6th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following Bills reported: -
Acts Interpretation Bill.
Appropriation Bill 1915-16.
Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1915-16.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Fund Bill Customs Bill (No. 2).
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Appropriation Bill (No. 2).
Lands Acquisition Bill (No. 2).
Patents (Partial Suspension) Bill.
Post and Telegraph Bill.
Public Service Bill (No. 2).
Public Service (Acting Commissioner) Bill.
Rules Publication Bill (No. 2).
States Loan Bill.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1916-17.
Supply (Works and Buildings) Bill (No. 1) 1916-17.
Trading with the Enemy Bill (No. 3).
War Census Bill (No. 2).
War Loan Bill (No. 3).
War Loan (United Kingdom) Bill (No.3).
War Loan Bill (United Kingdom) (No. 4).
War Pensions. Bill (No.3).
War Precautions Bill (No. 4).
The following papers were laid upon the table: -
Agriculture - Memorandum respecting the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome.
Ordered to be printed.
Audit Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 84, 92, 100, 121.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Fund ActRegulations - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 142.
Bank - Commonwealth Bank Act - Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Aggregate Balance-sheet at 30th June, 1916, together with the Auditor-General’s Report thereon.
Beer Excise Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 185.
Clothing Factory - Reports for years ending 30th June, 1914-1916.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 103.
Customs Act - Regulations Amended - (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 90.
Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 152, 184.
Proclamations Prohibiting Exportation (except under certain conditions) of -
Arms,&c. (dated 28th June, 1916).
Amendment of the foregoing (foodstuffs) (dated 16th August, 1916).
Butter (dated 16th August, 1916).
Proclamation Prohibiting Exportation (except under certain conditions) ofGoods to Liberia (dated 26th July, 1916).
Exportation of Goods -
Lists of Persons to whom Goods may be exported (with Minister’s permission) in -
China and Siam -
Dated 21st June, 1916.
Dated 15th July, 1916.
Liberia (dated 21st July, 1916).
Proclamation Prohibiting Importation of Foreign Soap (except under certain conditions) (dated 9th August, 1916).
Camps - Sicknessin, in all Military Districts for six months ending 30th June, 1916.
Small Arms Factory - Annual Report of the Manager for year ended 30th June, 1914.
Defence Act -
Military Regulations- Statutory Rules 1916, No. 166.
Employment of Persons in a Civil CapacityStatutory Rules1916, No. 160.
Factories (Government)- Conduct and Management of - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 156.
Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 175, 179. (Financial and Allowance) - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 164.
Military Forces and Senior Cadets -
Statutory Rules 1916, No. 178.
Dominions Royal Commission (Imperial) - (Natural Resources, Trade, and Legislation of certain portions of His Majesty’s Dominions)-Memorandum and Tables prepared by - as to the Trade Statistics and Trade of the Self-Governing Dominions - (Paper presented to the British Parliament),
Electoral Act and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act - Regulation Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 132.
Inscribed Stock Act - Dealings and Transactions during year ended 30th June, 1015.
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Act - Goods Rates, South Australian Division. Traffic By-laws Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 170.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at -
Belmont, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Bunbury, Western Australia - For Quarantine purposes.
Clare, South Australia - For Postal purposes.
Cockburn Sound, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Congwarra, Federal Territory - For Defence and Federal Capital purposes.
Goorooyarroo, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.
Military Road, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Newcastle, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Phillips Ponds, South Australia - For Railway purposes.
Port Augusta, South Australia - For Railway purposes.
Port Stephens, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.
Race Dam, South Australia- For Railway purposes.
Willow Tree, New South Wales- For Postal purposes.
Wungong, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.
Land Tax Assessment Act - Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1916, No. 107.
Naturalization Act -
Regulations (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 104.
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 186.
Naval Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, No. 153. (Financial and Allowance) - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 154, 191.
Norfolk Island - Ordinance of 1916 - No. 1.- Importation of Plants.
Ordinance of 1915- No. 11. - Probate and Administration.
Ordinance of 1916 - No. 2. - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 1), 1915-16.
Pearl Shelling Industry - Report and Recommendation of the Royal Commission on.
Pine Creek to Katherine River Railway Act - Goods Rates.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended -
Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 76, 85, 91, 93, 94, 99, 101, 108, 109, 114, 133, 143, 144, 157, 158, 174, 181-3. (Provisional) - Statutory Rules. 1916, Nos. 89, 123, 127.
Premiers’ Conference - held at Adelaide, May, 1916 - Report of the Resolutions, Proceedings and Debates; together with Appendices.
Public Service Act -
Eleventh Report on the Public Service (1914-15)by the Commissioner.
Regulations Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 41, 115.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 110, 113, 120, 139, 145, 146, 147, 149, 171-3, 180.
Promotion of R. A. Arnold, as Examiner, 4th Class, Naval and Military Section, Auditor-General’s Office, Western Australia.
Department of Home Affairs - Promotions of-
Treasury- Taxation Branch -
Abolition of certain offices and creation of others, and promotion of the following Clerks: -
H. F. Brodribb, D. M. Pay, S. M. White, to 3rd Class.
L. R. Roche, to 4th Class.
New South Wales -
T. J. Schmidt, to 3rd Class.
B. W. Chenoweth, G. M. Garcia, to 3rd Class.
E. F. Hamilton, W. Kelly, to 3rd Class.
South Australia -
L. S. Jackson, M. D. Mears, to 3rd Class.
Western Australia -
Promotions of -
Defence Department - Promotions of-
Central Staff -
Postmaster-General’s Department - Promotions of -
Seat of Government Acceptance Act - Ordinance of 1916 - No. 1- Careless Use of Fire, together with Regulations thereunder.
War Precautions Act -
Regulations Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 98, 105, 106, 111, 117, 118, 119, 125, 126, 130.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 134, 137, 138, 140, 141, 148, 150, lol, 159, 165, 167, 168, 176, 177, 187, 188.
Belligerents - Rights of - Further Correspondence between His Majesty’s Govern ment and the . United States Government respecting, viz.: -
Correspondence dated 2nd April, 1915, &c.- (Paper presented to the British Parliament) .
Correspondence dated 5th November, 1915, &c - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Conference - Recommendations of the Economic Conference of the Allies held at Paris, June, 1916 - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Defence of the Realm Regulations - (Imperial ) -Amendments - Copy of Supplement to London Gazette, dated 22nd April, 1916.
Goltz, Horst Von Der, alias Bridgeman Taylor - Sworn Statement by - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Kut-el-Amara- Papers relating to MajorGeneral C. V. F. Townshend’s appreciation of the position after the Battle of - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Parcels and Letter Mails -
Memorandum presented by His Majesty’s Government and the French Government to Neutral Governments regarding the Examination of - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Note from the United States Government regarding the Examination of - (Paper presented to the British Parliament) .
Poland - Proposals for affording relief to.
Prisoners of War, &c. -
Employment of British and German - in Poland and France respectively. - Correspondence - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Transfer to Switzerland of British and German Wounded and Sick Combatant Prisoners of War. - Correspondence with the United States Ambassador - (Paper presented to the British Parliament) .
Treatment of -
British Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians in Germany - Further Correspondence with the United States Ambassador (dated 13th October, 1915, &c.) - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Ruhleben Internment Camp - Conditions in -
Correspondence with the United States Ambassador - (Paper presented to the British Parliament) .
Report by Dr. A. E. Taylor re Diet and Nutrition - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Further Correspondence re Diet and Nutrition - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
Wittenberg Camp- Report of the Government Committee on the Treatment by the Enemy of British Prisoners of War regarding the conditions obtaining at, during the Typhus Epidemic of 1915 - (Paper presented to the British Parliament).
War Precautions Act -
Regulations Amended (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 98, 105, 106, 111, 117, 118, 119, 125, 120, 130.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1916, Nos. 134, 137, 138, 140, 141, 148, 150, 151, 159, 165, 167, 168, 176, 177, 187, 188.
Workmen’s Compensation Act - Regulation Amended- Statutory Rules 1916, No. 124.
Further report of PublicWorks Committee on alterations and additions to the Customs House, Sydney, presented by Mr. Riley, and ordered to be printed.
Sitting suspended from3.13 to3.53 p.m.
. - (By leave) - In view of certain urgent and grave communications from the War Council of Great Britain, and of the present state of the war, and the duty of Australia in regard thereto, and as a result of long and earnest deliberation, the Government have arrived at the conclusion that the voluntary system of recruiting cannot be relied upon to supply that steady stream of reinforcements necessary to maintain the Australian Expeditionary Forces at their full strength.
As the Government are very strongly of the opinion that it is the plain duty of Australia to do this, and as they believe that their opinion is one which is held by the country generally, thev have formulated a policy which they believe to be at once adequate to meet the gravity of our circumstances, and compatible with the principles of democratic government, under which it is our privilege to live.
I intend to-morrow to lay before honorable members of both Houses the position as I know it to be, and as set out in the recent secret communications from the Army Council of Great Britain; but it is due to the public that they should be told how imperative and urgent the demand for men is. The number of reinforcements required for next month is 32,500, and subsequently 16,500 a month. The number of recruits for June was 6,375; July, 6,170; and up to 23rd August, 4,144; or a total of16,689. The most recent list for eleven days shows the number of casualties to be 6,743. These figures speak for themselves.
They show that the position which confronts the Government, the Parliament, and the people, is that while it is our clear duty to keep the number of our Forces up to their full strength, the stream of recruits under the voluntary system has fallen to less than one-third of what is necessary.
The great offensive, in which our troops have covered themselves with glory, has cost a fearful price; yet it is, and must be, pressed forward with implacable resolution. To falter now is to make the great sacrifice of lives of no avail; to enable the enemy to recover himself, and, if not to defeat us, to prolong the struggle indefinitely, and thus rob the world of all hope of a lasting peace. The sure road, the speedy road, the only road, to victory is to press on. Now is the psychological moment when every ounce of effort is called for.
To the principle of compulsion for military training and service the country has long been committed. But a clear line has been drawn between compulsory service within the Commonwealth and service overseas. For the first we relied entirely upon compulsion; for the latter upon voluntaryism. Until recently, voluntary recruiting proved sufficient to meet the demands made upon us; but latterly it has quite failed to do so. This failure, however, does not release us from our obligations to the Empire, to its Allies, and to the Commonwealth, whose fortunes rise or fall with the ebb and flow of this dreadful war. For it is literally true that defeat in this war sounds the deathknell of all our hopes and aspirations, and robs us at one stroke of all the privileges and liberties that make our lives worth living. Though voluntaryism fails, the country must not fail. It dare not; its honour and its safety are alike at stake.
But this is a country where the people rule; and in this crisis - in which their future is concerned - their voice must be heard. The will of the nation must be ascertained. Autocracy forces its decrees upon the people; Democracy ascertains, and then carries out the wishes of the people. In these circumstances, the Government consider there is but one course to pursue, namely, to ask the electors for their authority to make up the deficiency by compulsion.
Set out briefly, the policy of the Government is to take a referendum of the people at the earliest possible moment upon the question whether they approve of compulsory oversea service to the extent necessary to keep our Expeditionary Forces at their full strength. If the majority of the people approve, compulsion will be applied to the extent that voluntaryism fails. Otherwise, it will not.
I now make an’ earnest appeal to every recruiting agency and centre to use their, every effort to encourage voluntary recruiting, and to the men of fighting age to enlist in the defence of their country. If volunteers respond in sufficient numbers there will be no need for compulsion. But to the extent that voluntary recruiting fails to supply the numbers necessary the Government will use the authority of the people, if given, to call to the colours, until the supply is exhausted, single men without dependants. It is not intended, until the supply of single men without dependants is exhausted, to apply compulsion to married men, youths under twenty-one, to single men with defendants, or to the remaining sons of families in which one or more of tha members have already volunteered.
As the necessity for more men is not only imperative, but urgent, and in order that the approval of the people, if given, should not be abortive, and, coming too late, leave our soldiers at the front without support of an adequate supply of trained reinforcements, the Government have decided that, if within one month the appeal for volunteers does not bring in a sufficient number of recruits, they will issue a proclamation under the Defence Act, and call up for purposes of training the number of single men without dependants necessary to make good the deficiency.
I hope that- the appeal which I now make to the patriotism of Australian manhood will make such proclamation unnecessary.
Unless and until the people of Australia approve of extending the compulsory provision of the Defence Act to service overseas, no man will be sent away against bis will.
Sir, we are passing through the greatest crisis in our history. Our national existence, our liberties, are at stake. There rests upon every man an obligation to do his duty in the spirit that befits free men. The Government asks men to make a great sacrifice; it asks them to risk their lives in order to save their country. Sir, I believe that they are prepared to make this sacrifice; but the country must, in its turn, prove itself worthy of such men. There must be, as far as humanly possible, equality of sacrifice. Wealth has its duties; it owes all it has to the State, and must be prepared, if necessary, to sacrifice that all to the State. Many wealthy men have responded nobly to the call of duty; others have not. But they cannot be allowed thus to evade their responsibilities. ‘
All other considerations must be swept aside. One great principle must now govern our every action. Whatever is necessary for the salvation of the country must be done; and, since we are calling upon men to sacrifice their lives, we ought not to, and shall not, hesitate to compel men to sacrifice their wealth.
X shall ask leave to continue, on Friday morning next, my remarks in support of the policy that I now have the honour to put forward’. I have already said that 1 propose to invite honorable members of both Houses to meet in secret session to-morrow in order that I may have the opportunity to lay before them pertinent facts of great moment, which it is imperative they should know. Armed with the facts of the position as it exists, honorable members will come Back to this Chamber, and be able to discuss the policy which the Government have the honour to put forward, in the full light of all the knowledge that is in tho possession of the Government, and charged with a responsibility which I am very sure not one member of the Chamber will attempt to evade. I propose to ask honorable members, in all the circumstances, to agree to adjourn forthwith until 10.30 o’clock on Friday morning, -and to meet in the Senate Club Boom to-morrow at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Mr. JOSEPT COOK (Parramatta) T4.ll. - We have listened to a statement of far-reaching importance - a statement which I venture to, say -will profoundly move this country when it is read. I should’ like, first of all - and my words will be few - to offer a word of hearty welcome to the Prime Minister on his return to his place and position here. ‘ I congratulate him ‘ on his great personal triumph. abroad - a personal triumph won, as I believe, by the ability and patriotic fervour with which he interpreted in. the Motherland the mind and heart and attitude of the Commonwealth in relation to this war. As to the statement which has just been delivered, I confess to a feeling of much surprise. To me, sir, this statement has been a profound disappointment More I do not’ care to say at this moment.
Motion (by Mr. HUGHES) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Friday next.
House adjourned at 4.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 August 1916, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1916/19160830_reps_6_79/>.