connexion?

Mr Thomas:

– All this is news to me.

Mr West:

– There were two navigating officers on board when we were in Papua.

Mr Anstey:

– A vessel could not go to sea without a mate.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I shall be very glad to find that my information is wrong.

Mr Thomas:

– If the honorable member is correct, we shall have the conditions altered.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I shall be glad to introduce the Minister to my informant; but if the circumstances are as I have stated, it is not at all surprising that the vessel went ashore. To revert to the Northern Territory, we do not seem to be going so slowly as I think we ought to do, at any rate in the matter of making fresh appointments. We have made a new appointment in an Administrator at . £1,750 a year.

Mr Thomas:

– We have not made a new appointment, but have appointed a new man.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– The other man was only Acting Administrator, and I see that his salary has been cut down from £1,000 to £500 a year.

Mr Thomas:

– The Acting Administrator has left the service, and the £500 is for his six months’ leave on full pay.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– At any rate, I am not calling special attention to that appointment, and there are a great many of the other appointments that I think quite necessary. My point isthat until we have a general scheme before us there ought not to be any further appointments of controlling officers.

Mr Thomas:

– They are necessary, in order to help in formulating the scheme.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Then I suppose that the Special Commissioner and Chief Protector of the Aboriginals, at , £650 a year, is helping to formulate the scheme, because that is a new appointment, though I understand that it is a special one for only twelve months.

Mr Thomas:

– The honorable member will admit that we ought to look after the aboriginals ?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– No man has a keener desire to do so than myself; but there seems to be a big staff to look after them, consisting of a Chief Protector, a Chief Inspector, two other inspectors, a clerk in the head office, and so forth.

Mr Thomas:

– That is the comprehensive scheme suggested by Professor Spencer, and I agreed to all that he recommended.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– The Director of Agriculture is a comparatively new office.

Mr Thomas:

– It is quite new.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Other new appointments are the manager of the Batchelor Farm, the manager of the Daly River Farm, and an “ economic Entomologist,” whatever that may mean - I suppose he is there to kill the mosquitoes.

Mr Thomas:

– To kill the white ants, if possible.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– The trouble is that this gentleman will not kill the white ants or the mosquitoes ; but will go on drawing his £450 a year, with, no doubt, expenses. I find, also, that a Chief Medical Officer has been appointed. Previously we had a Medical Officer at £560 a year stationed at Darwin, and two others, who were receiving , £1,000 a year between them. These officers are not too highly paid. The Government have now appointed an additional medical officer.

Mr Thomas:

– No. We previously had two at £500 a year, but one of them is not now with us.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Then, again, the nurses have been increased in number from three to seven, but, as there is a good deal of sickness up there, I can understand this addition.

Mr Thomas:

– We have introduced the eight hours’ principle, believing that a twelve hours’ day is not reasonable for a nurse in a hospital.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I quite agree with the Minister. I find that among other new appointments we have that of a Veterinary officer and a Curator.

Mr Thomas:

– The Curator was there before, but was known as the Government Secretary.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Then the Government have appointed a Director of Lands, the gentleman selected for the position being an ex-member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. Among other new appointments are those of Chief Surveyor, three surveyors, three assistants, a Chief -Draughtsman, a draughtsman and com.putist, and a secretary to the Director.

Mr Thomas:

– We must have a Survey Department.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– We cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs, but we seem to have broken a great many in this case. Under the head of “ Gold-fields and Mining” we find provision made for a Director of Mines and Government Geologist, an Inspector of Wardens, a Chief Warden, Warden, Assayer, Manager of cyanide and crushing plant, and Warden of certain mining districts, the salaries totalling j£3i33° Per year. I hope that the Minister is taking care to get value for this outlay, and I should like to know what is the value of the minerals exported from the Territory. I have heard that the mines are in rather a decadent state.

Mr Thomas:

– We wish to brighten them up.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Then, under “ Education,” we find provision made for an inspector and a superior teacher, for a head teacher at Darwin, a teacher at Pine Creek, and a travelling teacher. I understand that there are 115 scholars up there.

Mr Thomas:

– These are all matters of detail, concerning which I am prepared to give the fullest information when we reach the several divisions to which the honorable member is referring.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I recognise that a good many of these appointments were quite necessary. I am simply calling attention, in a general way, to the fact that a number of new appointments are being made, and I hope that we are getting good value for our money. We often laugh at stories of German settlements, where, for every settler, there are three or four officials, but it seems to me that we are following very much the same lines. The position reminds one of the celebrated battle in the Highlands, where the chieftain went to war with four-and-twenty men and five-and-twenty pipers.

Mr Thomas:

– Should the settlers or the administrative officers be the first to go to the Territory?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– If we had a general scheme we could determine whether or not all these officers were necessary. I am pleased to see provision made for an expenditure of £5,000 for the development of the Australian export trade on the Continent of Europe. If we could get our meat on the great Continental markets of the Old World inestimable good would be done to Australia. 14 am pleased that the High Commissioner has been looking into the matter.

Mr Higgs:

– What about the great market in Australia? There are many people in Sydney and Melbourne who want cheap meat.

Mr Thomas:

– Has the honorable member noticed that we have broken up the meat ring in the Northern Territory?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I did not know that there was a meat ring there. As to the remark made by the honorable member for Capricornia, I would remind him that we are liable to periods of fluctuation - that there are times when our exports of meat must suddenly cease, and that we can only hope to cure the trouble by stimulating irrigation, since this is due undoubtedly to the want of an adequate rainfall in certain places. This item of £5,000 to which I have just referred may do much to stimulate the frozen meat industry, which is one of the mainstays of our export trade. In conclusion, I desire to refer to the item of £20,000 which is again set down for advertising Australia. This, I presume, is the only money we are going to spend on immigration.

Mr Higgs:

– It is an entirely unnecessary expenditure, according to the letters that we receive from the Old Country. Australia has been advertised.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I should have been glad if an effort had been made to transfer to the Commonwealth the control of immigration. The State Governments have been very willing to meet the Federal Government, and the answer made to their representations was not what I expected. It should have been more sympathetic, because we are in a far better position than are the State Governments to deal with immigration. As it is, the Agents-General are meeting in London, and are proposing a scheme to “carry out this work, which could have been done with greater satisfaction through the High Commissioner. It seems to me that we are to perpetuate the system of having an Agent-General for each of the States, although it was said that the appointment of a High Commissioner for the Commonwealth would save the States that outlay. The continuance of this system is to- be deprecated. Whatever we are here, we ought to be entirely one in England.

Mr Thomas:

– How can we be one at Home if we cannot be one out here?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– If this matter had’ been taken in hand years ago, and Commonwealth offices erected in London-

Mr Tudor:

– The honorable member should blame his own party for that.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I am not blaming the Labour party.

Mr Higgs:

– The Opposition are always talking about things, and never doing anything.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– No doubt the Labour party had every Ministry prior to the Fusion Government in the hollow of their hand.

Mr Higgs:

– And whatever they did that was good was done, I suppose, at the instance of the Labour party?

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– I should say that whatever they did that was bad was done at the instance of the Labour party.

Mr Thomas:

– I quite agree that the honorable member’s crowd ought to have done something.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– And the honorable member’s crowd ought to have induced previous Ministries to do something. The perpetuation of a system under which we have a High Commissioner for the Commonwealth and six Agents-General cannot appeal to any common-sense man. The Canadian Provinces have their various bureaux, but they all work conscientiously together, and get far more for their money than we do. In conclusion, I should like to ask the Minister whether he is proud of the expenditure of £60 on an advertisement in the Labor Call to advertise Australia.

Mr Thomas:

– I think as much of the Labor Call as I do of the Age, the Argus, or any paper issued by the National League.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– Perhaps that does not mean that the honorable member thinks much of it. Does he think that the expenditure in question was bond fide and proper ?

Mr Thomas:

– I have already explained it. Had the honorable member been here, attending to his duties, he would have heard a very good explanation.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– From a commercial point of view, I do not think the taxpayers got value for the expenditure.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr ANSTEY:
Bourke

.- I listened with interest to the remarks which were made by honorable members opposite upon the question of immigration, and especially to the observations of the honorable member for Darling Downs upon the subject of advertising the Commonwealth. One of his complaints was that the Government had done nothing to attract immigrants to Australia. Strange to say, it was only the other day that I read a little pamphlet entitled Nation Building, which was issued by him when he was AttorneyGeneral in the Deakin Government. In that pamphlet he states that the Government of which he was then a member had been in communication with the States, and that it was quite prepared to bring out any number of immigrants, provided the States would guarantee to find them land and employment. But, he added, as the States are not prepared to give any such guarantee, this Government cannot act.

Mr Mathews:

– The Prime Minister of the day made the same statement.

Mr ANSTEY:

– The Government of which the honorable member for Darling Downs was a Minister did nothing in the way of advertising Australia or of attracting immigrants to its shores. They did none of the things which they blame the present Government for having failed to do. The honorable member also complained of the expensive methods adopted by the present Government in the matter of advertising Australia.

Mr Hedges:

– Does the honorable member include Western Australia in his remarks ?

Mr ANSTEY:

– Yes.

Mr Hedges:

– Then the honorable member is not correct in his statement- of the facts.

Mr ANSTEY:

– I am speaking of the honorable member for Darling Downs, who complained that the present Government had done nothing in connexion with immigration. When the Minister of External Affairs pointed out that the Government have expended a large sum of money in that direction, honorable members opposite explained their own inaction by declaring that they had been prevented from doing anything by the Labour party. When we demonstrate that immigrants have come to Australia since the present Government assumed office, they affirm that those immigrants have been attracted here despite the inaction of the Government. The honorable member who had the impudence to speak as he did in this connexion was the very man who issued the pamphlet entitled Nation Building, in which he explained that the Government of which he was a member had done nothing in regard to immigration.

Mr Hedges:

– They had not the money.

Mr ANSTEY:

– That was not his explanation. They had the money. . They were prepared to bring out all the immigrants required if the States would guarantee them land and employment upon their arrival. He went on to justify the inaction of his Government on the ground that the States would furnish no such guarantee. But this Government, having set out its policy, there is no need for Australia to have a party of recruiters or scouts in the Old Country. We merely require to adopt a social policy, which will make this country better than any other country, and in the very nature of things immigrants will then be attracted to it. Complaints have been made regarding the money which has been expended by the Government in advertising, and particularly in advertising in a little journal with which I happen to be intimately associated. It is scarcely necessary for me to point out that, whatever is good or excellent in that journal is mine, and whatever is in bad taste or execrable, belongs to somebody else. Some complaint has’ been made of the poetry published in it. But I have looked at Australia Today, which is issued by the Commercial Travellers’ Association, and in it I find a line which reads -

The stark, white, ring-barked forest.

That is a lovely advertisement for Australia. Then there is this statement -

We know our goal and we are content to bleed for what our sons will see.

Why should we be content to bleed ? Why is there any necessity for us to bleed ? Mr. Brereton goes on to say -

We lead a life of struggle with mistrust and greed.

The honorable member for Echuca disagrees with the poet whose lines he quoted last evening. I am sorry that the poet is not present. The honorable member for

Echuca disagrees with the line in that poem which reads -

Will you shiver at the muck-rake?

Is not that beautiful? Is it not descriptive? Is there not a delicate touch about it ? I am sure that when the poet first gave that to the world he must have had in his mind’s eye the honorable member “for Echuca. Another source of complaint was that some reference was made by the journal in question to the honorable member for Ballarat. The honorable - member for Echuca disagrees with the Labor Call because it speaks of the honorable member for Ballarat as -

A misinformer of the people, a false prophet whose teeth rattle loosely -

Of course, he cannot help his teeth - over words of no meaning, a wild and whirlingyapper of senseless yap and a pretentious windbag.

Surely honorable members opposite do not object to statements of that character, seeing that they contain nothing worse than they themselves have said of each other from time to time? Surely they would not suppress a journal, whether it be Labour, Liberal, or Conservative, or prevent it from getting a fair share of Government advertisements, merely because of its particular shade in politics? Was it not the honorable member for Wentworth who said that the honorable member for Ballarat was a gentleman who went round with a stiletto, and therefore he had to be kept in the front ? Would my honorable friends opposite bar the Labor Call from receiving Government advertisements because it reported the comment of Mr. Reid upon the honorable member for Ballarat? Then, waS it not Sir Thomas Ewing who said of the honorable member for Parramatta that he was a snake in the grass, who had shed his skin so often that one could not count the number of times he had done so? Would honorable members opposite bar any newspaper which gave publicity to such statements, and prevent it from securing its fair share of Government advertisements?

Mr Palmer:

– The complaint is that it is getting more than its fair share of those advertisements ?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Bourke is getting very wide of the question which is before the Chair.

Mr ANSTEY:

– The honorable member for Echuca was permitted to proceed without question. What has the character of a journal to do with the question of whether or not it shall receive a certain share of

Government business? If the argument of the honorable member for Echuca was a sound one, what would have been said if the newspaper in question had republished the remarks to which 1 have referred? Since it has been said that that organ is vile, I wish to know what lower opinion it could have expressed of honorable members opposite than they have expressed of each other? If the honorable member for Echuca was entitled to give publicity to the things which it has blazoned to the world, I claim an equal right to give to the world some other statements which the newspaper in question has published. Amongst those things was a comment made oy the present High Commissioner, who, in speaking of the honorable member for Ballarat, said -

This patriot had no use for me during the years the Labour party kept him in office, but they had not been, in office three weeks before he wanted to form a union with me for their displacement.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What has this to do with the Department of External Affairs ?

Mr ANSTEY:

– lt has certainly to do with the character of the journal which has been attacked. The honorable member had no objection to the honorable member for Echuca quoting from the Labor Call. Upon what ground does he object to a similar course being adopted by me? I claim the right to make quotations from it which please me.

Mr Sampson:

– But the honorable member for Echuca quoted only from a particular issue.

Mr ANSTEY:

– And I am quoting from a particular issue.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to a point of order. I submit that the honorable member is not entitled to quote statements from a journal if he does not connect them with the particular item of expenditure which is now under consideration. The test is, “ Did the Government subsidize this particular issue in which all this stuff appears ? “ If not, it has no right to be quoted here. Under cover of a reply to the honorable member for Echuca, I submit that the honorable member for Bourke is not entitled to bring in a series of counter charges which have no bearing on the item under review. The one question which has to be decided here is whether the Government are justified in distributing a particular copy of this journal broadcast over the Old Country. We are not concerned with the reputableness of the newspaper itself, or with the character of the matter which appears in it generally.

I submit that the honorable member cannot get behind that issue in order to make a series of attacks upon honorable members - attacks which do not reflect any credit upon him, and which are certainly irrelevant to the question before the Chair.

Mr Fenton:

– I rise to order.

The CHAIRMAN:

– There cannot be two points of order before the Chair at one time.

Mr Higgs:

– The honorable member for Parramatta is using offensive language.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– My point of order is that the honorable member for Bourke is introducing totally irrelevant matter, and unless he can connect what he is saying with the particular issue of the Labor Call which was specially paid for by the Government he has no right to say it now.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I understand that the honorable member for Bourke is replying to an attack made on a newspaper in which he is interested, and I presume that he will connect his remarks with the item under discussion.

Mr ANSTEY:

– I understand that the honorable member for Echuca has objected to a payment for an advertisement made to a particular journal by the Government.

Mr Palmer:

– To the payment of £60 for one advertisement.

Mr ANSTEY:

– The honorable member objects to the amount that the Government has paid to a particular journal for an ad_vertisement. He was perfectly within his rights in stating his objection to the sum paid, and in discussing the value of the advertisement. Had he kept to that, I should not have interfered ; but he went further.

Mr Palmer:

– I had to prove the worthlessness of the journal.

Mr ANSTEY:

– The honorable member made quotations from the journal in order, as he now says, to prove its worthlessness.. I desire to help him by making furtherquotations which he will be able to use during the coming electoral contest. Withthose that he has made, and what I propose to add, he will have a very fine collection. A complaint against this journal is that its writers have a bad opinion of the honorable member for Ballarat, and have made objectionable references to him. Were I so disposed, I might justify what has appeared in this journal on the ground that’ nothing therein published is worse than honorable members opposite have said of each other. I have quoted a remark made’ by the honorable member for Wentworth. concerning the honorable member for Ballarat, and the opinions of Sir Thomas Ewing about the honorable member for Parramatta. The latter, this afternoon, denounced this journal as scurrilous, but how could it be more scurrilous than he himself was in referring to the honorable member for Ballarat as a political sausagemaker, as a man who put out a string of utterances containing expressions of unknown quantity?

The CHAIRMAN:

– I fail to see that the honorable member is now in order.

Mr ANSTEY:

– We are discussing the vote for the High Commissioner’s office, which reminds me that this journal has said nothing worse about the honorable member for Ballarat than has been said about him by the High Commissioner. If we are not to spend money in advertising Australia in this journal because of views it has expressed in regard to the honorable member for Ballarat, why should we spend money on the High Commissioner, who has expressed similar views? Let us, to be logical, object to the payment of the salary of the High Commissioner because of the opinions that he has expressed regarding the honorable member for Ballarat. If the statements which have been published in this journal demonstrate its dastardly and vile character, the almost identical statements which honorable members opposite have made about each other prove their dastardly and vile character. The honorable member for Ballarat himself once said of the Opposition that it was a mixed party, diminishing at every election, that it was the wreckage of half-a-dozen parties, of the importers’ party, of the anti-social party, and of every defeated faction. But the attitude of the honorable members for Echuca and Parramatta is that, because this journal has expressed an identical opinion, it should be prevented from participating in the Government advertising of the Commonwealth.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I have not taken up that attitude at all.

Mr Bennett:

– The honorable member did so this afternoon.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I referred to the circulation of certain statements in London at the expense of the Government.

Mr Mathews:

– And the honorable member quoted these articles.

Mr Finlayson:

– Does the honorable member repudiate the statement of the honorable member for Echuca?

Mr ANSTEY:

– The statement is that this journal should not participate in the Government advertising because of the opinions that it expresses.

Mr Palmer:

– I said that the journal should not be recognised by the Government because of its extreme vulgarity.

Mr ANSTEY:

– Because this journal has been used as a vehicle to convey to the public opinions identical with those which honorable gentlemen opposite have expressed of each other, they denounce it as vile and dastardly, and declare that it should not participate in the Government advertising. The honorable member for Darling Downs had the impudence to speak of the inaction of this Government in regard to immigration, although he himself circulated a pamphlet throughout the country pointing out that the Government to which he belonged could not carry out an immigration policy because the States would not guarantee to make land available.

Mr Groom:

– The States have since changed their minds, and are now willing to do that. Are honorable members opposite willing to co-operate with them?

Mr ANSTEY:

– When I sit on the front bench I shall state the Government policy; but at present, unfortunately, instead of running the Government I am merely sitting behind it. The High Commissioner has said of the honorable member for Ballarat that he lived on the Labour party for a year, and then for another year, and that the third year he sold it. However, I do not wish to occupy further time on this subject.

Progress reported.

Sitting suspended from 6.26 to 8 p.m.

page 5442

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (TRADE AND COMMERCE) BILL

Leave granted.

Mr HUGHES:
AttorneyGeneral · West Sydney · ALP

– It will be within your recollection, Mr. Speaker, that, when the proposals for amendment of the Constitution were before the House in 1910, you permitted a very wide latitude, and, on the second reading of the first Bill, one was permitted to deal with the subjectmatter of the second measure. The proposals then embodied in two Bills are now set forth in six measures. I desire first to ask you whether you propose to allow, subject to the very necessary and wise restrictions imposed on the last occasion, the same latitude in this debate. Secondly, I should like to ask whether you are able to say that the time limit in the new standing order is to apply to this discussion. I confess that it is absolutely impossible for me to present this case within that period, and, further, it is quite impossible for me to even to attempt to do so unless I am quite assured that I shall have the necessary time.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The AttorneyGeneral asks two questions, the first of which is whether I shall allow the broadest possible latitude in this debate, and the second is whether I am prepared to suspend the Standing Orders. As to the first, I shall follow the course I took on the last occasion, namely, that, as the various Bills to be introduced, some six in number, bear one on the other to such an extent that it is almost impossible for me to separate them, it necessarily follows that I shall give the broadest possible latitude, provided that honorable members keep strictly to the question of constitutional amendment. It is just as well to explain at once what I mean. If honorable members go into a number of personalities, I shall stop them as soon as possible; but so long as they keep to the question of constitutional amendment I shall allow the broadest possible scope. As to the question of suspending the Standing Orders, it is one entirely for honorable ‘ members and the House. If it is desired that the Standing Orders shall be suspended, and an extension of time allowed, I am purely in the hands of the House. If the House desires that that course shall be followed, I shall take that course, but, otherwise, I must stand strictly by the Standing Orders, and confine the mover of the motion to one hour and thirty-five minutes in his opening speech, and other honorable members to one hour and five minutes.

Mr Hughes:

– I have made myself, perhaps, ill-understood, and I should like to make a personal explanation. Are we to understand from what you have said, Mr. Speaker, that I am confined to one hour and thirty-five minutes, subject to leave being granted at the end of that time for an extension?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Why not suspend the Standing Orders?

Mr Hughes:

– If I am so confined, it puts me in a position that I am quite unable to occupy; and, therefore, I should like the Leader of the Opposition, with your permission, to indicate what course he proposes to take.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Is it the pleasure of the House that the Leader of the Opposition have leave to make a statement?

Leave granted.

Mr DEAKIN:
Ballarat

.- Members of the Opposition, having considered this question, entirely agree with the Attorney-General that, in regard to matters of such supreme importance to the Commonwealth, in the highest public interest, there should be no limitation imposed on debate. That excepts occasions on which you, Mr. Speaker, choose to properly exercise authority in repressing the disturbances, to which you have incidentally alluded, or vain repetition’s or any breaches of the existing Standing Orders. With every desire to hasten the close of the session, and without any intention of impeding “the transaction of business, honorable members on this side feel themselves unable to fulfil their duties to their constituents, unless they- have the fullest opportunity of expressing their views on these all-important questions, and of supporting their views by their votes when necessary. The circumstances under which the Opposition face the House make the result of the divisions on this and other questions absolutely certain from the very outset; consequently, we are pleading for nothing but a ‘ hearing at the bar of public opinion before judgment is passed on these vital national issues. If this be granted, every effort will be made on this side to economize time and’ to reduce speeches to a minimum, while it permits us to place our case fully before the people of the country. We shall be most happy to lend the Government any assistance to that end. We believed and’ thought that the restrictions imposed by these Standing Orders would never be applied to measures of national and supreme importance, on which it is absolutely necessary that the public should hear both sides at full length if they are to form a mature and sound judgment on the issues at stake.

Mr Fisher:

– By leave of the House, I should like to make a statement.

Leave granted.’

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– I should like to say to the Leader of the Opposition and the House that the Government are quite prepared, if the Opposition will agree to it, to ask you, Mr. Speaker, to allow every honorable member unlimited time in the discussion of this important constitutional amendment, provided there is one discussion on the second reading, and that, as all the Bills are practically one Bill, we go into Committee automatically as the succeeding Bills come on.

Mr Deakin:

– I should like to make a further statement.

Leave granted.

Mr DEAKIN:
Ballarat

.- The 1’ rime Minister had already mentioned this proposition to me, and I submitted it to the members of the Opposition, who gave it the most favorable consideration. But we are unable to see that in discussing the first of the six Bills under the conditions suggested we can possibly do justice to the principles involved in the other five. We should find ourselves limited, not only at the Committee stage, but also possibly by your ruling, sir, in considering a number qf alternatives which we feel are absolutely indispensable to a proper decision. For this reason, and not without recognising to the full the value of - the offer made, we feel that it would not be possible by the means suggested to do justice to the questions and to put the electors of the country in full possession of our views.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I cannot allow this discussion to go any further. The only course I can take is, when each member’s time has expired, to ask whether it is the pleasure of the House that he be permitted to speak further.

Mr Hughes:

– May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, for leave now?

Mr Kelly:

– Do I understand that the leave is to apply all round?

Mr SPEAKER:

– If the honorable member desires me to ask leave of the House, I can do so, but I can do no more. Is it the pleasure of the House that the Attorney-General have leave to extend his remarks ?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– No.

Motion (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -

That the Order of the Day be postponed until to-morrow.

Mr DEAKIN:
Ballarat

.- I may have been misled, but the Attorney-General, by his utterances and his attitude, certainly led us to think that he intended to proceed with the motion for the second reading of this Bill, and it was on that supposition that I dealt with the question.

Mr Fisher:

– It is only fair to point out that the Attorney-General said it would be impossible for him to go on.

Mr Kelly:

– But he said he would go on, all the same.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I am prepared to admit that the Attorney-General, who is master of this question, cannot compress all his knowledge within the time named; but he is allowed half-an-hour more than is allowed to other honorable members, and he could, at all events, lay a basis for his further remarks, and in Committee could supply any omissions forced on him by the limitation. Under these circumstances, the debate could have taken a natural course. Now, however, it is proposed, apparently, to adjourn the debate, and yet to resume it later under the same circumstances. Inasmuch as you, Mr. Speaker, have ruled that, unfortunately, the standing order applies, though it was adopted without any reference to Bills of this character, except that we expressly made a_point of pressing this, very consideration for exceptionally important measures-

Mr SPEAKER:

– I ask the honorable member not to discuss that matter ; the question before the Chair is that the Order of the Day be postponed.

Mr DEAKIN:

– Perhaps I may finish the sentence, and point out that I foretold the very situation that has now arisen. To impose the standing order on this occasion at once puts the House in fetters, just when it is most desirable that we should consider the questions before us in the freest possible manner consistent with the Standing Orders. I fail to see what the Attorney-General has gained by declining to proceed, though. I know what we have lost - the opportunity of hearing the honorable and learned gentleman under circumstances of special advantage in regard to the, first of the six proposals. The task imposed on the Attorney-General is heavy enough already to make its subdivision a matter of no inconsiderateness. It is a kindness to him. He will find the task of conducting these Bills through their various stages, as he previously confessed in regard to the last occasion, one of the most burdensome he has ever had to perform in the course of his political life. Now, as to the Standing Orders limiting speeches, on the 17 th July I said -

However important the other issues are, the most pressing appear to centre in the question of whether there is to be any attempt to apply these or similar rules.

Mr SPEAKER:

– I must ask the honorable member not to discuss that matter.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I only desired to show that I then stipulated for discrimination on this question.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member has already referred to the matter to some extent.

Mr DEAKIN:

– My desire is to prove my words.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member must not pursue the subject.

Mr DEAKIN:

– Cannot I prove the accuracy of my quotation from memory?

Mr SPEAKER:

– I have allowed the honorable member much latitude.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I merely wished to prove that I pointed out this very difficulty in regard to great measures of this moment when I was told in reply that the Standing Orders could be suspended.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The question is that the Order of the Day be postponed.

Mr DEAKIN:

– I submit to the AttorneyGeneral that it is surely not too late for him to place before us at once the general considerations proper to a second-reading debate on the first of his proposals, with such other explanations as may enable him to touch with sufficient clearness upon the underlying connexion of this Bill with those’ that will follow. I regret that he should be in any way required to depart from his original intention, and that there has nof been found some means by which he would be able to proceed, at all events, with the motion for the second reading of the first measure set down for consideration. That ought not to occupy him beyond the time at his disposal under the Stnnding Orders. It might involve a curtailment of the consideration of the question of general principles, but with that we should have to content ourselves. The AttorneyGeneral could submit his first measure in full, and in part deal with its relation to the great series of constitutional propositions with which he is once more associated. On their fate will greatly detpend many of the future potencies and developments of Australia.

Mr HUGHES:
AttorneyGeneral · West Sydney · ALP

– I feel sure that no honorable member would care to be placed in such a position. To deal with a question like that now before us without having the positive assurance that, while amplifying and developing his argument, he should not be liable to be nipped in the bud, so to speak, by any one member. I speak only for myself, and such a position is one that I cannot occupy. Some men might be able to do so, I could not. I could not go on with the motion for the second reading of the Bill unless I knew I should be allowed to finish. On a former occasion, I think I occupied some two hours, whilst the Leader of the Opposition, who followed, took longer. Every honorable member has his own way of dealing with a subject, and if he is forced out of his gait, whatever that gait may be, he cannot do justice to it. It seems to me that I should have ample opportunity to set the Bill before the Parliament. On the last occasion I dealt with only the one Bill at the second- reading stage. I made no second-reading speech on any other Bill. In the case of the succeeding measure, I did no more than move formally that it be read a second time. That is the course which I had in mind in regard to these measures, and with the leave of Mr. Speaker it could have been followed. In the circumstances, however, nothing else is to be done but to adjourn the matter.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– It comes as a surprise to have this motion abruptly moved without any reason being furnished other than that just given by the Attorney-General. Every statement which the honorable gentleman has made as to the necessity for adequate time in dealing with these measures meets with my warm approval. But every statement that he has made applies equally to the members of the Opposition. If he, with all his preparation - knowing the genesis of these later proposals, and having matured them in his office with his responsible officers - finds himself unable to curtail his remarks in any way, how much more difficult must it be for honorable members on this side, who have not the same advantages, to do so? I venture to say that the country desires just as much to hear an adequate setting of these questions by the constitutional lawyers on this side of the House, who have made a special study of the subject, as it desires to hear the AttorneyGeneral himself.

Mr Spence:

– Why did the Opposition refuse the unlimited time offer?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There has been no unlimited time offer.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– There has been.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Let the Prime Minister now take off the shackles, as he alone can do, and let the whole debate proceed uninterruptedly, we on our side giving a guarantee that not a moment longer than is necessary will be occupied.

Mr Fisher:

– If the Opposition would take the second-reading debate on the whole of these measures in connexion- with the first Bill, I shall be prepared to agree to that.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– On six Bills?

Mr Fisher:

– On one subject.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– May I point out to the Prime Minister the advantage which the Government have in this matter ? When we go into Committee we can speak for only half-an-hour. The Attorney-General, on the other hand, will have, not thirty minutes, but thirty hours, in which to speak, if he so desires.

Mr Finlayson:

– The same time is not allowed to every member.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– That time is allowed to the Minister in charge of the Bill. Any one of his party may help him, and, in doing so, they can speak as long as we can. The Attorney-General, being in charge of the Bill, will be free from any time limit in Committee, although, strange to say, he is limited in the House. Even when speaking in the House, however, he is allowed 50 per cent, more time than is allowed to any one on this side. Surely, having regard to the national character of these proposals, there should be no time limit. I would remind the Prime Minister that members on this side supported him in framing the standing order under consider tion, and that there was practically an undertaking by the Prime Minister that he would not strictly apply the order to the consideration of any proposal of first-rate importance. In my judgment, therefore, the Government are acting unreasonably.

Mr Hughes:

– There was only one discussion on the two Bills on the last occasion.

Mr Fisher:

– And we could have put the whole of these proposals into one Bill of six parts.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I do not know why, even now, the honorable member could not confine these six distinct proposals to the one Bill, providing in the Bill for their separation at the ballot. I do not know why he has separated them. That, however, is his own concern. I ask the Prime Minister to strain a point so as not to prevent an adequate discussion of these proposals. If our suggestion were adopted, it would lead in the sequel to less debate.

Mr Fisher:

– I have offered to agree to an unlimited discussion on the basis of one debate in respect of the several Bills.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Subject to the condition that we forego our rights to a greater extent than any concession which the Prime Minister can make. The right honorable gentleman will give us a handful if we give him a basketful in return. That is his proposition. My own impression is that, in the sequel, there would be less debate if a full threshing-out of these proposals were allowed at this early stage of the proceedings.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- I think that if the Prime Minister will weigh* what the Attorney-General has said, and bear in mind some other considerations which I shall venture to put to him, he will realize the inadvisableness of starting in this way the consideration of these immensely important questions. The AttorneyGeneral’s statement applies to every one in the House. It is quite impossible to deal with this question, he says, in an hour and thirty-five minutes. I regard him. as as gifted a man as there is in the Chamber. That being so, what sort of a chancehave less gifted members to deal with these questions, and to shoulder the responsibility which they hold here, in one hour and five minutes? What the Attorney-General hassaid of his own difficulty, becomes immensely emphasized when applied to every honorable member. The Prime Minister will realize, I think, that if he demandsunlimited time for the Attorney-General, and denies more than an hour and five minutes to others-

Mr Fisher:

– I offered every one of the Opposition the same time. The AttorneyGeneral intended to deal with the whole question on that understanding, thinking, that it was to be adhered to.

Mr KELLY:

– Did he understand that ?

Mr Fisher:

– He did. And he came to-night prepared to deal with the whole of the measures.

Mr KELLY:

– There are six Bills, which honorable members may see for themselves, and they all vary in important details..

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member must confine himself to the motion before the Chair.

Mr KELLY:

– The difficulty of adopting the course suggested by the Prime Minister is that it would confuse, rather than make clearer, the issues to the public of Australia. The people would get sick and tired of reading the debate, or endeavouring to unravel its details. If honorable members opposits wish to confuse the public, I can conceive of no better course to follow.

Mr West:

– Make long speeches.

Mr KELLY:

– The Attorney-General, who is quite as competent as is the honorable member, says that he cannot deal with the question in the hour and thirty-five minutes allowed to him under the Standing Orders. If, instead of dealing with these proposals Bill by Bill, we are to try to deal with the whole of them in the one debate, the public mind will be more confused than ever it has been. That may suit my honorable friends opposite-

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order ! The honorable member is going beyond the question.

Mr KELLY:

– I regret that the Prime Minister has taken this action. In view of the statement made by the AttomeyGeneral, and the very fair attitude adopted sby the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - and, I am sure, by every member of our party - it is infinitely to be deplored that the Government should have permitted this . motion. We have come here to-night to hear th’e Attorney-General, and we wish to hear him to the full, provided that in giving that right we are not depriving our side of equal rights.

Mr Chanter:

– Equal rights were offered to the Opposition.

Mr KELLY:

– No.

Mr Mathews:

– The Opposition do not recognise one leader.

Mr KELLY:

– Honorable members opposite have had two this evening. One Minister said that he was going on, no matter what the House decided to do, and the Prime Minister has decided that he is not to go on.

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order!

Mr KELLY:

– The Government ought to withdraw this motion, otherwise it will go out to the country that they do not want to play fair on this most important constitutional question.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member must withdraw that remark.

Mr KELLY:

– At your direction, sir, I withdraw it.

Mr WISE:
Gippsland

.- On the last occasion on which we dealt with proposed amendments of the Constitution almost the whole of the Government propositions were included in one measure, and there was one general debate upon them. On the present occasion, the Government have seen fit to deal with each proposal in a separate Bill.

Mr Sampson:

– Why deal with them in separate Bills, ifwe are not to discuss each Bill separately?

Mr WISE:

– Each of these proposals is dealt with in a separate measure. Seeing that they could all be debated together, as they were on the last occasion, the Prime Minister has proposed that honorable members should be allowed an unlimited time to discuss the motion for the second reading of one Bill, and that the corresponding motion in respect of the other Bill’s should be agreed to without debate. That seems to me a very reasonable proposition, especially as it would place honorable members in the identical position that they occupied a couple of years ago. However, objection has been urged to the adoption of that course. Why the Opposition should expect that honorable members should be allowed an unlimited time to debate the second reading of each of these measures I do not know. If weadopted that course we would never finish our labours, unless we sat continuously night and day.

Mr Kelly:

– Six amendments of the Constitution are proposed.

Mr WISE:

– Upon a previous occasion all the proposed amendments of the Constitution were debated together. In the circumstances, the postponement of this particular Order of the Day seems to be the only course which is open to us. The Prime Minister has told us that the AttorneyGeneral came here prepared to deal, in one speech, with all the matters which are involved in the six Bills. As he is unable to do that, he must necessarily have time to re-arrange his speech into six divisions, and, consequently, a postponement of the Order of the Day is imperative.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not think it is possible to refuse the request of the Attorney-General to adjourn the business which has thus suddenly been brought forward. But I think every honorable member has a right to express his opinion of the extraordinary action of the Government. When the Estimates were under consideration the Prime Minister moved that progress should be reported, in order that the Attorney-General might be afforded an opportunity to open the debate upon these constitutional questions.

Mr Fisher:

– By arrangement with the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I was just going to refer to that. It cannot be forgotten that earlier in the day the Prime Minister stated that an arrangement had been made under which the Attorney-General was to have unlimited time to enable him to deal with a particular Bill, that a similar privilege was to be accorded to the Leader of the Opposition, but that all other honorable members were to be limited as to the time they occupied by our Standing Orders. Now it turns out that no such arrangement was ever made. That arrangement was no sooner mentioned by the Prime Minister than honorable members upon this side of the House expressed astonishment that it should ever have been entered into. Now it appears that no such arrangement was made.

Mr Fisher:

– There was an understanding.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Not only was there no arrangement entered into, but the idea underlying that arrangement is absolutely repudiated.

Mr Fisher:

– I will leave it at that.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It should be understood by the public that there never was an understanding, so far as the Opposition are concerned, whereby its members were pledged to allow the AttorneyGeneral and the Leader of the Opposition unlimited time to debate a particular Bill, whilst granting only a limited time to other honorable members upon either side of the House. There was never such an arrangement made.

Mr Thomas:

– Is the honorable member quite sure of that?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I have the distinct assurance of the Leader of the Opposition that no such arrangement was made.

Mr Thomas:

– That is good enough.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– It is.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What has taken place this evening? After the decks had been cleared to enable the AttorneyGeneral to open the debate, he proceeded to ask you, sir, to declare what latitude you would allow in the discussion of the six Bills which have been brought forward. You, sir, replied that you intended to allow a very wide latitude. The AttorneyGeneral then asked the House whether it would not grant to him alone permission to continue his speech to the length necessary, to enable him to properly present his arguments. When it was suggested by the Leader of the Opposition that the same opportunity should be accorded to every -other honorable member, the Prime Minis ter stated that he was quite willing to adopt that course if we agreed to a certain condition. The condition which he sought to impose was that, if the Government allowed each honorable member unlimited time in which to discuss the first of these Bills, they would deny them any liberty to discuss the motion for the second reading of the other Bills. All I can say is that that isa condition which no Opposition ought to be asked to accept. We are asked to deliberately abandon our right to discuss the general principles of five measures if we are granted an unlimited time in which redebate the general principles of one Bill.

Mr Fisher:

– We could have embodied in one Bill all the matters which are dealt with in the six measures.

Mr Fenton:

– Honorable members opposite asked for a general discussion, and now they are not prepared to accept it.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not know what authority there is for that statement. We are told that that was another part of this so-called arrangement. But, as no such arrangement was made, the position is simply this - and it should be known, not merely in this House, but outside of it - that every honorable member ought to abide by our Standing Orders, or every honorable member ought to be placed in the position of having those Orders suspended. It is an unheard of thing for the AttorneyGeneral to come here to open this debate and then to say, “ I am not prepared to proceed unless I am allowed unlimited time in which to discuss these measures, and unless every other honorable member except the Leader of the Opposition is to be limited as to time in debating them.’.’ That is a position which I venture to think’ is unparalleled in the proceedings connected with any debate upon a big subject. It is just as well that the public should know clearly what are the full facts. Those facts are, not only that there never was such an. arrangement made as was mentioned by thePrime Minister-

Mr Wise:

– So far as the honorable member is concerned, that is merely hearsay

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I’ have it on the assurance of the Leader of the Opposition that the arrangement mentioned by the Prime Minister was not made. What doesthe Prime Minister say to that?

Mr Fisher:

– I say that there was an understanding. The honorable member for Ballarat could not commit his party, nos could I commit my party. But there was a. general understanding.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There was neither understanding nor arrangement. I sincerely hope that public attention will be riveted to the action which has been taken to-night.

Mr Deakin:

– I wish to make a personal explanation. I do not desire that any reflection should be cast on the Prime Minister, and I am not willing that any re- - flection should be cast upon me, in connexion with the conversation which took place yesterday when the Prime Minister proposed that the whole of these Bills should be debated on the motion for the second reading of one Bill.- I told him promptly that I could not agree to that proposal for two reasons - first, because the Bills could not be adequately discussed on one measure, and, secondly, because my physical strength would not allow me to speak for the same length of time as the Attorney-General would probably speak. However, the Prime Minister pressed the proposal, and I then said, “ Very good. I will submit it to the party.” He may call that an “ arrangement,” but, if so, he must add that I agreed to submit it to the party with my own emphatic dissent, and with the statement that there was no likelihood of it being accepted.

Mr Fisher:

– I accept the statement of the honorable member as correctly conveying what he had in his mind. But, when leaving him, I understood that he thought «ry proposal to allow honorable members unlimited time in which to debate the motion for the second reading of one Bill was a good one. We came to an arrangement distinctly as to the manner in which the business would be brought forward to-night - an arrangement under which he would speak on Friday morning-

Mr Deakin:

– Absolutely correct.

Mr Fisher:

– The trouble has arisen in (the meantime.

Mr Deakin:

– Absolutely correct.

Mr HUGHES:
AttorneyGeneral · West Sydney · ALP

– My own idea in connexion with this matter grew out of a suggestion made by me to the Leader of the Opposition, which was concurred in by him after some very casual conversation with yourself, sir. I understood that we should be permitted to follow the practice which was adopted when we dealt with similar proposals two years ago. In regard to the proposal to grant unlimited time to discuss one Bill, I confess that, on Fri day, that was not in my mind, because I thought that the standing order did not apply. But the discussion of all the Bills upon the motion for the second reading of one Bill was in my mind. I find that that was the course which we followed on the last occasion, and that I did not make a speech on more than one Bill.

Mr Deakin:

– At that time, no limitation was imposed, either upon Ministers or members.

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– The honorable member for Gippsland has contended that on this occasion we ought to put ourselves in the same position as we occupied some two years ago. But I would point out that, at that time, four of the leading items to be submitted to the people were included in one Bill, and that the Opposition protested throughout against their inclusion in one Bill. We pointed out that it was not possible for us to deal with them adequately, because of the way in which they were submitted for our consideration, and that each proposition was so far-reaching in its effect that it ought to have been considered separately. Ministers recognise the wisdom of the suggestion, and have proposed the very course that we advocated.

Mr SPEAKER:

– The honorable member is now going beyond the question.

Mr GROOM:

– I am dealing only with procedure. We are now asked to discuss all these measures in one debate.

Mr Hughes:

– Only at the secondreading stage.

Mr GROOM:

– Were we to do what is suggested, we should forego the right which we have under the standing order of speaking for an hour and five minutes on each amendment of the Constitution following that now before us, which is not a fair request to make of us. The assurance given is a reasonable one. It is that if, by the suspension of the standing order, we are given the right to fully and completely discuss the whole of these proposals on the motion for the second reading of the first Bill, we shall not unduly debate the motions for the second reading of the others.But it cannot be expected that, after having discussed generally proposals affecting the whole structure of our instrument of government, we should refrain entirely from discussing in detail, should the necessity arise, each or any of the specific proposals for the amendment of the Constitution. We are as anxious as are honorable members opposite to deal with these matters, but it should be made clear that the offer of the opportunity for the full and complete discussion of the proposed amendments of the Constitution on the first Bill is accompanied by the request that we shall give up all right to discuss in detail each of the five Bills which comes before us. We have no desire to unduly prolong these discussions, but we cannot forget how far-reaching in their consequences are the proposals of the Government. The Attorney-General tells us that he cannot permit himself to be fettered in the discussion of a subject like this, and that he declines to deal with it unless he is given all the time that he requires. Surely, if he feels the need for opportunity to deal with the whole subject fully, honorable members on this side feel it too. This is not like a measure affecting merely a Department.

Mr Hughes:

– Honorable members will still have the right to speak in Committee on each Bill.

Mr GROOM:

– The standing order gives to private members the right to speak in Committee on two occasions for not more than half-an-hour each time ; but. the Attorney-General may speak as often as he likes. It is a mockery and a farce to apply a limitation to speeches on important proposals for the alteration of the Constitution. Were we discussing a proposal for altering a Tariff item by increasing a duty by S per cent., we could speak for three months if we chose to do so; and yet Ministers decline to allow us the time needed for- the full discussion of proposals altering the whole fabric of our instrument of government.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- We have two alternatives, either to observe the standing order which was agreed to a few months ago, or to suspend it entirely, and put every one on the same footing. The Attorney-General has asked for preferential treatment. He says that “ being what he is,” he objects to being interrupted in the middle of his argument. No one likes to be so interrupted. The standing order cut short a speech which I was making this afternoon, but I had to submit. If it is necessary that the Attorney-General should be untrammelled when dealing with these proposals for the amendment of the Constitution, it is surely necessary that every other honorable member should be equally free. A fair offer has been made to the

Prime Minister. It is that the debate on the second reading of the first Bill to be dealt with shall be without limitation, andi I think he might well agree to that. I object to any inequality of treatment in-, this matter. Ministers and private members should be on the same footing. Let us stick to the standing order, or suspend it entirely.

Mr GLYNN:
Angas

– I do not think that there is much at issue between the two parties on thisquestion. When we had before ustwo Bills for the amendment of the Constitution, a general debate on the wholesubject dealt with by both was. taken on the second reading of the first. That debate was unfettered by any. standing order limiting speakers, and the report of it covers 339 pages of Hansard. When the second! Bill was brought on, honorable members, feeling that they had fairly exhausted the subject, did not speak at any, length, and,. although no arrangement had been made for the curtailment of the debate, and there was no standing order limiting speeches, the discussion commenced at 10.39 m :ne’ morning, and was finished at half -past. 6 in the evening, the report covering only forty pages of *Hansard; or about: half the average length of the lucubrations of some members. The AttorneyGeneral, now that his mind is fresh, and) his voice strong, should be given an opportunity to make his speech to-night, and? the assurance of the honorable member for Ballarat should be accepted that the Bills which are to follow this will not be discussed at undue length.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We are not asking for any indulgence. We do not wish any assurance to be accepted.

Mr GLYNN:

– On the last occasion, although no assurance had been given, the debate on the second reading of the second Bill occupied only a few hours. With allrespect, I submit that the Government is making a mistake in not allowing the freest opportunity for discussion on the first Bill, and the ordinary rights of discussion on the succeeding Bills, which experience shows will not be abused. I think that we shouldsuspend the standing order so far as the discussion of the Bill now before us is concerned, and allow it to operate in regard! to the discussion of the succeeding Bills.

Motion agreed to; debate adjourned.

page 5451

QUESTION

ESTIMATES

External Affairs

Debate resumed from page 5442.

Division 31 (Administrative), £14,975

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- In the language of the Attorney-General, “ being what I am,” I did not like being interrupted in a speech which I was making this afternoon dealing with the great problem how best to develop Central Australia and the Northern Territory. But, by reason of the operation of the standing order limiting Committee discussion to two speeches of -thirty minutes’ duration each, I had to discontinue in the middle of my remarks. I now propose to resume my argument at the point at which I was interrupted, and to deal also with some of the speeches which followed my own. Several honorable members have referred to the country north of Oodnadatta as if it were unfit for occupatton.

Mr Fairbairn:

– It has a rainfall of only4½ inches.

Mr GORDON:

– In that country there are to-day dozens of artesian wells, from which flow tens of thousands of gallons of water; and some day, in place of dozens, there should be hundreds, and may be thousands, of these wells. As a matter of fact, the smallest rainfall there is 5 inches, and the district is supplying the Adelaide and Melbourne markets with some of the finest meat now obtainable. In the very centre of this alleged desert there are at times rivers bringing down to the salt lakes oceans of water. These rivers flow sometimes 2 or 3 miles wide, and rise so suddenly that, on one occasion, a South Australian legislator, Sir John Duncan, had to seek refuge in a tree, and to remain there for two or three days. Those who have referred to this region as a desert region are metaphorically, as he was literally, “ up a tree.” Oodnadatta, which is in the middle of this supposed desert, had in 1910 a rainfall of over 8 inches.

Mr Webster:

– Marvellous !

Mr GORDON:

– The honorable member is, I suppose, satirical. I remind the honorable member for Gwydir that in some of the wheat-growing districts in New South Wales the average rainfall is only 11 to 12 inches. I am not contending that Central Australia Is suitable for cereal cultivation ; but a country which is capable of sending to Adelaide, and other markets, such live stock as is coming to-day from Oodnadatta northwards cannot be regarded as useless. In various parts of New South Wales and Queensland to-day, country which is supposed to be occupied is not proving more productive than this dry region of South Australia.

Mr Webster:

– That is going a bit too far!

Mr GORDON:

– I was surprised to hear the honorable member for Fawkner, who has done so much to develop Queensland, referring to Central Australia in terms which suggest, to my mind, that he regards it as more or less a waste. There is occupation to-day, and there is development going on ; and we have to remember that stretching across it is a well-defined artesian basin. When we have learned to tap these great subterranean supplies of water, and to utilize them, as some day we shall, the country will be even more productive than it is now.

Mr Webster:

– Brackish or salt water?

Mr GORDON:

– Good stock water. From 8 inches at Oodnadatta, the rainfall increases to 19 inches at Alice Springs, 16 inches at Barrow Creek, 20 inches atTennant’sCreek, and 33 inches at Newcastle Waters, whilst at Darwin the rainfall on one occasion was 87 inches.

Mr Webster:

– It all falls in a month or two.

Mr Sampson:

– What is the average?

Mr GORDON:

– I have no objection to re-state the facts which I gave this afternoon as to the averages. Observations for a period of over forty years show that the rainfall ranges from 5 or 6 inches in the driest portion to 62 inches in the tropical portion ; and when we have a great stretch of country with a varied rainfall like that, and where we are learning to develop the artesian basin, we ought not to let it go forth that, in the opinion of some honorable members, it is little better than a desert. What we require in regard to these lands, as throughout Australia, is a little more faith and pluck ; and we ought to see whether we cannot, by increasing the means of communication, make this part of Australia more habitable.

Mr Page:

– I know men who have lost their lives and all their fortunes there.

Mr GORDON:

– I know relatives of my own who have lost their lives and their fortunes in the centre of what are now the most prosperous and productive districts in South Australia. The only inference we can draw from the remarks of honorable members is that:this country is so poor that it will not pay the Australian people to build railways and develop it any further. The same pessimism was shown when it was proposed to connect New York and; San Francisco by a transcontinental railway. It was said over and over again that the intervening country was not fit to carry a railway, and that a line would not pay for axle grease ; whereas 100-day not one railway, but several, are endeavouring unsuccessfully to cope with the increasing traffic.

Sir John Forrest:

– Those transcontinental lines have made America.

Mr GORDON:

– Quite so; and if we read the history of Canada we find that similar remarks were made with regard to the project of the Central Pacific Railway Company. When that company went on the London market to float a. loan for the construction of the line, they were told that the enterprise could not possibly pay - that the country could not carry a railway - whereas to-day further lines are proposed across the Dominion. I ask honorable members to consider whether there is any comparison between a country where it is necessary for breeders to house their stock for five or six months in the year, and a country like Australia, where housing has never to be resorted to. There is no country in the world that offers so many advantages and opportunities to stock-raisers as does Central Australia, which has a great future in this connexion. But , we must develop a faith in Central Australia and the Northern Territory, and stop this habit of decrying our own country, and making the people of the world believe that a great portion of Australia is little more than a desert. Only thirty year ago two-thirds of the United States was written down on the map as desert, but to-day, where the cactus then grew, millions of people are winning wealth from the soil. Who can say that we shall not discover, in regard to Central Australia, opportunities for development such1 as we have discovered in the case of the Mallee lands of Victoria and South Australia. It is within the memory of every honorable member, and certainly within mine, that not more than twelve or fifteen years ago the agricultural position throughout Australia had reached a crisis. The farmers of my State were then face to face with low averages one year after another. For over twentyseven years the average of the State was under 10 bushels per acre. In 1874 we reaped a harvest of n bushels, and it was twenty-seven years before we got back into double figures, so far as wheat per acrewas concerned. The average went as low as 1 bushel 16 lbs. per acre, and wheat waa. selling from is. 6d. to 2s. per bushel. Theposition was an awful one, and there were not wanting critics who pointed out that, the farming industry would have to go,, and the whole of the lands of the State fall back into the hands of the squatter.. However, a great change came ; and I venture to say that now there are no people on the face of the earth making more comfortable livings out of the soil than are the farmers of South Australia. It does not become any member of this House to play the part of a prophet, and declare that this great Territory now under the administration of the Commonwealth is no more than, a desert. I deprecate criticism of that, character in this Chamber of the National Parliament. I wish honorable members torealize that I am not speaking merely on behalf of South Australia, but rather asthe result of some amount of travel through South Australia, Central Australia, and the Northern Territory, and of study of the position in various parts of the continent. I am bold enough to make a forecast that the time is not far distant when honorable members will be forced to admit that they have been in error in regarding this great stretch of country as use* less and not worth consideration from the point of view of means of communication. We have to look on the question of the management of the Northern Territory, or Territoria, as I should prefer to call it, in a broad national spirit. We have to be courageous, and if we can afford to set aside £500,000 annually for a maternity allowance, surely we are brave enough and rich enough to spend a few millions in providing transportation for those people who are doing the pioneering work of this great province. What are we providing? We are offering them the same transport facilities as were available in the time of Moses. In Central Australia the only means of communication is the ancient camel of Egypt. We sometimes ask the Minister of External Affairs why it is that he does not develop the mineral industry in the MacDonnell Ranges ; why he is not able to tell us something about the export of minerals from the Territory. The reason is that, while shareholders in Adelaide and other parts of Australia were making capital available for the development of mines in the ranges, the camel trains, which were used for the transport of machinery from the head of the line at Oodnadatta, kept dropping parts, so that it was impossible to lose one’s way. I have seen this myself. As a matter of fact, the machinery never reached its destination, and the mines became neither more nor less than post-holes. Yet we wonder why the mineral districts, which are known to exist, have not been developed. There is only one way of developing Central Australia and the Northern Territory, and that is by providing railway communication - to increase facilities for transport - and to carry out a scheme of water conservation along the creeks and by using the artesian deposits. I hope that honorable members will be prepared, not only this session, but at all times, to give every consideration to this great problem. This country, which stretches to the Indian Ocean, represents a great heritage to the Commonwealth; but, in its present empty state, it also represents a great national peril.

Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle

– When one hears the glowing descriptions given of the Northern Territory by the honorable member for Boothby, it is difficult to understand why it was ever handed over to the Commonwealth by South Australia.

Mr Gordon:

– Because South Australia was actuated by a national spirit.

Mr HEDGES:

– I may say that the honorable member for Boothby is the first man whom I have heard claim that the cattle brought from Hergott Springs are produced in the Northern Territory.

Mr Gordon:

– I said Oodnadatta.

Mr HEDGES:

– The cattle coming here are sent from Queensland by Mr. Kidman.

Mr Gordon:

– They come from Todmorton station, which is a few miles north of Oodnadatta.

Mr HEDGES:

– I sincerely hope that the honorable member’s statement is correct. If the cattle we see in the Melbourne markets are coming from the Territory it is all the better for the Commonwealth. I can hardly believe that Oodnadatta is the paradise that some honorable members represent it to be. The statistics show that in some years there is a ‘rainfall there of only an inch and a half j and I understand that during the last two years there has scarcely been any rain at all up there. I have been in some fairly dry countries, but I certainly have no desire to try Oodnadatta. The question of what is a good rainfall is governed by that of evaporation. A rainfall of 60 inches per annum in some parts does not do as much good as does a fall of 8 or 10 inches at the right time, and with a moderate temperature.

Mr Thomas:

– This has nothing to do with the Estimates of my Department.

Mr HEDGES:

– It has to do with the Territory which the Minister is called upon to develop. During certain parts of the year it is so wet in the Northern Territory that the men employed by the Minister will not be able to work for months at a time, whilst during another part of the year they will be practically scorched up. There are in these Estimates a few items that require to be explained. I find it difficult to understand what class of white people are living in the Territory, lt seems to me that they must be a very unruly crowd up there, in view of the fact that in 19 10 there was an expenditure of no less than £11,933 under the heading of police and gaol salaries and contingencies. There are also several other items in regard to allowances to police in respect of various special duties which they perform. It would seem that it costs every year £11 per head of the white population of the Northern Territory to maintain the police and gaols up there. If we had to spend only £1 per head throughout Australia on the maintenance of our police force and penal establishments, we should have, in respect of that one item alone, an expenditure of over £4,500,000 per annum. Then, again, the expenditure for 1911-12 in respect of one item under the heading of “ Goldfields and Mining - Contingencies “ in the Northern Territory amounted to £7,722 ; but we have not been told what return we have obtained for that expenditure. Reference has been made to the railway running from Hergott Springs to Oodnadatta, which is on a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. I have mentioned before that the railway runs from Port Augusta in an easterly direction through the Pitchie Ritchie Pass; and that thereafter it runs a little east by north through the Hergott Springs, where it takes an easterly course for a distance of over 100 miles, and then strikes out as if it had been intended to go straight to Port Darwin. The Commonwealth has an excellent chance of making good use of that railway by treating the first 100 miles of the Western Australian transcontinental railway now under construction as representing the first too miles of the railway to Port Darwin. It could continue that line in the direction of Oodnadatta, pull up the rails from Oodnadatta to Hergott Springs, and obtain permission from the South Australian Government to link up the line with the Queensland border, thereby connecting Queensland’s net-work of 3-ft. 6-in. railway with Port Augusta.

Mr Sampson:

– How are we to get over the agreement?

Mr HEDGES:

– It has been got over a good many times, and I am sure arrangements could be made to use this 3-ft. 6-in. railway in the way I have suggested. This is a practical proposition, and it would cost very little to carry out. The 3-ft. 6-in. railway line could be pulled up at a cost of a few pounds per mile, and laid down again at a very small cost. The original survey provided for the railway running from Hergott Springs to Birdsville, or some other point on the southern boundary of Queensland. It was thought, however, that the tremendous floods which come down there, and which are sometimes 40 or 50 miles wide, might cause trouble, and the project was not proceeded with. Since then, however, considerable knowledge has been gained in regard to the construction of railways in such country. Instead of adding to the surface, or making miles of flood openings, the rails are kept rightdown on the surface, so that the floods wash over them without doing any damage. I claim that we could make this railway a good paying asset if permission were given to carry it to the Queensland border. I have here a small map in the Lady Northcote Atlas which gives distances and latitudes in regard to the Territory and Queensland, and, after examining it, honorable members will realize that we have enough rails on the line between Hergott Springs and Oodnadatta to connect up with the Queensland border, and to link our line with the Queensland 3-ft. 6-in. gauge system. If that were done, and the railway to the Katherine River were extended, as it must be, to connect with the Queensland system, at Camooweal, the Commonwealth would be greatly benefited. The interior of the Territory would then be connected with the coast both in the north and in the south. I would also suggest that the railway from Port Augusta to Port Darwin be built on the 4-ft- 8J-in. gauge. One terminal would then be sufficient at Port Augusta, and it would be unnecessary for us to interfere with the present terminal of the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge line. The adoption of my suggestion would probably lead to the traffic over the railway being trebled, and it could easily be carried out. The Queensland railway system is steadily creeping out to that corner of the State which is nearest the Northern Territory. There is very little traffic between Hergott Springs and Oodnadatta, and what there is would, secure a more direct route if a junction were made with the Western Australian railroad. The traffic from Oodnadatta would be run through Port Augusta by a direct line 100 miles shorter than it would be if taken round to Hergott Springs, and thence to the east. We should be the gainers by this arrangement, because we would annex all the inner traffic from Queensland. Queensland has been asking us to connect up with Camooweal, and we shall be able also to secure a connexion with the southern system. The Minister has told us that he experienced great difficulty in obtaining surveyors for the Northern Territory. I suggest that he should follow the practice of some of the States, and adopt the contract system of survey. It has been successfully adopted iu Western Australia, where immense agricultural areas have been surveyed, and it should be adopted by the Commonwealth.’ Under it, surveys are carried out at schedule rates.

Mr Thomas:

– We have obtained two or three more surveyors for the Northern Territory, but we have no surveyors working under contract.

Mr HEDGES:

– I hardly think it likely that the Minister will secure all the surveyors he requires for the Northern Territory unless he offers them an agreement which will enable them to earn pretty big money. The best of our surveyors are so fully employed that they are probably earning more than we could offer them by way of salary. The adoption of my suggestion would be in the interests of the Commonwealth. We should not care what these men earned so long as the work was expedited. There must be some reason why surveyors will not go to the Territory, and I take it that the difficulty is one of pounds, shillings, and pence.

Mr Thomas:

– They are doing very well up there.

Mr HEDGES:

– -But surveyors working here under the contract system are doing better. The Minister could obtain information from the Western Australian Government which would enable him to prepare a schedule of rates, and to induce surveyors to take up the work of laving out the lands of the Northern Territory. I believe that the only way to open up the interior of Australia is by building railways. It is cheaper to build light railways than it is to construct good roads. It is absolutely necessary that we should have lines running into the interior, because any product of little value becomes valueless if it is located more than a certain distance from a railway. People will not go further than a paying distance from the head of the road to look for certain propositions. If we embraced the first opportunity, when rails were cheap, to purchase some 200 or 300 miles of them for the Northern Territory, I think we would be acting wisely. We ought not to spend a tremendous amount of money in constructing earthworks and in ballasting. We ought rather to build what are termed in Western Australia “ agricultural lines.” Nobody would be more pleased than would the people of the Commonwealth if, ten or twelve years hence, they were told that those lines were not equal to our requirements. It is the pioneering lines which really open up the country and make it necessary to construct more expensive- railways afterwards, that we cannot at first afford to build in an elaborate style. I feel sure that if the Government had a scheme for the development of certain areas by the construction of railways, the money would he readily voted by Parliament. I consider that the development of the Northern Territory will have to proceed in a different manner from that in which it is proceeding at present. Let us endeavour to induce people to settle there by offering bonuses upon certain products. That method has been successfully followed in other countries. If we were to offer bonuses upon certain commodities which can be produced in the Northern Territory, we could lay down the rules governing, their production, and stipulate the quality of the article upon which the bonus would be paid. Then, again, every possible information should be afforded settlers who are prepared to go to the Territory and undertake its development. We should have persons in other countries to take note of the methods which are being followed there. The expenditure of a few thousand pounds in that direction would be readily assented to by this Parliament. This huge area of country has to be handled in some way or other. Some time ago a question was raised in this House regarding the inability of the men employed at Port Darwin to commence work at a certain hour in the morning, by reason of the fact that the hotels would not supply them with breakfast sufficiently early. My own opinion is that, where men are sent into such country, it is wise to make some arrangement to provide them with food, rather than to allow them to be dependent on hotels. On some of the timber mills in Western Australia special inducements are offered to boardinghouse.keepers to -supply the employés with food. In tropical country, where men have to work in the open, and where horses are employed, it is idle to say that an interval of half-an-hour or three-quarters of an hour in the middle of the day is of any value to the men. In a hot climate the horses require at least two hours’ spell, and whatever interval they get the men should have. I hope that the Minister, when he is dealing with this matter, will mention that fact to his officers. If men are engaged in large numbers in opening up this country, they ought at least to be provided with facilities to obtain food at a reasonable price.

Mr Thomas:

– Did not the honorable member see that we have broken up the meat monopoly there?

Mr HEDGES:

– I was not aware that there was such a thing in Australia.

Mr Thomas:

– The honorable member does not read the newspapers.

Mr HEDGES:

– I do not believe everything I see in them. If I did, I should get some peculiar ideas from the Minister’s policy of developing the Territory. I wish now to impress upon him the necessity for adopting the suggestion which I have already made to connect the Queensland railway system with the Commonwealth system in the Northern Territory, and to obtain the permission of the South Australian Government to link up the railway system of that State with the Commonwealth system by means of a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. Any honorable member who will take the trouble to look at the map of altitudes will see that there is no grade to prevent effect being given to my suggestion. From the Queensland border to Hergott Springs the country is practically level. In advocating the opening up of the interior I do not share the doubts which are entertained by some honorable members, because I believe that the large bodies of water which are being discharged from the Diamentina, the Cooper, and other rivers could easily be conserved and applied to the land. Anybody who has passed through the United States of America and Canada, as I have during the past twelve months, must recognise that in both those countries there are larger areas of useless land than are to be found in Australia. Between Montreal and Winnepeg I one travels through the most useless country on God’s earth. One sees thousands of miles of rocks, destitute of growth and soil, with lakes with steep walls between them, and the train dodges through the narrow necks between one lake and another. Between Toronto and Montreal there are 250 miles of country which is as useless as that of which I have spoken.

Mr King O’Malley:

– I - It is good grazing country.

Mr HEDGES:

– I do not think that a goat could live on it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera

.- In the speech which I made during the afternoon, I had not time to refer to two or three matters affected by the administration of the Department of External Affairs on which I wish to speak. One of these is the treatment of the aborigines of the Northern Territory, a subject on which little or nothing has been said. Recently I heard a lecture by a gentleman who has successfully conducted missions to the aborigines on the coast of Queensland, who said that the only way in which this fast-dying race of people can be properly dealt with is to place them on areas where they will be isolated, but can be properly supervised, to prevent contamination by contact with the outer world, and demoralization by vices of which, in their uncivilized state, they readily become the prey. The Minister might, before the debate closes, inform the Committee what is the policy of the Department, regarding the aborigines of the Northern Territory, which number, I believe, between 20,000 and 25,000, and what has been done for them during the past twelve months.

I am disappointed to find, from the item on the Estimates, that no more attention is being given now to the encouragement of closer trade relations with the islands of the Pacific than has always been given by our Governments. The Commonwealth is now twelve years old, but statistics show that its trade with the New Hebrides and the adjacent groups of islands is growing very slowly.

Mr Page:

– Is not the honorable member a Protectionist?

Mr SAMPSON:

– Certainly; and I wish to see a Protectorate established by the Commonwealth over these islands. New Caledonia has been completely handed over to the French, and, by reason of the neglect of Great Britain, and, more particularly, of the Commonwealth, the New Hebrides are rapidly falling under French influence, it being the boast of the French settlers there that they possess in freehold two-thirds of the land, and the granting by the French Government of large subsidies to vessels trading between the islands and France, and of concessions to French settlers, is gradually attracting the commerce of the islands to France, instead of to its natural market, Australia.

Mr West:

– The only vessels trading between the New Hebrides and Australia are the steamers of Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company.

Mr SAMPSON:

– Yes ; but the subsidy to the various lines trading to the New Hebrides, Marshall, Gilbert, and Ellice groups - £19,850 - is the same as it has been for some years past. No attempt has been made by the Parliament to bring these islands into a closer trade relationship with Australia, and to establish a predominant Australian influence there. The islands ot the Pacific are becoming of increasing importance to the Anglo-Saxon race.

Mr West:

– They should have been brought under our protection long ago.

Mr SAMPSON:

– I agree with the honorable member. But it is only during the early stages of their settlement and development that we can make our influence predominant, and to do this we must encourage the establishment of communication by means of lines of fast steamers. Of late years there has scarcely been any increase in the trade between these islands and Australia. To encourage the investment of Australian capital in the islands, and to attract their trade to the Commonwealth, we must subsidize better steamer services, and provide wireless telegraph communication. A scheme has been prepared by experts for the connexion by means of a wireless telegraph system of all these islands with Australia. If that connexion were made, they would be brought into close contact with us, our trade relations with them would be improved, and, in the end, we might establish a predominant influence there. I protest against the neglect, not of this Government only, but of all its predecessors, of this important matter.

The need for the advertising of the resources of the Commonwealth has been dealt with effectively by the honorable member for Darling Downs, who quoted largely from the report of the High Commissioner. I am glad to think that the Committee is unanimous in regarding Sir George Reid as most successful as High Commissioner. He has represented the Commonwealth in England and elsewhere with great ability, and has filled his position in a manner which reflects credit on Australia. But it will not be possible for us to continue to be effectively represented, if we do not increase the salary of the High Commissioner to an amount exceeding £3,000 a year.

Mr Page:

– The honorable member has accused the Labour party of extravagance.

Mr SAMPSON:

– In expending money in a manner in which it should not have been expended. Wise expenditure in the interests of the Commonwealth is not extravagance. Sooner or later the salary of the High Commissioner must be increased.

Mr Page:

– The honorable member’s party fixed the salary. We wished to make it larger.

Mr SAMPSON:

– I I am satisfied that we shall not continue to be effectively represented if we. do not increase the salary.

Mr Page:

– Why did not the honorable member vote for a higher salary ?

Mr SAMPSON:

– I did do so. It is unfortunate that the Commonwealth, being empowered by the Constitution to take full control of immigration, has not done so. We passed the Immigration Restriction Act to prevent undesirable persons from entering Australia. There ought to be supervision over immigration, and, whether by arrangement with the States, or by the Government undertaking the expenditure, the important duty of controlling the class of immigrants should be undertaken by the Government. We are constantly being told that the Government is crippled by the Constitutional limitations ; and yet here we have an express power and duty neglected. As to the Northern Territory, I this afternoon contended that the proper means of development was the construction of railways from the northern coast inland to tap settlement that could be encouraged by the storage of water and the application of irrigation.

Mr Archibald:

– How much would it cost?

Mr SAMPSON:

– I believe it would cost millions, but every State in the Union had to spend £18.060,000 or £20,000,000 in order to lay the foundations of any real settlement. I quite appreciate the problem which the Minister has to face; and, limited as he is to a leasehold system, he has not been treated with the consideration due to him from his own side. We are all anxious to settle the Northern Territory in order to relieve the Commonwealth from the incubus of debt and interest, and also with a view to the defence of this continent; and it is the duty of every. honorable member to suggest what, in his opinion, is most likely to achieve that end. Whatever Ministry may be in power, we ought to be supplied with the fullest information regarding the Northern Territory at the earliest possible moment. In order to get a good idea of the situation, I may quote a convenient division that has been made of the Northern Territory, as follows : -

Division A. - 158,000 square miles; tropical ; pastoral country, well watered, good soil along rivers and creeks ; tropical vegetation, subject to tropical rainfall (60 inches at Port Darwin and 19 inches at Daly Waters), parts metal bearing, and probably coal bearing.

Division B. - 34,000 square miles; good pastoral country, often rich volcanic soil, well grassed ; sandstone and limestone hills, wide plains ; good river flats, well watered ; subject to intermittent tropical rains.

Division C. - 29,000 square miles; semitropical ; first-class pastoral country, well grassed, rich soil, possibly agricultural ; subject to intermittent tropical rains.

Division D. - 148,000 square miles; semitropical; patches of good country for pastoral purposes, chiefly along creeks and rivers, patches of spinifex scrub and sand hills; uncertain rainfall ; parts metal bearing.

Division E. - 162,100 square miles; . semitropical; spinifex scrub and sandhill country, with patches of inferior pastoral country; badly watered and uncertain rainfall ; parts metal bearing.

Within the first division we have most of the . real tropical rainfall, most of the mineral country, and most of the river system on which future settlement will be built. Division B is the territory below Daly Waters, which in many respects is probably the richest land in the Territory, but the rainfall is limited, and it can never be expected to become agricultural country. It will, however, be rich grazing land, capable of occupation only in large holdings. Division E goes down south, and probably includes the Macdonnell Ranges. I emphasize once more the fact that the proper way to develop the Territory is to deal with its northern and tropical areas; and this, of course, brings us to the much-vexed question of the railway. I should like to express my appreciation of the patriotic speech delivered this evening by the honorable member for Boothby ; and I, for one, do not despair of large areas of Central Australia, which hitherto have been considered unfit for cultivation, being brought under settlement, when we have found means of water storage. At present, however, the rainfall is insufficient in itself. At Charlotte Waters, which is in the southern part of the Northern Territory, the average rainfall for the last thirty-six years is S inches, and the fall increases in stages until at Newcastle Waters it reaches 17^ inches, or an average over the whole of about 12^ inches. Under our present methods of cultivation nobody would claim that such a rainfall over an area extending, perhaps, 600 miles north, is sufficient. Tropical rain is not so valuable as the same quantity of water falling at seasonable parts of the year in a temperate climate; indeed, it is probable that 30 inches of tropical rain is not as good as 15 inches in the temperate zone. Of the 1,000 miles over which it is necessary to construct a line in order to connect Oodnadatta with Pine Creek, there is certainly 600 miles which, under present methods, is altogether unfit for cultivation. On the other hand, the rainfall for about 350 miles south of Port Darwin ranges from 60 inches to 20 inches, and is quite sufficient to justify settlement on agricultural land, not only for tropical products, but for products which are grown in the southern area under irrigation. If the railway be carried from the south, there must be 600 or 700 miles of country where the rainfall is insufficient to insure successful cultivation.

Mr Archibald:

– What* about wheatgrowing in India?

Mr SAMPSON:

– In India the rainfall and the climate vary considerably; there are parts close to the Himalayas where the atmosphere is as rarified as in the highlands of Queensland, or on the wheatgrowing areas of Victoria and South Australia.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I am sorry to intrude into this debate again, but I rise only for the purpose of supplementing some quotations which I made on a previous occasion, and to refer briefly to certain statements made this afternoon by the Minister. The honorable member, with great unction, laid claim to all the credit that could be claimed with regard to the improved condition of immigration. If the Labour party, fromthe platforms of the country, will tell the people that they, as a party, are favorable to immigration, we shall have no more tosay as to that. But that is precisely what they will not do. They will tell their supporters outside that there ought to beno excess of immigration. It is only in< the House that they take up another attitude, trying to make it appear to trie- Liberal section of the electors that they are the friends of the immigrant. All that they have done since they have been in office- has been not to vote a penny more than has been voted, every year for many years past, to advertise the resources of Australia, or to encourage immigration. Away back in 1906 or 1907, ^20,000 was placed on the Estimates, but was not spent, because the High Commissioner had not been appointed and there was no organization in London. The present organization is the result of the sending of the High Commissioner to London, and he was sent there, not by the present Ministry, but by the Fusion Government which they so much malign.

Mr Tudor:

– To get him out of the way..

Mr Page:

– Did not the honorable member’s party send him there to get him out of the way?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– We We appointed him, and it has been left to the Minister to say that we had no other motive than to play a crude political trick in order to get rid of Sir George Reid. Such a statement is an insult to him, and to every fairminded man who wishes to treat this matter on a non-party basis.

Mr Page:

– It was part of the Fusion agreement that he should go to London, so that the party should get rid of him.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There is not a word of truth in that interjection.

Mr Page:

– There would have been no. Fusion if Sir George Reid had not been’ promised the High Commissionership.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There is not a scintilla of fact to support that statement.

Mr Page:

– It is absolutely true.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– It is not. No better man could have been appointed.

Mr Page:

– I agree with the honorable member as to that.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am one of those who believe that we ought, from the beginning, to have paid the High Commissioner a higher salary. We made a mistake in fixing it so low, and I think we ought to pay the ambassador of Australia a substantially higher sum than he is now receiving. This is the more accentuated by reason of the fact that appointments to positions of infinitely less responsibility and status have since been made at higher salaries. We have appointed a bank manager at ?4,000 a year, while Australia’s ambassador receives only ?3,000.

Mr Tudor:

– Who passed the Bill fixing the High Commissioner’s salary?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Have I not just said that we made a mistake in doing that ? I hope that the Government will consider the advisableness of fixing a higher salary for this most important office.

The Minister tried to justify his action in circulating slanderous statements in London by the subterfuge of pretending that he was only inserting an advertisement in the Labor Call. A more incorrect representation was never made in this House. The honorable member was not a mere advertiser in the Labor Call. He purchased 5,000 copies of that newspaper at the rate of 7d. per copy, its usual price being1d., and they thus became his property.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– He is responsible for every statement circulated in it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– He was responsible for every word published in that issue of the Labor Call.

Mr Thomas:

– How is that ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Because the honorable member bought so many copies, and made them his property.

Mr Page:

– The late Mr. Batchelor bought them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I beg the honorable Minister’s pardon. They were bought, not by the present Minister of External Affairs, but by his Department. The Minister, however, cannot crawl out of his responsibility by saying that he was only an advertiser in this journal. The fact js that he not only inserted an advertisement in it, but purchased so many copies outright, paying seven times the ordinary price for them. They then became his own property, and by his own machinery and at his own discretion, he circulated them.

Mr Page:

– Does the honorable member think it is good business to slander a dead man ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Who is slandering a dead man? The honorable member cannot play off that “ gag “ on me. The Minister has a right to examine these journals before he purchases them for advertis ing purposes. He has no right to use public moneys to slander his opponents in this House, or to slander any political party. The circulation of this newspaper was not advertising the resources of Australia. It was simply advertising the Minister’s party propaganda, and a dirty personal propaganda at that. That is the complaint which is made. It is not that he ought not to advertise in this journal. He can do that as he pleases in Australia. What we complain of is that he uses public funds to circulate slanderous matter under the guise of advertising the resources of Australia. I shall leave that matter.

Retaliation has been made to-night at the instigation of certain honorable members, and there are on . this side honorable members who are prepared to place on record material which will show the kind of thing which is being applauded and supported by such men as the Minister, the honorable member for Brisbane, and the honorable member for Maribyrnong.

Mr Fenton:

– What is the honorable member’s trouble?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Will the honorable member read this matter which I hold in my hand, and say whether he will applaud a propaganda which supports its circulation ?

Mr Fenton:

– If it is dirty, it will suit the honorable member’s mind.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

- (Mr. W. Elliot Johnson). - Order ! The honorable member must withdraw that remark.

Mr Fenton:

– I withdraw it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I shall not reply to the honorable member’s insult.

Mr Fenton:

– The honorable member started the trouble.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Will the honorable member cease interjecting?

Mr Fenton:

– Yes, when the honorable member stops insulting me.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– I ask the honorable member to assist me in preserving order, otherwise I shall have to take another course.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I shall leave that matter for the present. There will be other occasions on which we may deal with it, and when we shall have more time to do so. It comes to me with stunning force to find honorable members like the honorable member for Maribyrnong gloating over the circulation of this kind of stuff. What the Minister showed this afternoon was that, until the High Commissioner was appointed, nothing was done to adequately advertise the resources of Australia. Money was voted that could not be spent, and the spending began only when the High Commissioner went to London, being sent there by our Government. If any one, therefore, may lay claim to the spending of money - the volume of which has not been increased one farthing by this Government - it is not ‘ any member of the Ministry who has held office since we crossed over to this side of the House. We were responsible once more for the new order of things. Honorable members opposite have merely carried it on, just as they have done in other Departments, where the way has been pioneered for them and the conditions inescapably fixed. They simply carried on, and claimed all the credit for initiation. I am glad that the Minister has purchased an additional number of copies of the Com monwealth of Australia for Farmers, and that he is circulating information like this in the Old Country -

Throughout the vast tracts of virgin land comprising the farming belts of Queensland, there are millions of acres awaiting settlement. Areas of excellent land are available in the Darling Downs, Lockyer, Stanley, Rosewood, Fassifern, Logan, Albert, Wide Bay, Burnett, and other districts of the south. In these localities dairy farming nourishes, but the soil and climate are suitable for a wide range of mixed farming.

This publication goes on to say that that condition of things applies to nearly every district of Queensland.

Mr Sinclair:

– And that they can get the freehold.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– On nearly every page of this production the attention of people in England is called by the Minister to the fact that the freehold of these lands is to be had if they will only come here and take it. Then, again, it is stated that in South Australia -

Large areas of land are about to be opened for settlement north of Pinnaroo and east of the River Murray, and on Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln District.

Lesser areas are from time to time thrown open in various localities and repurchased estates in settled districts are subdivided and offered.

Lands, comprising about 360,000 acres, are open to application in various localities. . . .

There are 19,345 square miles of pastoral land open for selection.

The statement is also made that the prices are reasonable, and, in most cases, very low. According to this publication, which the Minister has circulated wherever he can place it, there is plenty of Crown lands available, the freehold of which can be ob tained at very low rates indeed. It is stated that in Western Australia -

There are millions of acres of unalienated lands in the State available for settlement. Most of this land can be obtained under the conditional purchase system.

This afternoon I quoted from another periodical some statements in regard to Western Australia. This additional information will be found useful -

For the hard-working, steady, farm worker who aims at becoming a freehold farmer on his own account, the most remote farms where the only expenditure is on the few clothes and little luxuries like tobacco, are the finest places imaginable. A man who’ gets £1 a week, with occasional additions for harvesting, &c, will, before the end of many years, be able to save sufficient to make a very fair start on his own account.

That is the sort of matter which the Minister is paying to circulate in the Old « Country -

He can obtain an allotment of land on easy terms of purchase, and, with the financial assistance the Board is empowered to give him, he should soon become a farmer himself.

If I were in the Minister’s place I certainly would have revised this publication before allowing it to be disseminated abroad.

Mr Page:

– The statements contained in that book are too extravagant, I suppose ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– As to the quantity of land available, certainly not.

Mr Page:

– The honorable memberthinks that the men ought to get 15s. per week instead of £1 a week?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I do not think so. Any man who goes into the backblocks of northern Queensland is entitled to more than £1 a week. But evidently the Minister does not think so, because he circulates these statements as an inducement to people to come here. Here is the answer officially supplied to all their propaganda in the country. They are always proclaiming that there is no land available for settlement, and that a tax with the force of an explosive bullet is required to break up land monopoly, so that men with small means may be able to settle on the soil. But the Minister says that in South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland there are millions of acres which can be obtained for next to nothing. Here is the answer to all that will be said on the Labour platforms throughout the country in a few months’ time. I congratulate the Minister upon having furnished us beforehand with such, an adequate reply to all the allegations of my honorable friends opposite that there is no land available to men with small means who desire to secure homes for themselves.

The Minister has furnished the most potent argument for anincreased vote to advertise the resources of Australia.

Mr Cann:

– How is it in the lemon trade ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There is a good deal about oranges and lemons in this document. Glowing pictures are painted of dairy farming and fruit farming on the share system until settlers are strong enough, to commence operations on their own account. Every inducement is held out to them by the Minister to come here and secure freeholds. I hope that the Government will act on the basis of what he has circulated, and that, as a result, we shall soon witness an improved stream of immigrants to Australia. In view of the present condition of the world, the question of peopling our empty spaces is one of the most important subjects which can occupy our attention. It is infinitely more important than are nine-tenths of the subjects which we consider from time to time. It affects profoundly our future existence as a nation, and I do believe that the time is not far distant when we shall have need of these people, in order that we may hold Australia as a white man’s country, in which the best social conditions will obtain.

Dr CARTY SALMON:
Laanecoorie

. -I wish to say a word or two on a matter in which I take a very great interest. I am strongly of opinion, not only that immigration is urgently needed in Australia, but that the matter of encouraging it should be taken in hand by the Commonwealth Government. It is all very well to say that it can be better dealt with by the States. Nobody will accuse me of any desire to belittle the work that is done by the States. But the question of securing the right class of immigrants. - which is of paramount importance - should be in the hands of the Commonwealth Government. There are very many aspects from which this question can be regarded, and I venture to say that the defence point of view is’ pre-eminently the one from which we should regard it, especially at this juncture. Anybody who bestows any thought upon the trend of national events must be struck by the unprotected position of Australia. Those who heard the inspiring address delivered by the Admiral in charge of the Australian Station on Saturday evening last must have been impelled to view this matter in a very serious light.We in Australia have too long disregarded the undefended condition of this enormous tract of country. If there was one factor more than another which governed the action of honorable members in connexion with the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, it was that of the inadequate defence of Australia.. I am prepared to give South Australian representatives all the credit that is their due, but I have said more than once that I think they drove an exceedingly hard bargain with the Commonwealth in connexion with the transfer of the Northern Territory. I venture, to say that, leaving them out of the question, this Parliament, as constituted at the time, would never have agreed to the taking over of the Northern Territory on the terms dictated by South Australia, had it not been for the necessity for the defence of Australia. In the circumstances, it would be well, in addition to securing the Territory, to secure people to occupy it. It is a law of nations that no people can claim the right to shepherd any great portion of the earth’s surface. It is only by effective occupation that a nation can claim as its own any particular territory. We know the grave danger in Australia in this particular regard, and it is for this reason that an immigration policy should be proceeded with. I am not one of those who would flood the labour markets of Australia with persons who would cause embarrassment, not only to those engaged in our industries, but to our different Governments as well. Still, I feel that under proper conditions, and following the practice adopted with such remarkable success by Canada, we could people our unoccupied’ spaces with the class of persons whom we should desire to settle in Australia.

Mr Cann:

– Has not Queensland dropped immigration ?

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– An honorable member who comes from New South Wales says that Queensland has dropped immigration, and behind me an honorable member who comes from Queensland gives the statement a flat contradiction.

Mr Higgs:

– Queensland has stopped nominated immigration for the present.

Mr Sinclair:

– Until those who have already been nominated have been brought out to the State. There is at present an overflow of immigrants.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– That shows that the Queensland Government are doing. their duty in this matter. The honorable member for Capricornia, if my memory serves me aright, during the brief period when he was out of political harness, had something to do with the settlement of people upon the lands of Queensland. He should, therefore, be to some extent an expert in this matter, and I am sure his experience would be of great advantage to the Minister of External Affairs.

Mr Cann:

– New South Wales is dropping immigration, also.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– Then it is high time the Commonwealth took it up, if the State Governments are neglecting the work.

Mr Cann:

– Those who have been introduced are out of work.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– I can understand that that is due to the incapacity of the present Government of New South Wales, and to the fact that they have attracted people from other avocations in order that they might push on with certain Government works.

Mr Cann:

– It is because there is no land available.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– I am surprised to hear the honorable member say that, as if he expected me to believe it. I know a little about New South Wales, and I am sure that there is in that State many thousands of square miles of unoccupied territory which is the property of the Crown.

Mr Cann:

– It would not feed a bandicoot.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– I have a very much better opinion of the State of New South Wales than the honorable member has. It is not difficult to understand that he comes from a district that is wire-netted, in order that the military may not be interfered with during their annual evolutions. There is another question upon which I should like to speak, and which I know is near to the heart of the Minister of External Affairs. I refer to the treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants of the territories under his administration. I should like to know how it is intended to treat the original owners of the soil of those territories. If one is to take cognisance of_ the reports available, they very urgently require sympathetic treatment at his hands. The aboriginals of Australia have, in the past, been shamefully treated. -They have been starved into submission.

Mr Thomas:

– We have placed on the Estimates everything that Professor Spencer has asked for.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– The Minister was well advised in taking that action, because I venture to say that there is no man in Australia to-day who personally knows more about the aboriginals of this country than does Professor Spencer.

Mr Page:

– I hope we shall treat them better than the States have treated them.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– I hope so, too. The manner in which these unfortunate people have been treated in the past inAustralia is one of the greatest blots on the history of the States. It is only , because they are not a warlike race, like the Maoris, that they received the treatment they did receive, not only from Governments, but from private individuals. I am sorry to notice, from a study of the reports that have come to hand, the admixture of races that is going on. We have been accustomed to look upon the half-caste as being partly a European product, but a reference to the reports will show that it is with the Eastern aliens that the admixture is taking place. Chinese and Japanese have been using the native women against their will, and against the will of their natural protectors. We have evidence from the Protector of Aborigines himself that complaints are very frequent indeed from men. of various tribes that this interference by aliens is taking place. I do not know what the Minister of External Affairs has done -in order to deal with this matter, but I hope he will use the enormous powers with which he is invested to issue Ordinances for the Northern Territory, and also for Papua, which will properly protect the chastity of the native women. The admixture of European with aboriginal blood is bad enough, but the admixture of the blood of Chinese, Japanese, and Malays of low caste with the blood of the aboriginal race is too awful to contemplate. If we are to have a piebald Australia, let it be by the admixture of European blood with the blood of another race, not by the admixture of alien blood with the blood of the aboriginal race, which would- be more degrading and lowering to our status as a nation. The Minister has had representations made to him from time to time by a number of persons who, unobtrusively, . and without desire to obtain personal advantage, are working for trie advancement, welfare, and protection of these people. He has shown himself sympathetic, .but he has not said much, and there is not much evidence in the Estimates of what he is doing or intends to do. I hope that he will tell us what is being done and to be done for the protection of these people.

Mr Chanter:

– Professor Spencer has been given a free hand.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– Professor Spencer is now on his way back to Victoria, and, in any case, is not the Administrator of the Territory.

Mr Fisher:

– He had an absolutely free hand in anything he wished to have done while there, or afterwards.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– The Minister has not disclosed to us what Professor Spencer has recommended, and any such recommendation would deal, I presume, only with the natives of the Northern Territory ; but we have an equally grave responsibility in regard to the natives of Papua.

Mr Fisher:

– Their tribal laws still prevail, and the Lieutenant-Governor and the Administrator take care that these are not interfered with more than can be avoided.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– The Prime Minister has anticipated what I was going to say. The natives of Papua, being more warlike in character, are less likely to be interfered with. It is natives who are more degraded, if I may use the term, who are lower in the scale of intelligence, who are most susceptible to evil influences and most likely to be imposed upon, and therefore require immediate and sympathetic attention. I know that the Minister is sympathetic; but, like other members of the Committee, I feel a personal responsibility towards those people who were the original owners of the soil. We have dispossessed them, taking from them their birthright; and although there are those who believe that Australia was pre-ordained as a home of the white race, I feel sure that the extinction of the aboriginals in the fashion that prevails was not pre-ordained.

Mr Riley:

– It is liquor that is killing them.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– Drink and vice are the two most potent factors in the destruction of aboriginal races such as ours. The Minister could do a great deal to help these people who can help themselves so little if he would take control of the introduction and sale of liquor in the Territory, and devise means for the punishment, in a manner commensurate with the crime, of those who supply it to the natives. I am sorry to have taken up so much time- in discussing this subject ; but, like other honorable members, I feel that I have a personal responsibility in the matter, a respon sibility which I am sure the Minister, realizes, and I hope that he is taking advantage of the splendid opportunities giver* to him for discharging it.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to something that has happened in connexion with a document of which he placed the Parliament in possession. On the 1st November he replied to certain questions asked by the honorable member for Echuca, and stated that a copy of the issue of the

Labor Call to which reference was made yesterday had been placed on the table of the Library for the information of honorable members. To-day I wished to look at it, not to reopen the subject, but to know definitely more about it, and found that the copy had disappeared.

Mr Riley:

– Some other member of the Opposition had been there first.

Mr KELLY:

– This is too serious a thing to jest about. The honorable member for South Sydney does not place the honour of members of Parliament so lowas to suggest that they would Filch a publicdocument ?

Mr Mathews:

– I think the honorable member for Richmond brought the journal into the House.

Mr KELLY:

– The copy to which I refer was brought here and laid on the table of the Library by the Minister. My point is that it has disappeared.

Mr Page:

– Is the honorable member sure that the honorable member for Echuca has not got it?

Mr KELLY:

– It is lowering the dignity of Parliament to ‘treat this matter as a jokeAny document that is laid before Parliament should be inviolate

Mr Higgs:

– I tried to see the file of the Labor Call the other day, but the Opposition had it.

Mr KELLY:

– I am speaking, not of the file, but of a copy laid on the table of the Library by the Minister.

Mr Watkins:

– Is not this a matter for the Speaker?

Mr KELLY:

– It will besmirch the honour of Parliament if papers that are brought into the precincts by Ministers are permitted to disappear and to be lost.

Mr THOMAS:
Minister of External Affairs · Barrier · ALP

– This morning I saw Mr. Edward, the officer in charge of advertising, and asked him about the

Labor Call. I understood him to say that he had not a copy of the journal in the- office, but that one had been sent to the Library, and he said that he would go to the Library to get the information that I wished. When he came back, he had a copy of the journal in his hand; possibly he may have taken it from the Library. It had been laid on the Library table, and was probably there for some days.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

.The whole trouble hinges on the fact that the Labor Call is a. purely political party journal, and does not pretend to be anything else. We can pick up copy after copy, and not find a single item of news; and for any Government to single out the paper for Government advertisements is a moral and political wrong.

Mr Thomas:

– It depends on the party the paper supports.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I do not care in whose interests the newspaper is run : it is morally wrong for a Government to give advertisements to such a newspaper.

Mr King O’malley:

– W - What about the

Argus ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– There is the widest possible difference between a newspaper established with the idea of distributing news, and a paper like the Labor Call, conducted for purely political party purposes.

Mr King O’Malley:

– I - It is run for Christianity !

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I could, if I chose, quote this journal, and show what it has to say about Christianity, and if I did so, I think the Minister of Home Affairs would have more reason to be ashamed of the fact that it has been given Government support of any sort. Articles have appeared in this paper of late which, for low-down blackguardism, to put it mildly, it would be impossible to find the equal. When a writer so degrades his manhood as to single out women for the sort of treatment which has been accorded them of late in this journal, he is capable of descending to the most mean, contemptible, and miserable of tactics. I shall not mention any names, but in reference to two ladies who are actively engaged in politics in Victoria, this journal contains statements which include the vilest innuendo which it is possible for a man to level against any woman. The articles are utterly disgraceful and discreditable, whoever is responsible for them. Who is responsible, I do not know, and do not care, but they are the productions of a man who is neither more nor less than a blackguard. One of the articles contains the following -

She reminds one of the battered female follower of a wild west circus or a battler in Cupid’s wars, who, from many encounters, had carried away the scars of a veteran.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What is the date of that issue?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The paper was published on the 24th October this year. The ordinary interpretation to be placed on such words represents, as I say, the vilest innuendo that a man can level against a woman ; and this is the sort of paper the Government selects for its support and subsidy. Here is another sample of the precious stuff that this newspaper dishes up for the delectation of its hearers under the heading of “ Sapphira on Tramp.”

Mr Page:

– The honorable member is advertising the paper right well !

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I know; and I am also advertising the Government that supports this sort of thing. First of all, this article accuses the person it writes about of being a liar.

Mr Mathews:

– The paper is not far out in that !

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– And next the writer proceeds to quote a verse of Scripture, I am sorry to say, and apply it to the subject of the article. This is the verse -

For she doted on her paramours (political), whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. - Ezekiel c. 23, v. 20.

I ask any honorable member opposite what he would think of such a newspaper article if the subject were his wife, his sister, or his daughter? There is nothing viler that could be said about a woman.

Mr Howe:

– What better source is there than the Scriptures?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Does the honorable member defend this filthy stuff?

Mr Mathews:

– Does the honorable member for Flinders defend what is said about the Labour party?

The CHAIRMAN:

– I must ask honorable members to cease these interjections.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The writer goes on to say, amongst a great deal of other rubbish

She claimed to represent the Women’s National League. But like the rest of that whiskery brigade of pup cuddlers and poodle kissers, who raged about the marriage tie and the purity of the pram, she lied with the ferocity of a fiend about the Labour party and all its works.

Mr King O’Malley:

– T - That is true.

Sapphira the frothy, was listened to by a few red-faced females, who spend their time in efforts to hide their pimples and blotches with. toilet powder and by a handful of bulbousnecked and baldheaded Fatmen of the type that generally get close up to the footlights when giddy girls are giving a wild and whirlsome exposition of the art of high-kicking. Sapphira belongs to the common - we might say very common - variety of Tory organizers.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I shall not read any more.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What is the signature to the article?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I do not know who the thing was that wrote the article, but he was not game enough to sign his name. The article is written over the signature “ Marat “ ; and this is the paper subsidized by the Commonwealth Government.

Mr King O’Malley:

– N - Nothing of the kind. We pay this paper the s,ame as we pay the Argus.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– This newspaper singles out women for this kind of attack. I say that every one associated with that newspaper, until an ample apology has been tendered and published, and an absolute promise has been given that nothing of the kind will ever appear in its columns again, must take his full share of responsibility for the vile stuff that has thus been distributed amongst the people.

Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports

– An attack has been made upon a journal which, for some reason or other, has refused to accept my articles.

Mr Groom:

– Perhaps they were too moral.

Mr MATHEWS:

– That reason was not given.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member would not write such things as these.

Mr MATHEWS:

– The honorable member for Richmond has attacked the newspaper in a very dramatic manner. I have tried that style myself, but it was not very effective. I will admit, as far as I am concerned, that I would not pen such an article, even if I had the ability, though, at the same time, I must say that if, in the past, I had treated some of these ladies as they deserved, there is nothing in the article that was too bad for them, nor is there anything in it half as bad as they have said about members of the Labour movement. I wonder whether the honorable member for Richmond knows that a certain titled lady, who was President of the Women’s National League in Victoria, said to a gentleman who was a candidate for Balaclava, and who would not attack the Labour party on the ground that they were trying to break down the marriage tie, that “ it may not be- true, but it is good enough to fight the Labour party with.” They would have none of this gentleman because he would not descend to suchtactics. I say that women of that character deserve all that they get. When they attack us in this style on the platform, we cannot retort, because they are women. They try to make their men do the same sort of thing, but I am glad to say that some of the men have refused to descend so low. What have they charged us with? In my electorate I have been charged with trying to break the marriage tie. It was a lie.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The breaking of the marriage tie has been deliberately advocated by the newspaper from which the honorable member for Richmond has quoted. I have seen it myself.

Mr MATHEWS:

– The honorable member for Parkes can read and twist an article as much as he likes. But that has nothing to do with what has been alleged by members of the Women’s National League. Rough though that article may be, andI have already admitted that I would not have penned it, it is probable that the man who wrote it had not such control over his feelings as I should have under such provocation. Probably it stings where it was intended to sting. I can quite understand the men who are associated with the same political movement not liking it. But when women resort to methods that have been adopted by these women, I am inclined to say that no article is too strong to attack them. After all, what this newspaper has done is no worse than other newspapers have done in regard to the Labour party. We all know that. It is simply a piece of hypocrisy to try to make out that it is worse than other newspapers have been when out for political scalps. I am very sorry that it has been found necessary to attack women in that way, but, unfortunately, there are many of them who deserve it. There are many in the Women’s National League who, in their canvassing, have said disgraceful things about Labour candidates. On many occasions they have said in my electorate that my children were educated in a certain institution. My wife does not know that I have any. When women resort to methods of that sort I am inclined to think that anything that is said about them is not too bad. I ask honorable members who know what home life is if that sort of thing is not likely to cause ill-feeling. It would have been very much better if many of the women in the Women’s National League had remained out of politics altogether. I feel sure that many of the men associated with them in politics will feel that it would have been just as well if they had not intervened, so that men would not have been compelled to answer for their utterances, made not only in the course of canvassing, but on the platform. While I again say that I do not like to see women attacked in this manner, I must also admit that many of them deserve all that they get. Let us hope they will take a lesson from what has happened.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am glad that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has had the grace to disclaim personally any connexion with the vile and disgusting language which has been published in the newspaper, samples from which have been quoted by the honorable member for Richmond. I venture to say that no honorable member on either side of this House would like to be associated, directly or indirectly, if he knew it, with a newspaper that would publish statements like that about any woman. But the honorable member, in making his disclaimer, has attempted to go further, and, on the authority of a gentleman whose name he has not mentioned, but whom he has indicated, and whom I know to be a Mr. Hewison - I have no hesitation in naming him, in order that this matter may be settled-

Mr Tudor:

– The same statement was made in the Law Courts.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Where was it made in the Law Courts?

Mr Tudor:

– There was a trial in Melbourne.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What was the trial ?

Mr Tudor:

– I forget what it was, but I put a record of it in Hansard.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– A good many things appear in Hansard which would not be received as evidence in a Court of law. A statement has been made about a lady who is now dead, on the authority of a candidate who was not successful in an election, and who had reasons, no doubt, for not feeling too kindly towards the lady. I know nothing about the truth of it, but I think it is no defence to the accusation made by the honorable member for Richmond, even if it were true, which I do not believe it is, to repeat such a statement, as the honorable member has done, about a woman who is dead, and, therefore, no longer connected with the Association. The honorable member cannot, by making an attack on this woman, divert the issue from the real point, which is that the Government have not merely put an advertisement in this newspaper - and the insertion of the advertisement, for which a comparatively large sum was paid, in a newspaper possessing a very small circulation, does require some explanation - but they have adopted that newspaper by purchasing a very large number of copies at a very great price, and distributing them in other parts of the world.

Mr Thomas:

– It is only right to point out that 1,000 copies were purchased by the late Mr. Batchelor, who thought that if they were sent to the Labour Leagues in England, it would give the Labour party there a fair idea of what our views on immigration were. I may add that the Victorian Government and Railway Commissioners had an advertisement in the same issue of the newspaper two years ago.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I know nothing about that, but I do know that the charge made was that the Government had spent a large sum.

Mr Mathews:

– £60.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– A very much larger sum than was spent on any other newspaper.

Mr Riley:

– No; £260 was spent on one newspaper.

Mr Thomas:

– There were a fultpage advertisement and a leading article, which had to be paid for specially. Ours was the leading advertisement in the paper, and it was printed in two colours. If the honorable member saw the advertisement, ; he would recognise that it was- not an unfair charge to make.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– -Even taking the Minister’s own statement, ‘the paragraph and the so-called poetry read out by -the honorable member for Echuca, was, I should think, hardly the sort of thing likely to carry any weight with the Labour people in favour of Australia.

Mr Thomas:

– That is another question altogether.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– When the Governmentpurchased the newspaper, which they circulated and spent public money in circulating, then they assumed some responsibility for the statements to which they then gave publicity. However, I am not going to take up time about the matter. All that I rose to say was that the vehemently indignant speech, in which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports made an attack on the late President of the Women’s National League, is no answer to the charge preferred by the honorable member for Richmond that this newspaper, which is practically adopted and encouraged by the expenditure of public money, contained statements and articles of a kind that would disgrace any publication in any part of the world.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– - I was very sorry to hear the honorable member for Melbourne Ports attempt an apology for the newspaper to .which the honorable member for Richmond has referred.

Mr Mathews:

– I did not apologize. An apology was not needed.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I take it that the honorable member, as a member of the Labour party, put forward the best defence he could think of for the newspaper. Now, what was the best case? All this filth and blasphemy that was read out by the honorable member for Richmond was alleged to be justified, because the late president of the Women’s National League had at one time1 accused the Labour party of advocating the abolition or the ignoring of the marriage tie. That is all that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports could say; and he thought fit to put before the Committee that fact, admitting for a moment that it is a fact, as a justification for a Niagara, of filth and blasphemy such as has never been uttered here before. What is his justification? Here is a newspaper which, as the honorable member for Flinders has pointed out, is deliberately encouraged by the Government by paying it £60 for an advertisement and a certain number of copies; and the Minister of External Affairs has admitted, in the most unsophisticated way, that the late Mr. Batchelor had sent Home copies of the newspaper in question in hundreds or thousands to inform the working classes in England what the policy of the Labour party in Australia was.

Mr Thomas:

– On immigration.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I have here an extract from the issue of this very newspaper of the 18th April, 1912. It will show that, even supposing that the charge were made against the paper - I do not admit that it was - by the late president of the Women’s National League, that charge tWas amply justified by paragraphs appearing in the Labour newspaper’s columns, encouraged by the Labour party, bought by the Labour party, and sent to England to show English people what the Labour party were taking as journalistic food. I do not think that it has been read here before.

Mr Cann:

– That is not the same issue.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not care whether it is the same issue; it is a copy of the Labor Call.

Mr Watkins:

– That was not sent to England.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Honorable members need not think that they are going to escape by saying that this copy is not a portion of the same issue. If I want to show the character of a newspaper, I do not confine myself to any particular issue. I am going to show what sort of matter this newspaper sends forth amongst the people from time to time. This copy is dated 18th April, 1912. Let us hear what it says -

Sanctity of the Marriage Tie.

Mr Higgs:

– I rise to order, sir. When the honorable member for Bourke was reading some quotations as to the opinion of the Right Honorable Sir George Reid concerning the honorable member for Ballarat, the honorable member for Parramatta rose to order, and I believe that you prevented the honorable member for Bourke from proceeding.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– No; that is a mistake.

Mr Higgs:

– I have no objection to the honorable member for Parkes reading the quotation, provided the honorable member for Bourke is allowed the same latitude.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I did not rule the honorable member for Bourke out of order for quoting from the Labor Call.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am very glad that this attempt has been made to stop my mouth in justification of the proposal I put to the Committee. I am going to show that this newspaper has deliberately advocated the ignoring of marriage and affords a complete justification for any Liberal who may have charged Labour journalism with it. The article reads as follows: -

The sanctity of the marriage tie is one of those pretences which really ought to be exposed in the interests of public morality, for the sooner we cease to live in a fool’s paradise the better it will be for all concerned, and the sooner we recognise that the preaching of the churches andthe prosing of the purists is scornfully ignored by the mass of the people, who simply follow the impulses of their natures regardless of the awful warnings of pious pretenders, the better it will be for ali concerned. From time immemorial attempts have been made “ in the interests of morality “ to restrict intercourse between the sexes, and to force upon humanity some arbitrary man-made social custom, which of necessity has failed simply because it has flown in the face of the primary law of nature.

The sooner legislators and preachers and purists recognise that social customs must conform to natural laws and not to artificial regulations, however well conceived, the better will be our chances of securing wholesome and cleanly social and cleanly marital relations among the people.

The most cursory examination of the figures bearing upon this question reveals a most startling state of sexual laxity in our midst, and we learn that the so-called sacrament of marriage is based upon flagrant immorality and loose sexual relations which the church and clergy sanctify and indorse.

Mr ANSTEY:
Bourke

– I should like to place before the Committee the fact that for a number of years various Governments have distributed advertisements amongst newspapers throughout Australia. Apart from the Government of the Commonwealth, anti-Labour Ministries in the States and State Government Departments have not had the slightest hesitation in advertising in the newspaper which has been the subject of discussion. It is also true that on one occasion, some two years ago, the late Mr. Batchelor, when Minister of External Affairs, did give to this newspaper the advertisement that has been the subject of complaint. Honorable members may discuss as fully as they please the question of whether or not it was worth the money paid for it. I shall not deal with that point. I have risen only because of the contention raised by honorable members opposite that owing to the. views expressed in this newspaper the advertisement should not have been inserted in it. In reply, I would point out that no other Government has ever been asked to question, and no Government Department ever does question, the policy of the newspapers in which it advertises. This Government and its predecessors have always advertised in partisan journals without raising any question as to their policy. Every Government has advertised in partisan journals, both here and at Home, without considering whether they advocated a Radical, or Socialistic, or a Conservative policy. As a matter of fact, prior to the advent of the present Administration, not merely sums of £30 or £50, but very large amounts have been paid by the Commonwealth for advertisements in various newspapers, and as much as is. 66. per copy has been paid for newspapers, the ordinary selling price of which is 6d. per copy. In one case, a Commonwealth Government paid £25 for 400 copies of a journal, the selling price of which was 6d. Whilst it has been averred time after time that the basis of their objections is not the policy of the paper, the Opposition have again and again referred to it, and the honorable member for Richmond a few minutes ago saw fit to make further quotations from the

Labor Call. I do not hesitate to say that we fail to exercise the facilities that we ought to exercise. Honorable members opposite make a special feature of selecting for party purposes quotations which they use at election time to destroy high politics, and to slander the masses. It is, therefore, true that they do largely take their stand on the basis of gutter politics, and their hostility to this party is based on the policy of the muck rake. The honorable member, for Richmond talked of partisan journals. Here is a statement concerning an honorable member of this House -

He stands for everything which the capitalist holds dear, and the workers detest. And this is the type of politician with which the Liberal party is asked to form a permanent and effective junction. The repulsiveness of such a junction stands out in its native ugliness, and it ought to make any good Liberal scout it as he would the introduction of the plague.

By whom was that statement made? By the Age newspaper. Against whom was it directed? Against the honorable member for Flinders, who has just commented on the action of the Government. The Age said that he should be avoided as we would avoid the introduction of the plague. The

Age is essentially a partisan journal, but I have not heard any one claim that it should not be given any Government advertisements. The honorable member for Parkes made a quotation from an article in a way that shows the deliberate cunning of the policy of the Opposition. By tearing a statement from its context, they destroy its meaning. Acting in the same way, a man might take a passage from its context in the Bible, and say, “ This book declares there is no God.”

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Will the honorable member read the context from, which I made my quotation? I read a complete paragraph.

Mr ANSTEY:

– The honorable member said just now that he strongly objected to interruptions while he was speaking, andi he will please allow me to present my own case without any interruption on his part. No one is more sensitive than he is in regard to interjections. 1 repeat that a man might lay his hands on Holy Writ, and say “ This book declares that there is no God,” whereas if he gave the context of the statement it would be seen that the statement is that the fool has said in his heart there is no God. By tearing the statement away from its context a wrong impression, is conveyed. With what do the Opposition and their womenfolk charge us? They say that we are destructive of morality, religion, and domestic relations. The writer of the article which the honorable member for Parkes quoted took the Commonwealth statistics, and dealt with the facts as disclosed by them. No honorable member of the Opposition, however, has given any publicity to the statistics as presented by Knibbs. Thus it is that they conceal the facts upon which the writer was commenting in this case. The writer went on to point out that it is not we - the party that is aiming at a new order of society - who favour certain things, but rather those who seek to maintain the very conditions which create them, and allow of their continuance. We are aiming to destroy the social conditions which permit of these iniquities.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– By advocating the abolition of marriage.

Mr Fisher:

– The cottage leaves the palace far behind in, that regard.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I say that the Labor Call advocates the abolition of marriage.

Mr ANSTEY:

– Will the honorable member allow me to proceed? I am, and always have been, an advocate of signed articles. I have always applied that principle to my own writings. I have never at any period made any comment upon public men, or dealt with any public office or public question, without attaching my signature, and for a long time my articles, such as they are, have been known for what they are worth to have been written by me. I thus get whatever abuse or credit attaches to them. Let us look at the article which the honorable member regards as scurrilous. The statement made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in regard to an assertion made by a president of the Women’s National League in connexion with Mr. Hewison is quite true. The statement has never been contradicted. 1 say that the dictum of the woman referred to has become the deliberate policy of that organization. Mr. Hewison declared that he would not stand on a public platform and repeat what he believed to be untrue. Because of his declaration he lost the support of these women, and that support was transferred to the honorable member for Balaclava. In connexion with *the article known as “ Sapphira,” the honorable member for Parkes declared that its author accused this lady of being a liar. What else was she? During the last, referendum campaign she deliberately stated at Geelong that the members of this Government were afraid to lake action against the rings and trusts because they were financially interested in them. She has been asked from time to time to prove her statements, but she has never attempted to do so, and I have never heard an honorable member upon the opposite side of the Chamber repudiate her utterances. I have nothing more to say. This question was brought forward merely because the journal in which the advertisement was published by the Government takes a particular side in politics. Had that organ been opposed to the Government no objection would have been raised to the advertisement in question. It is not so much the character of the journal which has occasioned trouble as the politics which it advocates.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I should like to ask the Minister how far it is proposed to proceed to-night ?

Mr Watkins:

– The honorable member’s party have kept us late.

Mr Thomas:

– We propose to go right through.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Who has kept honorable members late? We never had any intention of keeping them late.

Mr Thomas:

– What about that very dramatic speech by the honorable member for Richmond ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– What I have said is a fact well known to honorable members. The Minister of External Affairs has had one good “ go “ to-night, yet he objects to anybody else speaking.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– We will give honorable members opposite a week of it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The honorable member had better stop blustering. So far he has got nothing out of it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I must insist upon honorable members discontinuing the practice of interjecting. If they do not, I shall be obliged to take other steps.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I rose to ask how far the Prime Minister proposes to proceed to-night. We are anxious to close at the earliest moment, and never had any intention of keeping honorable members beyond train time.

Mr FISHER:
Prime Minister and Treasurer · Wide Bay · ALP

– I find some difficulty in negotiating with anybody representing the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Has the Prime Minister approached me to-night in any way?

Mr FISHER:

– Not directly. But I have done so through the medium of three different persons. I told the Leader of the Opposition that if we could get a certain amount of business transacted in time to catch our trains we would report progress, but, failing that, we proposed to sit all night. Opposition members, however, chose to discuss the same subject over and over again, with one object in view. Now that they have accomplished that object, we propose to go on with business.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– By way of personal explanation, I wish to say that the Prime Minister has complained that he is unable to negotiate with anybody representing the Leader of the Oposition. That is quite untrue. The Prime Minister has sent three or four messages to me to-night whilst he has remained just outside the chamber door. He sent me three or four messages to the following effect: - “We want this whole Department put through by train time, otherwise we intend to sit all night.” When the Prime Minister sends me messages containing threats I do not regard them in the light of negotiations, but rather of an ultimatum.

Mr Fisher:

– I will ask any honorable member who approached the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to say on his honour whether the message was delivered in that way ?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I want nothing from, the Prime Minister, or from any honorable member upon the opposite side of the Chamber. Let us understand each other. The Opposition are not here as a set of cravens.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable member is getting beyond a personal explanation.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Any one would think that we were crawlers begging for favours.-

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- I notice here an item of £1,000 for “ telegrams beyond the Commonwealth.” Last year the appropriation under this heading was £600, and the expenditure £1,937. I do not object to increases upon the appropriation for the last financial year, but I do object to the extraordinary reduction in the amount set down for telegraphic communication between- the High Commissioner’s office and Australia. We do not realize how important a channel of communication ‘between Australia and the Mother Country the High Commissioner’s office might be made. We are singularly fortunate in having as the representative of Australia in London a man whose personal gifts make up materially for the paucity of opportunity and the extraordinary lack of support accorded him. The Government, in the interests of the Australian people, should keep themselves closely in touch with the changes taking place in the politics of the world from time to time, but, although we are dealing with the Department of External Affairs, they propose to cut down the vote for this purpose by 50 per cent, for the coming year. I do not know how much of the £i,937 that was spent last year upon these telegrams was spent in connexion with the tolls proposed to be levied on the Panama Canal. After some six weeks of correspondence between the Prime Minister and myself, the honorable gentleman despatched a very proper cable to the Imperial authorities dealing with the matter. There was no answer to that cable, and the Prime Minister appeared to think that its despatch completely acquitted him of all further responsibility in the matter. The actual recommendation of the American Commission on the subject might with advantage have been cabled from here to the Mother Country, and to America; for I believe that would have awakened the conscience of the American people.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member is not in order in discussing the proposed Panama Canal dues on this vote. He should confine himself to the question before the Committee.

Mr KELLY:

– I desi,e to dissent from your ruling, Mr. Chairman. The notice of dissent, which I have written out, is in these terms -

That Mr. Chairman’s ruling that Mr. Kelly is not in order in discussing on subdivision 2, division 31, the need for the Commonwealth despatching a cable to England drawing the Imperial authorities’ attention to the report, of the American Isthmian Canal Commission be disagreed with.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I told the honorable member that he could not discuss the

Panama Canal question, but I did not rule as he has stated.

Mr KELLY:

– I was not proposing to discuss the Panama Canal question.

Mr Mathews:

– The honorable member is much more effective in his foolish moments than when he tries to be brainy.

Mr KELLY:

– I ask that that statement be withdrawn.

Mr Mathews:

– I withdraw it.

Mr West:

– It is nearly time that you knocked off making a fool of yourself.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– -I hope that the honorable member will be required to withdraw that remark.

Mr West:

– I have told the truth, and I am not going to withdraw what I have said. A perfect farce is being played, and the public should know it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The remark is not orderly, and I ask the honorable member to withdraw it.

Mr West:

– I withdraw it, in view of the party influence that has been brought to bear; but I am absolutely disgusted with the conduct of honorable members opposite.

Mr KELLY:

– I demand an unqualified withdrawal.

Mr West:

– I regret that I cannot speak the truth in this Chamber. I withdraw what I have said.

Mr KELLY:

– If the honorable member cannot speak the truth, it is no fault of ours. The point I wish to make is that the Government should have brought under the notice of the Imperial authorities, by cablegram, for submission to -the American Government, the fact that the Isthmian Canal Commissioners said in their report-

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– When it is proposed to act unjustly to Australian interests, the best way to prevent that is to show that the injustice will not pay. The statement was made by the Isthmian Canal Commissioners that a charge of more than a dollar per ton would prevent Australian and New Zealand vessels from using the Panama Canal.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I ask the honorable member not to discuss that matter.

Mr KELLY:

– What I wish to say is that this information should have been cabled by the Government to the Imperial authorities. The Department of External Affairs, which, judging by the Estimates, is more concerned about internal, than external, affairs, should certainly not econo mize in its expenditure on telegrams. No country, is more dependent on official channels of communication than is a Democracy like Australia, which cannot get outside information or make its needs known to the outside world with sufficient rapidity, unless it is prepared to spend, not merely ^£1,000, but, if necessary, .ten times that amount, on cabling its views to other parts of the world.

Mr Sinclair:

– Last year ,£1,900 was spent.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There should be a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– This year, the vote is only ,£1,000. This is practically the only item in the Estimates on which this spendthrift Government is economizing, and subsequently I shall move its reduction by £1 to give the Committee an opportunity to say whether Australia should keep her blind eye to the world. Coming now to the provision made for interpreters-

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is not a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– The payment of interpreters’ fees raises a very important question. The difficulties created by our alien restriction legislation are well known, and when test examinations are held they are conducted, not in the language of the country or of the person who is being examined, but in some other language arbitrarily chosen by the authorities.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr Kelly:

– Is there no allowance for the time occupied in forming a quorum?

The CHAIRMAN:

– No.

Mr Kelly:

– Then I shall move that your ruling be’ disagreed with.

The CHAIRMAN:

– It may facilitate matters if I explain that in regard to this standing order we have no practice established, but the standing order is practically copied from that of the New Zealand Parliament, where it has been decided that no allowance should be made in this connexion.

Mr KELLY:

– I move-

That Mr. Chairman’s ruling that no deduction be allowed from any honorable member’s time for speech for periods during which, owing to calls for a quorum, he has been prevented from addressing the Committee, be disagreed with.

This standing order has been passed to prevent obstruction, but it is also designed to give a square deal to every honorable member. If no allowance is made, quorum after quorum may be called for, and an honorable member may be denied the opportunity of addressing himself to the Committee, and I contend that that would be subversive of the very principle underlying the standing order.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– This question is of great importance to both sides of the House ; and 1 contend that it is unjust that an honorable member should be penalized for the fault of other persons. We ought not to be bound by the practice of the New Zealand Parliament, but should create our own precedents. The trouble in deciding a matter of such a kind at this time is that honorable members are apt to allow their judgment to be swayed by party considerations. But the rights of individual members are above party ; they are the rights of the House itself, and should be guarded as jealously as the reputation of the House. I implore honorable members not to take away the privileges of their fellow members by depriving them of rights which are essential to the proper discharge of business in this representative assembly.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am sorry to find myself in the position of having to support the honorable member for Wentworth, because I like to uphold the Chairman whenever possible. But the position is that the House itself is the arbiter of the rights and privileges of honorable members. The House has decided to adopt the new standing order, which places certain clearly-defined limitations on the speeches of honorable members. The standing order provides that in Committee no honorable member can speak for more than thirty minutes at any one time. It does not say that no honorable member making a speech shall occupy more than thirty minutes, but that he shall not speak for more than that time. The position of the honorable member for Wentworth is that his speech was interrupted several times by demands for quorums. 1 doubt whether the honorable member’s speech occupied more than from seventeen to twenty minutes. There is no provision in the standing, order which enables an honorable member’s right to occupy the full thirty minutes to be invaded. If that were permitted, an honorable member might, by arrangement, be prevented from speaking for more than five minutes out of the thirty which he is entitled to occupy. That might be done by the simple method of honorable members leaving the chamber and arranging for continuous calls for a quorum. Surely if an honorable member actually occupies only five minutes in making a speech, and the rest of his half-hour is made up by calls for quorums, it cannot be contended that that honorable member has exercised the right which the standing order gives to him. The proposition seems to be as simple as a problem in Euclid. The honorable member was interrupted several time& whilst making his speech. In accordance with the forms of the House, he continually had to resume his seat. Legally there was no Committee sitting once the Chairman took cognizance of the absence of a quorum until a quorum was again present, and he called upon the member whose speech had been interrupted to resume. He could not continue until a quorum was formed.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We might as well have a quorum now. [Quorum formed.’]

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The case which I have stated cannot be refuted on logical grounds. If the ruling of the Chairman is upheld, what will it lead to? It will be possible for a majority to prevent any honorable member from criticising the action of the Government or dealing with a question before the House, because it might be prearranged that a sufficient number of honorable members should go out of the chamber, so’ as to leave it without a quorum. This could be repeated time after time during each honorable member’s speech, and thus effectively prevent speeches being delivered by utilizing the whole time allotted to the honorable member in possession of the floor. This is a serious invasion of the rights of honorable members which was never contemplated when the new standing order was adopted. To uphold the ruling of the Chair would be to disorganize the whole business of the House, and ultimately convert Parliament into an object of ridicule. The Chairman had no precedent in this House to guide him in giving the decision to which objection is taken, and he fell back on some unknown Chairman’s ruling in an inferior Parliament elsewhere. There is not only a possibility, but in certain circumstances a probability, that recourse would be had to a conspiracy for the purpose of depriving honorable members of their rights. The rights and privileges of not one side only, but of every honorable member, are affected by this ruling. It is very difficult, I admit, for the Chairman to keep his mind quite clear , and free from distracting noises when a number of honorable members are conducting conversations and indulging in interjections. I could understand that, perhaps, in a confusion of thought, a decision may sometimes be given by the Chairman, which, on reflection, may be reversed.

Dr CARTY SALMON:
Laanecoorie

– The words of the standing order are very explicit. It means what it says, namely, that in Committee no honorable member shall speak for more than thirty minutes at one time. It does not mean that every honorable member, after rising, shall be limited to thirty minutes in which he is to conclude his speech. Suppose, for instance, that an honorable member started to address the Committee at 20 minutes past 6 o’clock, and that the usual hour for suspending the sitting was halfpast -6 o’clock. If your ruling were adhered to, sir, it would mean that at 10 minutes to 7 o’clock, whether the Committee was sitting or not, that honorable member’s time would expire. If the time limit is to operate from the moment that an honorable member utters his first word until the half-hour has expired, it would be quite possible that, even though the Committee was in a state of suspense, he would not be able to again address it. A question of order should be decided entirely free from party considerations, and on its merits. Those who to-day may feel that they are gaining a kind of temporary advantage may tomorrow be in a minority, and find this ruling very irksome indeed.

Mr West:

– No fear !

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– There is a case in point. The honorable member has taken up four or five seconds . which do not belong to him. One of our greatest English writers says -

Who steals my purse, steals trash; ‘t is something, nothing ;

T was mine, ‘t is his, and lias been slave to thousands ;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

I think that we might apply that sentiment to the time which an honorable member is allowed in Committee.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I think, sir, that these arguments ought to receive the attention of more honorable members than are present. [Quorum formed.]

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– The words of the standing order are explicit. There can be no two meanings attached to the words “ shall speak.” If an honorable member were unfortunately stricken with dumbness during deliverance of a speech, the time it took him to recover himself should not be counted as having been occupied in speaking. It would be a physical impossibility to square with such a ruling as yours, sir, the position and the condition of the unfortunate member. The words of the standing order cannot be twisted or distorted into placing upon the Chairman the obligation of arbitrarily closing a speech thirty minutes after its commencement. 1 hope that the Committee will uphold the objection to the ruling.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable members for Lang and Laanecoorie have dealt with a question of great importance to the community, and that is whether honorable members should be restricted in their speech by the number of interruptions to its continuity produced by the inability or the unwillingness of honorable members to attend in the Chamber, and do their duty. You have ruled, sir, that the half-hour which is named in the standing order includes part of the time during which an honorable member intended to speak, but during which he was by your order stopped from speaking, because of the want of a quorum. The words of the standing order are to be understood in their everyday meaning. During the speech of the honorable member for Laanecoorie, there were at least six occasions on which he was stopped from speaking by your order, in consequence of the insufficiency of the attendance of honorable members to do their duty. A few of them, I admit, were asleep at the time.

Mr Watkins:

– Now you know that that is not true.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Is the honorable member in order, sir, in saying that a statement of an honorable member is not true?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member is not in order.

Mr Watkins:

– I withdraw the remark, sir, if it is not in order. But is the honorable member for Parkes in order in making a deliberate misstatement?

The CHAIRMAN. Order! The honorable member cannot argue the point.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Is the honorable member for Newcastle in order, sir, in saying that an honorable member made a de liberate misstatement? Nothing could be more offensive than that.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Parkes.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I was pointing out to you, sir-

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I. rise to order. Do you rule, sir, that the honorable member for Newcastle was in order in asserting that the honorable member for Parkes was making a deliberate misstatement?

The CHAIRMAN:

– I did not hear him make that statement, but if he did it was not in order.

Mr Watkins:

– I did make the statement; and in obedience to your ruling I withdraw it, although I do not think any honorable member was asleep at the time.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There are qualifications in these Standing Orders to which attention must be paid. In the first place, it is provided that in Committee of the House no, member shall speak for more than thirty minutes at any one time. The honorable member for Laanecoorie was interrupted at least half-a-dozen times during his speech by the call for a quorum ; and according to the strict reading of this standing order, if you, sir, interrupt an honorable member by ringing for a quorum, he has, after every interruption, the right to continue for another thirty minutes.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I think we ought to have a quorum to hear this learned argument. [Quorum formed.]

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Whilst the honorable member for Laanecoorie was speaking, at least half-a-dozen interruptions extending, over two or three minutes took place, so that in the exercise of what you’ believed to be your duty, sir, you deprived him of the advantage of speaking for nearly twenty minutes-. The standing order is. a curtailment of the general right of every honorable member to speak to any question, and. just as the Courts interpret any restriction of the rights of a citizen in favour of the citizen, so there should be no departure from its strict meaning. It should1 be interpreted always in favour of the member addressing the Chair. The effect of your ruling, sir, means that it would be possible for a strong Government practically .to prevent a member of the Opposition from criticising its Estimates. As soon as a member on this side rose to speak, a number of the Ministerial party could leave the chamber and a quorum could be demanded again and again during the half-hour allotted to him.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I also think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.”]

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– But for -this standing order, ‘ we should be entitled to speak for an unlimited time on any question. Such interruptions as repeated calls for a quorum would seriously curtail the right of an honorable member to address himself to any question for. half-an-hour. I submit that the Standing Orders should be interpreted in favour of the honorable member whose liberty would otherwise be curtailed. In other words, every honorable member is entitled to speak in Committee for thirty minutes. As a matter of fact, he is entitled to speak for thirty minutes at one time. After every interruption he has a right to address himself to the question before the Chair for a full half-hour.

Mr Higgs:

– In that case he might speak for two hours.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– He might speak for more. However, I do not press the second point. I confidently submit that under a common-sense construction of the Standing Orders any honorable member is entitled to speak for thirty minutes. If the decision of the Chairman be upheld, we may say good-bye to any opportunity that we might otherwise have to criticise any item in Committee. It is the duty of the Chairman to interpret the Standing Orders in the light of the knowledge that primarily honorable members enjoyed unlimited freedom of speech.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– One has merely to look at the benches opposite to discover the interest which Ministerial supporters take in this very important question. The Chairman has ruled that if a considerable portion of the time allotted to an honorable member under standing order 257A be occupied in calling for a quorum owing to Government supporters absenting themselves from the Chamber, the time absorbed by such interruptions must be deducted from the half-hour for which otherwise he would be entitled to speak. I do not know whether the honorable member for Parkes is right in his contention that an honorable member is entitled to speak for thirty minutes consecutively - that is, to speak without interruption for the period mentioned. But it is perfectly evident that he is at liberty to address himself to the matter under consideration for the full period of halfanhour. If the ruling of the Chairman be correct, honorable members opposite could render it practically impossible for a member of the Opposition to exercise his right of free speech at all. I submit that, in the circumstances, the ruling constitutes a serious curtailment of the rights and privileges of honorable members.

Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera

– This question has been discussed at considerable length, and it is not necessary that I should make a prolonged address upon it. I wish to point out, sir, that your ruling on this occasion is inconsistent with the precedent you have yourself set in. permitting an honorable member to resume a speech which was interrupted by the adjournment for dinner.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I wish to say that when the standing order which has been referred to provides that an honorable member may speak for half-an-hour, it cannot mean that he may speak for only twenty minutes, and yet that is practically what is contended by the ruling which has been objected to. A great part of the half-hour during- which the honorable member was in possession of the floor was occupied by you, Mr. Chairman, in ringing for a quorum and counting the Committee. Your ruling was based on a New Zealand precedent, but we do not know when the precedent was laid down, whether it is new or old, or under what circumstances it was come to, whether by a decision of a Speaker or Deputy Speaker, a Chairman of Committees or a Temporary Chairman in occupation of the Chair for a few minutes only.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– We ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.)

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The motion now under discussion was not moved as a [reflection upon you, Mr. Chairman, because we recognise .that you have ruled as your best judgment dictates; but you may not have looked- into all the circumstances surrounding the New Zealand decision. According to that decision, a member speaking in Committee in the New Zealand Parliament, where only ten minutes is allowed, could be prevented from saying anything by a Minister, who wished to shield himself from criticism, getting his followers to leave the Chamber, and compelling two or three calls for a quorum. Even here the effect of your ruling might be to create another effective means of applying the “gag” in addition to those already provided by .the Standing Orders. Surely the meaning of the standing order now under review is clear, and that a member, having the right to speak for thirty minutes, should not have counted as part of his speaking time, the minutes occupied by interruptions of any kind? If that is not to be the interpretation, the discussion of public affairs must depend upon the whim of the Ministry of the day. Again, it is the members cif the Labour party who are whittling away the rights of members. The standing order would not have had the support of members like the honorable members for Flinders and Wimmera had they thought that it would be applied as it is now being applied. It is nothing to the members of the Labour party however that freedom of speech is curtailed. They do not come here to speak. All their speaking is done upstairs, and when they come here it is merely to record decisions already arrived at. A limitation on speeches of five minutes would, no doubt, meet with their approval. On these Estimates their attitude amounts to a conspiracy of silence. But we, on this side, must examine carefully proposals for the expenditure of millions of the people’s money. Our constituents expect that of us, and never thought that our criticism would be “ gagged “ in this way. How will this rule work when applied to the measures for the amendment of the Constitution? The Attorney-General will be able to speak as often as he wishes, but other honorable members may be prevented from replying to him.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I submit .that there is no time limit to speeches on a motion dissenting from a .ruling.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The standing order is very clear, providing that in Committee no member shall speak for more than thirty minutes at a time, nor more than twice.

Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot

– A very important principle is involved. If the ruling, taken literally, is allowed to prevail, it will be the easiest thing in the world to prevent an honorable member expressing himself at all. It would not be right to take interjections into account, because an honorable member need not notice interjections ; but he is helpless when he is forced to resume his seat every time a point of order is raised., or .a quorum is called for; and I should have liked to hear the reasons for the ruling given in the New Zealand Parliament. It might be awkward for the Chairman to keep a correct tally of the time actually occupied ; but I see no other alternative. In my opinion, the intention, when this standing order was adopted, was that every speaker should have at least thirty minutes clear ; and I hope this point will receive reconsideration.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There ought to be some rule or system adopted as to the time which may be deducted by the presiding officer from an honorable member’s speech, if the right to deprive an honorable member of any of his allotted time is to be recognised, as I hope it will not be. If five minutes be thought a reasonable time, the same argument that could be used in favour of that, could be used in favour of ten minutes, or fifteen minutes, or any time up to twenty.nine and a half minutes; and thus we realize the absurdity of an interpretation which logic and reason will not sustain. The New Zealand decision, which means that a member shall be deemed to have spoken for ten minutes, although he may not have been able to utter more than halfadozen words, does not say much for the intelligence of the originator of the precedent. Such a ruling puts it into the power of a tyrannical majority to “gag” an honorable member, and it certainly presents a very convenient method of silencing all opposition and criticism. We have heard, in the case of some Parliaments, of great scandals necessitating the fullest publicity ; but, under such an interpretation as that now given, adroit concerted action, in the way of interjection and calling for a quorum, could silence all opposition. I have always spoken strongly against any arbitrary time limit on speeches by the representatives of a free community ; but, of course, we have to accept the decision of the majority. However, the most important, and, I think, a fatal, objection to the ruling of the Chairman is that, under our Standing Orders, we have no power to follow any precedent established by any self-governing community outside the British Isles. This is clearly shown by our very first standing order, which lays it down that, in all cases not provided for in the Standing Orders, resort shall be had to the rules, forms, and practices of the House of Commons; and when we turn to the House of Commons, we find no precedent or authority covering a case of the kind before us. In my view, the Chairman has no power to interfere, so as to limit the time provided for in the standing order ; and such an exercise of authority would not te upheld, I am sure, by any judicial authority if an appeal were made. I do not think it would be a bad idea to have a quorum, and I call attention to the state of the Committee - [Quorum formed]. The Standing Orders lay it down that when there are no precedents of our own to govern a situation, our practice shall be affected by the Standing Orders of the Commons House of the Imperial Parliament in force at the time of the adoption of our own Standing Orders. There is nothing in our Standing Orders which gives the Chairman a discretionary power to rule that an honorable member has spoken for thirty minutes when, as a matter of fact, he may. not have spoken for more than two or three; nor is there anything in the practice of the House of Commons upon which the Chairman can rely to support his ruling. The limitation of speeches is bad enough in itself, but it is made worse by this artificial limitation imposed by a decision from the Chair, against which I most emphatically protest.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- I trust that the discussion which has taken place will have suggested to you, Mr. Chairman, grave grounds for thinking that youl decision in this matter should be reversed. Not one single honorable member has ventured to address arguments to you in support of the ruling. “The reason for that can only be that it is not desired by honorable members to accept the precedent established in New Zealand for the further limitation of speeches. I remind the Committee that the liberties of the House of Representatives are at stake, and that they embody the liberties of the Australian people, whom we represent. It is possible that honorable members opposite have refrained from speaking because they realize that no argument can be given in favour of your ruling. It seems only an hour or two since we were pleading for the extension allowed under the Standing Orders to the most gifted member of the Ministry. We certainly asked for the same privilege for ourselves, recognising our limitations and the need for extra time. That showed conclusively that we were actuated only by the broadest element of fair play. In my dissent from your ruling, sir, I have been actuated solely by like considerations. I have been here for nine years, but up to this occasion I have never dissented by motion from a ruling. On this occasion I have done so because the issue is one of tremendous importance. We should be extremely jealous of our privileges. If the privilege of discussing business for the period allowed under the rule, provided that we keep to the point and do not offend, be taken away, there will be taken away from the Australian constituencies the right to be represented effectively here. It is of the utmost importance that a matter affecting the Australian Democracy should be settled. Where should we have been in this community but for the right of free speech in Parliament?- Take away that right, and what corruption might not arise in public affairs !

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We would always be governed by Tories.

Mr KELLY:

– Yes, and we might be governed by a Tammany. What would be easier than for a Tammany party which had done a disgraceful thing to cover it up by drowning discussion in the quorum bells ? It would merely have to keep a quorum out ©f the chamber, and no honorable member could speak. An honorable member who bad started to speak would be sitting down most of the time whilst those who were not doing their duty were absent waiting for the Committee to be counted. If your decision be upheld, sir, some Government in the future, run on Tammany lines, might not hesitate to take the opportunity which it affords to cover up its tracks. When all is said and done, every honorable member holds his place here, not because of some inherent monopolistic right, but simply because he has the confidence of an electorate.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

. - I wish to deal with a new aspect of your ruling, sir. In a previous speech I dealt with standing order 257A, and stated the grounds on which I contended that we were each entitled to a full half-hour. The honorable’ member for Lang has directed attention to another fact, which I think is a very important one. It is said of magistrates that they should never give the reasons for their decisions. You, sir, gave as a reason for your ruling that 3’ou found that in the New Zealand Parliament a practice had been followed under which, where a member was allowed a certain number of speeches of ten minutes each, the time occupied in other respects was deducted from the aggregate of time allowed to him. Standing order 108 of the House of Representatives of New Zealand reads -

No member shall speak for more than halfanhour at a time in any debate in the House except in the debate on the Address-in-Reply, or the Financial Statement, or in a debate on a motion of no-confidence, or in moving the second reading of a Bill, when a member shall be at liberty to speak for one hour. In Committeeof the House, no member shall speak for more than ten minutes at any one time, or more than four times on any one question before the Committee.

Standing order 1 of this House, as a general rule for the conduct of business, says -

In all cases not provided for hereafter, or by sessional or other orders, resort shall be had to the rules, forms and practice of the Commons House of the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland in force at the time of tie adoption of these orders, which shall be followed as far as they can be applied -to the proceedings of the House of Representatives.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is no quorum present, Mr. Chanter. [Quorum formed.]

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– My point is that the Chairman has admitted that he was guided in his decision as to the interpretation of standing order 2 57 a by the practice of the New Zealand Speaker, or Chairman of Committees, as to the rights of members under their standing order 108.,

Mr Joseph Cook:

– That is so good a point that we ought to have a quorum to hear it. [Quorum formed.]

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I submit that, under standing order 1, the Chairman of Committees has no right to attempt to impose upon honorable members the rulings which are given in a Parliament with which we have no connexion. You will notice, sir, how very careful standing order 1 is in its attempt to limit the right of the Chair to go outside our own Parliament in order to ascertain what guidance is to be had. ‘ With the exception of standing order 257A, which says that every speaker in Committee is entitled to ‘ ‘ half -an-hour’s speaking, ‘ ‘ nob half-an-hour from the time he begins, until he concludes, there is nothing in our rules as a guide to the Chair. Our new standing order was adopted on the 17th July, 19 1 2, and I apprehend that, if the Chairman had known of any guide in the House of Commons’ forms for the interpretation he has put on standing order 257A existing on that date he would have mentioned the fact; and then we could have turned to the rule and readily accepted his interpretation as being right. My argument is that he has ,gone right outside the powers which he possesses under the Standing Orders. He has admitted that he went to the New Zealand Parliament for a guide; but, according to the first standing order, he was only entitled to resort to the rules, forms, and practices of the Imperial House of Commons, and then only to those which existed on the 17th July, 1912. To my mind, his ruling is so dangerous - dangerous in the sense that it is likely to completely destroy the liberty of a minority who wish to criticise what they might consider to be irregular and improper. Estimates, that it is necessary to take every objection we can in order to prevent the ruling being registered as a regular practice here, If it were upheld, it would have the effect practically of “gagging” every member of the minority whO might choose to stand up and protest against the enormities of the Estimates. Even if, as the honorable member for Wentworth said, they were Tammany Estimates, it would prevent us from drawing attention to the fact ; because the moment an honorable member got up for that purpose, honorable members on the other side could ta’ke care that there was no quorum, call attention to the fact, and, when a quorum was obtained, and the member began to speak again, .immediately withdraw from the chamber, and so keep up a series of interruptions in order to prevent objections being .taken. I put the point that, to allow a decision as to .th.e regulation of the work in Committee to depend upon the practice of the Parliament of another Do.minion, is to show clearly that the Chairman based his conclusion on premises which ought not to be applied, and, therefore, took away what I might call the foundation of his decision by his own admission as ‘to the reason which actuated him. As a representative of the Australian people, I object to my fights and privileges ‘being regulated by the findings of a Chairman of Committees in a House of Parliament Which is not recognised by our Standing Orders. The .Chairman, if in any doubt, may go to the House of Commons for guidance ; but he has no right to go to New Zealand to find a parallel. I submit this as a second ground upon which the ruling of the Chairman should be challenged.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I am inclined to think that the argument last addressed to the Committee is somewhat beside the point, since there are no rules of the House of Commons bearing upon this particular matter. All that the Chairman did was toquote the New Zealand precedent. I submit that, where there is any doubt in the mind* of the Chairman as to what the procedure should be, his decision should always be in the direction of allowing greater latitude’, and preserving the liberty of honorable members to discuss fully any matter brought forward. One of our complaints is that he has so interpreted the Standing Orders as to further restrain our liberty. His ruling makes it possible for an honorable member to prevent another from adequately discussing a question before the House, no matter how much he. may desire to do so. I was om the Standing Orders Committee when this standing order was framed; and I am sure that the intention of that Committee was that every honorable member should be entitled to speak for a full half-hour without interruption. All effective debate is at an end if this ruling is to stand. We can henceforth debate .a subject only as Ministers may decide. I do not wish to be in a House where I am at liberty to speak only at the -will of the party opposite. The Chairman’s ruling in this case will make ifr. impossible for us to debate the referenda proposals as they ought to be debated; and if it is to stand, we shall have to take every legitimate means of asserting our fight to fully and adequately discuss all’ these matters. The Chairman founded his ruling on a New Zealand precedent. We have copied a set of rules which led to the Parliament of the Dominion being reduced! to absolute impotence, and enabled it te be controlled and dominated by the Government of the day for very many years. I do not wonder at one Government being continually in office there for nearly twenty years. I make my final protest against this ruling. In all cases of this character, the Chairman ought to err on the side of extending the fullest latitude to the minority. The majority are well able to look after themselves. I am surprised that honorable members opposite should sit so complacently under such a ruling. It only shows the puffed-up arrogance that a lease of’ political power may bring about, and the danger that may come to men when they think themselves secure in an assembly of this character.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I suppose there is not much hope of obtaining the attention of those honorable members opposite who remain

Conscious. If there is, I ask them to consider for a moment the actual provisions of the standing order which relates to the presence of a quorum. I do not suppose anybody will contend for a moment that the limitation imposed by the standing order with which we are now dealing, applies to the time during which an honorable member is actually engaged in speaking; but I submit that it does apply to the time during which he has an opportunity of speaking. If he is interrupted and is therefore obliged to cease speaking it can scarcely be urged that he has the opportunity of speaking. For example, when a point of order is raised, our Standing Orders require that the honorable member who is in possession of the Chair shall cease speaking. Can it be seriously argued that during the discussion of that point of order he is still speaking, and, therefore, that the time which that debate occupies should count against him? Another interruption «nay be occasioned by a call for a quorum which deprives an honorable member of his fight to continue to speak. If he did continue to speak, in such circumstances, he would be disorderly.

Mr Higgs:

– Was it intended that we should put a stop-watch in the hands of the Chairman so that he might take an account of all interruptions?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Chairman resembles the umpire at a football match in that his decision must be obeyed ; but he *has to exercise his own discretion1 in the matter. On any rational interpretation of the standing order relating to the limitation of debate, I submit that it must be intended to apply to the period during which an honorable member is entitled to address the Chair.. Standing order 33 reads -

If any member shall take notice, or if the Chairman of Committees, on notice being taken by any member, shall report to the Speaker that a quorum of members is not present, the Speaker, standing up in his place, shall count the House; and, if a quorum be not present in two minutes, he shall adjourn the House till next sitting day.

If an honorable member is speaking when attention is called to the lack of a quorum, is he to be deemed still speaking after the House has been adjourned? Then standing order 233 provides - _ If notice be taken, or it appears upon a division in Committee, that a quorum of members is not present, the Chairman shall leave the chair of the Committee, and shall inform the Speaker thereof, but shall make no further report.

I am told that that common -sense meaning, of the standing order has been overridden by a decision in New Zealand. But no standing order requires us to adopt any. New Zealand practice, although our Standing Orders do provide that we should adopt the practice of the House of Commons. I do not know that any attempt has been made to deliberately waste time on this occasion.

Mr Thomas:

– Did I hear the honorable member aright?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Minister heard me aright* because he was listening to what I was saying. If the Government are prepared to use their majority to distort the plain meaning of language, I exceedingly regret it. But can a standing order impose a limitation on an honorable member when he has no right to speak? If there be any doubt about this matter, I submit that it ought to be construed in favour of the honorable member whose right would otherwise be restricted.

Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot

– It is a pity that during this discussion we have not heard anything from honorable members opposite, because the ruling of the. Chairman, if allowed to stand,- will impose a check, not only upon the representatives in this Chamber, but upon the thousands of electors who sent us here. The more the position is considered, the more it becomes’ apparent that the time when an honorable member is powerless to speak ought not to be counted against him I am glad that the honorable member for Flinders, who has been studying this question, has adopted that line of reasoning. There is, I think, some force in the contention that, as’ the new standing order curtails the former privileges of honorable members, it ought to be interpreted by the Chairman in. favour of the speaker. This is not a party question, and I should be sorry to see- it determined upon party lines. However, I fear that it will be so decided. We know what the “ gag “ means, and are quite prepared for its application ; but if this ruling be adhered to, the standing order imposing a time limit on speeches may prove to be an insidious form of the “ gag,” and thatsurely was not the intention of the House in agreeing to it.

Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle

– I have been very much surprised by the ruling given by the Chairman in this matter: I may be excused for saying that it is a somewhat ridiculous ruling. If the time taken up in the discussion of points of order arising during an honorable member’s speech is to be deducted from the time he is allowed to speak, we may have an honorable member so interrupted speaking himself to the point of order for halfanhour, and so exhausting his time on the original question.

Dr CARTY SALMON:
Laanecoorie

– I wish to point out that, under the ruling to which exception is taken, an honorable member who had exhausted his right to speak twice upon a question in Committee would be unable to act as Temporary Chairman of the Committee if called upon to do so. That is a reductio ad absurdum, but it is a logical conclusion from the ruling. We have been told that, in this matter, the Chairman of Committees was guided by the practice followed in New Zealand ; but, while under the Standing Orders we follow the practice of the Imperial Parliament in certain cases, we are under no obligation to follow the practice of the Parliament of New Zealand, which cannot be said to be as important a body as the Commonwealth Parliament. It is possible, under the ruling, that an honorable member who has risen to speak may be unable to utter a word, though he may be deemed to have spoken for half-an-hour. W« may thus have one record of Parliament showing that an honorable member spoke for halfanhour, and Hansard, another record, disclosing the fact that he did not utter a single word. A reference has been made to the closure; but while every honorable member voting for the application of the closure must accept responsibility for his action, under the ruling of the Chairman of Committees in this case an honorable member’s mouth may be closed without any individual responsibility. Honorable members on this side might take up the whole of the time allowed under the Standing Orders to the Minister charged with the introduction of the Referendum Bills. That suggestion should be enough to induce honorable members opposite to join in an appeal to the Chairman of Committees to reverse his decision. I should like to remind you, sir, of a practice followed by the first Chairman of Committees in this House of appealing to Mr. Speaker for a decision upon a matter of difficulty arising in Committee.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Chanter:
RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES

– The honorable member should1 know that the Committee must decide this matter.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– I know that 1 am correct in my statement as to the practice adopted by the first Chairman of Committees of this Parliament. I feel that in recounting this precedent I am not doing anything unfair or improper.. My desire was to reply to your statement, sir, that I knew that this matter must be decided by the Committee; but a moment’s reflection and reference to the standing order will show that that is not so, the words of the standing order being “ may be decided by the Committee.” The word “ may “ there is permissive, as has been shown on more than one occasion by the making of appeals to Mr. Speaker. No more important ruling has been given in this Chamber than that which we are discussing. Members, by adopting the “standing order, relinquished certain privileges, and imposed a limitation on their speeches, but the word “ limitation “ suggests boundaries, and there can be no boundary to what does not exist. It has been shown that if the standing order is applied according to the ruling of the Chairman, a member may be credited with having spoken for thirty minutes without having made a speech at all. Under this ruling the honorable member for Darling might be prevented by interruptions of various kinds, from making one of those magnificent contributions to social and moral thought which so often come from his lips, and we should be deprived of the pleasure of hearing speeches crammed with incidents and experience so instructive ta the younger generation.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time Kas expired’.

Mr SINCLAIR:
Moreton

.. - The effect of the ruling, Mr. Chairman, might be to entirely prevent a member from speaking, although he might be credited with having had possession of the floor for thirty minutes. Under the ruling, if, when a member rose, attention were drawn to the state of the Committee, the bells would have to be rung, and the Committee counted, and if there were found then not to be a quorum present, the matter would have to be reported to Mr. Speaker.. This would mean delay. Mr. Speakerwould again have to. count the House, and! the bells would have to be rung. When.’ a quorum had been obtained, the House would once more resolve itself into Committee, and all this procedure, which might possibly occupy ten minutes, would be debited against the member who had the right to speak and who consequently would be unable to speak for the thirty minutes allowed under the standing order. Similarly, time occupied in the discussion of a point of order might be deducted. The reason why the ruling should be referred to Mr. Speaker is that the Committee is not at present capable of dealing intelligently with it.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.That is an imputation on honorable members which must not be made.

Mr SINCLAIR:

– In support of my statement, I would point out that I have heard at least three honorable members declare by way of interjection that the point taken by the honorable member for Wentworth was that the time occupied by interjections would be deducted from the time allowed to a speaker under the standing order, whereas his point was that the time occupied in obtaining a quorum had been, but should not be, deducted from the time allowed under ‘the standing order. It is one of our Standing Orders that the practice and Standing Orders of the House of Commons must be adhered to whenever a case arises which is not dealt with by our Standing Orders or practice. But the Chairman of Committees has based his ruling on a precedent taken from the practice of the New Zealand Parliament. I do not know by whom or under what circumstances the New Zealand rule was laid down, but I regret that Ministerialists seem to be unable to find anything to say in support of the decision.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- I am surprised that there are so many members in this Chamber who are prepared to take the ruling of the Chairman lying down. Classical literature tells us in poetic diction of the repose of the Roman soldiers

Deside their chariot wheels, Tobed in their military cloaks, awaiting the dawn, and before us we have the spectacle of the Prime Minister asleep and covered with the damp sheet of a morning print.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The attitude of the Prime Minister is not the question before the Chair.

Mr GORDON:

– I am surprised that there is not more activity on the part of honorable members opposite in regard to the discussion of a ruling affecting the fundamental principles of Democratic government. We, on this side, are contending for a very important principle. The name of Parliament is derived from the oltf French word parler, to speak, Parliament being a meeting place for discussion, the word having been used in that sense throughout many centuries.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member must confine his remarks more strictly to the question.

Mr GORDON:

– I wish to show that Parliament is a place for free and unlimited discussion, and was about to quote from the Encyclopædia Britannica to show the basis on which its authority rests. The members sent to Parliament by the people should be afforded every opportunity to express their views, whether or not they coincide with the views of the majority. We have assembled to give expression to the political views which we were elected to represent. Chapter 21 of our Standing Orders is headed, “ Manner and right of speech.” That heading assumes the right of honorable members to speak. By the wisdom of the majority a time limitation was placed on speakers in this Chamber, and we are seeking now to ascertain exactly the effect of that limitation. It is laid down that in Committee no member can speak longer than thirty minutes at one time. If it were intended that the mere standing of a member in his place without speaking would count as anexercise of the right to speak, the standing order would surely have said so. It was clearly thought, however, that every member who desired to do so would be permitted to speak for a full half -hour. Under the interpretation which you, sir, placed on the standing order, an unsympathetic majority, or even two or three opponents, could practically prevent a member from, speaking at all, either by raising points of order, or by calling for a quorum, as was done to-night. Would not honorable members opposite fight to the last ditch to preserve their personal privileges, and the opportunity to give expression to their political views ?

O, ‘t is excellent to have a giant’s strength,

But ‘tis tyrannous to use it like a giant.

Although they constitute the majority, they would be well advised to take a broad view’ of this question, because they may one day find themselves in opposition. We, on this side, have been simply defending an essential by democratic right. It is a fundamental principle of our Constitution that the people must rule, but they can rule only through the presence of their representatives in Parliament. These representatives must have opportunity to express the views which they have been elected to represent.

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– What is’ the true meaning of this standing order, and what are the rules to be applied in construing it ? By the law of Parliament, every honorable member had the right of unlimited speech, but the standing order has been introduced with the express purpose of limiting that right. According to Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes, a statute shall be deemed to alter the existing law, or the scope of the common law only so far as is necessary to carry out the object of a particular piece of legislation. It was thought that half-an-hour would be ample time for an honorable member to express his opinions, and if it be held that he may be interrupted four or five times, and deprived of fifteen minutes, how can it be said that he has the full advantage contemplated by the standing order? As I have already indicated, the rule of interpretation is to take away as little as possible from existing rights, and to construe a statute or standing order only in such a way as to carry out the main purpose in view. By implication, the standing order means that a member has the right to speak for half-an-hour, and the ruling of the Chairman does something never contemplated, inasmuch as it cuts down that right. In my view, the right of speech is only suspended while the debate is suspended from any cause, and is resumed when the debate is resumed ; and I ask what is the difference between suspending a debate in order to call a quorum, and suspending a debate, say, at the dinner hour ? Parliament obviously did not intend to pass such rules as would tend to its own destruction. It is an institution by which the nation makes its laws and expresses its opinions. To that end there must be absolutely free and full discussion and if this House is not to be a free assembly, but only a registering machine, it is going to pervert the very idea of Parliament.

Mr FULLER:
Illawarra

.The matter before the Chair is most important, and I am addressing myself to it for two reasons. The first is my desire to assist the Chairman, and the second to see that the privileges of honorable members are not unduly interfered with under our Standing Orders. While the honorable member for Wentworth was speaking, attention was continually called to the state of the House. I was at supper at the time, and I know that honorable memberswho were there were constantly obliged to leave their supper to make a quorum. These calls made a serious inroad upon the time allowed by the standing order to the honorable member. It could easily beseen how one or two honorable’ membersby systematically calling for quorums could* practically cut out the. whole of an honorable member’s time, and prevent the fair discussion of any important matter. Just, as many honorable members object toJudgemade law, so I object to Chairmade rules in connexion with our proceedings. Parliament by the very derivation of the word is a place for talking, for parley.- Consequently all Standing Orders which make for interference with the right of free speech strike at the root of this institution. The Encyclopædia Britannica, under the heading “ Privileges of Parliament,” contains the following passage -

Both Houses are in the enjoyment of certainprivileges designed to preserve their authority, independence, and dignity. These privileges are founded mainly upon the law of custom and Parliament, while some have been confirmed and others abridged or abrogated byStatute.

The right in connexion with speech is being abrogated by the standing order which is now once more the subject of dispute. This standing order, abridging as; it does the rights of the people’s representatives, was intended to be construed! in the most liberal manner possible in accordance with the rule laid down by Maxwell for the interpretation of statutes.

Mr CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– It was never intended when the standing order was adopted on my motion that there should be any time limit beyond” that which was deliberately laid down then, and if. your ruling be upheld, sir, free’ discussion of public questions here will become impossible, because it will only be necessary for two or three members on the opposite side to remain in the chamber while an important matter isbeing discussed, and keep calling attention to the estate of the House to prevent debate. It is necessary that the Estimates should be discussed, and, therefore, every honorable member should be allowed to speak for the full time which is allowed by the” standing order. I .ask honorable members and yourself,, too, sir, to seriously consider where this ruling would land them. Take an honorable member who had mastered a subject. It might not suit the .Government, or, if I might say so, yourself, si*, that the matter should be discussed, and under this ruling a discussion could not take place,, because it would only be necessary for two or three honorable members- to repeat the manoeuvre which was- attempted here last night. I would remind honorable members on the other side that this farreaching ruling would, if upheld, be found very irksome by them by-and-by, when they occupy the Opposition benches. During the whole of this session there has not been the slightest attempt at undue delay. We are not challenging the ruling with a desire to occupy more time, because we have not occupied time unduly during the session. One of the- reasons why the ruling has been challenged is because honorable members believe that the infringement of “free debate by the occupant of the chair, both in the House and in Committee, has been such as to restrict what they deem to to be the unchallengable rights of individual members. Both in the United Kingdom and1 in the United States there has grown up a tendency to throw into the “hands of the Executive, the Speaker, and the- Chairman of Committees far too much power. I do not believe for a moment, sir, that when you’ gave your ruling yon had any idea of the enormous power which it would put into the hands of the majority to prevent free discussion,. Two or three honorable members, with a majority behind them, could-; by using, the forms of the House prevent an honorable member on this side from discussing, a matter for five minutes during, the period granted- to him by the standing order. I should like to show you, Mr. Chairman, where your ruling might lead us-

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– When interrupted on a previous occasion, I was pointing out that this House has certain powers, privileges, and immunities, and a report’ dealing with them was presented’ in May, 1908, by a Joint

Select Committee on Privileges and Procedure. In giving evidence before the Committee, Professor Harrison Moore pointed out that our privileges are very completely dealt with in- Quick and Garran ‘s Annotated Constitution. One of our privileges is freedom of speech.

Mr Riley:

– That has not been denied.

Mr GROOM:

– It will be seen that honorable members opposite are trying to reduce Parliament to the position of a mere registering machine, as the Crown, in 1593, desired. Our freedom of speech is being restricted, and the standing order under discussion should be so strictly construed as only to carry out the actual purpose which it was intended to serve. It provides that a member in Committee shall speak for not more than thirty minutes at any one time on any one question, and my point is that this- limitation of speech is applicable only to the question before the Chair. As soon as the honorable member for Wentworth was interrupted- by the call for a quorum, the question then under discussionceased technically to be before the House. The proper construction of the Standing Orders, therefore, was that the time limit applied1 to him only as long as the House was actually in possession of the subjectmatter under discussion, at the point at which he was’ interrupted. It is laid down that an interrupted debate must be resumed at the point where the interruption occurred.

Mr Archibald:

– The honorable member is “putting it on” very well’.

Mr GROOM:

– The day will come when the honorable member will be glad to quote the argument I am advancing.

Mr Archibald:

– Never.

Mr GROOM:

– The mere calling for a quorum suspends the whole debate, and our contention is that an honorable member has the right to resume at the point at which He was- interrupted.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I cannot understand the action of the honorable member for Gwydir in allowing the privileges of honorable members to be curtailed: - as they will undoubtedly be if the Chairman’s ruling is permitted’ to stand - without protest. It is within the recollection of honorable members that knotty points of order crop up at times-

Mr Charlton:

– At convenient times..

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I have heard the honorable member for Hunter himself raise a point of order which he did not wish to have reported in Hansard.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable member is not in order in discussing what the honorable member for Hunter has done.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the Prime Minister is in order in standing up and carrying on a conversation with a number of his supporters while another honorable member is addressing the Chair?

The CHAIRMAN:

– I regard that as a frivolous point of order. The honorable member, as a Temporary Chairman of Committees, ought to set a better example.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– On a point of order. Our Standing Orders distinctly provide that no honorable member must stand about the lobbies and converse aloud.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Will the honorable member resume his seat?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I claim your protection, sir, from honorable members moving about the chamber and carrying on audible conversations. You, sir, have ruled that when the time of an honorable member is taken up by calls for a quorum or points of order the moment his half-hour has expired the provisions of standing order 257 a have been complied with. If that ruling is upheld a point of order may be raised by an honorable member at a convenient time, and with the aid of halfadozen of his friends he may occupy the whole half-hour to which the honorable member who was in possession of the Chair would otherwise be entitled.

Mr Archibald:

– The honorable member is only wasting time.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I ask that that remark be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Hindmarsh must withdraw the remark.

Mr Archibald:

– I withdraw.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member has no right to cast any such aspersion upon another honorable member.

Mr Archibald:

– No right to speak the truth ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I ask, sir, that that remark be withdrawn. It is a reflection on myself and on you, and I regard it as personally offensive.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Will the honorablemember proceed?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has used objectionablewords towards another honorable member. The honorable member for Richmond hasdemanded their withdrawal, but you have not insisted upon that course being adopted and have merely asked the honorable member for Richmond to proceed.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I am very sorry that I cannot get protection from you, sir, when the honorable member for Hindmarsh practically accuses me of telling a lie. There is no other interpretation which can be placed upon his words. He is not at liberty to say that I am uttering an untruth.

The CHAIRMAN:

– He did not make any such statement.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– He did not make it in so many words. But every honorable member understands what he meant.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I certainly did not understand that. If the honorable member for Hindmarsh did say that, the remark should be withdrawn.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I regard the words used by him as personally offensive to me.

The CHAIRMAN:

– What were the words ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The- honorable member said that I could not speak the truth.

Mr Charlton:

– I rise to a point of order. You, sir, have given a ruling, and now the honorable member for Richmond is inventing something himself.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

-I ask that that remark should be withdrawn. It is personally offensive to me.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Hunter is not in order in making the statement which he did, and I ask him to withdraw it.

Mr Charlton:

– I withdraw it. I merely say that the honorable member for Hindmarsh never made use of the words which were attributed to him by the honorable member for Richmond.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– Under your ruling, by the simple expedient of raising a point of order, it would be possible, with the aid of a few honorable members, to prevent any honorable member exercising his right of free speech. That, I confidently submit, was never contemplated when we agreed to the new standing order 257a.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I make no apology for again addressing the Committee, because when I made my previous remarks the Prime Minister was absent from the chamber. On that occasion I do not think I occupied more than a few minutes, and I shall not occupy a longer period now. But I think the Prime Minister will agree that the standing order imposing a limitation on debate must receive a reasonable interpretation in conjunction with other standing orders, of which it forms a part. The standing order clearly means that the time during which an honorable member shall be at liberty to address the Committee upon any subject shall not exceed half-an-hour. Now, there are certain occasions upon which an honorable member is deprived of his liberty to speak. For example, when a point of order is raised, or when there is a call for a quorum, he at once ceases to have a right to address the Chair.

Mr Riley:

– Has anybody contended to the contrary?

Mr.W.H. IRVINE- The ruling of the Chairman is to the contrary. Unfortunately, honorable members opposite have chosen to regard the whole of this debate as having been conducted for a certain purpose.

Mr Webster:

– The public will recognise that, too.

Mr.W. H. IRVINE.- I am not here to convince the honorable member that the Opposition is virtuous.

Mr Fenton:

– Was not the exhibition by the honorable member for Parramatta indulged in for time-wasting purposes?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am not here to persuade honorable members opposite of the virtuous motives of other honorable members. The question is whether the ruling of the Chairman is right or wrong. Does the honorable member say that it is right ?

Mr Fenton:

– I am not here to be crossexamined.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then the honorable member should refrain from interjecting. This standing order is intended to curtail the time during which an honorable member has a right to address the Chair. Other standing orders provide that any honorable member may call attention to the state of the Committee. A right is given under the Standing Orders to any honorable member to suspend a debate whilst he directs the attention of the Chairman to the fact that there is not a quorum of members present. As soon as an honorable member exercises that right, it becomes the imperative duty of the honorable member speaking to at once resume his seat. If he does not do so, he is disorderly, and may be ordered by the Chairman to resume. Will the Prime Minister contend that an honorable member, who has had to resume his seat because attention has been called to the want of a quorum, has, during the consequent suspension of the debate, been speaking on a question. That is the ruling given by the Chairman of Committees.

Mr Webster:

– Of course he has not. That is a self-evident proposition.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then I claim the vote of the honorable member for Gwydir in support of the motion moved from this side.

Mr Webster:

– That is not the point at issue.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If there is any misunderstanding as to the point at issue, it can be cleared up by the Chairman of Committees. I ask you, sir, to say whether your ruling was not that when an honorable member rises to direct attention to the fact that a quorum is not present, and the honorable member addressing the Chair is obliged to resume his seat, he is, for the purpose of the standing order, to be considered as still addressing the Chair.

The CHAIRMAN:

– That is my ruling.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Perhaps the honorable member for Gwydir will now give us his vote?

Mr Webster:

– I said he was not addressing the Chair, and I shall be able to show why.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I should like to add that I was supported in the view I have taken by a decision given in the New Zealand Parliament by the Chairman of Committees in 1905, to the effect that the time occupied in ringing the bell for a quorum is taken out of the ten minutes there allowed for a speech.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am aware of that decision, but it is a question whether we are bound by it even though it should be on all fours with that given by you, sir. If your ruling in this case is to. be maintained, it must follow from analogy that if an honorable member raises a . point of order the honorable member speaking must sit down or be disorderly, and the time taken in discussing the point of order must be counted against him.

The CHAIRMAN:

-That is not the question before the Chair.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I submit that it is, because the ruling given must apply to any interruption under the Standing Orders by which a debate is suspended if it applies to an interruption due to a call for a quorum. I again urge, upon the Prime Minister to consider whether as the leader, not merely of his own party, but of the House, he should disregard the arguments I have addressed to the Committee.

Sir ROBERT BEST:
Kooyong

– I join with the honorable member for Flinders in appealing to the Prime Minister to intervene in this matter, which is of vital interest to honorable members on both sides. The point at issue is as to whether the time occupied when a quorum is called for should be counted under standing order 2 57 a against the honorable member who is speaking.

Mr Thomas:

– Suppose it is the honorable member who is speaking who calls attention to the want of a quorum, should not the time occupied in forming a quorum in such a case be counted against him?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– Certainly not, because he is entitled to address a properly constituted House, and the House is not so constituted unless there is a quorum of honorable members present. An honorable member can only speak when there is a question before the Chair, but while there is no quorum present, and the House is not properly constituted, there can be no question before the Chair. It cannot, therefore, be said that an honorable member whose speech is interrupted by a call for a quorum is speaking to a question while a quorum is being formed, because there is at the time no question before the Chair. Honorable members are aware that if a count-out follows a call for a quorum, when- the House again meets, the interrupted debate is resumed at the point reached when the quorum was called for. If the ruling properly applies to the time spent in forming a quorum, it must apply equally to the time occupied in the discussion of a point of order raised during an honorable member’s speech, because the same suspension of debate takes place. Maxwell, on the Interpretation of Statutes, states that the rule of strict construction requires that the language shall be so construed that no cases shall be held to fall within it which do not fall both within the reasonable meaning of its terms and within the spirit and scope of the enactment. Surely in this case the spirit and scope of the enactment is that an honorable member should be allowed to speak to a question for half-an-hour in Committee. A further general rule is that the presumption against any alteration of the law beyond the specific object of the Act must, be taken for granted. The law of construction is that you cannot go beyond an expressed limitation. In this case the expressed limitation is that every member shall have the right to speak for half-an-hour. While a quorum is being formed, or a point of order is being discussed, he cannot speak. But by the ruling of Mr. Chairman he will be prevented from the exercise of his full rights under the standing order, and may even be prevented from speaking at all, being absolutely “ gagged “ by repeated interruptions. Maxwell says that there are certain objects which the Legislature is presumed not to intend, and in my view the ruling of the Chairman is something that this Legislature must be presumed not to have intended. Standing order 25 7 a contains no qualification, and there is no implication, direct or indirect, amounting to a qualification. The rule being that the speeches of members in Committee shall be limited to half-an-hour, the presumed: intention is that members shall, if they wish, speak for half-an-hour; it is not possible to read into the standing order any curtailment of the period. Ministerialists,, if on this side of the Chamber, would realize that we are being unjustly dealt with in this matter, and would bitterly resent what practically amounts to “ gagging “ were they to be prevented by the application of the Chairman’s decision from ventilating matters affecting their constituents.

Mr Thomas:

– Would it not be easier, if it were desired to silence an Opposition, to apply the “ gag” directly?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– There are more ways of “ killing a cat than bv choking her with cream.” We should be most careful about preserving the rights and privileges of members.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bamford:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr FULLER:
Illawarra

– The Chairman, in giving his ruling on the point of order, has acted on a maxim which is often recommended to magistrates, and has not stated the reasons for his decision, although he has mentioned that he has followed a New Zealand precedent. Our first standing order, however, declares that in any case in which our Standing Orders and practice do not apply, resort shall be had to the rules and practice of the Commons House of Great Britain and Ireland. There has been a tendency to turn to New Zealand for precedents in the past, but of late many New Zealand examples have failed most lamentably, and I think that the reference by the Chairman to the New Zealand practice is unfortunate. The New Zealand rule is similar to our own, but the limitation of a Committee speech is to a period of ten minutes. The ruling which has been referred to, and the circumstances surrounding it, can be referred to in Vol. 135 of the New Zealand Parliamentary Debates for 1905. Mr. Fisher, of Wellington City, moved to report progress to obtain the ruling of Mr. Speaker on the subject, but his motion was negatived on a distinctly party vote. Are we justified in accepting the decision merely of a Chairman of Committees of a junior Parliament? Our Chairman, adopting that decision, has ruled that the time occupied in reconstituting the Committee by obtaining a quorum should be deducted from the time allowed for a Committee speech. May, at page 256 of his Parliamentary Practice, details the various incidental interruptions to proceedings which may occur, and adds -

When the cause of an interruption has ceased, or the proceeding thereon has been disposed of, the debate or the business in hand which was interrupted is resumed at the point where the interruption has occurred.

I contend that, should an interruption occur when a member has been speaking for fifteen minutes, he must, on the resumption of the debate after the interruption has ceased, be allowed another fifteen minutes, to complete the half-hour allowed to him by the standing order. Mr. Chairman, instead of following a New Zealand precedent, should have adopted the rule laid down in May.

Mr Page:

– We are a Parliament, and should make our own procedure.

Mr FULLER:

– Is the majority to make rules to deprive the minority of its rights?

Mr Page:

– Honorable members opposite are getting a dose of the physic they gave us in the last session of the last Parliament.

Mr FULLER:

– Perhaps the honorable member refers to the application of the gag. But the Government and their supporters are afraid to apply the “gag.”

Mr Joseph Cook:

– No fear; they are putting it on now !

Mr FULLER:

– They are afraid to apply the “gag” as it was applied by the late Government, but in reality they are applying it in a different fashion.

Mr Webster:

– The honorable member cannot appreciate generous treatment.

Mr FULLER:

– I am at a loss to see the generosity or fairness of the treatment. If one may judge from the interjection of the honorable member for Gwydir, when the honorable member for Flinders was speaking, he ought to be voting with the Opposition. There was no idea on the part of any members of this House, when the standing order was passed, that the full half -hour would not be allowed; and I think that it is just about time that the Prime Minister intervened. The honorable member for Gwydir has made the longest speech on record in this Parliament ; and if he were in opposition on this occasion he would fret and fume very much more than honorable members on this side are doing. There is no doubt that if the ruling is allowed to stand it will have a disastrous effect; and, without in any way impugning the fairness of the Chairman, I regret that he has departed from the Standing Orders which command us to follow the practice of the House of Commons, and has chosen what I may call a very paltry precedent set by the Chairman of Committees in the Parliament of New Zealand. The practice of the House of Commons is, I contend, all-sufficient to meet the present circumstances ; and the Chairman has, in my opinion, a very bad case when_ he can support it with no stronger evidence or precedent.

Mr Webster:

– There is no time limit in the House of Commons.

Mr FULLER:

– We are entitled to take broad principles, and apply them to specific cases, and I submit that the practice of the House of Commons applies not only to the subject-matter of debate, but also to the time as provided in our standing order.

Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir

.I desire to remove a little misapprehension in regard to an interjection of mine, when the honorable member for Flinders was speaking. As a rule, that honorable member is pretty clear and concise, and is always listened to with attention. Sometimes, though not often, he is right, because he is endeavouring to do that which he believes to be right; but if ever there was an occasion on which he was wrong, it was this morning when he endeavoured to work his argument round so as to suit the position taken up by the Opposition. The honorable member submitted that the ruling was not in accordance with one that should be given by an intelligent Chairman ; and he endeavoured to show, as the honorable member for Darling Downs also endeavoured to show in a very elaborate and lengthy speech, that the ruling that applied to an interruption caused by a point of order also applied to a case of the kind before us. When the honorable member pointed out the palpable fact that an honorable member, when ordered to resume his seat on a call for a quorum, stops speaking, I interjected, “Yes, he does j” and it- is on that interjection that my vote is claimed.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– How is an honorable member to make up his naif-hour?

Mr WEBSTER:

– The half-hour limit has nothing to do with an honorable member ceasing or commencing to speak. A call for a quorum means an interruption for a definite period of three minutes, whereas a debate on a point of order may last for twelve hours; and in the case of an honorable member, who has spoken for only three minutes, being stopped by a point of order, on which a lengthened debate takes place, the position would be ridiculous. The case of a point of order and the case of a call for a quorum are not analogous. If the time were allowed in the case of a call for a quorum, and there were an organized effort at obstruction, it would be really impossible for an honorable member to get the half -hour to which he is entitled ; and I have no doubt that the New Zealand decision was to prevent men abusing the privilege of calling for a quorum when they knew that a quorum was within the precincts. If, as was the case last night, an evident desire is shown by a section of honorable members to harass others and delay business by repeatedly calling for a quorum when one of their own side is speaking, they must bear the penalty for their unconstitutional, and, at any rate, unreasonable conduct.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member would have one interpretation for orderly people, and another for disorderly people.

Mr WEBSTER:

– I would have only one interpretation, governed as all interpretations should be, by the reasoning of the responsible officer in charge of the business. The honorable member for Parkes knows that in the Courts verdicts are often arrived at, not exactly on the evidence, but on the manner and character of the witnesses; and that principle applies to such circumstances as are now under consideration. No Chairman would be doing his duty if he allowed the privileges of the House to be abused, and the authority of the Standing Orders crippled. What the honorable member for Flinders claims as an admission on my part is exactly the reverse, though, of course, I cannot hope to convince him of that fact. The quotation we have heard from May applies only to the subject-matter of a debate, and not to the time.

Mr Groom:

– Does the honorable member say that the time during which the sitting is suspended should count against an honorable member ?

Mr WEBSTER:

– I say that it would be impossible for the Chairman to conduct the business had he decided in any other way than he has done. Where a quorum is being called for repeatedly, with the sole object of delay and obstruction, it is obvious that, if the time were allowed, the Chairman would never reach the end of half-an-hour.

Mr Groom:

– The honorable member thinks that the Chairman should look for the motives in the mind of the member who calls for a quorum?

Mr WEBSTER:

– The Chairman is charged with the conduct of the business under the Standing Orders as interpreted by him. This is a new set of circumstances. There is no precedent to guide us. The nearest approach to our own situation is afforded by a New Zealand precedent. But honorable members have been dealing with supposititious cases that had no bearing upon the issue.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Fawkner

– As one of those who voted for the standing order imposing the time limit, I am entitled to protest against an interpretation which unduly limits the opportunity for debate afforded to honorable members. This House, I think, is the hardest worked legislative body in the world. We are a comparatively small number dealing with the affairs of an immense country and a growing population. In the House of Commons there are ten times the number of members that we have. The result is that the strain of legislating here is im- mensely increased. I have always been of opinion that we ought to curtail speeches as much as possible. But to go further than that, and take from an honorable member the time prescribed by the standing order, is to do more than was ever contemplated. If we are not to be allowed to address ourselves properly to questions that arise, we shall not be able to earn our _£6oo a year. The ruling of the Chairman ought to be accompanied by a motion to reduce the salaries of honorable members. If we are only to be allowed to occupy thirty minutes in Committee, that time ought not to be reduced by points of order, calls for a quorum, and continuous interruptions. The more manly course for the Government to follow would be, when they think that a debate has proceeded far enough, to move that the question be now put. They have a good precedent for that in the action that was taken by a previous Government. Ministerial supporters seem to forget that they supported “ the gag “ when it was proposed. They ought to abide by it now, and apply it when it is considered advisable to shorten debate. At all events, the time allowed to an honorable member under the new standing order should be a net and not a gross time; and interruptions should not be counted as part of the allotted thirty minutes.

Mr LIVINGSTON:
Barker

– Whatever may be the general opinion in regard to the ruling given by the Chairman of Committees in this case, it will be admitted that the Chairman has always been fair and just while he has occupied his present position. No doubt there are good reasons for the ruling given in this case. The honorable member for Franklin, who was largely responsible for the time limit standing order, has lived long enough to see trouble caused by it. It has gone a long way to destroy the real purpose of Parliament. Parliament, as its name shows, is a place for speaking, William the Conquerer is said to have had “ very deep speech “ with what was his equivalent to a Parliament. Concerning the privileges of Parliament an authoritative writer has said -

Both Houses are in the enjoyment of certain privileges, designed to maintain their authority, independence and dignity.. These privileges are founded mainly upon the law and custom of Parliament, while some have been confirmed, and others abridged or abrogated by statute. ….. Freedom of speech has been one of the most cherished privileges of Parliament from early times. Constantly asserted and often violated, it was finally declared by the Bill of Rights “ that the freedom of speech, and debates and proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached’ or questioned in any Court or place out of Parliament.” Such a privilege is essential to the independence of Parliaments, and to the protection of members in discharge of their duties. But while it protects members from molestation elsewhere, it leaves them open to censure or other punishment by the House itself, whenever they abuse their privilege, and transgress the rules of orderly debate.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr LIVINGSTON:

– In my opinion, the practice of constantly calling for a quorum is ridiculous. It is hardly fair to allow an honorable member, who perhaps likes to be a little tricky to call for a quorum when he knows that there are any number of honorable members outside the chamber. It is lowering the dignity of Parliament altogether. I was looking forward last night to hearing a great speech from the Attorney-General. I sympathize with him on having lost his opportunity. If I could have assisted him, I would have done so. He appeared to be ready at the time, but now he has been sleeping over the matter his effort will probably not be half so good as it would have been last night. I thought, when the standing order limiting speeches was introduced, that if on any occasion a Minister wanted to make an important speech an extension of time would be granted by the House. I thought that all that the Prime Minister would have to do would be to ask for permission, whereupon the Minister in charge of the important business would be allowed to proceed. I never thought that the limitation would be pushed to the extent it has been. Probably the debate will do good in clearing up misunderstandings as to the application of the standing order.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– When we have no standing order of our own dealing with a question, we look to the practice of the House of Commons. In the matter of the formation of a quorum, it is distinctly the practice of the House of Commons, as of our own House, that when a quorum is asked for the honorable member who is addressing the House has to discontinue speaking. Practically, until a quorum is found, the House is not in session. There is a rule of this House that no honorable member is allowed to address the Chair unless he is standing. The moment a quorum is called for, the honorable member who is speaking has to resume his seat. When attention is called to the absence of a quorum, sir, and the honorable member speaking is ordered by you to resume his seat until a quorum is formed, can you fairly say that he is addressing the Committee during the interval ? The real point at issue in this discussion is, Are we to resort to the practice of the British House of Commons when we have no rule on a subject, or to be governed by the catch decision of an obscure Chairman of Committees in an inferior Parliament? If the position were not so serious, sir, it would be ludicrous for any one to contend that the proceedings of this Committee should be governed by such a decision. Suppose that afterthe bells were rung on any occasion you had to announce to the Speaker that there was no quorum, and the bells had to be rung again, and thirty minutes were practically so occupied. Would you, sir, rule that the member who was addressing the Committee when attention was called to the absence of a quorum had occupied the whole of that time, and consequently had been addressing the Committee? It is recorded in Ilbert’s Procedure of the House of Commons that only a message from the Crown enables the business of the country to be proceeded with when there is not a quorum after a count has been made. Under another rule of the House of Commons, sir, if, in your opinion, an honorable member is wasting time it is your privilege, and, if I may say so, your duty to deal with him. If a majority of honorable members insist that this ruling is right, very serious difficulty will arise in the near future. I believe, sir, that if you did not hold an official position you would be one of the first to rebel against a decision which would deprive you of your unchallengeable right to address the Committee and place your views before the country. I sincerely hope that your ruling will not be upheld, and that a majority of honorable members will vote in favour of our adhering to the invariable practice of the British House of Commons rather than follow the catch decision of the New Zealand Parliament.

Question - That the ruling of the Chairman be disagreed with - put. The Committee divided.

AYES: 21

NOES: 30

Majority … … 9

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the negative.

Motion negatived.

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– I desire to obtain some information regarding the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act. Some time agocomplaints were made of the entry of Asiatics into the northern parts of Australia, of the entry of certain foreigners into Western Australia under contract, and of the admission of students. Can the Minister tell us whether there is any leakage in those three directions? Formerly we used to receive reports from the officers who are stationed on the northern side of Australia. I should like to know what is the present policy of the Commonwealth as regards the admission of Asiatic students the extent to which the provision has been availed of, and whether it has been found to work satisfactorily. I should also like to know whether any steps have been taken outside Australia to effectually prevent persons getting on board ships and coming: here secretly.

Mr THOMAS BROWN:
Calare

– I wish to know if there is any truth in the report in the southern pressto the effect that a very old and substantial meat ring has been broken up by reason of the Minister’s action at Port

Darwin, and, if so, whether there is a possibility of him extending his beneficent influence to the southern States.

Mr SINCLAIR:
Moreton

– I should like the Minister to explain how it is that such a large number of. Chinese and Japanese are coming into Australia. It is recorded that during the first half of this year 789 Chinese and 408 Japanese, or in all 1,197 Asiatics, came to Australia, and that during the second half of last year 716 Chinese and 281 Japanese, or in all 1,001 Asiatics were admitted, making a total of 2,198 for the year. This seems to be a very large increase on any previous figures. The departures have not increased ; in fact, the Immigration Restriction Act is not fulfilling the object for’ which it was passed.

Mr THOMAS:
Minister of External Affairs · Barrier · ALP

– We believe that there has been a considerable leakage under the Immigration Restriction Act, and. we fear that it has been due to a very great extent to stowaways coming in by the boats. They seem to have been able to defeat the efforts put forward by our officers. We sent a special officer to Hong Kong, and apparently he was able to- follow the very elaborate system by which Chinese were being schooled into certain answers by means of which they would be able to enter the Commonwealth.

Mr Groom:

– Is there not a. statute at Hong Kong by which you can- get at the offenders ?

Mr THOMAS:

– Decidedly. It is only fair to say that the Government of Hong Kong and the police there gave our officer every possible facility to pursue his inquiries. We have- received- some reports from the officer with which I am dealing confidentially, and which any honorable member is at liberty to see if he wishes. We believe that; as the outcome of the officer’s work at Hong Kong, we shall be able to prevent a great many of the stowaways from coming: in. As regards the- admission of students, when I took charge- of the Department I found that so far as Chinese students were concerned it- was. carrying out the policy laid down by the honorable member, for Darling Downs-;, and also the late Mr.. Batchelor, by which; iona- -fide- studentscould come in. It appeared to me that ad!vantage was being taken- of the concession, and, therefore, I substituted another concession, and that was that- students were to be deemed young men ‘who were over 17 years of age, and who were to go to one of the High Schools. We have practically restricted the concession to those who are legitimate students. They have to report themselves to the Department at least once in every 12 -months. This arrangement has only just been instituted, and, of course^ I do not know how it will work. I had a long consultation with the Consul -General for China, and endeavoured along these lines to meet him.

Mr Groom:

– Can you say whether many students are making applications to come in?

Mr THOMAS:

– I do not know that under my new system any applications have been made, but under the old system a good many were made. In fact, students were coming in pretty rapidly until I turned down the old concession. As regards the meat ring, I saw a statement in a newspaper that the meat monopoly at Port Darwin had been broken up on account of our being: able to put up a refrigerator and provide- cold storage there.

Mr Groom:

– What was the nature of the monopoly?

Mr THOMAS:

– I understand that one butcher had sole control of the meat, supply, and that the erection of a refrigerator has enabled a second butcher to enter the trade. I have seen the figures to which the honorable member for Moreton has referred.,, but I cannot understand how Chinese could come in unless they had’ already been naturalized, and, having been away, were admitted on production of their naturalization papers.

Mr Groom:

– Is- it correct, that there are any leakages through the northern part of Australia ?

Mr THOMAS:

– We have an idea that there is a leakage, but we cannot trace any.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The statistics- show that the number of coloured aliens entering Australia during the last year or two has been steadily increasing. I take’ it that the leakage to which the Minister has referred must necessarily apply to those who are not officially accounted’ for, and who are not1 included in the statistics which- Mr. Knibbs issues from time to time-. I had a few. days ago within’ the precincts of this building evidence of” the fact that a young Chinese had’ entered Australia who was unable to speak a word of English: He was wandering about the House; and, entering. the Opposition room, offered for sale a few goods that he had in a small bag. I informed him in the most polite language that I did not require anything, and then found that he could not speak a word of English. I politely told him to leave, but still he did not understand me, and I then told him in language that was not altogether polite to go away. He was not more than eighteen or nineteen years of age, and, I presume, was not a student, or he would not have been wandering about the town as a pedler. I have also come to the conclusion from what I have seen in my own electorate that there are a considerable number of Hindus entering Australia for the first time. How they come in I do not know, but new chum Hindus who cannot speak a word of English appear upon the scene from time to time, and are employed by brother countrymen who have been here for some time. They receive the same wages that are paid to white men. I commend the Minister for sending a special officer to Hong Kong, and for endeavouring to unravel the means by which the wily Chinese is entering the Commonwealth. Not only are Chinese coming in, but a considerable number of Hindus and Mohammedans are coming here from India. I have had such evidence of this that I have no doubt whatever on the subject, and suggest that the Minister should have an officer not only in Hong Kong, but in India, to give attention to this matter. The honorable member for Moreton has pointed out that during’ the first six months of this year 1,100 Chinese and Japanese have entered Australia, and over and above those are the number who are not officially accounted for. The Minister admits that there is a leakage, and if we could only get at the facts I believe we should find that the number of coloured aliens who surreptitiously entered the Commonwealth was in excess of the number accounted for.

Mr Groom:

– The trouble is as to whether the certificates have been trafficked, in.

Mr Thomas:

– They have been.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I think that there has been considerable trafficking in the certificates of men who have left Australia, and I am also inclined to think that there is trafficking in the naturalization papers of aliens actually resident in Australia. I have had brought under my notice the possibility of this being done, and that holders of naturalization papers in Australia are reaping considerable revenue by allowing them to be used by others who are coming in.

Mr Tudor:

– I think that the honorable member is wrong as to the use of naturalization papers.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I am simply endeavouring to assist the Minister by stating matters that have come under my notice. Whilst I see no reason why we should not admit those who are already here to the rights of citizenship if they desire it, I think there is great danger ot many Asiatics securing entry to the country by surreptitious means. A Hindoo not long ago asked me to use my influence to enable him to secure the admission of his mother, father, and wife - and possibly some children - who he said, were all possessed of considerable capital. I could not, and would not, do anything to assist him, but I think that the man, who holds naturalization papers, is very likely to adopt some means to get his male relatives into the Commonwealth. I should like the Minister to consider the advisableness of placing special officers in other ports besides that of Hong Kong. There must be principal ports from which these aliens take their departure to Australia. It is quite possible that a number of aliens - particularly Chinese and Japanese - may be drifting into Australia along the north coast of Queensland without our knowing anything about their entry, and* gradually work down into centres of population. I think honorable members know that there has been some indication of this, and that the Government are in possession of some information that would lead one to suppose that the Japanese are paying particular attention to our coast. The Government would be warranted in directing the vessels of the Australian Navy to patrol the northern coast of Queensland for some considerable time, and to watch very carefully what is going on. Whilst I admit that this matter is intimately connected” with the Defence Department, I think that it is equally connected with the Department of External Affairs. It is quite possiblethat Japanese or Chinese may drift into the country at points along our coast line wherethe population, is very sparse - it is quitepossible that they may come in a .few at a time, and gradually work their way down- “the coast to centres of population ‘, wherethey may be readily absorbed, particularly as there are in the north many of their countrymen who would give them every assistance. If the coast line were regularly patrolled, we should probably solve a good deal of the difficulty, and discover that a good many Chinese are surreptitiously entering the Commonwealth.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

– - I am glad to have the assurance of the Minister of External Affairs that every effort is being made to enforce the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. I am quite sure that he and the Minister of Trade and Customs realize what a slim lot of gentlemen they have to deal with in connexion with the attempts of Asiatics to get into this country, but I do not share the alarm of honorable members who think that there .is a marked increase in the influx of Japanese or Chinese into Australia. I hope that the Minister will temper justice with a. little mercy in dealing with women in certain circumstances. Whilst I should not ask him in any way to modify the Act, I am sure we can trust him to deal with every case on its merits, and to see. that the good sense and humanitarian instincts of Australians are not offended by any harsh treatment in connexion with. the deportation of women. Would it not be possible to avoid the humiliating spectacle which I and other honorable members recently witnessed of Asiatics on shipboard being mustered at every port along the Australian coast in order to be tallied? Would it not be practicable to rigidly enforce the Act by counting the Asiatics at the first port of entry, such as Darwin, to make another check at say Sydney, and to hold the ship-owners responsible for any shortage discovered there instead of counting these men at every port along the coast as is done at the present time? One can not help feeling that they are subjected to a certain measure of humiliation in being brought on deck and counted on so many occasions on the way down the coast. I merely throw out the suggestion because I have every confidence that the Minister will administer the Act with justice tempered with mercy.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

– I do not think that the mere expression of a few pious hopes in respect of any particular item is a satisfactory way of dealing with the Estimates. The only way in which good results can be obtained is by crystallizing one’s objections to them in the form of an amendment, and thus focus sing upon them not merely the attention of Ministers, but of the permanent heads of Departments. I observe that there has been an amazing and regrettable increase in the influx of aliens during the first six months of the current year, as compared with the corresponding period of last year. I wish to put the matter quite clearly, and therefore I intend to quote, not merely the figures relating to arrivals, but the number of arrivals as contrasted with the number of departures during the years 19 11 and 191 2. I invite the serious attention of honorable members opposite, who have always posed as the peculiar guardians of the principle of a White Australia, to the extraordinary increase which occurred last year. That increase is most marked in the case of the Chinese. There is still a slight excess of departures over arrivals in the case of the Japanese. The excess of departures over arrivals in 191 1 was sixty-eight, whereas for the first six months of the present year, it was forty-seven These figures are unsatisfactory. During the first half of the current year, 403 Japanese arrived, as compared with 205 during the corresponding period of last year. In the case of the Chinese the departmental position is inexplicable. In 1 91 1 there were 716 arrivals in Australia, and only 604 departures - a net increase of 112. This influx is taking place in a country which prides itself upon having avery rigid Act. According to Knibbs, the Chinese population here during thefirst half of 1912 increased by 492. Is the Prime Minister satisfied with these figures ?

Mr Fisher:

– It depends upon whether the arrivals were persons who had a right to enter Australia.

Mr KELLY:

– Last year there were less departures than arrivals.

Mr Thomas:

– That is not so, but it does not matter.

Mr KELLY:

– I am quoting from* Knibbs, page 9, Vital Statistics, Bulletin No. 6, which was issued in June of the present year. I understand that the Minister admits that there is a leakage beyond that which is disclosed by these figures. The fact remains that during the first six months of this year there was an excess of 492 arrivals over departures in the case of Chinese. I cannot understand it. Wehave a right to ask the Department to be more effective in its methods. It does not require much calculation to determine how many Chinese there will be in Australia if they continue to come in at the same rate during the next five years. I think we ought to have a definite assurance from the Department that these things will be better conducted in the future. The Minister’s reply to my statement is a bald affirmation that the figures which I have quoted are not correct. But the figures are those of the Commonwealth Statistician, and the Minister’s charge of mendacity against that officer will carry no weight with the people of this country. For the purpose of crystallizing my objections, and in order to ascertain whether honorable members are satisfied with the position which is disclosed by these statistics, I move -

That the item “ Immigration Restriction Act - Interpreter’s fees, legal and other expenses, £2,000,” be reduced by£1.

That will afford the Minister an opportunity to produce his proofs of the inaccuracy of the figures of the Commonwealth Statistician, and will permit honorable members to show their sincerity on the White Australia question.

I do not think that the ships of the Australian Navy are best suited for the purpose of cruising round our coast to watch for leakages under our Immigration Restriction Act. In the tropical waters of Capricornia those vessels would be veritable Hades, because they are more or less iron boxes enhived with men who ought to be engaged in the more important work of preparing themselves, to discharge the great responsibilities which they will have to shoulder in time of war. But a revenue cutter or two might be provided for the purpose. There is a good deal to be said in favour of the suggestion of the honorable member for Richmond, and the honorable member for Boothby, that agents should be maintained abroad to carefully watch Chinese naturalization papers. We want to ascertain how far the Celestial is fabricating these papers. It is not so long ago that a regular Ministerial delegation proceeded to Russell -street for the purpose of opening a Chinese restaurant. I refer to the Pekin Café.

Mr Page:

– Who went there?

Mr KELLY:

– The honorable member for Melbourne and one of the Ministers. I know that some of my honorable friends are inclined to stretch almost any point if a Chinaman possesses naturalization papers, and consequently has a vote. But there is no reason why we should connive at the manufacture of these papers abroad. By establishing agents in Canton, we might, perhaps, be able to discover what is really happening. But if we do appoint agents for this purpose, I hope that they will be appointed upon their merits. The mere fact that a man has served Labour interests for a number of years, does hot constitute him an authority upon this question any more than it constitutes him an authority on the land question in the Northern Territory. If my amendment be carried, it will be an intimation to the Government that we are determined that this dangerous increase in the number of Chinese arrivals over departures shall not be allowed to continue. Any honorable member opposite who votes against the amendment will throw an excellent . side-light upon the value of his protestations that he is wedded to the policy of a White Australia - a policy which my honorable friends have sought to pirate from the Liberal, party which initiated it some years ago.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I should like to know whether the Minister has any explanation of these figures? If he has I will resume my seat.

Mr Thomas:

– I gave an explanation a few minutes ago. I said that I had not seen the figures which the honorable member for Went worth quoted.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– And I understand the Minister does not intend to explain why this influx has taken place ?

Mr Fisher:

– There is a reduction in the number of arrivals each year.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There is an increase each year.

Mr Fisher:

-Then the honorable member does not know what he is talking about.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am sure that the Prime Minister does. He is an insolent man.

Mr Wise:

– I rise to a point of- order. I ask that the honorable member be called upon to withdraw that remark.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I withdraw it, and I ask that the insolent remark of the Prime Minister shall also be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN:

– What was the remark ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– He told- me that I did not know what I was talking about. Could anything be more rude or insolent ?

The CHAIRMAN:

– If: the Prime Minister made that remark I am sure he will withdraw it.

Mr Fisher:

– Certainly I will withdraw the expression if it is offensive to the honorable member. . But when I said that there has been a reduction in the number of Chinese arrivals each year, I stated a fact.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I shall read the figures. During the first six months of last year the arrivals numbered 716, whereas during the six months ended June of the current year they numbered 789. Is that a reduction?

Mr Spence:

– The honorable member is talking of the arrivals within periods of six months.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I have quoted the latest returns which are available. My point is that there has been an influx in the number of Chinese arrivals over departures. If Ministers know that these figures are wrong, why have they not the courtesy to so inform the Committee, and thus to end the discussion? Surely these are facts which we are entitled to investigate? Reading these figures, one can only come to the conclusion that under the administration of the present Government, the arrivals of Chinese in the Commonwealth number very many more than the departures. Honorable members opposite have, for years past, taken all the credit for the White Australia policy, and it. is the first plank in their platform for the next elections. But the figures quoted disclose an administration of the Immigration Restriction Act in marked contrast with the statements which honorable members opposite make in the country, and in their Labour conferences, as to their support of the White Australia policy. Whilst the arrivals show a very marked increase, there is a considerable falling off in the number of departures. During six months of 1911 604 Chinese left our shores, and during the corresponding six months of 191 2 only 297 of these people left Australia.

Mr Ozanne:

– The honorable member should give the figures for previous years. He is giving the figures for only six months in nine years.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am giving honorable members all the figures I have, and they have been supplied by Mr. Knibbs. I say that, in the absence of any explanation of them, they indicate a very lax administration of the Immigration Restriction Act. We have paid huge sums of money for the purpose of keeping our industries white in Queensland and in other

States, and we have enacted a White Australia policy, which is the pride of honorable members on both sides. Honorable members opposite continue to keep it ir» the forefront of their programme, and, although it has been given effect to for many years past, at the recent Hobart conference they again gave first place to the plank “ Maintenance of a White Australia.” The Government, apparently, are maintaining the policy by permitting Chinese to enter the Commonwealth in increasing numbers year by year. If the figures quoted from Mr. Knibbs are incorrect, it is the Minister’s lookout, and not mine. Whilst honorable members behind the Government are whooping all over the country that they are the special guardians of the White Australia policy, it is shown that under the administration of the present Labour Government the policy is not being maintained as effectively .as it was of old under Liberal administration.

Mr. FRANK FOSTER (New England> [12.10]. - I think that honorable members are quite justified in asking the Minister of External Affairs for some explanation of such figures as have been quoted. We should learn from the honorable gentleman what his policy in connexion with Asiatic immigration has been in the past, and what he intends it shall be in the future. I have condemned previous Administrations for laxity in connexion with this question, especially in the Northern Territory, and for encouraging Chinese to come to theTerritory by giving them preference for employment over white men. I should liketo know what steps the present Minister of External Affairs has taken to prevent that kind of thing.

Mr Kelly:

– They have given the conduct of the Government Gazette into the hands of a Chinese compositor.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I understand! that a white man has the contract, and employs a Chinaman to assist him in getting out the Gazette. That is a very small matter, but I personally object to it, because the Gazette is subsidized with Commonwealth money, and, in my opinion, it is the duty of the Minister to see that Commonwealth money is used to pay white men. I should like to know what steps the Minister is taking to drive the Chinese out of the mining industry in the Northern Territory. I have been watching for the development of some policy to gradually get rid of these coloured gentlemen. We have in the Northern Territory a population consisting of half whites and half Asiatics. I admit that we cannot drive these coloured people into the sea, but we have been urging the Minister of External Affairs for months past to prevent Chinese tributers in mines owned by white men, and, so far as I know, the honorable gentleman has made no move in the matter. It is quite time that a Labour Administration took steps to drive the Asiatics out of the mining industry in the Northern Territory, at least to the extent to which they are driven out of the industry in other parts of the Commonwealth. I should not object to Chinese being encouraged to work old or abandoned mineral fields which white men cannot work successfully. If white employers were permitted to give Chinese tributes in the mines of New South Wales or Victoria there would be a riot within 24 hours. The Miners Association and all concerned in the industry in the Northern Territory have asked that Chinese should not be allowed to work as tributers in the mines of the Territory. With respect to Chinese entering the Commonwealth at Port Darwin, I have to say that that is a difficult matter to deal with. The boats of the Eastern and Australian Company coming direct from China anchor just outside Port Darwin in the evening, remain there all night, and come in to the wharf in the morning. It is said that this is necessary, because tnt port is insufficiently lighted, and there are places difficult of navigation except by daylight. When we visited the Northern Territory we were told that ^7,000 worth of opium had been smuggled into the Territory a week before our arrival. There is no reason why Chinese should not be smuggled into the Territory in the same way. There are many Chinese junks on the coast working on pearl shell and trepang, and it would be a very easy matter for a Chinese to slip off the big boats, get to the junks, and be landed from them. After landing in the Northern Territory they could easily go overland to Queensland and New South Wales, and I think that many of the additions to our Chinese population might be accounted. for in that way. Some reference has been made to the employment of a few Chinese in the Northern Territory at the residence of the Administrator. I feel that when white servants can be induced to go there the Chinese will be displaced by them. I might mention, however, that in the hotels at which we stayed in the Northern Territory, there were white servants and Chinese cooks. The supply of a cook in the Northern Territory is a difficult proposition. White cooks have been failures in the tropical regions in the past, because they sometimes ger on the “ booze.” I want to see some advance made in grappling with the coloured labour question in the Northern Territory. On another item I shall have something to say about the treatment of the aborigines. If we can spend thousands upon them we should be able to spend a little money to keep the number of Chinese in the Territory at a minimum.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Fawkner

– The figures showing the arrivals and departures of Chinese for the last two years are these: - Arrivals - 1912, 786; 1911, 716; departures - 1912, 297; 1911, 604 ; showing an increase in our Chinese population. I take those figures from the monthly summary issued by Mr. Knibbs. I do not suppose any one would object to the employment of a few Chinese as cooks and gardeners, but we do not like the idea of white men having to work alongside Chinamen. During a recent trip through Canada, my prejudice against that was greatly strengthened. The number of Chinese and aliens in that country surprised me, and creates a dangerous position.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– The United States and Canada have not got the exclusive legislation which we have.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– No, and their alien population constitutes a danger. They will find it difficult to enforce restrictive legislation, because, naturally, a foreign Government resents the stoppage or interference with the movements of its subjects when a large body of them are concerned. Here we should see that the law is firmly administered. In themselves I have nothing to say against the Japanese or the Chinese, but their civilization is entirely different from ours, so that it would,I think, be disastrous .to intermingle the two races, and they can live on a ration scale that our people cannot face. For the proper enforcement of our law, it will be necessary to thoroughly police the coastline, especially on the north. The Minister of Defence has been in communication with the King of the Loyalty Islands. When at Honolulu I was struck with the large number of Japanese. They number more than 60,000, the Americans being a mere handful. The latter are alive to their danger, and are constructing enormous fortresses, but the Japanese are all trained soldiers, and possess splendid fighting qualities, and, moreover, are a proud race, so that there is reason for fearing them. I suppose that the King of the Loyalty Islands is afraid that his Dominions will be similarly overrun. It will be difficult for us to help His Majesty. We cannot expect to be able to keep the Japanese out of his country. Though we talk of having a controlling voice in the Pacific, it is those who fill up the islands of the Pacific that will have a controlling voice. The most that we can hope to do in the matter of the Loyalty Islands is to represent the state of affairs to the Foreign Office, so that the Imperial Government may take steps to prevent the population of the Loyalties being swamped by Japanese, Chinese, and Indian immigrants.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– The position of Fiji is not very satisfactory.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– The attention of the Foreign Office should Be directed to the position of affairs there.

Mr Fenton:

– There are 50,000 Hindus in Fiji.

Mr FAIRBAIRN:

– We are not able to do anything ourselves, but we should ask the Imperial authorities to prevent the aboriginal natives of these islands from being crowded out by emigrants from Asia.

Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle

.- At Papeete, on my way from. San Francisco, I saw many hundreds of Japanese, and the vessel by which I travelled carried two Japanese, who every night donned military uniforms, and were received by the French with music and great honor. I understand that the Japanese work the various phosphate proposals in the Pacific, and I think that these officers had something to do with some such proposition. The Foreign Office should certainly be advised of the state of affairs in the Pacific. From Papeete to Raratonga is only three days’ steam. Raratonga is under the protection of New Zealand, and Japanese are not allowed to ‘land there. But all through the other islands there are Japanese and Chinese, both pure and half-bred, in thousands.

Mr THOMAS:
Barrier · ALP

.- As in the case of passenger traffic between Australia and England, there are months of the year when more people are coming here than are travelling to China. But in 1909, the total departures of Chinese numbered 2,341 and the arrivals 1,729, an excess of departures of 612. In 1910 the departures numbered 2,310, and the arrivals 1,817, an excess of departures of 493. In 191 1, the departures were 2,266, and the arrivals 2,009, an excess of departures of 257, and during the first nine months of this year, the departures were 2,985, and the arrivals 2,746, an excess of departures of 239, so that it will be seen that the Chinese population of the country is decreasing.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– When I asked the Minister for the information that he has just given, he said point-blank that he did not intend to make an explanation. That is his invariable method of treating me, and surely shows a remarkable lack of appreciation of Ministerial dignity and duty.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Chanter:

– The honorable member must confine his remarks to the item. He will be in order in criticizing the figures supplied by the Minister, but not the conduct of the Minister.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I bow to your decision, though I have always understood that in dealing with the Estimates we have the right to criticize the administration of Ministers and their method of dealing with their Estimates in this Chamber. In response to the challenge of the honorable member for Corio, who wished for figures relating to the movements of Chinese during the Liberal administration, let me say that in 1906 the departures of all Asiatics exceeded the arrivals by 3, 2 st: In 1907 there was an excess of 4,166 departures ; in 1908, an excess of 1,295; in 1909, an excess of 770 ; and in 1910, the first year of the Labour Administration, an excess of only 134. In the year 191 1 there was a slight improvement, the excess of departures being 399. A reconciliation is necessary between the figures for the six months and the figures for the twelve months. It would seem as though there had been a rush of Chinamen out of the country in the first six months ; but, taking the figures as a whole, there does not appear to be any more rigid administration of the Act than formerly, although honorable members opposite, in the Caucus and on the platform, pose as the only supporters of the White Australian policy. How many times in this debate have we heard! the honorable member for Bourke girding about the “black labour wreckage” over here?

Mr Anstey:

– I think the Labour Government are responsible for the influx of the coloured people, and also for the increase in the white immigrants; but honorable members opposite affirm one and deny the other.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Then the honorable member opposite says that the Government are rushing immigrants into the cities ?

Mr Anstey:

– I say they are, both black and white - it is open to all the world.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I shall not contradict the honorable member, but I guarantee he will not tell his constituents that the Government are responsible for the crowding of white immigrants into the city of Melbourne.

Mr Anstey:

– I always tell the truth.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The honorable member will tell his constituents that it is Mr. Watt, and not the Minister of External Affairs, who is responsible. I do not know” why Mr. Knibbs issues a return for six months instead of twelve months.

Mr FINLAYSON:
Brisbane

– I can offer no official explanation as to the decrease in the excess of departures over arrivals in the case of coloured people, but an obvious answer seems to be supplied in the fact that experience, during the past two years particularly, has taught aliens that they run a great risk of not being able to sufficiently establish their identity to secure re-entry into the Commonwealth. No sufficient argument has been adduced to show that the decreased number of departures shows any lax administration ; indeed, exactly the opposite is shown, and the reason is that which I have already indicated.

Mr MCWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– Just before his death, Mr. Batchelor, the late Minister of External Affairs, was considering the question of the issue of permits to coloured pugilists to enter Australia, and it is a matter to which the present Minister might well direct his at- % tention. It is not creditable to Australia, or good for the youth of the country, that these men should be given permits as they have been given them during the last few years. Of course this Government or Parliament is not responsible for the exhibitions that these men give ; but, at the same time, the Minister ought to keep the matter in mind.

Mr Finlayson:

– Would the honorable member extend his suggestion so as to cover such minstrel troupes as the one now showing in Melbourne?

Mr Spence:

– Or to white pugilists.

Mr MCWILLIAMS:

– No permits are necessary for white pugilists, and I question whether they could be dealt with except as undesirable immigrants. There is no question, however, of our power to deal with coloured men, and in America, and, I believe, in South Africa, where there are coloured populations these fights are having a very bad effect. The Minister would have the support of many honorable members on this side in any action he took in the direction suggested.

Mr PAGE:
Maranoa

– I should like to direct the attention of the Minister to the sale of naturalization papers in Hong Kong and Singapore. Three such papers were given to me by a Chinaman in Queensland, who informed me that they were more easily obtainable in those ports than are pound notes. They are sold indiscriminately to Chinamen, who are “ tutored up “ before being sent here.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I believe they are posted from Australia to China.

Mr PAGE:

– The Department must be aware of the facts; and I should like to know what the Minister proposes to do in regard to this traffic, if he can tell us without any betrayal of confidence.

Mr THOMAS:
Minister of External Affairs · Barrier · ALP

– As I explained about an hour ago, an officer sent to Hong Kong has discovered many circumstances similar to those mentioned by the honorable member for Maranoa. We have had confidential reports; and, although. I do hot like to say at present what is proposed to be done, any honorable- member can see the documents at the Department. .

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– Can the Minister give us any information as to the practice of the Department in regard to the admission of coloured pugilists, and tell us> whether they are treated in the same way as coloured entertainers at the music halls, and so forth?

Mr Thomas:

– The pugilists are placed on the same footing as the music hall people.

Mr GROOM:

– Personally I do not think that amateur boxing ought to be suppressed, because it is a line, manly sport. The question raised of the entry of coloured prizefighters, however, is one which ought to receive the serious consideration of the Minister. There appears to be at present practically unrestricted admission of coloured pugilists. A coloured man, of course, may have as fine a character as a white man; but there are undesirables of both races, and there ought to be some discrimination. As to naturalization, I should like to call attention to the position of married women under the Act. It is provided that a person who has received a certificate before the passing of the Act is entitled to naturalization throughout Australia, but in the case of a woman who becomes naturalized in a State on the naturalization of her husband no certificate is issued to her. The effect is that, though a woman may have been naturalized in Queensland or any other State, she was not naturalized in the Commonwealth as a whole ; and this is a somewhat serious matter, because it affects the right . to an old-age pension, and also the right to enrolment.

Mr Page:

– Did not the honorable member, as Minister of External Affairs, promise an amendment of the Act in that respect ?

Mr GROOM:

– Yes, and, just before the late Government went out of office, I prepared a Bill, the draft of which is in the Department now.

Mr Brennan:

– I believe the time qualification of an old-age pension does not begin to run until the woman is naturalized.

Mr GROOM:

– That is so, and in many cases the defect is not found out until the application for an- old-age pension is made. I think there ought to be an amendment of the Act, and that it ought to be, to some extent, retrospective. In a State like South Australia, where there are some hundreds of German women, there must be some eases of hardship, and, of course, this applies, in varying degrees, to every State of the Union.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m. (Thursday).

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– Irise to a matter of privilege, but first of all I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.] Without intimation of any kind we found ourselves to-day with a quarter of an hour less -than usual for luncheon. In connexion with any special proceedings of the kind now taking place it has always been the rule to extend the time allowed for luncheon, dinner, and breakfast.

Mr Sampson:

– At whose instance did this curtailment take place?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– By whose authority has this been, done? Who has decreed that we shall have a quarter of an hour less for luncheon than we had yesterday ?

Mr Riley:

– Is the honorable member going on strike?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I have been on strike for nearly 30 hours.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– It is just as well the public should know that.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– And the public should know also that we offered to give the Government the whoie of the. Estimatesof this Department before train time last night.

Mr Fisher:

– I think that it was at five minutes to 12 that the Opposition said they were willing to give us the Estimates of this Department.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– That is entirely incorrect.

Mr Fisher:

– Then it was ten minutes before midnight.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The Prime Minister had knowledge of our offer before 11 p.m.

Mr Fisher:

– So far as my negotiations with you were concerned, it was impossible to get anything definite.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There were no negotiations between us. I did not speak to the Prime Minister, nor did he speak tome.

Mr West:

– Get on with the business, do not humbug.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– The Opposition are on strike.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– On strike against tyranny, discourtesy, and overbearing conduct.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member rose to a question of privilege.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I did, butI am not allowed to proceed.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member fishes for these things, and then complains because they come.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– That is a very unfair remark to make. I shall not proceed unless I obtain quiet.

The CHAIRMAN:

– There is no obligation upon the honorable member to go on.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am going to-, proceed, but I must have quiet before I do. Ever since we began our morning sittings we have had the extra quarter of an hour for lunch, of which we were deprived today without any previous information. On whose authority was this action taken?

Mr Page:

– By that of the honorable member for Wentworth.

Mr Kelly:

– I ask that that statement be withdrawn.

Mr Page:

– I withdraw it.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– The proceedings are a complete farce, and the Opposition are responsible for it.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I ask that those words be withdrawn.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– I withdraw them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Coming back to the question of privilege, I would point out that this new” departure was taken by a Temporary Chairman. A Temporary Chairman ought not to curtail the privileges of honorable members in this way, unless he has been instructed to do so. I am not sure that I am not required by the Standing Orders to conclude with a motion. Is that so?

The CHAIRMAN:

– No.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Very well. I ask you, sir, who was responsible for the action of which I complain?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The Standing Orders do not fix the time during which the proceedings shall be suspended for luncheon or dinner, but before I left the chair at 12.30 I gave the Temporary Chairman instructions that he was to suspend the sitting from 1 o’clock to 2.15 p.m. I accept all responsibility for the action taken.

Mr Deakin:

– Without the courtesy of a notice to the Opposition.

Mr Kelly:

– On this question of privilege

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order !

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I move a motion dissenting from the decision of the Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The question before the Chair is the reduction of the proposed vote by £1.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I have risen to privilege.

Mr Page:

– Chair 1 Do not let the honorable member play with you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr Thomas:

– Do not let him flout you.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I submit that the Minister of External Affairs is out of order in making such an offensive observation, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The Minister was not in order in making that remark.

Mr Thomas:

– I withdraw it.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

– I submitted an amendment to reduce the proposed vote by j£i in order to draw attention to the inefficient administration of the provisions relating to the exclusion of aliens from the Commonwealth. The Minister of External Affairs, in reply, charged us with quoting only the figures in respect to six-monthly periods. The periods quoted were taken from the Statistician’s report.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I rise to order. Standing order 284 provides that -

All questions of order and matters of privilege at any time arising shall, until decided, suspend the consideration and decision of every other question.

It is also laid down by standing order 111 that -

An urgent motion directly concerning the privileges of the House shall take precedence of other motions, as well as of Orders of the Day.

I submit that the supersession of an established custom in this arbitrary way without the slightest reason being assigned for it, is a matter which vitally concerns the privileges of honorable members, and I claim my right under the standing order which I have quoted, to move a motion in reference to it.

The CHAIRMAN:

– What is the motion?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I move-

That the action of the Chairman of Committees, in curtailing the time allowed for luncheon to honorable members, is a breach of the privileges of honorable members.

I should be quite willing even now to withdraw the motion of-

Mr Chanter:

– I ‘ rise to a point of order. I submit that there is no standing order or rule” which deprives Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Committees of the power to decide at what time they shall vacate the chair or resume it. No motion of privilege was made when the Temporary Chairman proposed to vacate the chair, and * no motion of dissent can be submitted now. The matter is entirely one within the discretion of the presiding officer, and in the circumstances I contend that the honorable member’s motion is hot in order.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The honorable member is quite right. It is true that there is no rule governing our procedure in this matter. But hitherto we have enjoyed the privilege of having our sittings suspended for an hour and a half at luncheon time, and that practice has received the indorsement of the House as well as of Mr. Speaker and of the Chairman of Committees, who are the servants of the House. Neither Mr. Speaker nor the Chairman of Committees is the master of the House. Each has to do what the House tells him to do - neither more nor less. There was a distinct understanding with Mr. Speaker, with the Chairman of Committees, and with the Government that honorable member were to be allowed an hour and a half for luncheon, and a similar time for dinner. The House has assented to that practice for weeks past, but now the Chairman, without any authority from anybody, coolly tells us that he will take the responsibility for the curtailment of our privileges in this connexion. Is he interested in curtailing the privileges of honorable members?

Mr Page:

– What point of order is the honorable member discussing ? He is making a speech.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The Chairman of Committees is the servant of the House. It is his duty to preserve our privileges and not to curtail them in this arbitrary fashion. I should like to know who has moved the Chairman to take this action. I cannot believe that of his own volition he has arrogated to himself the position of master of the House. From time immemorial it has been laid down in connexion with Parliamentary procedure that Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees may only do what the House directs them to do. That was laid down many years ago by Mr. Speaker Lenthall, who said that he had neither eyes to see, nor ears to hear, other than as the House should direct him. The House has given its approval to an established custom, which is as strong as any law. There is nothing whatever in the point raised by the honorable member, for Riverina. My motion affirms that the Chairman has, without any authority whatever, committed a breach of the privileges of honorable members in taking from them a right which they have hitherto enjoyed.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– In support of the contention of the honorable member for Riverina I would direct attention to the fact that in a previous Parliament, on. the occasion of a very protracted silting which extended practically throughout a week, the then Speaker, the late Sir Frederick Holder, intimated to the House of his own volition that he proposed to vacate the chair at five minutes to 12 o’clock on Saturday night, and to resume it at a cer tain hour on the following Monday morning. That being so, it follows that in the action which you, sir, took to-day, you did not exceed your functions.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The late Sir Frederick Holder vacated the chair with the concurrence of both sides of the House.

Mr Kelly:

– I submit that there is absolutely no analogy between the occasion to which the honorable member for Calare has referred and the present occasion. Further, there is no similarity between the complexion which has been placed upon that incident by the honorable member-

Mr Page:

– How does the honorable member know?

Mr Kelly:

– Because I was present at the time. I sat here from Tuesday afternoon till Saturday night. It was to obviate Parliament sitting on Sunday that the late Sir Frederick Holder took the action which he did with the concurrence of both sides of the House. The members of both sides of the Chamber were consulted by him as to what arrangement would suit them.

Mr Page:

– This is the first time that I have heard anything of it.

Mr Kelly:

– If the action of the Chairman be upheld no Government will be safe against such a contingency, unless they have their own nominee in the chair. Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Committees might at any moment see fit to vacate the chair until such a time as they knew would inconvenience and seriously embarrass the Government. What a condition of affairs we should have then ! Obviously the Chairman of Committees is a high officer of the House, and it is his duty to facilitate the work of honorable members, and not, by arbitrary decisions of his own volition, to embarrass them. Since we have established the practice of sitting in the mornings, it has been well known to all that the luncheon adjournment lasted from 1 o’clock till half-past 2 o’clock. Honorable members who had important duties to discharge may have left the House a few minutes beforeI o’clock, intending to return shortly before the ordinary hour for re-assembling, and may now find themselves, owing to the action of the Chairman, debarred from ventilating certain grievances.

Mr Page:

– They are not back yet.

Mr Kelly:

– This is another instance of the privileges of the House being whittled away to. suit honorable members opposite.

Mr West:

– The honorable member was willing that the House should have tea at 7 o’clock the other evening, when he wished to attend the Governor-General’s ball.

Mr Kelly:

– I wonder if the honorable member can ever speak the truth. I did not go to the Governor-General’s ball. I assisted the Prime Minister to maintain some semblance of control over his followers when they sought even that dirty pretext to advertise themselves on the stump to Australia. I regret that I had not the pleasure of attending His Excellency’s ball, but I understand that quite a number of very worthy representatives of the Government properly availed themselves of His Excellency’s invitation. I submit, sir, that it is your duty to serve the House, and not to dictate to it as to when its sittings shall be suspended and when it shall re-assemble. If you arrogate to yourself that power, we shall be absolutely in the dark as to the time we areexpected to meet to transact the public business. If the House insists on giving you the power-

Mr Fisher:

– He has it.

Mr Bamford:

– He allowed no time at all for breakfast this morning.

Mr Kelly:

– Did the Prime Minister suggest to the Chairman that we should reassemble at a quarter-past 2 o’clock?

Mr Fisher:

– No.

Mr Kelly:

– Did his Ministers?

Mr Fisher:

– No.

Mr Kelly:

– Why was not that information given before ?

Mr Fisher:

– What an impertinent little boy you are.

Mr Kelly:

– Good Heavens !Here is the man who glories, in his electoral advertisements, in being a working miner, arrogating to himself all the graces of a Chesterfield and a BeauBrummel.

Mr Page:

– It is a terrible crime for him to have been a working miner. That is the one thing in which we glory.

Mr Kelly:

– On the platform, yes. But here it is a matter of Chesterfieldian behaviour.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I must ask honorable members not to interject.

Mr Howe:

– Let the cad go on.

Mr Kelly:

– That is about the one subject upon which the honorable member can pose as being an authority.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to a point of order. Did you, sir, hear the insulting observation which was made just now ?

The honorable member for Dalley hurled across the chamber the word “cad.” I ask that that insulting . expression be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I did not hear the honorable member make use of that expression, but if he did so, he must withdraw it.

Mr Howe:

– I withdraw it.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to a point of order. It is time that this farcical procedure terminated. It is time, sir, that you required honorable members to regard their conduct towards the Chair with becoming seriousness. The honorable member for Dalley actually rose and grinned at you while he withdrew his insulting expression.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– I rise to order. I wish to know whether the honorable member for Parramatta is in order’ in referring to the conduct of the honorable member for Dalley as “grinning”?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member is not in order, nor is he in order in reflecting on the Chair.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– The honorable member’s own supporters are becoming disgusted with this farce.

Mr Fenton:

– They are disgusted with him.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Maribyrnong and the honorable member for Indi both made an insulting observation, and I ask that it should’ be withdrawn. They have affirmed that my own supporters are becoming disgusted with me.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Indi must -withdraw that remark.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– The remark which I used was that honorable members opposite were becoming disgusted with this farce.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– That is even worse. The honorable member for Maribyrnong made the same remark, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

Mr Fenton:

– I withdraw it, and may I be permitted to smile while doing so.

Mr Kelly:

– Why should honorable members opposite bark and bite because we’ ask for the privilege of knowing exactly the hour at which our sittings are to be resumed ? I am bound to say that if you, sir, acted on your own volition to-day, I regard your action as a regrettable incident which will not be repeated now that the matter has been ventilated.

The CHAIRMAN:

– To what is the honorable member now speaking ? Is it a point of order?

Mr Kelly:

– About six points of order have been raised since I commenced my speech’. On all future occasions it will be well for the presiding officer to at least notify honorable members in advance of any alteration he proposes to make in the duration of any refreshment adjournment. Whatever may be said in regard to the propriety of not adjourning for breakfast, the Chairman, in regard to the established practice of adjourning for luncheon and dinner, should observe the usual hours.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Riverina contends that the motion of privilege is out of order, on the ground that it should have been moved when the Temporary Chairman gave notice of my intention to leave the chair until a quarter-past 2 instead of until half-past 2, but I will point out to him that the Temporary Chairman leaving the chair pre-‘ vented anything from being done, and the question of privilege was raised directly I resumed the chair after luncheon. Therefore I rule the motion of privilege to be in order.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– In In my view, the extension or curtailment of refreshment. adjournments can take place only in accordance with a resolution of the House come to on the motion of the Government, or in- compliance with an arrangement between the leaders of parties. Neither the Speaker nor the Chairman has the right of his own volition to prolong or shorten a refreshment adjournment. If either presiding officer had the right to curtail a refreshment adjournment, that right would be unlimited. Not merely could an adjournment be shortened by a quarter-of-an-hour, but it could be shortened by any greater time, or abolished altogether.

Mr Finlayson:

– I submit that the motion of privilege is entirely out of order.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

- Mr. Chairman has ruled it to be in order, and that ruling cannot be questioned.

Mr Finlayson:

– You ruled last week, Mr. Chairman, that you could leave the chair at any time.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If the Chairman has the right to shorten a refreshment adjournment, he has the right to abolish it altogether, and an unscrupulous or vindictive man could thus vent his personal spleen on honorable members, or play into the hands of the majority by wearing down the minority by continuous sittings, until at last they succumbed to absolute physical exhaustion. It has been the practice, when we have had all-night sittings, to adjourn at half-past 8 a.m. for breakfast, and when that was not done this morning I concluded that the adjournment was merely postponed for the convenience of the tired staff of cooks and waiters, who were late in the preparation for the meal. It was incomprehensible to me that such a proceeding as trying to starve members by compelling them to continue sitting during meal hours would1 be resorted to. In regard to the luncheon and dinner adjournments the practice is absolutely established. But if the Chairman may shorten these adjournments, he may abolish them altogether, and, equally, he may lengthen them indefinitely. Should the Chairman have the powers which it is contended that he has, he would be able to leave the chair for ten or twelve hours at a time, and might have said on leaving at 1 p.m. that he would resume the sitting at 3.40 to-morrow morning. Besides, if a Chairman had these powers, the Temporary Chairmen would also possess them. To acknowledge the existence of such powers would be to sanction another serious inroad into our rights, and permit, perhaps, the exercise of tyranny. We should be very jealous of our rights and privileges, and shall find ourselves in very dangerous waters1 if we allow the conduct of our affairs to be taken out of our control by the Chairman or other presiding officer.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I support the motion of the Acting Leader of the Opposition with considerable confidence. The honorable member for Riverina, although an exChairman of Committees, has displayed an extraordinary lack of knowledge of the first principles of parliamentary procedure. He laid down the extraordinary and novel doctrine that the Speaker and Chairman of Committees can do as they like in the matter of adjournments.

Mr Chanter:

– I did not say anything of the kind.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That in effect was the honorable member’s, contention; but you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Speaker,” are the servants of the House, and can do nothing except by its direction. The honorable member for Calare seems to think that we are bound by something done by Sir Frederick Holder without direction of the House, but a mere cursory glance at May’s Parliamentary Practice will show that the powers of the Speaker of an assembly like this, and a fortiori those of the Chairman, are very strictly defined. For verification of that statement I refer honorable members to page 191 of the eleventh edition. You, Mr. Chairman, have no power to do anything against the wishes or directions of honorable members, and must do what you are required to do. In this instance you have taken upon yourself to alter the length of the luncheon adjournment. You did not ask the permission of the Committee to do this. The mere adjournment for lunch may be regarded as the feather which shows the way the wind blows, because if we had a reckless Government who desired to make honorable members tools to serve their ends they might induce a weak man in the chair to do just what they wished. I need not say that I hope we shall never have such a man in the chair, but I point to the extraordinary power which in these circumstances a Government would have if they chose to exercise it. We had some indication of it to-day when at the beginning of this debate a Minister of the Crown from his place on the Treasury bench actually advised you, sir, as to how you should act in your position. Where will this end? It is but on a par with many of the tyrannical acts of a Labour Government who mistake might for right. If you, sir, have the power to curtail the period to be allowed honorable members for lunch, you have the power to extend it ; and you have the power to adjourn for hours instead of minutes. You would become the master of the Committee instead of its servant. I therefore join heartily with the honorable member for Parramatta in protesting as vehemently as I can against this attempt to subvert Parliament, and to introduce some of the characteristics which made the Star Chamber remarkable for tyranny in the history of the Mother Country.

Mr CHANTER:
Riverina

._I should not have risen were it not for the fact that the honorable member for Parkes has made certain statements concerning myself. When I raised the point of order, I did not claim that the Speaker or Chairman of Committees had power over honorable members in this matter. What I said, and what I repeat now, was that it has been the universal practice of the presiding officers of this Parliament to be guided in arrang ing the adjournment for refreshments by their view of the convenience of honorable members. Precedents have been alluded to, and it is just as well that we should follow our own. We have no rule or standing order defining the particular hours when business shall be suspended to enable honorable members to obtain refreshments, or prescribing the time allowed for the purpose. The honorable member for Parkes mentioned the fact that, in common with himself, I was at one time a member of the New South Wales Parliament and I have a clear recollection of the powers which were exercised by eminent members of that Parliament, who are now Justices of the High Court of Australia. I remember that on one occasion, Mr. Justice Barton, who was at the time Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, took possession of the Committee, and entered the Speaker’s chair, while the Chairman of Committees occupied his chair. There was no precedent for the adoption of such a course as that, and Mr. Speaker Barton had to make one to fit the circumstances. Our late eminent and respected Speaker, Sir Frederick Holder, I believe, held the same views, though he had no necessity to take a similar course here. My memory is sufficiently good to enable me to say that there has never been any arrangement come to either by the House or the Committee with respect to the time at which Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Committees should leave the chair in order that honorable members may obtain refreshments. Originally, as you are no doubt aware, sir, it was thought that it would suit the convenience o”f honorable members to suspend the sitting for one hour for lunch. That practice was followed for a time, and then without any arrangement come to in the House or in Committee, the time was extended to an hour and a quarter, and later it was further extended to an hour and a half. In dealing with Bills, and the ordinary business of the Chamber, the Speaker or Chairman of Committees, as the case may be, is bound by our standing rules and orders. He may not leave the chair, or take the chair, except by resolution, or, in the case of the passing of a Bill from one stage to another, but as regards adjournments for refreshments, they are not guided by any standing order. The honorable member for Parkes cited May, and referred to myself in an’ uncomplimentary manner, but, notwithstanding his remarks, I claim to be quite as well acquainted with May as is the honorable gentleman, and further that his reference to that authority was wide of the mark. It dealt with what the Speaker or Chairman of Committees might not do under the Standing Orders, but we are here dealing with a matter that is not provided for in the Standing Orders.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I think we should have a quorum.’ Quorum formed.]

Mr CHANTER:

– I fear no contradiction when I say that there has never been a motion submitted in this chamber dealing with the time for which the House or the Committee should adjourn for refreshments.’ That has been left by consent to the Speaker or Chairman of Committees respectively.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– With the concurrence of honorable members.

Mr CHANTER:

– That concurrence has been assumed because there has been no objection. I can recall no instance in this Parliament when the Speaker or Chairman of Committees left the chair for refreshments without announcing when he would resume it. That is the time when, if the proposed adjournment is inconvenient to honorable members, objection should be taken. No such objection was taken in this case.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– How could any objection be taken when the Temporary Chairman rase from the chair and walked out of the chamber?

Mr CHANTER:

– If the announcement he made did not suit the convenience of the Committee, honorable members should have made known their objections.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– They could not have done so then.

Mr CHANTER:

– On this occasion the time allowed under recent practice was reduced by a quarter of an hour. Until a standing order is agreed to fixing the time at which the Chairman or Speaker shall leave the chair for refreshments and resume it, the only persons who can deal with the matter are the presiding officers of this House. The honorable member for Parramatta knows the usages of other Parliaments as well as of this Parliament, and he would, I think, be well advised to withdraw his motion, and, if he thinks it necessary, submit a direct motion that the Committee should adjourn for a certain period for refreshments.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

.- I cannot claim the long parliamentary experience of the honorable member for Riverina, but I can refer to certain alterations made in the adjournment allowed for refreshments during my experience, short as it has been. If the honorable member will look up Hansard he will find that on the last occasion when the time was extended from an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half, it was only done after debate, and with the concurrence and knowledge of honorable members. When the usual hour for the adjournment arrived the Speaker announced that, in order to give the Hansard reporters and the officers of the Parliament a. rest, he proposed to extend the dinner adjournment. I remember, sir, that when you were in the chair you referred to the fact that the Speaker had extended the period of adjournment for refreshments, and said that you proposed to follow the precedent he had laid down. There is a, real danger involved in the arbitrary change of the hour for refreshments on the spur of the moment. A number of honorable members a few minutes before the time for the lunch adjournment might go into the city for lunch, believing that the ordinary hour for the resumption of our proceedings would be observed j but upon their return they might find that the Chairman had resumed the chair earlier than the usual hour, and that an important division had taken place in their absence. In the circumstances, they would be deprived of their rights.

Mr Chanter:

– We could cure that by the adoption of a sessional order.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I admit that; and if we are never to know, from day to day, at what hour the Speaker or Chairman will leave the chair, and resume it again, we must have a sessional order dealing with the matter, so that we may know exactly where we are. In such circumstances as I have suggested, the present practice might lead to the defeat of the Government on an important measure. Though I should not, for a moment, attribute anything of the find to you, sir, I submit that the power you have exercised might be used in a most sinister way. If this power be conceded as a matter of right, to the Speaker or Chairman, either of those officers might, in collusion with the Government, be the means of bringing about a snap division on some important proposal.

Mr.Chanter. - He wouldnotbe fit for his position if he did.

Mr.GREENE. - Iadmit that ; but amy point is that such things would bepossible if the Speaker or Chairman of Committees had a right arbitrarily toalter thehour, or the periodto be allowed for refreshments without theconcurrenceofthe Chamber. Our presiding officers a.re the servants of the ‘House . or CaEnrnittBe, to carry out their wishes and maintain order aaad they ihave no -right to take it -upon themselves ito . -say what shall be . done in . a mstaitter of this kind without the . general concurrence of honorable members. . Now thait the matter has croppedup, I . suggest that it . should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee,, who should recommend the adoption of a . standing order, under which we should know where we are. We areestablishing a precedent, which may be followed to the disadvantage of the Government or . the Opposition, . and which must leave the Speaker or Chairman of Committees open to charges of partisan action. In view of the fact that we have been sitting continuously since 10.30 a.m. yesterday, it would . have been quite possible . that . a . number of . members of the Opposition might have left the chamber this morning, and on their return . have found that those J eft to represent them, had exhausted . their right . to speak, . and that, in their absence, matters on which they desired to express their opinions had been dealt with . by the Committee.

Mr Page:

– There is no such luck.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I know; but. I am pointing out the danger, and reminding honorable members that both sides are equally interested in this question. We must not forget that the present Government will not always occupy the Treasury benches ; and the sooner a change is made in the Administration the better it will be for the country- I submit that am arbitrary alteration in the hour of the refreshment adjournment, or any other similar matter, is a distinct breach of privilege.

Mr THOMAS BROWN:
Calare

– This is not the ordinary procedure of the House, because, in a parliamentary sense, this is Wednesday, and not Thursday ; and an extraordinary position of affairs has arisen. The non-naming of any specified time was designedly for the purpose of meeting circumstancesof this kind ; and the Chairman is not infringing our ordinary rights by making any arrangement he thinks most suitable.

Mr FULLER:
Illawarra

.- My owaa opinion is that, instead ofcurtailing the refreshmenthour, it might . very well havebeen extended under the . circumstances, not -only for the convenience of honorable members, but for theconvenience . of Aose gentlemen of the Hansard staff who . have had to sit so long at the table here and report our proceedings. The honorable member for Calare, and, I understand, the honorable member for Riverina, have referred to a memorable occasion when the late Sir Frederick Holder suspended the sitting over the Sunday ; and the honorable member for Calare has told us that Sir Frederick did that of his ownvolition.

Mr Chanter:

– I made no reference to that occasion.

Mr FULLER:

– The statement made bySir Frederick Holder on the Saturday night shows that what ‘he did was Ito meet the wishes of ihonorable members on both sides. I happened to be speaking at five minutes to 12 o’clock on that night, and I wellremember the words -of Sir Frederick Holder, which aire iset f orth in Votes and Proceedings of the 16th November, 1905, as follows -

Suspension of Sitting -over Sunday. - At u o’.clock midnight, -Mr. Speaker informed the House that lie had gathered from the . speeches, and in other ways, that the general wish of the House was that the sitting -should not be continued during Sunday. He stated that many precedents . showed that the Speaker has power to suspend a sitting for such a time ‘as would secure ‘Certain -ends the House generally had : in view. He recognised that in suspending the silting beyond midnight on Sunday he was going beyond -any period for which there was pmecedent. In deference, however, to what he understood ±0 be the general desire of the House, he would now suspend the sitting till half-past 10 a.m. on Monday.

Then, in Hansard, volume xxix., page 5425, Sir Frederick Holder is thus reported -

Mr SPEAKER:

– Order! The House will perhaps permit me to say that I have gathered fr-Gra the speeches of honorable members, and otherwise, that there is a general wish that the sitting shall -not be continued during Sunday. I have looked up the precedents, and I find that there are many for the Speaker suspending the sitting for such time as may be necessary for securing the purpose in view. In this House the time for which sittings have been suspended has usually been one hour forrefreshments. There are other cases in which sittings have been suspended for longer periods - up to . three and a-half hours in one case, and in Victoria, on one occasion, a sitting was suspended for eleven hours and three-quarters. I Moognise that if I suspend the sitting of this House for twenty-four hours, I go beyond any period for which I can find a precedent. Yet in suspending the sitting for that time I should not go beyond the period which is necessary to accomplish the purpose we have in view. 1 find, however, that there is a general desire that the House should not be called back to transact business at midnight to-morrow, and that the convenience of honorable members should be studied to a further extent. Therefore, I now suspend this sitting of the House until half-past 10 o’clock on Monday morning.

When the House met on the following Monday morning, Mr. Watson, the Leader of the Labour party, said -

Mr. WATSON. I wish to know, Mr. Speaker, whether in the event of the sitting continuing, as seems possible, for a considerable time, you could make arrangements for the temporary relief of the Hansard staff?

Mr SPEAKER:

– I think that it was the honorable member himself who mentioned to me on Friday or Saturday last that it was very desirable that some relief should be given to the Hansard stall, and that that relief might be secured by enlisting the services of some of the officers of the Reporting Staff of the State Parliament. I will take care to ascertain whether such an arrangement can be made, or whether relief can by any other means be afforded.

All this shows clearly that what Sir Frederick Holder did was to meet the general desire of members on both sides. On this particular occasion, however, the action taken by the Temporary Chairman could not possibly meet the wishes of honorablemembers.

Mr West:

– It met the wishes of the majority.

Mr FULLER:

– How did the honorable member ascertain that? As for myself, it was only when leaving the building at 2 o’clock, in order to attend to some business down town, that I accidentally heard that the House would re-assemble at a quarter past 2. This may have happened to many honorable members ; and we should not be put in such a position, by the curtailment of the hour of adjournment, that we might be unable to be present on the reassembling of the House. I contend that the action of the Temporary Chairman, as the servant of the House, was not calculated to- meet the convenience or wishes of honorable members. If the majority of honorable members opposite were consulted, I do not see. why we also should not have been consulted.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Honorable members on the Government side knew nothing about the arrangement.

Mr FULLER:

– I gathered from the interjection of the honorable member for East Sydney that the contrary was the fact. It is clear that Sir Frederick

Holder recognised his position as the servant of the House, and satisfied himself as to the desires of honorable members on both sides.

Mr Brown:

– As a matter of personal explanation I desire to say. that what the honorable member for Illawarra has stated is correct so far as it goes ; but, in orderto appreciate the exact position on the occasion to which he refers, he ought to go a little further back.

Mr Kelly:

– In what sense is this a personal explanation?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Calare is going beyond a personal explanation.

Mr Brown:

– I desire to show that the position put to the House by the honorable member for Illawarra is not the correct one, and that before that stage was. reached-

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member may make that statement in a speech, but not as an explanation.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– It must be abundantly clear by this time that such an action as that taken by the Chairman, as one of the custodians of. the privileges of the House, is usually taken after the opinion of the House, as a whole, has been ascertained; and in all matters affecting our privileges there ought to be concurrence as far as possible. This is in no sense a party matter, but one that affects members on both sides ; and it did. seem a little harsh and hard that, after depriving us of the usual breakfast period, the Chairman should have curtailed the lunch hour. We have been sitting over twenty-six and a half hours, and this is not an occasion on which to introduce any new arrangement,, except with concurrence. I suggest that the Chairman might very well agree to revert to the old order of things for the time being, pending an expression of opinion by the House. We are meeting here under more 01 less unusual circumstances, p.nd there is every excuse for hasty action, no matter by whom.

Mr Chanter:

– -Why not let the Standing Orders Committee deal with the question?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I think that honorable members might well be left to make arrangements of the kind affecting their own mutual comfort and convenience. It is clearly laid down by all authorities; that the- Speaker may not do anything until he has been authorized by the House. He is not the master of the House, but its servant, and while we are bound by the Standing Orders, he is even more bound by them, if that be possible; all the power of the Speaker is derived from the wish and will of the House. I should be glad to evade taking a division on the motion, and, if the Chairman cannot see his way to adopt my suggestion, I shall ask leave to unconditionally withdraw the proposal.

Mr Fenton:

– I object; we had better have a vote.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I am entirely in the hands of the Committee. There are other precedents in this Chamber which have not been quoted.

Mr Thomas:

– Let us have them.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I never saw a Minister so eager to “ stone- wall “ his own Estimates ; he welcomes opposition at any moment, and seems to glory in it.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– The honorable member evidently does not wish to get to the consideration of the Estimates.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I have not been permitted so far, seeing that we have been discussing the Chairman for nearly two days. I think that on one occasion the honorable member for Darling Downs proposed to take a course almost similar to that now suggested, but that the House declined to allow it to be followed.

Mr Groom:

– My recollection is that the House came to an agreement later on.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– On this occasion honorable members opposite desire to make this a party question.

Mr Fenton:

– We like a man to stick to his guns.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Very well, I have not the slightest objection to do that.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- Honorable members opposite, who object to the honorable member for Parramatta, purely out of deference to the Chair, withdrawing his motion, will realize when they wake up in the morning, and have a bath-

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– We are not going to bed to-night.

Mr KELLY:

– I shall be delighted to sit up with my honorable friends. I think it will be readily conceded that the honorable member for Parramatta has adopted a most generous attitude to the Chairman, and the position he occupies, in offering to withdraw unreservedly his motion of privilege. We have every sympathy with the Chair and the officers of the House when it becomes our bounden duty to refuse to be bullied into passing all the Estimates in one sitting. I do not think the Minister does himself justice when he objects to this question being settled amicably, now that it has been ventilated. Perhaps he realizes that the longer the discussion of points of privilege like this - absolutely necessary as they may be - the better it is for himself, because then he may hope to have discussed at a time when the press cannot be with us the many political misdoings of which he has been guilty in connexion, with this Department. Honorable members opposite think that they are scoring a party point when they support the Chair, quite irrespective of the merits of the case. They think that they are inflioting on the Opposition a temporary inconvenience. As a matter of fact, I do not care what happens to this motion ; but we felt it to be our duty to endeavour to check this new thing as soon as it had shown its horns. We care not if the House is kept sitting continuously, or whether an effort is made to starve us into, an improper surrender, as well- as so to exhaust us as to make it impossible for us to properly criticise the finances of the country. I leave this question to the decision of the House, but regret that the handsome offer made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has been resisted, not by the Chair - because you, sir, recognise the eminent fairness of the suggestion - but by certain bitterpersons who are so blinded by what has occurred here recently that they think that anything that hits the Opposition is good for the House and the country.

Motion negatived.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- When the question of privilege was raised, I was discussing a reply by the Minister to a statement made by me in regard to the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act. The figures given by Mr. Knibbs bear eloquent testimony to the general proposition I laid down that this Government, while posing as the peculiar guardians of the White Australia policy, have been more lax in this regard than have any previous Administration. In 1906, 3,221 more aliens left the Commonwealth than arrived here; in 1907, 4,106 more aliens left than arrived here; while in 1908, the excess of departures over arrivals was 1,295.In 1909 the excess was some 770; but in 1910 -the firstyear of the Labour Administration - the number of departures over arrivals dropped from 3,221 in 1906, to 134. That is to say, White Australia, was nearly thirty times better off under a Liberal Administration than the figures prove it to be under a Labour Administration. In 1911 399 more aliens left the Commonwealth than arrived here, and, according to a later edition of the Monthly Summary of Australian Statistics than I was able to obtain when I first addressed myself to this subject, for the first eight months of the present year, as compared with the corresponding period of last year, in almost every branch of alien immigration the balance was against us. Some of the figures are extraordinary. We find, for instance, that 706 Malays arrived during the first eight months of this year, whilst 525 left Australia. In the case of Chinese, the balance up to June had been corrected in the other way, more Chinese having left than actually arrived here.

Having shown conclusively that the (figures of the Government Statist are all against the Ministry in this regard, I should like to refer to the statement made by way of interjection by the honorable member for Bourke, that if the Labour party were responsible for the more unsatisfactory position of the Commonwealth’ with regard to alien immigration than was the case in previous years, they must be equally responsible for the better position of the Commonwealth with regard to the immigration of white races. That is a catch way of putting the position. It is well known that while the Commonwealth is responsible for the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act, which deals with coloured aliens, the States alone are responsible for the white immigrants now coming to our shores. At page 1185 of No. 5 of the Official Year-Book, Mr. Knibbs makes this statement -

Various measures have from time to time been adopted by the Commonwealth and State Governments, as well as by private societies and individuals, with a view to promoting the immigration of suitable classes of settlers into Australia. Some of the States of the Commonwealth are at present pursuing immigration policies of a vigorous nature; in others, relatively little is being done. The activities of the Commonwealth Government (which is vested with constitutional powers in regard to immigration under section 51, XXVII., of the Constitution Act 1900), with respect to the encouragement of immigration, have hitherto practically been confined to advertising in hand-books, newspapers, and periodicals the resources and attractions of Australia.

We have already ventilated the means adopted by the Government to advertise Australia by paying unduly large amounts to their party organs, but that question is not immediately before us. While the figures clearly show that the present Administration is not so satisfactorily coping with the question of alien immigration as its predecessors did, it is in no way, according to the authority of the Commonwealth Statistician, responsible for the vast increase in the number of immigrants of a. desirable character coming to the Commonwealth. I am not particularly anxious to press my amendment, because, in the present temper of the Committee, there is no possibility of obtaining an impartial verdict from honorable members opposite. They will sleep to a man, and vote to a man for the Government.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member must not cast reflections.

Mr KELLY:

– Last year the appropriation in respect of interpreters’ fees, legal and other expenses, in relation to the Immigration Restriction Act was £1,600, whilst the actual expenditure was £2,632 ; and yet, despite the unsatisfactory leakage occurring under the present faulty administration, the Minister proposes to do with £622 less in respect of this item than was spent last year. Honorable members opposite, when on the public platform, pose as “ the pure merinoes “ of a White Australia. They can vote old-age pensions for Chinese with votes, but they are “ the true merinoes “ with regard to keeping out Chinese who have no votes ! Yet we find them actually cutting down the Estimates relating .to the administration df the Immigration Restriction Act. I have ventilated this case because I deem it to be of very great importance. I have supported it with statistics compiled by the Commonwealth Statistician. But I do not anticipate that my amendment will be carried, because honorable members opposite, who are so accustomed to denounce alien immigration, are only too ready to consider the Chinaman who is already in the country and who has a vote. Their protestations on the . public platform are,, therefore, only so much humbug, which is intended to gull the electors.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I think the honorable member for Wentworth has made out a strong case. He has shown that there has been a very marked increase in the number of alien immigrants who have entered the Commonwealth during the tenure of office of the present Government. That is a somewhat remarkable fact, seeing that, in regard to the White Australia policy, honorable members opposite will always pose as the only “pure merinoes.” But their claim in this connexion is just as much a sham as are many of their other professions. lr we are going to preserve Australia for the white race, and to make our Immigration Restriction Act effective, we shall have to keep a closer watch on oversea arrivals from Oriental countries. The honorable member for Wentworth has moved the reduction of the item “ Immigration Restriction Act - Interpreters’ fees, legal and other expenses, ^2,000,” by £1. I find that last year the amount appropriated under this heading was ;£ 1,600, but that the expenditure totalled ,£2,622. What 1 particularly desire to know is why paid legal interpreters should be restricted to some portions of Australia to the exclusion of others. During the early part of this year I had occasion to visit Thursday Island. There I found that a number of disputes had arisen and a number of serious assaults had been committed amongst the coloured members of the pearling fleets stationed there. A feud appeared to be in progress between the Japanese divers and the Malay crews of the pearling luggers. A sort of vendetta, existed, and, owing to the absence of interpreters, it was- exceedingly difficult to get at the facts of those disputes. In one case a raid was made by a number of Malays on a house which was being temporarily visited by a Japanese diver. Knives were freely- thrown about, so that it was risky even to cross- the road. One Japanese was stabbed whilst on his way to- his vessel1, and, as I have already said, it. was almost impossible, owing- to the absence of an official interpreter, to ascertain the rights and wrongs of the quarrel. I may add that there is a member of the Malay community resident in Thursday Island, and also a Japanese resident. These men are not official interpreters, but, inasmuch as they possess some knowledge of the English language - a knowledge which is not by any means perfect - their services are occasionally requisitioned. But it is merely an accident that they happen to be located on the Island. They may leave it at any time, and, in that case, there would be nobody there who is familiar with the language either of the Japanese or of the Malays, who constitute the bulk of the floating population of the place. The seriousness of this condition of affairs will readily be understood by honorable members when. I tell them that when these pearling fleets visit Thursday Island for supplies there ate sometimes as many as 400 luggers in port at the same time. Each of these vessels carries a crew- of seven or eight persons, chiefly composed of Malays, who come ashore in great numbers. Only one policeman is stationed on the Island to maintain law and order amongst alt these aliens, who visit the hotels, where they become the victims of inebriety and of the madness which frequently results from inebriety. It struck me that, on, Thursday Island, there are all the elements which are required to lead to a disastrous conflict. There is no paid Commonwealth official there to act as interpreter when members of these coloured crews are brought before the resident Commissioner for alleged offences. As a result, there appears to have sprung up a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction, and a feeling that there is no possibility of securing justice where assaults with violence are committed - assaults which sometimes involve the sacrifice of human life. I hope that the Minister will do what he can to remedy this very undesirable state of affairs. Greater police protection is. one of the crying needs of the place. Certainly there is a military station on the Island, but themilitary barracks are located at the opposite, side- of it to that on which the town stands. Consequently a little time would elapse before the services of the military could be requisitioned to quell a disturbance. In the meantime, one constable would not be able to keep back the hordes of infuriated people who might desire to spring at one another’s throats. This is a matter which ought to receive immediate consideration. If the amount which appears upon these Estimates has already been allocated to other places, to the exclusion of Thursday Island, perhaps, the Minister, in supplementary Estimates,, may be able to make suitable provision in the direction I have indicated. It has always struck me that, under existing conditions, the few white residents of Thursday Island, and especially the few white women there, live in critical’ times. When these fleets enter that port there is no knowing what excesses their alien crews, may commit, especially after they have been tossing- about at sea in a little cockle-shell of a vessel for perhaps three months. They are a menace to the white, population, and especially to the few white women there. I do not think that there is any need for me to more vividly picture to honorable members the possibility of dire happenings as the result of excesses on their part. I hope that the Minister will have inquiries made -into the question of previding official interpreters, so that those whose duty it is to adjudicate upon alleged offences by these coloured persons may be able to ascertain the -exact position, and to inform accused persons of the nature of the evidence which is tendered .against them.

Amendment negatived.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Division 32 (High Commissioner’s Office), £21,185

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

].- This division raises the whole question of the High Commissioner’s office, together with the duties and work of the staff. There are several matters upon which one -would like to have information. I take the opportunity of congratulating the High Commissioner, and those associated with him, upon the excellent work that they are doing. But we should like to have a statement from the Minister of External Affairs about one or two details. If honorable members examine, the division, they will see that several changes have taken place in the staff. We find, for instance, that a journalist has been appointed, and that the office of second assistant of the publicity branch has been abolished. The officer in charge of the produce and commercial branch at a salary of £310 has also been dispensed with. A sum of £5,000 is put down for the development of the export trade, and ,£20,000 is put down for advertising the Commonwealth. I presume that the journalist who was appointed at a salary of £400 a year was chosen at the request of the High Commissioner. Of course, the Minister of External Affairs knows the kind of journalist that the High Commissioner required for the position. Was the situation advertised? Were applications invited from members of the Australian press? Did the Minister, in making a selection, have in view the strong recommendation made by the High Commissioner as regards the duties of the officer? I find that Sir George Reid, on page 4 of his report for 1911, said -

An important branch will be the staff that “ writes up “ Australia in the shape of articles and paragraphs for newspapers and magazines. The members of this staff should be familiar with the resources and progress of Australia, especially .the rural industries. The call for articles about our live stock and country industries is very strong. In view of the rural quality of the emigration we are trying to promote, specialized articles of the kind alluded to will be specially valuable. I need not say that brightness of style, clearness of expression, and literary skill are more difficult to get, and, therefore, essential in this .kind of writing, than, perhaps, any other.

Dealing with the kind off journalist he required for the purpose, the High Commissioner said -

It is not easy to lay. down a policy for the successful preparation of newspaper articles and paragraphs.

Mr Higgs:

– He wanted a journalist with imagination.

Mr GROOM:

– The honorable member, as a journalist himself, understands the qualifications. No writer can be successful unless he has the gift of imagination. Imagination does not mean -saying what is not true. It means a sympathetic insight into matters written about; being able to see precisely the conditions which the writer desires to describe; the power of translating into good literary style what will convey a clear impression to the mind of the reader.

Mr Higgs:

– I do not think the honorable member displayed much imagination in his pamphlet on Nation Building.

Mr GROOM:

– Because I was recording solid facts. A recorder of facts is not allowed tq unduly exercise his imagination. He cannot indulge in the exaggeration of statement j the picturesqueness of language, and the glowing imagery of which the honorable member is a master.

Mr Fenton:

– Some scrupulousness is necessary.

Mr GROOM:

– In writing, as in speaking, little rhetorical flights are occasionally advantageous .; such flights, interspersed with poetical quotations, as the honorable member for Maribyrnong is fond of giving us. The High Commissioner informs us that a policy for the successful preparation of newspaper .articles and paragraphs - is a matter which depends almost entirely upon the quality of the man or men employed to do the work. The field of publicity might be extended almost indefinitely if the journalists employed are sufficiently good to make their way into the columns of the British newspapers.

He adds -

There is a big demand just now for all sorts of Imperial “ copy.” But, at the same time, the matter submitted must have good news value, and must be well written. A really good man will, I think, get more space placed at his disposal than he can fill. I do not think that money could be more profitably spent than in the employment of a good press staff. The amount which one man could write in a year would scarcely make an adequate show in the British press.

Furthermore, the High Commissioner says -

It is all a question of how much can be placed. If a well-informed Australian journalist can place all he . can write in the better class of British newspapers and magazines, the money paid to him in salary would give far better results than a similar amount of money spent in any sort of straight-out advertising. But it entirely depends upon the quality of the man. The journalist who can get his footing with Australian matter would, of course, return no profit whatever to the Commonwealth. Any one appointed should be well versed, not only in Australian politics, but in Australian rural industries. There is a very good demand for all sorts of articles about Australian live stock and Australian agricultural industries from the special Farm Press of the United Kingdom. In view of the fact that the States are only assisting agricultural classes and domestic servants, the presswork, as far as emigration is concerned, should, I conclude, be specialized in this direction.

Were steps taken to supply the High Commissioner with the kind of journalist that he required? He points out, first of all, what the needs are. He indicates that the States are asking for immigrants who will settle on the land and assist in agricultural production. He insists that the journalist required should be able to write on live stock and the agricultural resources of this country. We shall all agree, I hope, that the attraction of a steady flow of agricultural population to this continent “is a consummation devoutly to be wished.” The High Commissioner believes that a journalist who could indicate our agricultural possibilities to farming readers in the United Kingdom would do much to promote immigration. Was the journalist selected qualified to fulfil the conditions laid down by Sir George Reid? I do not think that the Australian public desire a single word of description to be published in the United Kingdom that is not absolutely in accordance with the facts as to Australian conditions.

Mr Riley:

– What about sending to England some Australian poetry ? We have poets in this House.

Mr GROOM:

-Ours is a House of many parts. But we were not asked to send a poet. A journalist intimately acquainted with the rural conditions was required. Did the journalist selected answer to that description?

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– Has there been any complaint as to his being incompetent ?

Mr GROOM:

– I have made no such allegation.

Mr Thomas:

– The honorable member wanted a man selected from the Argus, the Age, or the Brisbane Courier.

Mr GROOM:

– I certainly did not want a journalist to be chosen because of his political opinions. Is that the suggestion of the Minister? I have made no such claim. I have simply indicated the qualifications required. If the Minister has made a political appointment, he has done a wrong thing. I am not going to say a word against the gentleman chosen, but I do want to know whether he fulfilled the conditions which the High Commissioner specified. I also want to know whether the journalists of Australia were given an opportunity of submitting their qualifications to the Department.

Mr Higgs:

– The honorable member’s party never appointed a Labour man while it was in office.

Mr GROOM:

– We never appointed any officer who was not recommended by the Public Service Commissioner. Every position that we filled was advertised. There was no preference to unionists with us. We never appointed persons to positions in the Northern Territory on account of their political ppinions.

Mr Thomas:

– The Government to which the honorable member belonged never appointed any one to the Northern Territory.

Mr GROOM:

– The Minister carried out our agreement, which was ratified by Parliament. Our object always was that the best men available, irrespective of their political feelings and sympathies, should be appointed, in accordance with the Public Service Act. I am endeavouring scrupulously to avoid introducing anything of a partisan element into this discussion. Ali that I am asking is that the Minister will give us information. Another point upon which I should like to be informed is this : I think that the honorable member for Maribyrnong, and others, attended a deputation to the Minister of External Affairs, to ask him to take steps to advertise in England the rural products of Australia.

Mr Fenton:

– Also to advertise on the Continent.

Mr GROOM:

– Quite so.

Mr Cann:

– Would that include sending Home a picture illustrating our wattle?

Mr GROOM:

– There is anaesthetic side to our life. It is just as well to let people in Great Britain know that we do appreciate the beauties of nature, and that

Australia has glorious flora of her own. The deputation to which I have referred urged the Minister of External Affairs to advertise rural products. The High Commissioner, in his report for 1912, page 7, makes the following remarks on this subject : -

In advertising the Commonwealth in Great Britain and on the Continent, it will, I believe, be found advisable to arrange two distinct schemes - one aiming at securing an increasing tide of emigration to Australia, and a greater volume of investment and further enterprise, the other seeking to promote a better knowledge of the range and quality of Australian exports, with a view to promote an increasing demand for our products in British and foreign markets.

Up to the present, our advertising expenditure has been mainly directed to the object of making known to suitable emigrants the attractions of the Commonwealth. With the funds at my disposal it was impracticable to include a vigorous and business-like campaign for the purpose of advertising our food products.

Mr Finlayson:

– Does the honorable member suggest increasing the vote?

Mr GROOM:

– I think an increase would be justifiable.

Mr Riley:

– We are agreed on that point.

Mr GROOM:

– Then we must emphasize the point, and get the Minister’s opinion. The proposed advertising vote for the present year is £20,000, the same amount as was appropriated last year, when ^19,719 was spent. I do not presume that the Government are going to slow down in regard to immigration, but that the High Commissioner will continue to expand the publicity branch on the lines already laid down. Then there is an item of £5,000 for the development of the Australian export trade on the continent of Europe, and the Minister will, perhaps, be able to tell us exactly in what way the money is to be spent.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– In view of the prevailing high prices, does the honorable member not think it would be advisable to grow the produce for ourselves?

Mr GROOM:

– We export only what is not required for our own consumption. I take it that the honorable member is not suggesting that we should not continue to encourage the apple export trade?

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– The trade in apples taas been wonderfully advertised.

Mr GROOM:

– And I hope that it will continue to be advertised.

Mr Riley:

– Does the honorable member advocate the export of potatoes when they are £20 a ton locally?

Mr GROOM:

– I do not advocate the placing of any export trade under unreasonable conditions, but we are an exporting community, and we ought to let the world know the nature of our produce, and assist our producers to get the best prices. There is nothing in the Estimates to indicate that the Minister proposes to do anything in the United Kingdom itself to secure an extension of our trade there. This is an important and practical matter, because I find the question has been raised whether we ought not to endeavour to open up ports in the United Kingdom other than that of London. I should not be surprised to hear that the attention of the Fruit Commission has been directed to this matter.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– There have been two Commissioners from England out here representing the port of Hull.

Mr Cann:

– And the States are negotiating, with the suggested end in view.

Mr GROOM:

– I am very glad to hear it. In opening up new markets, it has always been my opinion that the external agents of Australia should be Commonwealth officials.

Mr Riley:

– We are agreed on that.

Mr GROOM:

– I am glad to hear it. The Commonwealth has control of external affairs, and our object ought to be to promote the development of the whole continent irrespective of States. If we do- that we shall destroy a lot of unnecessary competition, and obtain the services of men of a higher standard.

Mr Cann:

– Have not the States sovereign rights ?

Mr GROOM:

– My suggestion would not interfere with those rights. There is no reason why, as in Canada, there should not be complete co-operation between the Central Government and the States.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– We have not the same Constitution.

Mr GROOM:

– But the principle in this matter is the same ; it is only a question of mutual good-will and common sense. I have here a comparison of the railway rates per ton on various commodities from Hull and from London, and I find that for butter in casks, firkins, and so forth, the charge to Birmingham:, with a population of 532,000, is 41s. 6d. from Hull, and 45s. 3d. from London ; to Bradford, with a population of 228,000, the charge from Hull is 34s. 10d., and from London 52s. 6d. j to Derby, with a population of 105,000, the charge is 40s. from Hull, and 46s. 4d. from London; and to Leeds, with a population of 428,000, the charge from Hull is 32s. 4d., and from London. 5 is. 6d. I am not advocating Hull more than any other port,, because that is a> matter on which we might be guided by the advice of the High Commissioner. We should obtain reports after expert inquiry. I should like the Minister to tell’ us what he is doing in connexion with the appointment, of an expert in London to deal with the produce. Previously there was an officer in’ charge of what is known as the Produce and Commercial Branch, but I find that no salary is provided for him this year, though an assistant is being appointed. T&i’s. is the very class of officer who could discharge useful functions j and the’ High Commissioner, on page 6 of bis report, says -

It would be- a great help- if the services- oF an efficient produce expert were placed, at my disposal. 1 use the term “expert” in this connexion, to denote a man who not only possesses practical knowledge, but- is also thoroughly- well qualified by business training to grapple with trade difficulties, and deal with the markets and large traders in this country, on, at least an equal footing of knowledge, smartness, and’ capacity.

We are- seeking to advertise our resources, and te- find new markets in- the United Kingdom- and1 on the Continent.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– What is the use of new markets if we do not have cheaper shipping- rates ?

Mr GROOM:

– That is another point which can be- discussed later on. The kind of officer I have mentioned1 is just the- man that is wanted; and practical men like the honorable member for Moreton, the honorable member for- Maribyrnong, and the honorable member for- Illawarra have urged an appointment of the- kind.

Mr Cann:

– It is a butter expert that those honorable members desire.

Mr GROOM:

– It is not only a butter expert that is required ; and this is an important matter- on which we should like the Minister to. give us some information.

Mr. FRANK FOSTER (New England)’ [5.10J. - I am- glad to hear the honorable member for Darling Downs approve of the efforts that are being made to- expand our oversea trade. I should like some information from the Minister as to the item of £310 for an officer in charge of the Produce- and Commercial Branch, and also the item of £5,000- for the development of the Australian export trade, so that we- may know what operations are proposed under those heads. As to the officer in charge of the Produce and

Commercial Branch, we- should be- told the extent of his work in England. It seems to me that the advertising of our produce is not- sufficient, because, in addition, there ought to be some organization for- its sale- at the other end in such a way as to prevent exporters being mulcted in. heavy charges when marketing their goods. As to. the advertising, I know that in some directions our produce is now in. high favour; but the returns, received by the shippers at this side are so small compared with the prices paid1 by the retail purchasers in the. Old Land that there seems to. be a crying necessity for a practical man to handle, or direct the’ handling of, thegoods, so as to have them conveyed1 more expeditiously and more cheaply to the consumer., There have recently been in Australia two gentlemen advocating Hull! ais a port for the landing of Australian goods, but I am sorry to say that our shipping conditions are controlled in such a way that they are going back disappointed. IF we had a practical business man at the other end, who could look after the interests of producers, he might be able toadvise us as to alterations in the shipping arrangements. I am prepared to support the Department in any reasonable expenditure in finding markets abroad for Aus,tralian produce. I have heard some interjections about high prices in Austrafia, but, from the knowledge I possess, I maintain that scarcity and high prices are very often caused’ by bad commercial management and organization on this side of the water. There does not seem to be enough co-operation amongst the growers, who, once they have put their produce on the railway or a ship, seem to be absolutely at the mercy of a band of middlemen, whotake tremendous tolls. In view of the possible expansion of production in Australia we need have no fear of over-advertising or of creating more markets than are necessary. Hundred’s of thousands of new trees are being planted by orchardists in Tasmania and’ on the mainland, and the industry must go ahead by leaps and bound’s. Dairying has been sosuccessful’ that it is expanding- in all directions ; and with the development of the Northern Territory, and development generally throughout the Commonwealth, we may expect to; see great strides in the export of beef, mutton, poultry, and so- forth. There is no- limit to the produce that Australia may send abroad, especially to Great Britain; and we need not halt or show any fear of over-advertising; all we need is a little more organization and cooperation amongst the producers. Wherever the Department of External Affairs can assist in bringing about this desired organization overseas it should do so, and there are many ways in, which assistance can be rendered. For instance, there could be appointed a Trade Commissioner from here, or the work might be done from the High Commissioner’s office. I indorse what the honorable member for Darling Downs has said as to the need of a practical man, well versed in commerce, because such an official would be able to meet any difficulties that might be raised by rings, pools, or combines. We shall have to take care, however, that we get a man in absolute sympathy with Australian producers, and who will, in every way, look after their interests. There is at present gross loss in the handling of produce, and we require a man whose desire it will be that the goods shall go direct from the producer to the consumer. I am rather sorry that the proposed vote of , £5,000 is only for European markets, and not for expenditure in Great Britain ; and I’ hope that we are not going to relax our efforts in the Old Country, where, indeed, we have hardly made a start with our efforts to secure a reasonable share of trade. An idea that appeals to me is the establishment of some kind of produce exchange, say, in London, which, I am satisfied, would do more good for Australia than all the newspaper advertising. Of course, in the Old Land there are private firms who take our produce as agents, and who do a certain amount of advertising; but many of those firms are really retailers, and we cannot expect them to do much in the way of making our goods specially known. We do not expect them to give prominence to the high value of our products, because they sell to themselves at the lowest possible rates, and get the highest possible prices from the consumers. This shows the necessity for solid action on the part of the Government. It is farcical to leave this matter to the States. It is a purely Federal matter, and should be dealt with by the Commonwealth. Our exports aTe sent out as Australian products. People in the Old World do not inquire whether they come from Tasmania, New South Wales, or Victoria ; their sole desire is to secure the Australian article, and by marketing our exports as the produce of Australia rather than of any individual State we give the people of the Old World some idea of the country where still larger supplies can be obtained. There is tremendous need for organization in dealing with our exports. On this side we need organization on the part of the producers to secure direct shipment to London and low shipping charges; and organization is also required on. the other side. I hope that the Government, short of becoming, as I hope they will foe, the actual vendors of our products in oversea countries-

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– We should extend the South Australian system.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– Quite so; but, apart from that, the Commonwealth can do magnificent work if the right officers are appointed to organize our trade, even while it is in the hands of private enterprise.

Mr FENTON:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP; UAP from 1931

.- The honorable member for Darling Downs was very emphatic in his statement of the qualifications that were essential for the journalist to assist the High Commissioner in the preliminary work that he is carrying on in the Old Country, and, also, I understand, on the Continent. I find that the journalist for whom provision is made in these Estimates is not the first who has been working in connexion with the High Commissioner’s office. Some years ago arrangements were made with a journalist who went Home, I think, as the London representative of the Sydney Daily Telegraph to contribute articles on, Australia to a certain number of newspapers and magazines at the rate of£33s.per1,000 words.

Mr Groom:

– That was only a temporary appointment, and was made pending the appointment of the High Commissioner. It was made overseas, and not by the Government.

Mr FENTON:

– It would have to be indorsed by the . Government. I am taking no exception to that appointment, but some time ago, looking at the journals to which he was contributing, it seemed to me that they were not of the class most likely to be read by those who would make the most desirable immigrants. I do not know whether the High Commissioner has evolved a better scheme; but I think that most of the Agents-General used to devote too much attention to the large centres of population. I do not know the journalist who has been appointed, but a salary of£400 per annum, the honorable member for

Boothby will support me in saying, is not likely to secure a first class Australian journalist for this work.

Mr Gordon:

– It is too small.

Mr FENTON:

– It is. If the Government have obtained for a salary of £400 a year a good man to carry out the work foreshadowed by Sir George Reid, they have undoubtedly secured a good asset for Australia. A journalist of ability should be worth more than £400 per annum.

Mr Groom:

– We are not raising the question, of salary.

Mr FENTON:

– Some years ago I saw an elaborate publication issued by the Department, which, instead of dealing with the rural pursuits of Australia, gave sketches of the several capital cities of the Commonwealth. While excellent from an educational point of view, such information would not be so highly valued by intending emigrants as would’ information as to the rural districts and pursuits of Australia. The honorable member for Darling Downs quoted from a report showing that Hull was a very desirable port to which to ship Australian produce ; but, even admitting the exceptional facilities which that port offers, it is very questionable whether we should do as well there as in London. The facilities at the port of London are certainly inadequate, but I understand that £1,000,000, if pot more, is to be spent on the work of bringing them up-to-date. I believe that Hull, Manchester, and other British ports are far ahead of the port of London. The transhipment of produce on to barges which carry it up the Thames to the various stores and warehouses involves considerable expense to our producers, while the facilities are not sufficient to enable our produce to be placed on the market as soon as possible after its arrival in London. The honorable member for New England said that it would be a good thing to send Home an expert to attend, under the High Commissioner, to Australian produce. I do not know that we should multiply to a large extent the officers we already have there. So far as the butter trade is concerned, the great cooperative concerns in Australia have themselves made provision for their proper representation at Home. They have selected men for this work who have come direct from the farm. For instance, dealing for a moment with the handling of butter, I would mention that the Great Western District Co-operative Company selected Mr. Cameron for this work, and that he has been in London for the last six or seven years. He is a butter expert, and, acting in conjunction with others, has secured reforms that have been very beneficial to our producers. I understand that the New Zealand butter factories have also a representative in London, and that sometimes there are no fewer than three Australian representatives of large co-operative butter companies acting for them in London. The result is that some of our Australian producers have the satisfaction - which I should like our producers generally to enjoy - of knowing that their butter will be handled by their own men from the time that it leaves our factories here until it reaches the consumer in LondonI agree with the honorable member for New England that our trade with Great Britain is capable of enormous expansion. In round figures it may safely be said that Great Britain, over and above what ife. produces itself, requires £250,000,000- worth of foodstuffs every year. John Bulli has a most capacious stomach. I an> pleased to see in these Estimates an item-, which will enable us to exploit other markets in Europe. The honorable memberfor New England urged that we should* have in London some big establishments* where our produce could be exhibited. I. give all credit to the Government, and especially to the Minister of ExternalAffairs, for the way in which they arepushing ahead with the construction of theCommonwealth offices in London. I take it’ that when they are complete we shall beable to make there as fine a display ofproduce as is to be found in any part o’F the world. It is well to show the man who.wishes to buy your produce a sample of that produce, whether it be wool, butter,, fruit, or grain.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– The High Commissioner is doing that now. I saw at the Norwich show a splendid exhibit in charge of a-i very capable man.

Mr FENTON:

– I recognise that if our representative is up-to-date, he will notmerely sit in his office and pen a few paragraphs to the newspapers, but that he will: take other means - such as the provision of travelling exhibits - to advertise our produce. We shall be able to display in ournew London offices such an exhibit of Australian produce that the people, not only of Great Britain, but of other countriesvisiting London, will be able to realize what the Commonwealth can produce. To show how the Danes have directed their attention to the markets of Hull, Grimsby, and Newcastle, it is worth mentioning that out of £25,000,000 worth of butter imported into Great Britain they supply something like £12,000,000 worth, most of which is disposed of in those ports. Australian butter producers would, therefore, find in the Danish producers fairly strong competitors at Hull. If the producers of Australia are going to secure the full benefit of their produce, they will need to organize more and more. The butter producers of the Commonwealth are reaping larger benefits from their industry than are the producers of any other line, with, perhaps the exception of wool. They are better organized than are any other producers, and if our fruit-growers and graingrowers were only organized in the same way their returns would be enormously increased.’ I have only to say, in conclusion, that I hope that the journalist who has been appointed will be thoroughly competent to carry out the important duties of his office, and that there will be, in connexion with the High Commissioner’s office, an organization so thorough and complete that it will not only be a credit to the High Commissioner’s staff, but will result in very substantial benefits to the producers of the Commonwealth.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:
Balaclava

– The honorable member for New England, whilst complaining of the way in which we market our produce, failed to suggest any means of improvement. The honorable member for Maribyrnong, however, has made good this deficiency by pointing to the excellent results that have attended the organization of the butter producers in Victoria. I understand that some of the butter factories in the other States have also been equally well organized, and that an attempt is being made to secure a uniform system of handling their produce at Home. I do not think that we have much to complain of in connexion with the marketing of our wool. The greater part of our wool clip is sold in the Commonwealth, the sales on the London and foreign markets being scarcely worth discussing. As regards the commissions payable, I would remind honorable members that if a man sells his house, or produce of any kind, he must pay certain commission, and I do not think there is much cause to grumble at the charges made. They have been fixed by long custom, and since there is a fair degree nf competition among the agents, I do not think that wool growers need to complain. What we require to do is to increase our production. This year the production of butter in Australia is going to be very light. Every shipment compares unfavorably with shipments made last year, and it is only in the better parts of the country that we can do without irrigation. The more irrigation settlements we can establish, the greater will be our exports. I believe that, when once the Burrenjuck scheme is in full swing, we shall have a large export of butter. In connexion with the transcontinental railway, too, 1 think that the Government could establish many settlements. The honorable member for Fremantle has pointed on the map a way in which railways might be run northward into the Northern Territory so as to tap a lot of well-watered country. If the Government, in addition to constructing those lines, would go in for a policy of water conservation, a large area of irrigable land could be worked in conjunction with them. The adoption of such a scheme would considerably increase our exports, and the High Commissioner’s office would be able to render good service to our producers by advising them as to the best markets available. But 1 do not think that any Government Department will be able to market our commodities as well as the producers themselves can market them, under the co-operative system. The latter have men trained to this particular business, whereas officers in Government Departments have not been so trained. There is no doubt that if a man wishes to acquire a thorough knowledge of the business of selling and marketing goods, he must begin early in life. The Danes have kept their country comparatively rich at the expense of Great Britain by means of their excellent farming methods. Australia is one of the richest countries in the world if we choose to make use of its resources. But hitherto we have neglected to make proper use of our water supply. Every year millions of gallons of water run to waste - millions of gallons which ought to be conserved for the purpose of growing produce. There is no doubt that our butter industry, the value of which now represents several millions of pounds annually, has grown out of a very small beginning. Seeing that £25.000,000 worth of this commodity is annually imported into Great Britain, we ought not to rest content until we supply at least half df that amount. We are the largest growers of wool in the world. We are such large growers of that staple that the wool buyers come here to purchase for themselves. Similarly, if we had a larger output of butter, buyers would come from other parts of the world, and purchase from us direct, thus eliminating the middleman. Nobody objects to an increased expenditure in the High Commissioner’s office, provided we get an adequate return from that expenditure. Roughly speaking, the expenditure in the High Commissioner’s office has increased by 50 per cent, during the past year.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– The High Commissioner himself does not receive sufficient remuneration for his services.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– I think that everybody is of that opinion. But to increase the expenditure of his office without securing a return for that expenditure would confer no advantage upon Australia. Personally, I think it would be a good thing if we could establish markets for our produce on the Continent of Europe. But we can do that only by urging foreign Governments to remit the high duties which are at present levied upon our products. Our meat and butter are virtually excluded from Germany and France by reason of the heavy imposts upon them.

Mr Fenton:

– I think that those countries are about to relax the duties on those articles.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– They are being forced to do so by their own needs. I do not see why we should not enter into a reciprocal arrangement with some of those countries in respect to our very important products, such as butter and meat. This year we will not have much to export in the way ot meat, as we cannot anticipate too good a season. Indeed, I doubt whether there will be any export of lambs worth talking about. The lambing season was a bad one-

Mr Spence:

– Seven million of sheep were lost during the recent drought.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– Such a loss requires some making up. There is a shortage of about 300,000 bales of wool this year, but the increased price obtainable for this article will probably compensate for that. All these things mean that we require to be wary in the steps that we take, both in the matter of expenditure and in providing for the future. I recognise that the High Commissioner’s office can discharge a very useful work at Home. I believe that our High Commissioner is possessed of the requisite energy and ability, and that it would be impossible for us to obtain a better man to advertise Australia.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- The High Commissioner’s department is one of the most important which appears on these Estimates. But I cannot understand what excuse can be urged for the maintenance in England of a number of representatives of the Australian States, who endeavour to hold a quasi-ambassadorial position - I refer to the Agents-General. I realize the need which exists for commercial agents in London, because I recognise that the interests of the different States are dissimilar. Tasmania, for example, has a big interest in the apple trade. But why does she want an ambassador in London?

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– The Agent-General for Tasmania is doing very useful work, including a lot of work which might be done by a commercial agent.

Mr KELLY:

– But he is also doing other work. I believe that he is one of the best Agents-General in England to-day. He is a live man, who does his work wonderfully well.

Mr Thomas Brown:

Mr. Coghlan is an excellent officer.

Mr KELLY:

– Quite so. Nothing that I may say constitutes an attack on the individuals concerned. But when it was proposed to appoint a High Commissioner I strongly urged that we should endeavour to secure the abolition by the States of the offices of Agents-General in England, with a view to the appointment of commercial agents.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I direct attention to the fact that there is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– I wish to impress upon honorable members that this multiplicity of counsellors representing, in their . semiambassadorial positions, the opinion, not of Australia, but of the various States, does not tend to strengthen the Commonwealth in England. Occasionally we hear of these Agents-General coming into conflict. Whenever such a conflict occurs it tends to lessen the authority of the mouth- piece of Australia. I do not care whether we have a High Commissioner representing a Labour Government or a Liberal Government, I say that he ought to be the mouthpiece of the Australian people.

Mr Sampson:

– And all the State agencies should be directly under his supervision.

Mr KELLY:

– I do not know that that is possible, except by agreement with the States. But even so far as commercial agents are concerned there is a duplication of those gentlemen which does not tend_ to assist Australian trade. Take the testing in London of our butter. Upon its arrival in England- a number of gentlemen representing the different States inspect it, and thrust their thermometers into- it. When the. representative of New South Wales has done this, the representative of Victoria repeats the process. He, in turn, is followed by the representatives of. the other States. We do) not require this multiplicity of tests. There should be one person representing. Australia to test our. butter. I would strongly urge the Government to press this matter on the attention- of the State- Governments, with a. view to- effecting thos- economy, because, after all, it concerns our electors.

Mr Howe:

– Our action may be construed into another attack on State rights.

Mr KELLY:

– I do not care if it is. These fripperies do not interest me. I- regard the- States as being immensely useful for the purpose of home rule, but not for the- purpose of. providing unnecessary offices. The first! step towards that is the consolidation of the debts. I am a strong believer in their consolidation, and regret that no step has been- taken by this Government in that direction, although, we have obtained the. necessary power from the Australian people. I am bound to say that I really think that if the State-debts question had been taken in hand by the Commonwealth, w.e should not have, seen the melancholy spectacle, of a State of Australia endeavouring to borrow money on a foreign market.

Mr Mathews:

– The States do not want to lose control over the power to borrow.

Mr KELLY:

– We should always be very careful to consider the International position of a debtor country.

Mr Spence:

– The statement to which the honorable member refers has been denied by the Treasurer of New South Wales..

Mr KELLY:

– I, am very glad indeed to hear that. I was inclined to think that the statement published was genuine, because the Paddington Labour League passed a special resolution congratulating the State Government upon having been able to borrow money in France. That Labour League, like the rest of us, was apparently misinformed, and I am glad to hear that- such was. the case. Since there will be a great deal of conversion, in the future,. I may lay one or two. considerations before honorable members bearing on the subject. It. is a very dangerous thing for a country that is. not strong enough by herself to defend her- national integrity to start borrowing in foreign countries. It is all. right to borrow in London, because we. know that we are “ part of the show.”

Mr West:

– The money would come through London, no matter where- it was borrowed.

Mr KELLY:

– T - That was not the propo- sition. The statement published was that the London and Westminster Bank underwrote the loan, but that the lenders were supposed to be French. Consider what might happen. Take the case of China, or any other country that has been borrowing, and placing herself in the hands of an alien people. We must regard any of the European nations outside our own race as alien to our governing ideas and our in.terests for the time being.

The CHAIRMAN:

– In what way does the honorable member connect his remarks with the subject ?

Mr KELLY:

– I am dealing with the duties of the High Commissioner’s Office, because, if the Commonwealth takes over the State debts, this must be. a question of the utmost importance. I was trying topoint out that the necessity for such a policy lies in the fact that under the pre sent system- a section of the Australian people may pledge Australian security, not in London, but in a foreign country, where this lever might be used after a- big European war to the detriment of Australia, and for the squeezing of Australian interests. Internationally, it is a very dangerous policy to pursue, and we should be extremely careful how we connect ourselves with anything- of the kind. There is another thing that I should like- to say in regard to the High Commissioner’s’ Office-. I really think that it might be advisableto get: over the slight jealousy ‘ which exists–,, and which seems to be inherent in humannature, with regard to securing information1 for Australia. The High Commissioner is not only the mouthpiece ©f this country in Great Britain, but he ought also to be the eyes of the Australian Government there and in Europe. His office ought to be- so organized as to keep our- Government in close and constant touch with everything, of interest and importance to Australia that may be happening at the other end of the world. I draw attention, to the fact that the Publicity Branch of the High Commissioner’s Office - the mouthpiece side of it, the journalistic bureau: - has been turned’ into an absolute travesty by a recent appointment. I should think that if we were sending any one to take charge of our affairs in connexion with the journalism of Great Britain, we ought to select a man who would be likely to commend himself to the traditions underlying British journalism. The officer who has been chosen for this position has, however, served in connexion with a section of the Australian press, the mendacity and recklessness of which - the curious scurrility of which - must necessarily make him foreign to the best traditions of the British press. I am really putting the matter very mildly. I am not bothering about the person ; I do not know his name.

Mr Mathews:

– I think he would flatten the honorable member out if he fell on him.

Mr KELLY:

– I am here to do my duty. I have no knowledge of the individual chosen. I have never seen him. Until he was appointed I bad never heard of him. I think the great bulk of the inhabitants of Australia enjoy a similar advantage.

Mr West:

– He has not lost much.

Mr KELLY:

– He would not expect me to have heard of him. He was never heard of until he was put into this billet. There was an office of profit under the Crown to fill, and here was a journalist who had served the noble purposes of honorable members opposite by writing periodically in the press which so disfigures their cause.

Mr Mathews:

– Was that a crime?

Mr KELLY:

– Not a crime, but an indiscretion. Certainly it was a thing which unfitted him for this appointment, in which he will come into relations with the traditional discretion of the British press. Because, after all, there is one thing above all others which the best element in the British press recognises, and that is a due regard for truth and a respect for decent things. It cannot be said that that is a distinguishing feature of Australian Labour journalism. lt is almost impossible to read two lines consecutively in one of these prints without coming across some extraordinary distortion of facts, or a venomous or scurrilous attack upon some political opponent.

Mr Mathews:

– The honorable member is becoming abusive.

Mr KELLY:

– Can I not refer to the Labour press without being described as abusive? These gentlemen absolutely crawl before the distinguished persons who write these extraordinary articles.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable member must withdraw the word “ crawl.”

Mr KELLY:

– I will withdraw the word, and say that they “kneel”; that is much better. Last year in the High Commissioner’s office there was a second assistant in the publicity branch, and an officer in charge of the produce and commercial department. These officers seem to have been wiped out completely. I think that the entry concerning the publicity branch appears in two places. There is a line towards the top of the division of £310 for the second assistant of the publicity branch. He was a very capable man to be in that post. But this new journalist got the position to which he has been appointed because of his politics, and for no other reason. He is an absolutely new appointee, who seems to have taken the place of some one else. The Government adopted this roundabout method of making the appointment.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– I think it is a pity that the electors cannot see the honorable member’s face.

Mr KELLY:

– The more electors who could witness the indignation that I feel in reference to this matter the better it would be. I notice from the newspapers that Sir George Reid recently visited America. It was stated, though. I can hardly credit the information, that the High Commissioner himself said that he went to the United States as a special envoy of the Australian people with regard to the Panama Canal. I do hope that we are not going to commence acting independently, as Canada has done, in dealing with international questions.’ A great deal of our strength in relation to such matters arises from the fact that we have all the power that springs from independent judgment, and that we also have the strength of the British Empire behind us to back us up. It is inconceivable that the Imperial Government would ever attempt to dictate to us the lines of our policy, beyond possibly making a suggestion, as they did in regard to the best means of carrying out our object with respect to our White Australia policy. When we say that we are going to make this country a White Australia, any representations that have to be made by foreign countries are made, not to this comparatively defenceless part of the world, but a possible enemy has to deal with one of the mightiest empires which the world has even known, of which

Australia is an absolutely autonomous component part. I think that we shall be starting on rather dangerous lines if we brief our High Commissioner to act as an abbassador, or rather as a plenipotentiary, lo a foreign country. Of course, the genial temper of the High Commissioner might be very useful indeed in a non-official way in regard to a matter of this character.

Mr Spence:

– He also visited Germany.

Mr KELLY:

– But in this case it was specially mentioned that he went to the United States as our plenipotentiary. It is a dangerous position for him to occupy. We might have the new Chinese Republic asking Australia to send a plenipotentiary there in order that they might ask us to reserve our policy in some particulars. Of course, I am merely referring to newspaper statements. I know nothing more than other honorable members do. But I have seen it stated in the press that the High Commissioner was exercising his powers in the interests of Australia. Perhaps Ministers will be able to shed some light on the matter. They will agree that a question on the subject is reasonable. X do not see on these Estimates a vote for the officer who, I believe, looks after the supply of military stores and that kind of thing. I am referring to Major Buckley. I think he is in London as an officer of the Defence Department. Does his salary appear on these Estimates, or is he included in the Defence Estimates? For a considerable period officers were sent backwards and forwards between the High Commissioner’s office and the Defence Department, and we never knew to which their salaries were charged. Is Major Buckley’s salary charged against the High Commissioner’s office or against the Defence Department?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Do not bore the Minister.

Mr KELLY:

– I do not want to invade Olympus, but, as an humble suppliant, may I ask the distinguished and elevated gentleman who occupies the position of Minister of External Affairs whether Major Buckley is in London now?

Sir ROBERT BEST:
Kooyong

– The Minister of External Affairs, when addressing himself to the subject of his Department, was certainly in one of his most modest moods. He seemed to claim credit for everything. The Minister was particularly boastful in regard to the efforts of the Government in connexion with the High Commissioner’s Department and immigration. 1 join in the eulogiums that have been passed on the High Commissioner, and the splendid work done by him. The Minister was most careful, notwithstanding his admiration of the appointment of the High Commissioner, to discount any credit to the late Liberal Government in respect of the appointment indeed, he attributed the most dishonorable motives to that Government

Mr Thomas:

– I suppose that no dishonorable motives have been attributed in the case of some of the Northern Territory appointments ?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– I am referring to ail appointment which was specially dealt with by the Minister. It was admitted by the honorable gentleman that the appointment is a good one, but in this connexion he refused to give the remotest credit to the late Government, and went so far as to suggest that Sir George Reid was given the position in order to get him out of the way.

Mr Mathews:

– That was said in a number of places, and was generally understood.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– It is not a generous attitude for the Minister to assume.

Mr Thomas:

– It may be true, though it may not be generous.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– I for one can say that the suggestion is entirely without foundation, and I was a party to the appointment.

Mr Mathews:

– I heard that the honorable member for Kooyong had a chance for the position, only it was desired to get Sir George Reid out of the road.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– I had great pleasure in co-operating in the appointment of the man best suited for the position, and it is fully and freely acknowledged that the appointment has more than justified itself. The High Commissioner is responsible for many of the good results for which the Minister himself claims credit. The honorable gentleman somewhat incautiously - and I am afraid his remarks may be quoted against him in the future - told us of the number of immigrants who have come to Australia during his term of office; but that term practically covers the period of office of the High Commissioner, and whatever credit is due in this respect must be largely due to the previous Government, whose acts have resulted in the appointment. According to the High Commissioner’s report, that gentleman has been exceedingly active in regard to immigration, and it ‘is owing to him that we have the present influx of new citizens. Then, again, the States are entitled to the fullest credit in this connexion. The Victorian Government have made special efforts, not only by advertising, but by sending missions to America, the United Kingdom-, and other- parts of Europe, and have provided land and held1 out inducements never hitherto offered. The provision of land has1 been brought about by the process of closer settlement, which I had the honour to introduce in the Victorian Parliament as Minister of Lands, and which has been most successfully developed.

Mr Thomas:

– I gave the figures showing the assisted immigrants and the unassisted immigrants.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– That is quite true, but the unassisted immigration we must largely attribute to the advertising. The Minister cannot ignore the fact that the increased advertising on the part of the Commonwealth, for which he claims credit, is due to the Commissioner being on the spot in England to carry out the work. The advertising of the High Commissioner may be put under the main heads of press advertisements, and advertisements at agricultural shows, trade shows, poster advertisements, biograph theatres, travelling biograpli cars, lectures, shop window shows, displays- of produce at railway stations, exhibitions, in Great Britain and on the Continent, and literature in school’s. This is the secret of the increased advertising for which the Minister takes so much credit.

Mr Thomas:

– The Minister must have credit for something !

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– But I desire him to give credit to. whom credit is due.

Mr Thomas:

– Did I not speak highly of Sir George Reid ?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– The Minister did ; but he correspondingly depreciated the Government by whom Sir George Reid was appointed. Then the Minister claims credit in connexion with the acquisitionof the Strand site for the Commonwealth London offices, but he forgets altogether the fact that that site was- the selection, of a previous Liberal Government.

Mr Thomas:

– Why did that Government not buy the site ?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– Every, effort that could be made- was made to secure it.

Mr Archibald:

– That Government had not even decided on a site.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– We had.

Mr Thomas:

– No decision was arrived at until Mr. Batchelor went to England.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– The Liberal Government, to which I have referred, secured authority from this Parliament for the expenditure of £1.000 as a preliminary deposit for the purpose of securing the site.

Mr Thomas:

– This- Government have already spent £400,000 on the building and site.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– That is. just the attitude taken up by the Minister !

Mr Archibald:

– The previous Liberal Government were ‘ ‘ fishing ‘ ‘ after the Charing Cross site.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– That is- not correct; and. I ami referring- to something that occurred before the honorable member entered, this House.

Mr Archibald:

– I saw what the position was when I was in England.

Senator Sir ROBERT BEST:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member was in England only the other day. I am referring to the negotiations which were carried on, not by the- last Deakin Government, but by the previous- one, in order to secure this site, and if was because the terms were excessive that we were unsuccessful. The present Government have had all the benefit of the negotiations of the previous Liberal Government.

Mr Thomas:

– In other words, the previous Liberal Government talked’ about the thing, and we did it.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– We did more than talk ; we placed £1,000 on the Estimates as a preliminary deposit. Through our agents,, we interviewed the representatives of the London County Council’, which, however, was not prepared to let us have the site on reasonable terms. The present Government, owing to the efforts- previously made, have been able to obtain the present site.

Mr Thomas:

– There were two sites submitted, to Mr. Batchelor when he went to England.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– The Strand site is the one which the previous Liberal Government sought to secure, and which the puesent Government have been more fortunate in securing.

Mr King O’Malley:

– I - It was the Labour party who. suggested a site for offices in London.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– The Labour party did. nothing of the kind ; before a Labour party had anything to do with the matter, directly or indirectly, this- site was selected by a Liberal Government.

Mr King O’Malley:

– W - Who was it that first, in this House, suggested London offices? I did, eight years ago.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– Then none of us ever heard of it.

Mr Thomas:

– I heard the honorable member for Darwin make the suggestion.

Mr King O’Malley:

– I - If the honorable member for Kooyong will look up Hansard of 1905, he will see that I was the first to suggest a Commonwealth building in London.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m. (Thursday).

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– I was glad to hear the figures quoted by the Minister of External Affairs, showing that during the last few years there has been a substantial increase in the number of immigrants coming to Australia. It is, however, but a mere trickle compared with the stream of immigration into Canada. In this connexion I cannot absolve the Government from blame for their failure to co-operate with the States. At present there is no conjoint action in the Old Country. The various States have their representatives, who are working in their individual interests, and their efforts are, consequently, divided. If the High Commissioner and the State representatives were to work unitedly for the Commonwealth as a whole, far better results would necessarily be achieved. One of the reasons for Canada’s success in this regard is that the Dominion itself has been advertised. The efforts of all parties have been concentrated in the direction of making known all the resources of Canada as a Dominion. If our activities were concentrated on the Commonwealth as a whole rather than upon the individual States, we should have infinitely better results than we have secured. While conjoint action is required in the Old Country, it is even more necessary in Australia. In 1906 the present Leader of the Opposition made a strong effort to secure the co-operation of the States. Under the Constitution, our efforts are practically confined to immigration from abroad. We have no control over the international immigration policy of the several States; but it is absolutely necessary that there should be conjoint action here as well as at Home. No great gain is to be achieved by bringing immigrants here in ship-loads without making provision for their distribution and settlement upon the land. In order to provide for their settlement, the co-operation of the States is necessary, and, therefore, the best efforts of the Liberal Government, in 1906, and subsequently, were directed to securing that co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States in order that the best results might be obtained. The States have to provide land, either by a system of resumption or by throwing open Crown areas; they have to provide the necessary facilities for the settlement of an increased population upon the land, and grave responsibilities are cast upon them in regard to the absorption of the increased population as soon as it comes here. It was, therefore, with much disappointment that the Liberal Government failed to secure that co-operation of the States which they felt was essential to the success of immigration. Recently, however, the State Premiers themselves invited the cooperation of the Commonwealth. It has dawned upon the States that it is most essential to their prosperity that the volume of immigration should be increased, and at the Premiers’ Conference, in June last, it was decided to place before the Prime Minister the following proposition -

That the Commonwealth be asked to provide 25,000 assisted passages per annum for immigrants, arranging with the shipping companies and paying the cost of transportation on a uniform basic rate, the States to select the immigrants, and place them, as at present, and any State being at liberty to supplement the number of assisted passages allotted to it at the same rate.

The reply of the Commonwealth Ministry was that they had given careful consideration to the proposal, that the resolution of the recent Premiers’ Conference appeared to amount to a recommendation that the Commonwealth should contribute a sum of, approximately, £150,000 a year to the work of introducing immigrants to Australia now carried out by the State Governments, without their altering any of the other arrangements incidental to that policy, and that, in their opinion, it would not be wise to introduce a divided control. The Government made a great mistake in not yielding to the advances made by the States for the first time with a view to securing our co-operation. After all, the figures quoted by the Minister of External Affairs are insignificant when compared with the flow of immigration to Canada. Canada’s efforts to secure immigrants have extended over a considerable period, and the greater the efforts made the better have been the results. In the period from 1st

July, 1905, to 31st March, 1910, Canada has had an enormous influx of population. During that period, there entered the Dominion something like 1,000,000 immigrants. Of these, 375,460 were British - the class of immigrants we are anxious to secure - 241,922 were Europeans, and 314,520 were from the United States, or a total of 931,902 immigrants for a period of less than live years. It was estimated by the Monetary Times of Toronto, in its issue of 7th January, 19 n, that these immigrants brought with them in cash and effects £67,900,000. Of the immigrants vid ocean ports entering Canada between 1903 and 1909-10, 225,168 were farmers, 01 farm labourers, whilst of those who came from the United States, 261,409 were of like occupations. I direct special attention to these figures. Our desire is to secure men of farming experience, because we have vast agricultural and pastoral resources to develop. The settlement resulting from this immigration to Canada is another interesting feature. We find that no less than 33,189 homesteads were taken up by British entrants, 28,530 by Continental entrants, and 49,757 by persons who came from the United States, making a total of 174,589 homesteads for the period named. And yet Canada’s mineral, agricultural, and pastoral resources are far less than our own.

Mr Anstey:

– That is a better record than the honorable member’s Government were able to put up.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– I admit it, and I should be glad to congratulate the present Government if they could point to such a record.

Mr Thomas:

– We have a better record than the honorable member’s Government had.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– But the present Government is reaping the benefit of our work. The Minister will recognise that the results achieved have been largely the outcome of the work of the appointee of the Liberal Government.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– How many immigrants have gone on the land in Australia?

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– A very large percentage.

Mr Mathews:

– About half per cent, in Victoria.

Sir ROBERT BEST:

– My honorable friend made that statement on a former occasion, and upon inquiry, I found that he was altogether wrong.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Chanter:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr GORDON:
Boothby

.- It would be a disappointment to honorable members opposite if the Estimates of such an important Department as that of the Minister of External Affairs were passed without receiving that attention to which they are undoubtedly entitled. We are expending a large amount of money on the High Commissioner’s office, and we must rejoice at the activity which Sir George Reid and his officials are showing in the conduct of their duties. The High Commissioner, in his valuable report, draws attention to the building of the Commonwealth offices in London. I trust that the Minister will do his utmost to see that Australian material, as far as possible, shall be utilized in the erection of that palatial structure, which we hope will accommodate at no distant date the High Commissioner and his staff. Then, again, Australian timber might be used in the furnishing of the offices, and thus advertise the splendid timber resources of the States. I hope that merchants will respond to the Minister’s invitation to forward samples of the resources of Australia in order that we may bring them under the notice of the architects. Sir George Reid has called very pointed attention to the passenger traffic to Australia. This is a matter in respect of which the Ministry cannot escape their responsibilities. I hold that they should co-operate with the various States in controlling the immigration which is flowing towards our shores at the present time, i am not in favour “of indiscriminate immigration in the direction of making Australia a dumping ground for all classes who may be inclined to come this way. But I would urge upon the Minister the desirableness of exercising his powers in connexion with the inspection of immigrant vessels, and also of co-operating with the States in the control of immigration. I have been given to understand that some of the vessels carrying immigrants to Australia are not sufficiently supplied with boats. Surely that is a matter upon which the High Commissioner and his officers may exert someamount of control by making a suggestionto the Board of Trade that greater supervision should be exercised in the inspection of immigrant vessels before they are permitted to leave England for the Commonwealth.

Mr Finlayson:

– The Navigation Bill will alter that.

Mr GORDON:

– We ought to do something before that Bill comes into operation.

Mr Kelly:

– I call attention to the absence of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

Mr GORDON:

– We ought not to defer action until the Navigation Bill comes into operation, because almost every week vessels are leaving the shores of England with a large number of passengers for Australia. Quite recently a vessel arrived here with a number of immigrants on board, in a condition which reflects very little credit upon those officials - British and Australianwho permitted her to leave England. Sir George Reid points out that - the satisfaction which the marked increase in the number of emigrants from Great Britain to Australia has caused has been qualified by the increasing anxiety I have felt owing to the block from which the movement is suffering at its most important point, that of finding transit for those willing and anxious to make their homes in the Commonwealth. Unless some rapid increase in the means of transit occurs, a serious, perhaps disastrous, check to Australian immigration is bound to occur.

These are the remarks of the responsible officer of the Government in London, and they are remarks which the Ministry cannot afford to ignore. I ask the Minister whether he has given due attention to Sir George Reid’s suggestion, in which he points out that if the shipping companies were given a guarantee for some four or rive years, they would be prepared to provide a better class of vessels for carrying on this important work.

Mr Thomas:

– Does the honorable member think it necessary to read the report? We have it in the office. It was supplied from our office.

Mr GORDON:

– The language employed bv Sir George Reid is so lucid and suggestive that I thought the Minister would not object if I repeated it in order to impress upon him the necessity of coming into closer touch with the States, and of seeing if it is not possible for the Commonwealth and the various State Governments to co-operate with a view to instituting a reasonable system of immigration to our shores. The Commonwealth Government cannot escape their responsibility, as the National Government of Australia, on this question of immigration. They should be prepared to unite with the States in controlling and regulating immigration, because, as I have already pointed out, we do not desire Australia to be made a dump ing ground - particularly if periods of depression should arise - for large numbers of immigrants, when our own people may be experiencing a difficulty in finding employment. Surely this is a matter in which all Australians are interested, and not merely those honorable members who happen to be present in the chamber at this moment. I take it that I share with them in the desire to do the best for Australia, and what I am advocating is that we should1 have a rational system of immigration, regulated by the Commonwealth and the States working harmoniously together, and not standing as far apart from, each other as they possibly can because of some Commonwealth and State jealousy. That is the point which T wish to emphasize, and it is not a joking matter. On the contrary, the control of a reasonable system of immigration to these shores is a matter of serious moment to the whole of Australia. I repeat that we do not wish to see immigrants coming to Australia at a greater rate than we can naturally absorb them. We do not desire to use our immigration machinery te* cause any economic disturbance in the Commonwealth. We wish to attract people of the right stamp. We want to know if our Australian officials are endeavouring to select the class of immigrants who, by their training, are best fitted to come to Australia anc? help in developing its resources, instead of hanging about the cities and adding to their population, which is already out of alf proportion to our rural population.

Mr Finlayson:

– When the Home Rule Bill is passed, Ulster will have some immigrants to spare for Australia.

Mr GORDON:

– It takes us all our time to mind our own business, and we may well leave the Mother Country to look after her affairs. We have to turn to the HighCommissioner’s report for an explanation of the expenditure which we find in these Estimates, because, if that report were not available, honorable members would not know the duties which are being discharged by the various officials under his control.. We find that the publicity officer is to receive an increase from £440 to £480 per annum. That is not a large salary for a gentleman occupying his position. We have waited in vain for an explanation from the Ministerial benches as to what this officer and the trained journalist who was recently appointed are doing at the other end of the world. Sir George Reid gives us that inr formation. He points out exactly what the Department under his control is doing.

When we look at the operations of that Department, we must be satisfied that Sir George Reid and his officers are doing their utmost to advertise the resources of Australia. Not only is it necessary that we should attract the right class of people to this country, but we must recollect that, as a debtor State, our responsibilities are such that our standing in the British money market is of considerable concern to the various States and to the Commonwealth. Sir George Reid points this out. He says -

In advertising the Commonwealth in Great Britain and on the Continent, it will, I believe, be found advisable to arrange two distinct schemes, one aiming at securing an increasing tide of emigration to Australia and a greater volume of investment and further enterprise, the other seeking to promote a better knowledge of the range and quality of Australian exports with a view to promote an increasing demand for our products in British and foreign markets.

Surely these two officials perform very important duties. Sir George Reid points out very clearly that they are doing very excellent work, not only in advertising Australia, but in making provision for the marketing of our products on the other side of the world. In this respect we have to turn again to the High Commissioner’s report to understand exactly why it is that we have enjoyed such prosperous conditions in Australia during recent years. He had the assurance . of the Minister, speaking in Sydney a few weeks ago, that the present Labour Administration and Providence were working hand in hand to bring about prosperity. But I am sure that the Honorary Minister and his colleagues, who claim to be in co-operation with Providence, will be able to appreciate that this joint partnership is a very profitable one to the people of Australia.

Mr Roberts:

– What more natural than that Providence should help the right ?

Mr GORDON:

– He occasionally sends rain upon the just as well as the unjust.

Mr Roberts:

– The Opposition required water occasionally to clean its members.

Mr GORDON:

– So long as we stick to water we shall be all right. In the High Commissioner’s report I find the whole explanation of Australia’s great prosperity. I venture to say that the prosperity is not due to the activities of any State or Federal Ministers, but almost in spite of them. Take the importations of Australian produce into the United Kingdom from 1901 to 1910. We find that throughout that decade there has been a gradual increase in those importations - an increase which? has not been restricted to the last two years, but an increase in value from £9,797,000 to £11,425,000. In like manner the value of the importation of Australian products into the Continent during the same period increased from £5,000,000 in 1901 to £16,000,000 in 1911. The total value of our products oversea has increased from £15,000,000 in 1901 to more than £30,000,000 in 1910. As a producing nation, that circumstance explains in a sentence the reason underlying our prosperity. I venture to say that our national welfare depends upon our ability to increase our production, and upon our capacity to sell those products to the best advantage to our customers oversea.

Mr Roberts:

– The honorable member acknowledges that the rate of increase during the past two years has exceeded the rate of increase for the previous eight years ?

Mr GORDON:

– We have to remember that the wool was practically off the sheep’s backs before the honorable member’s party came into office in 1910. Our prosperity is due, not only to the increased production of Australia in 1910 and 191 1, but to the higher prices at which we were able to sell our products.

Mr Roberts:

– The honorable member quite forgets that it is our voters who take the wool off the sheep’s backs.

Mr.GORDON. - And who, of course, make it grow. According to the Honorary Minister, I was in error just now in speaking of a co-partnership between himself and his colleagues with Providence. It seems that it is the Honorary Minister alone who is a member of that copartnership. May I remind him that if he looks at the markets of the world he will find that the price of wheat and wool has been gradually increasing during recent years, until it reached its highest point in 1910 and 1911.

Mr Tudor:

– The price of wool is higher this year than it was last.

Mr GORDON:

– That does not contradict the point which I am making. I say that we have been working on a rising market during the last few years, not only in regard to wool, but in regard to metals, wheat, and other products. . It is that circumstance alone which is responsible for our increased prosperity, and which has enabled us to put up the record which stands to our credit. The figures cited by the High Commissioner show that this increase has been gradual and continuous during the past ten years. He asks -

How are we to increase our trade relations with the other end of the world1?

He further says -

It would be a great help if the services of an efficient product expert were placed’ at my disposal.. .

Is not that a matter which call’s for some attention at the hands of this House?’ It was impossible to listen to the remarks of the honorable’ member for New England and the honorable member for Maribyrnong without realizing that they recognise the very great- importance of- this Parliament facing the obligation which rests UPon it of bringing our producers into closer touch with the’ consumers oversea. Until we face that problem in a businesslike way we shall not enable our producers to. get the- highest possible return for their produce, and shall! not be- fulfilling our powers as a National Parliament. How is this end to be accomplished ? The High Commissioner invites the Minister to give him the services ofl an efficient officer, so t hat we may be able to exploit various markets’ in England1 and orr the Continent. He draws attention in- Ms report to- the possibility of exploiting the meat markets of Europe. This is a matter upon which we aire entitled to have some information from the Minister in order that we may see whether it: is not possible for us to extend our trade ©.per actions. As a. producing, community we depend not alone’ on our ability to. produce at: the- lowest possible cost, but on our capacity as business, mem to reduce the outlay of que producers, in. sending, their produce oversea.. If the High Commissioner thinks- it desirable that he should have the services of an expert produce-officer, why has not the Minister seen- his way clear to. put an item on the Estimates for the purpose?

Mr Roberts:

– A regrettable- feature is that, whenever- we- make appointments,, the Opposition! talk about the- added1 expenditure.

Mr GORDON:

– I db not think that criticisms’ of reasonable expenditure has come flora this side of the Chamber. Personally, I do not object to- any item- which I see- in this division-. I quite realize that, if we are to call upon the High Commissioner to fill the growing responsibilties of his office^ we must be prepared to face the necessity of increasing his staff, and giving kirn all possible co-operation. It is all very well for- honorable members to call upon- the Minister -to increase these facilities, but we have to remember that not even the Minister, great as his capacity may be, can perform miracles in bringing about that desirable closer connexion between the producer;, and the consumers. There are difficulties in the way. There are the demands upon shipping which at the present time are causing a natural increase of freight. ‘ The cost of handling produce has also necessarily increased; whilst there are considerable charges at- the other end of the world’ that must be faced1.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I desire to make a personal explanation. In. this evening’s Herald the. following statement appears -

Mr. Cook, said that before the House adjourned last night the Opposition had offeredto pass the whole of the Estimates. The Government had’ refused’ the overture, and now the House had suffered for nearly thirty hours.

I1 wish to say that that statement is notcorrect, nor was it made by me-. What I did say was that the Prime Minister had sent two or three honorable members to me one or two of whom are in- the chamber now, with this proposal : that he wanted the Estimates of the External1 Affairs Department cleared out of the way last night before train time. I sent word to- the Prime Minister that there would be no difficulty about that. We were- quite prepared! to do what the- Prime Minister- wished,, and would take no steps to hinder honorable members from catching their trains at the usual time-.

Mr Mathews:

-. - The honorable member is too innocent altogether-.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I am not now expressing any opinions. I only want the facts, to be. known - that the Opposition offered the Prime Minister last night eventhing that he asked for. Whatever, therefore, has caused this effort on the part of the Government, to push the Estimates through, the fault, does not lie. with the Opposition.

Mr Thomas:

– Go, on with the “ stonewall.”

Mr Howe:

– We- will’ keep, you up- tonight, and to.-morrow night as well.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Cook. - I am not. asking; the Government to d’o anything. What I have stated, are the facts’. No honorable member on this side of the Housespoke after twenty minutes past 1 1 o’clock, giving ample time for every honorable member on the Ministerial side who wished to- catch his train to do .so. The responsibility, therefore, for the continuance of this debate rests with the Government, and not with the Opposition.

Mr Fisher:

– By way of personal explanation, I wish to say that I understood the honorable member for Parramatta to assert that I sent three honorable members to him last night.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I am not particular about the three.

Mr Fisher:

– That statement is not correct. It is quite true that three honorable members of this party saw me in the lobby, and asked me what view I took of the proceedings. I said that if the debate closed before the usual time for catching trains, and we could conclude the Estimates of the External Affairs Department, I should be satisfied.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Quite so.

Mr Fisher:

– But to assert that I sent those honorable members to negotiate with the honorable member for Parramatta is not correct. The conditions existing at the time to which the honorable member refers have not been correctly stated either. My ‘recollection is that the honorable member for Richmond came into the chamber and renewed the attack upon the Minister of External Affairs at the last moment.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– That was all cleared up at twenty minutes after n.

Mr Fisher:

– If the honorable member for Parramatta rests his case in regard to this long and deliberate discussion on what he has stated, I say, with all confidence, that he has no case at all. We are responsible for carrying on the Government of His Majesty, and we propose to do it.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– And His Majesty’s Opposition will assist in every possible way.

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– I desire to pay my meed of praise to the High Commissioner, not only for the kindness which he showed to myself and my fellow Australians who went Home last year, but for the work which he is doing for the Commonwealth in London. I found the High Commissioner to be ever ready to show genuine sympathy in regard to every case of an Australian in distress that was brought under his notice. 1 think that we ought to do something to relieve the Agents-General in London of the misery of having to refuse assistance to Australians who want to return to their home land. Every other country, from

Switzerland, the schoolhouse of Europe, to the United States, affords its representatives in London facilities for assisting citizens who are stranded in a foreign land through no fault of their own. One of the best Agents-General in London, Sir John Taverner, was, to my own knowledge, extremely interested in a number of sad cases that I brought under his. notice. I also brought cases under the notice of the High Commissioner, who was always ready to assist. I should like to see the Commonwealth Government do more than they have done in the past in this matter. I must express the wish that the High Commissioner were empowered to control the shipping of immigrants to this country. If he had such power, we should not have such a lamentable state of affairs as is revealed by facts which the Minister of Trade and . Customs has placed at my disposal. They show that 1,300 human beings were crowded on one immigrant ship called the Irishman - a vessel which insults the name that decorates it - on which there were only six baths. That works out at 216 individuals to each bath. If the immigrants were using the baths day and night throughout the twenty-four hours, that would only give each six and a half minutes for a bath.

Mr Sampson:

– Is it not the duty of the Commonwealth to provide proper immigrant ships?

Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

– I hope that through the agency of the High Commissioner we may be able to do something in that way. I have had experience of this immigrant traffic. I brought immigrants ‘ out to Western Australia on two occasions. Some of them ought never to have been allowed to land in this country. The only power given to me as medical officer was to see that they were vaccinated. I had no power to prevent the bringing in of persons so diseased that they ought never to have come to Australia. I have in my recollection one family who were absolutely rotten with tubercular disease. Yet I could not refuse them. The Board of Trade regulations under which I worked were so absolutely obsolete that I could not purchase the instruments prescribed, and actually had to borrow them from one of the hospital museums. The Board of Trade permit conditions in regard to immigrants that are not fit for horses. More care ought to be exercised in regard to the supervision of disease. Persons suffering from a disease which we now know to be fifty times more deadly than small-pox or plague have been landed, and, not being able to afford to go to hotels, have been scattered among the homes of the workers. Medical men know that half the blindness in the world is caused in the first year after birth, and more than half the total deafness is caused in the first two years after birth. Those misfortunes are frequently due to measles. I wish Australia would appoint a scientific man similar in ability to the late Dr. Cresswell, one of the most vigilant medical officers we ever had in Victoria, or similar to that great man who now fills his place, Dr. Burnett Ham, whom I regard as one of the finest public medical officers in the world ; and I wish that such a medical man could be located at the High Commissioner’s office to insure that the immigrants coming here should be healthy men and women. The High Commissioner should also be empowered to represent to the shipping companies that they must provide proper accommodation for immigrants - the people whom we desire to welcome as our fellow citizens. But we know what shipping companies are. I recall the words used by the great Gladstone, as related in his conversations with Tollemache. He was asked whether he thought that the shipping companies of Great Britain would help an enemy to seize ports in the United. Kingdom. The “ grand old man “ replied that his opinion of the shipping companies of Great Britain was such that he believed that for the sake of filthy lucre they would bring an enemy into the port of Heaven. I again pay my meed of praise to the High Commissioner. He is certainly a good man, who is doing splendid work. He has a fine brain, and is using it in the service of this country. I also repeat my praises of Sir John Taverner, the Victorian AgentGeneral. I remind honorable members that the Victorian Minister of Agriculture) speaking a little while ago, strongly supported State-owned steamers, and said that if the shipping companies will not treat human beings as they ought to be treated, it will be time for us to have ships of our own for the purpose of carrying Butter, meat, and other produce to England, and bringing into this country a strain of the fine British blood that we are always glad to welcome here.

Mr ANSTEY:
Bourke

– I was very much surprised to hear the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta as to what occurred last night. Let me remind honorable members of what took place. After 11 o’clock, the honorable member for Richmond rose in his place with a mass of material in front of him to make an attack upon the Minister of External Affairs. He was followed by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who, in turn, was followed by the honorable member for Flinders. Then the honorable member for Parkes took up the running. Honorable members opposite hoped that at the last moment they might be able to get in a scurrilous attack without our being afforded an opportunity to reply. The statement is made that the Government had their opportunity at twenty minutes past 11 o’clock, while, as a matter of fact, the honorable member for Parkes did not sit down till thirty-two minutes past 11. I merely state the facts as recorded in Hansard as an evidence of the reliance that can be placed on the word of the honorable member for Parramatta.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– In personal explanation I may say that, after the debate on this side had practically finished, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports rose and proceeded to attack and slander a dead woman.

Mr Archibald:

– And the honorable member for Parramatta attacked a dead man.

Mr Fisher:

– A dead Minister was attacked all the time.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I defy the Prime Minister to find one sentence-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Parramatta rose to make a personal explanation.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I expect to make the explanation in silence, and without having these reflections cast upon me.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– I shall give the honorable member an opportunity if he will proceed.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I shall, if I am allowed to do so without interruption by the Prime Minister. ‘The facts are as I have stated ; and then the honorable member for Flinders and the honorable member for Parkes rose to speak in defence of this lady.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member is going outside a personal explanation. I cannot allow him to discuss the merits of a previous debate.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I am stating what occurred as leading up to the present position.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member may not do so; he may explain in regard to his own conduct, but he may not enter into a discussion of the merits of a past debate.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I am not in any way introducing fresh matter, except in so far as it bears on my own attitude and the statements I have made. I only desire to put those statements in their proper light; and I shall concede the ten minutes spoken of by the honorable member forBourke.

Mr Anstey:

– The twelve minutes.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I still say there was time for every honorable member to have caught his train.

Mr Archibald:

– That is not so.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– It was the speech of the honorable member for Bourke which prevented honorable members from getting their trains.

Mr Anstey:

– I desire to make a personal explanation.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– I must impose some limits on these explanations.

Mr Anstey:

– I quite agree, and the limit may be imposed after I have finished. The fact is that a few moments ago the honorable member for Parramatta came into the chamber and said that at twenty minutes past n o’clock last night the speakers on his own side had concluded.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– He has corrected that just now.

Mr Anstey:

– It is now demonstrated that there is no truth in the honorable member’s statement.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I ask that that insulting observation be withdrawn.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– If the honorable member for Parramatta objects to the observation, I ask the honorable member for Bourke to withdraw it.

Mr Anstey:

– What am I to withdraw?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The statement that there is no truth in the remarks of the honorable member for Parramatta.

Mr Anstey:

– It is true; but I shall withdraw what I have said, and say that the honorable member’s statement is incorrect. I was inevitably bound to reply to the scandalous attack which was made at the last moment just before trains went last night.

Mr Mathews:

– I have been attacked, and I desire to make a personal explanation. The honorable member for Parramatta, about whose char-se of delaying the business I shall say nothing, has accused me of making an attack on a dead woman. I did nothing of the sort. The fact that the lady whom I mentioned was dead-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member may not enter into a discussion of that debate.

Mr Mathews:

– I have been attacked, and there must be some method by which I can reply. Of course, I could not help the fact that the lady had departed this life, but I deny that I attacked her. Surely it is a common occurrence for us, without offence, to refer to a past celebrity who is dead. My observations were solely because of the dramatic, nasty, beastly attempt made-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member must withdraw those words.

Mr Mathews:

– 1 shall withdraw the words, and merely speak of the vindictive attack made by the honorable member for Richmond on an article in a Labour newspaper.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member must see that if I allow him to enter ‘into a discussion of a past debate, I must lose all control, and that I cannot permit. I think that personal explanations have gone far enough, now that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has asserted the incorrectness of remarks as applied to himself personally.

Mr Mathews:

– I object to the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta that I maligned a dead woman ; . and I expect him to withdraw it, because it is hurtful to my feelings.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.If that be so I shall ask the honorable member for Parramatta to withdraw the statement.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Most certainly, sir. T was only quoting statements which were made last night, and not objected to by the honorable member. . However, if the honorable member objects to the statements, I withdraw them. I am content that the matter should stand exactly as the honorable member places it.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I should like to put in a plea for consideration of the matter of an increase of salary for the High Commissioner, who has been performing most capable service for Australia. At present his remuneration is so small that I am almost ashamed to mention the amount.

Mr Roberts:

– The honorable member’s Own party fixed the salary, and, when I desired to increase it, he voted against the increase.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is not so. If my recollection serves me aright, I put in a plea for the increase of the salary. I have been informed, I think, that the annual expenditure of the High Commissioner for Canada, out of his own personal income, amounted to something like £50,000 a year. No doubt, the hospitality which that distinguished gentleman was enabled out of his income to expend had a great deal to do with keeping Canada as a field for emigration before the British people. The amount paid to our High Commissioner is very insignificant, and I cannot help feeling sorry that a gentleman of his distinguished career and high attainments should be paid a sum that really causes us to wonder how he is able to make ends meet in a place like London. In the circles in which Sir George Reid necessarily mingles, living is very expensive, indeed. Other honorable members who, like myself, formed part of the Australian delegation at the Coronation festivities, will remember the reception given by the High Commissioner in the Imperial Institute ; and I am sure that that function must have cost the whole of one year’s allowance, if not more. There were 2,000 guests present, including members of the Royal Family ; and Sir George Reid, in the exercise of his office, had to take his share in extending hospitality, on such a brilliant and historic occasion. I am sure that an allowance of £2,000 a year will not enable him to carry out many of the ordinary social functions without serious encroachment on his private salary, already ridiculously small; and I greatly fear “that he must often experience something in the nature of financial embarrassment.

Mr Howe:

– Let him have fewer functions of the kind.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Such functions, which must cost a great deal of money, are, whatever the opinion of the honorable member for Dalley may be, necessary to the dignity and prestige of Australia. Our reputation is not likely to be enhanced by any exhibition of niggardli- ness or meanness on the part of our representative at Home; and the least we can do is to see that he receives sufficient remuneration to provide those reasonable social entertainments that are inseparable from an office of the kind.

Mr Howe:

– We will make them separable.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I remind honorable members opposite that when it was proposed by the Labour Government, which preceded the Government that appointed Sir George Reid, to send one of the Labour leaders Home as High Commissioner - and I believe that Mr. Watson was then in their mind - the amount placed on the Estimates as salary, was not £3,000, but ,£10,000.

Mr Howe:

– So much the more to their discredit.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I say that it was not a penny too much.

Mr Roberts:

– How does the honorable member know what was in the mind of the Government ?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not wish to commit myself to a definite statement, but my impression is that the amount on the Estimates was £10,000.

Mr Roberts:

– No; it would be right for the honorable member to say what his impression is, but he cannot know what was in other persons’ minds.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I shall not trouble about hair-splitting of that kind. It is not to the credit of Australia that so small a sum should be placed on the Estimates in connexion with so high an office. We ought to consider the position of Australia in the commercial and industrial world, and remember that, in the eyes of the nations, this is a large and important continent, and an integral portion of the Empire. It does not afford us the best kind of advertisement if our representative even appears to adopt a cheeseparing policy in carrying out social duties, which, after all, are as much, and as important, a part of the life of the Empire as any other duties. When the appointment was made, the annual revenue of the Commonwealth amounted to only £8,000,000 or thereabouts. It. has- since increased to £22,000,000 per annum, and surely, out of that large increase, we may afford a little more by way of salary to Australia’s representative in the Old Country.

Mr Howe:

– I hope it will not be granted by this Government.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– Although it gives £1,000 a. year more to the manager of a bank ?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Government, did not hesitate to grant a local official, occupying an immeasurably inferior position, a salary of £4,000 per annum.

Mr Cann:

– He is earning it.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– -And the High Commissioner would be earning every farthing of his salary if it were three times the present amount. Australia has never received such a magnificent advertisement as she has obtained while Sir George Reid has held office as High Commissioner. He stands out as one of the most prominent figures of the British Empire. He can hold his own with any of the British or foreign statesmen.

Mr Howe:

– I have my doubts.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member may, but, unfortunately, his mind is warped by prejudice; but we have the fact that the flow of immigration to Australia has enormously increased, largely as the result of Sir George Reid’s personal efforts in carrying out duties that were not obligatory upon him, but which he undertook out of a spirit of patriotism. I hope that Ministers will brush aside the narrow, provincial prejudices which cloud their minds, like dust-laden cobwebs, and seek a clearer vision of their responsibilities to the country. I thoroughly agree with the suggestion made by the honorable member for Boothby, that before the Commonwealth offices in London are erected, efforts should be made to introduce to the architects responsible for that work some of our magnificent Australian woods, which ought to be utilized for fittings and furnishings.

Mr Riley:

– That is already agreed upon.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We have not heard a word in the House about it. In this, as in most other matters where the present Government are concerned, we are unable to get information from the Minister. We have to gather our information second-hand from the press. Scarcely a day passes without honorable members opposite drawing attention to the inaccuracies of press statements. That being so, how can they expect us to seek from that source information as to what is being done by the Government, and which should be furnished direct to the House?

Mr Howe:

– This information was given to the House by the Minister yesterday.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I did not hear the Minister make such a statement. When I first referred to the matter, it was said that the information was given first of all to the press. From the speci mens of Australian timbers that we have seen in the Queen’s Hall and elsewhere, I am led to believe that there is open to us a wide field of trade in this direction, and I know of no better advertisement for our timbers than would, be afforded by their utilization for fittings and furnishings for the Commonwealth offices in London. I may mention, in passing, that I am not a strong admirer of the design for the Commonwealth offices. Why were not Australian architects given- an opportunity with architects elsewhere to submit designs? We have in Australia a number of competent architects, and the Government might fairly have invited them to submit designs, and should one of them have proved to be successful, have given that competitor an opportunity to supervise the erection of the building.

Mr Thomas Brown:

– A lead had already been given by the Victorian building.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am aware of that. While the Commonwealth offices must necessarily be in harmony with the Victorian office close by, there have been introduced into this design features that are not associated with the Victorian building. The columns, which constitute the main feature of the design for the Commonwealth offices, tend to convey the impression of stumpiness, and to suggest that it is a one-story structure, when it is really a five-storied one. I do not think that that is good architecture. We have to consider the immediate impression conveyed to the mind when one first looks at the model of the building, and the first impression of the attic design is that it is that of a one-storied building on an elevated base. Accompanied by Sir George Reid and the officials of his Department, the members of the parliamentary party which visited London in connexion with the Coronation celebrations made a careful inspection of the several sites, and the unanimous feeling was certainly in favour of that which was selected. My only regret is that, in designing the building, the most has not been made of the advantages which the site offers for a really imposing and dignifiedlooking structure. When the building is completed, and we receive the rents which it is anticipated it will yield, it will be found that the Commonwealth has not made a bad bargain so far as the site itself is concerned. I hope that it is not too late to have some satisfactory alterations made in the character of the external design.

Mr Roberts:

– Quite a number of alterations have been made which will give more room.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am referring more to the external elevation, which does not convey to the mind of any ordinary person the proportions of. the building. I wish now to refer to one or two matters in the High Commissioner’s report. At pages, under the heading “ Congestion of the Passenger Traffic to Australia,” Sir George Reid writes -

The satisfaction which the marked increase in th» number of emigrants from Great Britain to Australia has caused has been qualified by the increasing anxiety I have felt owing to the block from which the movement is suffering at its most important point, that of finding transit for those willing and anxious to make their homes in the Commonwealth. Unless some rapid increase in the means of transit occurs, a serious, perhaps disastrous, check to Australian immigration is bound to occur. The block in the case of emigrants prepared to pay their own passage-money in full (in the steerage) is worse than in the case of the assisted class. For some time past the passenger steamers have been quite un:ible to cope wilh the demand, and although Ihe shipping companies have provided, and arc providing, new steamers, the situation is getting worse. It does seem a thousand pities, now Ihat such an unusual demand for -passages to Australia has arisen, that we should find ourselves in danger of a contrary movement setting in. When people cannot get a chance of departure until several months after Uley are ready to embark, it is easy to see what is likely to happen. The rising tide will make its way in other directions, if it cannot make headway in our direction. The existence of these delays, as a matter of fact, is tested and proved by actual experiments from time to time in the shape of applications for berths at the offices of the various shipping companies.

I draw attention to the gravity of the situation, from the point of view of peopling Australia with a virile British and Northern European population, as disclosed by this statement. What is the use of spending annually large sums of money in advertising the resources of Australia^ with the object of promoting immigration, if steps are not taken to make available steamers to bring the people here? Sir George Reid goes on to say -

I have had interviews with deputations of passenger agents and the heads of the shipping companies - who are both deeply interested, the former in earning commission, and the latter in promoting traffic - and I am bound, after the most careful and earnest consideration, to state that I am convinced some assurance, given by those in authority, that emigration to Australia will be encouraged and assisted for a period of at least four or five years, is needed by the shipping companies before they will build the number of passenger steamers necessary.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired. The question is that the division be agreed to.

Mr Kelly:

– On a point of order, I wish to point out, sir, that you cannot put the question in the absence of a quorum.

The CHAIRMAN:

– That would not prevent my putting it.

Mr Kelly:

– I submit, sir, that the proposed vote could not be dealt with in the absence of a quorum, and I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed. 1

Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera

.- I have already addressed myself to some items in this division, but I would like to make a further reference to a subject which has been discussed here to-night. I allude to the question of immigration. If we turn to the report of the Imperial Conference, which sat in 191 1, we shall find that this question was dealt with by that body. With the consent of the two delegates who represented this Parliament at that gathering, the following resolutions were carried -

That it is desirable to encourage British emigrants to proceed to British Colonies rather than foreign countries.

That the Imperial Government be requested to co-operate with any Colonies desiring immigrants in assisting suitable persons to emigrate.

That the Secretary of State for the Colonies be requested to nominate representatives of the Dominions to the committee of the Emigrants’ Information office.

In order that we might have our ambassadorial duties carried out in London, the Government which preceded that which is now in office appointed a High Commissioner, who is one of the best assets which the Commonwealth possesses. One of the most important duties cast upon him is to carry out the direct mandate of the Constitution to properly supervise the tide of emigration to Australia. I repeat that this question of immigration was debated at some length at the Imperial Conference which met in 1911. Mr. Burns, the Minister of Public Works in the House of Commons, stated at that gathering that the drain of emigrants from Great Britain could not properly exceed 300,000 per annum. That represented the maximum number of persons whom Great Britain could spare to assist in populating the oversea Dominions. It was then agreed that the Commonwealth Government should be represented on the Emigration Council in the Old Country, in order that this scheme might be regulated in such a way as to give satisfaction to the whole Empire, and in order that the stream of 300,000 emigrants annually might be distributed in an equitable manner among the oversea Dominions. My complaint is that the Government have made no effort to redeem the pledge of our representatives.

Mr Thomas:

– We have done a great deal. I have explained the position again and again.

Mr SAMPSON:

– -I know that the Minister has explained’ that, owing to the activity of the High Commissioner in advertising Australia, the stream of emigration has been turned in this direction. But the Government have also cast upon them the task of selecting proper emigrants and of seeing that they are properly accommodated during the voyage. This they have neglected to da Of course, I know that they have been held in bondage by certain organizations, so that it may have been impossible for them to move in the direction in which they desired to move. But after having incurred an expenditure of something like £21,000 per annum on the High Commissioner’s office, and another £20,000 per annum in advertising Australia, the Government have failed to intimate that they are prepared to carry out: the recommendations of the High Commissioner.

Mr Webster:

– How much would that cost ?

Mr SAMPSON:

– That is merely a question of actuarial1 calculation. It entirely depends upon the number of immigrants, who are brought to Australia. We have created machinery which is costing between £40,000 and £50,000 per annum, in order that the Emigration Branch in London may discharge its proper functions. The High Commissioner, who has faithfully represented us in London, and who has visited most European countries, has submitted to the Government a series of recommendations. Yet we have not been informed how far the Government intend to give effect to those recommendations.

Mr Page:

– Are the Government bound to do everything that the High Commissioner recommends?

Mr SAMPSON:

– If we have confidence in our High Commissioner, and if he places before us a report containing definite recommendations which will justify the expenditure we are incurring, it is our duty to take that report into consideration. It is the duty of the Minister to tell the Committee how far he intends to give effect to the High Commissioner’s recommendations.

If I remember aright, in reply to an honorable member upon this side of the chamber, the Minister stated, a couple of nights ago, that he had considered certain recommendations by the High Commissioner, and he refused to give effect to them. I wish to know how far the Government can be charged with insincerity in respect to the important matter of immigration.

Mr Page:

– Honorable members opposite never do anything else but charge them with insincerity.

Mr SAMPSON:

– I think that the conduct of the Government demands a very emphatic protest from us, and I am sorry that we have not the numbers to express our. disapproval of it in an effective way.

Mr Thomas:

– - The honorable member will give us credit for having done something in connexion with the Pacific Cable-

Mr SAMPSON:

– When I come to that matter, I shall be glad if the Minister can show me that he has done something in regard to it. At the present time it involves the Commonwealth’ in a loss of £20,000 annually - a loss which could be wiped out in twelve months if a proper policy were adopted. In his very valuable and business-like report, the High Commissioner has made a definite recommendation that a commercial agent of business experi’ence should be appointed in London, in order that the markets of England may be made available to Australian producers. That is, I believe, one of the most valuable recommendations in his report. I gather from the Estimates that the Minister intends to do- something in that direction. I am very pleased to note there an item which reads, “ Development of Australian export trade on Continent of Europe, £5,000.” That is one of the most profitable channels in which the energies of the Commonwealth can be directed. The Minister, I hope, will supply the Committee with a detailed statement as to how this money is to be expended. Is it to be expended in advertising, or in the appointment of an expert such as is recommended by the High Commissioner?

Mr Thomas:

– If the honorable member will call round at my office on Tuesday, I will give him all the information I can.

Mr SAMPSON:

– A few minutes ago I directed attention to the fact that our delegates to the- Imperial Conference in 19 11 committed themselves to a policy of immigration. A scheme was devised, under which all parts of the Empire, might re- ceive the overflow of able-bodied persons from Great .Britain, under an equitable system of distribution. I believe that an improvement could be effected in the present method of selecting immigrants in the Old Country.

Mr West:

– We have no land.

Mr SAMPSON:

– The States can provide the land. I -understood that the land tax would burst up large estates :in all directions, so that there would be an abundant area available for settlement by immigrants.

Mr Thomas:

– If we can only nationalize the Pacific Cable, I believe that would help us a great deal.

Mr SAMPSON:

– The Minister appears to be obsessed with the idea that the Pacific Cable should be nationalized. At the last Conference the State Premiers expressed their willingness to co-operate with the Commonwealth in the direction of supplying ships to bring immigrants to “Australia. On the 9th January, of the present year, The Times referred to the fact that the Commonwealth Ministry was ready at all times to co-operate with the States in respect of immigration. On that day the following paragraph appeared in the Melbourne press’: -

In commenting on Saturday on the advice given by The Timet on the subject of immigration, the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Thomas, said the Commonwealth was ready at all times to 00-Operate with the States, but until that co-operation was sought the Commonwealth could not interfere.

Mr Thomas:

– Where did that statement appear?

Mr SAMPSON:

– In the Age newspaper of the 9th January of the present year. It continued -

Referring to this yesterday, the Premier, Mr. Murray, said. “When the States are bringing out people themselves, surely tile time is ripe for assistance by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is in 1.0 way giving assistance. We have appealed to the Federal Government in vain, and now the States interested in immigration are going on their own. The Commonwealth Labour Ministers are afraid to appear to support immigration.”

  1. believe that that last sentence explains most things. The High Commissioner, in his report, gives us some idea of the extent to which Great Britain consumes imported agricultural products, and points out that there are large possibilities for opening up newmarkets in nearly every country in Europe. He has personally visited many of these countries, and has made arrangements to obtain reports from them. The statistics show that the importations of .grain into Great Britain amount to £80,000,000 ; of milk products, £33,000,000; of other agricultural products, £7,400,000; poultry., £^8,000,000; meat, rabbits, fruit, wine, &c, £53,000,000, making up a total of over £200,000,000 of agricultural products. I do not think that Australia supplies more than 10 or 12 per cent, of the whole. ‘That leaves a wide field for exploitation. I wish once more to draw the attention of the Minister of External Affairs to the Pacific Cable. The High Commissioner, in his report, informs us that the number of words conveyed over the cable in the year for which figures are given was 1,849,613. The receipts for 1910- 11 were £.i3’8, 6.77 ; whilst the expenditure was .£79,000. A sum of £30,000 was aldocated to reserve or renewal fund. The amount allocated to the sinking fund was ^£74,544. The payment of the balance fell on the contributing Governments an the following proportions : - Australia, £.16,070; Canada, £13.-000; New Zealand, £5,000 ; the total deficit being £34,818. The probability is that at present 85 per cent, of the cable business between Great Britain and Australia is not conducted over the Pacific Cable. The cable is laid between Australia and Vancouver, and we have the use of the Canadian overland, lines. But the trouble is caused in regard to the Atlantic part of the cable. I feel satisfied that by an expenditure of £500,000 on an Atlantic Cable owned by the Governments sharing in the Pacific Cable, we could wipe out the present deficit in twelve months’ time.
Dr CARTY SALMON:
Laanecoorie

– I desire to say a few words on the question of immigration. I am moved to do so on account of the interest I take in the defence of Australia. The Government have claimed for themselves credit for the work accomplished in regard to the arrival here of suitable immigrants, though I am led to believe that members of the Ministerial party are extremely careful what they say about immigration in the constituencies. The Governor-General’s speech, at the opening of the session, drew special attention to this subject. I should like to give honorable members opposite an opportunity of recording a vote on the question. The frequent protestations we have had from quite a number of them should, be backed up by actions on their part to show that they really do believe in bringing immigrants to the Commonwealth. Bulletin No. 9, issued by Mr. Knibbs, informs us that the square mile area of the Commonwealth is 2,974,581. The census of 191 1 shows that the total number of persons then in Australia was 4,455,000. The average number was 150 persons per 100 square miles, or i persons to each square mile. The Statistician estimates that on the 31st March, 191 2, the population of Australia was 4,602,352, and on the 30th June, 1912, 4,644,239. I quote these figures to give honorable members an opportunity . of considering the seriousness of the situation. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, during an earlier part of the debate, said that not 2 per cent, of the immigrants which had come to Victoria had settled in the country. I have endeavoured to obtain some information in this regard, but am sorry that I have not been able to get exact figures. I hope by to-morrow to obtain from the Victorian Government Department figures which will show how the immigrant population has been dealt with during the past twelve months.

Mr Bamford:

– Does the honorable member intend to pursue this argument again to-morrow?

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– No matter which can be brought before honorable members is of greater importance than that of settling this vast continent. No higher duty can be performed by this Parliament than that of securing a larger population for Australia. We are here as custodians and trustees of one of the finest portions of God’s earth, and we can only claim to fill that mission if we succeed in occupying it effectively. Effective occupation means something more than one and a half persons to the square mile. I am sure that the honorable member for Herbert, with that widened vision which the immense distances in his State must have given him, and his knowledge of the enormous electorate which he so ably represents, will admit that that part of Australia, with its fertility and its magnificent opportunities, is not anything like properly settled yet. He knows also that our resources have only to be properly understood, that particulars concerning our climate and soil have only to be disseminated, and that our social condition has only to be proclaimed to other parts of the world in order that we may attract a steady stream of desirable immigrants, who will not only add to the material wealth of the country, but will also give us that means of defence which must be provided if we are to continue to hold Australia. The day of the mercenary soldier is gone, and we do not desire to purchase immunity from attack. That was not the method of our forefathers, or of those who now so proudly face the rest of the world in arms, and are prepared to maintain every foot of territory which they call their own. We are Britons, and are prepared to defend our country ; but we cannot hope to defend such” an enormous area unless we properly and effectively occupy it. Unfortunately, our natural rate of increase is not of such magnitude as to give any hope in the immediate, or even the remote, future, of filling this continent ; and, under the circumstances, there is only the one means of immigration. This must be carried out on a well-thought-out principle, with no haphazard methods. Our doors should not be thrown open wide to all, regardless of colour, creed, or standard of living; we should see that only those are admitted who are likely to prove themselves desirable members of the community. No authority is as capable of carrying out such a work as is the Commonwealth authority. I do not believe that’ this want of population can ever be supplied by leaving the matter to the States, which are in competition with each other. That is not a state of affairs that we desire to see. We require careful selection, and we should not allow the competing States, in their desire to take advantage one of the other, to imperil a proper policy of immigration. What we require are immigrants who can settle on the soil, and, above all, people who are prepared to live up to our standard of comfort. The Government have declared, over and over again, that they desire to do all in their power to secure population ; but they do not take advantage of the opportunities which come their way. At the Imperial Conference of 1906 a proposition made by the then Prime Minister, the honorable member for Ballarat, in regard to immigration was received coldly and suspiciously.

Mr Higgs:

– Because the honorable member’s party desired immigration for cheap labour purposes.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– Where can the honorable member find a single tittle of justification for such a sweeping statement? He has become obsessed with the idea that nothing good can come out of the Liberal party, while every desirable proposal originates of necessity with the party to which he, for the time, belongs.

Mr Higgs:

– I referred to a number of people who are supporting the Liberal party.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– That is a different thing. I do not ask the honorable member to be responsible for some of the opinions of some of the people who support his party ; and on the public platform, I do not endeavour to make the Labour party responsible for all the wild utterances made from time to time by some who may be attached to the party. I wish to express my appreciation of the frank fashion in which the honorable membet has qualified his statement; and I desire the Committee to know, as I believe the country knows, that there is not in the Liberal party any desire to reduce the wages or the standard of comfort. Wages in almost every industry in Australia are governed by legislation introduced by the Liberal party.

Mr Higgs:

– Whether the Liberal party wish it or not, the introduction of thousands of people, with no employment for them, will reduce wages.

Dr CARTY SALMON:

– Nearly every industry in Victoria is governed, in regard to wages and conditions, by a body under legislative enactments ; and I have yet to learn that a glutted labour market would cause that body, composed of an equal number of employes and employers, with an independent chairman, to reduce the rates already fixed. Members of this Chamber have too much experience and knowledge of the country, and of the conditions which govern wages, to have any real fear that a glut, temporary or otherwise, would result in any diminution ; and, further, we have the best guarantee that, even if it could happen, it would not happen, if we placed the control of immigration in the hands of the Commonwealth authority. The most competent officers we could get for the work of selecting immigrants are Commonwealth officers; and, with a proper system of drafting immigrants to various areas where opportunities are offered to them of making homes, there is little fear but that we should have most valuable additions to the community. Mistakes have been made in the past in regard to immigration, and the States have reminded me more than once of the agriculturist or pastoralist who, under the impression that he is going to have a good season, immediately overstocks, only to find, when the season does not tun; out so well as expected, that he is in a very embarrassing position. Such mistakes have been made before, and will be made again ; and all that we can do is to follow the example, and be governed by the experience of other countries who have made a huge success of properly controlled immigration. In Canada, we should never see what we may see in Australia, namely, a number of immigrants dumped down on a wharf, and left to follow their own devices in seeking a home for themselves. I am glad to find that the Churches are recognising their duty in this regard, and that the Church of England, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army, are all employing agents, whose business it is to look after immigrants belonging lo their own communion. The Salvation Army, by reason of its organization at home and abroad, is doing most valuable work, and I am not alluding so much to monetary assistance as to ‘guidance and advice, which can be given only on the spot. Emigrants desire better treatment in London, and this can best be obtained through the High Commissioner, and then the- require better means of transit, which can best be provided by the Commonwealth. Honorable members opposite will not accuse me of leaning unduly to State Socialism, but I believe that we shall never deal properly with this problem until the Commonwealth either owns or hires the necessary vessels. We must not be left to the tender mercies of shipping companies, which are not philanthropic institutions, but organizations primarily for the purpose of securing a proper return on their capital. There must be a sympathetic Government to deal with immigration on a business-like basis-; and Australia should not be made the dumping ground for what is known as the submerged tenth of the Old Country. What we require are men and women of the calibre of those who pioneered Australia, and they are still to be got, with the same ideals and traditions as ourselves. They must, in the first place, be put in possession of knowledge as to the possibilities of Australia, and then given guidance and advice. The Minister and the Government take credit for what is now being done; but surely we are justified in judging by results? If the immigration policy has been the ghastly failure that honorable members opposite . say it has, the Government and Administration of the day are responsible; and, on the other hand, if it has been the success claimed by the Minister of External Affairs - almost the only honorable member opposite to take that view - I ask, where are the valuable additions to our population? The fact is that the policy which was initiated by the previous Government has been allowed to sink into a state of suspended animation. Nothing has been done to develop it or push it one single foot along the lines it was intended to traverse. Nothing has been done except to assert in the Governor-General’s Speech that the land tax and the social legislation of the Government are responsible for the influx of a number of immigrants. The Labour party prides itself more than anything else on being a party that “ does things”; but in regard to immigration it has pursued a policy of stagnation without a parallel in the history of Australia. Since the Commonwealth came into being, no more golden opportunity has been lost than that wilfully lost by the present Administration. Other countries, with large areas of unoccupied lands, are on the look-out for the very class we desire, and they have the advantageof being nearer the great centres of population. A policy of sending a few posters throughout die rural districts of the . United Kingdom, of issuing leaflets which may or may not reach the persons for whom they are intended, and of writing letters to newspapers which possibly do not circulate in the districts where the desirable people are, is not good enough for me. It is a reflection on the energy of the young party, which claims to be a party of progress, that so little should have been~”done in such a vital matter.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I beg to call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]

Dr Carty Salmon:

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Capricomia, as soon as I had completed my remarks, made an assertion which I consider quite unjustifiable, and to which I isnost strongly object. He alluded to my speech, as well as to the speeches of other honorable members, as “ organized obstruction.” I had most carefully prepared some time ago the speech that I made, and was waiting anxiously an opportunity to deliver it. I feel that an injustice has been done to me, as well as to others, by the honorable member’s remark, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I ask the honorable member for Capricornia to withdraw the remark to which exception has . been taken.

Mr Higgs:

– Out of consideration for you, sir, I withdraw it. It is quite true, all the same.

Mr Kelly:

– The honorable member has aggravated the offence by saying that the remark which he has withdrawn is quite true all the same.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member for Capricornia was distinctly out of order, and I askhim to withdraw the last remark which he made.

Mr Higgs:

– I withdraw it.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I agree -with the honorable member tor Laanecoorie that the subject of immigration, which is one of those immediately attaching to die office of the High Commissioner, cannot engage the attention of the Committee at undue length. There is no subject that touches so closely the immediate future of Australia as does that of the peopling of the Commonwealth. That and the subject of the naval defence of Australia are the two which seem to me to loom largest in the future development of our country. The necessity for a full investigation into the question of immigration is rendered all the mere urgent by a growing feeling in the community - a feeling which I believe to be based on a sound foundation - that, although it is nominally one of the planks in the platform of the party at present in power, they not only have no scheme of immigration, but are not in earnest in supporting the policy. Even if some of their party foresee that the future of Australia is necessary for the defence of Australia, some of those who support them would not permit them to proceed with any practical scheme for developing immigration to Australia. Let the Government be tested by their works. They have been in office for two years and a half. What single act have they done to further the progress of immigration?

Mr Higgs:

– Is it not a fact that sufficient steam-ship accommodation cannot be obtained to bring the people here ?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– What have they done?

Mr Higgs:

– They have advertised the country.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is true that they have provided a small sum of money for what is called the advertising of Australia, but I think honorable members will agree that it is absolutely ineffectual. It is useless to attempt to conceal the fact that the supporters of the Government and their party - or, at all events, the great bulk of them - not only do not desire immigration, but are bitterly opposed to it.. That can be gauged by the character of the speeches made by some members of the party, by those who support them, and by their party journals. Their criticism is always couched in language similar to that used by the honorable member for Capricornia, who, while the honorable member for Laanecoorie was speaking, attributed to those who support immigration a desire to lower wages.

Mr West:

– That is true of the position in America.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– But we have first of all to determine whether that is the policy of the Labour party. Do they oppose immigration because they think that it will have the effect of lowering wages?

Mr West:

– Excessive immigration would.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– During the two and a half years that they have been in office the Government have not been without abundant material for framing an immigration policy, but, as in the case of the Northern Territory, they have yet no considered scheme.

Mr Higgs:

– The Argus asked for the honorable member’s policy, and he has not yet given it.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am not in a position in which it is demanded of me that I should give a policy. If I ever should occupy such a position, honorable members will find me with a policy. Meantime, I think I have a right, as one of a feeble Opposition, to seek some statement of policy by those who are spending the public moneys of the country. Apparently their policy is one of “do nothing,” and it will continue to be a “ do nothing “ policy as long as their supporters will not permit them to adopt the policy of doing something’. As I have already said, they are. not without abundant material for framing a policy. We have had, to start with, a very valuable report with respect to immigration, which, at the request of the then Prime Minister, was prepared in 1905 by the Agents-General of the various States. I propose to call attention to some features of that report, which show, not only the necessity for the adoption of a definite policy, but some of the difficulties inherent in the position of Australia - difficulties that have been created by the

Parliament of Australia. In this reportthe Agents-General pointed to the alarming fact that in this great country, with its immense resources, there has been, not only not an increasing development of population, but a remarkably rapid diminishing rate of increase of population from foreign sources. Since the presentation of this report in 1905, and especially within the last two or three years, owing entirely to the efforts made by the State Governments and Parliaments, there has been an increase of immigration to Australia. This report points out that Australia ceased to be a country to attract immigrants as far back as 1 89 1. Dividing our record into periods of ten years, it is shown that Australia’s gain by immigration has been as follows : - 1852 to i86t, 520.713; 1862 to 1871,- 188,158; 1872 to 1881, 223,326; 1882 te l89» 374.097 *> and 1892 to 1901, 2,377; whilst from 1902 to 1904 - a period of three years - there was a loss of 8,104. The report shows that in the thirteen years that elapsed between 1891 and 1905 seven were marked by an excess of departures, and that on the whole period there was a net loss by emigration of 5,727. It proceeds to deal with certain historical matters such as the gold discovery, which naturally affected the increase of population from that source. I propose now to answer the interjection made by the honorable member for Capricornia while the honorable member for Laanecoorie was speaking, to which I have already referred. He said that the object of those who supported immigration was to lower the rate of wages. That is a serious accusation to make against any body of representative men, and it should be capable of some degree of proof before it is made. I for one absolutely repudiate it. If the honorable member looks to the history of modern times - and it is only with modern times that we are concerned in this instance- he will fmd that in every country where there has been an excess of immigration wages have risen. I do not say that the rise of wages, or the higher wage’s, is the cause of the immigrationIt is, of course, partly the cause, but the effect of the immigration also is a further increase in the rates of wages. The country that is able, by its greater degree of prosperity, to offer higher wages will, of course, attract more immigrants, but the result of increasing the flow of immigrants into any country in which, in modern times, there has been an increase of population, brought about in this way, has been not to decrease, but usually to steadily and rapidly increase, wages.

Mr Webster:

– Only for a time.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member makes very wild statements.

Mr West:

– The American Commissioners on immigration have proved that it lowers wages.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– When was their report published.

Mr West:

– Quite recently. It shows that the wages of immigrants are from 10 to 15 per cent. below those of the American.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is common knowledge that where there is a flood of unrestricted immigration from all parts of Europe a large proportion of the immigration settles in the already congested centres of population. I admit that tendency, and it is one of the tendencies against which we have to fight ; but, taking the whole result of immigration over a considerable period, we find that it is to increase the standard rates of wages. That has been shown in the United States of America and Canada, the two countries which, for a considerable period, have had the greatest flow of immigration.

Mr Webster:

– The honorable member has himself admitted that a sovereign today, compared with the position some years ago, is worth only 15s.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member is one of the greatest adepts in the House at turning a question into a totally different channel. He is now endeavouring to show that when wages are high there is sometimes an increase in prices. That is also true. With an increase of wages there also comes frequently some increase of prices.

Mr Kelly:

– But provided always that the wage increases are natural, and not merely passed on-

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is an economic problem of which I, for one, would not attempt to offer a solution. In regard to most of these economic problems the man who endeavours to lay down broad rules governing them is not as wise as he thinks he is. In determining the question suggested by the honorable member for Capricornia, our conclusions must be drawn from broad results. Do not look at particular cases. Do not look at the fact that in a huge city like New York, where vast hordes of foreigners have settled - foreigners from quarters of

Europe where the conditions of living and the moral standard are not to be compared with our own - you find accompanying such immigration conditions of life that are simply appalling. Everybody will admit that. But, looking beyond these disease spots in the social organism, it will be found that the inevitable result of the general flow of people into a country which still has great resources is an increase in the standard of wages.

Mr Higgs:

– We have had periods in Australia during which the States have paid large sums in connexion with schemes for assisted immigration, and they have been compelled to stop that expenditure on account of the poverty which the system engendered.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I disagree with the honorable member’s premises. It is true that the States have stopped assisted immigration, but not for the reason which has been assigned. I know that in Victoria during the periods that assisted immigration schemes were in operation, higher wages prevailed. We cannot throw aside the testimony of history, extending over a large number of years as applied to such countries as the United States and Canada. It is obvious that if we bring into a country a large number of people, we bring in not merely producers who will compete with other producers, but consumers who will compete with other consumers. Provided that we have a country which still requires capital and labour to develop it, it must follow that with the introductionof capital and labour, the general standard of wages and comfort amongst all classes must steadily increase.

Mr Howe:

– The honorable member does not ask for unlimited immigration?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Certainly not. One of the chief functions which we have to exercise is to discriminate between those who ought to be citizens of Australia, and those who ought not. I am rather inclined to take up this position, that so long as the persons who” desire to come here are of good physical and moral character, and are of our own race, no restriction whatever ought to be imposed upon them.

Mr Howe:

– That mav be so, provided that they come of their own volition. But what if they are assisted?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member is asking me a general question. If I were framing a policy of assisted immigration, I think I should endeavour to devise machinery which would enable us to discriminate between the classes of persons who should be invited to come here. If, for example, the market for mechanics or for any other class of manual labour was pretty full in Australia, the necessity for assisted immigration of that class would either be diminished or cease to exist. But I am dealing with the broad policyof immigration, and with the attitude of honorable members opposite towards that policy.

Mr Roberts:

– I have never heard a word uttered by the Labour party in opposition to immigration which could “profitably be absorbed here.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We constantly hear the utterly fallacious cry, “ First let us provide for our own people.” But we cannot do that. The provision made for the people of any country must depend largely on themselves. All that we can do is to provide opportunities for all who are qualified to embrace them. We have no

Tight to say that those who are less qualified to succeed ought to get a preference over our own people.

Mr Roberts:

– That is not said.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I do not say that honorable members opposite urge that. But we frequently hear the claim asserted, as a plausible argument against immigration, that we ougnt to provide everything for our own people first. No more fallacious argument was ever advanced.

Mr West:

– The honorable member would not bring immigrants to Australia if our own people were unemployed ?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Does the honorable member affirm that, so long as we have any unemployed in Australia, we ought not to invite immigrants to come here from Great Britain?

Mr West:

– No.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then T am unable to comprehend his question. We shall always have unemployed in Australia, just as unemployed will always be found in every other country. Our one object ought to be to afford the freest opportunities to all people with healthy minds and bodies - preferably those of our own race - to come here and develop Australia. There is some more interesting matter in this document dealing with the difficulties experienced and the objects to be attained in connexion with a policy of immigration. Upon page 4 it states -

Writers upon immigration sometimes indulge in fanciful figures as to the gain which a country receives from the importation of population, and we have seen it somewhere stated that every adult added means a gain of some£250 to the community. Such a figure cannot, of course, be more than one of pure speculation. An able-bodied, healthy, and industrious immigrant is a potential gain to the country wherein he settles, but is an actual source of gain only by becoming a producer himself, or, by finding employment, creating a demand for the productions of others.

It further states -

Our colleague, in his repoit on “ Immigration with Special Reference to Canada,” has enumerated the following as amongst the chief reasons affecting immigration to Australia : -

The distance from the over-populated countries of Europe, and the time taken up by the oversea voyage.

The comparative ignorance of European peoples of the resources of the country.

Each of these touches an immediately practical problem in connexion with immigration to Australia - a problem which we have to solve if we wish to develop the Commonwealth with suitable immigrants from abroad -

  1. The misrepresentation of Australian affairs indulged in by the press of Great Britain, which misrepresentation is encouraged by dissatisfied persons in Australia.
  2. The prevailing opinion that immigrants are not wanted, and that eligible persons have been refused admissionto the Commonwealth.
  3. The uncertainty whether, on arrival, immigrants can be accommodated with land.
  4. The influence of persons who have already emigrated.
  5. The payment of a bounty to shipping agents by Canada to secure emigrants.
  6. The strong and systematic advertisement of Canada and other countries, and the vigorous propaganda of their emigration agents, who thus divert the stream of eligible persons to their own shpres.

And to these must be added the Immigration Restriction Act, especially the language test and contract provisions.

These six Agents-General, who were invited by the Commonwealth to express their opinions on the subject of immigration, had been engaged for years in the study of the various conditions which would assist Australian development. They were practical men. But before dealing with the Immigration Restriction Act, I would remind honorable members of the provisions of that Act, especially in regard to contract immigrants. The fetter upon immigration which is embodied in that Act is that no immigrant, except by special leave, shall be permitted to come here under contract for any employment. That is a provision which, in my opinion, requires very, great modification. We cannot get the best class of immigrants - of artisans, or even of agricultural, labourers - unless we enable them to enter into arrangements whereby they can obtain employment on arrival.

Mr West:

– I cannot stand that.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I never supposed that the honorable member could.

Mr West:

– We want them to come here as free men, not as slaves.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is the sort of clap-trap we axe accustomed to hear from Labour platforms. Is every man who enters into a contract for employment a slave ?

Mr Roberts:

– The regrettable feature is that the employers who enter into these contracts dismiss their old employés to make room for the new arrivals.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is a wild statement to make.

Mr Howe:

– I can prove it by dozens of cases.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– By cases which have occurred within the last few years?

Mr Howe:

– Yes, by cases which have occurred within the last twelve months.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– How can such cases have arisen?

Mr Howe:

– For the simple reason that the Governments find jobs for the new arrivals, and turn out their old employes to make room for them.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:
Balaclava

– I fail to see any force in the argument of the honorable member for East Sydney, because at the present time no person under contract can enter Australia. If anybody has done what the. honorable member for Dalley says has been done, it is the Governments who are responsible.

Mr Howe:

– They all do it; they are all in the game.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– The interjection of the honorable member for East Sydney cannot apply to the present instance, because no person can enter the Commonwealth under contract. We have prohibited that. When they come here, they must come on. the same basis as the people who are resident in the country.

Mr Howe:

– They do not. There is a general understanding amongst employers that they will take on new arrivals, and turn out their old employes to make room for therm.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– That is not my experience.

Mi. Howe. - It is mine. The honorable member is not in a workshop, and I am.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– I know of cases in which immigrants and former employes are working side by side most amicably.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– Let the honorable member go to the Newport Workshops and see the position for himself.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– Why are we importing thousands of pounds worth of engines? Because we have not the men in this country to manufacture them.

Mr Finlayson:

– That is not the reason.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– Did not the Victorian Government cause the Phoenix Foundry, at Ballarat, to close through its endeavour to centre the manufacture of locomotives at Newport? The jealousy of Melbourne prevented that company from carrying on its business at Ballarat. Now the State Government are establishing repairing shops in that city on their own account. The plant of the company cost £50,000, and the shareholders never received a dividend up to the time of the closing of the works.

Mr Fenton:

– That business was a disgrace to the Victorian Government. They should have taken over the works, lock, stock, and barrel:

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– I agree with the honorable member. But in every one of the States the Government desire to centralize everything in the capital city. At the present time we are sending out of this country thousands of pounds to pay for locomotives which ought to be manufactured in Australia.

Mr Fenton:

– That is due to bad management.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– We have not the men available to manufacture them. Some time ago the Victorian Government stated that they could not get men to manufacture these locomotives at the Newport Workshops.

Mr Brennan:

– They did not apply for them in time.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– The Government have had plenty of time to manufacture these locomotives during the past four or five years.

Mr Brennan:

– They blundered, badlyover the whole business.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– It is most extraordinary that all the States blundered in the same way. During the past five years we ought to have been able to manufacture sufficient locomotives in Australia to provide employment for every man in the engineer.- ing trade, and as many artisans as have come out from the Old Country. Is it nor. better to spend money in wages here than to send it abroad?

Mr West:

– There are too many Free Traders here. That is the trouble.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– The States have to pay duty on these engines when they are imported into the Commonwealth.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr.

Bamford). - I must ask the honorable gentleman to confine himself more closely to the question before the Chair.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– When the honorable member for Flinders was speaking, an honorable member opposite interjected that immigration caused a reduction in wages. When I was in Canada a few years ago, carpenters were receiving £1 per day. The more immigrants entered that country the more difficult it was to obtain carpenters, because every new arrival with a little capital wanted a home of his own. I read a report from Canada the other day, which stated that carpenters there are still receiving £1 a day, despite the fact that the number of immigrants who have entered the Dominion during the past five years has exceeded 5,000,000. Yet wages are higher there than they have ever been. If our population were increased by several millions, carpenters would probably get more than £1 a day.

Mr Howe:

– What is the purchasing power of £1 a day?

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– One pound a day comes to £6 a week, which is half the salary of a member of Parliament, and members of Parliament manage to live after giving away half of what they receive in subscriptions of one kind and another. A man ought to be able to scrape along on £1 a day. The country would certainly be in a much safer position had it a population of 10,000,000 instead of less than j, 000, 000. Those who come here are generally thrifty persons who have saved money, and bring some of it with them. It was stated that a recent shipload of immigrants brought £1,500 with them, and another £3,000.

Mr Ozanne:

– If we bring people -here to fight for our defence, we must feed them.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– A country which exports food stuffs to the extent of millions of pounds’ worth a year can surely feed dts own people. As we increase settlement we shall increase production, and have more for local consumption and for ex port. To suggest that those who come here will be a burden on the country is to disregard the experience pf all other nations.

Mr Howe:

– If a man is an asset to the country in which he lives, why do other countries send away their assets?

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– We certainly gain at their expense. Those who come here from other countries come to better themselves. . My father did that, and I thank him for doing it. Population has made the United States of America the wealthiest country in the world. I read the other day that a member of the Trades Hall Council here said: “ Let the foreigner come and take this country ; it is not worth holding.”

Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
INDI, VICTORIA · ALP

– He was an irresponsible person.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– Are the members of the Trades Hall Council irresponsible persons ? Do not Labour members bow the knee to them ?

Mr Roberts:

– Does the honorable member bow the knee to the Women’s National League?

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– Every gallant man bows the knee to woman, and the two honorable members who interjected are as desirous of winning the good graces of the women-folk” as any others in the Committee. But there are in the country persons who do not care to whom it belongs.

Mr Fenton:

– They ought to get out.

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– They are not of much good here, and would not be of much good to any other country. In the Northern Territory alone we have thousands of acres which could be settled with a little management. We make a mistake, perhaps, in not providing better for settlers. We should push out our railways, as has been done in Canada and the United States of America, and induce settlement along them.. In that way we could absorb an immense number of immigrants, and benefit the labour market. The High Commissioner has published a number of extracts from the report of the Scottish Agricultural Commissioners who visited this country a year or two ago to inquire into its prospects, and who came to the conclusion that there is no better. country in the world for immigrants. We should be very much obliged to the Commissioners for that report. They were practical men, possessing special qualifications for their work, and what they had to say is of great value to us. The High Commissioner suggests, in regard to the advertising of the Commonwealth in

Great Britain and. on the Continent, two distinct schemes ; one aiming at the securing of an increasing tide of immigration and a greater volume of investment, and the other at promoting a better knowledge of the range and quality of Australian productions, with a view to creating an increasing demand for them in British and foreign markets. The funds placed at his disposal have not so far been sufficient to enable much to be done to secure the second of these objects, but the advertising of the resources of the country has been done by a number of agencies detailed in his report. I hope that when the Commonwealth offices in London are finished, care will be taken to supply the show-room with fresh samples of produce, and to have them frequently renewed.Last time I was in London there were in the windows of the office of the Victorian Agent-General only a few bottles of stale fruit and some dusty wheat ears. Exhibits, to be attractive, must be kept fresh.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There should be a quorum to hear this speech. [Quorum formed.]

Mr AGAR WYNNE:

– The High Commissioner sets out in his report what he has striven to do in the matter of press advertising. If we authorized the High Commissioner to work in conjunction with the Agents-General, a great deal of overlapping would be saved, and we should get much better results for the expenditure. Each Agent-General would- then work in conjunction with the High Commissioner for the general good of Australia, and thus get rid of petty State jealousies. It does not matter to us as the National Parliament, where the immigrant goes to, as long as he settles in Australia. Personally, I should prefer the immigrants to settle in the Northern Territory, as it is the least protected part of the continent; If a good scheme were formulated,’ and the High Commissioner could encourage people to settle there, that great untenanted country would, in a few years, be protected, and probably as productive as smaller States in Australia are now. I remember that on a Monday in New’ York, I read in the press that 17,000 immigrants had arrived on the previous day. In Australia we have plenty of room for ten times that number, and plenty of places to put them on, not for their benefit alone, nut for the benefit of those who are here. The experience of all countries is that immigration tends to increase rather than to reduce wages. I do not think that there is any country which can help having a few unemployed. If we had an equal distribution of money on Saturday night, we should find on the Saturday following that a few. boozers had not a shilling in their pockets, and would want a fresh distribution. I do not think that if we got the millennium we would escape that difficulty.

Mr KELLY:
Wentworth

.- I think that the honorable member for Lang was slightly in error when he suggested that the Minister of Home Affairs should send some architects to give us an Australian advertisement in London, through letting them design the Commonwealthoffices. The design of the building which has been accepted is, I think, a very good one. I do not consider that the model or the drawing does it justice. I do not know anything which adds greater dignity to a building than does a facade of pillars on the general plan of this building. It is typical of a new style of architecture which is very prevalent about that locality in London. The architecture is neither Greek nor Chinese, nor yet Roman. At the same time, the scheme of the London County Council to harmonize the architecture of that part of London is being followed, and the general design will, I think, lend itself to the same happy result that has been gained in Paris through the Hausmannizing of the boulevards of the city. After all, it is continuity and simplicity of design which make for effectiveness so far as a city is concerned. This design, following the general architecture of the Victoria building, at one end of the block, is, I think, eminently suitable to the locality.

I wish to say a few words in regard to immigration. Honorable members opposite seem to be constantly at war between their attitudes and their consciences. We l”>ear them saying, “ We are responsible for the increase in immigration which has taken place in recent years.” And when we get to grips, we hear them saying, “ Immigration is a bad thing for wages, and must be carefully, and rigorously controlled.” They go farther, and say that the immigration we get is dangerous, because somany of the immigrants are diseased; that a tremendous percentage of them are phthisical, and that, generally speaking, they do not help our race. These two attitudes are entirely inconsistent, and can only be reconciled by the peculiar difficulties in which honorable members find themselves. They constantly say that we must settle the immigrants on the land. I personally hold that the larger percentage we can settle on the land the better it will be for the Australian people; but I do not want honorable members to run away from the fact that, with the improvements in agricultural machinery, the proportion of persons in a civilized community who are going to settle on the land is yearly becoming smaller. Owing to the constantly improved methods of both sowing and harvesting land, it will be possible to produce the food necessary for a given population yearly with a smaller number of farm labourers and country employes. The result is that the population will more and more gather into in,dustrial centres - not, I hope, into great slum cities. We cannot expect to carry a large population on the Australian continent in exporting its produce to the common markets of the world if we deal with agricultural production by less up-to-date and less efficient methods than our competitors in America, Argentine, and Canada employ. It is of no use to try to plough a farm with a one-furrow plough when some one else is working over square miles with a traction-engine. The problem of the day is economy of, production. It would not matter if we were producing for our home markets, but we are not. We .must produce for the markets of the world. Therefore, honorable members opposite might just as well persuade themselves that if we are to populate Australia, we must do so with persons who are prepared to take part in our urban and suburban life, as well as In our country occupations. For many years I have heard this cry of settling people on the land, but I have not seen anything done by a Labour Administration in Australia. The twin subjects of immigration and irrigation are, perhaps, the two biggest things’ which Australia knows today, so far as internal development is concerned ; but I ask honorable members opposite : Since they f “-san prating about these matters on the plati’;. -cms twelve years ago, how much water has flowed under the bridges, and how many immigrants have left the Mother Land for other countries to enrich their people, their Treasuries, and their means of production generally? We have been behind in the race because we have not the advertising media that have been offering in the case of “Canada and America under the landgrant railway system. For, after all, -the advertiser of Canada in G~reat Britain is not so much the Canadian Government as the agent of the various Canadian railway companies, who are paid so much per immigrant, because each immigrant means so much freight and development of the assets of the railway company to which he goes. The railway companies, where they let an immigrant have land, deliberately prepare a farm for him to take up. Can that be said of the Government of New South Wales, who are always talking about having land ready for the immigrant ? Now the lands which they are getting ready for immigrants are very largely stony properties along the ranges in Monaro and in the south-western portion of the State - lands which require men with a knowledge of Australia to work them profitably. lt would seem as if the deliberate policy oi that Government was to make things difficult for the immigrant, instead ot to help him by the ordinary commonsense methods of a railway company in Canada. There is an aspect of immigration which has a burning influence upon a plank in the platform of all parties in Australia to-day - I refer to the White Australia. The only way to keep Australia white is to make her strong, and to do that we must fill her empty acres with people of our own flesh and blood from overseas. This requires organized effort, and we have a right to expect that it will be undertaken by a party that is always in favour of Government action.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]

Mr KELLY:

– 1 do not think that the White Australia policy would be greatly served by the proposal to people the Northern Territory with some of the Southern European races, which was the excuse a year or two ago for the circulation of some Labour literature in Southern Europe. It will be better served by settling the temperate portions of Australia with people of our own race. Some persons are under the impression that the Japanese want the Northern Territory, but they forget that they are accustomed to a cold climate, and would prefer New Zealand or Tasmania to the torrid regions about Port Darwin.

Instead of pointing the fin’ger of scorn at the immigrants now being introduced on the ground that some suffer from phthisis, and that there are outbreaks of measles and such diseases amongst them, we should be much better employed if, on the best medical advice to he obtained, we initiated a crusade against a disease which is prevalent in Australia, with the object of reducing the lunacy rate and emptying our public hospitals of half their patients.

I am afraid that mere advertising in the London press will not attract the type of men best suited to thrive under Australian conditions. Owing to a lack of co-operation in the agricultural districts of England, and the difficulty of obtaining reasonably cheap railway freights, British farmers are prepared to travel oversea to make their way in some new clime, and by organized effort we should be able to secure many of them.

It has struck me that we might use the High Commissioner’s office with advantage to find out. what is taking place in connexion with the Balkan situation.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr.

Chanter). - Will the honorable member say how he proposes to connect these remarks with the item before the Chair?

Mr KELLY:

– I assume that the High Commissioner is expected to inform the Commonwealth Government with regard to all matters taking place in Europe and likely to be of interest to Australia. _ We are deeply interested in the Balkan situation, because events might arise, involving connexion with the Mother Country. The situation has already become so urgent as to have necessitated changes of naval disposition which might seriously affect the Commonwealth in the event of war.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member cannot discuss that matter on the item before the Chair. He knows that, and. I ask him to assist the Chair in preserving order.

Mr KELLY:

-It is not correct to say that I know I may not discuss the matter referred to on the item under consideration, because I am dealing with the office of the High Commissioner, who is practically our ambassador at the Court of St. James.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– When I last addressed the Committee I exhausted my time whenI was in the middle of a quotation from the last report of the High Commissioner. I propose to resume my remarks at the point at which they were interrupted. I was dealing with the serious situation to which he calls attention arising from the difficulty of finding means of transport for immigrants, and the danger that neglect to cope with that difficulty may lead to the diversion of desirable immigrants, from Australia to the more easily accessible lands of Canada. The High Commissioner says that- he has had interviews with passenger agents and the heads of shipping companies, who are both deeply interested in the matter, the former in earning commission and the latter in promoting traffic He says, further, that after careful consideration he is convinced that some assurance given by those in authority that emigration to Australia will be encouraged and assisted for a period of at least four or five years, is needed ‘by the shipping companies before they will build the number of passenger steamers necessaryEvery one is aware that the cost of materials and labour in the ship-buil.ding industry has gone up enormously, and the High Commissioner reminds us that cargo steamers cannot be converted into passenger steamers, either temporarily or permanently, without a very large outlay and that the modern requirements now wisely insisted upon cause shipbuilding for passengers to be a vastly more expensive task than it used to be. The High Commissioner’s statement about the difficulty of converting cargo vessel’s into passenger carrying vessels has been borne out by what has happened in connexion with, the Irishman, which, according to the. Minister of Trade and Customs, notwithstanding the internal alterations made to fit her for the carrying of immigrants, is wholly unsuitable for the work. Her hospital! accommodation, and possibly her sanitary and ventilation arrangements, are anything: but satisfactory, with the result that infectious diseases broke out during, her last voyage to Australia causing, several deaths. The High Commissionertells us that if we seriously desireto encourage immigration, we must provide ample means of transport. Butinstances have come under my notice in which months have elapsed between the acceptance of an emigrant in the United Kingdom and his embarkation, the delay causing him considerable financial loss and inconvenience. The situation in regard totransport is getting worse, and, according to the High Commissioner, the tide of immigration which would otherwise flow towards Australia is setting towards Canada - the Dominion benefiting by our negligence. We are advertising Australia in Great Britain, but the Minister is not doing all that can be done to brinp people here.

Mr Sinclair:

– Is the advertising effective?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Judging by the copies of advertisements appended to the High Commissioner’s re: port, Australia is being well advertised as a desirable place for rural workers, artisans, manufacturers, and others, and our resources are very fairly set out in the various advertisements which have been published. But while Australia is thus being advertised in British newspapers, and by other means, by a Labour Government, letters and other communications from labour union officials constantly appear in journals like Reynolds’ Newspaper, warning persons against coming to Australia. While one section of the Labour party is pulling in one direction, another section is pulling in an opposite direction. Ministers declare that immigration is urgently needed, and that we must advertise our resources to bring population here, and, as the result of the advertising, immigrants are coming here.

Mr Higgs:

– Is not that what the honorable member wants?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Yes ; but many honorable members opposite, although supporting the vote for the encouragement of immigration, really hold the view that immigration will mean- the ruin of Australia. We, on this side, say that the more people we can get to open up our lands, increase our primary production, and assist our secondary industries, the better it will be for the country. On the other hand, surreptitious warnings are sent for publication in newspapers circulating amongst the workers in the Old Country, telling them not to come to Australia. As soon as a man acquires capital by ‘ thrift, industry, and frugality, and commences to make his fortune, he is denounced by honorable members opposite as the enemy of labour. They try to crush such men out of existence, advocating the interference of the Government with successful industries for the purpose of nationalizing them. I draw attention to the hypocrisy of the Labour party in supporting expenditure on advertisements to attract workers to Australia when their real desire is to keep workers out of the country, and to discourage the investment of capital here, because they fear that that will increase the obstacles in the way of the realization of the Socialistic ideal. Those on this side wish to attract to Australia investors and rural workers who, by settling on the land, will develop its resources, increase primary production, and guarantee the success of the manufacturing and general industries andi commercial enterprises that are dependent upon primary interests.

Mr Higgs:

– The honorable member belongs to the party of low wages - immigration and low wages.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I have always been an advocate of high wages. From the fact that the honorable member brackets together immigration and low wages, I take it that he does not believe in immigration, and I am surprised therefore, that he is supporting expenditure on advertising to encourage persons Fo come here. In an issue of the Evening News of June last, and in other newspaper issues of which I have copies, the attitude of some of the outside Labour organizations towards immigration is clearly shown. I have here a report headed “ Labour Congress; Immigration Policy Condemned.” The report says-

The Trade and Labour Union Congress-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.How does the honorable member propose to connect this quotation with the question before the Chair?

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– We are dealing with the High Commissioner’s office. The High Commissioner has reported on the subject of immigration, and I wish to show that there is reason to doubt the sincerity of Ministerialists in regard to their immigration policy, seeing that the Labour organizations outside are continually saying that money should not be spent on the encouragement of immigration. The honorable member for Cook was the Chairman of this Congress.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I took no exception to the quotation of an official document, but I take exception to the quotation of reports from newspapers not affected bv the vote under discussion.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I know of nothing in the Standing Orders to prevent me from quoting from newspapers extracts from reports bearing directly on the matter under discussion, so long as I do not quote statements referring to a debate in progress in this Chamber. What I wish to quote is the report of the proceedings of a Labour Congress which dealt with the subject of immigration, and resolved -

That the Trades Unions of New South Wales, as represented by Congress, request the Gorernment to discontinue its immigration policy.

The masters of those now in possession of the Treasury bench demand-

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I shall not permit the honorable member to say that - it is not relevant.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I move -

That the ruling of the Chairman be disagreed with.

I desire the Committee to dissent from your ruling, sir, because you hold that I cannot deal with the subject of immigration, as it is not relevant to the question before the Chair.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– I called the honorable member to order for quoting from a newspaper making an attack on the Labour party, and for proceeding to say that certain organizations were the masters of this Government - a statement which was disorderly and irrelevant.

Mr W ELLIOT JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– In that case I misunderstood the ruling. I understood you to say that I could not refer to the demand of the Congress of Trade Unions that expenditure on immigration should be stopped, because it was not relevant to the question before the Chair. Under the circumstances I shall not press my motion. The High Commissioner, in his report, devotes’ a whole chapter to the subject of immigration,

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member’s time has now expired.

Mr GROOM:
Darling Downs

– There are several matters in the High Commissioner’s report to which I desire to draw attention. He properly pays a high tribute to the report of the Commission of Scottish farmers which recently visited this country, eleven of the twelve who came here having just previously visited Canada on a similar mission. He points out that the report was prepared without reference to his office, but that the description given of the resources of Australia is studiously impartial and free from exaggeration. Large numbers of copies of the report have been distributed, parts of it have been published in the agricultural press of the United Kingdom, and extracts from it have been used in the framing of advertisements under the direction of the High Commissioner. This report was made by men who were thoroughly competent to speak because they had had vast experience in the subject. They came out here and gave Ihe best of their services for the benefit of Australia and the Empire.. It is fair and pro per that we in this Parliament should pay some tribute to their self-sacrifice and their ability in behalf of the Empire. It is interesting to me to see how thoroughly they understood the problems of Australia after they had made their investigations. Dealing with the question of research, they say, on page 171 of the report -

Tn comparison with research work carried out in Scotland, where the subject has not received the attention which it deserves, the extensive arrangements which are made, and encouragements which are given to experiment and investigation in Australia, are gratifying and surprising: Pleasant, also, is the universal enthusiasm discovered in the directors of experiment stations, and, indeed, in all connected with the work of development. It appeared to us, however, that a considerable amount of overlapping was going on ; that, in general, there was a want of coordination and co-operation ; that the policy of allowing each State to attempt to attack thesolution of each agricultural problem by itself, was not the most economical. There are manyproblems which are common to the whole of Australia, or to the greater part of it, and it would appear that time and money, would be saved by placing some of the work “of research in the hands of a Federal Department. For example, every State is afflicted with variousstock diseases.

After mentioning the diseases, the Commissioners continue -

A strong and well-equipped Federal Department would seem more likely to cope with such diseases than the weaker and less well-equipped’ Stale Departments. The prickly-pear, again, isnot a State monopoly, but may, through time, spread over most of the country, and here,, again, is an argument for Federal control, which, would not absorb or limit the energies of theState Departments, but concern itself with abroader and wider field.

These agricultural experts realized the necessity of a plank that was put before thiscountry by the Liberal party, and that isthe necessity of having a Federal Bureau of Research, co-ordinating and cooperating with the States with the view of dealing with this great national problem. I> think it was a very happy thing for Australia that we were able to obtain the services of such men, and from this report honorable members can learn a great deal of their own country through the eyes of experienced men, who point out its advantages, possibilities, and potentialities. It. contains an accurate statement of what Australian conditions are, and shows how capable it is of carrying a large population in years to come. The Commissioners pointout why we should undertake a vigorousimmigration policy. Unless we take that course we shall never be able to rise to th’elevel of the other nations of the world. We are only a mere handful, holding a&. great continent in trust ; and if it is to be held in trust for a posterity of White Australians, we shall have to vigorously develop our immigration policy, and try to attract to the ‘continent a stream of White Australians, so that our dream may become a reality. If honorable members will look at a map of Australia, and draw a line from Rockhampton to Western Australia, analyze the population statistics, and ask how many people live north of that line, they will find that the number is not more than 100,000. The only population north of that line lies along the Queensland coast. Tropical development is taking place under the fostering care of the Queensland Government. It has done a great deal in developmental work in North Queensland. If the Commonwealth Governemnt want to develop the Northern Territory, it will have to follow on the same lines as practical experience in the northern parts of Queensland has demonstrated. No mere socialistic dream will ever convert the Northern Territory into a State. If honorable members wish to get an idea of what Socialism will do in pioneering work, let them read Stewart Grahame’s book Where Socialism Failed. Let them also read the history of the New Australian movement in Paraguay, and see that, so long as the scheme was carried out according to the beautiful ideas of Socialism, it was a dismal failure, but when the same settlers got hold of the land, and worked on the principles of allowing every man to have the products of his own industry, the thing became a success. The only way in which Australia will be developed will be on the lines which experience has pointed out. See what Queensland has done with a small population. Per capita it is one of the highest producing countries in the world. It is practically in occupation of 60 per cent, of this territory. We ought to look upon immigration in the same way we look upon defence, because it is part of a defence policy. We should try to co-operate with the States, just as we do in the case of defence. The Commonwealth and the States ought to combine to devise a regular scheme of immigration. Because, even although there may be in parts of Australia a temporary depression - some drought or trade dislocation - it is very rarely that every State is suffering at the same time. When Riverina had a dry spell Queensland was producing maize in such large quantities that it was able to supply the southern States. The conditions of Australia are such that we ought to be safe in guaranteeing, by cooperation between the Commonwealth and the States, a regular supply of immigrants, and we should not have the slightest difficulty in placing them. So long as the States will do as the Liberal Governments of Queensland and New South Wales have done, and: that is to carry out a sober, steady, developmental policy, there will be for yearsto come thousands of acres to absorb all the people who can come here. Unless; we populate Australia quickly, we shall never be able to afford a Navy, in order to keep this continent a part of the British Empire.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bamford:

– Order ! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I do not know who is supposed to be in charge of these Estimates at present, but I should like to know why the High Commissioner’s report, which is dated 31st March, was not presented to the House until the 10th October? Is is very suggestive of a lax system when a report of this description is pigeon-holed for practically six months after its arrival in Australia. As soon as it was perused by the Minister, it should have been placed before honorable members. I want to know the reason that the Government had in practically suppressing the report.. That they did suppress it is amply evidenced by the dates on the parliamentary paper. It was not until the honorable member for Darling Downs asked a question on the subject of the Minister of External Affairs that it was brought forward. I say that it was deliberately and intentionally suppressed because of the High Commissioner’s references to the subject nf immigration.

Mr Thomas:

– Does the honorable member say that I deliberately suppressed the report ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I do say so. The honorable member cannot deny that he received it in April of this year, and it was not presented to Parliament until the 10th October, and then only after it had been asked for by the honorable member for Darling Downs. It is difficult to assume that the Minister of External Affairs had such an important document in his office without being aware of the fact, and if his action was not deliberate, perhaps he will explain the delay in the production of the report. That we need immigrants in Australia, is acknowledged by all political parties. Our great waste spaces require to be peopled, and our unexploited resources require to be developed. We need to effectively occupy Australia, and to be able to defend it. It is consequently necessary that, an addition to the natural increase of our population, we should have an inflow ot immigrants. Honorable members opposite take up the attitude that no immigrants should be introduced than those who would go upon the land. They overlook the fact that no persons are so likely to do well in pioneering Australia as those who are acquainted with its conditions, and have been intimately associated for some time with the peculiar characteristics of Australian settlement. The agricultural labourer or farmer coming here from the. Old Country is confronted with conditions so utterly dissimilar from those with which he has been acquainted in the land from which he comes that it is a matter of years before he can acquire the experience necessary to enable him to put his efforts to the best advantage in this new country. I should like to inform honorable members opposite that in every country in the world there is but a very small proportion of the population- engaged upon the land. Some time ago I looked up the statistics on the subject in records to be had in the Library, and 1 was surprised to find that with one exception, the proportion of the population engaged upon the land is “larger in Australia . than in any other country in the world. It is true that the proportion here is very small, and is somewhere about 13 per cent., .of our population. When honorable members opposite say that we should introduce only immigrants that would settle upon the land, they fail to realize the fact that only a small proportion of the people of any country are engaged in rural occupations. This is not difficult to account for, if the matter is viewed from the economic stand-point. It is imposible in any country for a very much larger proportion than we have in Australia at the present time, to be engaged in rural industries, because every increase in the productivity of the land increases the necessity for an urban population. The Commonwealth Government should take th, immigration question seriously in hand, and should co-operate to the fullest extent with the States in the placing of immigrants when they arrive in Australia.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– We must have . a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– Honorable members opposite continually complain that our hands are fettered, and that the Commonwealth is !t cribb’ d, cabin ‘d, and confined “ by. a lack of constitutional power, But the Government have the fullest constitutional power to deal with the question of immigration, and yet they are doing absolutely nothing in connexion with it. Though they have had the money, and in the last three years have spent £18,000,000 more than any previous Government of the Commonwealth spent in the same time, they have not spent a single sixpence on immigration during that period. That it is necessary that the question should be seriously taken up is abundantly evident from the report of the High Commissioner. He tells that there are numbers of people in the Old Country willing and anxious to make their homes in Australia. The old idea that Australia is a land of perpetual drought is fast dying out, and people are beginning to realize that there is no country in which it is more easy for a man to secure a competence. The High Commissioner warns us that, unless there is some rapid increase in the means of transport for immigrants, a serious and, perhaps, a disastrous check to Australian immigration is bound to occur. I ask the Minister of External Affairs what action he has taken in view of that warning? The honorable gentleman has done nothing. The High Commissioner further says that the block in the case of immigrants prepared to pay their own passages in the steerage is worse than in the case of the assisted class. That is an additional reason why the Government should take the first opportunity to improve the means of transport of immigrants. The people who are willing to come to Australia are not in extremis, prepared under any conditions to try their luck elsewhere. They, are not wealthy people, but are like many honorable members in this Chamber, who came to Australia with little or nothing, but energy, strength, and determination to make their way in a new world. That is the very best class of immigrants we could get, and the Government should leave no stone unturned to provide shipping accommodation for them. The Commissioner informs us that the passenger steamers are unable to cope with the demand, and that, although the shipping companies have provided new steamers, the situation is gradually becoming worse.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

-^ The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle

– I consider that the item for allowances- to” the High Commissioner should be considerably increased. He very ably represents this Commonwealth in the Old Country, and, as he is at the beck and call of every visitor from Australia, we should, in the matter of allowances, deal with him very liberally. No man can hold the position with credit to the Commonwealth if he is not given a sufficient allowance. In connexion with the question of immigration, no one will deny that there is room in this country for millions of people. The question is how to get them here, and how to secure people of the right class. When one travels in other parts of the world, and sees what people are doing to secure a living in other countries, one wonders why immigrants do not come here in. larger numbers. Within the last twelve months I saw people cultivating gardens in the south of France and in Italy, right up to the tops of the hills. They had made terraces and built walls to retain the soil, and they went to the extent of making traps at the foot of the hills to collect the soil that washed down, in order that it might be carried back to the terraces again. Remembering ^10 w difficult people find it to make a living in other countries, it is a wonder that they do not come here, where there is a splendid climate, and the conditions of life are easy. The reason why more do not come here must be that the conditions of Australia are not sufficiently well known, and money might well be spent in making them more widely known. New country cannot be opened up without rough pioneering work; but most of that has already been done in this country, and immigrants nowadays have a much easier lot than those of half-a-century ago. In a report signed by the Agents- General of all the States, the following figures are given regarding the immigration to Australia during ten-year periods. Between 1852 and 1861 the immigrants numbered 520,713; between 1862 and 1.871, 188,158; between 1872 and 1881, 223,326 ; between 1882 and 1891, 374,097; and between 1892 and 1901, 2,377 ; but during the next three years there was a loss of population amounting to 8,104 persons. The discovery of gold attracted tens of thousands of immigrants of the right class, and the results of their work are to be seen everywhere to-day. But if you travel extensively through Victoria, as I did in the early part of this year, you will find many houses, fences, and roads in disrepair, because the. population is. not large enough, to maintain, them.

Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917

– Yet £32 an acre is asked for bush land.

Mr HEDGES:

– An unlimited area o£ good land is obtainable here for lower prices than are charged in Canada, where land that can be worked for only a few months in the year costs from $40 to $50 an acre. Such land is frequently frozen in winter to a depth of 5 feet- below the surface, where the snow is blown off, a heavy fall of snow lying on the land keeping it moist and warm. “ In Australia stock of all kinds live in the open throughout the year, but in the northern parts of the United States and in Canada even sheep have to be housed during the winter, and when the frosts are very severe there are considerable losses. But, notwithstanding, population is flowing into Canada at the rate of 40,000 a month, and is being immediately absorbed. The inducements which Australia can offer to the thrifty,, and to those who have push and individuality, are greater than can be offered’ by any other part of the world. I was struck last Sunday, in travelling toAlexandra, with the large extent of hilly country, some of it possessing volcanic soil, still in its native state-, although within 100 miles of Melbourne. Those who in the South of France are trying to make a living by carrying soil to the tops of the hills, and building walls to retain it there, could db well on this country, and, instead of earning less than a shilling a day, would earn more than ros. a day. It is not necessary that anything more than the facts concerning Australia should be advertised. Let it be known that there are millions of acres available here for settlement, which are more favorably situated than any that can be obtained in countries like Canada. I should like the Commonwealth to take advantage of the San Francisco Exhibition in 1 915 to show the people of the Western States what this country can produce. They are desirous of knowing more about Australia, and it would be to our advantage to attract many of them here. The Sacramento Valley, which is from 750 to 200 miles wide, contains many big stretches of alfalfa or lucerne, which is made into hay, and then ground into flour to be fed to stock. It is claimed that there is less waste in treating it in that way, and that it cam be more easily handled. I suggest that all exhibits be sent in the name of the Commonwealth, and that the Commonwealth shall secure the necessary space, and make the proper arrangements for their display. Californian conditions are very similar to ours. Our eucalyptus grows there, sometimes in huge forests; so does the ti-tree which fringes the Bay, the wattle, and other trees. Much has been done for California by irrigation, and we should benefit by attracting irrigationists here. Where land is irrigated, you will lind the crop as high as a fence, although on the adjoining block it may not be high enough to cut. Our people are willing to do what is right when they know how, and the coming of American irrigationists would show them how to do things. In New South Wales, a large area has just been made ready for irrigation in connexion with the Burrenjuck scheme. That land is suitable for growing citrous fruit, lucerne, and other crops. We have both the land and the water, but we need the people to use them. Thousands of irrigationists could live where there are now only hundreds, and could do very much better. We have not a severe climate like that of Canada, where the bulk of the working population has to concentrate in the towns during the winter months waiting for the summer, and spending the money that it has saved during the working months. This causes great hardships. I heard of one man, Mr. Allan Baker, who went from South Australia and took up a place on the eastern side of the Rockies, but I understand that it is now for sale, and that he lost a large number of cattle last winter. When the weather is very cold in Canada, the women folk are practically confined to their houses for several months. In view of these facts, Australia requires no boosting, but she should make her resources and advantages known. Reference has been made to the cost of living here, but it is half as high again, or twice as high, in the United States of America and in Canada, where a meal that in Melbourne would cost is. 6d. or is. od. costs $1.25 or $1.50. The Canadian plains are as bare of timber as is the ocean, so that fuel is an expensive item. Potatoes cannot be obtained throughout the winter, because the frost spoils them, and dried beans and other dried vegetables have to be used in their stead. I hope that the Minister is impressed with the need for properly advertising Australia.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr;

Fowler). - The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr SINCLAIR:
Moreton

– As half the members of the Committee are asleep, we might well report progress, even though no progress has been made. Ministers are like certain fishermen, having “ toiled all the night and taken nothing.’ The suggestion of the honorable member for Darling Downs that the Commonwealth and the States should co-operate in the advertising of Australia is a good one.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– How would it be to co-operate in employing the immigrants who come here?

Mr SINCLAIR:

– There are very few unemployed at present, and in the majority of cases those who are out of work have themselves to thank for it.

Mr FRANK FOSTER:
NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– In New South Wales, men are being sacked by the hundred just now.

Mr Hedges:

– A Labour Government is in power there.

Mr SINCLAIR:

– The honorable member for Maribyrnong has complained that the immigrants are crowding ,into our cities and neglecting our rural industries. The rural industries are not encouraged to the extent to which they should be if we want to induce people to settle on the land. The Federal Government must take their fair share of the blame for these conditions. The cities are made attractive, and there has been an attempt made by some State Governments to find employment for men on works which are really unproductive, instead of trying to settle people on the land. Immigrants need not hesitate to come to Australia owing to any shortage of land. In. Queensland there are large tracts of country waiting for the right class to settle upon them, and they are doing so. From the last annual report of the Department of Public. Lands. I find that the area selected in that year was 6.261,719 acres; the area opened for selection, 7,708.0” acres; and the area selected under the group system, 1,266,455 acres. According to this report the total number of holdings under the Land Act of 1910, at the close of the year, was 1,689 : the total area leased, 346.637 square miles; the total rents, £297,609; and the average rent.

T7S. 2d., ner square mile. Notice of resumption from sixty-eight pastoral holdings for settlement purposes was given during 1911; the total area is 3,748,888 acres, and is much the largest area yet notified tor resumption in a single year. The report shows that more was done last year to make land available in Queensland than was ever done before. Prior to” 1893, about 1,500,000 acres were selected per annum, and the arei has gradually increased until last year it was 6,261,719 acres. In Queensland we have room for millions of people, and will find the land for them if they come. They cannot expect to get farms in the Lockyer and Darling Downs districts, but there are millions of acres which are quite as good, and within easy distance of a railway, still available for selection, and, in addition, we are pushing out our railways in every direction, so that the demands will be met. In these Estimates there are two items which indicate a retrograde step. The item for an officer in charge of produce and commerce is withdrawn. Last year the Minister promised a deputation that he would favorably consider a suggestion that an expert should be sent to London to watch the interests of Australian produce. The oversea trade to the Old Country is carried on at present more in the interests of the dealer in London than of the producer in Australia. Before we can hope to geta square deal for our producers we must have m London somebody who is capable of looking after our interests, and checking the many misrepresentations which are made. When interested parties try to defame our fair name, he would be on the spot to nail the lie. Seeing that Great Britain is dependent upon outside sources for food supplies, we should try to encourage the consumers there to draw their food supplies from these States and other dependencies. The efforts which have been put forward by private enterprise in the States should be augmented by giving the High Commissioner the services of an Australian expert who understands Australian conditions, and can ferret out markets there for our produce. In his last report the High Commissioner makes a similar suggestion. On page 6 he says -

The British market is of the utmost importance to Australian producers. So far as the great staple - wool - is concerned, the Continent began a long time ago to draw its own supplies direct from Australia instead of purchasing at the London Wool Sales.

The extent of the change may be seen at a glance in the following figures, showing the exports of wool from Australia to the United

Kingdom and the Continent respectively during the following years : -

But in most of the other leading lines of export the markets of the United Kingdom are still the main-stay abroad of the Australian producer. The progress of this branch of Commonwealth trade in- three leading lines can be seen in the following comparison : -

The world-wide competition for the British market in most lines of production should stimulate, I think, both public authorities and private enterprise to co-operate to the greatest possible extent, in order to advance the reputation of Australian products, and increase the demand for them, in the British Isles.

It would be a great help if the services of an efficient produce expert were placed at my disposal.

These figures, great as they are, could be very much increased. It has been suggested to the Minister of External Affairs that much of the money which is spent in advertising Australia in the Mother Country could be spent in advertising Australian produce. That would have a twofold effect. I feel sure that with a little advice from the High Commissioner, and the assistance of an Australian expert, a great deal more could be done with this money. We should easily induce immigrants to come here if we satisfied people in the Old Country that Australia is a land flowing with milk and honey ; and that we could do by preventing- the middle man from removing identification marks and brands from our produce. I have had some experience, and, to some extent, successful experience, of marketing in London, but I have come to the conclusion that the London merchant is not a friend of the Australian producer. His first consideration is his own trade. A great deal of Australian produce which the Government here tries to see is marked as such under the Commerce Act is put before the British consumer as the produce of some other country. Although we spend a fair amount upon advertising, we do not get the results which we might expect to obtain. The money could be more economically invested by carrying out the High Commissioner’s suggestion. On the Estimates last year we voted £310 for an officer in charge of produce and commerce, but it was not expended, and this year the item is withdrawn. I should like to know from the Minister the reason for its withdrawal.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There is so much in the report of the High Commissioner that it is very difficult to know where to begin and where to end.” But before dealing with the report in detail, I wish to refer to the practice of requiring a report from that officer. I remember that his first report disclosed a very important fact bearing upon the sincerity of the Government and the Labour party as to an immigration policy. Sir George Reid had gone to- England strongly imbued with the necessity of bringing as many people as possible to Australia from the overcrowded Mother Country. He showed that he had formulated a scheme of advertising,, because he was apparently anxious, not only to emulate, but to outdo, Canada in that regard. He recommended an expenditure of £roo,ooo per annum on a system of advertising the merits- and attractions of this great continent. The Labour party have always professed one thing on the platform and another thing in Parliament. They ha.ve- professed in the House again and again a strong desire to do everything within their power to ‘induce the overcrowded population of England to come out and share with us the sunshine and productiveness of this country. But one could not help being struck, in- reading the press reports of speeches, at the extraordinary difference of attitude’ between the two positions. Here there was all eagerness and enthusiasm in the desire to people this country with British stock ; but- the moment honorable members got out before their constituents, or- those of somebody else, they deprecated the idea of introducing people. For years we have been treated by this party with a sort of double identity.

Mr Higgs:

– Support that with, a quotation ; you cannot do it.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I have had placed in my hands by the honorable member for Lang a copy of. the Federal Labour manifesto, that is the manifesto of the supporters of the Labour party, which is supposed to represent in this House just over half the voting population of Australia. It contains the following -

Immigration. - Very much, has been- lately said’ about immigration, and the need for a rapid increase of population, and no doubt it is very necessary. We want more people to develop Australia. We want more people to help us to defend it. But it is useless, and even dangerous, to invite people to the country unless we make preparations to receive them. In the overcrowded cities immigrants are a drug on the labour market, a menace to the worker, and a burden on the community. They create no new work, benefit no one, not even themselves, and by the reports of their misfortunes give the country a bad name. But, settled on the land, every white immigrant may be welcomed with open arms. He is an asset in the nation’s wealth, and an additional guarantee of the nation’s safety.

This ingenious and subtle document begins with a suggestion of a desire to introduce people to this country, and then points out that, unless we put every immigrant in possession of a piece of land, he will be a nuisance to himself, a menace to the worker, and a burden on the community. That is the attitude of the Labour party on the subject of immigration outside this House. Inside this House honorable’ members of that party speak in the most optimistic way of immigration, and profess a desire to crowd this country with immigrants: There is on the part of the Labour party an amount of hypocrisy associated with the1 subject of immigration which cannot be found in connexion with any other political subject. In the useful monthly summary issued by the Commonwealth Statistician, I find that in the teeth of the pessimistic Labour statements outside of Parliament we are attracting people from all’ the other Dominions of the Empire. The following figures are given for eight months of 1911, and the corresponding, period of 1912. In 1911 we drew from Canada 1797 people, and in the corresponding period for 1912 2076 persons; from Cape Colony, 1227 and 1544; from Natal, 155 and199 ; and from New Zealand, 24,000, in each of the years named.. We have been invited to regard New Zealand as “ the political laboratory of the world, and a country in the van of political progress: Yet in the two years named we attracted nearly 50,000 people from that Dominion. This seems to- indicate that, owing to the prevailing scepticism as to the- sincerity of: Labour publications, the people of New. Zealand regard a statement in a. Labour programme as. being directly opposed to fact. I have referred to the fact that the High Commissioner, in his first annual report, made a proposal that Australia should spend £.100,000 a 3*ear in advertising the resources of the Commonwealth, with a view to attracting immigrants. Our High Commissioner is a sort of ambassador representing us in the Old Country, and Sir George Reid was chosen for the position because it was felt that he possessed all the necessary qualifications. We have given him a salary of ?5,000 a year, and have established a Department under his control which I find is already spending at the rate of over ?15,000 a year. Yet the Minister of External Affairs reduced the amount he recommended as necessary to spend in advertising Australia from ?100,000 to ?20,000.

Mr Mathews:

– And that is too much.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Now a member of the party tells us that even ?20,000 is too much to spend in this way. I have here the second annual report of the High Commissioner .: and I confess it contains a good deal of padding. We do not desire to know anything about the ceremonies which took place at the launching of ships, or the names of the people attending them. We do, however, require- information which would enable us to institute a comparison between the cost of ships built in England under contract and the cost of putting together by day labour in Australia parts of ships which had previously been put together in England and then taken to pieces again. We do not need to be told that the display of Great Britain’s naval power “ made Australians remember with pride that we are vigorously following in the same wise preparations for war as the best security for peace or that the advantages which will follow from the Ministerial and Parliamentary visits to the Old Country will be of a lasting character. This would seem to be a distinct insinuation that the members of the Ministerial and Parliamentary parties who recently visited the Old Country needed such an experience to broaden their minds, and make them more useful on their return to Australia. I agree to a great extent with what was said by the honorable member for Lang with respect to the Commonwealth building in London, a model of which is exhibited in the Queen’s Hall. I do not contend that the building should have been designed by an Australian architect, but it would have been more patriotic on the part of an Australian Government to at least have permitted Australian architects to enter the competition for the design. In the case of the designs for the _ Federal Capital we invited the -competition of

American and European as well as of British designers., but in the case of the Commonwealth building in London Australian architects were not permitted to try their hands at producing designs in competition with British architects. With some knowledge of the subject. I am prepared to say that the design adopted does not provide for a building of the most picturesque or even of the most utilitarian type. It presents an array of pillars which are not corinthian, doric. ionic, or any other form of Greek architecture. They run to the top of the building, and there is practically nothing resting upon them. It is safe to say that the design adopted does not justify the confining of the competition to architects in the United Kingdom. I wonder that Australian architects have not entered a strong protest against the action of an Australian Government in excluding them from the competition. I now come to the question of the congestion of the passenger traffic to Australia, which has a distinct bearing upon the subject of immigration.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

- (Dr. Maloney). - The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr HIGGS:
Capricornia

– I wish to say a word or two in reference to remarks tha* have been made concerning my attitude towards immigration, and the great State of Queensland. The. honorable member for Parkes has suggested hypocrisy on the part of honorable members on this side in dealing with the question of immigration. I have repeatedly in this House, and outside, said that I am not in favour of spending large sums of money to bring people to Australia, to compete with artisans already here. I should like to say that if we spent the money which is now being spent by the various State Governments on the introduction of artisans in order to bring to Australia doctors, lawyers, architects, and other professional men, or grocers, drapers, chemists, and other business people, we should be immediately met with a motion by honorable members opposite to put a stop to the expenditure. Honorable members opposite do not want business men to come here to compete with those already in Australia. They want to bring out the poorly-paid artisans of the United Kingdom to compete with the workers of Australia. The Opposition is a low-wage party.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– The Labour party is spending money in circulating in Great

Britain the statement that a man earning £i a week here can soon make a competence for himself.

Mr HIGGS:

– I know that a considerable quantity of literature is being distributed throughout the Old Country which it is a mistake to circulate. Some of us have said repeatedly that, in our view, the best way to attract immigrants is to provide a system of government that will make the country an attractive one to live in, by passing laws so equitable in their effect that our conditions will approach the millennium. The knowledge that a Labour Government is controlling the affairs of the Commonwealth has, to my mind, a. great deal to do with the rush to Australia. It is known that things must be in a good way here, and that public opinion must be sound, when the Labour party is supported by a majority, and maintained in possession of the Treasury bench. The honorable member for Darling Downs has attempted to suggest, in a most disgraceful way, that I have decried the State of Queensland.

Mr Groom:

– I said that every time the honorable member spoke of Queensland it was to decry something there.

Mr HIGGS:

– Queensland has wonderful resources in its land, its timber, and its minerals, but it has what is known as a Queen-street Government, whose aim is to develop the southern portion of the State, giving but little attention to the central and northern portions. In the central portion beautiful land is being locked up in thirty and forty year leases, although, as the newspapers show, the people are everywhere applying for land, and are unable to get it. Some 90,000,000 acres in Australia are quite unoccupied, but they lie remote from railways. The honorable member for Moreton said that the early pioneers made their own railways, and that men will not pioneer now as they did twenty-five or fifty years ago.

Mr. Greene. They have not got the grit. Is that what the honorable member means ?

Mr HIGGS:

– Tt is very well for the honorable member to say that. He lives in the city. The pioneer of early times could get his wife to accompany him into the wilderness, but nowadays women willnot go out back if they can help it. and I do not blame them. Why should they go where th cr cannot get medical attention when necessary, or schooling: for their children, or any of the comforts of civilization? This land will remain unoccupied until it is served with railways. Nearly all the immigrants coming to Australia now are from London and other big cities in the United Kingdom, and those who have come from rural districts have generally been employed on farms which have been under cultivation for perhaps a thousand years. To put them on timbered land, and ask them to clear it, would be to break their hearts. However, I do not wish to occupy more time now. I am not sure that- in making these observations I have not broken the rule.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member might tell us what the rule is.

Mr HIGGS:

– The honorable member has had a lot to say about the maintenance of a White Australia being a plank in the platform of every political party, but will he say that he has not employed Hindus to cut grass, which is a statement I heard made about him in Queensland ?

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– I have not employed Hindus to cut grass.

Mr HIGGS:

– Has the honorable member employed Hindus in any capacity ? The honorable member for Parkes dealt rather meanly with the High Commissioner, who, if he were here, would wither him. in a couple of sentences. He told the Committee that we do not wish to know who attended this function or that. I consider that the proceedings as conducted by the Opposition are a deliberate farce. If I had my way, the closure would be applied. There should be some better way of conducting our business. A certain) time should be allowed for the discussion of any proposal, and then the question should be put without further debate. I do not know, in view of what has occurred during this sitting, that the Age writer had not some justification for speaking of Parliament as a piece of legislative lumber. The honorable member for Parkes has accused me and the members of the party towhich I belong of hypocrisy in assuming one attitude in this chamber on the subject of immigration, and another attitude om the public platform. I say that his attitude is insufferable. I object to the bringing to Australia of artisans and wageearners who will compete with those already here. The honorable member and his class desire this to lower the Australian standard of comfort and living. They think that if large numbers of poor persons can he brought from the United Kingdom the will obtain by misrepresentation their votes for the Conservative interest, and thus get possession of the Treasury bench. They never made a greater mistake. The men who are coming here are largely Socialists.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr HIGGS:

– I ask whether I am not entitled to an extension, in view of the interjections to which I have been subjected.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN:

– The standing order will not permit of any extension.

Mr HIGGS:

– If I am ever Chairman, I shall make an allowance for interjections.

Mr MASSY-GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917

– A - As I pointed out in an earlier speech, Ministers have consistently and intentionally ignored the recommendations set out 111 the High Commissioner’s report. That report was suppressed for six months, and was only dragged out into the light Dy a member of the Opposition. In view of the attitude of the honorable member for Capricornia towards immigration, that is not surprising. I am justified in saying that the recommendations of the High Commissioner have been ignored, because the Government have not taken any action to give effect to them. We are justified in assuming from the silence of the Government that they have absolutely ignored the recommendation of the high officer whom we sent to London not only to represent us there, but to advise us as to what is essential for promoting the interests of the Commonwealth in its relations with other parts of the world. When my former speech was interrupted by the operation of the time limit, I was referring to the paragraph in the High Commissioner’s report which relates to the passenger traffic to Australia, and in which he states that there is a block in the case of steerage immigrants who are prepared to pay their passage money in full, and that the block is worse in the case of the unassisted class than in the case of the assisted class. In an earlier portion of the report, the High Commissioner admits that Australia is gradually growing in favour amongst a certain class of people at Home, who, although able to pay their fare to Australia, are not wealthy. When we find that during three years, the present Government have not expended sixpence to induce a single immigrant to come here, we are justified in saying that their deeds do not harmonize with their claim to be earnest advocates* of immigration. The honorable member for Capricornia has admitted that the Opposition party are genuine in their desire to welcome immigrants. That is our policy, because we recognise that Australia has far more to gain than to lose from the introduction of immigrants. It is impossible, of course, to guarantee that every immigrant will be of the desired class. We do not encourage the introduction of criminal or depraved persons, or those who are physically unfit to fulfil their duty in the battle of life, nor do we desire to introduce those who are likely to become a charge upon the State. We want to secure the best class of immigrants and that is those who will become really useful citizens, and assist us in the development of this great, empty territory. On page 5 of his last report, the High Commissioner says -

For some time past the passenger steamershave been quite unable to cope with the demand, and although the shipping companies have provided, and are providing new steamers, the situation is getting worse. It does seem a thousand pities, now that such an unusual demand for passages to Australia has arisen, that we should find ourselves in danger of a contrary movement setting in. When people cannot get a chance of departure until several months after they are ready to embark, it is easy to see what, is likely to happen.

It must be evident to honorable members; that once persons have given up their employment in the Old- Country with the object of coming to this new land, which the honorable member for Capricornia has declared is a veritable paradise, and find that there is a block in the passenger traffic;, they are unable to support themselves for any length of time unless they get fresh’ employment, which it is not easy to get.. Very naturally, they turn their eyes to an country to which this disability does not: apply, and set forth for Canada, or South. Africa,, because the means of getting toAustralia are not obtainable. The HighCommissioner continues -

The rising tide will make its way in other- directions, if it cannot make headway in our direction. The existence of these delays, as a matter of fact, is tested and proved by actual experiments from time to time in the shape ofapplications for berths at the offices of the various shipping companies.

In this matter, the High Commissioner hasnot acted on mere hearsay, but has taken the necessary precautions to test the actual” position -

I have had interviews with deputations of passenger agents and the heads of the shippingcompanies - who are both deeply interested, the- former in earning commission, and the latter- in promoting traffic - and I am bound after the most careful and earnest consideration, to state that I am convinced some assurance, given by those in authority, that emigration to Australia will be encouraged and assisted for a period of at least four or five years, is needed by the shipping companies before they will build the number of passenger steamers necessary.

Can the Minister in charge of the Estimates at the present moment point to an item which shows that the Government have given any consideration to this recommendation by the High Commissioner ? I cannot find such an item, and therefore I must conclude that once more the Government intend to turn down the recommendation of this officer on immigration. What is his recommendation ? It is that the Commonwealth should take steps to subsidize the shipping companies for a term of years to meet our requirements by building or purchasing steamers, or putting on additional vessels. The High Commissioner tells us in his report that if. that guarantee is forthcoming, the ships will be provided, and the stream of immigrants will consequently grow. The idea put forward by the honorable member for Capricornia that an influx of immigrants means low wages is one of those oldfashioned, Conservative ideas which I thought had been exploded long ago. It is extraordinary that a Government claiming to be the most democratic and progressive Government that has ever been on this earth should hang on. to an exploded bogy. Every one who is acquainted with the history of immigration to other countries knows that whenever there has been a large flow of immigrants it has so increased the prosperity of the country that it has not reduced, but increased wages. That has been proved to a very great extent in Australia and Canada. When immigration was at a very low ebb in Australia, wages were also low; and when the stream of immigration was highest, wages were highest. To-day wages and immigration are on the increase, and what we want are more immigrants. I am confident that wages will not decrease, but rise, as the stream of immigrants increases.

Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot

– I wish to congratulate Australia upon the happy selection of Sir George Reid for the office of High Commissioner. Those who had the honour and the privilege of visiting London at the time of the Coronation had ample evidence that Australia was fortunate in securing his services. The High Commissioner is able to give excellent ad vice, and make sound recommendations, but the Department of External Affairs does not rise to the occasion; on the contrary, it appears to deal with big matters in a very scrappy manner. I should like the Minister to submit a more definite and enlightened policy. With the appointment of the High Commissioner we expected a reduction in the expenditure on the offices of the Agents-General. I do not think it can be said that that anticipation has been realized, but the Department should try to bring it about. If we can so gain the confidence of the States that they will intrust the High Commissioner with some of the business which their Agents-General now transact, it will be to the mutual advantage of the States and the people of the Commonwealth. We must be prepared for an increase in expenditure on the Commonwealth business in London, because much has yet to be done in the way of pushing our trade on the Continent, and advertising our resources throughout Great Britain, America, and other countries. The people of Australia cannot expect to obtain benefits without paying a reasonable price for them ; and, provided that the expenditure is conducted on proper lines, I shall not be- grudge that reasonable amount. At the same time, it behoves us to try to conciliate the States so that the functions of the High Commissioner may be enlarged. The Commonwealth and the States are the agents of one principal, namely, the people; and an excellent opportunity for carrying out the true spirit of Federation is presented through the office of the High Commissioner. That officer could, with great advantage to the Commonwealth, advise us as to how to find markets for Australian produce in Europe. We must develop our primary industries by the settlement of people who can be depended upon to maintain our national integrity. I notice a vote of £5,000 on the Estimates for the promotion of the Australian export trade. I think this is the first time such a ‘ vote has appeared, and I congratulate the Minister of External Affairs upon introducing it. I hope he will do what he can to extend the movement for finding profitable markets for our produce abroad. Some attention must be given in this connexion to the protection of the good name of Australian produce. Some time ago I attended a deputation that waited upon the Minister of External Affairs in connexion with this important branch of the subject. The honorable gentleman received the depu- ration, sympathetically, and admitted that he would like te, do all he could to further the objects put. before him. The deputation had in view tlie protection of our products in the Old Country, and pointed out, amongst other things, that Australian butter was, sometimes sold as Danish, butter, and that Australia did not always get the credit to- which she is entitled on account, of tlie. quality of her export of meat. We. should, encourage our producers to produce the best articles for export. If we send abroad only first-class, articles, and they become known as. Australian, they winafford one of the best means, of advertising our resources. It is impossible for the handful of people at present in Australia to develop the great resources of this continent. I suppose that we are per head of population the greatest producers in the world, but we occupy only a fringe of this continent, and there are millions Qf acres still unoccupied which should be carrying; a happy and contented people. I was a member of another deputation which recently waited on the Minister of External Affairs, when a very good idea was expressed by,, 1 think, some Labour members of the Victorian. State Parliament. It was suggested that, in fitting up the Commonwealth offices in London the Minister of External Affairs- should see that wherever possible the timbers of Australia should be used.. It was pointed out that this would be the- means of advertising- the many excellent timbers- which, are to be found, in all of the States.. I hope that the Minister will see that, in the fitting up of the Commonwealth, offices, as many suitable Australian timbers as possible will be- represented. There is another important matter to which the Minister of External Affairs should -give some attention… We know that the accommodation provided on ships that have recently brought immigrants to, Australia has. not- been altogether satisfactory. Outbreaks of disease have occurred,, and owing to the. inadequate equipment: the treatment of the immigrants, has not in all cases been what, we. should desire. The Minister might make representations in the’ proper, quarter which would lead, to considerable improvement in the accommodation provided for immigrants. The vote of £20,000 for advertising the Commonwealth has appeared on the Estimates every year since I have been a member- of this- Parliament. Possibly there is not at present the same need for advertising Australia that there was a few years ago, when w,e did not receive anything like the number of immigrants that have recently been coming to this country owing to the efforts of the State Governments. What is attracting immigrants today is the great prosperity we have enjoyed for the last four- or five years.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– There is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

.- I have to thank the Government for the opportunity afforded me to speak on this question. If we had been confined to the ordinary eight hours.’ day which prevailed during the greater part of the session, I might not have had the opportunity to speak which I now enjoy ; but in a working dayof twenty-four hours even the most diffident member of this House may find time to,- say what ought to be said in connexion with the very important matters now under consideration, lt would be difficult toselect for lengthy discussion a more important item than that now before us. Tha question of immigration hai very properlyreceived a. great deal of attention, and one could hardly speak at too great lengths upon the topic. The attention- even of Australians, themselves is being called roche state of affairs in their own country by writers, outside of Australia. Authorities on international questions have told us in language that should command’, the most serious attention that our emptyspaces are a source of danger to us, and’ even those who treat- politics most lightly are beginning to realize that that is so. Thenumber of our immigrants has increasedsomewhat of recent years, but much yet remains to be done to fill our unoccupied’ lands, because, unless we make use of thiscontinent, our right to it may at any moment be challenged. The High Commissioner and his staff are doing their bestto induce settlers to come to Australia, but their methods might be improved. Wehave been told’ that a large number of pamphlets and booklets have been, madeavailable to those interested,, but what is necessary is to put information concerningAustralia before those who have not thought of coming here. On returning to the old country a few years ago I found thatCanada was everywhere advertising, her resources. If I proceeded along the street of any considerable town, I found’ attractive placard’s setting forth the advantagesof emigrating to the Dominion, and in the provincial press interesting articles relating; to life and prospects there. Such advertising has been neglected by Australia. Each week there comes to me, from a large and prosperous district in the south-west of . Scotland, a newspaper which circulates widely through a farming community, and almost every issue contains a very readable article or- letter dealing with Canada. Those articles have, no doubt, induced many persons to emigrate to the Dominion who, but for them, would never have thought of doing so. Australia has much more to offer to the intending emigrants from the Old Land than Canada has. Ordinary advertisements, while good enough in their way, are not read except by those who are seeking for information. A little while ago Australia was visited by a Commission of Scottish farmers, whose observations regarding our rural conditions were of considerable value, but we have not profited by them as much as we might have done. I suggest that the High Commissioner should supply to the provincial newspapers of Great Britain ordinary reading matter about Australia which will attract attention to our resources. There is attached to the High Commissioner’s report a map showing the places at which advertising is being done. While England itself is freely spotted, showing that a good deal of advertising is being done there, not much attention has been paid to Ireland and Scotland, although the Irish and Scotch are the best class of settlers that we have. I hope that in the next report it will be seen that the Scotch and the Irish have been as well treated in the matter of advertising as the English.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– What about the Welsh?

Mr FOWLER:

– They do not seem to have been largely thought of, andI, of course, include them. We might, too, advertise outside the United Kingdom. Scandinavia, for example, might be exploited. We have already some excellent Scandinavian citizens, many serving in our mercantile marine, and others successful farmers. They belong to the same race as we do, and have much the same ideals, traditions, and aspirations. We might also try to attract persons from the United States of America, where there is a class of settlers that we need very badly.

Dry farming is a subject to which recently a good deal of attention has been given in America. We possess considerable oelts of country with a. small rainfall which ought to be capable of cultivation under the dry farming system. We should make it known to the dry farmers of America that they can obtain land cheaply here. Although the rainfall in some districts is light, they are the sort of districts in which dry farming has been so successfully carried out in the United States. There are large areas in Australia which might well be developed by dry farming, and which, if so farmed, might support a considerable population.

Another matter to which I draw attention is the need for better supervision of the transport arrangements regarding immigration. I have spoken to many recently arrived’ immigrants in Western Australia, and have travelled across the Bight in vessels carrying immigrants, and find that there is frequently complaint against the arrangements on board ship. A dissatisfied person might do a great deal of damage to our immigration policy, because he might write back to the Old Country and secure the publication of a letter which would scare many people from coming here. The best conditions possible should be obtained for immigrants. Matters need to be improved, especially in regard to the bringing out of young unmarried girls.

The CHAIRMAN:

-The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– Provision is made for an “ official secretary to the Commonwealth of Australia in Great Britain.” Prior to the appointment of the High Commissioner, this officer was performing the duties of the position, but now, instead of having become a member of the Commissioner’s staff, he seems to be a sort of understudy. Is he a member of the staff or is he a free-lance? Every one who is employed in the Com monwealth offices in London should be a member of the staff of the High Commissioner. I must confess to a feeling of considerable disappointment on reading his last report. It contains a very considerable amount of padding. Paragraph after paragraph is taken up with the announcement of events which every person in Australia knows have existed for months, in some cases for nearly a year. The time and the space devoted to these matters could be applied in a very much better direction. When we were creating the office of High Commissioner, I pointed, out that for a time at least there would not be much real work for him to do. The only real work which has yet been done in the way of pushing our natural industries has been in connexion with the meat industry. That, I admit, is an exceedingly important factor in our exports, but there are many others. The office of High Commissioner should be made of more practical use to our producers. The High Commissioner himself has done great and useful work for Australia. I believe that no better man could have been appointed to do the work which he has been doing, and that is to represent Australia, but I think that the time has arrived when his office could do more work in the way of opening up markets for our natural productions in Great Britain and Europe. I notice that the Government have placed a sum on these Estimates for something in that direction. I hope that they intend to appoint good men to visit different portions of Europe to open up markets for our produce, which unquestionably only requires to be made known to be appreciated.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– You would not have the High Commissioner go round with a cinematograph cart?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– It would be at surd for any one to suggest that the High Commissioner should do anything of the kind, but he should be provided with a staff of practical men for the purpose I name. I think that if we are not careful we can make the office of High Commissioner too much ornamental and not sufficiently practical. My remark, of course, does not apply to the High Commissioner himself. On the question of immigration, I notice that today’s Argus contains a very pleasing photo, of some of the new Australians. 0I believe that Australia can welcome a very large number of immigrants if they are of the right type. I think, as I have said before, that a very great mistake would be made in flooding our cities, and leaving the newcomers there. From the stand-point of the people themselves, as well as of the immigration policy, it would be wrong to flood the cities with those who are wanted more in the rural districts.

Mr Higgs:

– You want cheap labour.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– No. If the little caucus which are now sitting in the Labour corner are really serious in their statement that this immigration policy is wrong, and that people should not be inducpd to come here, there is a way to show their earnestness. On these Estimates there is an item of £20,000 to do what they condemn. If they believe what the honorable member for Capricornia said, that those who favour immigration only want to bring men here in order tjo take employment from others, and so provide cheap labour, it is their duty to prevent the Government from spending that sum to do that.

Mr Charlton:

– To do what?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– To bring people to Australia.

Mr Charlton:

– No; you do not understand the facts.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If this vote is not to be spent in bringing people to Australia, then for what purpose is it to lie spent?

Mr Charlton:

– To advertise the products of Australia, more specially Tasmanian apples.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If my honorable friends say that the object in bringing immigrants here is to cut down wages they will not be true to their convictions if they vote £20,000 to do that which they condemn.

Mr Frazer:

– Did you hear what the honorable member for Hunter interjected - to advertise the products of Australia, especially Tasmanian apples.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Does the Minister say that that is the sole object?

Mr Frazer:

– No.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Recently the Minister of External Affairs took credit for the fact that more money has been spent in advertising Australia during the regime of the present Government than had been spent at any other period, and that as a result more immigrants had come out than had ever come here previously. In short, the Government was doing more for immigration than the Liberal Government had done.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I rise to order. I cannot hear a word which the honorable member is saying.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I have repeatedly called honorable members in the corner to order. I cannot hear what the speaker is saying, although I am close to him.There is no necessity for these interjections, because every honorable member has a right to speak. If I have to continually ask the honorable membei for Franklin to resume his seat, while 1 call honorable members to order, there will be no alternative for me but to give him further time.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– What is the object of the Government in submitting this item of £20,000? If it is to advertise the productions of Australia, I can only say that, in the report of the High Commisioner, there is very little to show for the expenditure. If the Government have spent the money simply to advertise our productions with a view to securing better markets, it is strange that there is no reference to the matter in that report. On this question of immigration there are two voices . in the party opposite. Whilst the Prime Minister in England, and Ministers, both in this House and in the country, have pointed out how thoroughly earnest they are in their irnrnigTation policy, honorable members sitting on the other side - I refer to the honorable members for Capricornia, Hunter, Maribyrnong and Melbourne Ports - have got up and condemned immigration, declaring that immigrants are desired with one object, and that is to create such competition in the local market that there will be a reduction in wages. I would not support the bringing of men here indiscriminately, and as one honorable member said, dumping them down in big cities where they would only cause a congestion in the labour market, reducing wages and causing unemployment. If the honorable member for Capricornia really believes that the object of this item of . £20,000 is to do what he has stated, he ought to move its omission. In a message which President Roosevelt sent to the Prime Minister giving one or two words of friendly advice, he said, “ Fill up your empty north.” One of the most important duties of this Parliament is to see to that work.

Mr Higgs:

– Tell us how settlement has taken place under the Van Diemen’s Land Company ? Attend to the empty spaces in Tasmania.

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– If Australia were populated in the same degree as is Tasmania, it would contain over 25,000,000 today. It was stated here not long ago by an honorable member that north of a line drawn from Rockhampton to Western Australia, and in. what is practically one-half of Australia, there cannot be more than 100.000 persons. It has also been stated on high authority that north of Cairns, including Queensland and the Northern Territory, there has been a decrease of from 20 to 25 per cent, in the population during the last twelve years. I do not suggest that Federation has caused that decrease.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order. The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
Parramatta

– I wish to reply to some cf the statements made by the honorable member for Capricornia a little while ago on the subject of immigration. One of his state ments, and a very serious one, was that we want to bring out immigrants in order to get cheap labour. I have to accuse the present Government of using public money to advertise cheap wages for Australia. They are distributing throughout the Old Country statements of which the following is a sample -

For the hardworking, steady farm worker who aims at becoming a freehold farmer on his own account-

I may mention that the booklet from which this is taken advocates freehold on almost every page. It is a special pamphlet compiled by direction of the Minister of External Affairs and circulated in London by the External Affairs Department.

For the hardworking, steady farm worker who aims at becoming a freehold farmer on his own account, the most remote farms, where the only expenditure is for a few clothes and little luxuries like tobacco, are the finest places imaginable.

It is quite time we stripped this question of the hypocrisy that surrounds it, and let the workers outside know what their Ministers are circulating in England. I saw a notice in the Commonwealth Gazette one day to the effect that the Minister of External Affairs had paid, I think it was, £200 for 5,000 copies of this special booklet entitled The Commonwealth of Australia for Farmers.

Mr Webster:

– The man who issued it is not here, and the honorable gentleman should let him rest.

Mr Frazer:

– The honorable member raised the question twice before.

Mr.JOSEPH COOK.- And I shall raise it again. I am not talking of a Minister who has gone, but of the present Minister of External Affairs who, this month, is paying out of the public funds £200 for the circulation of a special edition of the booklet in question.

Mr Charlton:

– Does the honorable member object to it?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I object to such statements as the following: -

A man who gets £1 a week, with occasional additions for harvesting, &c., will, before the end of many years, be able to save sufficient to make a very fair start on his own account.

I am absolutely opposed to the circulation of nonsense like that. I object to any one telling the people of the Old Country to come out here and work for £1 a week. That is the policy which honorable members opposite are supporting with the aid of public moneys, and the quotation that I have made is a reply to those who have said that the advocates of cheap labour in Australia are on this side. Members of the Labour party tell the people outside that they stand for high wages, but I am referring now to what they do and not to what they say. Actions speak louder than words. Every honorable member opposite is responsible for the publication of the statements to which I have referred, because they could prevent their publication if they wished to do so. I have here something that is more pleasant reading which appeared in the Farmer and Grazier. I understand that the Minister of External Affairs has paid £150 or £200 for 5,000 or 10,000 copies of this publication.

The people of Australia are happy and contented and prosperous. There are no violent distinctions between classes, and wealth is evenly distributed.

I wish to say in connexion with immigration that there is far too much humbug talked up and down Australia on the subject. A good artisan has as much right to be assisted to come here as has any one else. We want as many as we can get of healthy able-bodied men no matter what their occupation may happen to be. The present Government are declaring in London that there is abundance of room in Australia for any one who likes to come here. They publish amongst other things the statement that in Western Australia alone there are 60,000,000 acres of agricultural land. I should like to say that in other countries where immigration is conducted upon an immensely larger scale than in Australia only a very small proportion of the immigrants find their way to the land. Immigration has been conducted on an immense scale in the United States of America for many generations, and yet the average proportion of the population who go upon the land there is about 10 per cent. In Canada the proportion of people who settle upon the land, even though ready-made farms are provided for immigrants, is only about 10 per cent. Even in a country like France, where there are so many millions of small settlers only a small proportion of the total population is settled on the land; the rest are included in the superstructure which is reared upon the land-owner and land cultivator. If we introduce more persons to engage in our primary industries we must introduce with them people who will engage in our’ secondary industries, because every farmer who finds his way to the land will require six or seven other persons to supply his requirements as well as their own. Every healthy system of immigration must have regard to the proportion of the population that will ultimately become cultivators of the soil. We have in recent years in this country imposed land taxation, and have had diligent administration of closer settlement projects, and although scores of millions of acres have ostensibly gone into cultivation only a. few million acres are under actual cultivation to-day. This indicates that there is a certain fixed ratio between the number of the cultivators of the soil and the number of the general community. It is therefore a preposterous argument based upon an obvious fallacy to say that we should bring out here only men who will go upon the land. We require healthy, strong people of all classes of society, and artisans should be included in their proper proportion amongst those who are invited to come to Australia. This may be said in answer to the sneers of the honorable member for Capricornia concerning the introduction of grocers.

Mr Higgs:

– I said that honorable members opposite would not introduce grocers to compete with grocers. But they have no objection to the introduction of wage-earners to bring down wages.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I happen to know some grocers, who are also plucky gritty men with a little capital, whose intention is to go upon the land in Queensland, where 1 have no doubt they will be successful. The action of the Government in this matter contrasts strangely with all the talk by their chief supporters on the question of immigration. If honorable members opposite wish to criticise any one they will find subjects for criticism in the actions of their own Government. They really do not know what is going on in the External Affairs Department, and I should have known nothing about the publications to which I have referred if I had not seen in the Gazette the notice which I have already mentioned. I consider that these publications should be laid on the table in this House in the same way as other documents. Why should the report of the High Commissioner be laid upon the table, and not a special publication prepared for the Minister of External Affairs to the same end ? All publications on which public money is expended should be tabled in this House. I go further and say that it would only be proper that copies of them should be circulated amongst honorable members.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr ATKINSON:
Wilmot

– Earlier this morning I proposed to address myself to the question of immigration, and. the handling of the matter through the High Commissioner’s Office. It is specially opportune at this time when I am glad to say the spirit of Imperialism is taking hold of the people of different parts of the Empire that the Commonwealth should aim at the settlement of as many British subjects as possible within this dominion. For many years past there has been a stream of emigration from the United Kingdom to foreign countries. We desire that as many as possible of the people emigrating from the United Kingdom shall settle in the British Dominions. If the Government deal with the question properly there is no reason why the Commonwealth should not receive a large number of them. If we cannot secure a sufficient number of immigrants from this source, there will be no objection to immigrants from Scandanavia, Germany, and other countries enjoying highly civilized conditions. Although Canada presents a splendid example in the success of her immigration scheme, there are people of too many national types pouring into that country, many of whom I would not like to see in Australia. This must be kept as the land of the white race, and the Minister should do his best to maintain that ideal. Five years ago, while there was a large stream of population flowing to Canada, hardly anyone was coming to Australia, but I predicted that with good government and proper inducements, it would not be long before we would receive our share of desirable immigrants. I am glad that the tide has now set so strongly in our direction. It behoves us to see that it continues to do so. It is a charge against the Labour .Government that it has never done anything to assist immigration. Labour members talk of what they would do, but they have never done anything to bring people here. Now that we have a High Com.misioner in London, I hope that more care will be taken in the selection of emigrants before they leave the Old Country. We should not get here those who are not fitted to take advantage of .the opportunities which this country offers. Care should also be taken to prevent the misrepresentation of our conditions in other parts of the world.

Mr Thomas:

– Does the honorable member think that any immigrants have been misled ?

Mr ATKINSON:

– There have been complaints. The High Commissioner reports that many persons are anxious to come to Australia, but that there is not room for them on the steamers coming here from the Old Country. Has the Minister of External Affairs attempted to cope with that difficulty? No’; he has refused to do so.

Mr Thomas:

– Does the honorable member favour the making of a four years’ contract with the shipping companies for the conveyance of immigrants?

Mr ATKINSON:

– I could not say without knowing the terms offered ; but the Minister should go out of his way to meet the difficulty caused by the dearth of shipping accommodation. He can be certain that Parliament will support him.. Canada’s immigration began because of the efforts of the railway companies to obtain settlers for the land that they held. Canada offered 500 medals to the public school children of other countries for the best essays on the Dominion, and a surprising number of essays were sent in. She used at one time to have vehicles travelling through the United Kingdom with exhibits of her produce.

Mr Cann:

– She does still.

Mr ATKINSON:

– If this country is to be filled with the right sort of people, and made able to defend itself, it must have more population.

Mr Cann:

– Why don’t you pay for your advertising? It is all to benefit Tasmania’s apple growers.

Mr ATKINSON:

– The securing of immigrants is the business of the country, and should be paid for out of the general revenue. Tasmania’s export trade in apples sprang up without Government assistance, and is the brightest thing in Australian production. The growers had to combat all sorts of pests, and to overcome all sorts of obstacles, but the members who went to the Coronation said that Tasmanian apples were the only Australian produce they could identify in England. This Government should be careful to see that the produce of the country is put properly on the market.

Mr Thomas:

– Would it not savour of Socialism to advertise Australian products in England by the expenditure of public money ?

Mr ATKINSON:

– I do not care if it would, seeing that it is the right thing to do. The Government should take advantage of the services of practical men to push its advertising in the Old Country. Some of the State Governments are very glad when an Australian citizen will avail himself of the opportunity to be helpful. We have competitors in the Argentine, Canada, and other countries, which are clamouring for population. Canada has been very successful, and more people are now emigrating there from the United States every year than come to Australia.

Mr Cann:

– The shipping companies have put up the fares.

Mr ATKINSON:

– Why does not the Government charter special steamers, if they are needed? Those who come here will soon be producers, and help others to obtain employment. The Government ought to see that Australian produce is handled better, so that there shall be no loss of money to the producers. I hope, too, in view of the need for agriculturists, that the agricultural districts of other countries will he properly canvassed. There are plenty of persons who wish to secure land, and who are likely to make good settlers. We may well look for immigrants from the United States of America. In this matter Victoria is setting us an example, and the State will shortly reap a splendid harvest from its expenditure. From the United States we may hope to get persons possessing a little capital and having practical knowledge of irrigation.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

.- I propose to resume my remarks at the point where they were interrupted by the application of the new standing order. 1 was speaking of the danger of allowing grumblers, or others having a grievance, to send back reports to the Old Country. One or two cases of the kind have clone a great deal of mischief. The High Commissioner and his officers should see that the emigrants get the accommodation to which they are entitled on board the large mail steamers or other vessels appointed to bring them here. There is one very common complaint which I can confirm from my own experience of a good many years back. The objection is frequently made that the food is not by any means what it ought to be. There is no doubt- that the quality of the articles placed on the ship is entirely satisfactory, but the immigrants complain about the cooking. From my experience on some of the boats I was forced to come to the same conclusion. There seems to be an idea amongst Britishers, especially on board ships, that any one who has failed in every other walk o’f life is competent to be a cook. The result is that the cooking on some ships is undoubtedly very defective, and good food is very frequently spoiled It ought to be a simple matter to arrange that the persons who are to cook the food should show that they possess the necessary qualifications before they are allowed to start. If that were done there would, I think, be a very great reduction in the amount of grumbling and complaining by immigrants, echoes of which, no doubt, have reached the Old Country and done our immigration movement a considerable amount of harm.

In view of the. statements in the High Commissioner’s report immediate steps should be taken to remedy the shortage of shipping accommodation. No doubt the gratifying increase in the volume of immigration has caught the shipping companies somewhat by surprise, and they are not able to find all the accommodation necessary, especially at those seasons of the year which are generally recommended as being the most suitable for people from the Old Country to come here. I feel sure that if the High Commissioner were intrusted with the duty of arranging with the shipping companies for more passenger accommodation of a third class character the present deficiency could be overcome in a very short time indeed. It is very much to be regretted that we have numbers of intending immigrants waiting in vain for passages and rushing at the last moment to fill up vacancies caused by sickness or other reasons. It may be objected that the shipowners require a lengthy engagement. The High Commissioner speaks of a term’ of four or five years. . It is not at all now likely, I think, that we shall not be able during that period to absorb all the people who can be brought here. It has already been pointed out that Western Australia has a very large capacity in that direction. No doubt it could very easily have taken all the immigrants who have come to the Commonwealth during the last few years, while having plenty of room available for others. It is impossible, therefore, for our vacant lands to be filled up in the course of four or five years, and it is also unlikely that the demand for assistants on farms will suddenly cease. I see no danger in the Commonwealth entering into an agreement, if required to do so, even for a term of four or five years. I hope that the Government will authorize the High Commissioner to do something to meet the demands for passenger accommodation by immigrants. Again, with regard to the ships that convey passengers to Australia I have a few observations to make. Most of our mail steamers, although there has been some improvement in the rate of speed during the last few years, are still jogging between the Old Land and Australia at a pace that is ridiculously behind the times. When we remember the rate of speed of ships on the British-American routes, I think it will be at once admitted that there is room for very great improvement on our mail steamers. One of the reasons why Australia is regarded with hesitation by many persons in the Old Land as a country in which to mate a home is undoubtedly the feeling that if any persons come here they are practically giving up for ever any hope of again seeing their native land. That was, of course, the case in the old days of sailing vessels going round the Cape and taking six or eight months on a passage. A general impression has been created in the minds of people in the Old Country by relatives who have come here that when an v one leaves for Australia he is practically bidding an eternal goodbye. I was surprised on my visit four years ago to find the same feeling existing. Many persons I spoke to pointed out the great distance between the Old Country and Australia. When I reminded them that the trip could be easily made within six weeks they seemed quite surprised. They had failed to realize that the advent of steam had brought us within that travelling time of their native land. When we compare the time taken by immigrants going to Canada or the United States with that taken in coming to Australia we are at once at a disadvantage, even as regards our fastest vessels. I think we could very easily insist that the mail steamers, at any rate, should be speeded up for the passage between the Old Country and Australia. I would not insist, perhaps, upon the highest possible speed. There .would be no necessity, at any rate at present, for such fliers as run across the Atlantic between Great Britain and America in four days and a half ; but I certainly think that we could easily arrange to place on our route, as regards our mail service at any rate, steam-ships with a speed of 20 knots an hour. With such vessels the passage could be performed in a little over three weeks. Surely that would be one of the best advertisements we could offer the people of the Old Country. They would realize that they might come out here with every prospect of being able to pay not infrequent visits to their native country. I know what an influence that sentiment has upon any one who comes to Australia and finds here conditions even of the most favorable character. The country of one’s birth always has an attraction. It behoves us not to laugh at the sentiment, but to take steps to encourage immigrants to believe that sooner or later, and within a reasonable time, they will be able to revisit the scenes of their childhood.

I wish to speak very briefly regarding the Commonwealth buildings in London. I understand that the intention is to utilize the ground floor for shops and offices, which I presume are to be rented, and that the offices of the Commonwealth will be on the first floor. It will, I think, be a mistake not to make the most we can of the ground floor, because in a crowded city like London very little notice is taken of anything in the air. What ‘is observed . is whatever happens to be in the line of sight of pedestrians. It is not very often that the average passenger lifts his eyes much higher than the level of the shop windows which he is passing. I hope that the authorities will consider the question of utilizing the ground floor of the Commonwealth building for State and Federal purposes. If they are all housed upstairs a big blow will be struck at the advertising capacity of such a building. The ground floor with its utmost window space should be utilized for the exhibition of mineral, vegetable, and other products from all parts of the Commonwealth. It is only in that way we shall be able to secure the attention of countless thousands of passers-by. I find that objection has been taken by visitors from Western Australia with regard to what appears “to be the inadequate arrangements for enabling such products to be displayed. Even in the proposed upstairs accommodation the first consideration should be the attraction of immigrants. Therefore this building should be reserved and utilized primarily for that purpose. Undoubtedly, one of the most attractive advertisements we could have would be an extensive display of such products as Australia could supply in an abundance, and of a quality which cannot be surpassed by any other country, lt is astonishing what a lack of knowledge of

Australia there is in Great Britain. There are very few persons who are fully seized of the tremendous breadth and length of this Continent, the great variety of its products, and its great possibilities in that regard. An exhibition of our products on the ground floor of the Commonwealth offices would go far to educate people in the Old Land. If the High Commissioner is authorized to deal with these matters in a way which seems best to himself, and in view of the suggestions made during this debate, I feel sure that the time will not have been wasted. This scheme of the Commonwealth offices, and the duties and functions of the High Commissioner and his staff is only just in its very beginning, and, i f the High Commissioner is given a reasonable latitude, I feel sure that he and his officers will be able to render a very good account of themselves. There is yet very much good work to be done in advertising Australia in the Old Country. In view of the critical international position, we should lose no opportunity of attracting population to our shores. Our natural increase is not by any means too satisfactory. It is, indeed, a matter of alarm that Australia is already following in . the footsteps of nations which are elsewhere regarded as degenerate. I refer, of course, to the steadily declining birth rate. When we find writer after writer pointing out the danger to Australia of her vacant spaces, and the grave necessity for filling them, surely that is a duty which we should not shirk. In the course of a few years we might be brought face to face with a situation that might develop the gravest danger to the future of the people who now hold Australia. There is only one way in which we shall be able to justify our determination to hold this country, and that is by showing that we are in grim and deadly earnest in straining every nerve to add to our population until we shall no longer be taunted with holding a large area of God’s earth, and having no reasonable claim upon it.

Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin

– When my previous speech was interrupted by the application of the time limit, I was about to speak of the necessity to adopt a policy of immigration if we intended to hold this country. Unquestionably, it has been regarded as one of the empty lands of this world. When Germany seized some Portuguese territory in South Africa, the question was considered by the different nations, and Germany’s plea was that Portugal was not effectively occupying the territory. Suppose that a nation were to make a claim to Australia, could we say that we were effectively occupying, not only the Northern Territory, but a great portion of Western Australia, and a very considerable portion of Queensland ? It should not be forgotten that in the Southern Seas Australia is starting an experiment which no other country has attempted, and that is to build up a white man’s country in a zone that has always been considered hitherto the home of the coloured races.

Mr Riley:

– Where?

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– In tropical and semi-tropical Australia, if our experiment is to be successful we must fill up our empty spaces with a white population. However, the immigration of people of our own race is objected to in certain quarters, and if I wish to hear harsh and cruel things said on the subject I must go to those who have been immigrants themselves, and who, having done well in Australia, would erect a wall round, the country and prevent people of their own kith and kin coming here and enjoying the advantages they have themselves enjoyed. When we say that there is room in Australia for many more people we are told that we are running down the country, but it is those who contend that with a population of less than 5,000,000 we have no room in Australia for more people who really libel Australia. The honorable member for Capricornia has said that the immigrants who come here cut down wages. If that be the case, we have no room for more people, but the experience of the world in connexion with immigration is quite otherwise. A reference to the evidence given before the Tariff Commission wiU show that until eighteen months or two years ago wages in Canada were slightly higher than they were in Australia, and to-day are practically the same. And yet no less than 250,000 immigrants landed in Canada in the first six months of this year.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I think we should have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– We should give heed to the words of warning uttered by Mr. Roosevelt when he said to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, “ Fill up your empty north.” We can only hold Australia by increasing the number of white people in the country. We have at our doors China, with 400,000,000 of people, Japan with 50,000,000 or 60,000,000, and the little island of Java, which is only twice the size of Tasmania, with a population seven or eight times as large as that of the whole of Australia. The war between Russia and Japan brought with a jump into the forefront of the nations a people who had previously been ignored by the more civilized nations of the world. These people are at our very door, because the possessions of Japan are nearer to portions of Australia than are some portions of the continent to each other. These coloured races are aware that close at hand there is a country more fertile and enjoying better climatic conditions than their own, and the one thing that is keeping Australia white to-day is the power of the British Navy. What would be the position of Australia to-day if Great Britain were involved in a conflict with one of the great nations of Europe? We should find the countless hordes of the coloured races at our door very ready to people Australia. We shall some day be asked whether we intend to occupv this continent effectively, and what answer shall we be able to give ? We know that if we were to rely upon the natural increase of our population it would take centuries to populate Australia, and we can only do so by encouraging people of our own kith and kin to come to this country. There are honorable members on this side who have risked more fn their constituencies by advocating the White Australia policy than has been risked by some of our honorable friends opposite. Honorable members on this side have advocated that policy when it was not a popular thing to do in their electorates. The truest friend of the White Australia policy is the man who would put Australia in a position to maintain it, and the worst enemy of the policy is the man who says that while we should exclude the coloured races we should do nothing to people the country with whites. No country has been so blessed by peace as has Australia, but no man can tell when Great Britain may be involved in conflict arising from the situation now existing in Southern Europe, and danger to Australia become immediate. Homer Lea has said that if there was war declared between the United States of America and Japan the Pacific coast of America would be at the mercy of the Japanese. He tells us that in Honolulu there are many thousands of Japanese reservists, and that within twenty-four hours ofthe declaration of a war between Japan and the United States the Japanese would have possession of Hawaii. The argument that it is wrong for a man to monopolize land which he is not prepared to use can be applied with even greater force to us if we do nothing to people our enormous territory. I believe that in many parts of tropical Australia thousands of our own flesh and blood now in the Old Country could make a comfortable . home. There there are millions of. the landless. Here we have millions of acres waiting for them. Honorable members opposite, fearing to come into conflict with some of their constituents on the subject of immigration, claim that we should shut up this country, and not permit people of our own race to come to it. A smaller-minded or more mistaken policy was never enunciated. The question is how long we shall be permitted to continue such a policy.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I think that we had better have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]

Mr McWILLIAMS:

– Immigration in connexion with the settlement of the Northern Territory is the most important question we have to consider. If it be conducted through the office of the High Commissioner, more vigorous steps must be taken than have been taken in the past. Reference has been made from time to time to the matter of what Canada has done for immigration. But the bulk of the work connected with immigration in Canada has been done by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and not by the Government ot the Dominion. Under the land-grant system of railway construction adopted in Canada there was a direct incentive to the railway companies to promote immigration. Here we have no such agencies, and the whole of the work must be done by the States or Federal Governments. It is deeply to be deplored that some arrangement has not been entered into between the Federal and State Governments in connexion with this matter. When we appointed a High Commissioner we were told that it would be no longer necessary for the States to send Agents-General to the Old Country, as the High Commissioner would be able to do the work hitherto done by those representatives of the States.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member’s time has expired.

Mr HEDGES:
Fremantle

– There cannot be better proof that we require immigrants in Australia than is afforded by the figures supplied to us by the Commonwealth Statistician. He points out that the total increase in the population of the Commonwealth for the year 1910-11 was only 1/13,624. That is a very small increase indeed. But the most astonishing figures are those which record the increase in the coloured and Asiatic population of Australia. I find that during the month of August the increase in the number of departures of Asiatics was 165, whilst the increase in the number of arrivals during the same month was 199. The increase in the number of departures for eight months was 740, and in the number of arrivals for the same period it was 926, These figures have been an eye-opener to me, because I was under the impression that we were gradually reducing the numbers of our Asiatic population. I had no idea that the number of these people in Australia would increase under a Labour Government. A fair question to ask is, Why has there been this increase under the Labour Government? The honorable member for Perth has suggested that we might make more comfortable the immigrants who come here from the Old Country, but they have not the harsh conditions to which those who emigrate to the United States of America and to Canada are subjected. These are crowded together on the Atlantic steamers, and herded together in trains for journeys of 3,000 or 4,000 miles. I cannot understand why, in view of what we can offer, more people do not come to Australia. In 1910 our increase of population, excluding aboriginals, was only 143,624, and when I was in Canada the immigrants numbered over 40,000 a month. We cannot hold this country without population, and if we do not treat the matter seriously our children will be worked in harness by Asiatic invaders as the Chinese employed on the construction of the Pine Creek railway were. We have no hope of holding “this country unless the question of filling it up is taken seriously. People with special knowledge acquired in other countries should be encouraged to come here to help us to develop our vacant spaces. We shall never be able to develop the Northern Territory with the knowledge gained in the south. Our imports are increasing, and our exports are decreasing. I would stop that kind of thing by giving bonuses for the production of commodities which we are not at present putting upon the market.

Mr Tudor:

– Would the honorable member increase the Tariff?

Mr HEDGES:

– I am not suggesting anything of the kind, but we should attract to Australia people who are specialists, and who would be able to open up new industries. It is a remarkable fact that the population of the Northern Territory has decreased during the last twelve months. In 1910 there were 3,301 people there; in 191 1 there were 3,248. There was also an increase in the coloured population of the whole Commonwealth. Still more extraordinary is it that there has been a decrease in the population of Tasmania.

Mr Groom:

– Since the growth of the Labour party there.

Mr HEDGES:

– There is no country on earth where people have better opportunities than Australia. We are not doing enough to attract population from parts of Europe where the people lead a hard and often miserable existence. In Western Australia, between Albany and the Leeuwin, there is room for a million people. At present there are not enough there to cultivate 20,000 acres. That is the sort of place where we should settle good workers. The climate is temperate, and industrious folks could earn a competency there. I have recently been through Canada, and am satisfied that there is no comparison between that country and this. In Italy and the south of France you can see people carrying soil up the hill-sides in baskets and putting it on the hill-tops, where they cultivate. Surely it would not require much inducement to persuade them to come to the Commonwealth, where there are splendid opportunities for industrious agriculturists.

Mr Webster:

– What would they grow under such conditions?

Mr HEDGES:

– Everything that is grown in Italy and the South of France can be produced here, and of the finest quality. I saw tons of olives being grown in Italy, but I never saw an olive tree there that grew as well as the olive trees in Australia. Yet the amount of labour which these Europeans have to devote to induce their trees to produce is enormous. Why cannot the advantages of Australia be pointed out to these people? I am sure that if honorable members opposite could see men toiling as -I have seen them toiling in Italy for a mere pittance, it would appeal to them as it appealed to me. They cannot realize the facilities afforded them in Australia, and do not know that with much less labour they could earn a comfortable living, and put by something for old age. If the actual facts regarding this country were supplied to them, they would be attracted in thousands.

Mr BRUCE SMITH:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The speech which the honorable member for Fremantle has just made displays a condition of innocence with regard to the Labour party on the subject of immigration that surprises me. He has spoken at length about the need of population in Australia, and the opportunities which we have lost of bringing people from other parts of the world where there is a superabundance of population. The honorable member seems- to have missed the true solution of the anomaly, that people are anxious to come to Australia from various parts of the world, and are not afforded a chance. The anomaly is that the Labour party are speaking with two voices everywhere and all the time. The honorable member has been reading a portion of the report of the High Commissioner, in which he speaks at great length of the expenditure which he is controlling with regard to the advertising of Australia. He seems to imagine that because people are not coming here, therefore this advertising is doing no good. The honorable member appears to have entirely missed the fact that, whilst on the one hand we are expending money in England, holding out specious and exaggerated pro:mises with regard to what people can get in Australia, on the other hand the trade unions and the Labour party, with their organization, are sending home cables and letters giving the lie to the very advertisements for which the people of Australia -are paying. We are familiar with scores of Occasions on which these Labour organizations have told the world that there is no raced for population here. I read this morning from the Federal Labour manifesto a few extracts showing that the Labour party, as a whole, treat this question of immigration, not from a philanthropic or national point of view, but purely from an economic point of view, being afraid of their lives that every fresh person who comes into this country is going to take the’ bread out of their mouths. Therefore, it pays them to stand upon the public platform, when they are amongst their own constituents, or those whom they hope to make their constituents, ana tell them plainly that there is no room in Australia for the people for whom we are advertising in England -

That the trades unions of New South Wales, as represented by Congress, request the State Government to discontinue its immigration policy.

That resolution goes to Great Britain by the same mail that carries the advertising literature. Is it not natural that people in England, who hear these two voices - one a political voice, which seeks to beguile them with the idea that they ate wanted, and the other an economic voice practically threatening them with starvation if they come - are bewildered, and that the best efforts of the Government and the High Commissioner are stultified ? At the same Labour Congress, a resolution was passed asking the State Government to at once take steps to stop the “ indiscriminate system of immigration “ now obtaining, and to bring out only competent persons for whom it could be proved there is legitimate employment without displacing local and competent labour, and that a deputation representing the Congress and the Labour Council executive wait on the Government without delay. The people brought out to Australia are not imbued with the socialistic and revolutionary opinions entertained by a large section of the Labour organizations of this country ; and it is known that honest working men from the Old Country are likely to take the places vacated owing to senseless strikes, thus interfering with the hole-and-corner monopoly now obtaining in Australian industries. The honorable member for Fremantle, in a rather unsophisticated way, expressed some surprise that people are not coming here more numerously; but to me the explanation is self-evident. If from my door I invite people to come in and get something, and a moment afterwards tell them that there is nothing for them, the only effect must be to cause some amusement without affecting my purpose one way or the other. The attitude of the Trades Union Congres is at least frank and incapable of misconstruction ; it is bitterly opposed to immigration, and one speaker declared that the policy of the Labour Government was “ criminal,” from the point of view of the working classes. This economic consideration lies at the root of a great many wild and senseless doctrines that have been promulgated by the Labour party and Labour members individually.

We are devoting £600,000 to Commonwealth buildings in London, with the object, primarily, of directing the attention of the working classes to the immense attractions of Australia, and we expend £16,000 a year on a stafF in England whose business it is to induce people to come to this country; but, at the same time, letters and cables are being sent, behind our backs, to the trades organizations at Home in order to give the lie to the representation of our immigration officials. The High Commissioner, in his report, tells us that, with the funds at his disposal, it is impracticable to undertake a vigorous and business-like campaign for the purpose of advertising our food products; and at the end of the report are some very interesting illustrations of the steps he has been able to take in this direction. According to these pictures, one of the means adopted is a cinematograph car, which is taken about the country in order to show people generally what wonderful harvests and crops are reaped in this country. To my mind, all this represents the biggest piece of humbug and hypocrisy that could possibly be carried on by a great country like Australia. Canada, though she spends much money in advertising, does not resort to such means of making the advantages of the Dominion known. And I undertake to say that in Canada there is no great body of people corresponding with the Labour party of this country, who are endeavouring to render abortive the expenditure that is ostensibly in the interests of patriotism. The more this political fraud is made known the better. It is only, as it were, by accident that we learn through the press what sort of resolutions are being passed at Labour congresses, and what opinions are expressed by Labour members on the platform and, hypocritically, in this House. But we who do know of this double work, should not hesitate to expose one. of the most consummate pieces of humbug that could be connected with the policy of n great country. Canada spends hundreds of thousands a year in advertising her great resources ; and, although the Dominion “ cannot hold a candle “ to Australia for fertility, equability of climate, and general attractions, she is receiving thousands of people while we are obtaining only a few. That is because there is no second voice in Canada to tell the English people that they may fmd a fool’s paradise on their arrival.

Sitting suspended from S.jo to 10 a.m. (Friday).

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I desire this morning to adduce some further evidence in support of the view that members of the Labour party at present in power,- even if they were sincere themselves in desiring immigration - which, as to a good many of them, I venture to express some doubt - are paralyzed in any efforts they may make by the undoubted hostility of the great mass of their supporters to any active policy of the kind.

Mr Roberts:

– Do not the honorable member’s supporters influence him in airs way ?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– They do.

Mr Roberts:

– Then, is it wrong that our supporters should influence us?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I am not questioning the morality or immorality of inrfluence of the kind ; all I am endeavouring; to maintain is that, assuming that some, or even all, of the gentlemen who now occupy the Government benches were quite willing to advocate a rational policy of discriminative immigration, they are, in fact, paralyzed by the real opinion of the majority of their supporters outside..

Mr Roberts:

– That applies with equal force to the honorable member himself and his supporters.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The policy of the Labour party has been, not to encourage, but to impose fetters on, immigration. In the report prepared by the AgentsGeneral in 1905, at the request of the then Prime Minister, we are told by gentlemen, be it remembered, who were engaged in the actual work of immigration and of advertising the resources of Australia in the various Dominions -

As pointed out by us in our report upon “ Advertising the Resources and Development of the Commonwealth,” the language test and contract provisions of the Act referred to have proved veritable stumbling blocks to us in our work, and have had a most prejudicial influence on the public opinion of every part of this Kingdom.

Lest we should be misunderstood, we would like to emphasize the fact that we are strongly -in sympathy with the desire of our fellowAustralians to preserve Australia for the white races, and to maintain a high standard of living and of wages ; but we should be very blind,, indeed, if we were not aware that of the many causes that have tended to prejudice Austra’ia in the estimation of the public, none has had an influence so ‘widespread and striking as thecases which have arisen under the contract provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. lt is true that persons who have ill-will towards Australia have grossly exaggerated the cases to which we refer, but however arising, the fact that these cases have happened has led the press and business men to a close examination of the Act, and to the discovery of the sweeping range of the language test, and of the severe nature of the penalties imposed. The press of this country has not been slow to point out that if a mechanic or an agricultural labourer goes to Australia under contract to perform manual labour, he becomes liable to six months’ imprisonment, and that the wording of the contract clause has a tendency so wide as to appear even to include domestic servants of all kinds.

I have no doubt that the Act does include domestic servants of all kinds -

We have endeavoured to defend the position of the Commonwealth on the grounds that the provisions objected to are for emergent use, and that common-sense is the prevailing characteristic of the Australian people j but our explanations pass unheeded amidst the recurrent clamour which arises whenever the six hatters are mentioned- Nor have we found that it assists matters overmuch to refer to the legislation of other countries. The section of the Act itself is taken as typical of the real attitude of Australia towards the question of immigration. The title and wording of the Act and the reports of the cases that have occurred, exaggerated as they have been by repetition, are deeply impressed upon the minds of the great bulk of the people. Even the more thoughtful elements of the community who are aware of the genesis of the language test, and accept it as a more or less illogical compromise made at the instance of the Imperial Government - strongly resent the contract provisions. They cannot understand why four millions of British people living 13,000 miles away from the Motherland, and admittedly suffering from a lack of population, should exclude the occassional British artisan or labourer against whom the section is aimed. They argue that it is absurd to think that immigrants under contract ever would or could be landed in such numbers as to affect the labour market of any State. On the contrary, they consider that the insistence by such immigrants on a contract which guarantees them against want of employment is a commendable precaution which the labour market should, welcome rather than condemn.

These are the matured statements of the only people who at that time, in 1905, had had practical experience in the work of immigration, and they were made for the information of the Prime Minister of the clay. I venture to say that no truer thing was ever said than that the section of the Act providing that any immigrant, no matter how otherwise desirable as an Australian citizen - no matter how qualified to help in developing this country, or what his character may be, physically, mentally, and morally - shall not be entitled to come here under any contract that secures to him proper employment the moment he lands is taken as typical of the real attitude of Australia towards immigration ; and it is as true now as it was in 1905. The ostensible reason why that section was passed in the form in which it now stands was apparently to prevent employers flooding the country in times of strike with employes brought out here under contract. I do not believe that there was ever a danger of such a thing. Moreover, I do not believe that that was the real reason. I think that honorable members opposite and their supporters know perfectly well that there is no danger of such a thing.

Mr West:

– Our experience teaches us of the cruelty that is practised under such a system.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I venture to say that the honorable member is not able to point to a single instance in which if that provision had not been inserted men would have been brought out here under contract to stop a strike.

Mr West:

– I have seen five or six cases of the greatest cruelty.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If the honorable member ventures to reply to what I am saying - and I have grave doubt as to his doing so - I hope that he will tell us of these cases.

Mr Fenton:

– He could easily reply.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then honorable members cannot object to our arguments if they remain dumb.

Mr West:

– We are here to do business, not to make advertising speeches.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then the honorable member says that if he were to tell us of these cases of hardship he would be making an advertising speech. I do not believe that any cases of hardship or cruelty have been prevented by this contract section. We cannot have any system of immigration that will be successful as long as we fetter it with conditions under which people are invited to leave the surroundings of a lifetime, and to venture upon a new life 16,000 miles away without any guarantee that they will be able to get employment the moment they land here. To allow this “provision to remain is, as the Agents- General declared in 1905, a most distinct declaration of antipathy to any real policy of immigration on the part of the party which now occupies the Treasury benches.

Mr Thomas:

– Would the honorable member allow men to come out under a contract of any kind?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member’s inquiry, like all coming from the same source, is a trap question. Most certainly I would not support absolute liberty of contract free from any restriction. What I have said throughout is that the Government support an absolute prohibition. Their party caused this section to be placed in the Act, and have since persistently refused to allow any modification of it.

Mr Thomas:

– Since when?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Since it was first embodied in the Act of 1901.

Mr Thomas:

– The Act of 1901 has been amended.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– But this general prohibition has never been modified.

Mr Tudor:

– Yes, by the Act of 1905.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I think it will be found that there is nothing in the Act of 1905 that is inconsistent, with the general view I have expressed.

Mr Thomas:

– Under the Act of 1905 It is provided that any one coming from Great Britain under contract must be permitted to enter if the contract provides for the payment of rates of wages current in Australia. Under such circumstances, they can come in as a. matter of right. That provision applies only to persons coming in under contract from Great Britain.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member has referred me to certain provisions of the Contract Immigrants Act of 1905. Section 2 contains this definition - “ Contract immigrant “ means an immigrant to Australia under a contract or agreement to perform manual labour in Australia (in this Act referred to as “the contract”).

Section 4 provides -

Every contract immigrant, unless otherwise prohibited by law, may land in the Commonwealth if the contract is in writing, and is made by, or on behalf of, some person named in the contract and resident in Australia, and its terms are approved by the Minister.

Then section 5 . provides that the Minister shall approve the terms of the contract only -

  1. When a copy is filed with him, and, if he so requires, is verified by oath; and
  2. If in his opinion -

    1. the contract is not made in contemplation of or with a view of affecting an industrial dispute, and
    2. there is difficulty in the employer’s ob taining within the Commonwealth a worker of at least equal skill and ability (but this paragraph does not apply where the contract immigrant is a British subject, either born in the United Kingdom, or descended from a British subject there born) ; and
    3. the remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment are as advantageous to the contract immigrant as those current for workers of the same class at the place where the contract is to be performed ; and
  3. If, where the approval is sought after the contract is made, the contract contains a copy of this, and the immediately preceding section and is expressed to be made subject thereto; and
  4. Before the contract immigrant has landed in the Commonwealth.

I understood the Minister of External Affairs to say that the Act of 1905 provided that persons had a right to come here under contract from Great Britain if the contract provided for the rates of wages current in Australia.

Mr Thomas:

– If it provided for the recognition of Australian conditions.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– This Act provides nothing of the kind. It gives no right to a contract immigrant to come unless the terms of the contract are approved by the person who happens to be for the time being administering the Act. The conditions I have read are merely limitations upon the Ministerial power to permit people to come here, so that he was absolutely wrong in his statement that, under the Act of 1905, every person coming here under contract from Great Britain has a right to land.

Mr Thomas:

– Then the honorable member says that contract immigrants from Great Britain cannot come here as a matter of right?

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– No ; they can only come here subject to the restricted permission of the man who happens to be Minister of External Affairs at the time.

Mr Thomas:

– We are not quibbling, and I should be glad of the honorable member’s advice. Does he say that if a man comes here from Great Britain under contract to work at current rates of wages, I can “ turn him down? “

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Legally, the Minister could do so. The law says so. It is a matter -of plain English requiring no legal opinion. Two conditions are imposed. First of all, the contract must be in writing, and, secondly, the Minister must approve of it. Has the Department taken any different view?

Mr Thomas:

– Yes, on legal advice.

Mr Wise:

– I have never heard the honorable member for Flinders, as a lawyer, speak before in this House until he had considered the question with which he had to deal.

Mr Thomas:

– The policy I have named is that laid down under legal advice that we could not do otherwise. If the honorable member thinks differently, I shall inquire into the matter.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is not my function to advise the . Committee legally, but if the Minister can assure me that he has submitted the exact position that we are now discussing, or that it was submitted to a legal opinion-

Mr Tudor:

– Yes, the exact question.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I suppose it is in writing?

Mr Tudor:

– Yes.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Is there any objection to our seeing it?

Mr Tudor:

– I was not Minister of Trade and Customs at the time.

Mr Thomas:

– The Minister of Trade and Customs has said “ yes “ to the honorable member’s question. I have not. I will look up the papers.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Could there be anything clearer than the plain language that -

Every contract immigrant, unless otherwise prohibited by law, may land in the Commonwealth if the contract is in writing, and is made by or on behalf of some person named in the contract, and resident in Australia, and its terms are approved by the Minister.

If the Minister had not assured me that he had a legal opinion to the direct contrary, then, with all respect to the honorable member for Gippsland, who has chosen to assume, for the purposes of debate, that I am giving an opinion that is not my own, I should have said that the language of the Act was perfectly plain.

Mr Wise:

– I said that the honorable member was giving an opinion without having considered the question.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I should have thought that the honorable member, who is also a lawyer, would take the same view as I do of this plain English.

Mr Thomas:

– In view of the honorable member’s opinion, I shall look into the matter.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Act does not say that the Minister shall approve of the terms of the contract under certain conditions, but only where certain conditions are implied. It restricts his liberty.

Mr Thomas:

– There must be certain conditions. We provide for the observance of union rates of wages or the award of an Arbitration Court.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then the Minister says that those are the only conditions affecting his right?

Mr Thomas:

– I am informed that that is so, so far as contract immigrants from Great Britain are concerned.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I should like to see that opinion, and since it is a question of vital importance, there is no reason for the Department to observe any secrecy in regard to any legal opinion given to it.

Mr Thomas:

– Not at all. The policy I have stated is that which I have followed all along, because I have been told that it is the law.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is another question. If the Minister has in his Department a legal opinion to that effect, the immense importance of this subject would warrant the Committee being placed in possession of it.

Mr Thomas:

– I shall be very glad–

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Then we shall . have it. The provision as to remuneration undoubtedly applies to contract immigrants from Great Britain. It is true that the law says that the Minister shall not consent to a contract unless the remuneration to be paid; under it is equal to the rates of wages paid out here; but it does not say that he “ shall “ consent if the remuneration is equal. The Minister has assured me that he has a legal opinion dealing with this point.

Mr Thomas:

– No; the Minister of Trade and Customs said that there is such an opinion. I did not, but I think there is.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– If the Minister has a legal opinion upon this matter I shall be extremely glad if he will be good enough to let us see it.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta> [10.31 a.m.]. - I think that we ought to have a quorum,. [Quorum formed.] It seems to me that common-sense comes in here as well as law. If, as the honorable member for Flinders contends, the Contract Immigrants Act provides that notwithstanding that all the terms of a contract may be otherwise perfect, the Minister shall have a right of veto, that is precisely what it ought to provide. There are other reasons quite apart from’ the terms of the contract which ought to give the Minister the right to intervene and to prevent an immigrant from landing here.

Mr W H IRVINE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The Minister has promised to lay the legal opinion bearing on this matter - if he has one - upon the table of the House.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Yes. The construction put upon the Statute by the Minister evidently is that so long as the terms of a contract as between employer and employe are unexceptional, he is under an obligation to allow the latter to enter the Commonwealth. I say that there may be a. thousand reasons - other than those which relate to the conditions agreed upon between, employer and employe - why an immigrant should not be permitted to land in Australia. Consequently there must be some residuary power in the Minister to prohibit from coming here a person who ought not to come, quite apart from the terms of an economic contract. But if the at be strictly administered as it stands, at is almost impossible for a contract immigrant to enter Australia. The Minister permits the admission of contract immigrants only by winking at a breach of the law. For instance, the Act sets out that before he may approve the terms of a contract he must satisfy himself that it is not made “ in contemplation of or with a view of affecting an industrial dispute.” How can he know that? Obviously he can only form an opinion. He cannot possess any knowledge on the subject. I notice that the Minister is whizzing himself out of the chamber as usual, and consequently I think we ought to have a quorum present. [Quorum formed.] The Minister before approving any contract is also required to satisfy himself, where the immigrant is other than a British subject, that there is difficulty in the employer obtaining within the Commonwealth a. worker of at least equal skill and ability. Another point upon which he has to satisfy himself is that -

  1. the remuneration, and other terms and conditions of employment, are as advantageous to the contract immigrant as those current for workers of the same class at the place where the contract is to be performed ; and

    1. if, where the approval is sought after the contract is made, the contract contains a copy of this and the immediately preceding section, and is expressed to be made subject thereto; and
    2. before the contract immigrant has landed in the Commonwealth. 1 say frankly that I would not come here under contract under such conditions. How does an immigrant know that while he is on the water something has not occurred to vitiate his contract ? We ask a man to burn his boats on the other side of the world in the expectation that he will not be able to return there for many years, and to come to Australia only to find that while he was on the voyage his contract has been vitiated and disapproved by the Minister. If men come here under those conditions great must be their confidencein the Minister who may preside over this Department from time to time. I am glad that at last we are beginning to organize our ‘ Immigration Branch on a welldefined basis, and on an adequate scale so far as machinery is concerned. I entirely approve of the proposal to erect Commonwealth offices in London. They will be a magnificent advertisement for Australia, and the expenditure will be a useful one. My only objection to that scheme is that it creates an anomaly for which the Government are responsible, inasmuch as while we are borrowing money with which to erect these London offices, we are constructing huge undertakings in Australia out of revenue. I cannot see why we should dis- tinguish between the erection of buildings in London and the erection of buildings in Australia. In the one case the work is being paid for out of loan funds, and in the other case out of revenue. It seems to me that the Government are “ sneaking in “ a loan policy - that they are not doing it in an. entirely straightforward way. Whilst the present Ministry are affirming how enormously ‘the stream of immigration has increased since tliey have been charged with the administration of the Irnmigration Department, another party outside is. conducting a propaganda of an entirely different character.
Mr Sampson:

– I think that we ought to have a quorum present.[ Quorum formed.]

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– There is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.] There is no quorum present. [Quorum formed.]

Mr Bamford:

– I wish to ask you, sir, whether it is not the practice of the House of Commons when . a quorum has been formed to prevent another call being made for a quorum immediately afterwards, seeing that the Chairman of Committees or Mr. Speaker, as the case may be, has already satisfied himself that there is a quorum within the precincts?

The CHAIRMAN:

– Under our Standing Orders any honorable member has a right to call for a quorum at any time.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– While the Minister is claiming credit for having done everything that can be done to attract immigrants to Australia, another propaganda is being conducted outside with a totally different object in view. In this connexion

I propose to read a letter which was sent to London by the Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, in regard to the subject . of immigration. The letter was addressed from the Trades Hall, Goulburn-street, Sydney, and reads : -

Sir,-

Through the medium of your valuable columns I have been directed to place a few facts before the English public with reference to the cost of living and house rent problem in New South Wales. It would be well for intending emigrants from the United Kingdom to study these facts before attempting to emigrate to this State.

House rents during the past five years, where they were formerly gs., us., and 13s., have now risen to 17s. 6d., and as high as 27s. 6d. People are glad to get houses even at that price.

Second. - Cost of living during the last three years. The cost of living- has risen fully 301 per cent.

I hope the Government are taking full credit for that. They are taking credit for everything else.

Tradesmen in England receiving 7s. per day are better off than the men in Australia receiving ns. As you no doubt know, there are several large ventures projected, such as the Naval College and the Federal Capital, but these will not be started for years. The labour market at the present time is over-stocked - that is, as far as carpenters and joiners are concerned, a considerable number of whom are out of employment.

That letter is signed by William James Corbitt, who subscribes himself “ Secretary, Sydney District Management Committee, Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, Trades Hall, Goulburn-street, Sydney.” Here is proof of a statement which has been made in the debate by the honorable member for Parkes, that the Ministerial party have spoken with two contradictory voices on this question of immigration. While Ministers themselves are claiming credit for the accession of immigrants to our shores, their party outside are taking every means in their power to prevent immigrants from coming.

Mr Page:

– Does the honorable member hold us responsible for that letter?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– I say that it represents the honorable member’s attitude outside this House.

Mr Page:

– Does the honorable member hold himself responsible for all the statements which the jokers in his party make outside - Walpole’s statements, for instance ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– Writing with reference to ‘ the letter I have quoted, the

London correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald says -

The Australian trade unions have entered into a campaign of falsity in order to discourage the emigration of skilled tradesmen from this country.

A little while ago a Trade Union Congress met in Sydney, and turned down immigration with a vengeance. The meeting was presided over by the honorable member for Cook, and the’ following resolution was moved : -

That the trade unions of New South Wales as represented by congress request the State Government to discontinue its immigration policy.

Mr. George Saunders, milk and ice carters,submitted the following amendment : -

That the Government be asked to at once take steps to stop the indiscriminate system of immigration now obtaining, and only bring such competent persons, for whom it can be proved there is legitimate employment, without displacing local and competent employes, and that a deputation of three from the congress as deputies, and three from the Labour Council Executive wait upon the Government without delay in reference to this matter.

Mr. Schrieber, in supporting the amendment, made these remarks -

That in the country the population was one and a half persons to the square mile, while in England it was 517 persons. He considered a> home should be made for Englishmen; and to carry the motion would be to make the congress the laughing-stock of all trades unionists and the country.

Another speaker said that he considered -

There was plenty of work in the country, for any man who wanted it. He had been thirtytwo years in the State and had never been out of work, except when he took a holiday. He considered that many men were out of work because they would not accept any other employment than that to which they were accustomed. Those men were content to loaf on others.

A show of hands showed 20 against the amendment, and a division had the same result. The original motion was then carried by 20 votes to 13. Here we have this Government taking all the credit imaginable for what they are doing to assist immigration, and striking a note of triumph as they quote figures which show the tremendous accession of people to our shores since they came into the possession of office. But while that is so, their party outside are passing resolutions affirming that an immigration policy is a huge mistake, and should be discontinued at the earliest possible moment.

Mr Sampson:

– The honorable member can be satisfied as to which section of the party will prevail.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:

– The section outside will prevail. It appears to me to be quite an understood thing. Honorable members opposite, who have to secure votes to get in here, are allowed to dictate a propaganda which will enable them to appeal to votes outside the trades unions, and for that purpose they announce, with their tongues in their cheeks, that they are in favour of immigration ; whilst the unions upon which they also depend take effective steps to prevent it. The sooner we have the facts of the case put before the public, and show what the protestations of Ministers mean, the better it will be for the promotion of immigration. I trust, therefore, that some time during this long sitting to which we have been condemned by the Caucus we shall be able to allow these gentlemen to demonstrate the sincerity of their convictions. We shall expect to see them ranging themselves in solid phalanx with honorable members on this side who are sincerely anxious to bring as many of the right sort of people to these shores as our exigencies at the moment demand. I trust that we shall soon see the organization in London strengthened in every possible way. ‘ Any proposals for that purpose will meet with a very generous response from this side of the House. Something will have to be done upon a very much broader scale than has yet been attempted. I am afraid that we shall not, to the extent that we desire, get men to go into the Northern Territory from the rural districts of Australia. It may be that we shall be able to induce people from over-sea to go to the Northern Territory. I trust that we shall succeed in persuading men who are already in the warmer zones of Australia to cross over. But we shall have to offer them every inducement. They will not go willingly. We shall have to fix in our minds the price that we ought to pay to induce them to settle in the Northern Territory. We can only do that by a “balancing of climate and other disadvantages with the economic and other advantages which we are able to place at their disposal. But we shall have to look to other places, apart from Australia, and apart from England and Scotland, for people to occupy the Northern Territory. For this reason we shall need to strengthen our immigration agencies as at present conducted and centralized in London. I am glad to see, therefore, an item in the Estimates for this purpose. I shall be glad to see other efforts made to widen and extend Immigration facilities in England. The more we can strengthen them and make them adequate, the better it will be for this country.

Mr SAMPSON:
Wimmera

– I think that the position of the present Government in connexion with immigration should be restated in relation to the High Commissioner’s Office. An express provision of the Constitution lays upon this Parliament the responsibility of legislating for immigration to Australia.

Mr Joseph Cook:

– I think there should be a quorum to listen to the honorable member’s argument. [Quorum formed.]

Mr SAMPSON:

– In 1909 the first step of a substantial character was taken towards carrying out the provision of the Constitution to which I have alluded. In 1901 our Immigration Restriction Act was passed to deal with one phase of the matter. In 1909 the High Commissioner was appointed, and one of the most important of his duties was to advertise Australia and supervise immigration. In 1911, at the Imperial Conference, attended by the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs, emigration from England was exhaustively discussed. Mr. John Burns, the President of the Board of Trade, stated that the Imperial Government was most desirous to co-operate with the various Governments of the Dominions in order that the surplus population of Great Britain might be distributed amongst the British Possessions over-seas in as equitable a manner as possible. Mr. Burns then estimated that 300,000 immigrants from Great Britain per annum could be spared. It was estimated that perhaps 80,000 of these would emigrate to foreign countries, leaving 220.000 per annum available for the Dominions. The Prime Minister consented to co-operate with the Imperial Immigration Committee-., in order that the 220,000 per annum might be distributed amongst the Dominions in accordance with their needs and requirements. The High Commissioner has prepared a report full of practical suggestions. He points out how immigration might be more successful in many directions, and indicates the need for the Commonwealth Parliament to provide ships to bring immigrants to this country. We have it on the authority of the Minister of External Affairs that a most important recommendation by the High Commissioner has been definitely rejected by the Government. The High Commissioner’s office and the advertising of Australia in the Old Country cost the Commonwealth about £40,000 a year, and a further expenditure of £600,000 or £700,000 has been authorized for the election of offices in London, which it is thought will prove of immense value, commercially and otherwise, to this country. How far, under the circumstances, the Government can justify the continuance of the present expenditure and the contemplated expenditure, remains to be seen. The High Commissioner, in his report, says -

I have had interviews with deputations of passenger agents and the heads of the shipping companies - who are both deeply interested, the former in earning commission, and the latter in promoting traffic - and I am bound, after the most careful and earnest consideration, to state that I am convinced some assurance, given by those in authority, that emigration to Australia will be encouraged and assisted for a period of at least four or five years, is needed by the shipping companies before they will build the number of passenger steamers necessary. It must be remembered that cargo steamers cannot be converted into passenger steamers, either temporarily or permanently, without a very large outlay. The modern requirements now wisely insisted upon cause ship-building for passengers to be a vastly more expensive task than it used to be.

In this connexion the following extract from Hansard is interesting : -

Mr GROOM:

– Has the Cabinet given any consideration to this proposal?

Mr Thomas:

– I have.

Mr GROOM:

– Has the Minister come to any decision ?

Mr Thomas:

– I have.

Mr GROOM:

– Is the honorable gentleman going to adopt the suggestion which Sir George Reid makes?

Mr Thomas:

– No.

No reason is given by the Government for the decision at which they have arrived ; and the only possible inference is that they are under the control of the unions outside, who do not believe in immigration. Thus the members of the Ministry are tied hand and foot, whatever their own personal opinions may be. As to contract immigrants, the Minister of External Affairs has authority to approve or disapprove of any agreements submitted to him, but we know, as a matter of fact, that the control is largely in the hands of the unions, who have to be consulted, before any action is taken. When I was in Sydney, not long ago, I ascertained that an important union, which charges an entrance premium of £40 per head, had definitely refused permission to a manufacturer there to import skilled! tradesmen, and the result was that ordershad to be refused, thus making way for larger importations from abroad.

Mr Palmer:

– I beg to call attention tothe fact that there is no quorum present. - [Quorum formed.]

Mr SAMPSON:

-The Pacific Cable Board is also referred to in the report of the High Commissioner. It is always good business to complete an undertaking once it is entered upon, and it is highly desirable that there should be an Atlantic cableto place Australia in direct communication with Great Britain. At present there is a; deficit of something like £34,000 a year on the Government cable, and I think not only that this could be wiped out altogether, but that a handsome profit could be made by the Commonwealth, if, in addition to> our control over the land-lines of Australia,, the cable to Vancouver, a