5th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– A distinguished visitor - Mr. W. H. M. Pearson, a member of the House of Commons, and brother of Lady Denman - is coming to see us at 4 o’clock, and as Mr. Speaker will not be then in the chair, I take this opportunity to ask the House to pay him the courtesy of inviting him to take a seat on the floor. I move -
That Mr. W. H. M. Pearson, M.P., be provided with a seat on the floor of the House.
– I second the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Will the Government take into favorable consideration the - desirability of securing reciprocity between those two great nations, the people of the United States of America and the people of the United States of Australia, so that Australia may be well represented at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition?
– A duly accredited Commission from America is now in the Commonwealth, taking steps to secure Australian representation at the Panama Exposition. I shall gladly take into consideration the honorable member’s suggestion.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs, or the Assistant Minister, a question about a notice of the removal of a name from the roll. The notice, addressed to Mabel M. Richards, Wakeham-street, Stawell, is as follows : -
Commonwealth of Australia.
Commonwealth Electoral Act.
Notice of removal of name from roll (Reg. 8.)
You are hereby notified that your name has been removed from the roll for the Stawell subdivision by direction of the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for the State, on the ground that you have ceased to be qualified for enrolment on that roll, and have secured enrolment for the Moyhu subdivision of the division of Indi.
If you desire to make any answer, you should forthwith communicate with me. (Sgd.) R. j. Liddell,
Electoral Registrar for the Stawell Subdivision.
Address - Stawell.
Dated1st day of September, 1913.
William Jack, of Stawell; writes -
Mrs. M. M. Richards. Removed from roll on ground that she is on roll for Moyhu, Indi.
She came to Stawell from Hamilton last August, and has been a resident of Stawell ever since, living at the same address.
Neither she nor her husband has ever been in Moyhu, and they do not know where it is situated.
– Why not send these cases to us, so that we may deal with them departmentally?
– Ministers maintain that there is no attempt to remove from the roll the names of electorswho are entitled to enrolment. I ask them what their reply in this instance is?
– lt is a curious coincidence that there is an M. M. Richards at Moyhu.
– It is a strange thing that the disenrolment of an elector should be justified on the ground that there is another elector of the same name enrolled in some other part of the State.
– If the right honorable member will furnish the facts, the case which he has brought under notice will be inquired into by the Department. I take this opportunity to deal with a matter which he brought before the House some time ago. He referred to an article in the Wondai Times of the 5th September last. A Registrar was alleged to have written to the Farmers Union about the taking of names off the roll, and speaking of this officer, the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for Queensland reports -
The Registrar referred to is Mr. H. McCul- loch, Registrar for the subdivision of Nanango.
He has informed the Divisional Returning Officer for Wide Bay that he mentioned the subject of cleansing his roll to representatives of the Farmers Union and the Workers’ Political Organization -
There is not much party action about that - and received a promise of assistance from both; but, up to date, has received no suggestion from either. He has denied having invited objections from organizations, and stated that any action he has taken has been strictly in conformity with the directions contained in your circular No. 703, and the Instructions to Registrars.
I might mention that the invitation issued by the Attorney-General to organizations to lodge objections has been published by newspapers throughout the State.
– Prior to the last election did the ex-Prime Minister take any objection to the removal of names from the roll? If so, with what result?
– Is that in order?
– I will answer that.
– Yes; the right honorable member did.
– This is a put up affair.
– On the 21st April, 1913, the honorable member for Wide Bay sent a telegram-
– This is a carefully prepared impromptu.
– The following telegram was sent by the ex-Prime Minister to the Chief Electoral Officer, Melbourne -
Statement made to me by reputable authority, Maryborough, Queensland, that disastrous confusion occurring by striking off rolls those names marked left; that only remedy is that Electoral Officer each State be instructed leave roll as printed, except dead, and those applied transfer ; that any further interference bring about wholesale disenfranchisement throughout Commonwealth.
That telegram brought about the departmental inquiry, with the following result -
Registrar advises no names struck off, except in strict accordance Act and Regulations. Only one case known where name resident elector struck off in error, since reinstated. Wrong one of two names struck out on notification transfer. No names knowingly struck off for temporary absence.
– Did the honorable member expect an answer like that!
– It seems to have been going on before.
– I desire to ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs a question. I have received from residents of Barkstead a letter stating that the police are collecting the names of those who have temporarily left their districts, and they suggest that those names should be removed from the rolls. Will the Minister have full inquiries made in connexion with all objections that people have permanently left the district?
– In view of the statement of the Prime Minister, I would like all such questions to be placed on the notice-paper.
– I ask the Minister if it is true that, when notice is sent to an elector that his enrolment is challenged, his reply must be returned within twenty days ? If so, I draw attention to the fact that, in many parts of the Kennedy, Maranoa, and other large electorates, it is not possible to send a letter and to get a reply within that time. Many places have only a fortnightly mail, and replies cannot be returned from them within less than a month; but, if a mail is missed, the reply cannot be returned in less than six weeks. If the law is that a reply must be returned within twenty days, will the honorable gentleman take steps to have it altered ?
– I shall have the matter inquired into. Speaking on the spur of the moment - I ask honorable members not to accept my statement without corroboration - the Act requires a reply to be returned within twenty days. Should that be so, I would like my honorable friends to bring the matter up again during the consideration in Committee of the Electoral Bill, when it will receive proper attention.
Mr.Fenton. - Why not take immediate action?
– If the Act say-
Mr.Fenton. - If it says!
– We must administer the Act as we find it; and if it says that replies must be returned within twenty days, we must give effect to that provision until we can amend the Act.
– The unfortunate thing is that the Minister is openly violating the Act by his administration.
– The statement is without foundation, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– The interjection was disorderly; and, as the statement is objected to, I ask the honorable member to withdraw it.
– The interjection had reference to the fact that the provision requiring a deposit in connexion with the making of an objection has not been complied with. If that is not correct, I withdraw the statement.
– That statement, like many others made by the honorable member, is without foundation. Coming now to a matter spoken of by the honorable member for Brisbane some time ago, the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for Queensland reports -
Evidently, there is some mistake in relation to this subject. The name of John Francis McCarthy has not been removed from the Commonwealth roll. He is one of the many who, in 1911, failed to comply with he regulation requiring every elector, whether already enrolled or not, to furnish a claim for enrolment. Repeated requests have been made to him to furnish his claim, in order that the dummy card may be removed from the index; but, so far, without success.
– In view of the statements which have been made that the Commonwealth Electoral Officers are inviting outside bodies to assist them in keeping the rolls pure and complete, I desire to ask the Treasurer whether he will place upon the Estimates a sum sufficiently large to pay for assistance in this regard ?
– I do not think that any provision has been made on the Estimates for it, nor do I propose to make such provision.
– I would like to take this opportunity to give the official reply to a statement which was made last Friday by the honorable member for Ballarat. He stated -
To-day I received from Ballarat a letter stating that the officer there refused to allow persons to inspect the roll in order to see the names which had been struck off, and the names which had been added.
The Chief Electoral Officer informs me that the Returning Officer reports that all Registrars at Ballarat inform him that they have never refused to allow any one to inspect their official rolls.
– I desire to ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs a question in regard to an objection notice sent to James Cooper, of Beech Forest. In this case, Mr. Watson writes -
James Cooper. - Has been a resident of Beech Forest for past ten years, and has been on the three rolls - Federal, State, and Ratepayers’. He is now objected to because a similar name appears on the Balaclava roll. Also, several names which were on the supplementary roll have not been transferred to the divisional roll.
Do not all these cases indicate that the system pursued is wrong or faulty?
– There is a prior question to be asked, namely, “ Is there anything abnormal in them?”
– The system which the right honorable member has referred to is the normal system which was instituted by his Government a few years ago. I can only say that wherever mistakes arise in departmental administration the Department welcomes a knowledge of those mistakes, because that knowledge will facilitate the successful administration of the Department. But I suggest to my right honorable friend that, as a first step towards correcting these mistakes, the ordinary requirement of the law should be complied with, and the persons affected should reply to the Registrars instead of sending notifications to this House to be dealt with at question time, when obviously the Minister cannot be possessed of the full facts in every instance.
– I desire to ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs whether it is a fact that the Department is accepting objections to names appearing on the roll without the deposit of 5s. which is provided for by law?
– The Department has always investigated information which seemed to its officers to be correctly founded in this regard. It is now following the practice which it has always followed.
– I wish to ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs whether he will inquire the name of the person who objected to my name appearing on the roll two days prior to nomination day in connexion with the last elections, and whether in that instance a deposit of 5s. was lodged?
– I will certainly make that inquiry.
– I desire to bring under the notice of the Assistant Minis ter of Home Affairs a letter which I have received to-day from Creswick. It reads -
Enclosed you will find an objection to a voters name appearing on the roll. Now, this lady, who is my next-door neighbour, has not been out of the district for a long time, and has not resided anywhere else for twenty years. I think the Registrar, who is also the postmaster, should know she is a permanent resident, as she is in the habit of going to the post-office to draw the old-age pension. But this is not the worst feature of the case, for the objection, which is dated September 22nd, did not arrive at her house until Saturday, October 18, so that the twenty days in which she could reply to the objection have lapsed, and, I presume, she has been crossed off the roll. Of course, I will take the necessary steps to haveher name reinstated. I notice that Mr. Fisher stated in the House that twenty days was not sufficient in which to reply to an objection. I thought this might be helpful to you in proving this contention.
Written at Mrs. Sherman’s request by yours faithfully,
I have here the notice of objection in question. It is dated22nd September, and it states that if Mrs. Sherman fails to answer the objection within twenty days from the posting of the notice her name may be struck off the roll.
– Order ! I understood that the honorable member rose to ask a question. Instead of doing so he has made a statement which was more lengthy than I should have allowed, but that I was under the impression that he intended to conclude with a question which the reading of the letter was intended to explain.
Mr.McGrath. - As a matter of personal explanation-
– Order ! There is no personal explanation involved. If the honorable member rises to ask a question he should ask it. If he rises to make a personal explanation he should make it. But I would point out to him that the reading of a letter from somebody else is not asking a question, nor can it be made a pretext for a personal explanation.
– Then I desire to ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the case which I have brought underhis notice?
– The honorable member is in order in doing that.
– I should like to answer this question. I answer it by asking honorable members to put these matters on the notice-paper, otherwise it means consuming half-an-hour of valuable time every day. Honorable members know that the Minister cannot answer these questions until he has made inquiries.
– I am asking him to make inquiries.
– Could not that be done by putting the question on the notice-paper ?
– That leads to delay.
– These are all questions of which notice should be given, and I ask now that any further questions of this nature be placed on the noticepaper.
Rolling Stock. - Agreement with South Australia.
– I desire to invite the attention of the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs to a statement which he is alleged to have made in addressing the Women’s National League last evening, to the effect that on one little item which came under his notice in the Department of Home Affairs he had saved South Australia £125,000 in the manufacture of rolling-stock for the railways. I desire to ask him to what rolling-stock he was referring ?
– I did not say that I had saved South Australia £125,000; but I did say that, very shortly after I was placed in charge of the Department of which the Prime Minister is the head, tenders which had been invited for the supply of £126,000 worth of rolling-stock to enable the Oodnadatta-Port Augusta railway to be run by Commonwealth instrumentalities came before me. By arrangement with the State of South Australia, the purchase of that 3-ft. 6-in. gauge rolling-stock was obviated, and £126,000 was thus saved to the Commonwealth.
– Because it was an Australian contract.
– That is just about as childish as many other statements which emanate from the right honorable gentleman.
– Is the Minister of External Affairs in a position to lay on the table the agreement arrived at between his Department and the South Aus tralian Government regarding the running of trains on the Oodnadatta to Port Augusta railway?
– No. There are some points that still remain to be settled.
– You are a long time settling them. It is about time we knew one way or another.
– There is nothing to conceal about the agreement.
– But the delay prevents us discussing the question in the House.
– I hope honorable members will have that opportunity. A draft of the agreement was prepared some time ago, and might, perhaps, have reached our Department earlier than this. I saw the authorities concerned in South Australia a fortnight ago, and looked through their draft, and certain amendments which I made to it are now under their consideration. Within the last half -hour I have telegraphed to the Commissioner of Railways in South Australia, asking whether I could take advantage of the presence of one of his officers here to deal with this matter, and I hope that within the course of a few weeks the agreement will be ready. I shall afford every opportunity to honorable members to see it.
– In view of the state- . ment made by the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, does not the Minister see that it is a fair thing the House should have the information as soon as possible?
– I do not know what the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs has said. There is nothing for blame, praise, credit, or discredit to any side about the matter. It is, on the whole, a fair arrangement to enter into - in fact, honorable members know the terms of it - and as soon as I have the opportunity I shall place the agreement on the table.
Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to-
That the House at its rising adjourn until 3 o’clock p.m. to-morrow.
– Has the Prime Min ister read the crushing reply of Dr. Millard, the health officer for Leicester, in England, to Professor Berry’s scare article on the small-pox epidemic? If so, I wish to know whether the Government are guided by Professor Berry in maintaining the embargo that now rests on the city of Sydney and the surroundings?
– I know nothing about it.
– I would like to know if the Minister of Trade and Customs saw in the Melbourne Herald, on Saturday, a statement reported to be made by Dr. Paton, the Health Officer in New South Wales, declaring that the information given to the State authorities in regard to the unfortunate woman who died in quarantine in child-birth, was not in accordance with facts; that the State authorities made the public statement that this woman did not die on account of small-pox from information received from the Federal officers, and that it was only after they saw the registration of the death that they were able to make the correction, and inform the public properly. Secondly, I would ask the Minister whether he now justifies his indignation at my retort that the whole truth of this matter had not been given to the” public ?
– I certainly do justify my indignation.
– What about the report in the paper?
– The report has nothing to do with the facts. I make again this statement-
– If they are going to begin this do not answer them. They ask a question, and they will not allow us to answer it.
– My indignation was based on this ground, that honorable members made charges against the reputation of departmental officers, charges of doing things dishonest.
– Order !
-I do not wish to infringe the rules of the House, but I say that I had no justification whatever for disbelieving the reports that were made to me by officers of the Department, against whom charges were made which seemed to me to have no justification.
– Dr. Paton has said that the State officers were deceived.
– Immediately the question was put in the House on Friday I gave instructions - and I understand those instructions are being complied with - for a full report of the whole proceeding, including the isolation of this patient in the hospital.
– Who had control of this woman - the Federal or the State authorities ?
– The trouble is that you have muddled the control.
– Order !
– What I said before was this : The State authorities are responsible for deciding whether the cases are smallpox, and whether persons are. to be removed to the quarantine station which the Federal authorities have placed at their disposal for the purpose.
– And what?.
– Are you not responsible for the control of the quarantine station ?
– Our officers are in charge of the quarantine station.
– Then why not take the responsibility ?
– We do take the responsibility. I read a report to the House, and I said that I would cause further inquiries to be made. Those further reports are not yet to hand.
– Did our doctor or the State doctor order this woman into quarantine ?
– Order ! There is a running fire of interjections. The Minister is entitled to make his reply without interjection.
– And without assistance from the Prime Minister.
– I think, in a case like this, one is entitled-
– May I hand you the newspaper ?
– I have seen the paragraph. It was not the Commonwealth authorities who ordered this woman into quarantine.
– But they made a false report.
– I have called for a report on all the facts, and I have already told the House that as soon as this report is available it will be placed before honorable members. I may say there is no desire on the part of the officers to withhold the slightest information.
– Can the Prime Minister inform us when the flagship Australia will enter Hobson’s Bay. I ask him is it not a fact that when that vessel arrived in Sydney, the men and lads belonging to New South Wales obtained three weeks’ leave; and, if so, whether the same leave will be granted to the Victorian men and lads when the flagship arrives in Hobson’s Bay?
-Obviously these are all questions that should go on the notice-paper. I cannot answer them without inquiry. It is ridiculous to take up public time by submitting questions which honorable members know cannot be answered without inquiry.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General what action he proposes to take in connexion with the American Beef Trust operating in Queensland?
– I have informed the House that the Minister of Trade and Customs has that matter under consideration.
– Is it the intention of the Treasurer to introduce a Supplementary Budget in order to allow for further expenditure on the lighthouses on the plan notified in the press, namely, that the expenditure is to be over three times the amount that is set forth in the Budgetpapers, and which was not stated until it was drawn forth by the debate in this House!
– The information appearing in the press was communicated by the Minister of Trade and Customs in this House. I have no present intention of introducing Supplementary Estimates.
– As the Prime Minister was unable to answer my question because he had not read the article, I would like to put the question to the . Minister of Trade and Customs.
– Order ! The honorable member cannot ask the same question twice.
– May I say, with all due respect to you, sir, that the Prime Minister “would have answered the question but for the fact, as he admitted, that lie had not read the article 1 Surely
I am entitled to ask the Minister who Is in charge of the Department the question !
– Order ! A question which has been once asked cannot be asked again in the same sitting.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence whether he noticed in the newspapers this morning a statement-
– Is this another rigged up question ?
– No; the rigged up stuff was all right, though. The statement in the newspaper is that a meeting of thirty officers of the Defence Force had decided to try to alter a determination of the Minister of Defence.
– What determination?
– I wish to know whether the House or the officers of the Defence Department are to be responsible for the military policy of this country.
– I shall have inquiries made into this matter immediately.
– The honorable member for East Sydney has handed me a letter stating it is his intention to move the adjournment of the House to call attention to a matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ the continued quarantine embargo on Sydney.”
Five honorablemembers having risen in theirplaces.
.- I regret exceedingly that I have to again bring before honorable members the case of the woman who died at the Sydney Quarantine Station, because nobody is more sensitive than I am about bringing the bereavement of the family continually before the public. On the 30th August last the Sydney MorningHerald and newspapers throughout Australia reported that the woman had died at the Sydney Quarantine Station, and that the cause of death was heart trouble, owing to shock, and that prior to death she was delivered of a child. That, in my opinion is a true statement of the cause of death. I went over to Sydney, where I made further inquiries, and’ found that those connected with the
Health Department are still of the opinion that the death was owing to heart failure in the circumstances. I may mention that that opinion is “confirmed to a considerable extent by statements made by the husband and the sister of the deceased woman. She was a delicate woman, they said, and on a previous occasion a child died. The last child she gave birth to was a healthy one, and, according to a statement made to me by Dr. Paton, there was every possibility of the child living. It does seem strange that nothing was known about the woman’s death until Mr. Trivett, the registrar, saw a report in the newspaper. He went round to the office of the Health Department, where he learned that death had occurred from shock, as stated in the Sydney Morning Herald of 30th September and the newspapers throughout Australia. The statement which the Minister made the other day came as a surprise to every one who had been watching the course of events. According to a statement I have received from Dr. Paton, the lady, who was in the “rash” stage of the epidemic, that is, in the convalescent stage, was able to walk to the motor car which took her to the place of departure for the Quarantine Station, and that hers was simply one of those mild cases where there was no possibility of death occurring from that particular disease. I believe that the medical officer would not have removed the woman had she been known to be in that state when, we understand, it would be undesirable to shift her. Until last Friday, the Minister had not given us any information concerning this occurrence, nor were the public made aware of any facts in connexion with it. It seems strange that the Minister should manifest surprise at the suggestion that a mistake has been made, and that he should seem inclined to doubt the wisdom of his officers. I believe that reports were made to the Board of Health that death was due to heart failure, the result of shock, and that the certificate given was that death was due to small-pox.
– Does the honorable member say that a certificate was given that death was due to any other cause?
– I am .only pointing out that the Minister evidently learned with surprise that this woman died, not from heart failure due to shock, but from small-pox. I have taken this action because I desire to remove from the minds of the people of Australia any fear regarding what may happen if the quarantine embargo be removed. If the fact that in this case a certificate of death from small-pox was given is to be used as a reason for extending the proclamation, a great injustice ‘will be done to the citizens of Sydney. Seeing that, until last week, we were in ignorance of the fact that the death of this lady was certified to as being due to small-pox, it seems strange that the Minister should now make a statement entirely at variance with all previous utterances on the question. I should like the Minister to give us the reason for this change of front on his part. I would remind him that the deceased lady, on being removed to quarantine, was sent into hospital because she was suffering from heart trouble. Whether this incident has arisen from the joint Federal and State control, I do not know, but the Minister cannot divest himself of the responsibility for the present position of Sydney in the matter of quarantine. He cannot put the blame on his officers. He must take the responsibility.
– He has done so all along.
– The Minister has been told that there is no necessity to continue the embargo, and I fail to see why he should urge that the death of this unfortunate woman warrants its continuance. I saw Dr. Paton while in Sydney, and he is of opinion that the statement first made as to the cause of death in this case is the correct one.
– What was the first statement ?
– That death was due to heart failure, the result of shock.
– Caused by her removal to quarantine ?
– I cannot say that. I have moved the adjournment of the House because I think the question is one of great importance, and that the continuance of the embargo is a very serious matter. Unless there is solid ground for its continuance, it should be removed without further delay. Statements have been made to me by a member of the medical profession which I am not prepared to make public, but I shall be glad to acquaint the Minister privately of their purport. If the honorable gentleman would visit Sydney; I think that, with the assistance of myself and others, he would soon be convinced that lie was making a mistake in failing to withdraw the proclamation. I have said from the first that an error of judgment has been committed in quarantining Sydney, and I still hold that opinion. I believe this unfortunate woman would have been alive to-day had she not been removed to the Quarantine Station. There was no real necessity for her removal. I do not wish to make too much of the information I have regarding this unfortunate case. The lady had friends who loved her, some of whom live not far from me, and it is because of a desire not to wound their feelings that I refrain from going more fully into details. I trust that the Minister will be a little more careful in future; that he will see that he has authentic authority for the statements he makes, and that, unless he has really good ground for doing so, he will not issue a” quarantine proclamation such as he issued in the case of the Sydney outbreak, in the event of a scare in any other part of the Commonwealth.
– I do not desire to detain the House at any length in regard to this matter, but the time has arrived when the Minister might very well approach it from a fresh point of view, and, without panic or bias, consider the subject on its merits. A layman, of course, approaches the whole question with great trepidation, since he knows little or nothing about it. What we do know is that we are menaced by a most dreadful scourge, which, happily, in this case, has proved very much less fatal than heretofore. The Minister and his colleagues in the Cabinet have acted on the advice of the Director of Quarantine, but I hope that the honorable gentleman will have some regard for the opinion which is now beginning to manifest itself as to the exact value of vaccination and the value of- quarantine as distinguished from vaccination. I want to put the matter shortly to the Minister as it occurs to me. The honorable gentleman has acted on the advice of his medical adviser. If he be incompetent to give advice, naturally the position of the Government is a most unenviable one. I do not suggest that that is so at all. The Government are in this matter in the same position as is the layman in regard to a matter of law. The layman takes the lawyer’s advice, frequently, no doubt, to his utter undoing; but he has no alternative. Although the Government have acted as the Director of Quarantine has advised, there seems to be grave reason for believing that the course of action which that officer has suggested is not warranted by the circumstances. First of all, I wish to deal with vaccination, presuming that to be a matter clearly within the jurisdiction of the States - a presumption which I do not altogether admit. In regard to vaccination, which is now under State control, the position taken up by the Government is that the quarantine of Sydney is to be continued until such a proportion of the people of that city are vaccinated as will minimize the danger to the other States, or, failing that, until the epidemic has died down. Although the Minister seems to deny, that proposition, the Board of Health of New South Wales appears to think that one of the most effective ways of shortening the period of quarantine is to vaccinate all who can be vaccinated in the State of New South Wales. That brings us directly to the question : Is vaccination a preventive of small-pox, and, if so, whether infantile vaccination alone is a preventive? If it is not, is there any possibility of making adult vaccination compulsory in that State? I have seen to-day a letter from the Medical Officer of Health for Leicester, which I commend to the Minister of Trade and Customs. The statements made therein can scarcely be refuted, because they deal with matters which clearly came within the scope of the doctor’s personal observation. We must assume that they are facts which will bear investigation. They prove, in the clearest possible way, that unvaccinated Leicester has had, for the last thirty years, an experience which shows that, without vaccination, the death rate from small-pox has not exceeded 2 per annum. Adult vaccination was not practised there, but infantile vaccination at one period was general, and practically every infant was vaccinated. At this period, when infantile vaccination had been practised for many years, an epidemic swept over the town, resulting in very high mortality indeed. I direct the attention of the Minister especially to this statement -
During the four years 1868-1871, the registered vaccinations amounted to 87 per cent, of the births, the infant death, of course, accounting for much of the deficiency. The then medical officer of health for the town, in his annual reports for the years 1S69 and 1S70, was able to state that vaccination had been “ sedulously attended to,” and he claimed the comparative immunity of the town from small-pox as evidence of the effect of vaccination.
He goes on to say, however, that an epidemic swept the town, with most disastrous results. They then abolished compulsory vaccination, and the results for thirty years placed before us are of a most convincing type, and all point to the fact that infantile vaccination is not a preventive of small-pox. The doctor further says -
It is quite true that in Leicester (as elsewhere) recently, vaccinated persons, which, of course, includes the small-pox hospital staff, do not take small-pox. Moreover, contacts who are willing to submit to the operation immediately a case of small-pox is discovered in a house, usually escape. This fact greatly minimizes the danger of postponing vaccination until the need for it really arises, which, in the case of the great majority of people, it probably never will do.
We are not able to express any opinion about this, we must accept the facts.
– What does the honorable gentleman suggest ?
– That is the opinion of Dr. Millard, medical officer of Leicester.
– Has the honorable gentleman any suggestion to make? We should be glad to hear it if he has.
– We have to deal, not with the facts we want, but with facts as they are. I am not expressing any opinion. I am not an opponent of vaccination by any manner of means. No man appreciates more than I do the fact that the advances of medical science during the last twenty-five years have been largely along the line of inoculation by a serum of one kind or another. I am dealing with the facts as they are set out in this letter, and as they seem to me to apply to our present circumstances. Dr. Millard further says -
There is another fact which the experience of Leicester has demonstrated, viz., that persons who have once been vaccinated, say, in infancy, and who have not renewed the protection by re-vaccination, are very apt to take the disease in a highly modified form, which is very apt to be ‘Overlooked. These unrecognised cases ‘have been a most fruitful means of spreading infection. So much is this the case .that I consider that it would be much more accurate to describe the once-vaccinated, rather than the unvaccinated, as those who are the real danger to the community.
That is a most startling statement.
– Does the honorable gentleman know the reason 1
– The Minister’s opinion on the subject is not worth anything, any more than mine is. I only ask him to refer the statements made here to the Director of Quarantine. If there be any room for hesitation or doubt, medical men should be asked to assure the community. It may be that the experience we are going through now, and the scare about vaccination, are really unwarranted by the present trouble, and that vaccination is not by any means a preventive. In England, where for centuries small-pox has been endemic as well as epidemic, during 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1910, there was not one death from the disease, although infantile vaccination is compulsory in some places, though not in all. On the other hand, there have been a number of deaths from vaccination. That fact is now perfectly established. England has held small-pox at bay without the universal compulsory vaccination and adult re-vaccination, which, according to the German theory, and the opinion of Dr. Cumpston, are essential to the prevention of the disease. For five years there has not been one death from small-pox in a community of over 40,000,000 persons, but, on the other hand, there have been many deaths directly attributable to vaccination. The statements of Dr. Millard are likely to be correct, because they relate to facts that came under his own eyes, and about which as a professional man he should be competent to “speak. He is certainly not an anti-vaccinationist, because he states that he took his infant child, and his wife, who had been newly vaccinated, to the bedside of a confluent small-pox patient, to demonstrate that vaccination duly performed confers temporary immunity. I come now to the subject of quarantine. Sydney has been quarantined because of the small-pox outbreak there ; but quarantine has not been found necessary to check the spread of the disease in England. When there is small-pox in London, the greatest port in the world, or in Liverpool, it is not thought necessary to resort to quarantine, and there have been no deaths in England from small-pox for the last five or six years. In the face of Dr. Millard’s statements, I ask Ministers to obtain authority to corroborate Dr. Cumpston’s opinion, if they intend to persist in their present action.
– What authority?
– A Commission, consisting of a medical man and two competent laymen, not members of Parliament, should be appointed to ascertain what is the practice in other parts of the world, and what is necessary to be done here to safeguard, the health of the citizens of Australia.
.- This afternoon, I attempted to ask a series of questions dealing with this subject, but, by a ruling- of Mr. Speaker, I was prevented from doing so. Dr. Millard is recognised as one of the ablest and most experienced authorities on small -pox in England. In to-day’s Argus is published a letter written by him in reply to extravagant statements published in that journal some time ago upon the authority of Professor Berry, of Melbourne. Professor Berry spoke of the efficacy of vaccination, and the need for it, but, in doing so,, he used language which would be discreditable to even an ordinary medical man, and. was- much more so to one -occupying the position of a professor in this great country. He made statements such as, if made by me in .this House, Mr. Speaker would rule out of order, I believe. His statements were of a highly dangerous character, and in the nature of a scaremonger’s efforts. Dr. Millard- read Professor Berry’s letter, and has now replied to it. When the matter was being discussed some time ago, the Minister of Trade and Customs mentioned with great pride that Professor Berry was behind Dr. Cumpston in his anxiety to place the case of vaccination before the public in such, a manner that they must accept the dictum of the Quarantine Department. Dr. Millard has been Public Health Officer of Leicester for many years, and I have never in my life seen a man so humiliated as Professor Berry has been by his reply. Among the statements of Professor Berry was this, that the great industrial centreof Leicester, at one time- a thoroughly vaccinated town, relaxed its laws- in regard to vaccination, or permitted them to fall into disuse, and was then visited by an epidemic of small-pox, resulting in the death of two-thirds of its infant population. Can one imagine a man in the responsible position occupied by university professors,, to whom the public look for light and leading, making a statement like that, in face of the facts set forward in Dr. Millard’s reply? Dr. Millard says that, prior to 1868 and 1869, 92 per cent, of the people of Leicester had been thoroughly vaccinated,, the town being considered one of .the best vaccinated in the country, but that, in 1872, an epidemic of small-pox laid low a very large number of its citizens, 346 succumbing in one year. After 1872, the people of Leicester, seeing that vaccination did not prevent death from smallpox, but that the population had died in greater numbers when vaccinated than when un vaccinated, found that it was time to give up vaccination, and they allowed it to go by the board. Prosecutions were instituted against people who neglected, to comply with the law, and the penalty was paid by the people rather than comply with the law, which they regarded as a danger. Owing to the people continuing to pay the penalties the authorities allowed the law to fall into disuse, and vaccination became a dead letter in that town. From 1872 right on the town has taken every precaution to meet this great scourge by sanitation, by isolation, by localizing the disease, and by treating it in a manner that is generally more in accord with the most advanced scientific ideas of the day. Sine? that time they have had three epidemics: brought into the town of Leicester, and, as Dr. Millard says, they were brought from localities where people were still being vaccinated. These epidemics were of a more or less severe character. Tn the whole of them, occurring as they did in a practically unvaccinated community, where only 12 per cent, of the people were vaccinated, there were only sixteen deaths of children under fifteen years of age in the first epidemic; in the second, ten; and in the third, three. Altogether, since they have allowed vaccination to fall into disuse,, there have been only fifty-four deaths, or- not two deaths per year, in an industrial population of 230,000, whereas, in the one epidemic in 18-72 there were 346 deaths in the epidemic. Yet Professor Berry hasthe audacity to put before -the people of this country a statement that twothirdsof the infant life of the town of Leicester had been sacrificed owing to neglect toapply the law of compulsory vaccination. Can one- imagine anything more unjustifiable than for a man in Professor Berry’sposition to make an irresponsible statement of that kind at a time when people- were being driven to the shambles to be vaccinated by an unsympathetic Government, and by the head of a Department who, in my judgment, has neither the experience, nor the age, nor the study, nor the knowledge necessary to guide the destinies of a big country like this on a great question of this character? I say this without any hesitation, and without any disrespect whatever; but let honorable members compare Dr. Cumpston with Dr. Millard.
– Do you know anything about Dr. Millard?
– I quoted his experience in my other speeches in this House. He is, and has been for many years, the public health officer for the town of Leicester.
– Do you know what degrees he holds?
– He signs himself M.D., D.Sc, but I do not take the number of letters that follow a man’s name as an indication of his ability, or of how much he can comprehend of a subject. I would rather judge a man by his experience, and by the way in which he is regarded by the authorities who write upon a question. There is hardly an authority who discusses the question of vaccination or small-pox that does not quote Dr. Millard as one of the persons who have made a thorough research into this question, and, indeed, discovered that it is not vaccination that is going to lemove the epidemic of small-pox, but sanitation and cleanliness, that the laws of health have to be attended to, and that when a case of small-pox occurs, instead of merely vaccinating the contacts and letting them go far and wide throughout the community, they must be isolated.
– The Commonwealth has done nothing to prevent that being done.
– It is all very well for the Minister to shelter behind the State authorities.
– I have not done so.
– The honorable member has unworthily sheltered himself behind them.
– Order ! The honorable member must not reflect on another honorable member.
– When we refer to this matter here, the authorities say, “ We are not to blame; the State is to “blame.”
– Do you not think the State . authorities behaved very badly ?
– Where there is dual control, and the superior power, such as the Commonwealth, takes upon itself to proclaim 15 miles as an infected area in a way that no law “allows any State Government to do, it practically enforces vaccination, without any authority to do it. The Government set vaccination going as a cure for variola, and from 100,000 to 200,000 people who otherwise would not have been vaccinated were forced into vaccination by the action of the Minister of Trade and Customs and his officers.
– Do you know of any other place where there have been so many cases of small-pox and so few deaths?
– The answer to that lies in what Dr. Millard says in reply to Professor Berry -
Persons who have been once vaccinated, say’, in infancy, and who have not renewed the protection by re-vaccination, are apt to take the disease in a highly modified form, which is very apt to be overlooked. These unrecognised cases have been a most fruitful means of spreading infection. So much is this the case that I consider that it would be much more accurate to describe the once-vaccinated, rather than the unvaccinated, as those who are the real danger to the community.
– In what way?
– He is not altogether opposed to vaccination, as I am, for I consider that the remedy is a thousand times worse than the disease; but he says that recent vaccination is the only thing which has any virtue in it.
– They will “have” you again.
– I detest any one who treats this matter in a jocular way. It is a question of life and death to this country, and there is no room -for laughter at the suffering and grief that it has produced in the State to which I belong. The subject is far too serious for jocularity, and it ill becomes members to treat it in a light way. Dr. Millard lays it down that where a person has been vaccinated in infancy, he is liable to take small-pox in a mild form. He says that that is where the, danger lies, as such persons are allowed to go abroad and spread the disease among others, whereby it is likely to become malignant, which, however, is not the experience in New South Wales today.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I regret ‘that, on a motion of this kind, not many minutes are allowed to deal with such an important question. It is, indeed, rather an unsatisfactory way of dealing with it, and why this form of discussion has been initiated by my honorable friends opposite I am unable to understand. It is as unsatisfactory to them as it is to us.
– I asked you to give me a day for it.
– I believe the honorable member has taken more than one day on the subject. I appreciate the tone and temper of the speech made by the honorable member for West Sydney, the ex-Attorney-General. We welcome a discussion of this question which is dispassionate, and which only seeks to ascertain the facts. It contrasts very strangely with those diatribes to which we listen almost without end, and in which nothing practical is suggested, but only bitter denunciation of the efforts of those who are trying to cope with this dire disease is indulged in. This matter is occupying the very serious and anxious attention of the Government. We realize that something more must be done, since there seems no decline and no serious abatement of the trouble. We had hoped a few days ago that the end was in sight, and when several days went by and only two or three cases were reported, we naturally came to the conclusion that there was some abatement of the malady, but now there is apparently a resurrection of the whole thing. Its malignity to-day is quite equal, I suppose, to anything during the whole period that it has lasted in our community. We have come to the point that our remedies that have been applied up to the present have not overtaken the disease.
A whole series of inquiries naturally crop up on this point : Is the disease endemic ? Is it going to be always here? Cannot it be stamped out of Australia, and what steps should be taken to prevent its spread to the other States? Is there a danger of its spreading in its present form? Indeed, there are a whole crop of questions that are ripe for answer, but, before saying what we should like to do, I desire to press the point that this Government has never interfered with the internal administration of the State; although, by some strange perversion of things, the Government are blamed for all that the State is doing, and for all that the State fails to do.
– No other Government have done what your Minister has done.
– The honorable member would rather blame anybody than the Labour Premier in his own State.
– You want to make a partymatter of it.
– As the honorable member does always. He only wants to blame the Government ! The authorities who were responsible for that unfortunate woman who lost her life the other day were not the Commonwealth authorities at all. They did not order her removal. They had nothing whatever to do with it. They simply gave her the best attention they could after she had been placed in quarantine. But those responsible for putting her in quarantine were the State authorities. The State Premier must, in the last resort, accept the responsibility. It is not fair to attempt to lay on the Commonwealth Government the blame which ought fairly to rest on the State authorities. But the question which we have to consider is, ,: What is to be done for the future, and how may we arrive at a determination on this matter which will satisfy the community that the best possible is being done under the circumstances ?”
I should like to say that Dr. Cumpston, the Minister, and myself havealready been in serious consultation on this subject. Dr. Cumpston is far from wishing to keep the whole responsibility in his hands without further inquiry. The question which arises is, “ What form should that inquiry take?” Some say,. “ Give us a medical commission.” Others exclaim, “ Give us a lay commission.” There are three members of thisHouse who would absolutely ignore the total medical opinion of Australia, and act on their own responsibility.
– Not necessarily. They would take a common-sense view of thesituation.
– The said commonsense view would consist in unconditionally lifting the quarantine.
– Not necessarily; it would depend on the result of the inquiry.
– What inquiry?
– Would the Prime Minister accept the advice of the Health Board of New South Wales?
– I would remind the honorable member that this is an Australian question, and not a purely New South Wales question. I tell him that I welcome suggestions that will make this inquiry a thorough and fair one to the people of Australia. In the last resort, every man, every woman, and every Government in Australia is interested in this very vital question. That is the aspect of affairs which is engaging our attention at the present time. Before many days are over, I hope to be able to announce to the House and the country that we have instituted a further inquiry, with a view to seeing what is the best thing to do with this trouble.
– What form will it take ? ,
– I have not yet decided. I am open to receive any suggestions.
– Will the Prime Minister accept the opinion of the Health Board of New South Wales ?
– I tell the honorable member again that this is an Australian question, and not a purely New South Wales question.
– I suggest the appointment of a mixed commission - that is, a commission consisting of both medical men and laymen.
– I frankly confess ‘that my own mind is running in that direction. I am afraid the matter cannot be left where it is, nor can it be left solely in the hands of the New South Wales Health Board. I am sure that the honorable member for East Sydney would settle it in about ten minutes, and the probability is that he would settle a good many other things within the same time.
– Has the Prime Minister in his mind the appointment of a committee to inquire into the best methods for releasing Sydney from quarantine ?
– I have in my mind a form of inquiry which will deal with the whole question, not merely as it affects Sydney, but as it affects the whole administration of quarantine in reTgard to these diseases. I do not see why we cannot review the whole scheme of quarantine to. see if it be necessary to formulate any new plan-
– Let us discuss it on the Estimates.
– I hope we shall not do that.
– I am going to worry the Prime Minister until I get some relief for my unfortunate brothers.
– I would suggest that the best relief which the honorable member can get is to take a dose of saying nothing for a little while. He has expended so much nervous energy upon this question that I am afraid he has taken a few years off the duration of his life. However, I am not complaining just now. We “welcome any suggestion which will help us to get to the bottom of the trouble as it at present exists. If any honorable member has in his mind any idea of. the form that the inquiry should take, I invite him to give us the benefit of it. This is not, and ought not to be, a party question. I hope before many days have passed we shall take the responsibility of suggesting a further inquiry in’to the whole of this troublesome question, in the hope that we may arrive .at a satisfactory method of dealing with it finally. _
.- I think that the honorable member for East Sydney and the honorable member for Gwydir ought to be congratulated on having, at last, obtained from the Prime Minister a promise that he will do something in connexion with this matter. A few weeks ago, he and the Minister of Trade and Customs were adamant upon it. They were not going to lift the quarantine. Now, after many days, and after many speeches have “been delivered upon it by the honorable members to whom I have referred, and because Ministers have noticed that the people of Sydney are becoming angry, and are about to call public meetings, the Government are going to consider the question of appointing a commission to inquire into the matter. I sincerely hope that that .commission will not con.sist solely of members of the medical profession. I have heard on pretty good authority that the medical profession in Australia are almost unanimous as to the complete efficacy of vaccination. So strong is the feeling amongst the majority of medical men that those who might feeldisposed to raise an objection to it do not care to do so publicly, though they may mention to their friends privately that they have not the same faith in vaccination that their colleagues have. It would be idle, therefore, to appoint a commission consisting exclusively of medical men. The Prime Minister has asked for suggestions from honorable members as to the form which the inquiry should take. It is very difficult for an honorable member to offer a suggestion on the receipt of such a sudden invitation. But I do hope that the membership of the commission will not be confined to the medical profession, and that the Government will select a scientist in some otherwalk of life to act upon it.
– A good plumber.
– I dare say that a good plumber would be able to offer some very excellent advice, as I intend to show by reference to a letter which I propose to tread in a few minutes. There is no doubt that the want of a good plumber to insure proper sanitary conditions has had a ‘lot to do with the present epidemic. I hope that ; the Prime Minister will see thatthe people who are opposed to vaccination obtainfair representation on this commission. In saying that, I do not suggest for a moment that the Prime Minister should select members of Parliament, although I have a very much higher opinion of the ability of members of Parliament to elicit information than I have of others. There are a great many more people in the community who are opposed to vaccination than the Governanent appear to think. Why, the Premier of this State - Mr. Watt - has been fined, at least once, for refusing to have his child vaccinated. Many honorable members of this House have submitted to similar treatment.
– I have been fined four times.
– Then the honorable member ought certainly to be entitled to a retrospective paternity allowance. The honorable member for Barrier has been fined £2 for refusing to have his child vaccinated. I have been fined £2. I am amongst those who have the gravest objection tothe inoculation of a healthy individual with a virus of that kind. So long as I am able to pay the fine, I hope I shall continue to pay it. But there are a great many persons in the community who are unable to pay the fine. I do not agree with those who complain that the Premier of New South Wales - Mr. Holman - should have endeavoured to force his Vaccination Bill through the Parliament of that State.
– It would have been the end of him if he had done so.
– It would have been a gross mistake, and it would not have effectually dealt with this trouble at all. Many persons are opposed to vaccination, but, unfortunately, owing to the views held by a majority of the community, their opinions arenot allowed to appear in public. In this connexion I wish to bring under the notice of the House a letter which appears in theCommonweal, a little monthly journal which is published in Victoria, is edited by the Reverend Dr. Strong, and costs 2s. 6d. or 3s. per . annum. The letter is written by Mr. W. T. Pyke, whom most Victorians know well, and is headed “ Vaccination and Small-pox.” It reads -
As both morning newspapers are rabidly advocating stringent vaccination laws and suppressing all communications opposed to their views, a few notes on this subject may not be out of place. The British Royal Commission on “Vaccination unanimously disapproved of legal compulsion by the insertion of a conscience clause. The minority report recommended that the law” be amended by the repeal of the compulsory clauses of the Acts.
These four opinions ought to be pondered over : - “I hold it to be proved that compulsory vaccination has been a complete fallacy ; that so far as logic has enabled us to prove anything, it has proved that vaccination, in the absence of sanitation, is inoperative on mortality ; and that, in its presence, it becomes a sheer superfluity.” - Sir W. J. Collins, M.D., B.S., D.Sc, F.R.C.S. (a member of the Royal Commission). “ Vaccination is the most gigantic piece of quackery ever exploited among a civilized people.” - Dr. Hadwen (who knows more about small-pox than any Australian doctor). “ Small-pox, typhus, and other fevers occur on common conditions of : foul air, stagnant putrefaction, bad house drainage, sewers of deposit, excrement-sodden sites, filthy street surfaces, impure water, and overcrowding. The entireremoval of such conditions is the effectual preventive of diseases of these species, whether in ordinary or extraordinary visitations.” - Sir Edwin Chadwick, C.B.
Science is in the main most useful, but is sometimes proud, wild, and erratic, and has lately proposed a desperate device for the prevention of infectious perils. She proposes to prevent one peril by setting up another. She would inoculate new diseases into our old stock, in the anticipation that the new will put out the old. I pray you do not be led away by this conceit. This manufacture, of spickandspan new diseases in our human, bovine, equine, ovine, canine, and, perhaps, feline species, is too much to endure the thought of, especially when we know that purity of life is all-sufficient to remove what exists, without invoking what is not.- Sir B. W. Richardson, LL.D., F.R.S.
The Earl of Shaftesbury, many years ago, said “ it was perfectly correct that the smallpox was chiefly confined to the lowest class of the population, and he believed that with improved lodging-houses the disease might be- all but exterminated.”
The remedy for small-pox, as for all other dirt diseases, is personal and national cleanliness. Slums must be abolished. Vaccination only adds inward filth (i.e., cow-pox) to perhaps an otherwise healthy body. If you sow disease, you must reap ill-health in some shape or other. There is nothing better than good health. It is easily obtained by breathing fresh air day and night, using plenty of water inside and outside, eating nourishing food, and ‘cultivating a serene mind. Do these, and you can laugh at smallpox and all other diseases of like nature, which, after all, are only Nature’s scavengers, warning us that we have infringed some of her laws. But don’t vaccinate. See that our legislators pass proper laws to help all to live in civilized surroundings. The slum must go. - Yours. &c, W. T. Pyke
I think that is a very valuable contribution to the debate. Members on the Ministerial benches are laughing with great glee. They have no sympathy with the people of Sydney. I protest against the frivolous laughter that is coming from the honorable members for Richmond, Gippsland, and Wannon. Those honorable members should not approach a debate of this kind in that spirit. No doubt, the Ministry feel they have a majority.
– Order ! The honorable member must confine himself to the question, and not take notice of interjections. He has only two minutes more in which to speak.
– In the few minutes at our disposal, I tried to hunt up some facts. There was a time when the medical profession thought that blood-letting was the cure for every disease, and I forget how many brilliant men have been done to death in that fashion. While I agree with the member for West Sydney in regard to the wonderful progress made in medical science, and especially in regard to the prevention of diseases, and while I am grateful, indeed, to the medical profession for the advice that they have been able to give me and my family from time to time, still I am not’ blind to the possibilities of there being a very huge mistake on the part of that pro fession in regard to vaccination. I have only one extract to add. It is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and is as follows -
Unfortunately, in years gone by, blood-letting was used to such’ excess as a cure for almost every known disease that public opinion is now extremely opposed to it.
I mention this to show honorable members that, although the medical profession of Australia are in favour of vaccination, it is not wise to shut one’s eyes to anything in opposition to that view.
– - I do not wish to take up much time this afternoon. First of all, I wish to refer to the matter mentioned by the honorable member for West Sydney - the unfortunate case of the woman who died in the Quarantine Station. Naturally, we all approach a subject like this. with the greatest sympathy and feeling, and I am sorry that conflict has arisen about this unfortunate death. I promised the House that I would cause inquiries to be made, but, unfortunately, while I was making that promise rather serious suggestions were made by way of interjection that rendered it all the’ more necessary I should, at the earliest possible date, get a full official report from the officers concerned. Two aspects of the question have been discussed. One relates to the removal of the patient to the hospital, and in this connexion, I am sorry to say, there were some unkind interjections made in the House. As a matter of fact, the removal of the woman to the hospital was within the jurisdiction of the State authorities in Sydney.
– Whoever was responsible, it was a shameful action.
– I have no reason to believe that they did anything that was inhuman or improper. Unfortunately, this debate was brought on at five minutes’ notice.
– I gave you notice of it.
– Yes, the honorable member informed me just before he moved his motion. Immediately I obtained the Hansard report of Friday’s debates, I caused inquiries to be made. A report on the actual step of removing the patient to the Quarantine Station can only be obtained from the State authorities.
– Why do you say it was not improper, in your opinion ?
– I said that, from the information to hand, I had no reason to believe their action was improper. That was all I could say. I could only speak from the information at my disposal.
– Do you indorse the removal of a woman in that condition ?
– The step was taken on medical advice. At least the woman was received at the Quarantine Station on medical advice. But, until I know the full facts, I cannot judge; and I do not see how any honorable member is in a position to judge, unless he knows the whole of the facts and circumstances. It is not correct that the woman died within twenty-four hours of admission. She was in the Quarantine Station three days before her death occurred, and the Federal authorities are in no way responsible for any imputation that can be made as regards the cause of death. I have a copy of the certificate of death, and the report from the officer in charge of the Quarantine Station. The certificate of death was given on 29th August, 1913, and the causes are set out as - Primary, variola (that is, small-pox) ; secondary, confinement. Last Friday, speaking from memory, I said that the predisposing cause was confinement, but that the determining cause was small-pox. Probably the patient would not have died from either cause; but the combination of the two brought about her death.
– Do you not think the hustling about caused the woman’s death?
– Let me read the report of Dr. Reid, the officer in charge of the Quarantine Station; and I take advantage of the opportunity to lay before honorable members the complete detailed report from this officer, together with the certificate of death. The report proceeds -
Sydney, 20 October, 19.13. - I am forwarding a joint report from Drs. Robertson and Heydon, who were in attendance on Mrs. Martin when she died. She was suffering from semiconfluent small-pox, and her condition was aggravated owing to her pregnant condition. She was confined of a full-time male child, which survived, and who developed a small-pox eruption five days after birth.
Despite every care and medical attention, Mrs. Martin collapsed, and died at 3 p.m. on August 29th, three days after admission to the station.
Pregnancy, combined with an eruptive fever, especially one like small-pox, is always a serious matter for mother and child, and deaths frequently occur. Several of the patients ad mitted to the station who aborted also showed some collapse, but, owing to skilful medical and nursing attention, recovered.
As 932 patients have been admitted to the quarantine station since the beginning of the outbreak, and only one death has occurred, it speaks well for the care and attention bestowed bv the resident staff. As the patients, with few exceptions, were unvaccinated, this in itself constitutes a record, considering that ‘a quarantine station has not the equipment of a fever hospital, but was merely intended for a maritime quarantine station.
No written communication with reference to Mrs. Martin’s death was forwarded to the Board of Health, but Dr. Heydon informed me that Dr. Paton spoke to him on the telephone, and at that time he was not quite certain as to the cause of death, pulmonary embolism being considered a probable cause.
However, a post-mortem examination was subsequently made, wilh the consent of the husband, and the cause of death was ns stated in the accompanying death certificate.
That certificate I have read to the House.
– Who gave the order to remove her to quarantine ?
– The State Board of. Health finds out the cases of small-pox, and sends them on to the Quarantine Station.
– Have we no record of the name of the doctor who ordered her to the Quarantine Station?
– I have asked for that information, and I hope it will be here to-morrow. The State authorities have been asked for it. This discussion has been brought on prematurely, and I can only give the information to hand. The death certificate says that the cause of death was primarily variola. Dr. Reid’s report continues -
At present 42 patients are in the hospital, and i2i convalescents. The epidemic does not appear to be on the decrease, and will continue as long ns the community remains unvaccinated.
None of the staff (122) working on the station have contracted the disease, though in daily contact with the patients. This speaks volumes for the efficiency of recent successful vaccination, and is the only safeguard against small-pox.
W. Reid, C.Q.O.G.
– All I have to say is, that if she had died after vaccination and confinement, they would have said that the primary cause of death was confinement, and that the secondary cause was vaccination.
– On many matters I would unhesitatingly accept the honorable member’s opinion; but in these matters, I must confess, I have to accept the certificate which is furnished by the doctor who was in charge of the case.
– I do not deny that.
– The form of certificate, too, is one following the rules laid down for such cases by an International Commission in 1903. The proper medical procedure has been followed. As regards this particular case, honorable members will see that the statements have been truly made., The statement I made in the House last week, as furnished by the Director of Quarantine, was a strong and honest statement of the exact position of the case. Honorable members must admit that the question was only answered at their request, and not for any administrative reason. Honorable members asked for information, and, of course, of necessity there was an obligation upon me to supply it. When I am asked a question I must frankly state the facts of the case, as I did in this instance. There are one or two matters I wish to refer to. The honorable member for Gwydir lias advocated very strongly that the proper way of dealing with small-pox is by isolation and the taking away of the contacts. May I repeat again that our very first announcement to the House was, that, so far as the treatment of the disease was local, we were leaving that entirely in the hands of the State authorities to attend to. I have not criticised,, I have abstained from criticising, because when we are in the face of a great peril, the aim of Parliament should be to give to officers every possible encouragement in dealing, with the matter, and not to put any harassing conditions in their way. A criticism of a sympathetic, helpful nature, of course, is invited, and wherever anything has gone wrong our attention should be directed to the fact; but the honorable member for Gwydir has attacked us simply because we passed a regulation with the object of preventing the spread of the disease into the other States. We left it to the State Government to use all the powers they possessed to try to suppress the disease within the State. If, however., the proper Way of dealing with small-pox - and. it is a purely local problem calling for immediate suppression - is the application of the methods which the honorable member for Gwydir and the honorable member for .East Sydney have suggested, their arguments might very well be directed against other persons, but they constitute absolutely no foundation for an attack against this Government.
– We have no voice in-, the State Parliament.
– No; but the honorablemember directed his attack against .thisGovernment, as though we were responsible for what took place in the administration of the State laws. That is why I find fault with his criticism.
– Dual control is the trouble.
– The honorable membercan attack that question; but, unfortunately, he directed the whole of his contention, not against the dual control, butagainst the administration of the Act by the Department, operating in the Federal sphere purely. The honorablemember has quoted Dr. Millard as an eminent expert, and asked us to accepthim as one of the best authorities. If, in a Federal sphere, I were to take Dr. Millard, and say, “ Will you tell us what isthe best and most effective means we can adopt to prevent the spread of this diseasein the other States-
– What is applied throughout the civilized world.
– That is not what wehave to deal with. We have a- local problem to solve with our own machinery.
– Is there one placethroughout the world which.. . appliesquarantine in the way that we are doing ?
– -Yes, Alaska. Smallpox exists throughout the United States, and the authorities have- practicallyquarantined the whole of the States, and no one is allowed to go into’ Alaska without being vaccinated. The same thing obtains in regard to Canada. No immigrant can go to the United States of America or Canada without being vaccinated.
– Take the ports of London and Hong Kong.
– I have only a few minutes more at my command. Let it be remembered that all that we require by our regulation is that persons coming from a restricted area of 15 miles from the Sydney Post Office into another State shall have been successfully vaccinated. Let us see the value and’ the efficacy of that regulation. Let us take Dr. Millard’s own statement -
I claim to have quite as strong- a faith in the value of recent vaccination in affording complete, though temporary, immunity against small-pox as Professor Berry himself.
– That is, the vaccinated person.
– Exactly. The point is that we have to prevent the spread of. the disease from New South Wales to the other States.
– By the unvaccinated.
– We asked people to be successfully vaccinated because, by being so, they cannot spread the disease to the other States.- We have repeatedly intimated that if any more effective methodcan be devised by the State authorities we shall be only too glad to consider it. I regret that I have not time to deal with other points.
– Order ! The time for- the discussion of this matter has expired
– Surely the Government will give us more time !
– That does not rest with the Government, but is regulated by a standing order.
In Committeee of Supply- (Consideration resumed from 17th October, vide page 2223):
Department of Home Affairs
Division 1 (Home Affairs), £300,863. Upon which Mr. Poynton had moved -
That the item “ Federal Capital at Canberra - towards cost of establishment, ,£285,000,” be reduced by ,£147,000.
– On Friday, when the Prime Minister was kind enough to allow progress to be reported to enable me to continue my remarks to-day, I was dealing with the attitude taken up by honorable members on the other side. Briefly, I want to continue that line of argument, and point out that, without consulting the honorable member for Grey as to his motive in submitting his amendment, I am of the opinion that he had something more in view. I presume to say that his object was to bring under the notice of the electors of Australia the attitude taken up by the honorable member for Wakefield, the honorable member for Echuca, the honorable member for Wannon, the honorable member for Calare, and others, when we were dealing with the expenditure of money on the Capital site.
– I did not speak of it.
– Honorable members are reported to have repeatedly said that the Fisher Government were responsible for a huge, wasteful expenditure on the- Capital site. I do not think that those- critics gave to the matter the consideration which it warranted, seeing that every form of information had been placed at their, disposal by the Minister and the ex-Minister of Home Affairs. In the limited time at my disposal I have made a careful search to see if I could find in the records of a State Parliament in Australia, the Parliament of Canada or America, or even Great Britain, a schedule giving the detailed information that is contained in- this one, but I could not find such an instance. Still, honorable- members occupying the Government benches to-day went out into the country,, and, purely for party purposes, said that the Fisher Government had spent huge sums without informing this- House as to how the money was- being expended, and that there was nothing, but wilful waste going on throughout Australia. I think that the honorable member for Grey desires to expose these honorable gentlemen to their constituents, and compel them, when they seek their suffrages again, at any rate to stick to their statements-.
– To practise what they preach 1
– Exactly. If that was the intention of the honorable member - and I do not say it was - although I am opposed to his amendment, I commend him for taking that- course, because I think it is unjust to the officers of the Department, and unfair to this great Commonwealth,, that any honorable members should, purely for political purposes, go out. into the country, and, instead of enlightening the people, try to the best of their ability to mislead them. In my humble opinion, no matter what the Fisher Government did, it was, in the eyes of those honorable members I have quoted, not conducive to the welfare of the people of Australia. If honorable members on the other side were consistent, they would simply come across and support the amendment of the honorable member for Grey. Although on the hustings they distinctly told the people that-, they did not believe in this expenditure on the Capital site, still they have not the courage to come over to this side and support a proposal with which they should be quite in agreement. What did they *do at the elections 1 Purely for political purposes again - to deceive the people - somebody has suggested to a young member of the House that he should bring forward a motion that a Committee be formed to inquire into this expenditure. If the honorable gentleman was consistent, why did he not, when these Estimates were first distributed, give notice to the Government of his intention to submit such a proposal ? What he proposes to do is to submit a motion of want of confidence in the Treasurer.
– That is your interpretation.
– The Treasurer is responsible for the expenditure of the Commonwealth money. He is the custodian of the public finances, and must be well informed ; otherwise,- 1 take it he would have applied the pruning-knife long before the’ Estimates were presented to the House. Evidently he has been informed by his responsible advisers, namely, the Minister and the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs. The Government put two Ministers at the head of the Home Affairs Department, in. my humble opinion, to make a searching inquiry to see whether any rash expenditure had been incurred, but after five months’ search and going diligently into every item of expenditure by the late Government, we find the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs admitting that nothing of a serious nature has happened in connexion with the expenditure under that Department. In fact, when the honorable member for Franklin was speaking here about the expenditure, the Minister interjected, “ That is not correct.” The action of the honorable member for Wannon implies that he has no confidence in the Government, and so he desires an opportunity to go on the platform, and say to misguided constituents, “ I did this on the floor of the House.”
– The honorable member is not in order in referring to anything which the honorable member for Wannon proposes to do. I may say that the latter has given notice of an amendment, but that is not before the Committee at present.
– I have simply made these remarks because the honorable member for Wakefield was allowed to refer to the question and say what he was going to do, and, as he continued that line of argument, I naturally thought that I had an equal right.
– The honorable member has the right to make an incidental reference only.
– I shall certainly conform to the ruling of the Chair.
– You may have two more half hours when the honorable member for Wannon plucks up sufficient courage to submit his motion.
– Yes. Passing on to another question, we have been repeatedly told that no information about the expenditure on the Capital site has been supplied. Taking up at haphazard Schedule No. 11, issued by the exMinister of Home Affairs on the 31st October, 1912, I find that he sets out in detail the whole of the expenditure that had taken place on the Capital site, the exact payments to the hands engaged on the construction of roads and engineering works, and the number of hands employed, namely, 252. Time will not permit of my reading the whole statement, but honorable members will find in the Schedule details as to the wages paid to each man. I have been unable to find that the Victorian Government, or the Government of my own State, where day labour is employed in the construction of railways, have at any time brought down a statement showing the daily wages paid. The information given in the Schedule shows how unfair is the criticism in which honorable members opposite indulged when they were in the backblocks, and thought that their statements were not likely to be reported. In fact, I am inclined to think that some of them, when criticising the expenditure of the Fisher Government during the election campaign, never expected to be returned to this House, and to be exposed to the searchlight of the Opposition. I wish to show the electors how unfair were many of their utterances. The Minister of Home Affairs, with his understudy - the Assistant Minister - is continuing the excellent example set by the ex-Minister in publishing the departmental’ Schedule, in which full details of expenditure are given-
We find from a perusal of it that the present Ministry have spent but a small amount in wages in the Territory. ‘Most of the expenditure has related to the purchase of land, as the following statement will show -
Then, again, I find that the Government are paying for the education of- childrenin the Territory, and have also made arrangements for a medical officer to be located there. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro said that buildings had been erected in the middle of certain avenues, but he forgot to tell the Committee that they are but temporary structures. He refrained also from mentioning the important fact that the plans of the city were not to hand when the erection of those buildings was first suggested. The revenue derived by the Government from properties within the Territory, including that derivable from rates, which amounts to £1,943, is estimated, according to the Schedule, at £5,000. These lands will go on increasing in value as the population of the Territory increases, and surely honorable members have more faith in their country than to say that we cannot afford to establish another city in this great Commonwealth. I agree with the Minister of Home Affairs that, by means of the unearned increment, we shall obtain a ten-fold return from what we have expended upon the acquisition of land in the Territory. Another point to be remembered is that, during the Fisher Ministry’s term of office, the expenditure on the Federal Capital resulted in large orders being placed with various firms in the different States for the supply of material. If the present Ministry give the people as good a return for their money as the- Fisher Government did, I am satisfied that the citizens of Australia will be well satisfied. The Schedule shows that orders have been placed with Tasmanian firms for the supply of 50,000 and 125,000 superficial feet of celery-top pine, 60,000 superficial feet of Tasmanian blackwood, and other Tasmanian timbers ; while Messrs. G. and C. Hoskins Limited, of New South Wales, have been given a contract for the supply of cast-iron water pipes at £53,817. This, and much other information regarding the expenditure on the Capital, will be found in the Schedule, and I challenge even the honorable member for Wimmera to show that any one item is unjustifiable. Is it not unjust for honorable members, merely for political purposes, to try to deceive the people of Australia - to make them believe that there has been rash expenditure at the Federal Capital. The Minister of Home Affairs and the Assistant Minister deserve credit for continuing the publication of the Schedule, in which the expenditure on the Federal Capital is given in the details I have mentioned. The honorable member for Moreton, who smiles, knows more about the lighting of the Queeusland coast than he does of the Federal Capital, and I would advise him and other members opposite to make themselves familiar with the information given in the Schedule before they ask for a Committee of Inquiry in regard to the Federal Capital expenditure. We have in the Departmental Schedule fuller particulars than any Committee of laymen could ‘give us. During the last three and a half years the expenditure of the Department of Home Affairs has been unprecedented, but it has been incurred in the work of developing the Commonwealth. The officers have shown con*spicuous ability, and, with the assistance of the ex-Minister, have raised the Department to a very high ‘ state of efficiency. I question whether any private company in Australia has a better organized service. But no private company subjects its officers to such criticism as that to which the officers of this Department have to submit in this Parliament. The shipping companies, for instance show by their reports that every consideration is extended to their officers, and I think that honorable members ought to do the same. I am reminded by the honorable member for Grey that when the division takes place we shall be able to judge of the consistency of honorable members opposite who have complained of rash expenditure in the Federal Capital. In the September issue of the Departmental Schedule particulars are given regarding the brick works established by the exMinister .of Home Affairs. It is stated that -
Preliminary brick-making plant has been established, and over 250,000 bricks have been made to date. These are being burned in ordinary open kilns, and will be used in the construction of the main kilns to be built shortly. Further prospecting has been steadily pursued, disclosing satisfactory results as regards extent and quality of shale deposits. Further progress has been made in research for suitable building stones in a promising granite quarry at Thawa. The site has been opened up, and it is hoped that some fair-sized blocks will be obtained suitable for polishing.
– Is there anything said about a find of water?
– During the temporary absence of the honorable member, the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs said that there was a water supply capable of giving a city of 60,000 inhabitants 60 gallons per head per day.
– I said that on the average the supply would be at least five times that much. The lowest yield from the Cotter, during the three years of which we have a record, was sufficient to supply 66,000 and odd people with -60 gallons per head per day.
– I think that is sufficient for the honorable member. Under the heading of “ Progress of Engineering Works,” we have the following statement at page 96 of the Schedule -
Progress in road maintenance and development generally has been well maintained. Appended Ure figures indicating ‘the actual work done in this connexion since the roads were taken over two years ago : - Forming and finishing, 50 miles; gravelling and metalling, 48 miles; putting out maintenance .gravel, 25,525 cubic yards; clearing out, repairing culverts, &c, 100 miles; general road repairs, -filling up ruts, &c, 145 miles; cutting water tables, drains, &c, 106 miles; Cotter-road formation, 6 miles complete.
All this work has been done, and in addition the route of the proposed railway has been surveyed. I trust that honorable members opposite, before they again take up the time of the Committee in asking for a Committee of Inquiry, regarding the expenditure on the Federal Capital, will peruse the information already given to them by the Department. I hope that they will not let their party prejudices so blind them to their duty in their desire to pile up still further expenditure by means of the appointment -of a Committtee of Inquiry, that they will disregard the detailed information already available. I might as well ask for a Committee of Inquiry into the expenditure on the Northern Territory, or the Transcontinental railway.
– Hear, hear.
– I presume that the honorable member has a great liking for Select Committees and Royal Commissions; that he would like to be a member of the proposed Committee, travelling round the country and furnishing reports instead of doing the work which his constituents expect of him. What would “be the value of such reports compared with those presented by really capable men ? I have been reminded that the honorable member for Wimmera was a member of the Tasmanian Customs Leakage Commission. I wish to be just to him, and will say that he did excellent work on that Commission; but the question which that Commission was asked to deal with did not require the application of technical and trained minds. The Assistant Minister of Home Affairs will bear me out when I say that there are in the Home Affairs Department officers who have given the study- of a life-time to a particular branch of work. I do not think there is any member of this House so egotistical as to claim that, because he is made a member of a Committee, he is rendered capable of passing an opinion on the work carried out by these officers, much less of suggesting works which should be carried out. We are getting good value for our money from our public servants. The great trouble with honorable members opposite is that the work at the Federal Capital has been carried out by day labour, and without the assistance of the middle-man. The contractor has not been allowed to get his little bit out of it. If the departmental officers had been asked, only to submit estimates of cost, and then to supervize the work of contractors, there would have been no objection urged by honorable members opposite. Their complaint really is against the Fisher Government for having introduced the system of constructing public works, where practicable, by day labour. It should not be forgotten that, included in the expenditure upon the Federal Capital, which approximates £713,201, there is the expenditure on the Naval and Military Colleges, and expenditure incidental to the selection of the Capital site. The expenditure upon the Naval and Military Colleges would have been undertaken whether we were building a Federal Capital or not. Honorable members should set aside their parochial State prejudices, and for once realize that they are Australians. We cannot develop one part of the Commonwealth without benefiting the whole. I am anxious that the Capital should be built, because I realize that Tasmanian timber will enter very largely into its construction, and the State from which I come will thereby be given an advertisement that will prove invaluable, and will have no difficulty in disposing of her very excellenttimbers. The constituency represented by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has benefited largely during a slack time by considerable expenditure upon the cast-iron pipes which are being used at the Capital city, and which have been manufactured in the honorable member’s electorate. The whole of the States have benefited in the same way. I cannot understand why the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, after listening ito the bitter criticism .of this vote by honorable members on his own side, did not rise to the occasion, and .make a statement from the Schedule issued by the Home Affairs Department. Was it because a great deal of money Had been expended .on the Capital by the late .Government, or because the ex-Minister of Home Affairs initiated the publication of the Schedule for the information of honorable members? The honorable gentleman suggested the bringing down of a detailed statement of expenditure; but I do not desire that that should be done.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I feel reluctantly compelled to .support the Government in this matter. I think this -is the first occasion on which I have offered them any assistance during .their existence, and I shall not suffer any pangs of conscience if it should happen to be the last. In this matter, I believe the Government have blundered on to the ,right track. The day for deciding where the Federal Capital shall be located, and whether or not it shall be built, has gone (by. These matters have been settled, and the decision of the majority in the last Parliament should prevail. Honorable members should make up their minds that Canberra is to be the future home of the Federal Parliament, and of the central Federal offices. I am sorry ‘that I am unable to assist -some of my honorable friends on this side -in supporting the amendment which has been moved. I should like to say here that we are under a very considerable obligation to the Victorian Government and people for the generosity alley have extended to the Federal Government and Parliament in allowing us to use this beautiful building and the Federal Government House for so long without rent or reward. We cannot overestimate the generosity of the Victorian people in this regard. I should not have been opposed, at any stage of the existence of this Parliament, to the payment of a reasonable rent for both the buildings referred to.
– It would have been only a fair thing.
– I agree with the honorable member. The Federal Parliament has recognised its obligation in this matter by endeavouring to keep this building and the Federal Government House in such a condition that when we leave for Canberra they will be in as .good a state of repair as when they were handed over to our use. This, however, does not.alter the fact that the generosity of successive , UO.vernments of Victoria and of the Victorian people should be fully appreciated by the Federal Government and Parliament. I mention the matter now in order :to .say that we should not impose upon their generosity for ever. A majority in this Parliament, accepted the responsibility of establishing the Federal Capital at Canberra. The Federal Government decided to obtain the most expert advice available in the civilized world in -the matter of town planning, in .order that an ideal city might be established .at the chosen site. I wish .to say that the determination of the present Government to secure the services of Mr. Griffin, the winner of the prize design for the Federal Capital, has my indorsement. I think it is very advisable that the services of the designer of the plan adopted for -the Federal Capital should be secured in carrying it out. I hope the Government will be successful in securing Mr. Griffin’s services; but I do not approve of the action of the Assistant Minister .of Home Affairs in pouring honey all over Mr. Griffin. That is not in accordance with my disposition at .all. In the .opinion .of those who judged the competition, Mr. Griffin presented the most useful plan for the Federal city, .and the proposal to secure his services in order to give effect -to his ideas on town planning’ is, in my opinion, a good one. His services are available, and we require them, and the Commonwealth is prepared to pay for them, and that should be sufficient. There is no reason why the Minister should pour honey over him, as though he was the greatest man in the world.
– The honorable member would prefer to pour a little acid on him.
– I am not in a very « sore frame of mind this afternoon, although I am not too well pleased to have to support the Government in this matter. They are so very occasionally right, however, that it would be a pity not to mention the fact when they do propose something which one can approve of.
– The question arises as to which officer is to be responsible for the expenditure at the Capital.
– The answer to that is that the administrator of a Department cannot delegate his responsibility to any one else. He must accept responsibility for his officers. The Ministerial head of the Department who is not prepared to defend his officers has an obligation thrown upon him, if he is to act the part of an honorable man, to remove those whom he cannot trust.
– Does the honorable member not see that there is a dual obligation ?
– I see no dual obligation in connexion with this matter. The Minister of Home Affairs must accept all responsibility for the building of the Capital. It is for him to say what advice he will accept. The expenditure outlined by the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs appears to me to be on right lines, and that is why I am supporting the Government in this matter.
– Bringing water to the Capital.
– I am sorry to have to disagree with some of my honorable friends in regard to these matters. They cannot get away from the official returns as to the water supply at Canberra. We have the statement that for the last three years the average supply of the Cotter River has been sufficient to give 60 gallons per head per day to 66,000 people. Surely that is looking a good deal into the future.
– If the honorable member will take the average for another three years, he will find there was not enough water there for a sheep.
– The expenditure proposed is to cover reservoirs, dams on the Cotter River, the establishment of brick works and cement works, the continuation of the railway, and provision for the foundations of the main buildings of the city. All these works are to be provided for out of the expenditure proposed for the year, and I do not see how the money could be more satisfactorily expended if we are to go on with the project of establishing the Federal Capital at Canberra. Believing that to be so, most people will agree with the view that if you are going to do the job, if you have made up your mind that it ought to be done, the most economical way is to go on with the work with all possible expedition. I understand that the honorable member for Wimmera has suggested the appointment of a Committee in regard to this question. In my judgment, there is no call for a Committee at all. There is an obligation to see that the money proposed on the Estimates to be expended in connexion with the preliminary work of construction is satisfactorily spent, but a Committee will not assist you in that. I have made up my mind in regard to the Federal Capital site that we owe it to the people of Victoria to clear out from Victoria under the conditions that exist at the present time. There is an obligation on us under the Constitution to construct the Federal city, and we have a proposal that seems to outline all the preliminary work that is necessary to proceed economically and expeditiously with its construction. On this question I intend to support the Government.
.- I notice that the honorable member for Wannon, who rose to speak, has resumed his seat. I am sorry that he is not allowed by the Government to speak. This does not come well from a Government who have been so loud in declaiming about the woeful and wilful extravagance of their predecessors. It is lamentable to see a new member not allowed to speak in connexion with the expenditure of such a huge lump sum as £285,000. We have had nothing yet from the Minister in fulfilment of the vaunted ‘ promise of last Friday, when the honorable member for Wannon rose and gave notice of a certain proposal to which I cannot now refer. We had then from the Prime Minister, and I think, also from the Treasurer and the
Honorary Minister, a statement that they were coming down with full particulars of all expenditure that was to take place in connexion with the matter, but this we have not had. In listening to the debate, one almost loses faith in humanity. Take, for instance, the honorable member for Echuca. He voted for YassCanberra to hang it up, stating that he did so, as Hansard says, in order that there might be no money expended. He has denounced everything in connexion with Yass-Canberra from that day to this, yet to-day he sits meekly behind the Government, and says that he will support this proposal as a reasonable thing. The honorable member for Wakefield went through the length and breadth of his district, frothing at the mouth, thumping every table that he stood behind, denouncing the wilful and wicked extravagance of the Fisher Government on the Federal Capital site. What does he. say when faced with a proposal to spend almost double as much in one year as was spent by our Government in three years ? He says he is going to continue on the platform and everywhere else to denounce our wilful extravagance, yet when a simple proposal is submitted by which he can save £147,000 in one act, he declines to support it, because the Government have told him that he must not vote in that direction. Nevertheless, he and other honorable members on that side of the House will go on to the hustings within a week after this vote is carried, and denounce the Fisher Government for their extravagant expenditure on the Capital site. Is it not about time that all that cant and hypocrisy was left behind ? Is it not ‘time that honorable members opposite became honest in their politics, instead of speaking outside with one voice and speaking here with another voice, and then, so to speak, with their tongues in their cheeks, going outside this chamber after the division is taken, and speaking of how they dished the Opposition? I am going to press for a division on my amendment. There will then be a record, anyhow, to show whether these men are in earnest in their talk about extravagant expenditure. I am anxious to see these Estimates go through to-night, so that they may reach the Senate to-morrow, and I say to my friends, “ Do not be led into a trap tonight, but put the Estimates through, because, up to the present time, there is no blame attached to you for keeping them back.” The Government, of their own volition, adjourned the Senate, and, had the Estimates been passed here before, they could not have been proceeded with any further up to the present time. That cannot be said, however, if they are hung up after to-night; and, so far as I am concerned, they have to go through at this sitting.
.- When I went on to the hustings, I had the freedom of my own opinions and my own convictions on the question of the Federal Capital area, and no party or Government will rob me of them. Several honorable members, in particular the honorable member for Denison, who on Friday last galloped at a pace that would outstrip a Caulfield Cup winner, were satisfied that they knew exactly my attitude from what I said on the hustings. The honorable member is making a very rash statement, and a very poor guess indeed. So far as the Fisher Administration is concerned, I should like honorable members on the other side of the House to know that my attitude was such that no member of the Labour party in the country ever charged me with unfairly or improperly criticising it. Not on any occasion did I say that there had been wilful extravagance in regard to the Federal Capital area, for I had not the information in my own knowledge. So far as the Federal Capital area is concerned, I consider that the highest standard of financial morality in this House, and the country generally, will not be reached until every member of the House is a jealous custodian of the people’s money and a watchdog of the Treasury. The present amount has been brought down with insufficient explanation, but the Minister in charge of the Estimates has since furnished the House with certain information on the item. Since I spoke, the Treasurer and the Prime Minister have both spoken, and gave an assurance that the information desired would be forthcoming. I shall look forward to more definite information than has yet been placed before the House. The whole scheme of the Territory ought to be looked into as one great proposition. The development of the Capital, the development of the land in the area, and the development of the port should all go forward with such an expenditure of public money as is consistent with the revenue of this country, or, if the policy be different, be derived from loan expenditure. I am not satisfied that this great question has as yet reached such a stage as to inspire me with absolute confidence in the future financial success of the Territory. In my opinion, the honorable member for Grey is not quite sincere. The amendment has obviously been moved with the intention of showing how the supporters of the Government stand on this question. I am whereI have always been in regard to it.
– The honorable member is on a rail now.
– I am not. When the division is taken, honorable members will see where I stand. My opinion has been that Australia is over-capitalized in one respect, that is, in having too many capitals, and too many people in those capitals. At the same time, I am willing to honour the bargain made when Federation was entered upon, and to waive my personal opinions to that end.
Question - That the item “ Federal Capital at Canberra - Towards cost of establishment, £285,000,” be reduced by £147 , 000- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 37
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- Those who have given consideration to this matter will indorse what has been stated by the Prime Minister on more than one occasion, that the Federal Capital: can be built without costing the Commonwealth a single half-penny. A wonderful acticle in the Hampton Magazine draws attention to the gold mines existing; in. the large cities of the United States of America. The writer shows that the greatest bonanza, the greatest diamond mine, ever discovered, would not compare” in wealth with the values caused by large aggregations of population. Washington, when he tramped over the site of the’ future capital of the United States of America, taking, with him that great Frenchman,. Mons.L’Enfant, thought that80,000 persons might ultimately settle there. He had no idea of the large population that the town would’ ultimately have. I believe thatMons. l’Enf ant’s heart was broken by the unjust criticisms ofthe men of his day in respect to the laying out of Washington, but the spark of genius in his nature enabled him to see in his mind’s eye what the ordinary man can now observe with his actual vision, the most beautiful city, perhaps, that decorates the earth. It was a great compliment to him that in 1901, a Commission appointed to inquire whether Washington could be improved on reported that it could not improve in anyway on the designs of the great Frenchman.
If any honorable member walked’ down Collins-street, and made a calculation based on the value of the ground occupied by divisional walls, and the cost of erecting those walls, he would find: that at” least £250,000 had been wasted in that thoroughfare alone, so that in five’ of the city streets, the waste would exceed £1,000,000, in one of the most valuable portions of the second greatest city, of Australia-. That land is ready to the hand of the Government, if the latter only cares to take hold of it. Manhattan Island which really constitutes New York, was’- originally bought for £5 16s Its value to-day is over £800,000,000.
In that city, the rentals alone produce £40,000,000 annually, and the increased land values each year represent another £40,000,000. Why, the entire gold output of the richest gold-producing country in the world to-day - I refer to South Africa - added to that df Australia, does not equal the yearly increase of land values in New York alone. That is why I glory in the circumstance that our Federal Capital will be erected upon land which belongs to the community. Every building erected there will -be built upon Commonwealth land. I propose to show how we can establish our Capital without borrowing a single penny for the purpose, and under a system which will provide us with a rent-producing city for all” time. ;I intend to show how we can issue secured Federal notes as legal tender, supplementary to gold, for the execution of reproductive and revenue-producing public works. In the island of Guernsey, eighty stalls existed originally for “the sale of meat in the streets. They were built in the old-fashioned way, which caused them to interfere with the street traffic. Mr. John Jacob, in his Annals of British Norman Isles, tells us -
For many centuries the markets in St. Peter’s, Guernsey, were held along High-street as far as the bottom of Cattle-street. The inconveniences arising from this confined situation had long been felt. In the year ^26 a Committee of the Legislative Assembly was appointed to select a site for a new market building. Again, in the year 1877, an attempt was made by private individuals to secure the same object. Up to the year 1822 the butchers sold meat in open stalls, but the population increasing, this market became too confined, and the inconvenience was increased by the prohibition to the butchers against opening butchers’ shops in other parts of the city. In 1S30, measures were again taken to build a new meat market, and the present handsome building was opened during October in the same year, at a cost of upwards of ,£4,000.
The narrative of the mode the Guernsey people adopted for raising the ‘cost of the new market is little known to the Englishspeaking people, but it is worthy of the careful consideration of all public bodies charged with the duty of spending public money. It is given by John Jacob as follows -
The estimated cost of the new meat market being about ^4,000, how to raise that amount became the immediate question with the promoters of the scheme. Numerous consultations were held, the upshot of which was that, instea’d of borrowing gold, the promoters determined to issue “ Market house scrip “ or legal tender notes of their own, founded on the credit of the island. The politicians of the day called them a set of pestilential innovators for adopting a course so opposed to common-sense and ancient custom; but, notwithstanding all opposition, market house scrip for the requisite amount, and of various denominations, was ultimately issued by the authority of the House of Assembly, when Daniel de Lisle Brock was Governor of the island. The materials were found, the men put to work, the market erected, and the stalls rented. Every month’s rent reduced the total of the scrip, and in less than ten years all the scrip was paid back into the public Treasury, stamped, cancelled, and thus ended the life of the Guernsey market house scrip.
Briefly, that Governor was highly gifted, and possessed great potentialities. Once a year, notes to the value of whatever rents had been received were publicly burnt. In less than ten years, every note was realized, and Guernsey Island thus secured its market for all time. Why cannot the same system be applied to the building of the Federal Capital ? Prior to the issue of Commonwealth notes, there were fifty-two banks of issue in Australia. Thirty-eight of these issued notes of six denominations, so that there were 228 different kinds of notes current in Australia. With the issue of Commonwealth notes, these notes disappear, and ultimately there will be only seven kinds of notes issued.
Where is the difficulty of -issuing still another note, which would., ip guaranteed by every building in our. Capital, and by the Commonwealth as a whole ? These notes would not be redeemable in gold, and their currency would necessitate the establishment of a receiving office and a paying-out .office. The Government could make an arrangement under which the rents could be paid to a special branch of the Commonwealth Bank. The’1 notes, of course, would be legal tender. Every note and every coin that has been issued for currency purposes has been made legal tender by the Government whichissued it. So that there is nothing new in that principle. To those who exclaim, “ Why should we not have a gold currency? “ I can only point to the fact that the figures for the Clearing House, London, show that, in 1839, £980,000,000 worth of paper money was dealt With, and that, in 1904, the amount had advanced to £10,564,000,000. In New York alone, the advance, between 1853 and 1905, was from £261,000,000 to £18,376,000,000. In fact, the chequespaid in London and New York in ohe- month amount to £1,270,000,000, which is greatly in excess of all the gold and silver coinage of the world. Carnegie estimates that 92 per cent, of the whole world’s financial transactions is done on paper. Is it any wonder, in the light of these figures, that the great Ricardo said, “ Banish metal coinage.” It is a waste in that sense. There is no real standard or measure of value. Gold has been so named for convenience alone; but neither gold nor silver can measure value. Let me recall the fact that for 600 years all business was conducted in Venice solely on credit and paper, and during that period no crisis occurred. The time was when leather represented money in Russia, and when wood was currency in England. In the same way tea cubes represented money in China, porcelain in Siam, and cowries in Africa. What I suggest is that, when we erect the whole of our public offices, we should issue notes to the extent of their cost, and that out of our yearly revenue we should then deduct 5 per cent, of the value of those buildings. Anybody could then have a building erected on the basis that he would be charged a rental equal to 5 per cent, of its cost. I would go further, and say that that 5 per cent, should include the expenses for our public utilities, such as sewerage, water, gas, and electricity. Under such a system^ honorable members will see that, in twenty years, every one of these buildings would be paid for. If we continued to charge the 5 per cent, for twenty-five years, the additional five years would suffice to pay for the public utilities necessary to the civilized community. We might then set apart one day as a day for national rejoicing, upon which all the notes issued which had been returned in the shape of rents during the year should be burnt. According to a return which was prepared at the instance of Mr. Justice Higgins, . Victoria, at one stage of her existence, had borrowed close upon £50,000,000, upon which she had repaid, by way of capital and interest, an amount approaching that sum, notwithstanding which she still owed the £50,000,000. I have here figures relating to Victorian loans up to 30th June of last year. They show that this State has borrowed £102,475,706, that it has paid, by way of redemption, £41,889,489, leaving a total indebtedness of £60,737,216. Since its inception of a borrowing policy, this Statehas paid in interest £28,779,258. In discount and expenses of flotation, thesum of £1,960,051 has been spent, afterallowing for premiums Victoria has been lucky enough to get. Thus Victoria Iia* paid, in interest, discount, &c, £30,739,309, which money could havebeen saved had the railways and publicworks in the State been built in the way the market in Guernsey was built. I donot wish honorable members to think thatthis market is the only ewe lamb, theonly public work, carried out in this way in Guernsey. I understand that thesame plan is in operation at the present, time. If it costs £1,000,000 to provide, a Parliament House and the other buildings we require at Canberra, let us issue a million £1 secured currency notes, not. redeemable in gold, but guaranteed by those securities which I have mentioned - Then, out of those that are ear-marked, so many could be reduced every year by the rental paid. In this way our city could be built as no other city has ever been built; in an artistic sense, the most glorious in the world. With every Australian heart pulsing with the hope of the future greatness of . this Continent and all its potentialities - and no historians have yet dealt with more than the fringe of it - we shall see our city built without adding a single penny-piece of debt to the community.
We can raise the towers of our splendid’ buildings, and break the skyline with a city beautiful with potentialities greater than the world has ever seen. I have endeavoured to impress on honorable members how this Capital of ours should be built. Any honorable member who cares to follow up the subject can do so. I will gladly give him the references. All honorable members must recognise the picture I have drawn of the State debt of Victoria. Few can imagine a railway whose immediate revenue is needed, not for the paying of interest, but for wiping out a debt which never increases. I have shown, as briefly as time would permit, that a mere score of years - a Rip Van Winkle sleep - will wipe out the loans needed to complete all the buildings that will be required at Canberra for private enterprise, and leave an unending rent roll for the nation. Surely honorable members, following out that idea commenced in Guernsey, must admit that it is worthy of consideration from any man who reverences his country, and any individual who is honest in an endeavour to build up a great civilization. Great as Sydney with the beauty of its harbor may be, and great as Melbourne may be in the splendour of her streets, we hope that the Capital of Australia will not only emulate the beautiful city of Washington, but surpass it, in the beauty of its design; and I trust it will be built without adding a single penny-piece of indebtedness to the Commonwealth of Australia.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 2 (Quarantine), £40,000; division 3 (Lighthouses), £15,000; and division 4 (Trade and Customs), £1,562, agreed to.
Division 5 (Defence), £649,930
.- Will the Minister give some information in connexion with the spending of £10,000 on the “ Naval Establishment at Garden Island, Sydney”? This is an entirely new work, according to the Estimates. In what direction is the money to be spent? I understand that Garden Island was originally held by the Imperial authorities when New South Wales was the head-quarters of the Imperial Fleet in Australian waters, and that it was handed over to the Imperial authorities, but that when Australia started to have its own Fleet there was some agreement that the island should be handed over to the Commonwealth Government.
– Did not the Imperial Government obtain Garden Island in exchange for the Paddington Barracks or Dawes Point ?
– That was some years ago, but I think that when we started our own Fleet, and the British warships were withdrawn from Australian waters, the island automatically reverted to the Imperial Government. I wish to know whether that’ is so, and whether it has since been handed over to the Australian naval authorities. If the property is held by the Imperial authorities or by the State of New South Wales, we should hear from the Minister the terms under which we are using it as tenants. If it is our own property, we should know on what terms we have acquired it.
– Originally Garden Island was given by New South Wales to the British Admiralty in exchange for certain properties in Sydney - the Victoria Barracks and Dawes Point - which were known as Ordnance properties, and also on condition that Sydney should remain the chief base of British warships in these waters. I speak subject to correction, because I did not know that this question, which is not directly relevant to the item, was to be raised. However, I shall give, to the best of my recollection, what are the facts, though asked to do so at a moment’s notice. When we made the Naval Agreement of 1909, which is the origin of the present Australian Naval unit, it was understood that the British Naval establishment in Sydney was to be handed over to the Commonwealth.
– That was the promise.
– It appears, however, that the New South Wales Government, acting on what might seem to be a technicality, set up a claim to the property, and the result has been that, until quite recently at any rate, the British Admiralty has not handed over the property to the Commonwealth, though we are in possession of it. As we are in possession, it does not so much matter, for the purpose of these Estimates, whether we have to pay for the property as transferred property - which we are disputing, and which is a question of law - or whether we have the actual right to the property by dedication from the Imperial authorities, because, in any case, the buildings provided for in these Estimates will need to be erected. We intend to provide a store for guns and gun mountings at £2,000; a residence for the general manager at £3,000-
– That will be a big residence.
– It pales into insignificance beside some others we have been discussing in the past. We also propose to provide quarters for storehouse men at £800, quarters for ten officers, recreation and wardroom at £4,000, and a dining hall for workmen at £1,500. The total expenditure will be £11,300, and of this we expect to spend £10,000 during the financial year. I am sorry I cannot give chapter and verse with regard to the very important question raised by the honorable member for Yarra. I can only give the facts as they concern ray own particular Department. The previous Administration deputed Colonel Miller to- negotiate with New South Wales with regard to this property, but the present Government could not. regard the properties - Garden Island, Admiralty House, and one or two other buildings and properties that comprised the Naval establishment of the Imperial Government in Port Jackson - as the property of New South Wales. We recognised that New South Wales had already been paid for these properties by the Imperial Government, and we thought that at least the Commonwealth could expect from New South Wales the treatment. New South Wales had willingly been prepared to give to the Imperial Government.
– I agree with the Minister that probably this money will have to be spent quite irrespective of the title to Garden Island. But the honorable member for Yarra is perfectly right in pointing out that, just as a man ought to be verycareful when he is erecting a building to see that it is built on his own land, so we ought to be careful to see that in expending this £10,000, part of the item of £11,000, we spend it on property to which we have a title. I do not know the facts, and the Minister has acknowledged that he does not know them, because .no notice was given that this history would be asked for. I shall state my recollection tentatively, because on a previous occasion when I- mentioned it the .honorable member for East Sydney took exception- to. it as not being correct, and he is far better acquainted with the older history of Sydney than I am. My recollection is that at one time what were called the Paddington Barracks, which are now used for military purposes,, belonged to the Imperial Government, and what was known as Dawes Point, which is a very valuable peninsular in the- middle of Sydney Harbor, also belonged to that Government. When they required Garden Island as a naval depot they transferred those two properties to New South Wales for the island. I happen to- know that, at the Imperial Conference of 1909, it was- said that the Imperial Government would hand over Garden Island to the Federal Government when they inaugurated their own navy. I think it> was- mentioned, at the Conference that it. would involve a great deal of money, which had been used in theerection of stores and other buildings,, staiths, and foundries, for the purpose* of repairing ships.. But, notwithstanding that, I understood at the time that the Imperial Government said they were perfectly prepared to hand over the whole island and all the works thereon, to the Australian- people for their navy. I was a little surprised a few weeks ago to see it stated in a newspaper that the State Government were setting up a claim to Garden Island, seeing that they had received a quid pro quo for the island in the shape of the Paddington Barracks and Dawes Point. No doubt, sooner or later, it will have to be ascertained where the legal right to the island- rests. I know that very often in matters of property between the States and the Commonwealth there is not the same care taken with regard to the legal rights as would be taken in a matter between private individuals. But, as we are going to spend £10,000 on Garden Island,. I dothink it is pertinent to the passing of this item of £11,000 to know how the Commonwealth stands with regard to the island, whether the State, seeing that it exchanged the island to the Imperial Government for other properties, has any right to set up a title to the island and begin, as it was doing, I believe, with the late Government, to negotiate with themfor the allowance, on the cross-accounts, of something for the island. I would bevery glad if the Minister would, evenwhen this item is passed, ascertain for the information of the Committee exactly how the title to Garden Island stands.
– Are the other propertiestransferred ?
– I have alwaysunderstood that they were transferred by the Imperial Government to New SouthWales in- exchange for Garden Island.
– I think that they aredown on- the list of transferred properties, for which we have to pay, and, if so’, we shall have to pay for both.
– Those two properties were dealt with, I believe, on theassumption that the State owned them, and I have always understood that it had acquired them as a. quid pro quo for giving Garden Island to the Imperial’ Government.
– No; that was- an afterconsideration.
– At all events, Garden Island became the property of the Imperial Government, because they have spent nearly £1,000,000 there.
– They handed the island back to the State, I understand.
– I heard on very good authority, which I cannot mention, that at the Imperial Conference Sir John Fisher said that the Imperial Government would hand over Garden Island, with all improvements, to the Federal Government as soon as they inaugurated their own navy.
– Yes, it was held by them.
– At all events, it is quite impossible for any one of us with our limited knowledge to lay down with great definiteness how the matter stands. I do think that the Committee ought to know from the Government sooner or later where the property in Garden Island lies; whether, in view of what I have said, the State can now turn round and claim from the Commonwealth compensation for Garden Island, as well as for the Paddington Barracks and Dawes Point. All that I ask of the Minister is that, before these Estimates have gone through, he will tell us how the matter stands, and so save the asking of questions in the House itself.
.- With regard to the Estimates for the Navy, I take it that the Government, both past and present, and Parliament are guided largely by the report of Admiral Henderson. In that case I cannot understand why such a heavy expenditure is proposed in connexion with Garden Island, seeing that we have taken over Cockatoo Dock, because Admiral Henderson in his report lays.it down very clearly that in the event of the Government taking over Cockatoo Dock there should not then be a necessity to expend money on Garden Island. In paragraph 29 he says -
Dockyard Personnel. - The personnel (185 ranks and ratings) now allowed and borne in the complement of H.M.S. Penguin for working the Dockyard ‘Establishment at Garden Island are provided by the Mother Navy. It is considered that this number of ranks and ratings should be retained in their existing positions until such time as the Dockyard Establishment at Cockatoo Island is taken over by the Commonwealth as a Naval Dockyard, when a revision of the complement will be. necessary ; it. is considered that it should then be practicable to reduce the complement of Garden Island to a very small number.
In the face of that paragraph I cannot realize the necessity for such a large sum as £10,000 being placed on these Estimates for carrying out certain improvements, whatever they may be, on Garden Island. I think that whilst we all admit that it is necessary to make every provision for naval defence, at the same time it ought to be done with a due regard to economy. We do not desire to be wasteful, nor to expend any money uselessly. I would like the Minister to explain why such a large item for Garden Island is included in these Estimates, seeing that the Commonwealth is now in possession of Cockatoo Island. In regard to Port Stephens as a submarine base - which Admiral Henderson . points out should be the first submarine base constructed in Australia - I cannot find in the Naval Estimates any item for carrying out that work. As honorable members know, the work is in progress to-day. Whether the present Government intend! to stop the work or not, I cannot say. I have endeavoured to elicit information from the Treasurer, but, so far, I have not been able to get a reply to my question, and, therefore, I do not know whether it is the intention of the Government to permit the work at Port Stephens to remain in abeyance or not. In paragraph 34 of- his report, Admiral Henderson says -
Port Stephens.- Port Stephens being the first Submarine Base to be developed, it is desirable that the following ranks’ and ratings be appointed before the Fleet Unit arrives in Australia : - 1 Lieutenant, 1 Seaman Petty Officer (Torpedo Gunner’s. Mate), and the balance of the complement proposed (11) as soon as required.
– The submarines have not yet arrived in Australia.
– Exactly, but Admiral Henderson points out that it is necessary to make provision to have the submarine base ready by the time the submarines do arrive. If we have the submarines- under construction, and anticipate his Fleet Unit in the near future, we ought to endeavour to carry out his1 report; in fact,’ we should be guided by him. The Minister’s interjection is quite in opposition to what Admiral Henderson says in regard to the necessity for carrying out the work at Port Stephens first. The Fisher Government did the exploratory work in connexion with that submarine base. I know that certain lands have been resumed there with the intention of complying with the report of Admiral Henderson, and making provision for the submarines when they do arrive. Later in his report Admiral Henderson deals with the order in which the works should be taken in hand. At page 159, he says -
Port Stephens. (a)Survey and examine thoroughly the harbor, and reserve land on south side of Salamander Bay;
That was done by the previous Government, I believe -
What I would like to know is whether the Government intend to continue that work or not? What is the use of our being guided by Admiral Henderson’s report in regard to ourFleet if we neglect to do the most important thing, and that is to provide a base for the submarines? We shall be in a nice position indeed if, when the submarines come out, there is no base for them. Although Admiral Henderson says that Port Stephens is the most important point in Australia for a submarine base, yet, so far as I can see, not one shilling is provided on these Estimates for the purpose. It appears to me that the work is to be allowed to come to a standstill; but, if the Minister can tell me that the work is to be continued, I shall be perfectly satisfied. We shall lose sight of what is necessary in connexion with the Navy if we go right against the report of Admiral Henderson. So far as Garden Island is concerned, he points out that, once we take over Cockatoo Dock, our expenditure ought to be reduced considerably, as it should not be a place of first importance, and, as honorable members know, the island has been taken over. On the other hand, he points out that the most important base for the submarines is Port Stephens. If the Government intend to carry out his report, well and good; but, if, they intend to ignore portions of the report while giving effect to others, and will probably find themselves later in the position of not having accommodation for the submarines, it indicates that there is a little laxity in connexion with the naval defence.
– The money for Port Stephens is comprised in the item of £98,000, on page 265, for “Naval Works, including labour and material.”
– How much is proposed to be spent at Port Stephens?
– I shall give all the information when we get to the item.
– My complaint is that in these Estimates the works are not itemized, and one cannot find out whether any money is to be expended at a particular place or not. The Minister, however, has said that Port Stephens is to receive a share of the proposed expenditure. I hope that the Government will push on with the work of providing the submarine base there, so that it may be ready when the boats arrive in Australia.
.- I think that the point raised by the honorable member for Hunter is sufficiently serious to justify the Minister in making a few remarks in connexion with the matter.
– As I explained, by interjection, to the honorable member for Hunter, a sum for the submarine base at Port Stephens is included in an item on page 265 of these Estimates, namely, “Naval Works, including labour and material, £98,000.” I do suggest that in order to facilitate the consideration or the Estimates, the present item should be passed.
– The amount is not set out on that page.
– I shall give the details to the Committee when we get to the item. We have in this division a proposed vote of £5,000 for Spectacle Island. That sum, which is partly a re-vote, is towards a total costof £14,400 for residences, police barracks, police search-house, doubtful explosives magazine, chargeroom, alterations and additions to isolation magazine, additions to offices, empty case stores, latrines, silver test house, corditetest house, covered ways, electric light, water supply, drains and general inspection, tramways, and clean ways. It provides, practically, for the completion of existing services. With regard to Garden Island, provision is made for store for guns and gun-mountings, general manager’s residence, quarters for storehouse man, officers’ quarters, recreation and ward room, and dining-hall for workmen. Cockatoo Island would not fulfil for this particular service the purposes for which Garden Island is now used.
– Where is provision made for any additional expenditure on Cockatoo Island ?
– Most of it is included in a Loan Bill which will shortly he before the House. The question raised by the honorable member for Parkes need not disturb us at this moment. We have power to take the actual ownership of Garden Island at any time we think fit, since it is required for the purposes of the Commonwealth. The Government does not allow the claim of the New South Wales Government to possession of that island. We have entered into possession, and there we mean to stop, so that the actual question of whether we shall be building on the foundation of our own property or that of some one else is irrelevant to this particular discussion. With regard to the other matter mentioned by the honorable member, he really put in more elegant language the statement which I had given honorable members.
.- It is all very well for the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs to tell us that we have power to resume Garden Island, but I presume that if we do so we shall have to pay for it.
– Not if the position taken up by the Commonwealth Government - that it is ours, and that we are entitled to it - is correct.
– The honorable member said we had power to resume it. Therefore, he must have had in his mind a doubt as to whether it is ours of right.
– I have no doubt.
– Only five or ten minutes ago the honorable gentleman said he knew nothing about the matter.
– It is a matter of law.
– The honorable member said he did not know this question was going to be raised, that he was merely speaking from memory, and had not a clear knowledge of the matter.
-i said that I could not quote chapter and verse for the statement I was making, but I have no doubt whatever as to our right.
– We want something definite. The honorable member must have known that this information would be required, and he should have come prepared to give it. I am not fully acquainted with the history of Garden Island, but we should know exactly how we stand in regard to it before we spend a threepenny bit upon it.
– There is no doubt that we shall have it.
– We shall be adding to its value by spending money on it before we resume it.
– We shall have to pay its value as at the date of acquisition.
– We were led to believe that if Cockatoo Island were taken over we should be able to do there much of the work now carried on at Garden Island. If that be so, then there is no need for this additional expenditure. We have paid something like £800,000 for the Cockatoo Island works.
– And they are cheap at the price.
– I am not complaining of the price. Unlike the Honorary Minister, I think it probable that we have made a very good bargain, but it seems ridiculous to be spending large sums of money on Garden Island when the work now carried out there can be done at Cockatoo Island. Why have the two establishments?
– They serve two different purposes.
– It is a pity that Garden Island was ever handed over to the Imperial authorities, because it was one of the beauty spots of the harbor. There were less prominent parts where the naval works could have been carried out. The Minister should give us full information before we are asked to vote upon any item.
.- I am afraid that I can scarcely fall into line with the honorable member who has just resumed his seat. I would point out to him that there is a wide difference between Cockatoo Island and Garden Island. Cockatoo Island is essentially a docking establishment, whereas Garden Island is not. It is true that a very large sum has been spent - and properly spent, I think - in taking over Cockatoo Island, where we have docks for vessels of war, but at Garden Island we have an entirely different situation. There wo have no docks, and there is no possibility of docking accommodation being provided, but war vessels can be brought alongside the wharves and overhauled by means of the plant on the island. I do not think that the proposed vote is extravagant. Sydney Harbor is undoubtedly one of the central Naval Bases for Australia, and surely no one will say that Garden Island as it is to-day, with its plant for lifting heavy tonnage, such as boilers and guns, should be discarded. Is it reasonable to say that we should not keep in repair the plant already there, or extend its facilities for general naval purposes? Such a thing would be absurd. We must do what is proposed by the Government. We must have Cockatoo Island Dock for docking our vessels, and we must also have Garden Island, if it be only for residential purposes for our officers. We must also have the associated plant necessary to the central and chief Naval Base of Australia. I find no fault with the honorable member for Hunter, who has raised the question of submarine bases. If submarine bases have to be established, they should be made effective at once, for unless they are established it is useless to bring out war vessels. ‘Our great central bases, however, should be our first consideration. I regret that I was not present when the honorable member for Parkes spoke, but I cannot conceive of anything that would justify a reduced expenditure in connexion with the Sydney Harbor works. I know the actual situation better, perhaps, than does any other honorable member, and I do not hesitate to say that the Government would be lacking in its duty to Australia if it did not extend the expenditure in connexion with Garden Island, since it is admirably suited to all the purposes of, shall we say, navalism. We have there a plant adequate for the treatment of any vessel that may come in.
– There must have .been an expenditure of £1,000,000 on Garden Island.
– A very large sum has been expended there, and it would be an illadvised policy to abstain from continuing expenditure in connexion with the plant we have there. I respectfully urge the Committee to agree to the proposed votes in connexion with these works. The Minister has said that, in connexion with naval works, provision is made for expenditure at Port Stephens and other places ; but it is unfortunate that we have not had a more detailed account of the methods proposed for this expenditure. The honorable member for Hunter was quite right in speaking as he has done, and if the Minister will give the information for which the honorable member asked, we shall be satisfied. It is most essentia] that a large development should take place at Port Stephens. I hope that the Minister will be able to give such information as will assure the Committee that the submarine bases will not be neglected. I hope also that honorable members will take no exception to the proposed vote for Garden Island, which is a necessary adjunct to the Cockatoo Island Dock. If we fail to develop it as. it should be developed, we shall fail to maintain the efficiency of the naval defence of Sydney Harbor.
.- I regret I am unable to agree with the honorable member for Dalley in this matter. The Assistant Minister of Home Affairs has given the Committee only the most meagre information. He tells us that it is a question of law whether the Commonwealth Government can take possession of Garden Island.
– No; we are in possession of it.
– Iti is a question whether we shall have to pay for it directly or as a transferred property. The Commonwealth Government, at very considerable expense, have taken over Cockatoo Island from the New South Wales Government.
– And have received value for their money.
– I am not disputing that. I have not the slightest doubt that the late Minister of Defence made a particularly good bargain.
– Honorable members on the other side do not say so.
– I do not care what they say. In this matter I am prepared to put my money behind Senator Pearce.
– The late Minister of Defence did not give the House much information about that bargain before he made it.
– He conducted negotiations with the Minister of Works of New South Wales. Everything was on the square and above board, and the honorable gentleman can lay the papers on the table if he is not satisfied with thebargain.
– I only said that the late Minister of Defence did not give much information about it beforehand.
– Honorable members opposite have said that it was a bad bargain.
– There is no doubt that they did, and they complained also -about the condition of the powerproducing machinery. I notice that they have not had much to say about that recently.
– We shall not hear another word about it.
– The honorable member for Dalley states that Cockatoo Island Dock is very necessary for the docking of our war vessels. That is true, but does the honorable member, and does the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, contend that it is not possible to effect repairs as well as to dock our vessels at Cockatoo Island?
– There is not a single penny of the vote for Garden Island which will be spent upon the docking of the vessels.
– How much is down for the manager’s residence ? It is an Extraordinary thing that during the twelve years of Federation it was previously not found, to be necessary to spend £3,000 for a manager’s residence at Garden Island. The late Government were charged with extravagance in public expenditure, but on the first opportunity the present Government have, they propose this apparently unnecessary expenditure.
– It is less than one-half of the estimated cost of the house proposed by the last Government for the residence of the Naval Commandant at Jervis Bay.
– This is not a laughing matter, because the Government are proposing the expenditure of £3,000 of the taxpayers’ money. If it was his own money that was to be expended, the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs would not consider it a laughing matter. The honorable member for Dalley takes up the position -that these two establishments at ‘Cockatoo Island and Garden Island are both necessary. We are paying £800,000 for Cockatoo Island.
– More than that.
– That is near enough, but if the amount were £1,000,000 it would not affect my argument, which is that we are being asked to make provi sion for a dual staff at Cockatoo Island and at Garden Island. Apparently the ships are to be docked at Cockatoo Island, and to be sent to Garden Island for certain repairs. If it was alleged that because of lack of space repairs could not be carried out at Cockatoo Island there would be a reason for the expenditure proposed at Garden Island.
– That is precisely what I wish the honorable member to approve of.
– I know that that is what the honorable member has advocated, but I am trying to find out why it should be necessary to duplicate management, accounts, foremen, stores, clerks, and timekeepers at Garden Island and Cockatoo Island, when the whole of the work might be done by officers under one roof at Cockatoo Island.
– It has been the same hitherto.
– That does not matter.
– Does the honorable member suggest that the expenditure proposed at Garden Island is not necessary ?
– I am asking for information on the subject, and the honorable gentleman is not prepared to give it.
– He has admitted that he knows nothing about it.
– Then we must take the responsibility of voting against these items.
– Why does the honorable gentleman say that we do not want Garden Island f
– I want the Minister to assure the Committee that we do want it.
– The Minister of Defence of the Government .of which ‘the honorable member was a member wanted it, ‘and took the initial steps to secure it.
– Neither the late Minister of Defence nor the Government of which I was a member proposed the expenditure of £3,000 for a manager’s residence at Garden Island, or an expenditure -of £10,000 at that place without saying what the expenditure was for.
– The ‘honorable gentleman should be careful about that statement.
– That sort of “flapdoodle “ does not appeal to me. If the honorable gentleman could meet what I say by suggesting that the late Government advocated something that was wrong, he would be very ready to do so. I want to know why we are asked to vote £10,000 for Garden Island, £3,000 of which is to be expended towards the cost of a manager’s residence? We should be supplied with that information, and I will give the Minister an opportunity to supply it. I wish to know, also, whether the work which it is expected will be done at Garden Island could not be done at Cockatoo Island, and thus avoid the necessity for a duplication of management and staff?
– It is quite impossible to do the work for which the votes for Garden Island are intended at Cockatoo Island, which, as the honorable member for Dalley has clearly stated, is a dockyard. The requirements of the Commonwealth Fleet will necessitate our utilizing every acre of Cockatoo Island for naval dockyard purposes. Garden Island is used as a depot. Apart from the fact that we cannot trespass upon the space available at Cockatoo Island for purposes of this character, there are reasons which make Garden Island peculiarly well adapted for the purposes for which these votes are being asked. The proposition that Garden Island should be handed over to the Commonwealth had the cordial support of the previous Administration.
– That is not disputed.
– The desirability of securiug the island is not disputed, and, having the island, we obviously need to manage it.
– Was it not managed before?
– It was, in this way : The Admiralty had a house called “ Tresco,”. at Elizabeth Bay, which was occupied by the captain in charge of the Naval Establishment. . The general manager of the depot will be living on Garden Island itself. That, I think, should clear up the difficulty.
– Who owns “ Tresco “ ?
– I think it was bought straight out by the British Government.
– Is it not handed over with Garden Island ?
– We claim full possession of all the British establishments in Sydney. That is the position which the Government take up. We are now going to have a general manager in charge at Garden Island, and obviously it is better that he should reside on the island. Nowadays £3,000 will not build a palace, and honorable members opposite will recollect that they proposed to spend between £6,000 and. £7,000 at Jervis Bay upon the erection of the Commandant’s residence and guest house. I hope that the Committee will pass the item. The expenditure is necessary for the purposes of the Fleet, and had the late Government remained in power, it would have done what we are doing.
.- When, an hour ago, I asked for information, we were absolutely in the dark about this item, and the Minister had to admit that he had very little to tell us. I wish to know whether Garden Island is to be treated as a transferred property for which the Commonwealth must pay? If the Government of New South Wales has received from the Admiralty property at Circular Quay or elsewhere in exchange for Garden Island, they can have no further claim on the island.
– The Admiralty has given to the Commonwealth the user of Garden Island. The State Government has put in a claim for the island, and that claim is in the hands of the law authorities.
– No doubt that will be a good thing for the lawyers.
– I do not think that matters will go so far as that. I think that our claim will be recognised.
– I hope, for the sake of the taxpayers of Australia, and particularly of New South Wales, that the matter will not get into the hands of the lawyers. Although there has been a naval depot at Garden Island for a number of years, it has hitherto not been thought necessary to have a manager residing on the island. The utmost care should be exercised in the expenditure of public moneys in the manner proposed. If Ministers were to listen to some departmental officers, the Government would be erecting mansions for officials everywhere. I should like to know how many men are to be accommodated in the quarters on which £800 is to be spent, seeing that £3,000 is to be spent to provide a residence for the manager ? The stock argument of honorable members opposite at the last election was that the Fisher Government had been recklessly extravagant, and only to-night
I read in a newspaper the statement of an honorable member to the effect that he had said, during the campaign, that from £3,000,000 to £4,000,000 had been recklessly expended by us.
– Was that said by the honorable member for Gippsland ?
– If the honorable member had guessed any one else he would have been wrong. If the Fisher Government was recklessly extravagant, what is to be said of the proposal before us ? But not one Ministerialist has asked for any explanation, item after item being run through without a word being said.
– The expenditure of £800 is for a house for the storeman, not for quarters for several men.
– Is the Minister satisfied that the manager cannot continue to reside on the mainland ? Many persons in Commonwealth employment complain that they are compelled to live in quarters furnished by the Government, and have to suffer a 10 per cent, per annum deduction from their incomes in lieu of rent, and we should not incur more expense in the erection of residences than we can help. If a manager’s residence is needed on the island, is £3,000 the least amount that will build one ? I regret that the Minister did not, when first asked for information, give the Committee fuller information. I trust that, in connexion with other items, he will appear better informed.
.- I am not satisfied with the Minister’s reply. He tells us that the question as to who is the legal possessor of Garden Island is now receiving the attention of the law authorities.
– I said that the claim of the State Government is being considered by the law authorities. We are quite satisfied’ that our title is good. The AttorneyGeneral’s advice is to that effect.
– Has the island been handed over to the Commonwealth?
– Under the Naval Agreement we have the right to use it.
– I understand that Garden Island is the property of the British Government.
– It was dedicated for Naval purposes in perpetuity.
– Now the New South Wales Government is putting in a claim for it. If we are going to spend a large sum of money on the island, we should be absolutely assured of our right to do so. Assuming that we have a clear title to the island, I do not like to see such large sums of money as that proposed being spent for the erection of residences there. It may be correct that Garden Island meets naval requirements which cannot be met at Cockatoo Island, but is it proposed to make it a sort of social centre for the Navy? An expenditure of £3,000 on a manager’s residence would seem to make provision for a commodious ball-room, or something of the kind. I would not deny opportunities for rational enjoyment for our Naval Forces, and I trust that means for their entertainment will be provided, because they will be more or less prisoners on the island, but I understand that hitherto it has not been found necessary to provide a residence there for the manager, and I fail to see why this money should be spent. I make .my protest against the expenditure now, so that in the future, should the Commonwealth title to Garden Island not be found to be good, it may hot be said of me, and of others, that the item was allowed to pass without attention being called to it. Without wishing to express the parochial view, I must say’ that it seems exceptionally easy to secure support for expenditure in the vicinity of Sydney. We have voted hundreds of thousands of pounds for expenditure in New South Wales without any question being asked as to the desirability of the proposed works. But 1 must be content with the protest that I have made. We have done quite enough for the State without handing over to New South Wales money for Garden Island.
– The honorable member will have a different tale to tell when items affecting Victoria are under consideration.
– In comparison with New South Wales votes, I shall have practically nothing to discuss then, as there are many blank columns opposite Victorian works. I trust that this Government will carefully control public expenditure, and not allow New South Wales to obtain money for a property that should come direct from the British Government to the Commonwealth. I accept the assurance of the AttorneyGeneral that, so far as he has gone into the matter, he is of the opinion that there is no doubt as to the right and title of the Commonwealth to enter into possession of Garden Island, and has no fear of the result of any legal contest with the New South Wales Government. Is that so ‘?
– That is so.
– There is no question about our retaining possession.
– Of course, we can getpossession of Garden Island in the same way as we can acquire any other property in the Commonwealth, namely, by taking it over for public purposes. I presume that in that case it will be taken over under the valuation made in 1908.
– We can acquire any property that we may want. But the question of possession is not disputed by the State. All that New South Wales disputes is our right to the ownership of the island. We are advised by our officers that our claim to ownership is a valid one.
– On that assurance, I shall say no more. I hope that the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs will exercise a protecting care in the matter of expenditure on buildings which may be used more for social purposes than for- purposes of utility, and that he will guard the public purse against the possibility of State Governments laying rapacious hands upon it.
– I am at a loss to understand the attitude of some of my friends upon this side of the chamber in regard to these items. It is the first gleam of sunshine that I have noticed in the policy of the Government. It is a recognition of the very many debts which they owe to New South Wales, without whose kindness they certainly would not have been in office at all. I should, however, be overwhelmed with satisfaction if I could only understand to what purpose this £10,000- is to be devoted. I gathered from the very illogical remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong - who, I must say, is unable to understand what Garden Island stands for, and what it is used for - that he was not clear in his mind as to how this money is to be expended. I will- tell, him the position. The item represents one of those small economies which the Government were returned’ to secure. It is by striking off these little items of expenditure that in the fulness of time they propose to lighten the burden of taxation.
– They have not struck them off. They have put them on.
– I am amazed at tha utter inability of honorable members on this side of the House to see things in their proper light. I am delighted at the Government’s intention to stand firm and impregnable by their principles. I think that they would weaken their cause by explanation. I understand that the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs takes up that attitude. Explanations would befatal to a Government occupying their position. They came into office to effect economies. How they effect them weknow very well. But, though we know,, the people outside have not been able torealize as clearly as we should have liked. However, here is the beginning off small economies, which in themselves; are almost negligible, but which, when totted up, will run into millions of pounds. As it seems probable that tha Government will last another fortnight, there is no reason why they should not go out of office, if not covered with glory, at least, with a surplus or something approaching it. I shall not ask the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs for any explanation of these items. I shall not’ be so rude, because I have noticed that every attempt in that direction on thepart of my honorable friends on this sideof the chamber has led to an exhibitionof the emotions which are working heavily within him. But I would suggest to the honorable gentleman that, infuture, it would be more expedient to>group these items under one heading than to set them forth seriatim. The adoptionof the latter course I regard as aninexcusable weakness. Upon these Estimates seven items appear, each of which affords honorable members upon thisside of the chamber an opportunity toask to what they relate. If, on the other hand, the items had been grouped underone heading’ we should have required onlyone explanation instead of seven. Of” course, we realize that a detailed statement of the public accounts was one of themissions of the Prime Minister when heentered upon the government of thiscountry. Only yesterday morning I read a speech by him, in which he said’ that a. man of long training in commercial affairs, Mr.. Robert Harper, had regretted* that lie was quite unable to explain thepublic accounts. He could not follow them; he could not understand them..
The Prime Minister said that that was a great pity, and that they ought to be prepared in such a manner that everybody could understand them. To effect economies and to place the public accounts before the people in a clear, concise fashion - these were the things for which the Prime Minister was returned to office. Only the other night I heard one of the Ministerial supporters regret his inability to understand the position. That, is just as it should be. On this side of the chamber there is. light; on the other side there is darkness. If honorable members opposite knew all abou these matters we should not have that sheep-like domesticity that we see exhibited there. They were returned here to shed light where there was darkness, and yet there is not one of them who has the faintest glimmering of an idea as. to what this item represents. Not one of’ them dare go on to a public platform and say that he voted for it. I remember the echo of the last Korumburra speech of the Attorney-General, and I recollect what he told the electors. I have no doubt that he will make the same statements again. But it will be when the press, kindly and considerate, has put its extinguisher on the public memory, sofar as this item i3 concerned. Let three’ months pass, and the public will have forgotten the incident as completely as if it had never occurred. However, I am not going to protest against it. I do not know whether Garden Island is in. my own electorate, or in that of the honorable member for East Sydney.
– It is in mine.
– Then my electorate has been overlooked. In the fulness of time, however, I have, no doubt that it will receive its solatium. If a division is called for by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, the Government can count upon my cordial support
.- I cannot hope to emulate the fine sarcasm of the honorable member who has just resumed his seat. But the honorable member for Maribyrnong has an obligation thrust upon him which he should discharge as soon as possible. He has accused the representatives of New South Wales of being parochial. As a matter of fact, we are not. There is nobody more parochial’ than is the honorable member himself. If he can get. anything for Victoria he always desires to obtain it. However, I” wish to get down to the bedrock of fact in connexion with this proposed vote. I have no time for idle talk. I agree with the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs that Garden Island stands entirely apart from Cockatoo Island in every possible way. It is a depot, and nothing but. a depot. If one visits it he will see that the buildings there are depot buildings.. There are engineering establishments, but the principal buildings are those in which stores are kept for the naval service. That is not the position on Cockatoo Island. I associate Garden Island with Spectacle Island as a naval depot.
-. - Where is Spectacle Island?
– Near to Cockatoo Island. I know that the idea in the minds, of the engineers in Sydney at the present time is that it is desirable to fill in a> portion of the harbor so as to- continueCockatoo Island as far as Spectacle Island.. For honorable members to talk of Gardens Island fulfilling all the functions- which; are performed on Cockatoo Island is sheer nonsense. At the present time-Cockatoo Island is practically overworked. A hill about- 30 acres in extent is being demolished in order to provide accommodation* for more engineering works. We must,, therefore, regard Garden Island with its appurtenances in an engineering way as. an aid to> Cockatoo Dock in connexion with the service of the Fleet. If we donot, we shall tie ourselves up in- every possible way. Garden Island is a storehouse. But it is not the only one. If one visits Darling Harbor one will see large buildings there which are used as naval stores. Most certainly, more storesshould be concentrated on Garden Island if we are to have an effective naval service.
– It is a beauty spot.
– The beauty aspect of the island has been lost. It is not a. beauty spot. It is a Naval Base. It has all that is necessary for the repair of. vessels, and it is well that this money should be spent, so long as it is not to be. spent on raising fashionable residences.
– There is no suggestion of the kind.
– If it is to be spent on> the development of the island,, and on> making it a more effective Naval Base,. I, approve of the expenditure. There are> buildings on the island quite adequate for any man who does not require something luxurious, and I hope the Administration -will reconsider their determination to spend £3,000 upon a residence for a naval officer. There is no occasion for that expenditure. I am opposed to it.
– I do not object to the spending of £10,000 on Garden Island, provided that the whole of the money is spent on works of utility to the Commonwealth, but I object to the Government spending money on building residences.
– >We must pay rent otherwise.
– If we provide a public servant with a house we reduce his salary by the amount of the rent. If he is not accommodated with a house, he draws a salary which provides for the rent of one. We should hasten the construction of the Fleet and the dock, and other works of utility, but there is no need to go in for building residences such as those mentioned by the Honorary Minister.
– Move an amendment.
– I am not going to move an amendment. I wish it to be understood that, as I protested against the late Government building these residences, I also protest against the present Government doing it.
– What is the use of protesting if you will not vote? It is hypocrisy.
– I regard the spending of £3,000 on a residence at Garden Island as an extravagance.
.- Before his electors the honorable member for Gippsland complained about the huge sums voted under the heading of “ Contingencies,” but now he is prepared to assist the present Government in spending a large sum of money, though he does not know how it is to be spent. It is a surprising attitude to take up. I thought we might reasonably expect the honorable member to ask how the money was to be spent. We generally aim at getting the Works Estimates through as soon as possible, but this is the first time we have had a Minister in charge of these Estimates without information, as to how the money is to be spent. The information must be in the Department. Estimates for works must be prepared by the officers beforehand, and they must have- the approval of the Minister. and how is it that we cannot, by any sort of process, screw information out of Ministers, particularly when we remember that this Government claimed to come in to show how the affairs of the Commonwealth should be administered? We are taking an important step. Australia has started its own Fleet; the British Government have taken away the last of their ships, and have handed over to us the place that was used as a Naval Base. We ought to be supplied with information as to the whole of the transaction, and certainly with some information as to why this particular expenditure is proposed. We have had faith in the statement that, above all countries in the world, Britain knows how to run a navy, and apparently it knows how to run a naval base, but we do not know whether the British authorities had any proposal for spending £10,000 extra on Garden Island. They have been in occupation at Garden Island for a number of years, and apparently they have handed over the establishment as a going concern.
– You cannot compare the old scheme of defence with the present proposal.
– If the honorable member knows anything about the matter, we shall be glad to hear him, because apparently the Minister does not know anything. At Garden Island we have a going concern used by the British authorities for repairs and stores, but the present Government have discovered something that the British authorities managed to do without.- We are to have a manager’s residence. Apparently the British authorities did not have such an officer, and they seemed to manage all right. It is not too much to ask the Minister in charge of these Estimates to prepare . himself to supply the information which he must know honorable members will require. At tea-parties and other places outside the House complaints are made about delay on the part of the Opposition, but when the present Primp Minister and his colleague, the Honorary Minister, were in Opposition, they were pretty keen critics; they were constantly wanting to know.
– And constantly not finding out.
– They claimed that it was the mission of the Opposition to criticise; that they were the watch-dogs of the taxpayers. Things have now changed; we are the watch-dogs, and we shall continue to bark until we get to know about things. The majority of members are always prepared to pass the Works Estimates in order to get works under way, but here are new items and new conditions of things, and we cannot screw a word of information out of the Government. The Minister says that it is intended to build a manager’s house, but then he shakes his head as if that is not to be done. ‘ I scarcely see the justification for spending £3,000 on a manager’s residence. What is the manager to manage ? Is he to manage the Australian Navy, or the stores, or the repair shops? We should not pass the item until we get some explanation. Members on the Government side are as quiet as lambs. The honorable member for Gippsland, who came in as the champion opponent of contingencies, but has voted for several Supply Bills full .of contingencies, stands by this expenditure of £3,000. I wish to know something about the relationship between Cockatoo Island and Garden Island. If we were to continue repairs on Garden Island, one could understand the utilization of the big cranes and other works there; but, if we are going to use Cockatoo Island only for this purpose, I fail to see the need for this great expenditure of £10,000, unless it is to be spent on stores. We get some courtesy from other Ministers, but we cannot screw anything out of the Honorary Minister, except what he thinks are clever replies. It may be amusing to the Honorary Minister to sling the taxpayers’ money about, but when he has to face the people, and account for it, they will want to know where the money has gone, and why this extra burden has been placed on them. It is not an unfair request to ask for information. Other Ministers have had the information on works showing every detail, but to-day we are asked to “go blind.” Members of the Opposition are here to see that they know what they vote on. I do hope that, even at this last moment, the Minister will give a little information. We are aware that £3,000 is to be spent on the erection of a manager’s house, but we ought to know the purpose for which the £7,000 is to be used. There are extraordinary reports about Garden Island in circulation. It is said that the Defence Department is staffing the island with ever so many more officers than the British Admiralty found it necessary to employ. If that is true, we ought to be told the reason for the additional appointments. The reticence of the Minister - his refusal to give any information to the Committee - arouses a suspicion. If he does not know the reasons for the proposed expenditure at Garden Island he is not fit for his office; if he does know those reasons he is not fit for his office, because he has kept them dark; he is not fit for his office anyhow, and it is time that we had a change.
.- In the consideration of items such as these it is always more or less a case of the Ministry being practically able to do as the)’ like, because the honorable gentlemen behind them will ^support the proposed expenditure. In the case of an item which touches a particular district we have the peculiar spectacle of honorable members voting for the proposal, simply because it means the expenditure of public money within the area they represent.
– I have never said a word about this matter.
– Garden Island, I believe, is in the electorate of East Sydney, and is immediately contiguous to the divisions of West Sydney, North Sydney, and South Sydney. My experience teaches me that, while honorable members come here from east, west, north, and south, they are one when Sydney, or any part of it, is under consideration. Indeed, it is difficult to find out who has the most right to support an item which has reference to an expenditure in Sydney Harbor. This is a question of, so far as the Ministry is concerned, practically throwing £10,000 of Commonwealth money into Sydney Harbor without the slightest idea- . “
– We are making a better shot than that; we are not chucking it into the Harbor.
– How are the Government going to expend this money? They have a sincere and, no doubt, devout hope that if they throw the money accurately it will land on one of the many littleislands in Sydney Harbor, but they are.not quite sure that it will.
– Yes, we are.
– The Minister, in Ms first excuse, interjected that he did not know much about this expenditure of !£10;000. Why should he be troubled? Is he not more concerned about electoral matters, and whether John Jones, residing in the Indi district now, and being a Labour voter, shall be left on the roll for fear of consequences?
– Order !
– I merely refer to this matter incidentally, sir, as instancing where the Minister’s strength at present lies. It lies in electoral directions; it is in alleged! purification of rolls, which purification takes the form of putting his opponents off and his friends on. Here we have a striking illustration of a proposed expenditure of £10,000. The Minister had to inform us, in the first place, that he really knew nothing at all about the matter, and if we are to judge by his tone, very little attention has been given to the matter, and no efforts made to find out much about it. In other words, it is a case of “don’t know, don’t care.” I believe that there is a recitation with that title, and I commend it to the Minister. After much questioning, digging, and delving we found that it is proposed at some time in the future to erect different buildings on a spot called Garden Island. These Estimates were no doubt prepared in June, or, at the latest, in July, and they were prepared by the officers and given to Ministers with the idea in the official mind that the money could be expended before the ‘30th June next. Believing that they were doing the right thing, the officers asked for a vote for Garden Island, which they could reasonably expend, provided that they were allowed to start the work at that particular moment, but nearly four months of the financial year have gone, and unless the Minister corrects me I think I am safe in saying that not one penny of this £10,000 has yet been expended. Therefore, the Treasurer might reasonably allow a reduction of the item by a third. That is the first position I put to him.
– No; that is the amount we hope to be able to ;spend in this financial year.
– My honorable friend has amazing’ hopes.
– I have. I “believe that “the opposition to this item will cease -shortly.
– While the Minister may be justified in having hopes, we are not justified in voting £10,000 to him on that slender basis. As members of Parliament, we have a right to know where the money is to be expended, and how. We have a reasonable right to know whether there is some probability of the amount being expended, or whether it is merely a dressing for the window, whether inside the dress, so to speak, there is not a dummy, and it may be impossible to spend the money in the direction put down on the Estimates. But the having of that sum there may permit of the Government transferring it to some other direction where unusual energy has resulted in the amount allotted to that work being exceeded. This case presents another feature. The main part of the statements made during the next twelve months, if we can screw the Ministerial courage up to the point of having an election, will be that the Government have to spend all these items because they are committed to them. The word “commitments” is expected to be the salvation of the Liberal side in the event of an appeal to the country.
– No appeal !
– I am quite sure that there will be no appeal if honorable members on the Ministerial side can by any means prevent it. There is scarcely a weapon sufficiently strong, hot, or heavy to drive them to the* country while they can hang on to the Administration, and while they can have hopes of handling items such as this without the knowledge of how they are to expend the money, or why. The word “ commitments “ will be the star to which they will hitch themselves. That will be the one and great point on which they will rely to get them out of the enormous difficulty they are in now, namely, that, notwithstanding all their allegations about extravagance in the past year, -they suggest the expenditure in this year of over £4,000,000 more than was expended during last year. In order to get out of that frightful hole they are going to use the word “ commitments,” and blame the late Administration. They intend to allege that in every direction they were forced to incur expenditure because they were committed to it. As regards the item under discussion, there is absolutely no commitment. They are not committed to the expenditure of one penny in this direction. It is absolutely-
– It was on your Estimates, I expect.
– There is no re-vote.
– You put these items down. The Estimates were ready when we went into office.
– At the time the right honorable gentleman interrupted me I was stating that this is an absolutely new item. Isnot that creating some policy?. In the circumstances, he should reply. He makes allegations about commitments; he is hiding under a particular word.
– I am not going to reply to that sort of thing, you know.
– No; the right honorable gentleman will not reply here, but when he gets before the electors, or to a social or a banquet, or a meeting of the Women’s National League, among a lot of ladies who do not give detailed attention to politics, and are ready to swallow anything; he- will reply.
– When did I do that?
– When the right honorable gentleman gets back to Fremantle, where all the newspapers will- report whatever he says, and will not give his opponents’ the same opportunity, he will reply and make statements. He will be loud, long, and laborious in his efforts to deal with matters of finance.
– I have never said a word against you.
– I think it is the duty of the right honorable gentleman to reply. Just now he alleged that he was in full and complete charge of these Estimates; that he knew all about them.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– The right honorable gentleman took it upon himself to interject while I was speaking, and make statements Which he is unable to substantiate. He will not reply when there is somebody in front of him who gives attention to these subjects, but in one of his post-prandial utterances, when he is happy, and feels that he can dig at the Opposition with an utter disregard of the consequences, he will reply, making statements such as he made a few months ago about a financial debauch. Do the Government intend to have a debauch on Garden Island? Is this sum of . £10,000 required to add to the debauch which the right honorable gentleman talked about? Will he reply to that?
– Certainly the right, honorable gentleman will not reply or commit himself here. If he can make a* statement to the electors, he ought to be able to do the same in Parliament. If. the expenditure of last year was criticised, if allegations were made to the effect that huge sums were being expended, and. that there was no information, and that it was a wrong not to be acquainted with the Estimates, why does not the right honorable gentleman, being,in charge, now give details? Why does he not rectify the wrong about which he complained so loudly a month or two ago ? Or were all his cries then merely deceptive ones? Was. it a campaign of duplicity?; You, sir, would be able to tell us, if you. were allowed to speak; but, being in the* chair at present, you, unfortunately, have to be quiet. The Minister in charge of these Estimates - the Treasurer - is not absolutely dumb, but point-blank refuses to give us any information. I ask the right honorable gentleman if with him it is a case of not knowing. “It is my duty to put these questions, but the right honorable member grumbles, “You. may. ask, but I am not going to answer you-.” He sits there proud and arrogant, in the knowledge that he has a majority behind him, and he says, in effect, “If you do not like the item as it stands, I can carry it without you.” That, I venture to say, will be the situation whenever we ask for information concerning these Estimates. This is a new item. There was no commitment in respect of it last, year, so that the Treasurer ought, in the circumstances, to vouchsafe some little information in regard to it. I am inf ormed in one direction that there is to be an expenditure with respect to the manager’s; residence.
– Three thousand pounds to start with.
– If it be true that, of the proposed vote of £10,000, £3,000 is to be provided for the manager’s residence; let us look for a moment at the details, in so far as we can drag them from the Ministerial recesses. Quarters to accommodate ten officers, as well as a dining-hall for workmen, and mountings for gun-carriages, are to be provided out of this £10,000. But no less than £3,000, or practically 33 per cent. of the item, is to be devoted to the building of the manager’s residence. That is an alarming proposition. The ten officers will be provided with bark humpies, or something of the sort, no doubt, whilst the manager is to have £3,000 spent on a residence. Where does he come from ? Whose friend is he that he should live in a palace while others have to live in bark humpies? Then, again, are the mountings for these guncarriages to be of the paper-board character, to be reduced to pulp the first time a gun is fired? What sort of a family has the manager that he needs a palace to be built at a cost of £3,000? I am not going to stress the point as to the reticence of Ministers. It is painful to find them bringing down Estimates, knowing little about them, and apparently not caring what happens, while in the case of the Treasurer we have a refusal to supply information. It is the right honorable member’s duty to understand these Estimates, and to be able to explain them. Supporters of the Government will probably have to justify this proposed expenditure with their constituents, but, if they make statements similar to what they made at the recent election campaign, it will not matter much whether they know anything about the matter or not. The public, however, who have to find the money, have a right to full information. All that we have in these Estimates concerning this item is the statement, “ Garden Island, Sydney - Naval Establishment.” From those five words we are supposed to obtain all the information required. The whole item, being new, could be struck out, and, if honorable members look at the situation as it should be. viewed, it will be struck out, unless the Minister gives us fuller details. I wish it to be understood that I am not opposed to expenditure on Garden Island, or in any other part of the Commonwealth; that I am not particularly opposing this line of expenditure ; and that I recognise the necessity for the money being expended in certain directions. But I do contend that Ministers should give some information relating to the proposed expenditure.
– Have a dash at the next item; it is far more interesting.
– The next item is, “ Minor Works, Naval Forces, £14.” It is a re-vote.
– I suggested that the honorable gentleman should discuss it, because the works to which it relates have been completed.
– The Honorary Minister shows what importance he attaches to the proposed expenditure of £10,000 by saying that the next item - a re-vote of £14 - is far more interesting.
– Do not “ stone- wall “ the Naval Estimates.
– The item of £10,000 immediately under discussion, concerning which the Honorary Minister knows nothing, and about which he suggests that I am erecting a “ stone-wall “ - which is an unparliamentary term - is not a re-vote. This isan instance, not of the peculiar, but of the general, conduct of Ministers in relation to finance, and, with a view of testing whether honorable members think that a proposed expenditure of £10,000 should be agreed to until full information in regard to it is vouchsafed, I. move -
That the item, “Garden Island, SydneyNaval Establishment,£10,000, be reduced by
.- I rise to discuss this item because the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs has not given us the information which might reasonably be expected from him. The honorable gentleman asked a little while ago, “ What kind of a mansion will £3,000 build nowadays ? “ My answer is that it will build a residence suitable for any man. Indeed, at a cost of £1,000, a residence adequate for the requirements of any manager can be erected. I think that £3,000 is an unwarranted expenditure for such a purpose. It is three times as much as should be spent. Just as a straw shows which way the wind blows, so this proposed expenditure indicates the wildly extravagant policy which the Government are initiating in connexion with naval expenditure. Evidently they have in view, in connexion with naval defence, a reckless expenditure such as we never dreamt of. I should like to know what salary this manager is to receive, because we can judge the suitability of a residence for an officer by his salary. The Minister has not submitted plans of the building to be erected. If they were before us, I could quickly say whether or not they were too elaborate, or whether the internal arrangements were satisfactory.
Colonel Ryrie. - Why does not the honorable member put in a tender for building the Federal Capital?
– -I should like to hear the honorable member on this subject. When he first entered this House he used to pose as an authority on defence, and we were always pleased to hear his criticism of defence matters. When in Opposition he was constantly on his feet, but he is now as silent as the grave.
– We want to get down to Division 16 to-night. It concludes with au item for “sleeping barracks.”
– A proper place for the Government to go to. The sooner they get there the better it will be for Australia. It is of no use for the Honorary Minister to try to wriggle out of a corner iu that way. He should tell us the status of this officer, and the salary he is to receive.
– He is to be general manager, and a reference to his salary would be out of order.
– If the Minister is not prepared to say what this officer’s salary is to be, I can only say that he is trying to get these Estimates through by a confidence trick. This proposed vote of £3,000 indicates such a wild extravagance in connexion with naval matters that the day cannot be far distant when we shall have to rise in protest against such expenditure. It was not unreasonable that considerable expenditure should be proposed at the initiatory stages, but there can be no justification for the way in which expenditure on defence is mounting up.
– We are still in the initiatory stages.
– It is all very well for the Prime Minister to say that when he has heavy Estimates to put through, and when the Government are initiating a policy of constructing palatial residences for managers-
– These are the Estimates of the other side.
– No ; the honorable member for Adelaide has already explained that this is not a commitment by the last Government. It is quite an original idea of the present Government to put a manager into a palatial building costing £3,000. With expenditure on this scale, how long shall we be before the people of this Commonwealth are the most heavily taxed people in the world for defence? We are well up on the list now, and the danger of the future is that our expenditure on defence will become so excessive that we shall have to ask ourselves whether some united effort should not be made to prevent this wild extravagance. We have the foundation of our defence laid, and there is no reason why we should commit the people to extravagant expenditure over which we are apparently to have no control, because Ministers merely say, “Here are our Estimates. We are not prepared to give any details concerning them.” If Ministers, when proposing expenditure on new buildings, would submit the plans for inspection by honorable members, that would simplify matters. Much of the time occupied to-night might have been saved if the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs had submitted for our inspection the plans of the proposed manager’s residence. The Treasurer will give the Committee no information; the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs has given only slipshod information, and the Prime Minister has made matters worse by discouraging his colleague when he was inclined to give some information.
– Was not Garden Island occupied by the Imperial authorities for years?
– It was; and the captain of the Dockyard had a residence which the Federal Government have had handed over to them.
– On the island ?
– No ; on the mainland. But that residence, apparently, is unsuitable for the ambitious managers whom the ]>resent Government- intend to appoint in connexion with our Naval Depot. I should like to ask the Prime Minister, seeing that this is Tuesday night, and honorable members are tired after their train journey from Sydney and Adelaide, whether he will agree to an adjournment at this stage.
– What is the use of talking like that? We must do a little business.
– If the Prime Minister promises to produce the plans of the manager’s residence to-morrow morning, honorable members on this side will not discuss the vote at length after they have inspected the plans.
– What is the honorable member’s trouble ? What does he want ?
– I want to tell the honorable gentleman and the country that the proposed expenditure of £3,000 for a residence for the manager at Garden Island is wholly unjustifiable and extravagant. When we have not to buy the land, an expenditure of £1,000 would be quite sufficient for a properly-designed residence’ for any officer of reasonable ambition.
– The Government may wish to build this residence of marble.
– They may wish to use marbles of different colours in its construction, but that is not what we would expect when having to provide for an officer of the Navy. Naval men are generally supposed to be a hard-living crowd, who are prepared to stand all kinds of hardship, but the Government apparently propose to pamper our naval officers. They do not propose to follow the same course in providing quarters for the rank and file. To differentiate in the way proposed between the manager and the men, who will be doing the actual work, will only give rise to discontent in the service. We are spending nearly £6,000,000 a year upon defence for a. population of under 5,000,000. The expenditure has risen to this amount within two or three years, and if it continues to expand at this rate the people will be weighed down with taxation which they will be unable to bear. It will be drawn, in the main, from the pockets of the poor. The Government do not propose to increase the land tax to meet this expenditure. They do not propose, as the Labour Government did, to collect the money from those whose property is to be defended. They are asking the workers of this country to stand by and find £3,000 for the residence of the manager at Garden Island, while they are at the same time taxing them up to the hilt for the defence of the country. This proposal is worthy of men of the type of those who compose the present Administration, and who were returned to this House by inducing the people to believe that the members of the last Government hadno regard for theburdens which were feeing placed on the people. Where to- night are the men who made these charges of extravagance against the late Government?What interest are they taking in these proposals which most seriously affect the taxpayers of this country 1 The Liberals appealed to the people to return them to power, so that they might guard the country against extravagant expenditure, but the empty benches on the Ministerial side are eloquent commentary on their professions. The policy of this Government is extravagant beyond example in this Parliament. It is proposed to spend £3,000 on a manager’s residence, with no land to pay for. No doubt it will be furnished, too. Is there to be a billiard-room.?
– Will the Honorary Minister give his word that a billiardroom is not provided for in the plan and specifications.
– There are not any.
– Then the house may cost £5,000 before it is finished.
– It will cost lessthan £3,000.
– How much less?
– As much as we can save on that sum.
– What way is this to draw up Estimates? The Minister does not know how much the proposed house will cost.
– Garden Island did not come into our possession until 1st July, and, consequently, we have not had time to make plans and specifications.
– The Government came into power unexpectedly, and things have fallen into their hands in a mysterious way; they do not know what to do. There is no plan and specifications for this house, neither, I suppose,has a site been selected nor the foundations tested. I undertake to say that, were I to visit the island, I could select a site, test the foundations, sketch out a plan, and describe the accommodation furnished within the course of a day. Yet the Minister has been unable to do this in the whole time between 1st July and 21st October. Whatarchitect or builder would give anestimate of the cost of the building until he had seen its plan ?The Estimate put before us in this case is mere guess-work. Care has been taken to ask enough, in case mistakes are made, as they are frequently made with public buildings.
– Is the work to be done on contract?
– We have not been told whether it is to be done on contract or by day labour. The contention of the Ministerialists is that work done by day labour is twice as expensive as contract work. If that be true, this house, if it would cost £3,000 if built by day labour, would cost only £1,500 if built on contract.
– I have been waiting for twenty minutes to make an explanation.
– If that is the case I will sit down, so that the Prime Minister may make an explanation.
– It is time we got the Works Estimates through, and if an explanation will accomplish that, 1 shall be glad to give it. We have been too long over these Estimates.
– Longer than ever before.
– I do not wish :to make a -complaint, but, as honorable members are aware, the longer the passing of the Estimates is delayed the less the chance of spending the votes properly during the year, and the fewer the opportunities for employment. As to the [proposed house for a manager on Garden Island–
– Tell us about Garden Island generally.
– I submit that this is not the occasion for the development of policy.
– It is the £10,000 that we “wish to know about.
– The items making up that sum have been furnished. I admit that £3,000 seems to me a large
Amount for a manager’s house, though I cannot say that it is too large. To begin with, Garden Island is an expensive place on which to build.
– No. Material can be carried there on punts.
– Nevertheless, it is expensive to build there. If the !honorable member will let the item pass, 1 undertake to look closely into the matter, and to furnish him with all the particulars.
– Will” the Prime Minister let me see the plans before they are adopted ?
– I shall let the honorable member see anything if he will allow the item to pass. There ought to be, and there is, nothing to conceal. Honorable members are entitled to see all there is to be seen, and if the honorable member will remind me in the morning, I promise that he will be made aware of every detail. Proposals for expending thousands of pounds on residences for managers require a little looking into., but I remind my honorable friends opposite that there is much precedent for Estimates of this kind.
– The honorable member made such a noise about the Jervis Bay building that he ought to be careful.
– Is that why members opposite are making such a noise now? I promise that we shall be careful. I am not in favour of building palatial residences for men with moderate salaries. To do so imposes on them unnecessary burdens.
.- I think that the honorable member for Adelaide has acted wisely in proposing a reduction of this item. I ask honorable members opposite, who went through Australia complaining of the residence which the ex-Prime Minister had purchased, and which did not cost £3,000, how they reconcile their statements with this .proposal to spend £3,000 on the residence of a manager? Is the Prime Minister going to provide the manager at Cockatoo Island with a house?
– Be reasonable. I have promised to look closely into the matter, and to give the representations of honorable members opposite every attention.
– The time that the Prime Minister should have looked closely into the matter was when the Estimates w«re being framed.
– I imagine that this estimate is that of our predecessors.
– That statement will hardly go down. If honorable members will look at page 237 of the Estimates they will see the words “ New Services.” This is not a commitment from a former Government. I object to the proposed vote on the ground that Garden Island, which is a very eligible site for other purposes, should not be used for the purpose of a manager’s residence at all. Our postal officials complain bitterly because they are provided with residences-
– Is this the only item to which the honorable member objects so seriously. We will postpone its consideration until to-morrow if honorable members opposite will give us ti e balance of the Estimates.
– I will resume my seat at once if that be so. I sympathize with the position of the Prime Minister. He is leader of the party opposite. But Ministers will not obey him, and they make his life pretty miserable just as he made the life of Mr. Deakin miserable when he was associated with him. It is a case of poetic justice.
– Quite wrong.
– If I sit down will the Prime Minister move the postponement of the item ?
– Yes, if honorable members opposite will give us the balance of the Estimates.
– Surely we have some right to discuss the Northern Territory Estimates.
– If the Prime Minister expects to put all these Estimates through to-night I think that he is expecting too much. There are millions of expenditure concealed in them in various ways.
– The Works Estimates have been put through in a night on previous occasions.
– We are here to do our duty, and that duty is to criticise what we regard as wrongful expenditure and extravagance. The Assistant Minister of Home Affairs stated to-night that the proposed residence of the manager of Garden Island will not cost £3,000, and that the Government will not expend that amount upon it. If that be so, he has no right to ask Parliament to appropriate that sum. What member of this Parliament is there who occupies a house worth £3,000 ? We have to recollect, too, that the upkeep of such a house will impose a considerable burden upon its occupants.
– What do honorable members opposite want?
– We want to knock out this £3,000 for the manager’s residence.
– What amount do honorable members wish to leave for it?
– We want reasonable information in regard to the Estimates which the Government have submitted.
– Let honorable members opposite tell us what is wanted in respect to this item, and we will try and meet them.
– I think that £1,000 would be sufficient to cover the cost of the manager’s residence. I believe that we ought to pay our public servants such salaries as will enable them to get houses of their own. I ask the Treasurer whether he has considered that the waT vessels of the future will be dirigible balloons and aeroplanes. He smiles at the suggestion. That shows that he is not keeping in touch with what is going on in the world.
– I wish to make a deal with honorable members opposite. Will they give us half the amount, and let the item go?
– What does the honorable member for Adelaide say ?
– I moved to reduce the item by £3,000.
– I ask the Prime Minister’s particular attention to this point. I admit that the hour is late, consider.ing that it is Tuesday evening.. The wars of the future will be decided by air-ships, and Garden Island is eminently suited for housing air-ships. What is going on in Germany?
– Her dirigibles are not a success yet.
– They are largely a success, because they carry passengers. They blow up sometimes, but so do war-ships. In regard to Garden Island, why should not the manager live on the mainland? I suppose there is an admiral’s residence at Potts Point.
– I do not care what you do, as long as you get on with these Estimates.
– Will you knock out the £3,000?
– Then I will sit down.
– I was not aware of the details of the items when I consented to a reduction by £3,000. I find I cannob do so; but I will cub off £2,000, so that the Committee may get on with the Estimates.
.- When the Imperial authorities took over Garden Island in exchange for Circular Quay and the adjoining land, there were objections, because Garden Island was a great place of public resort. Since then some buildings have been erected which are very unsightly. There seems to be no attempt to make the place more sightly. I ask the Government to adopt some system in erecting buildings, so that this will not be the case. I consider that the vote on the Estimates is not too much for building a house for the man who will have the management of the island. The Imperial Government spent over £1,250,000 on Garden Island, and there is very valuable property there, so that the man in charge should not be an ordinary caretaker. I commend the Government for making provision for a proper officer to reside on the island .- Under the Imperial Government most of the men were single, and there was not a great need for providing houses for men with families. Under the present system, however, provision must be made for men residing on the island in the comfort they would have if they resided on the mainland. I trust the Estimates will not be cut down too low, and that the island will not be looked upon as a place on which to erect buildings that will be an eyesore from the adjoining heights or from passing boats.
.- I appreciate the manner in which the Prime Minister has met the Committee. 1 would not have risen but for the meagre information given to honorable members. The Imperial authorities had considerably more men on Garden Mand than we are likely to have in the future.
– That is according to Admiral Henderson’s report. I am not justified in voting for a house if it is not necessary. The Imperial authorities provided housing accommodation on the mainland.
– There is a good house on the island now for the resident captain.
– That house could be used for the manager, and there is no need to go in for the expenditure proposed. No one would try to cut down legitimate defence expenditure; but, at the same time, we should not be extravagant and spend money where it is unnecessary.
– I have offered to take off £2,000, and that, with the £1,000 cut off the original estimate, makes £3,000. That means there will be no house built this year.
– Seeing the honorable member has given the assurance that there is to be no house built this year, I need not say another word.
.- Of course, the honorable member understands that there may be urgent reasons, of which I know nothing ; but so far as I see at the present time, I can give the honorable member an undertaking that no house for a manager will be built this year.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. McDonald) agreed to -
That the item “ Garden Island, Sydney - Naval Establishment, £ 10,000,” be reduced bv
.- As I understand that it is proposed to allow the Estimates for New Works to go, I desire to say that they include many items to which I have the strongest objection. I want to protest against the inordinate sums which are to be expended this year by the Government on Naval Establishment, Naval Forces, Naval Reserves, and so on. I believe that we are entering upon a career of the wildest extravagance, and that the public of Australia cannot afford it. We ought to offer the strongest protest against the action of the Government. I do not think it is anything like an excuse that the Government hope to give work to the unemployed by incurring this huge expenditure. A great deal of the money proposed to be spent under these items could be spent “ in another way,” to use the words of the Prime Minister when he was Deputy Leader of the Opposition. It could be better spent in the purchase of air-ships. Thirty air-ships could be purchased for the cost of one Dreadnought. In my opinion, the Government are doing a great wrong to Australia. On a Tuesday night, when honorable members are mostly tired through travelling, and it is the practice to adjourn early, I do not find it in my heart to make the speech which I ought to make. There will be another opportunity of placing on record my objections to the extraordinary naval expenditure that is proposed in these Estimates. To-night we got an idea of what it means. The Minister said. “ We want £3,000 for a house, but it will not cost that. We want you, however, to put the vote through.” That has been the policy of the British Government. War-ships went out to practice, and if they did not use up the ammunition in the time, it was pitched into the sea, in order that the British House of Commons would continue to vote large sums. However, I shall have another opportunity of voicing a strong protest against the proposals of the present Government.
.- I do not rise to enter a protest, but to ask why it is proposed to spend £5,000 on the Naval Establishment at Spectacle Island, in Sydney Harbor?
– This sum is required towards the cost of a residence for the officerincharge, police barracks, and men’s mess-room, police searchhouse,doubtful explosives magazine, chargingroom, additions to offices, empty-case store, latrines, silver testing-house, alterations and additions to isolation magazine, cordite testing-house, covered ways, electric lights, water supply, drains and general inspection, tramways and clean ways.
Mr. ROBERTS (Adelaide) (10.46].- I feel justified once more in calling attention to such an item as that of £120.000 howards the cost of Naval Colleges, Naval Barracks, Submarine Depot, Naval Gunnery and Torpedo School, and Naval Training School. Last year, the sum of £50,000 was spent, and this year it is proposed to expend £120,000. I do not intend to take exception to the item, but to place on record that there is no necessity for honorable members opposite to shield themselves under the word “ commitments,” so far as this added expenditure is concerned, because the Ministry need not undertake it if they so desire. It is their policy, and it might have been the policy of our party if we had been on the other side. The matter is wholly in the hands of the Ministry. They need not expend the money if they do not so require. I object now, as I shall object later, to them shielding themselves behind the word “commitments.”
.- I would point out to the Minister that a tremendously heavy expenditure is in volved in this item. It is proposed to expend £120,000 this year, in addition tothe £50,000 which was expended last year. I think that the Minister might give us an idea as to what works arecontemplated under this extraordinarilyheavy item.
– This item includes the sum of £80,000 in connexion with theestablishment of the Naval College at Jervis Bay, and £40,000 towards the cost of the Naval Base at Flinders.
– How is it proposed to expend the £40,000 at Crib Point?
– On naval barracks and buildings of all types.
– Does this sum off £120,000 include only two items ?
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle) [10.50).- In subdivision No. 7 there is a reference to a submarine- depot, and I should like the Minister to explain where this depotis to be situated ?
, - This is a repetition of the previous year’s item, but no part of the proposed vote is to provide for a-. submarine depot.
– So- that the reference to a-, submarine depot could come out?
– Yes. The letterpress is really a repetition of last year’s item.
.- The Minister has made a reference to an expenditure of £80,000 on- the Naval College at Jervis Bay. We have at present a Naval College at Geelong, and why cannot that establishment be continued ? I should like an assurance from the Government that the Naval College at Geelong i3 not to be removed.
– About two years ago it was decided to establish- a Naval College at Jervis Bay, and, in accordance with that decision, a great deal of work has already taken place- there-. This money is urgently required to complete the establishment already authorized, and which the Navy hope to occupy in- the course of twelve or eighteen months. It is absolutely essential, therefore, that we should agree to this proposed vote.
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle) [10.54).- We have in this division the item “Adamstown Rifle Range, £5,350.” I should like- to know whether this- proposed vote is for the purchase of land, or to make improvements to the range itself ? Although the attendance on the range has largely increased since the introduction of the compulsory training system, not one additional target has been placed in position, and no increase of accommodation of any kind has been provided. Having regard to the number of people who use this range, I think some improvements should be effected, and additional targets provided.
– The proposed vote is to provide for the extension of the rifle range, and the provision of fifteen additional target machines.
.- In reference to the item, “ Liverpool Remount
Depot- towards cost, £1,000,” I should like to have some information. Last year, although £10,000 was voted under this heading, only £80 was spent. Does the item refer to remounts for our Military Forces, and, if it does not, why should it be necessary, as proposed, to spend £18,526 for remount depots in the different States? What are the depots for if there are no remounts to use them ? A remount depot without any remounts is very much like a ship without a crew. I should like to know where we are to get more horses to replace those now in use ? Remounts of the most suitable kind are not always available, and some encouragement should be offered to our settlers to provide the right class of horses for military requirements. If we are not inclined to do so, I fear the day may come when we shall look in vain for the particular horses we require. I should like an assurance from the Minister that this matter will not be overlooked.
– I can assure my honorable friend that the matter to which he has alluded will not be overlooked. The item to which he refers is to provide for an extension of the accommodation for horses, whereas the proposed vote for horses appears in another part of the Estimates.
.- I would ask the Minister for an explanation of the item, “ New Rifle Ranges, and Additions to Existing Ranges, £5,201.” At the Woollongong Rifle Range, until recently, there were five targets, but the rough weather of the last few months has put two out of position, so that only three are now available. Since the introduction of the compulsory training system, a large number of cadets have had to use the range, and -many of them travel long distances to do so. Rifle men at Woollongong inform me that many members of rifle clubs have to leave the range without getting any practice, because it is being monopolized by the cadets. It is very unfair to force -the lads to travel from Mount Kembla and Kembla Heights, a distance of 7 or 8 miles, in order to put in their shooting practice. A range should be provided at Unandarra, where suitable land, at the foot of the mountain, could be obtained.
.- In regard to the item, ‘ ‘ Moore Park, Stabling and Other Buildings, £5,457,” I would remind the Minister that about three weeks ago I put a question to him in’ regard to the erection of stables abutting on the Moore Park-road, and received a reply that the stables would be erected under sanitary conditions so that they would not give any offence. Since then, I have written to the Minister of Defence forwarding to him a resolution passed by the Paddington Council, asking him to receive a deputation on the subject. To that particular request, I have received no answer. I enclosed two letters, and received a reply to one relating to a right-of-way across the park, but the request that the Minister should fix a date on which he’ would be prepared to receive a deputation from the Paddington Council has not even been acknowledged. The ex-Minister of Defence gave instructions for the right-of-way across the park to be made, but nothing has been done, and I have some doubt as to whether or not anything will be done by the Department.
– Over £1,000 was spent there last year.
– I think that the least the Honorary Minister can do is to see that I get a reply to my correspondence. I have a suspicion that some one is intervening between me and the Defence Department. That may lead to trouble if it is persisted in, and the Minister of Defence should be sufficiently courteous to answer correspondence which was really sent to him on behalf of the Paddington.
Council, and not on my own behalf. I wish to be in a position to show that I have done my duty to my constituents, who asked the Minister to receive a deputation.
Colonel RYRIE (North Sydney) [11.1]. Perhaps the Honorary Minister will be able to say whether, under the vote for fortifications, there is anything included for the mounting of guns- on North Head. It is absolutely essential that there should be at least two guns of the latest type mounted on North Head. It is ridiculous to spend a large amount of money in fortifying Middle Head if there is no fortification at North Head. By the time the guns at Middle Head could be brought into action it would be too late, because the hostile vessels would be within shelling distance of the city of Sydney. There is a good deal of dead water at the back of North Head, where hostile warships could lie, and from where they could shell Sydney. In the circumstances, a very serious mistake will have been made if the vote does not include some provision for the mounting of modern quick-firing guns on North Head. I should like to know also whether the vote includes any expenditure for the protection of Broken Bay, at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. At the present time, the Hawkesbury Bridge is practically exposed to a hostile vessel. There is nothing to prevent a hostile vessel going right up to the bridge, because there is deep water all the way. This is a menace to Sydney. It is of no use to bar the front door while leaving the back door open, and Broken Bay is the back door of Sydney. There are no fortifications of any description at Broken Bay, and there is an excellent position on the West Head at Broken Bay, where a couple of guns could be mounted. The Commonwealth Government should come to some arrangement with the State Government of New South Wales for the construction of the military road through Kuringgai Chase to Broken Head, and should see that fortifications are erected on West Head. I should like to know whether any provision is being made to rectify the existing state of affairs at Thursday Island, where there is only an obsolete fort.
– That is dealt with inanother item.
Colonel RYRIE.- Then I can refer to it later. I hope that some provision is made in the vote now before the Committee for the mounting of guns on North Head and the defence of Broken Bay.
.- The total votes appearing on these Estimates for rifle ranges and grants to rifle clubs amount to £89,000, as against £84,000 voted last year for the purpose. This represents an advance in accordance with the policy of the Government to give increased encouragement to rifle clubs, and to build new rifle ranges. I wish to point out that a substantial proportion of the vote of £84,000 submitted last year was not expended.
– The honorable member cannot discuss the general question on the items now before the Committee, which cover works for New South Wales only.
– To comply strictly with that rule, I should have to ask the same question on the votes for every State. I wish to learn from the Minister whether the Defence Department are making arrangements for the expenditure this year of the money voted for these purposes, instead cf doing as was done last year, holding over a substantial proportion of the vote, and whether special attention will be given to the votes as part of the Government policy, and arrangements made for their expenditure within the financial year.
– Special attention has been given to the matters referred to, and it is hoped, if these Estimates are passed through with reasonable despatch, that opportunities will be afforded for the expenditure of the money within the financial year. The honorable member for Illawarra referred to the construction of two out of five rifle butts, and the difficulty in which the 500 users of those butts have consequently been placed. I will bring the matters to which he referred urgently under the notice of the Minister of Defence. With regard to North Head, the vote on these Estimates is for the completion of the works begun last year, and has to do with the North Head fortifications. The exact nature of the armament it is not in the public interests to refer to here. I very much regret that the honorable member for East Sydney has apparently been treated discourteously, whether by the Defence Department or the Post and Telegraph Department is not quite clear. I assure him that he will get an answer to his communication immediately.
.- Following up the statements made by the honorable member for North Sydney, I should like to know whether the Government have taken into consideration the defence of Port Kembla. The honorable member for North Sydney said that Broken Bay was the back door of Sydney, but I consider that Port Kembla is the back door of that city. The metropolitan area of Sydney gets its water supply from the back of the mountain there, which is only 8 or 9 miles distance from Port Kembla, and this would be the first place that an invading force would attack. Some millions of tons of coal are sent away from Port Kembla every year, and it is to the interest of the Commonwealth that the port should be defended. Without proper defence there, an enemy’s vessel needing coal would be able to run in and get it.
– I recognise the importance of the questions raised by the honorable members for North Sydney and Illawarra. At this stage 1 can only say that their representations will be given their full weight.
.- On page 247, the sum of £85,000 is set down for Woollen Mills, the expenditure last year being £10,297. During the electoral campaign there was much outcry about the Socialistic enterprises of the Fisher Administration, and the public was led to believe that the policy of the Liberal party was opposed to such enterprises. If that be so, the present Government is justified in saying, in connexion with these enterprises, that the first loss is the best, and in therefore stopping the works that were commenced by the Fisher Administration. It is clear, however, that, despite their election speeches, it is the policy of the Liberals to establish Commonwealth Woollen Mills. I place on record my approval .of that policy ; but I am justified in calling attention to the denunciation of it at election time by those on the other side who now support it.
– The walls of this building are half-way up.
– And the machinery ordered.
– I do not ask that the walls be pulled down ; I merely say that, during the electoral campaign, there was much outcry against the Socialistic enterprises of the Fisher Administration, and the public was led to believe that if a change of Government were made, there would be a change of policy, and these enterprises would be stopped. It appears, however, that it is the policy of the present Administration to carry on Socialistic enterprises, just as it was the policy of the Fisher Administration. But, according to what was said by the Liberals at election time, Socialistic enterprises are wrong, and mean a continual loss to the country, to which they should not be committed.. If that be the real view of honorable gentlemen opposite, they should show firmness and backbone by putting it into effect, justifying themselves with the statement that the first loss is the best. They might very well say that, having come into office, they found that £10,000 had been expended on Woollen Mills, but, as the establishment of these mills was a Socialistic enterprise, and against their policy, they thought it better to lose that amount than commit the country to a further expenditure of £85,000. That is not what they are doing. I take no exception to the proposed expenditure, because it is in keeping with the policy of which I have always approved; but honorable members opposite cannot be permitted to speak in one way before the electors and to act here in a contrary way. I am justified, under the circumstances mentioned, in calling attention to this matter.
– Was this item specially mentioned during the electoral campaign ?
-The Woollen Mills, the Saddle and Harness Factory, the Clothing Factory, and the Cordite Factory were all mentioned.
– And the Small Arms Factory.
– It was not particularized, at least, not by the Prime Minister, because he it was who started that Socialistic enterprise by calling for tenders for it. It was the first factory of its kind to be established, but now there are four - others.
– Is it a Socialistic enterprise ?
– It is as much a Socialistic enterprise as the Saddle and Harness Factory, the Clothing Factory, the Cordite Factory, and the Woollen Mills. It is as necessary that our soldiers should have cordite as that they should have guns. Arms without ammunition are of little use. It is essential, too, that our soldiers shall be clothed, and that the Defence Forces shall be provided with harness and saddlery.
– Does not the honorable member think that these factories should be established in the Federal Territory ?
– That is a question with which I am not now concerned. The statements that were made by honorable members opposite during the election were deceptive, and honorable members could not have been sincere in making them. I approve of the policy that is being followed, but I take exception to the attitude which was adopted by the Liberal party in regard to it when before the electors. What I say here I shall say on the public platform.
– Is not the public platform the proper place for these remarks? I do not see the reason for them now, unless they are made for electioneering purposes.
– I do not wish to speak differently here from the way in which I shall speak when on the public platform. I take exception to the conduct of honorable members opposite in making statements from the public platform which they are not prepared to carry into effect. The electors have been misled by their statements. Denunciation of the alleged Socialistic enterprises of the Fisher Administration was indulged in by them.
– How nasty the honorable member is.
– The Prime Minister thinks that it is nasty to remind him of his duplicity.
– Is that in order? I ask that the remark be withdrawn.
– I withdraw the remark, but I draw attention to the fact that the Prime Minister, when before the electors, inveighed in no uncertain terms against the Socialistic enterprises of the Fisher Administration. He referred to the Woollen Mills, the
Clothing Factory, the Saddle and Harness Factories, and the Cordite Factory. Yet we find that the continuation of these establishments is his policy. Although only £10,000 was expended on woollen mills last year, the Government propose to expend upon them no less a sum than £85,000 this year. If there was sincerity in their pre-election cry, they should have the courage to say, “ We will not spend this money.”
– Does not the hon:orable member know that contracts had been let?
– I know that quite well; and I know that they could be fulfilled.
– Why did not the honorable member say that?
– The Government could complete whatever commitments had been entered into, and refuse to continue the policy.
– Throw scores of thousands of pounds into the sea?
– There are. not scores of thousands of pounds involved in that respect. I have a perfect right to draw attention to what Ministers said prior to the recent elections, and to what they are doing to-day. It is essential that the people should understand more fully than they do what is really the policy of the Ministry, particularly in relation to finance. I am convinced of the importance of the statements made in reference tei finance, and of the effect they had upon electors. Now when the Government have complete control, we find that effect is not being given to their pre-election utterances.
– The honorable member who has just resumed his seat pursues a fine little game here. He makes these speeches; they go over to Adelaide, where they are promptly done up in the form of a dodger, and circulated throughout the city.
– That statement is incorrect.
– I wish a proper statement to be circulated amongst the people of that city. I want to say to the honorable member that this Government have more respect for the taxpayers’ money than to fling it away in scores of thousands of pounds, as he suggests. It is one thing to protest against the inauguration of a policy, and another thing to throw away scores of thousands of pounds after that policy has been forced upon Parliament and the country. The honorable member knows quite well that the walls of the Woollen Mills are half up, that the machinery has been purchased, and that the bulk of this money is a commitment which cannot be evaded except in one way, namely, by the absolute waste of the money which has already been expended. If the honorable member is prepared to play ducks and drakes with the taxpayers’ money in that way, this Government is not prepared to do so. I want, also, to tell him that what we said on the hustings in respect of these undertakings was not that they were unjustifiable or unnecessary, but that in matters of defence, where the expenditure of money is limited, the important things should be done first. I said that there were plenty of people manufacturing harness and clothing in Australia, and that the wants of the Army and Navy in this respect could be readily supplied by private enterprise. But I pointed out that there were no armament factories in Australia, and that my friends had ignored the establishment of armament factories, whilst insisting upon the establishment of harness and clothing factories. Since we have only a limited amount to expend on defence it would have been better in the interests of the taxpayers if these imperative needs had been given first place, instead of those things which could have been left till later. But because these establishments have been introduced out of their order it does not follow that we must fling away this money in order to suit my honorable friend.
.- I would like to correct the misstatement of the Prime Minister. He has declaimed against the Fisher Government for not having committed the country to the establishment of armament factories, declaring that their establishment was the first step which should have been taken. He, however, proposes to complete the establishment of factories to which he took exception before the election. Yet there is no item in these Estimates for the establishment of an armament factory, which he says should have been our very first under taking. Consequently, the strength of his utterance in that direction falls lamentably to the ground.
– Not at all. Thelate Government had expended the money on these other works.
– But the misstatement to which I rose chiefly to call attention has reference to the printing of a dodger. Nothing that I say here goes to Adelaide other than that which some journalist chooses to send. I am seldom honoured in that direction. Nothing that I have said in this House has ever been put into a dodger and circulated in Adelaide.
– t was not referring to the honorable member for Adelaide in a personal sense.
– In that case there is no necessity for me to pursue the subject further. But the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that what I said here to-night would be put in a dodger and circulated in Adelaide.
– I say so now in all probability. The honorable member knows that a similar statement was circulated broadcast throughout Adelaide in respect to another matter.
– I know nothing of it. So far as I am personally concerned I have no connexion with dodgers. Nothing that I have ever said in this House has been embodied in a dodger and circulated throughout Adelaide, and, consequently, there was no justification for the gibe of the Prime Minister. His allegation was another of those deplorable misstatements which are intended to create an entirely wrong impression, and which I will not permit to be made without giving it a rebuttal.
– I wish to elicit some information in regard to item, “ Queensland Fortifications, £525,” on page 244.
– We have passed the page on which that item appears. We have now reached page 247. I put it to the Committee whether I should call page by page, as is usually done, and, having heard no objection, I have adopted that course.
– As the page was not put to the vote, I claim that it is still open to discussion.
– No. The suggestion that I should submit page by page came from a member of the Opposition. The understanding is that if a page is submitted, and no objection is taken, all the items on that page are agreed to.
– Do I understand you to rule that the pages already submitted are closed against debate?
– Then I congratulate the Government on their new methods. It is a disgraceful gag, no matter who suggested it.
– It was suggested by the ex-Speaker.
– Do I understand that the honorable member for Brisbane has made a reflection on the Chair in attributing partisanship to me?
– I should be sorry if you imagined such a thing. I did not think of that for a moment. I wish to speak on the item on page 247, “ Erection of Drill-halls, Mobilization, Stores, and other Accommodation for Citizen Forces- towards cost of, £1007000.” Last Parliament, I called special attention to the lack of suitable accommodation for drilling the Citizen Forces, and no improvement has been made in that matter, the present position being a disgrace.
– Out of £93,000, your Government spent only £19,000.
– We have been under obligations to owners of private property to carry on drilling. I asked for a return during last Parliament as to the school-grounds used for the purpose, and I have been making personal inquiries into the matter. I find that there are forty school-grounds throughout Australia that are used, but there are a large number of places attached to public schools in various States that are eminently suitable for the purpose.’ Cannot something be done to afford immediate relief in this direction ? The present Government might have more success than the past Government with the education authorities. The present position. is unfortunate, but it should not be too difficult to overcome. These spaces attached to schools are maintained by the public, yet they are closed against the Cadets for drilling purposes, and to have boys drilling on the roads has resulted in very serious accidents. I do not object to the expenditure proposed. If the Go vernment asked for £200,000, I should vote for it.
– Will the honorable member .allow me to explain ? Like the honorable member,. I regard this as one of the most important items in the Estimates. Nothing can exceed in importance the desirability of housing these boys, and getting them off the streets at night. It is a matter of urgent and fundamental importance in connexion with the training of these boys, and but for the exigencies of the situation and sheer lack of funds, I would have put a much larger amount on the Estimates. But that these drill-halls are of a perishable character, so urgent is this matter that I would, if we had the concurrence of honorable members, put it in a Loan Bill for £300,000 or £400,000- which is the total estimate - and pay it back in two or three years. We would then be doing what we are now proposing to do in a piece-meal way ; the end achieved would be the same, but we would be getting on with the drill-halls in a much more uptodate manner than we can do in the present circumstances. There was £93,000 voted last year, but only £19,000 was spent. I understand we are now in a position to spend very much more, but I suggest that the best course would be to get a short-dated loan running over three years, and pay the money back at the rate of £100,000 a year for the next three years. In that way, we could rush along the drill-halls, get the boys off the streets, and administer to the efficiency . of the Forces* as well as take better care of the boys. Of course, if we can provide for more than £100,000 this year for the purpose of building these drill-halls more rapidly, “ we shall not hesitate “ to do it, even if we have to come to the House with another Estimate. There is, however, always the Treasurer’s Advance to fall back upon. Whatever we can do to push the matter ahead will be done.
. -So far as it goes, the statement of the Prime Minister is very satisfactory, but is he prepared to go further, and meet my objection by opening up communication with the State educational authorities so that immediate relief may be given, and probably also with certain of the municipalities who have vacant ground that might be made available?
– We have had charge of some of these places, and the arrangement has not been quite satisfactory.
– In some cases the municipal council has refused to allow the use of the ground.
– Yes, and in many cases the use of the school ground has been withdrawn. I think that the Minister might re-open negotiations, because the position is now better appreciated by the school authorities and the municipalities. I shall reserve my further remarks on this matter. I am anxious that the Prime Minister shall take immediate steps to get these vacant spaces utilized as far as possible.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 6 (Post Office Buildings), £320,413
. -With regard to the item of £2,000 for an extension to the General Post-office at Brisbane, on page 253, is the PostmasterGeneral aware that a special Committee was appointed three years ago to make inquiries into the accommodation that was urgently necessary in connexion with that building, and, if so, had he considered its suggestions when he put down on these Estimates the miserable sum of £2,000 towards an extension there ? The accommodation in the Brisbane Post-office is, perhaps, no worse than that in many of the post-offices, but the business is growing to such an alarming extent that, with every extension, in a few weeks or months the accommodation is overtaxed, and the difficulty exists just as it did previously. If the Minister has not seen the report of the Committee, will he consider the matter from the point of view put by its members, which, I think, will meet the case? The sum of £2,000, which is asked for now, is practically no- thing.
– I will be very pleased to do that.
– In the Budget debate, will honorable members have an opportunity of discussing the insufficient accommodation in post-offices and requirements generally ?
– I will let the Estimates go, then.
– In New South Wales all the expenditure seems to be proposed in connexion with the Sydney Post-office.
There is a large sum set down for that building, but in regard to any expenditure which country members require at country post-offices, the reply of the Department is that no money isavailable. I should like to know why the same rule does not apply in Victoria. I do not observe that a large sum is set down for the central office in this State.
– Yes, there is.
– There is an item of £80,000 on these Estimates for the Sydney Post-office, but the representatives of country electorates cannot get any money expended there, and I would like to know the reason why.
– In Sydney a large building has been erected for the purpose of sorting the mails. It has cost something like £70,000, and a great deal of money is required for equipment. We understand that a considerable saving will result from the sorting work being done in this large building. That is taking up a great part of the money.
.- I wish to inform the Postmaster-General that, on the Works Bill to-morrow, I intend to make a few remarks regarding the vote for the Perth Post-office.
. -I think that the item of £17,148 for sites and wireless telegraph stations ought not to be lightly passed. The mat- . ter demands such serious attention that I venture to suggest that progress might be reported now, because I am somewhat inclined to debate the question at considerable length.
– You can do that on the second reading of the Bill to-morrow.
– So long as I shall get a chance to discuss the subject tomorrow, I will not object to these Estimates being passed.
.- I wish to intimate to the PostmasterGeneral that, on the Works Bill tomorrow, I should like to get a statement from himself or the Prime Minister as to the position of the contemplated high-power station at Port Darwin, which was to be the Australian connecting link of the Imperial wireless chain. With a view to getting an agreement from the Prime Minister, and to avoid a misunderstanding, I suggest that, in consideration of the manner in which we are allowing these Estimates to pass, points of order should not be taken unreasonably against us when we are dealing with the Bill. I think that we ought to get an assurance of that kind from the Prime Minister now.
– I will give you any assurance, if you will let us get through.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 7 (Telegraphs and Telephones), £1,079,700.
– With reference to the amount required for telegraphs and telephones, the representatives of country districts want to know why so many works are held up. Every” week I get a notice that the erection of a small telephone line in the bush is approved of, but the Department cannot go on with the work in this financial year. There is too much of that sort of thing going on. I believe that in some country electorates at least twenty telephones, which are urgently required, are held up. I give the PostmasterGeneral notice that, on the Works Bill, I shall give him some trouble if he will not promise to push ahead the construction of country telephones. In the case of my electorate, the erection of twenty or thirty lines to isolated places has been approved of; but I am told by the Department that the lines cannot be carried out in this financial year.
– There are something like 200 telephone lines held up in New South Wales. Orders have been given to have the lines built, but I find that they are tied up. I have given instructions that as much work as possible is to be done at once; that tenders are to be called for the construction of the main lines, and the short lines we will put up with day labour, and keep as many men going as possible.
– The statement just made by the Postmaster-General is beautifully indefinite, and I, for one, am not satisfied with it. Will the Treasurer give us an assurance that he will find the money to construct these lines ?
– The money is already voted for them.
– Then why should we be told that these works cannot be carried out?
– Because the necessary staff is not available.
– The people concerned are prepared to carry out the work themselves, as long as the money is provided.
– We say that if they will do the work themselves, we will pay for it.
– Have we the definite announcement that the works now held up will be carried out?
– That will be done.
– Residents of country districts are loud in their complaints, and these beautifully indefinite replies ‘ ‘ cut no ice. “ We cannot blame the Minister for the holding up of these works. It is a legacy left him by the late Government. He is not the culprit; but I want him to remedy the trouble.
– A sum of £317,000 was spent in New South Wales last year in respect of telegraphs and telephones.
– Tell us what to say, and we will say it.
– I want a definite statement from the Treasurer that these works will be carried out.
– Nearly £600,000 is provided on these Estimates in respect of the current year.
– I shall bring these matters before the House when the Works Bill is under consideration to-morrow, and I shall want a definite assurance that the works now held up will be speedily carried out.
.- I should not have risen but for the statement made by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that the delay in the construction of country telephone lines in New South Wales was due to the inaction of the late Government. He knows that the Fisher Government was the best in the history of the Commonwealth, and that many people are to-day enjoying the benefits of a telephone service which they would not have secured but for its action. I am surprised that the honorable member should make a statement which he knows to be at variance with the truth.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable member entitled to say that I have made an untrue statement?
– The honorable member for East Sydney is not in order in making such a statement.
– I shall withdraw it, and say that the honorable member has made a statement that is not in accordance with fact. I hope that he will, in future, be more careful.
.- I would draw the attention of the PostmasterGeneral to subdivision 1 of division 7, in which provision is made for an expenditure of £241,000 for new switchboards and extensions in New South Wales, and £150,200 on new switchboards and extensions in Victoria. Then, again, for construction and extension of telephone lines, instruments and material in New South Wales, £205,200 is provided, and £160,900 in the case of Victoria. The vote in respect to this item in the case of New South Wales has been reduced from £252,450, the amount of the. appropriation in 1912-13, to £205,200.
– A lot of these items are cut out for the Loan Bill.
– Will the Minister explain the reason for the apparent reduction?
– I distinctly remember calling attention to the fact that, in last year’s Estimates, Victoria got the bulk of the expenditure.
– I am not putting the expenditure in one State against that in the other. I desire rather to deal with this matter from the stand-point of country services. The votes here proposed for Victoria and New South Wales for telephone services and instruments are less than the votes submitted last year. The whole of the increased expenditure is apparently for new switchboards and extensions in New South Wales and Victoria. No doubt the Postmaster-General will be able to satisfactorily explain an anomaly which seems to indicate that country services are to suffer, and this expenditure is still further to be centralized.
– I wish to call the attention of honorable members to a rather peculiar position. The total votes under the head of expenditure for construction and extension of telephone lines, instruments, and material for New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania work out at a figure which shows an actual reduction of £62,952 on the expenditure proposed in last year’s Estimates for these services. The reduction in New South Wales is £35,707, Queensland £6,232,
Western Australia £18,049, and Tasmania £2,964. For the two States, Victoria and South Australia, an increased vote is proposed, the increase for Victoria being £5,627, and for South Australia £11,933, or a total increase for the two States of £17,560. These figures show a net reduction on the votes for last year for this purpose of £45,392. If there is one matter which every honorable member has been persistent in calling attention to it is the urgent need” for increased telephone construction. The present Government never ceased to complain of the lack of activity in this regard on the part of the preceding Government. They cried out for the erection of telephones throughout the length and breadth of Australia, and they now come down with Works Estimates proposing a reduced expenditure on telephone construction to the extent of £45,392. Such inconsistency between argument and performance fairly staggers me.
– I can explain it to the honorable member.
– I shall be glad to hear the Postmaster-General’s explanation.
– The apparent reduction in the votes for these services is accounted for by the fact that money is to be provided for the purpose out of loan. There is £109,000 to be expended in New South Wales on these services from loan funds, and, in Victoria, over £100,000 from the same source. That is why the vote on . these Works Estimates are reduced.
– Are country telephones to be provided for under the Loan Bill?
Proposed vote agreed to,
Division 8 (Government Printing Office), £4,200, and Division 9 (Stamp Printing), £660, agreed to.
Division 10 (Rifle Clubs and Ranges, &c.), £16,900, and Division 11 (Military Stores,&c), £500,500, agreed to.
Division 12 (Naval Works,&c.), £165,721.
– In connexion with the item “ Naval Works, including Naval Material - £98,000,” I should like to know before the vote is passed whether any of this money is to be expended in furtherance of the work now in hand for the establishment of a submarine Naval Base at Port Stephens. The Assistant Minister of Home Affairs promised that when we. reached this vote he would supply information on the subject.
.- I find that £2,000 is to be expended on Port Stephens, so that it is evident a commencement is contemplated there,
– The work has been commenced.
– That amount is what is estimated to be required during the year. The honorable member will remember that the base at Port Stephens is to be one of the secondary Naval Bases.
– Admiral Henderson says in his report that it is the first submarine base which should be constructed.
– Even so, it will not take so much to construct a submarine depot as a big Naval Base.
– £2,000 will not be sufficient.
– I do not know the explanation, but that is probably all that is required for the purposes of this year.
– I do not wish to take up time unnecessarily, but I wish to say that it appears to me that £2,000 will not be sufficient to do what is required at Port Stephens. Admiral Henderson has pointed out that it is necessary to have this submarine base at Port Stephens constructed before the submarines arrive. We expect these boats to arrive, I suppose, within twelve months, and £2,000 will not be sufficient to complete the submarine base at Port Stephens. I ask the Prime Minister to give the matter consideration.
– I shall be glad to do so, and let the honorable member know all about it.
I should like to know how much of the vote of £1,002,432 for the Fleet Unit represents construction undertaken prior to the present financial year, and how much is to cover the expenditure during the present year.
– About £700,000 of the amount is a commitment from last year. The balance represents nearly all that will be required for the completion of the Fleet Unit.
– Does it involve any new construction.
– No, there is nothing new. It is simply for the completion of the Fleet Unit. Any further construction programme has yet to be promulgated. I believe that it will require over £100,000 more to complete the Fleet Unit. As a matter of fact, it will require an expenditure of £175,000 for machinery to complete the dock equipment before we can hope to complete the vessels of the Fleet.
– That is not so.
– Machinery is required for the dock, which is estimated to cost £175,000.
– But not to complete the ships.
– To complete the equipment of the dock, and a portion of that machinery must be provided before the vessels can be completed. The amount on these Estimates, with the exception of about £150,000, represents the total amount which will be required to complete the Fleet Unit.
– I should like to know whether it is the intention of the Government to go on with the proposed sub-base on the Derwent, and whether the land required for the purpose has yet been paid for. I understand that it has been acquired from a local resident, and has not been paid for.
– I shall be glad to make inquiries into the matter.
– I have already drawn attention to the utter unsuitability of H.M.A.S. Gayundah for naval training purposes, and I have also protested against the vessel’s removal from Brisbane to Sydney for an overhaul. Whatever she may have been in the past, she is quite unsuited for the training of the Queensland Naval Forces. Efforts should be made to secure a ship of the “ P “ class, such as the Pyramus, so that the naval trainees of the State may have encouragement to persevere in their work, and have a reasonable opportunity of becoming efficient in it. The capacity of the Gayundah is so limited, and her arrangements so unsuitable, that it is a wonder that the men can do their work with any reasonable degree of success or efficiency. Nothing becomes obsoleteso quickly as a warship, and vessels of the Imperial Navy are continually becoming obsolete. One of these vessels would serve well in place of the Gayundah, and could be obtained by the Government at a reasonable cost. If a suitable vessel were obtained, it would greatly facilitate and develop naval training in Queensland.
– Our naval expenditure has reached such alarming proportions that I am sorry that I agreed to allow the Estimates to pass to-night. On page 265, £112,000 is proposed for machinery and plant. The Prime Minister has told us that £175,000 is to be spent on machinery for the Fitzroy Dock, independently of this amount. I should like information regarding the item.
– At the Flinders Naval Base, £35,000 is needed for a dredger, £50,000 forsix hopper barges, and £15,000 for plant. At the Henderson Naval Base, £12,000 is needed for the reconstruction of a dredger. These sums make up the total of £112,000.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 13 (Construction of Fleet), £300,000, and division 14 (Construction of Vessels for other Departments), £9,190, agreed to.
External Affairs Department.
Division 15 (Northern, Territory),
Colonel RYRIE (North Sydney) [12.16 a.m.]. - There are many items set down for expenditure in the Northern Territory against which I should have nothing to say if they were likely to encourage settlement there, but. they are not likely to bring one settler to the Territory. There is, for instance, £4,000 put down for additional office accommodation. There are fewer than 1,000 white persons in the Territory, so that this additional office accommodation is to cost £4 a head. Then £2,000 is to be voted for new Government stables and quarters for attendants. I do not think there is any need for that expenditure.
Further, £10,000 is provided to build houses for Government employes at Port Darwin. Last year, £21,000 was appropriated for this purpose, and £19,277 spent. This year’s appropriation will bring the expenditure up to £30,000, or more than £30 for each white person in the Territory. To provide aboriginal schools at Darwin, Pine Creek, and Alligator Creek, £2,000 is set down. I know something about the way in which aboriginals should be treated. In my opinion, they are best left to live their own lives, because attempts to civilize them bring about their absolute destruction. If we set apart large reserves for them, and made very strict regulations to prevent interference with them, we should do something for this unfortunate race, which we know must go, but it is useless to endeavour to civilize them. Altogether, £59,000 is to be spent in public buildings, offices, stables, and houses for employes. We are spending too much money on the Territory, and are thus adding to the terrible cost of its administration, making it a burden on the Commonwealth, without doing anything conducive to settlement. It should be the object of the Government to spend money there in such a way as will cause men of the right sort to settle in the Territory.
– What would the honorable member take to go up there?
Colonel RYRIE. - I would not go there under any circumstances. We have taken over a “ white elephant.” I am convinced that the only way to settle the Territory is to run a railway out there at any cost through New South Wales. I think that a lot of these items represent extravagant expenditure.
– I think that we ought to have an explanation of this proposed expenditure.
– To what items does the honorable member refer?
– To “Additions to buildings and fencings, £2,500 “ ; “ Houses for farm manager and married men, £2,000”; “Additional office accommodation, £4,000 “ ; “ New Government stables and quarters for attendants, £1,000”; “Workers’ quarters, Darwin, £2,000”; and “Houses for Government employes, Darwin, £10,000.” These items represent an expenditure of many thousands of pounds upon the Territory, where, we are told, there are only seven settlers. I am informed that there are only 350 white people in Darwin. Yet, last year, £1,000 was expended on a steam laundry for them.
– That item has been knocked out.
– The fact that there are such items on the Estimates proves that there is a screw loose in our administration of the Northern Territory. We allow officers to run the Departments, and there is no proper control over them. I ask the Minister of External Affairs to tell the Committee the number of public servants we have at Port Darwin. I think he will find that on these Estimates we are voting more than sufficient money to provide each of them with a nicely-ornamented brick house.
– I think that the expenditure will repay the Commonwealth quite as well as will the expenditure upon the Federal Capital.
– That is a matter of opinion. I enter my emphatic protest against the items which I have enumerated, and if a satisfactory explanation be not forthcoming I shall propose a reduction upon some of them.
– We spent £61,000 last year upon the Territory, and this year we propose to expend £59,000. We must give the country a chance.
– But it is idle to give it a chance by spending money on houses for public servants, instead of on the promotion of settlement. If we are to subsidize the Territory in the way that is proposed, where is the money to come from? As the honorable member for Adelaide has challenged the expenditure on the Federal Capital, I shall test his sincerity a little later.
– Upon what item?
– I shall tell the honorable member when we reach it.
– The first item to which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has taken exception relates to “ additions to buildings and fencing.” In regard to that, I believe that the expenditure relates not to ornamental houses, but to the police station at Alice Springs, and to certain fencing which is required at Port Darwin. The houses for the farm manager and married men, to which he referred, are intended to be erected upon the experimental farms which were established by the late Government. I ask honorable members not to condemn them until we ascertain exactly what they are doing. A great many reports concerning them have reached me, but I am inclined to think that these experimental farms are not quite as bad as they are represented to be. At any rate, it is only fair to hear what the officials have to say about them.
– Will the Minister send a man up to report upon them ?
– The complaint made” by some honorable members is that there are too many officers in the Territory, whilst others ask us to send up more officers.
– Only one.
– At present there are, or until recently there were, no houses on these experimental farms. The men have been living in tents. Then additional office accommodation is to be provided at Darwin. The report I have is that the present accommodation is very poor. The money asked for ‘on these Estimates is intended to provide a two-storied building to accommodate officers of five Departments. It is also proposed to spend £1,000 on new schools at Daly and Stapleton. We cannot expect persons to stay at these places unless provision be made for the education of their children. The honorable member for North Sydney has referred to aboriginal schools. I may tell him that an attempt is now being made to give effect to the suggestions of Professor Spencer in this connexion. Only within the last two hours I received a telegram that some of these schools have just been opened, and that at One of them, where it was expected that the pupils would be very few, about sixteen children - halfcaste and aboriginal - are entering their attendance. In regard to the houses for Government employes at Darwin, for which £10,000 is provided, the accommodation is to consist of sixteen or twenty houses for officials, and the buildings are to be erected about 2 miles distant from Darwin. The rental of these dwellings will run from £50 to £100 a year, and if the Administrator’s estimate be right, the rents will return a fair interest on the capital outlay, in addition to creating, perhaps, a sinking fund against the capital cost. It has been stated that there are only seven settlers in the Territory, but that statement is not correct. What is really referred to is this fact : In the Ordinance passed in November last year, provision was made for lands for agriculture and also mixed farming to be surveyed before selection could take place. In accordance with that Ordinance surveys were made, and, as a result of the surveys, we had forty-six blocks available in April and June last. These were advertised, twenty in one place and twenty-six in another, and there were 369 applications for the blocks. Of the successful applicants, about twenty, settlers are now on, or are on their way to, the land; and from the last information I have, others have still to settle on the blocks. If the attempt at settlement has not made greater advance, it is,’ to an extent, due to the fact that the Ordinance prescribed that survey must precede actual settlement; but I am attempting to alter the terms of the Ordinance so that we need not necessarily wait for surveys to be made.
– How many white employes are there at Port Darwin ? Are there 100 or 1,000 ?
– There are not 1,000 in the employ of the Government. There are only about 2,000 whites there altogether. The honorable member cannot expect me to carry the figures in my head.
– When we are asked to provide £30,000 or £40,000 for houses for these officers, the Minister should have the information.
– I ask honorable members to be a little patient. When the Territory was taken over from South Australia there were only three settlers with farms. An attempt has since been made to induce further settlement. Whether it is on the right or wrong lines is a question to be decided.
– Have you any policy different from that of the late Government ?
– We are endeavouring to develop one. I have a Bill being drafted dealing with the land question.
– Are you going to give freehold ?
– In due time the Government will answer that question.
– Will the Minister say within a hundred or two how many employes require these houses that are to cost £30,000 or £40,000?
– I cannot say what is the number at the present time, but there are not 1,000 employes of the Commonwealth there.
– Are there 300 ?
– I do not believe there are, to use these houses. This money is also for offices, and the officers are to pay rent - some £100, some £60, and some £50, for about twenty houses. I have seen the list of the rents expected to be paid, and I am considering whether they are too high or too low. If the honorable member wishes to have information in regard to any particular item, I shall give it to him.
– It is refreshing to hear honorable members expressing an opinion in regard to the expenditure on the Northern Territory. One cannot forget that some of the honorable members on the Government side, when they were in Opposition, were continually abusing the Government of the day for their parsimony in regard to the development of the Northern Territory. They asked how could we develop that Territory without the expenditure of money, and why the Government were not tackling the problem nobly.
– It cannot be done by building houses.
– According to the honorable member for North Sydney, too much money is being spent, but Government supporters at the last election were strong in their remarks concerning the Northern Territory. They said it was a disgrace that the late Government, having taken over the Territory and undertaken a liability of £6,000,000 in connexion with it, were unwilling or unable to propound a policy for its development. I take exception to the statement of the honorable member for North Sydney in regard to the aborigines. What he suggests is on the lines of the policy followed in the past with disastrous results. The aborigines have been left too much to themselves.
Colonel Ryrie. - They have not been left to themselves.
– They have been subjected to a certain amount of interference by friends of the honorable member, and they have arrived at a stage when they demand, in the name of humanity, and in the name of ordinary civilization, that we should pay some attention to them. The meagre sum for schools is a very small instalment of the debt we owe to the aborigines of the Northern Territory. We have taken the land from them, and the least we can do is to educate them, at any rate against some of the vices introduced among them by friends of the honorable member, who have had the run of that country during the last century.
Colonel Ryrie. - I take exception to the remarks of the honorable member. He is casting a reflection on me when he says that some of my friends have been in any way responsible for certain things.
– The honorable member will withdraw the remark.
– If the honorable member for North Sydney takes it as a personal reflection, I withdraw it. My reference was in a general way to those engaged in pastoral pursuits. I commend the Government for increasing the expenditure in certain directions. In regard to the item of £8,000 for roads and bridges, I believe that while we can expend a very large sum most advantageously in the construction of railways, the construction of roads is almost of equal importance If we are to develop the Northern Territory we must do it by the construction of railways and roads together. On the Loan Bill there is a sum of £400,000 for a railway in one small corner of the Territory, but we are trying to get settlers for a very different part, where there are practically no roads, and where there are great rivers to cross. There are no means of getting over these rivers, but there is no suggestion as to providing launches, or ferries, or steamer communication. I believe we have a great asset in the Northern Territory. Any one could see from the cinematograph films recently taken that the country is capable of great development, but £8,000 will not go far. I should like the Government to come down with a bold, courageous policy. They ought to be able to find £100,000 to spend on roads. With regard to the item of £10,000 for “houses for Government employes at Darwin, I regret to have to join issue with the honorable member for Eden-Monaro.
– Why regret?
– I regret that the amount is so small. We invite persons to go to the Northern Territory, and, according to the reports from Port Darwin, there is practically no accommodation for people, and what accommodation is obtainable is of a very inferior sort. I understand that there are certain hotels, and the least said about their accommodation, perhaps, the. better. Visitors have informed me that the only accommodation they could get was in outhouses or places which had been abandoned by Chinese. There was a difficulty in getting even a decent tent. I contend that the Ministry ought at least to make sure that their own employes should have decent places to live in. I do not suggest that they should be provided’ with weatherboard cottages or handsome villas, but with reasonable accommodation. I seem to get a fair share of the correspondence from the Northern Territory, and every letter I receive contains nothing but complaints about the want of accommodation. If we expect good men to go up and settle the country, we shall have to provide decent places for them to live in. I see no reason why the Government should not also provide some measure of accommodation for persons who go to Darwin, and have to stay there for some days, or perhaps weeks. In many cases persons go to Darwin looking for land. There is bound to be an increase in the population, and, therefore, accommodation ought to be provided. I reserve further remarks on this matter until another occasion. The one thing I do regret in relation to the Estimates for the Northern Territory is the decrease of £1,235 in the expenditure. When one recalls what was said by the Opposition in the last Parliament as to the want of courage on the part of the Government, and their shocking meanness as regards expending money to open up the Northern Territory, one wonders whether even the honorable member for Eden-Monaro will have the courage to propose a reduction in these Estimates, and if he does, how many honorable members he will get to support him.
.I am very sorry indeed to have to rise at this hour to make a few remarks, but I offer no apology. I have had to submit for a considerable time to gibes from the Opposition that we on this side are tied up and dare not speak. I do not view the Northern Territory in a hostile way. On the contrary, I desire to see the Territory settled, and settled properly by a contented yeomanry. Out of the twenty-eight items under the head of the Northern Territory, I venture to say that there are only four items which are likely to be of any good service in regard to the development of the country. These four items involve an expenditure of £17,000, whilst the remainder represent an expenditure of £42,000. We are trying to induce persons to go to ‘the Northern Territory, because we desire to see the country settled as part and parcel of our defence policy. Although the Northern Territory is the weakest link in the chain of defence, yet we find that more encouragement is held out to Government employes than to persons who go there to settle, and, at the same time, to defend the country. Twenty-five or thirty years ago I had an opportunity of going through the Territory. I am sorry that the sum allotted for roads, streets, and bridges is npt £16,000, instead of £8,000. I think that every sensible settler will approve of the item of £2,000 for water conservation north of Katherine. The item of £4,000 for the erection of windmills and pumps is in the same category; and so, too, is the item of £3,000 for a new boring plant, including a horse. team. Those items must, I think, commend themselves to all who desire to see the Northern Territory settled; but it is quite a different thing when we come to items such as £10,000 to provide houses for Government employes at Darwin, especially when it is remembered that £19,277 was spent last year to provide houses for men who, before they go to Darwin, take good care that the wage they are to get is a very substantial one - in contradistinction to the ordinary settler who has to carve his house out of bark. Whether it is an ordinary mia-mia or a bark humpy does not appeal to those who drafted this proposal. So far as I am aware, Government employes get a good living wage, and should, therefore, be prepared to house themselves. I think that the item I have referred to ought to be substantially decreased, until we can see some evidence of settlement being brought about. One or two other items have been criticised, and I do not propose to deal with them. I think that some inducement should be offered to the right class of men to go to the Northern Territory, and that the men who are there under contract to the Government should not be spoon-fed in the way I have pointed out.
– I can congratulate the honorable gentleman who has just spoken on breaking silence, particularly as the Northern Territory is some 3,000 or 4,000 miles away, and, consequently, he is encouraged to be talkative in the circumstances. There seems to be, on the part of the honorable member and one or two of his friends, a particular hatred of Government employes - the ordinary mechanic, the tradesman, the shop assistant, and the clerk. Whenever anything is proposed which indicates consideration for that section of the community, the hatred bursts out in almost volcanic force, and objection is at once taken. Really, sir, it seems deplorable. That class of the community is composed of valuable citizens. There is no doubt that they pay their way. They are” useful, they are wanted, and they perform the ordinary duties of citizens, which makes their presence in the country acceptable and valuable. They have as much right to consideration as have other sections of the community; but, apparently, the honorable member for Hume would keep all good things, all sweets and happiness and the sunshine of life, for a small section of the community amongst whom he more particularly moves, while the rest are to be the subject of rigorous treatment of an exceptional character.
– The honorable member is quite wrong.
– It is time exception was taken to such utterances. Honorable members opposite are unanimous in their desire to encourage immigration, and I fail to understand why mechanics, shop assistants, and others coming to this country should immediately meet with the antipathy of the very men who have enticed them here.
– Why give them exceptional treatment?
– -No exceptional treatment is proposed. Government officers -in the Northern Territory are to pay rent for these buildings, and the Government will get a good return on the money invested. Houses are essential in this tropical part of the Commonwealth, and if they are not provided we shall not be able to induce even Government employes to go there. The rent to be charged for these houses will give exceptional interest on the cost of construction.
– I challenge that statement.
– The men must have proper housing accommodation. The honorable member for Hume talks about settlers being asked to go up to the Northern Territory. I would remind him that the Territory has been open for settlers for forty years or more, and that land has been available to them on exceptional terms. What has become of the hardy settlers of whom he speaks? They could have secured hundreds of thousands of acres at purely nominal rates had they wished to go there.
– They did not go because it was not good enough.
– Special efforts will have to be made if we are to settle this particular part of the Commonwealth. A few persons have endeavoured to monopolize huge areas there, and have taken up leases, but have not done much to develop the place itself. Extraordinary methods have to be resorted to in order to develop the Territory, and the Ministry are carrying on to some extent the policy of their predecessors. We shall not get settlers there until we have a certain number of Government employes. These public servants will be engaged in making railway surveys, in surveying the land, and carrying on work preliminary to a permanent yeomanry being established there. They are therefore assisting in opening up country. Land was practically thrown at the settlers in years gone by, so that it is idle to try to disguise the fact that a small army of officials will have to precede the settlers, and that we cannot induce Government employes to go there unless the conditions are somewhat better than are those offering here. It comes with an ill-grace from the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to take exception to this expenditure. The Ministry are proposing to spend £1,235 less than was spent by the late Government in this direction.
– I do not object to the amount.
-The honorable member referred to particular items. I am anxious that the Territory shall be developed, and know that exceptional mea sures will have to be taken to encourage settlement, but I am not wedded to any particular item in this division. If the honorable member wishes to test the feeling of the Committee let him move for a reduction, and I may be found voting for it, or against it, according to the merits of the proposal. After his valiant support of an expenditure of £285,000 on the Capital site-
– For which the honorable member voted.
– Without cavil.
– I am much obliged.
– It was not a personal matter with me, nor is this a personal matter. I have not asked for the expenditure of one penny by this Ministry. But it comes with an ill-grace from the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to object to the expenditure of a few thousand pounds on a huge Territory which is larger than are some of the great countries of Europe, and which, when properly developed, will be one of the best portions of the Commonwealth.
– I object to items 8 and 20.
– The honorable member will not find me voting with him to strike out item 20. The third item in the division provides for the expenditure of £2,000 on houses for farm manager and married men. Apparently the single men will have to live in tents in this tropical climate; but I do not think that will hurt them.
– I take exception to a lot of the items.
– Then why make two bites at a cherry? The honorable member complains of a proposal to expend the miserable sum of £59,850 in opening up a great Territory. Surely he does not take exception to the items which provide for a hospital at Darwin, houses for farm manager and married men, completion of immigrants’ home, roads, streets, and bridges, water conservation north of the Katherine, and erection of windmills and pumps. Eight items represent nearly one-half of the proposed expenditure. It is distinctly unfair that exception should be taken to so small an expenditure on so large a project, particularly in view of the fact that the expenditure is necessary, not only from the point of view of the development of the Northern Territory, but to secure the safety of the southern portions of the Commonwealth .
– Perhaps it may serve to shorten the debate if I mention that there will be an opportunity on the Railway Bill to declare the policy of railway construction, and perhaps generally of discussing how the Territory is to be developed. On the EstimatesinChief, I shall be prepared to give honorable members as much information as I can command as to what the Ministry desire to do in connexion with the development of the Territory. I can agree with much that has been said as to the undesirableness of having merely officials in the Territory, though I do not say that the appointment of a number of officials was not justified as a preliminary to a policy of systematic development. I would remind honorable members that two-thirds of the buildings for which a vote is down on these Estimates have been constructed. I do not mind saying that, if I had been in charge of the Territory before they were commenced, from information which has reached me from various sources, I should have hesitated before sanctioning their construction. I have had in this matter to accept things as they were. The expenditure provided for is less than the amount provided for last year, but that is due to various reasons. For instance, there was a vote on the last Estimates for freezing works, but I have hopes, which I think will be realized, that we can get those works constructed by private enterprise. I have been in negotiation with an English company on the subject within the last three months, and negotiations had nearly reached fruition about a fortnight ago. Some delay has been caused owing to a difficulty in connexion with the purchase of some stations. There is a Commission going round the Northern Territory which was appointed by the last Government.
– It is lost, is it not?
– The members of the Commission were to have reached Daly Waters on the 22nd of last month, and did later. I sent a telegram, to reach them last week, to say that it would not do for the Commission to continue their examination of the country until March, 1915, which was the date given to me, in reply to a telegram as the earliest date at which they expected to be in a posi tion to conclude their labours as arranged by them. I can tell honorable members that I drafted a telegram to-night, which 1 hope will reach the Commission when they get to the Katherine River in a few days, stating that, in my opinion -=-and I think it will be the opinion of the Cabinet - they need not continue their examination after reaching the Katherine. We do not want to have to wait for a year and a half to get a report on country which may almost be said to have been over-explored already. I have gone over the maps with a view to find out what would be the result from the point of view of expenditure of allowing the Commission to visit the long list of places which I am informed they propose to visit within a certain time. There are other matters to which I might refer if the hour were not so late, but I can promise honorable members to look into the questions they have raised, and, so far as I can do so, on the Railway Bill and on the General Estimates I shall explain the policy of the Government in regard to the Territory and the lines of development, in which we desire their co-operation.
; - I rise to congratulate the Minister of External Affairs on the Estimates submitted for the Northern Territory. I should not have spoken were it not for some remarks made by honorable members on the other side in regard to the accommodation proposed to be provided for employes of the Government. I visited the Northern Territory some time ago, and hardly a week passes in which I do not receive letters from people there dealing with the condition of affairs in the Territory. The only accommodation other than that proposed to be provided by the Commonwealth Government is that provided by the two hotels at Port Darwin. I think that only one of these hotels will give accommodation to Government employes. After the visit paid by members of this Parliament to the Territory, the late Government endeavoured to have houses erected for Government employes at Port Darwin. They called for tenders for the purpose, but no tender was received. They then had materials sent up to the Northern Territory, and proposed to build houses as the only means by which proper accommodation could be provided for’ their employes. I am surprised that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro should take exception to a vote required to make provision for married people in the Northern Territory. He should remember that no one can get a piece of land at Port Darwin on which to build a house. The place is cut up into blocks, which are held by absentees, and people wishing to provide accommodation for themselves have had to apply to the Government for leave to erect houses on a Government reserve. If the late Government had not made provision for erecting houses for Government employes, no one would stop in the Territory.
– Are they stopping there now?
– If the honorable member for Eden-Monaro knew the conditions existing at Port Darwin, he would not take exception to these votes. The accommodation provided by the hotels consists simply of sheds built of galvanized iron, with concrete floors and no ceilings. That is accommodation which no one should be asked to put up with in such a place. The Government employes are prepared to pay rent for the accommodation provided by the Government. Honorable members say that they are anxious that the Northern Territory should be occupied, and yet they object to the proposed vote for an immigrants’ home. Some provision must be made for the accommodation of immigrants before they are in a position to provide homes for themselves.
– I am told there are only five settlers up there.
– There are hundreds up there.
– A hundred settlers ?
– There are not a dozen.
– The honorable member knows nothing at all about it. The railway employes number more than the number the honorable member has stated.
– They are not settlers.
– Then there are the men who are working on the wharfs.
– What about the forty farms for which there was a rush of applicants ?
– The applicants are not rushing to the Territory.
– I think that the Government is acting rightly in proposing the expenditure itemized in the subdivi sion, though in some cases the amounts are too small. Certainly, £2,500 is not too much for an immigrants’ home, if there is to be any serious attempt to settle people in the Territory. I hope that the Ministerial supporters will assist in passing this division. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro has never been to the Territory, and knows nothing about it. Had he been there, he would not have made the statements which we have heard from him. I do not think that any of those who are objecting to the proposed expenditure will have the courage to propose reductions, but if they do, I shall vote against them.
– Honorable members on both sides appreciate the frankness and honesty of the statements of the Minister of External Affairs, but he made a slight mistake in regard to one item which it seems to me well to correct. He suggested that the decrease in the expenditure for this year might be accounted for, to some extent, by the omission of the sum of £25,000 for freezing works, but that item did not appear in the old Estimates.
– Had that amount been provided for, the vote for this year would nave been proportionately increased, but there are several other items which help to account for the decrease.
– The Minister suggested that he had nearly completed an arrangement with a private company for the establishment of freezing works at Darwin, but I hope that before anything final is done, Parliament will have an opportunity to express its opinion. In every State, and in most countries of the world, works of this kind are now controlled by the Government, and we shall hinder settlement in the Northern Territory if we allow them to pass into private hands.
– There will be an agreement controlling the operations, and the various heads of this agreement are being drawn up and carefully considered. The saving is one,not of £25,000,. but of about £135,000.
– It is a big item, and therefore it is the more important that Parliament should have a say regarding the terms of the agreement.
– We shall protect the public.
– This matter is of such serious importance, especially in view of the developments in regard to the meat industry, that we should run no risk of allowing something to be done which might cause us regret in years to come, notwithstanding the care and caution exercised by the Minister.
– I am dissatisfied with the Minister’s explanation. He has known for a considerable time that these Estimates were to be brought forward, and it is not right for one of his experience and ability to say that he will give the explanation that is asked for at’ some other time. He cannot tell us whether the employes in Darwin number 100 or 1,000, but he says that they number more than 100, and are fewer than 1,000.
– I did not say that. If I were asked whether the bulk of the population at Port Darwin is dependent on Government assistance, I should say “ yes,” because it is nearly all of the official class.
– When the last Government was in office I condemned this expenditure root and branch. The present Government has an opportunity to do something to settle the Territory, but Ministers are treading in the footsteps of their predecessors, and are wasting money to pamper officials, without encouraging settlement. The honorable member for East Sydney, because I did not participate in a picnic to the Territory, tells me that I know nothing about the place. It is laughable to hear bushmen like him talking on matters of this kind. If he were turned round three times and given a push, he would lose himself anywhere out in the open. I condemned the last Government for its expenditure on the Northern Territory, and I owe it to my constituents to disapprove of similar proposals on the part of this Government. The Minister should not have made any excuse when asked for information.
– About what items in . particular does the honorable member want information?
– About the item providing for additional office accommodation, for one thing.
– The building is twothirds constructed. I should not have agreed to its being put up if I had had my own way originally.
– I wish also to know something about the item “ Government steamers, towards cost, £18,474.”
– I am looking into the cost of running those steamers.
– I believe that some of the expenditure on steamers sent to the Territory has not been justified.
-^-1 agree with the honorable member.
– Is the Minister conspiring with the honorable member for Adelaide to cloak matters?
– I have explained - that the building about which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has asked for information is about twothirds up,’ and the expenditure having been sanctioned by a previous Parliament, it would not be right to stop its completion. The steamers about which he desires information are three in number - the Stewart, the Leichhardt, and the Gregory.- Yesterday; in Adelaide, I was trying to ascertain from sources independent of the Department - that is, from men who have recently come direct from the Territory - what the steamers are doing, and what it costs to run them. My impression is that they may be too expensive. I have been endeavouring to get to the bottom of some of this expenditure. If I saw that I was justified in adopting that course I would not hesitate to sell these steamers, and to revert to some other arrangement.
– Are the three steamers afloat? I was under the impression that one of them was underneath the water.
– That- is not so. One of them was stuck on the bank of a river for some time, but she was eventually got off. I quite appreciate the tenor of the remarks of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. At the same time, I ask him to accept my assurance that I am endeavouring to ascertain to what extent, even from an official point of view, we are receiving value for our money.
– We will follow up our criticism by our vote. These Estimates are a public scandal.
– Assuming that the honorable member’s criticism is to some extent justified, I would point out that oh the! general Estimates for the Territory we have made a reduction this year of more than £100,000 on what was proposed.
– Knowing the Minister as I do, it is amazing to me that he will defend them.
– We cannot deal with Estimates in the wholesale way suggested by the honorable member, and, figuratively speaking, knock the whole of them on the head. Some of these items have been extolled by the honorable member for Hume, who referred to them as works of legitimate development. We are going beyond that. We are considering the advisableness of initiating boring operations for’ artesian water, and also of doing more in connexion with the pastoral industry. A good many’ honorable members, are of opinion that we should develop the Territory by fostering that industry, and then building up the agricultural, industry.
– In regard to. the item “‘Houses for Government employes, Darwin,”’ must the Government proceed with work which their predecessors started ?
– That is the position. If I were asked to sanction the erection of these offices, I would hesitate to do so until I was convinced that they were wanted. I have heard that the offices in Darwin provide almost sufficient accommodation. Last week I spent about two hours with one man endeavouring to obtain direct information on this point.
– Order ! The honorable member has already spoken twice.
– May I call attention to the fact that I did not conclude my remarks. The Minister offered to supply information if I resumed my seat, and I did so.
– I cannot help that.
– Then, may I ask that the items be put seriatim ? .
– I hope that the honorable member will allow these Estimates to pass. I want to say- frankly that I am not satisfied with them any more than honorable members are. The whole thing is a very serious problem, and what is going to be done with it I do not pretend to say. I have never heard any fully-developed policy enunciated in regard to the Territory. We seem to be going along from year to year voting money now and again-
– When may we expect a report from the Royal Commission which is up there?
– I was about to say that I am afraid no Government will be able to announce a definite policy to this House until that Commission has reported. But where the Commission is we do not know. Its members may be lost up there. I have no doubt, however, that they are doing useful work somewhere. But they are not due to report until 1915. The Minister, I understand, is taking steps-
– I asked for a report as to when they could finish their work, and the reply was that they could not finish until March, 1915. So I am going to wind them up.
– What I want to. point out is that no. man in this House can say how much of this money will be wasted, and how much of it will be usefully expended. The Minister cannot give the Committee that information, nor can I. We have Professor Gilruth, who is suppposed to be governing the Territory
– “ Supposed “ to be?
– That is all we know about it.
– Is he not governing it?
– I suppose he is. It is a “ suppose “ again. I do not know anything about it, and I venture to say that the honorable member does not know either. The honorable member is trusting to the Administrator to make the best of the situation, and that is all there is in it. I suppose it is the most difficult problem that any civilized country has ever tackled. Under the conditions that we are applying to it, it is new in the’ history of the world. However, the experiment is there, and all I say is that it seems to me there are two things which require to be done preliminary to anything else. Long railways need to be constructed, and we require to attract to the Territory big men - big pioneers. The squatter has yet to go there, and’ wehave to make a way out and in for him.
-Why has he not found his way there hitherto ?
– Because, there was no way of getting his materials there.
– He found his way to every other part of Australia.
– Not to the same extent that he has to find his way to the Territory. It costs about £30 per ton to get stores conveyed to some places there. If the squatter will not go there, as he has gone elsewhere, the position seems to be a hopeless one. I have yet to learn that they will not go there if we give them the same facilities as they have in Northern Queensland and elsewhere. I cannot bring myself to believe there is such a dissimilarity between Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
– It is a question of getting the produce to. market.
– I think the whole trouble is the lack of transportation.
– In one case you limit the selection to leasehold, and in the other case there is freehold under certain conditions.
– We could not give the freehold for a big pastoral station. It seems to me we have been putting the cart before the horse in connexion with the development of the Northern Territory by having small settlement before we have begun to develop big settlement. It is the reverse of the order that has been followed in pioneering Australia. If the Committee would allow the Estimates, to go through, I promise that, before other Estimates are furnished - if we are in office - we shall lay down a definite constructive policy with regard to this Territory, though I am afraid, speaking now, that it will consist of nothing but a vigorous railway policy to open up the country and provide facilities.
– And give everybody a big margin of hope?
– When we provide these facilities we must give every possible encouragement in the shape of big rewards before men will go there. Why should they go there when they have more moderate latitudes in which to bring up their families? The only thing to do is to make it worth their while to go. there. I hope honorable members will allow these items to go through. They may hack them about, but in doing so they may hack the. wrong items as well as the right ones. The only thing to do is to wait for a definite policy and leave these details for the attention of the Government. Most of the expenditure is necessary because of what has. gone before, and by reason of the fact that we. are trying to induce small settlement up there. Many of these items are incidental to small settlements. I dare say that some of them could go out with advantage; I cannot say what some of them mean, but I did not take any more out of the Estimates, because I was, positively afraid of the Minister- controlling, the Territory, which he has so much at. heart. I hope honorable members will believe that we have pruned these Estimates.
– Hear, hear !
Mr.JOSEPH COOK.- They have been pruned as severely asany of the other Estimates. They have not passed unnoticed.. Honorable members should be satisfied that the best has. been done in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and in the jack of knowledge we possessregarding the, details of settlement in the Northern Territory which must be remedied at an early date.
-On a point of order I call attention to the, fact, that I spoke on portion of these. Estimates and intimated my intention to. movea reduction when I spoke a second time. On my speaking a second time the Minister asked me to take my seat so, that he could give me. information. Am I not now entitled to move that reduction qr to continue my speech ?
– I am not aware of any understanding between tJie Minister and the honorable member, but even if there were I have no power to modify the Standing Orders in favour of such art arrangement.
– Except with the leave of the Committee. There are no objections from this side.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the honorable member should have leave to speak ?
– I do not desire to take up the time of honorable members, but it seems to me deplorable that the Minister should come down with Estimates of a most important project, and not give us information.
– I can give information on every item.
– If the Minister had given the information on item 20, there would not have been so much discussion. His explanation now is that he was committed to the expenditure by the late Government. It is scandalous expenditure. No one can say how many employes there are in the Northern Territory, and yet we had £19,000 spent last year on houses for these employes, and it is proposed to spend £20,000 more this year. The Minister tells us he is committed to an expenditure of £39,000.
– No, it is £29,000.
– This expenditure is for offices for officials resident in Port Darwin, and there are sixteen houses to accommodate about forty or fifty people.
– During the elections I took special objection to the late Government starting two or three things at Port Darwin - steam laundries, and such like - and if I condemned the late Government for this expenditure I should condemn the present Government. I feel very much disposed to move a reduction. The Prime Minister has made a fair promise, but where are we drifting? We have no policy, as the Prime Minister says, and we are laying the foundation for an expenditure that may amount to millions.
– Then you had better move your reduction.
– Because we have had no explanation, and as a protest against doing things that will not tend towards the development of the Northern Territory, I propose to move that the item be reduced by £1,000.
– I endeavoured to explain that there was a complaint made about the old offices owing to their insanitary condition. The new building is to be a two-storied one of reinforced cement, and it is put up on the recommendation of the health authorities. The work cannot be stopped half-way towards completion.
– In view of that explanation I shall not move any amendment, especially as the Prime Minister has treated us so fairly.
– The buildings are already in hand.
– The fault is on the late Government.
– I am quite as fair as was the honorable member in his criticism. There are two gentlemen sitting at the table now who are quite able to defend the late Government. I have not been treated too well by the Minister of External Affairs.
– I shall give information on any item you wish.
– If the Minister had said that the Government were simply continuing the expenditure initiated by the late Government, and that they could not stop the undertaking without incurring great loss, and ifhe had said that the Prime Minister intended to adopt a policy altering the methods and systems in vogue, and trying to encourage settlement and open up the country by railways-
– If you intend to proceed on that basis, we shall have a few words to say.
– That is practically what the Minister of External Affairs told us. I understand that the Prime Minister is going to give us a policy, and admits that he has no policy at present.
– I am going to try.
– That statement is not quite correct. A man cannot build up a policy in a month. On the item, I shall endeavour to give the honorable member an idea of the lines on which I am going.
– I believe that, if the Minister would spend money on the construction of railways and the introduction of settlers, he would be doing good work, and I do not doubt his sincerity.
– I shall be pleased to give the information, but this is not the time.
– I do not propose to call for a division, or to toe fractious, though I feel that I shall not be doing my duty if I do not divide the Committee. Probably I may do something to-morrow, when the Bill comes up for consideration.
– I think it is due to the honorable member, who is very sincere, to say how the matter has been put to me. It has been represented to me that the building has been put up because the officers of five Departments are scattered over Darwin, and are said to be living in somewhat insanitary conditions. The last Government decided to put the officers into a two-storied concrete building. It was partly erected when we took office, and, of course, we could not stop the work. That is the explanation I have to offer on the item.
– On page 267 there is an item which will permit me to protest against what evidently is the policy of the present Ministry with respect to freezing works. A little while ago the Minister of External Affairs intimated in fairly clear terms that it was their intention to allow the freezing business to be placed in the hands of a private company. To that statement I take strong exception.
– It is not going to be done.
– I do not know what the agreement will be like, but I know that it will be practically impossible to frame an agreement which cannot be ridden through by the company later.
– I do not think there are any stock there yet.
– There are thousands of cattle there- and exceptionally fine cattle, too.
– Not close to Darwin.
– There will be some millions of stock there, I hope, before long. I suggest, in all sincerity, that we should be afforded an opportunity of discussing thematter before an agreement is entered into. The question of whether there shall be a monopoly dealing with the freezing of stock is a question ofvast magnitude, almost international in importance. It may even be that the people who are associated, with the great Meat Trust of America may secure that monopoly. That will mean that for all time the Northern Territory, so far as stockowners are concerned, will be in the grip of that Meat Trust. I enter a protest now.
– It is not that company. It is one of the best English companies.
– The honorable gentleman must know that the best English companies are unfortunately being gradually mopped out by American companies in every direction, and becoming international. It will be a pity if an agreement is entered into without consideration on the part of Parliament, as that may mean placing the stock-owners of the Territory for all time in the grip of a monopoly.
– This is a matter on which I think we ought to get an expression of opinion from the Minister.
– What is that?
– The question as to how the stock of the Territory are to be treated in order that its beef may take a place in the markets of the world is one of supreme importance.
– Certainly not at the present moment. There are no stock to get to Darwin.
– Surely the right honorable gentleman knows of the Victoria Downs Station, and several other stations adjacent.
Colonel Ryrie. - They do not ship at Darwin.
– No; at Wyndham.
– Does not my right, honorable friend know that in order to get stock away from the inlands of the Territory, they have to be taken either round or through a certain area of tick country, which, in the majority of cases, prevents them from being shipped at Wyndham?
– I do not know that.
– Does not the right honorable member for Swan know that the obligation on the stock-owners is either to stock up their stations to an unreasonable limit, or to get the means of taking the stock out to Darwin?
– I do not know.
– I am assured by a man who came from the Territory that such is the case.
– Letus take you home.
– I am with the honorable member for Adelaide in this matter.
– You promised to let the Estimates go through, you know.
– Yes; and we are going to let them go through.
– You will keep us here till morning.
– My right honorable friend must admit that there has been as much time consumed on his side as on this side.
– What was the undertaking?
– The undertaking was that we would give you these Estimates to-night.
– This is too bad.
– If the honorable gentleman is going to take up that attitude, I shall use my thirty-five minutes in dealing with the problem–
– That will not alter the fact.
– As to whether or not stock are going to be put into the freezers under Commonwealth control, or whether the interests of stock-breeders are to be handed over to private enterprise.
– There is nothing about them on the Estimates.
– It will all be open for discussion on the general Estimates.
– I am aware of that fact; but I desired to draw the attention of the Treasurer to the important bearing of this matter on the future of stock breeding in the Northern Territory. We should do all that we ‘can to guard the prospects of developing an eastern trade in the event of our having Commonwealth freezing works at Darwin”.
Mr.Rodgers. - Could we not cover this with options?
– No: I desire to know whether it is the intention of the Minister of External Affairs to recommend to the Cabinet the establishment of these freezing works at Port Darwin within a reasonable period so as to give stock-breeders in the Northern Territory an opportunity to get to the eastern markets.
– If we cannot carry out a reasonable agreement with private people we shall have to get the Government to do it on a reasonable scale; but the other proposal was an absurd one.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Division 16 (Port Augusta Railway), £9,080, agreed to.
That there be granted to His Majesty to the service of the year 1913-14, for the purposes of Additions, New Works, Buildings,&c., a sum not exceeding £3,266,569. - Resolution reported, Standing Orders suspended and resolution adopted.
Resolution of Ways and Means covering resolution of Supply adopted.
That Sir John Forrest and Mr. W. H. Irvine do prepare and bring in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Sir John Forrest), read a first time.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK laid upon the table the following paper: -
Uniform Gauge Conference (Melbourne, December, 1912, and April, 1913)- Report.
Ordered to be printed.
Bouse adjourned at 1.56 a.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1913/19131021_reps_5_71/>.