House of Representatives
27 October 1915

6th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr.Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 6945



– I have received from the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, the late member for Wide Bay, the resignation of his seat, couched in the following terms -

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I now resign my seat for Wide Bay in the House of Representatives, and take this opportunity of thanking you, and all the members I have been associated with since the Federal Parliament came into existence, for their kindness and consideration to me as member and Minister.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Fisher

page 6945


High Commissioner

Mr. HUGHES (West Sydney- Prime

Minister and Attorney-General) [3.3]. - I have to announce to the House that the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher yesterday tendered his resignation to His Excellency the Governor-General, and that His Excellency was pleased to accept it. His Excellency thereupon requested me to form an Administration, and I have done so, and allotted the offices as follow : -

Minister of State for Defence. - The Honorable George Foster Pearce

Minister of State for Trade and Customs. - The Honorable Frank Gwynne Tudor

Minister of State for External Affairs. - The Honorable Hugh Mahon

Minister of State for the Navy. - The Honorable Jens August Jensen.

Treasurer. - The Honorable William Guy Higgs

Minister of State for Home Affairs. - The Honorable King O’Malley.

Postmaster-General . - The Honorable William Webster

Vice-President of the Executive Council. - The Honorable Albert Gardiner.

Assistant Minister. - The Honorable Edward John Russell

I shall myself fill the office of AttorneyGeneral.

The late Prime Minister has been appointed High Commissioner of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom.

page 6945


Assent to the following Bills reported : -

Income Tax Assessment Bill.

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill (No. 3).

Compulsory Voting Bill.

Commonwealth Public Service Bill.

Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill.

War Precautions Bill (No. 3).

Freight Arrangements Bill.

Income Tax Bill.

page 6945


The following papers were presented : -

Census and Statistics Act - RegulationsStatistics (Disclosure in Time of War) - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 176.

Customs Act - Regulation Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 156.

Dominions Royal Commission (Imperial) - Natural Resources, Trade, and Legislation of certain portions of His Majesty’s Dominions - Minutes of Evidence taken in the Maritime Provinces of Canada in 1914.

Fisheries - Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour - Biological Results.

Vol. III., Part 5.

Vol. III., Part 6.

Lands Acquisition Act -

Land acquired under, at -

Abermain, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Adelaide, South Australia - For Postal purposes.

Amungula, Molonglo, and Majura, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Avoca, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Bright, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Chiltern, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Dutton Park, Queensland - For Defence purposes.

Ginninderra and Goorooyarroo, partly in Federal Territory and partly in New South Wales - For Federal Capital purposes (two Papers).

Goorooyarroo, Federal Territory - Fur Federal Capital purposes.

Goorooyarroo, partly in Federal Territory and partly in New South Wales - For Federal Capital purposes.

Liverpool, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Majura, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Mullumbimby, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Pialligo and Goorooyarroo, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.

Tarcoola, South Australia - For Railway purposes.

Lands Acquisition Act - continued.

Thirroul, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Thursday Island, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Twin Hills, Queensland - For Postal purposes.

Land Tax Assessment Act - RegulationStatutory Rules 1915, No. 150.

Naval Defence Act -

Regulations ( Provisional ) -

Royal Australian Naval College - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 193.

Regulations Amended (Provisional) -

H.M.A. Training Ship Tingira - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 186.

Royal Australian Naval Reserve (Seagoing) - Entry, Training, and Pay of Officers - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 185.

Royal Australian Naval Reserve (M) - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 158.

Royal Australian Naval Reserve (o) -

Universal Training - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 157.

Northern Territory -

Ordinances of 1915 -

No. 6 - District Council (No. 2).

No. 7 - Darwin Town Council.

No. 8 - Liquor.

Papua -

Ordinances of 1915 -

No. 2 - Supplementary Appropriation 1914-1915 (No. 2).

No. 3- Supply 1915-1910 (No. 1).

Public Service Act -

Promotions of -

Regulation Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 159, 160.

Regulation Amended - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 182.

The War - Foreign Office (British) - Statement issued by - Respecting the AngloGerman Negotiations of 1912.

Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 139, 179.

page 6946


Message from the King.

Mr. HUGHES (West Sydney- Prime

Minister and Attorney-General) [3.5]. - His Excellency the Governor-Generalhas received from His Majesty the King, through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the following message: -

To My People -

At this grave moment in the struggle between my people and a highly organized enemy, who has transgressed the law of nations and changed the Ordinance that binds civilized Europe together, I appeal to you.

I rejoice in my Empire’s effort, and I feel pride in the voluntary response from my subjects all over the world who have sacrificed home, fortune, and life itself in order that another may not inherit the free Empire which their ancestors and mine have built.

I ask you to make good these sacrifices.

The end is not in sight. More men and yet more are wanted to keep my armies in the field, and through them to secure victory and enduring peace.

In ancient days the darkest moment has ever produced in men of our race the sternest resolve.

I ask you, men of all classes, to come forward voluntarily and take your share in the fight.

In freely responding to my appeal you will be giving your support to our brothers who for long months have nobly upheld Britain’s past traditions and the glory of her arms.

George R.I

To that the late Government asked His Excellency to despatch the following reply: -

I feel confident that Your Majesty’s Message will evoke patriotic response from the people of the Commonwealth and will tend greatly to augment the ranks of the 160,000 Australians who have already provided an assurance of the whole-hearted co-operation and determination of Australia to carry the war to a successful issue.

page 6946


Congratulation to Ministers - Message from the King - Personal Explanation - German Trade Marks - Trading with the Enemy - Appointment of Officers in Expeditionary Forces - Telephone Regulations.

Prime Minister and Attorney-General · West Sydney · ALP

– In order that new Ministers may have an opportunity of becoming acquainted with their Departments, and considering what legislation is necessary at the present juncture, I ask honorable members to con- sent to an adjournment of the House until to-morrow, and I move -

That the House do now adjourn.


– I offer the heartiest congratulations to the honorable member for West Sydney on his acceptance of the highest position in Australian politics, and I believe that every man on this side is of opinion that it is one that he has well and rightly won. The honorable gentleman may be assured that there is no tinge of personal feeling on this side against his acceptation of the office of Prime Minister. I hope that we may find it, at least, as pleasant to work with him in his new capacity as it was in his old, and he may be assured of all the help that we can give to him in the discharge of his high and, ‘ at the present time, particularly onerous duties. The other Ministers, too, I cordially congratulate, wishing them good health, good luck, and strength for the discharge of their duties. May we hope that their accession to office may lead to an even more efficient discharge of Ministerial functions, to the benefit of the country as a whole.

Mr King O’Malley:

– Hear, hear!


– We welcome the prodigal home again - home to the Home Affairs Department. It may be supposed that now a good many things will be quite right, including the famous digest, which has earned for the honorable member the encomiums of the expert who has been investigating the business management of the Department.

The appeal from the King, which has been read by the Prime Minister, has been heard, I imagine, with somewhat eager and mixed feelings, and I wish to express the fervent hope that my honorable friend will think well over it within the next few days, and see if he is doing all he can, in view of his political intentions for the immediate future, to give effect to that appeal in the most wholehearted and efficient way.


– I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to make a personal explanation. When the House adjourned some few weeks ago I was absent because of illness. I had not been able, unfortunately, to attend for some days, but the present Prime Minister, then Acting Leader of the House, moved that I be granted leave of absence “ on account of urgent private business. “

That statement was the result of a misunderstanding. I had written to the secretary of the party, and had telegraphed to the Government Whio that I was sick. I make this explanation because, as I was one of those who objected to the House adjourning at the time, it might seem peculiar that I could not. attend because of urgent private business at a time when I was protesting against the proposed adjournment. The fact that I was sick probably was not brought under the notice of the Acting Prime Minister, and his statement was made under a misapprehension, but I thank him for the precaution he took in my behalf.


.- The Prime Minister’s predecessor has expressed his approval of the principle of endeavouring to prevent the continuance of German trade names, and the use of German trade marks, in Australia during the war. I wish to ask the present Prime Minister whether, in his capacity as AttorneyGeneral, he will look into the licence that has been given to certain gentlemen with German names to continue the use of the German trade description “ Aspirin “ during the currency of the war.

Melbourne Ports

– Touching on the question raised by the honorable member for Wentworth, I should like to point out that in the opinion of the chemists and druggists of Australia - and their opinion on such a matter should be entitled to great weight - by issuing licences to certain people to manufacture aspirin and other patent medicines under their old trade names, we are perpetuating in Australia the German trade names that we do not desire to be continued.

Mr Kelly:

– We are keeping alive the trade for them.


– Exactly. I join with the honorable member in asking the Prime Minister to seriously consider the position. There are many ways out of the difficulty. This objection applies not only to aspirin, but to veronal and a number of other patent medicines, the constituents of which are well known. We might’ give to aspirin some Australian name, under which it could be manufactured and sold here, and become widely known.

Mr Kelly:

– English and Australian equivalents of aspirin are being sold today.


– That is true. My reason for suggesting the giving of a new name to this drug is that great importance is attached by many people to a particular brand or name, and that they seem to think that aspirin is the name of the sole constituent of this patent medicine. I hope my suggestion will be adopted.


.- I wish to bring before the Minister representing the Minister of Defence a matter of some urgency. I refer to the fact that officers are being sent away in charge of troops from New South Wales in preference to others who have attended a school of instruction, who have passed the necessary examinations, and who have had previous experience. The officers who are being sent away have not passed any such examination, have never been in camp, and cannot drill the men on the green. This is a serious state of affairs, and has arisen for the second time in connexion with the departure of contingents from New South Wales.

Mr Boyd:

– The same thing is occurring here.


– The young men in the camp to which I refer feel that they are going into danger under leaders who are not fit to lead them. That is a serious situation.

Mr Charlton:

– The same remark applies to a lot of naval officers, who have not had previous experience.


– That may be so; if the honorable member’s statement is correct it serves to make still more serious the position which I have explained. It is time this matter was taken up seriously by the Ministry. We have lost many lives, and probably many more will have to go, but for Heaven’s sake let our valorous Australian soldiers have a chance of being led by men who know the game. I have before me the facts relating to a case where competent officers, who had drilled the men and brought them to a state of efficiency, were superseded by others who could not put the men through “fours” on the green. It is a positive scandal, and should be rectified at the earliest possible moment.

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

.- I have much pleasure in indorsing the remarks made by the honorable member for Newcastle. Undoubtedly, fair play is not going on at the camps. Men who know their work ar© being ordered about by young officers who do not know their duties. Further than that, in this time of stress and trouble I wish to raise a note of warning in regard to the expenditure that is taking place. I do not think it is the desire of the people of Australia that public servants, whether in the employ of the State or the Commonwealth, should receive double pay on entering these military camps - their pay as soldiers as well as public servants. Unless care be exercised in this respect, great expense is likely to be incurred in connexion with the appointment of officers. As to the statement made by the honorable member for Wentworth regarding the continuance of German trade names in Australia, I think it an infamy that such a state of affairs should be allowed to continue. This Parliament can require that every patent medicine shall have its formula shown upon its label. Such a provision would be welcomed by every medical man and chemist throughout Australia, and would also prevent the people being robbed and plundered as they are by the unjust -prices charged for many patent medicines. The Minister .of Trade and Customs did good service in reprinting the report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons in regard to secret remedies. The House, at the instance of the Minister, ordered that report to be reprinted and circulated in Australia. I hope that every Australian who loves the land that has given him his language, if not his birth, will say, “ From this time forth I shall never buy a thing made by Germans or imported from Germany.”


.- Since we adjourned I find that a new regulation with respect to telephone charges has been promulgated. Will the Prime Minister, before the proposed adjournments- afford the House an opportunity to discuss the regulation, seeing that it is of such moment, not only to one State, but to the whole of the Commonwealth?

Mr Joseph Cook:

– It ought never to have been made.


– That is my opinion, but, at any rate, I ask the Prime Minister to give us an opportunity to debate the regulation.

General- West Sydney · Prime Minister and Attorney · ALP

. -r-tn reference to the matter referred to by the honorable member for Maranoa, I can only say that it is the intention of the Government to ask the House, so far as concerns the business it is intended to bring forward, to adjourn on Friday week. It therefore follows that whatever is to be done must be done in that time. Honorable members will be able to ventilate the matter on Supply, and I do not think that any further opportunity is required, so far as that is concerned. The question of German trade names raised by several honorable members is not quite so simple as it might appear. There are some names that offer no difficulty, because they are only trade marks on sufferance, and, as a matter of fact, any parson can use them with impunity. All are, however, not of this kind. I granted a licence to two Australian chemists to manufacture and sell aspirin after it had been demonstrated that their product was the purest on the market, and fulfilled absolutely the requirements of the British pharmacopoeia. I think that if aspirin were sold under any other name’, it would be a long time indeed before the people would accept the drug under the new designation. Whether that be so or not, that is the opinion of medical mon. Such a disability does not apply to goods in general, but to a large extent it applies to drugs. A test case is now being heard by the Commissioner of Patents in regard ‘ to sanatogen, and I shall be . largely guided by the decision in that case as to the formulation of a general rule to apply all round. Broadly speaking, however, the Government’s policy is by every means to substitute Australian or British goods and names for German goods and names. I might mention that by an order recently promulgated it will be possible to prohibit the importation of certain classes of goods, which, under the law as it stood, we were compelled to admit. With the power we have now, I think we can deal with enemy trade sufficiently, providing we have the co-operation of the people of the country; but I do complain, and wilt good reasons, of a tendency on the part of some people to still purchase, and to insist on facilities being given to purchase, enemy goods.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 8.26 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 October 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.