6th Parliament · 1st Session
The Clerk having informed the House of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, Mr. Deputy Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or request: -
Supply Bill (No. 5) 1916-17.
Supply (Works and Buildings) Bill (No. 4) 1916-17.
Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1914-15.
Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1914-15.
– Will the Prime Minister state if it is the intention of the Government to pay an extra 6d. or1s. in connexion with the 1915-16 Wheat Pool?
– The position is practically as follows: - The first payment was 2s. 6d. per bushel; the second was 6d. There is now to be a further payment of 1s. gross, of which 5d. will be absorbed by freight and handling charges, leaving 7d. net cash to be paid to the farmers. Honorable members must not assume that each farmer will receive the same, because the farmers in some States have received more than those in other States, but this last payment is to be in the nature of an equalizing advance, bringing the farmers in each State up to the same level, so that they may all get the equivalent of 4s. per bushel.
Price of Meat
– Will the Prime Minister state if anything has been done by the Government, or is anything proposed to be done, following on the issue of the regulation under the War Precautions Act removing the embargo on the export of stock from Queensland, to regulate the price of meat in Australia ?
– Not that I am aware of. So far the Government has not made, nor does it contemplate making, any arrangement with the Imperial Government, nor has it interfered with any arrangement made either by States or private individuals, for the supply of meat to that Government. The scope of its activities has been confined to the regulation under the War Precautions Act, which now permits stock to flow freely from State to State.
Issue of Uniforms
-Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence state if . investigation has been made of the complaint of No. 2899, Private L. G. Reid, of 12th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, A Company, France, that after coming out of the trenches covered in mud and wet through he was called upon to pay for a Commonwealth Defence Department overcoat?
– That question is already on the notice-paper.
– (By leave.)- The Department is not in possession of any information in respect to the methods of issue of uniforms to troops in France. There is, however, no regulation or military custom under which a soldier is required to pay for any clothing issued to him unless it has been clearly proved that articles previously issued have been damaged or lost by neglect. Steps have already been taken to obtain from the Commandant, Australian Imperial Force, HeadQuarters, London, full particulars in respect to the system ofissue of clothing in England and France, and of the reasons for charging men with the cost of same.
Personal Explan ation - Publicationof Report - Dismissal of Secretary.
– I see in this morning’s paper what purports to be a forecast of the report of the Royal Commissioner on the Home Affairs Department with regard to the Federal Capital. In justice to an officer of the Home Affairs Department, I wish to make a statement. The forecast of the report was published in the Sydney Sun, but I do not know whether it is accurate, as the report has not yet been presented to Parliament. It is stated in the press, with reference to Colonel Owen: -
Asked at the inquiry whether he had detected any hostile action on the part of an officer, Mr. W. H. Kelly, who preceded Mr. Archibald at the Home Affairs Department, replied : - “ Yes,ononeoccasiontheDirectorGeneral of Works put up an estimate of the cost of works at the capital, which was obviously an attack upon the accepted plan. I refused to accept it, and in a friendly way asked Colonel Owen, who has been a friend of mine for some years, not to try that line of procedure.”
Regarding this matter, the Commissioner points out “ that Mr. Kelly had apparently for- ‘ gotten that the document which he appeared to regard as confidential was not volunteered by Colonel Owen presuming on the friendship existing between himself and the Minister, but had been specifically called for by Mr. Kelly himself, and was therefore an official’ estimate in accordance with that request.”
I did not intend to convey, and do not think that in my evidence I did convey, any idea that Colonel Owen had at that, or at any other time, presumed on the friendship existing between us. During the time I was Acting Minister for Home Affairs never once did that gentleman presume on, or in any way attempt to exploit, that friendship.
– Has the Prime Minister seen what purports to be portion of the report of Commissioner Blacket, in the Sydney Sun, and can he explain how it has been made public before the report itself has reached Parliament?
– Last evening I was notified by the representatives of the press that a summary of the first part of Mr. Blacket’s report had appeared in the Sydney Sun, and I stated, what I now repeat, that I had not seen the report. Furthermore, though I understand that the report preceded me to Government House by about half-an-hour this morning, when I saw His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to-day he had not perused it. It is true that the report had been in my office for a day or two; hut it was still sealed, and was only opened in my presence this morning. I asked the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department to communicate directly with theRoyal Commissioner. I regarded this publication of portion of his report as a very serious matter. So far as I know, the case has no precedent. At any rate, it was a most improper proceeding. Itappears, however, that the matter is explained in this way : Mr. Quinn, secretary to theRoyal Commission, is responsible for having supplied to the Sydney Sun a summary of the first part of Mr. Blacket’s report, and upon being called upon by the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department for an explanation, he gave it as follows: -
Following upon my interview with you this morning regarding publication in Sydney Sun of a summary of Mr. Blacket’s report, I beg formally to express my regret that what I considered an innocent act should have turned out so unfortunately. The Commissioner’s report having been handed in on Monday, I concluded that it would be public property in a day or two, and that, therefore, the summary I prepared for a newspaper friend, Mr. Campbell Jones, would prove convenient in the event of such publication. I sent the summary without Mr. Jones’ knowledge, and purely in recognition of a kindness some time ago received by me at his hands.
The question of committing a breach of confidence never entered my head, and I can point to my past services as a journalist and public officer, both in the Commonwealth and New South Wales Public Service, as evidence that such an intention would never be likely to weigh with me.
I realize now the mistake I made in thinking that the usual routine would be followed in the case of this report, and very much regret it. The only thing I can do in the circumstances is to tender my resignation, and to request you to be good enough to arrange for the leave due to me, but which my duties have up to the present precluded me from taking.
The Secretary to Prime Minister’s Department advises me as follows : -
Last week Mr. Quinn inquired as to the procedure in connexion with the printing and publication of the report, and I informed him that both matters were ones for action by the Prime Minister and not the Commission ; that the report should be presented either personally by the Commissioner to the Governor-General or forwarded through this office for presentation to the Governor- Gen eral ; and that no action should be taken by the Commissioner in the matter of printing and publication.
In view of all the circumstances, I have approved of the recommendation of the Secretary to my Department that Mr. Quinn be forthwith dismissed.
Plaint of Postal Electricians
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister the following question : -
Is the Prime Minister aware that in the recent plaint of the postal electricians, before Mr. Justice Higgins, in the Arbitration Court, the Judge stated that in his opinion the regulation postponing further promotions within, and appointments from without, to the Federal Public Service, was illegal?
Will the Prime Minister have justice done to these permanent officers who have qualified for promotion (and who have been acting for about two years) by confirming their promotions from the day upon which they passed the qualifying examination?
What action does he contemplate taking regarding those junior mechanics and mechanics who passed the entrance examination, and were registered for appointment, but had their appointment deferred through this regulation?
Is he aware that the above-mentioned regulation has only been observed so far as the lower grade is concerned ?
– The honorable member was good enough to give me a copy of his question. I can only say, in reply to No. 1, “ No, I am not aware of it.”I will have inquiries made in regard to the matter of which the honorable member speaks, and will give him a detailed answer to-morrow.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that the Minister for Trade and Customs is reported in the Launceston Examiner of the 13th inst. to have made use of the following words in a recent speech in Tasmania -
In order that there could be no mistake, he could say that it was the decision of the National Government just prior to the dissolution that, no matter what the verdict was on the 28th October last, that verdict would be respected until altered by the people themselves. In his own opinion, however, one of the first things to be done when the new Government to be elected took the reins again, would be to ask the people the very same question again, and get a very strong affirmative “ yes.”
I wish to know if the opinion expressed in those words is a foreshadow of the policy of the Government on this important matter ?
– From a hurried perusal of the report of my honorable colleague’s speech, published in the Tasmanian press, it does not appear to me to bear the construction put upon it by the honorable member. But, in any case, the policy of this Government upon conscription is that already announced, clearly and unambiguously, in my Ministerial statement made in this House. The Government intend to respect the verdict of the people given on the 28th October last. It is most emphatically not true that the Government contemplate any attempt to disturb that verdict. In view of this fact, the efforts of a certain section to persuade the electors to the contrary is palpably an electioneering dodge.
The following papers were presented : -
Federal Capital Administration - Report of the Royal Commission - 1. Issues relating to Mr. Griffin.
Ordered to be printed.
Public Service Act - Promotion ofN. Buckman, Postmaster-General’s Department.
Warrant Officer McGrath, M.P. : Officers in England : BrigadierGeneral Anderson.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence cause inquiries to be made as to the reason why Warrant Officer Charles McGrath - representative of Ballarat in this House - has not been sent to the front, and whether he ever asked, while in London, to be sent there?
– He made two applications.
– I desire the Minister to inquire as to that. Further, will he ascertain and inform the House how many officers of the Australian Expeditionary Forces who have never been to the front are in England to-day, and why they have not gone to the front? Lastly, will he inquire when Brigadier-General McC.Anderson enlisted, what was his military service, and how he came to be appointed to the rank of Brigadier-General ?
– I will place the honororable member’s questions before the Minister for Defence.
– Will the Prime Minister state whether any application has been made to him. either on the part of individuals or public bodies, that wool for export shall be appraised at Townsville?
– No; I do not remember any such application having been made.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence make sympathetic inquiries into the condition of the German Concentration Camp at Liverpool, and as to whether the Australianborn internees could not with advantage be separated from the others?
– I shall refer the honorable member’s question to the Minister.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Defence lay on the table of the Library all papers connected with the case of L. S. Garden of the Defence Department?
– I shall try to have them laid on the table as soon as possible.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence whether complaints, accompanied by statutory declarations, in respect to contracts for obtaining fats from the Broadmeadows and other camps have been brought under his notice ? If not, will he make inquiries of the officers concerned, and place the position beforethe House to-morrow.
– No such complaints have been brought under my notice. I shall cause inquiries to be made, but I cannot say whether the information will be available for presentation to the House when we meet to-morrow morning at halfpast 10.
– The declarations have been in the Defence Department for months.
– But it does not follow that they have been brought under my notice.
– In view of a telegram that I have received from the Red Cross in New South Wales, I desire to ask the Prime Minister if he will make inquiries and inform the House whether it be not a fact that the sanatorium at Wentworth Falls, purchased by the Red Cross, was bought at a price less than Messrs. Richardson and Wrench’s valuation ?
– A question regarding this sanatorium was put yesterday. It was then alleged, so far as I can recollect the facts, that too high a price had been given for it. I must confess that I am not informed on the facts, but I shall make immediate inquiries, and let the House and the country know the result.
– A few days ago I asked the Prime Minister if he would lay upon the table of the House a statement regarding the shipping purchases made by him while in England. I shall be glad to know if he would have such a statement prepared showing the classification of the ships, their tonnage, where they are at present, and what the Government are doing with them?
– I cannot remember whether or not any particulars have been supplied. If not, they shall be supplied.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral state whether any drastic action has been taken by his Department to prevent the leakage of telegrams that are lodged for transmission?
– I have no knowledge of the complaint to which the honorable member refers, but if he will give me particulars of any case of the kind of which heknows, I shall have them investigated, and will endeavour to stop any such leakage.
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon, notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. I am not aware.
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
Has he any information to give the House regarding the request to increase the pay of the non-commissioned officers and men of the Australian Navy consequent on the increased cost of living?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
Owing to the increased cost of living the victualling allowance has since the outbreak of war been increased from ls. 4d. per diem to ls. 8d. per diem for sea-going ships, and the married allowance, which previously applied to men with a minimum of five years’ service, has been extended to include all married men - the rate being ls. per day. This is also extended to any rating whose mother resides in Australia and is solely dependent on him for support.
The question of revising the pay is a farreaching one, and is now under consideration.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and the replies will be furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether he will obtain a list of thenames and addresses in each State of patriotic associations towhich soldiers’ wires may apply for financial assistance in case of distress?
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - 1 to 6. I am not personally aware of all these matters, but will inquire into them.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
– I desire to make a per sonal explanation in relation to a series of questions which the honorable member for Wide Bay has on the notice-paper as to the . agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, dated 6th July, 1915. The honorable member asks whether there was a clause in the first agreement stating that a rebate of 10 per cent. on each ton of raw sugar melted would be made by the company to the Government, and whether, when the second draft agreement was under consideration, there was a similar clause. I consider that the questions, of which there are quite a number in addition to those 2 have indicated, are put in such a form that I am placed in an unfair light before the general public. The suggestion is that in a. draft agreement prepared for submission to me there was a clause in reference to a rebate. In the draft agreement as to the terms and conditions under which the sugar business was to be carried on by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company there was no clause about a rebate; and a clause in reference to a rebate of 10 per cent. was placed in the agreement only after I had called attention to its omission. The Treasurer can easily obtain the information, and I sincerely hope that be will endeavour to supply answers to the questions which the honorable member has given notice of, so that Imay no longer be under the cloud which the honorable member seems to desire to place over me as the member for Capricornia.
Commonwealth War Ministry - Speeches of Mr. Mathews and Mr. Hampson - Manufactureof “ Aspirin “ : Nicholas and , Company - Post-War Immigration - Conscription - Northern Territory: Commonwealth Hotels - Franchise in Great Britain - Defence Department : Administration - Senator Watson’s Charges : Royal Commission - Repatriation of Soldiers - National Federation Party.
Question - That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair, and the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply - proposed.
.- As this is the first week I have attended Parliament since the formation of the new Government, I desire, first of all, to congratulate the parties to the Fusion, which is the consummation of what I have very much desired ever since trouble arose in the ranks of the former Government supporters. Honorable members may remember my desire to see the formation of a Government that would embrace members of the then Opposition and of the present Opposition, a desire which led me, a little while ago, to place my name to a letter in the press, in the hope that it might have the effect of expediting the negotiations then proceeding. Whether the letter had that effect I do not know. It may have been premature, and it may have been that negotiations would have been completed anyhow, but I assure the Prime Minister and those with him that it was only genuine anxiety to see what I considered the right and inescapable thing done that prompted me to write as I did. I have not heard all the incidents that have transpired in this Chamber in the last few days, but I have made a point of reading the Hansard reports, and notice from them that there is a good deal of ill-feeling abroad, doubtless due to ‘the imminence of the elections prompting members to utilize the columns of the official report to ventilate their spleen.
The intention seems to be to besmirch the arrangement that has been made to form a Coalition Government. I wish strongly to defend that arrangement. Men with any imagination must realize that everything we treasure here is being challenged. All the liberties we boast of, all the licence that we have exercised in ruling this country, are in danger of being torn from us. Every one in the community, including honorable members opposite, ought to know that they are likely to have their aspirations spragged, because a common danger is around us. Even the beasts of the field, when a common danger threatens, come together and turn their heads to the foe, all the old feuds being dropped immediately. Self-preservation is one of the first instincts of nature, and. surely a body of intelligent men, such as we are supposed to be, is capable of expressing itself in the face of a common danger as effectively and coherently as are the wild animals of the veldt or the jungle ! But we seem to be falling away even from that primal instinct, and so far has the hostility gone that gentlemen on ‘the other side are talking about the place of origin of members who have formed the Fusion. They are charging the Prime Minister with being a Welshman, and another with being an Englishman. We are not far enough out of the wood as a nation to adopt sucH an attitude, and one has only to cast his eye round to recognise ‘that many associated with those making such charges have themselves come from overseas. THat is no disgrace to them, and no one except a man whose vision is perverted would ever think of saying so, but it seems to me that our opponents are deliberately making wrong deductions. This country would never have been established at all but for the venturesome men who came from overseas, and their descendants in their turn have gone overseas again tlo defend the heritage that their forefathers won.
The House badly needs revising, and I hope the coming election will revise it, so that men who talk in that way will no longer find a place here. I doubt, however, whether that will be possible with all of them, because certain gentlemen who have been loudest in their denunciations - in their harsh, uncharitable and unpatriotic comments - unfortunately represent pocket boroughs, and have amongst their followers a class of men who will applaud any outrageous statement aimed at the solidarity of our people, and particularly at the solidarity of the Empire. In fact, they will applaud any comment if it is aimed against society as now constituted. Those are the men who, in their chaotic minds, imagine that no reform can be accomplished, no regeneration effected, unless destruction first takes place, and men in this House coming from communities that think that way are a menace. When they talk about the great work the party has done in the past, and seek to claim the support of the public on that account, let me remind them that the great work done by the party has been due almost entirely to the men who have left it. It was only on account of the moderate attitude of the leaders of the party in those days, and of those who had some personal following in it, that it was tolerated in many quarters, thus making it possible for those who now represent pocket boroughs to come here and enunciate their outrageous sentiments. It is well for the country that the Official Labour party should now be stripped of those who gave respectability to unpatriotic and treasonable men.
– I desire that the honorable member’s statement that w are treasonable be withdrawn. It is not true so far as I am concerned, and if the honorable member applies it to any individual let him say it about that individual as a real man would do.
– Exception having been taken to certain words used by the honorable member, I ask him to withdraw them.
– I did not apply the phrase to any member of the House. I used it in relation to certain members of the community, but I will say that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports went as near to being treasonable as it is safe for any man to go. He warned the Government and the delegates proposed to be sent to the Imperial Conference to remember the tea thrown overboard in Boston Harbor. That incident belongs to the history of early America. Probably there was justification for it, but it was the action of the colonists in tipping the tea into the harbor that led to the American War of Independence. They objected to the imposition by the English authorities of a tax on their tea. No doubt harsh measures -were* adopted in <those days towards the young colonies, but things have altered wonderfully in later years. No such measures are likely to be applied to this country, where we have done just as” we please, and have put on any tax we liked to impose against the Old Country. We have even excluded other members of the Empire as we chose. The opportunities we have had here in no way compare with the conditions which governed the early settlements of Great Britain some years ago. I am astonished that gentlemen in this House should think for one moment that it is necessary to warn the Imperial authorities to remember the Boston tea incident, with a view to intimating that the situation in Australia is now so threatening that probably there will be something in the nature of a revolt. What the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is afraid of I do not know. It is high time that sort of talk was scotched, and that every person who considers himself a patriotic and self-respecting citizen dissociated himself from such a sentiment. Honorable members who talk like that in Parliament must be representing men who say worse things outside of Parliament. If a man representing a constituency such as mine gave utterance to those sentiments in the House he need not expect to be returned to this Parliament again. It is men representing constituencies like Macquarie who gave the Labour party the right to govern this country, and I am proud to think that the departure from its ranks of men like myself and others is going to deprive it of that right. A sentiment such as that I have mentioned is sufficient to damn any party. At a time when we are fighting for our life, when all right-minded sons who were free to go to the assistance of the Mother Country are fighting in Europe, and when the parent country is struggling for its life, it is wrong of citizens of the Com- monwealth to talk about revolt in reference to conditions that are never likely to arise. Why do honorable members opposite make these statements? Because, forsooth, a Fusion Government has been formed, and the Labour party elected to stand out of it. In a spirit of pique and chagrin honorable members talk in this fashion. After Australia has demonstrated its loyalty and sanctified the alliance with Great Britain with the blood of our people, why should men belonging to the Labour party rise and utter such base insinuations as these, which suggest to the world that the conditions here are such that we should have another Boston tea incident unless we are very careful ? I cannot allow this Parliament to close without uttering my strongest protest against such sentiments. What can a man do who feels a duty to his country but protest against treason like this ?
Men who speak in that vein have not the vision and capacity to realize what is surrounding us. They do not recognise that, as part of a world-wide Empire, we must raise our eyes above local conditions and personal differences. They do not realize that after the war is over, if it should end to our advantage, there will be a world-wide sweep of economic laws operating here, and that our parochial arguments will not prevail at all. We shall be swept into a wider stream than we have ever been in before. We have been in swaddling clothes up till now, and have been so comfortable, and have grown so bold and cheeky, that we have begun to think that we are the salt of the earth, that we can do as we please, and that our integrity has been maintained by our own efforts. Surely the revelations of the last three years must have opened the eyes of any thinking man to the fact that our triumph has been only because of the tremendous power of the Parent Country, and to talk now in any parochial sense, and particularly to talk in a manner which suggests revolt, is a damnable thing, which ought not to be tolerated.
In the coming campaign we shall hear the cry “^Australia for the Australians.” That sounds very fine, but it will be impossible to reserve this country for Australianborn people exclusively. That fact must be plain to anybody who reflects. If we are to justify our participation in the war, and if we are to emerge from it successfully, it will be only upon conditions which will make it impossible for us to make Australia a close preserve for Australian-born people. One of the conditions of our success will be that the doors of Australia must he thrown wide open. I do not suggest that there shall be unregulated or unrestricted immigration, but that there shall be a systematized method of immigration which will help to fill our waste places and increase our productiveness. I have had on the businesspaper for over two years a motion urging the proper control of immigration and the placing of immigrants in depots until they can be placed according to their ability or desire, and along lines which will help the development of the country. Sucha policy must be adopted. With the influx of population much of our narrowness will disappear, and we shall hear less of the rabid sentiments to which utterance has been given by those who come from the pocket boroughs of industrialism. The flood of new blood will include many members . who have been through the ordeal of sword and fire, and I hope their coming will infuse some higher sentiments amongst the rank and file of our people than we have heard recently.
The conscription question is to be raised during the campaign, but it is well known that there will be no effort on the part of this Government to impose conscription on Australia without referring the matter to the people. That course may be followed, and I fail to see why persons who have insisted on referenda being taken again and again should object to another referendum in regard to conscription, if advices received later should show it to be necessary for the Empire to put forward even greater efforts than in the past. The effort we were asked to make lately was with a view to making assurance doubly sure that the “ push “ about to take place in France will be quite successful. The men might not be wanted at all, but a demonstration of our willingness to supply them was demanded of us. The question may never be revived, but if our men do not volunteer as we hope they will, and there should be found to be a greater need for more men, it is an open question whether the conscription issue should not be again submitted to a referendum of the people.
To class every honorable member on this side of the House as a straightout conscriptionist is most unfair and a gross misrepresentation. No doubt such statements will be made. I do not wish to misrepresent anybody. I have obtained from Hansard the facts on which I based my remarks. The men who have uttered the sentiments to which I have taken exception were principally the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Bendigo.
– Is Bendigo a pocket borough ?
– Bendigo may not be a pocket borough, but that does not affect the fact that its representative claims for the Labour party, as it exists to-day, every achievement that has been to the advantage of Australia. To do that is grossly unfair. I give men credit for what they have done, but I say most emphatically that the great strength of the Labour party, its success, and its right to govern in this Parliament, have been attained only by obedience to the men who have led the party, and the efforts of the rank and file who have won such seats as Macquarie for the party. By reason of the utterances of some members in this chamber, and their close association with outside men of dangerous tendencies, the Labour party has forfeited the right to have such men as myself, and men representing constituencies such as mine, behind them in this House, making it possible for them to govern again.
Mr.FINLAYSON (Brisbane) [3.23]. - I regret that the Minister for Home and Territories is not in his place, but probably the matter with whichI propose to deal will be brought underhis notice. Some time ago the Commonwealth Government decided to assume control of a number of hotels in the Northern Territory,and to run them as national concerns. I objected very strongly at the time to the Commonwealth identifying itself officially with such a degrading business as the liquor traffic. Unfortunately, all the prognostications I made then as to the evil results that would follow from the Commonwealth throwing its cloak of respectability over the liquor traffic in the Territory have come true. I wish to read two extracts from articles that appeared in the Brisbane Courier.
In the first, published on the 23rd February last, the writer said -
I quite agree with Senator Newland. There is not one redeeming feature in these Governmentowned hotels, although they are departmentally managed And conducted under union rules and regulations. I have been assured that the best intentions prompted some one to suggest that the hotels in the Territory should be placed under the Administration direct. Drinking in Darwin was unparalleled in its viciousness, and it was represented that private management was lax. It should appear only reasonable, therefore, that the new system would have been workable, and even successful. But it has not. It is simply a case of curing drunkenness by doses of rum, and the exhibition of Government-owned hotels very clearly shows how much the really moral incentive to lessen drinking is wanting. As Senator Newland said, there are more “ drunks “ to be seen in the Territory hotels - and, let me add, just outside of them - than you will see in any town three times the size of Darwin and Pine Creek. It is a common sight to see “ drunks “ lying in the tall weeds of the vacant spaces that exist in but do not adorn Darwin city. These “ drunks “ are under the public eye. No matter what time of the day or night - from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., which are Territory hotel hours - one can find, in and around some of the hotels of Darwin, idlers sitting about, or bar loungers and beer “ chasers “ quaffing the “ cup that cheers,” spitting and blaspheming. On a Vestey’s pay day, once a fortnight, Darwin hotels, at least those frequented by the working men, are the scenes of orgies that would bring despair to the heart of the bravest temperance reformer. No writer, but one with the gift of Charles Dickens, could adequately picture the extravagant waste of money, easily earned and little appreciated, and the wholesale abandonment of human self-respect, that are features of a very large percentage - far too large - of the workingmen of Darwin. The scene, as I saw it, was deplorable. The very mongrels of the streets were part and parcel of it. I have seen these mongrels standing by, waiting around sickened drunks after they had rushed to the street from the stifling heat of the overcrowded bars and bar-parlours, and, more that that, I have seen them lick the mouths of men as they lay out in the open street, deadened by the drink they were able to buy from the hotels owned by the “ Commonwealth of Australia.” I have stood by and heard the maniacal howls of drinkdistempered men, men in physique only - in all else beasts - yelling curses and imprecations in a babel of tongues. In fact it is a common Darwin cosmopolitan scene. One day I saw, and it seemed to me that all Darwin turned out to see it also, a drunken, bootless Russian, with long unkempt and dishevelled hair, his shirt open and hanging down, his trousers falling to his knees, running amuck. His face and head, from cuts and scratches, were streaming with blood, which, running down over his clothes and uncovered body, and being thick upon his hands, gave him the wildest appearance. He ran maddened, fiercely gesticulating, screaming and shrieking, then rolled in the dust, like a savage animal, insensible to restraint, and oblivious of decency. All this from the drink he was able to procure from) the hotels “ owned by the Commonwealth of Australia “ ! I turned in horror to some of Darwin’s chief citizens, upon whose faces therewas no surprise but rigid disgust, and I asked, “ Does this sort of thing often occur?” “ Yes,, too often,” was the reply, from every side.
That is one side of the picture. In another article dealing with the NorthernTerritory, written by Mr. McMahon, and appearing in the Brisbane Courier on the 28th February last, the other side of thepicture is given. The writer says -
During the hotel strike records proclaim that, the hospitals were practically empty. It was amusingly pathetic that men who had beenmost consistent “ soakers “ were finding themselves with money - money saved - which they really did not know what to do with, because the usual channel of expenditure was closed to them. Some of them opened banking accountsand reformed, and all had healthier and happier faces. But the day, and several daysafter, the hotels re-opened the stories of the drinking that took place to make up for lost time I cannot repeat, for they make the hair stiffen in horror.
So we have the evidence of Senator Newland and several other members of both Houses who have visited Northern Territory, as well as the impartial evidence of Mr. McMahon, that our efforts to cope with drunkenness in the Northern Territory by putting the Commonwealth coatofarms over the portals of the hotelsthere has not had the result that we fondly anticipated. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie who, as Minister, took over these establishments, expressed at the time some pride at the step taken and a glowing hope that the action of the Government, in becoming the distributor of alcoholic liquors in the Northern Territory,, would result in bringing about an improvement in the drinking habits of the residents of the Territory. Had I employed the language used by Mr. McMahon in the extracts that I have read from his articles, my remarks would have been put down as another example of the intemperate nature of the language* used by temperance reformers; though no temperance reformer or temperance writer could succeed in employing language- sufficiently strongto describe the evil results worked by this traffic; but, unfortunately, in this case we are face to face with the results of a deliberate policy of this Parliament, which, being expected to give certain good results, has accomplished exactly the opposite. We have testimony to the f actthat the closing of the hotels and the stop- page of the sale of liquor has led to a great improvement in the Northern Territory in the matter of public conduct and public decency, and I do not know whether any better arguments could be advanced for carrying out prohibition there. Some years ago, when this Parliament was discussing the best means of administering the Territory now known as Papua, this House agreed to a prohibition proposal, but, though I understand that the Senate was inclined to accept that proposal, certain influences were brought to bear which caused Parliament to adopt another policy, the result of which, unfortunately, has been most regrettable so far as Papua is concerned. In the Northern Territory, however, we have the opportunity of making another experiment in regard to our policy for dealing with such a cruel and deadly traffic. The Commonwealth is under no promise to any one. By a stroke of the pen the Minister can secure permanently the happy conditions that Mr. McMahon says were secured temporarily because of the hotel strike. When by taking certain action we can secure for the Commonwealth such happy results, and remove from its fair name the disgrace now attaching to it by reason of the responsibility that falls upon it for the position obtaining in the Northern Territory, we should be faithful to the discharge of our duties, and should take the necessary steps to remove this pernicious influence which is bringing so much indignity to our name. I know that the Minister for Home and Territories is just as anxious as his predecessors were to do the best possible for the Territories under his control, and to secure their best development, and I hope that he will see that he can best aid that development by adopting a prohibition policy in the Northern Territory.
.- I admit that there is a great deal of truth in what the honorable member for Brisbane has said concerning the condition of affairs at Darwin. I cannot say it from personal observation, because I have not visited the Territory, but from what I have gathered from reliable .sources. If the honorable member has read Patrick McGill’s Children of the Dead End, he must know that in the country from which he hails the same conditions prevail. But such a comparison does not improve the situation, so far as the North ern Territory is concerned. One of the faults there is the management of the establishments referred to by the honorable member. I was administering the Department controlling the Northern Territory for a while, but, unhappily for the Territory and for myself, I was not permitted to remain in office long enough to make any drastic reforms. I would certainly have made some reforms in the management of the hotels. A very flagrant case was brought under my notice. A manager was accused of certain improprieties, but rather than face an inquiry which was threatened he resigned, and now he is one of those who supply information in regard to this particular matter. I do not say that he has supplied information to Mr. McMahon, but his own action in resigning rather than remaining to face an inquiry condemned him, and he was one of the most prominent speakers at a recent meeting held in the Northern Territory, and condemned everything but himself. The Administrator and others received from him very drastic and trenchant criticism, which was, in my opinion, wholly undeserved. Information that reaches this Chamber often comes from such a source. There is no doubt that the management of these hotels is lax, and that reformation is required. The most serious feature of the whole business is that the returns which were laid on the table of the Library a short time ago at the request of the honorable member for Wakefield disclose the lamentable fact that, although the four hotels at Darwin are boarding establishments in the ordinary sense of the term, their profit is derived wholly from the drink traffic. I am willing to admit that a great deal of what has been quoted by the honorable member from Mr. McMahon’s letters to the Courier is true. The drinking habits of the people in the Territory are due to the very high wages that are being paid there and the very limited avenues for the expenditure of the earnings of the workers. A great portion of those earnings goes in gambling, principally in playing two-up, and the balance is spent in drink. The returns show that some of the money is sent away to Southern Europe. Most of the workers come from Southern Europe. There are some Maltese, but the majority of them are Greeks. These people receive wages utterly beyond what they ever dreamed of getting, and, though their conduct may be inexcusable, that there is a spirit of wildness and intemperance among them is not to be wondered at. While I was in office, I reduced the hours for serving liquor, and I would be quite willing to vote that the hotels in the Northern Territory should be closed altogether. The way in which they are conducted is unsatisfactory. The whole business is unsatisfactory, and their abolition would prove no loss to the Territory. There would certainly be a loss to the Consolidated Revenue, but we could bear that easily.
The question of conscription has been threshed out in several debates in this Chamber, but I wish to make my position clear, because I was the first man in this Parliament to advocate conscription as being the fairest and most sensible course to pursue, and the only just course, too. I hold that we should have had conscription from the outbreak of the war. But, while I am a conscriptionist, I shall take the stand before my electors when I go before them shortly to advocate my claim for re-election - that I intend to abide honestly and conscientiously by the verdict of the people as given in October last. A great deal of capital will be made out of the remarks that have fallen from the Prime Minister on recent occasions. They will constitute the principal argument used against honorable members on this side of the House at the forthcoming election.
– It is the only argument that is being used againt us in New South Wales at the present time.
– And it is absolutely baseless.
– Why should not such an argument be used in connexion with the New South Wales elections? The State Parliaments have the opportunity, in certain circumstances, to appoint senators.
– I do not wish to discuss any extraneous matter. These are questions with which the electors will have to deal at, I regret to say, a very early date. Like the honorable member for Bourke, I do not hanker after elections, and should not object if we could do without them altogether.
I desire, however, to make it perfectly clearthat on the question of conscription I shall adhere to the decision of the people as recorded on the occasion of the military referendum on 28th October last, unless the oeople themselves review it. I do not say that there should nob be an other referendum. I was a member of a party which had referendum after referendum, ana some members of which were threatened because they did not advocate still further referenda. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports was specially threatened because he would not insist on another referendum of the people on the proposed amendments of the Constitution. That being so, why should not a referendum be taken if the necessity arises on this question?
It has been rumouredthroughout the city that the Germanic has been brought into Port Phillip under convoy - that she was found laying mines in the South Pacific.
– Was she captured ?
– That, at all events, is the rumour. If it be true that she has been laying mines along the routes of our sea-going trade–
– I know nothing of it.
– It is freely rumoured, and if the story be true itgoes to show that the war is coming closer to us. Circumstances may arise necessitating another referendum to determine whether or not we should take a further part than we are now taking in the war. If that necessity arises, I will support the holding of a referendum; but I again wish to affirm, in the most emphatic way possible, that, personally, I shall do nothing in regard to conscription until or unless another referendum is asked for.
– I can agree, to a certain extent, with some of the remarks made by the honorable member for Herbert with regard to the Darwin hotel question. The honorable member for Brisbane, so far as my own personal experience goes, was very wide of the mark when he quoted what Mr. McMahon had to say regarding the use of alcohol in the Northern Territory. Throughout my life I have endeavoured to make use of everything, and to abuse nothing. That has been my attitude towards alcohol, and I should not care if it disappeared altogether. When Mr. McMahon is quoted as saying that at Darwin drinking goes on all day long, I feel constrained to mention my own experience. On the occasion of the historic voyage that Senator Findley and I made to Japan, we touched at Port Darwin both going and coming; and although we stayed there on one occasion for eight hours, I can honestly say that I did not see a druken man or one who was under the influence of drink. That alcohol should be largely consumed in such a warm climate is no matter for surprise. The honorable member for Herbert said that all hotels in Darwin should be closed. The only way to stop the consumption of alcohol there, however, is to prevent it entering the port. Unless that is done, the closing of the hotels will probably lead only to sly grog-selling.
– Prohibition would mean stopping it entering the port.
– Quite so. Experts will tell honorable members that the quality of alcohol supplied in sly grogshops is vile in comparison with that obtainable in licensed houses. These sly grog-shops are not under any supervision. In Melbourne at the present time I venture to say there are thousands of places where grog is sold clandestinely, despite the efforts of the police to prevent it. I am personally assisting the police in one case where sly grog-selling is being carried on under scandalous circumstances, but it is difficult to obtain technical proof.
This being a motion on which we are entitled to discuss grievances, I wish to refer in the most courteous manner possible to a notice of motion on the noticepaper in the name of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie -
That the admission of the motion by the Prime Minister on the 22nd February for the suspension of the honorable member for Melbourne is not in accordance with the Standing Orders of this House, and that the ruling of Mr. Deputy Speaker that standing order No. 59 required him to put such motion without amendment, adjournment, or debate be dissented from.
The position of that motion on the noticepaper is such as to make it impossible that it can be dealt with before the House is dissolved. A few days ago I seconded a motion moved by the Minister for the Navy because the honorable gentleman most courteously promised that he would interview you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in reference to a matter concerning which there is a difference of opinion between us. My only desire is that you should have an opportunity to see the evidence I can bring forward. If you do, I believe you will withdraw the statement made by you, I am confident, under a misapprehension. I refer to the incident when
I was at the end of the table-
– I am loath to intervene, but since the matter to which the honorable member is now referring is the subject of a notice of motion on the business-paper, it may not be debated at this stage. I have allowed him to allude to it, but he will not be in order in discussing it further. I take this opportunity of assuring the honorable member that in taking action to which he refers I was not actuated by any personal feeling against him. I sincerely trust that he will allow the matter to rest, and accept my assurance that I had ho intention of reflecting on him in any way, my sole desire being to meet the exigencies of my position.
– I bow, sir, to your ruling. I shall leave the matter wholly in the hands of the Minister for the Navy in the hope that it may be convenient for you at an early date to discuss it with him.
From the earliest days of the war I have sought to secure Government control of the various collecting agencies and charitable associations throughout Australia which are raising millions of pounds for patriotic and other purposes. I do not hesitate to say that fraud and deception have been practised. I have just received from Sydney an authentic communication which has an important bearing on this very question. I shall place it on record in Hansard so that the Minister may verify the statements which it contains. This communication has reference to what is known as the Bodington Estate, which was purchased for Red Cross purposes, and it is as* follows : - “ Bodington “ Purchase. - Mr. Cohen and Mr. Harkness (Under Secretary) are joint secretaries of the Australia Day Funds. Some funds of Australia Day were granted to Bed Cross for a mountain home for consumptive soldiers.
Bodington Estate was fixed on, and purchased for £11,000 - report of Blue Mountain Shire Council and valuation appended. The vendor had purchased the 98 acres for £346. The total improvement was £3,500, or £3,846 in all, for the place which the Red Cross paid £11.000 for. In 1910 the 92 acres of the 98 were valued for shire tax at £460, and reduced on appeal to £300.
Within fourteen days of the sale to the Red Cross the vendor bought the adjoining property of 50 acres at £5 an acre. The building cost £4,000 eight years ago, and no depreciation is allowed for on that. Yet, placing the cost of £346 worth of land at £3,000, as the Red Cross trustees claim, £8,000 is allowed for a house which cost £4,000 eight years ago. The shire council’s valuation of £3,846 for that which the Red Cross paid £11,000 is the concert figures.
The vendor in appealing against the shire valuation of £460 said that only 4 acres of the land is any good.
I have also the final report of the Blue Mountains Shire Council special committee in regard to the purchase. It is as follows : -
BLUE MOUNTAIN SHIRE COUNCIL.
Purchase of “ Bodington,” King’s Tableland, by the Red Cross Society.
Special Committee’s Final Report.
From documentary evidence produced by Councillor Wall, this committee has determined that the statement made by him in regard to the price paid by the Red Cross Society for “ Bodington,” namely, £11,000, the funds of the society were depleted by £5,000 to £6,000, is fully justified.
Amongst the documentary evidence submitted by Councillor Wall were the following: -
Dr. McIntyre Sinclair purchased land comprised in the 98 acres on the following dates at the following prices : -
Portion 26 has about 24 chains to the Bathurst-road, the whole of which frontage is fairly level for a depth varying from 2 to 3 chains; there is a fairly steep slope, in some places even precipitous, from there to the gully which intercepts that portion.
The total area of good land is about 7 acres.
Portion 50 has a smaller area of land, suitable for building purposes, about 4 acres along a surveyed road. This road leads to a considerable area of Crown lands.
In 1910 the shire valuation of £460 for the 92 acres was reduced on appeal to £300. Dr. McIntyre Sinclair’s statement at the time was that all but 4 acres or thereabouts of the 92 acres were useless for building or any other purpose.
The balance of the land in D.P. 526 is fairly level building land, with nice views.
The total unimproved value of the land for the year 1916 stands in the council books at. £590. There are no sales of similar land recorded in the council to justify higher value.
Portion 84, 49 acres 3 roods 12¼ perches, adjoining portion 26, described above, was purchased by Dr. McIntyre Sinclair for £5 per acre six days after the Red Cross Society had completed the purchase of “ Bodington.”
This land has a good frontage to the western road, running off to nothing at the northeast corner, where it drops deeply from the road to a gully which joins the gully intersecting portion 26. The good land in this portion is estimated at about 8 acres.
Portion 151. - 490 acres Crown lands near by was held under lease at a total rental of £8 3s. 6d. per annum until about three years ago, when it was forfeited. This land fronts a well-formed road, and contains patches of good land, with plenty of water.
These matters have excited a good deal of’ interest in the district, and I think I have only done my duty in bringing them under the notice of honorable members. In my opinion the Prime Minister has been somewhat lax in taking control of every fund collected for men at the front, for returned soldiers, and all other objects connected with the war.
The other day I asked a question about the granting of patents to alien enemy firms, particularly Australian Thermit Ltd., which has been declared by the AttorneyGeueral to be an alien enemy company. A letter I have received explains the circumstances very clearly. In that letter it is stated -
In 1915 a Bill was brought in which enabled me to apply for the voidance or suspension of German patents held by Hans and Karl Goldschmidt, of Essen, Germany, for welding rails and other metal pieces. I duly made my application, which was heard before the Commissioner of Patents, being represented by J. H. Mackey, barrister, Melbourne, and was successful, the Government (Hughes, AttorneyGeneral) shortly after declaring suspension of these patents, and what is more, declared by proclamation that Hans and Karl Goldschmidt were alien enemies. Also, that the company, Australian Thermit Limited, Sydney, was an alien company, and wiped them out. This company is, or was, a Sydney company, run by Oscar Granowski, who was a principal shareholder and a German. The dominating interests in this company were held by H. and K. Goldschmidt, who had already been declared alien enemies. Later on, during the end of 1915, or beginning of 1916, these very Germans applied for the renewal of two German patents, taken out, of course, in Australia, and were granted an extension of seven years, to 1923.
Surely if this Parliament and Government are to obtain kudos for preventing enemy aliens from owning and controlling patents, we ought to prevent such persons from obtaining extensions of patents in the way described in that letter. If these people are worthy to hold patents, why were the original patents taken from them, at great expense ? In reference to this matter, I should like to quote from the Australian Official Journal of Patents for 1916, volume 24; and here I may remark that I have never seen a book with a worse index than the one to which I refer. It is issued from our own Patents Office, and it occupied a barrister and myself for not less than an hour and a half to find out what w© wanted in its pages. I urge the Government to see that something is done to secure a proper index. The quotation I desire to make is from No. 1 of the publication for January, 1916, page 32, on which is given a list of renewal fees paid, and on that list are the following : -
16,318. Goldschmidt, H. & K., butt-jointing rails. 8th April, 1923.
17,334. Goldschmidt, H. & K., squaring rail ends. 26th March, 1923.
The Oscar Granowski mentioned in the letter from which I have quoted is the agent for these men, who live, I think, in Essen, or some other German town. What is the use of declaring these men alien enemies and then granting them extensions of patents? I hope that the Government, even in the dying days of this Parliament, will make inquiries, and do something - that they will not adopt a laissez faire method, and thus allow more occurences of the kind. While I loathe and detest the very name of Prussia, from the point of view of dominant militarism, I cannot deny that the genius of the German for organization is more than equal to our own. But what can be expected when we have a weak man at the head of the Patents Office ? Any patent agent will bear out what I say in this regard; indeed, circumstances arose in this branch that made it necessary for .the AttorneyGeneral to remove a highly capable man from under the control of the head, and find him another position, where he is doing most excellent work. If the Prime Minister finds out that the head of this office has done wrong in the cases to which I have called attention, why does he not suspend him?
With much that fell from the honorable member for Macquarie I am quite in agreement. I fully understand the honorable gentleman’s position, and I take it that in his changed relations with honorable members on this side he will with me agree that any contention between us should be fairly and honestly conducted. I entered parliamentary life over a quarter of a century ago, when there was no such thing as a Labour man in the whole of Australia. When the Labour party became possible I joined it, because I found it to be the only honest party in politics.
– The only honest party?
– That is what I found it to be, and I am relating my own experience. When I first suggested, in this very chamber, as a member of the State Parliament, that women had a right to vote, I was met with jeers and sneers from the Liberals and Conservatives, and the fact was burnt into my memory. Now, however, a portion of those who then opposed me are falling over themselves in order to secure the votes of the women electors. Time after time the policy was agreed to by the Legislative Assembly, sometimes unanimously without debate, only to be turned down by the fossils in the Legislative Council. Jeers and laughter also greeted a proposal by me that homes should be provided where human beings could obtain a decent shelter for the night. When I proposed, before the boom burst, that no company should pay more than 10 per cent., and that all over that dividend should be divided into two portions, one to be paid into a fund under Government supervision, the other to be for a reserve, laughter and scorn greeted that proposition; but I lived to hear Godfrey Downes Carter say that he wished that my proposals had been carried into law before the smash came, and our financial institutions fell one after another.
We are going to fight for Australia. I never object to a man or woman loving his or her native land ; but, after all, it is the country that is kindest to us that deserves our best regard. I had the privilege to be the first to move in the Australian Natives Association that women should be allowed to form a similar society. I have said, why not let any one join that association, even though he may have lived in half-a-dozen other countries, if he will hold up his right hand and swear that he would fight for Australia against the world ? Such a man has a better right to call himself an Australian than the babe who by chance opens his eyes here. The Conservatives and the Liberals taunted the Australian Natives Association to such an extent that the rule was passed that no one who was not Australianborn could become a member of the association.
After Australia comes the Home Land, which is the dearest term that I can apply to the four countries lying in the Northern Sea, from which we come. I see that a member of Parliament there has the humour - to use a kind word instead of a harsh one - to ask the House of Commons to declare that, in its opinion, Australia should adopt conscription.^ If he would only get the House of Commons to adopt for Great Britain a franchise like ours, he would do better. I quoted from the Statesman’s Tear-Book the other night to show that in every other European country, including Turkey, and even in China, there is a better franchise - at all events, on paper - than the British franchise. The splendid British race, with all its potentialities, has been crushed through the ages by an unjust franchise. I do not believe that 2 per cent, of the single Britishers at the front, who are offering their lives in defence of their country, have the right to vote. I was robbed of my vote for over five years by the infamy of the British franchise. I think that the honorable member for Denison was present at an interchange of visits in London when I was asked to address a meeting at which members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons were present. I do not think that ever again, in a thousand years, would I be asked to address such a meeting. I told my hearers that their franchise was savage, and only fit for a barbarous nation, that they could not call themselves civilized until they had given every man and woman the right to vote. Then I lifted my hat and went out. The population of Great Britain is nine and a half times that of Australia, but her electors number only three times more than our electors. A seat in the House of Lords is obtainable only by the accident of birth7 or through becoming a bishop, or, very occasionally, by the appointment of some genius like Viscount Bryce to give a ferment of good brains to the institution. Why did not this member of the House of Commons insist tEat his fellows - men as good as he, though living in the slums of the mighty cities of Great
Britain - should have the franchise ? One dainty lord, who got his seat only because he was born to it, said that he would not approve of adult suffrage. Why? Because it would increase the voters of Great Britain from 8,000,000 to 24,000,000. .The Statesman’s Year-Booh, which ia, accepted as an authority in every English-speaking Parliament, and, in a translation, by every other Parliament, shows that the women of Great Britain are classed with criminals and lunatics, so far as voting is concerned. Why did not this member of the House of Commons rail against the rule which prohibits a woman from dusting the altar of St. Paul’s? Because, forsooth, woman is regarded as an unclean animal! There would be no conscription in Britain if the mighty British race had the right to vote that we possess. The history of the past shows that. Never has a free people willingly put chains on its ankles.
My heart has never conceived, nor my brain thought, nor my lipes uttered, a word against those who have offered their lives in the service ot their country. They have not been treated fairly. The Defence Department, which has been well named by Mr. James Abigail, one of the best legal minds in the great city of Sydney, the “Department of Muddledom,” is always muddling along. When 2,000’ men who would have made the best fighters, incensed at the action of General McCay, who was hardly answerable for what he did, in reducing their leave, and increasing their hours of drill, resented it, and, with the sense of freedom that our Australian sunshine and the rich blood that pulses through their veins, stimulate in’ its sons, caused what possibly might have amounted to a riot, which we all regret, would it not have been the act of a statesman to send away in a transport those responsible for the disturbance, deducting from their pay sufficient to recompense those Sydney shopkeepers whose premises had been damaged during the excitement? But what was done? I was informed when in Sydney that 2,000 of the men were discharged on the ground that they were not fit to be soldiers. Some of them have since re-enlisted under false names, their patriotism and love of country being greater than their regard for tie Minister who forbade them to fight.
When we bring before the Department what are regarded as small matters, the attitude is, “ Oh, they can wait.” Therefore, I hold that Parliament should sit continuously. When the honorable member for Denison was Assistant Minister for Defence - and I might say almost the same thing of the present Assistant Minister - and a question was asked on the floor of the House, an answer was given within two or three days; but when Parliament is out of session, week follows week without it being possible to obtain satisfaction from the Department.
One case which I was requested to take up was this : I could not get the Department to do anything in regard to a soldier who had deserted his wife and children. That differences may arise between men and women joined in the marriage state my lips will not deny, but that innocent children should be left without food and clothing is something I cannot stand. This man entered into a conspiracy with his niece to draw his allotment money, and enlisted under a false name. His wife had been earning a living for herself and two children as a waitress in one of the city restaurants, a very hard life. But on getting to know the whereabouts of her husband she obtained a warrant for his arrest. He got away, however, and went to the front. The Department was informed of the case, but it was not until nine or ten weeks had elapsed that any payment at all was made to the mother and children, and they have never yet got what should have come to them, but went to the niece. This “Department of Muddledom “ will not help the woman in the slightest degree. Had the Minister wished to do his duty, he ‘could have said, “ This soldier enlisted under a false name in order to defraud his wife and two children. I shall get back from the niece the money paid to her.” As it is, the niece is laughing and snapping her fingers. My name is anathema to the Department, though I do not care for that.
I intend to conclude this speech as I shall conclude every other that I make, by stating that I am a Democrat to the absolute limit. There is nothing that any thinker of merit has ever proposed for the uplifting of the human race and the benefit of the child or adult that I would not support with my vote and give other assistance to. I strongly resent the fact that every man and woman in Australia holds the right to vote by the kind permission of this Parliament. Without arguing or using harsh words I say that we have only to cast back our memories a few days to know how majorities may be created. I wish to have the people’s right to vote put into the Constitution. I fought the Prime Minister in Caucus and in private continually to have that done, and to obtain for the people the Referendum and Initiative. The honorable member for Herbert will agree with me that the Referendum and Initiative should be put into the Constitution to give the people the mighty power of saying when they will go to the vote.- The date of an election should not be determined by a scratch Parliament. I do not use the word offensively, but I say that there was never in this Parliament such a mixture of parties as at the present moment. There are the last remnants of the Black Labour party, men who voted to keep the kanaka, and, I believe, would vote to bring them back again. They were only 25 per cent, of the vote against that proposal. Then there are the old Conservatives, and the old Free Traders. There are also Single Taxers, who, having become tired of the name, call themselves members of the Land Value Taxation Association. There are also the half-and-half people, who say they believe in Protection but vote at every opportunity to keep the duties low. And there is the honorable member for Gippsland, the sole remaining representative of the old Liberal party. Honorable members will agree with me that there were stars in the firmament of Liberalism that shine to-day in kindly memory. I have in mind Mr. Higinbotham, Mr. Lilley, of Queensland. Mr. Kingston, of South Australia, and Sir George Grey, of- “New Zealand. A Government with a majority could tomorrow sweep our franchise away, and by substituting a property qualification, deprive a big proportion of the men and women of Australia of the right to vote.
– I do not think that the Government dare do that.
– I should hope to see some of them hanging from lampposts if they did. But no Government should have such power in its hands. The people give to Parliament all power. They pay for everything, from the salaries of .honorable members to the salary of the Governor-General, and they should have a right to call the tune. If they had that right, would they allow Parliament to sit for a few days and then adjourn for months? No; they would insist that a party should carry out the planks of its platform in the first year of a Parliament, leaving the second and third years for the consideration and amendment of the legislation, if it were found to be defective. No matter how we may be assisted by lawyers in the House, the lawyers outside always manage to pick holes in our laws. I have often wondered why some of our legal geniuses have not embodied in every Act we pass a. limiting section, so that if any section were found to be contrary to the spirit and intention of Parliament the verdict of the Judge could be delayed until the Act was amended. “When the people have the initiative and referendum they will have also the right of recall, which will enable them to tear from their seats any honorable members who have not been faithful to their pledges. Twenty-seven years ago I gave to my constituents an undertaking that if one more than half of them demanded my resignation, I would hand it in without question. I said that if I did not carry out my promises they could call upon me for an explanation, and if I failed to give it they might call a meeting in the North Melbourne Town Hall, at which I would attend, with my resignation written out. The right to recall me my constituents will always have, until we have in operation the referendum, initiative, and recall.
What but the recall is responsible for the purifying of municipal government in America? In over 300 cities of the Union the municipal councillors cannot do what they may do in Melbourne and Sydney. The cities are governedby commissioners, who may be recalled if they do wrong. No longer can capitalists make fortunes out of the franchises of the citizens. I remember that Mr. Prendergast told me an incident which had greatly impressed him when he was in California. A young woman had been brutally treated by a multi-millionaire. In the first Court she won her case. The millionaire appealed. The citizens subscribed to enable her to fight the case further, and it was carried from Court to Court. After two years, the millionaire succeeded in getting a Judge of the Supreme Court of California to give judgment in his favour. Immediately the recall operated, and by a majority of 40,000 votes the people dragged that Judge, in disgrace and dishonour, from the Bench. That is the power which I desire the Australian people to have. There is nothing sacrosanct about a Judge merely because he puts horsehair on his head. When he resorts to a horse’s tail to decorate himself, he cannot have much regard for the human head. Judges are appointed from a profession whose members weigh issues as in scales, and are prepared to take either side of a question. Some do ask a prospective client if he is guilty, and a very small number of them refuse to defend the guilty.
– What about quack doctors ?
– The medical profession ought to be nationalized, but the honorable member will agree that bad as doctors may be, there are yet public hospitals in which people can get free treatment. I know of no Court in which a man may get justice for nothing.
One reason why I am glad that this Parliament is about to be sent to the people is that it has never dealt with the great question of Protection. Protection involves an endless fight. To-day the Commonwealth has not as perfect a Protective policy as Victoria had under the old State Tariff. The honorable member for Kooyong, as an ex-Minister of Customs, will agree with that remark.
– As I prepared the Victorian Tariff, I naturally agree with the honorable member.
-We should make our Tariff truly Protective. I quoted to the House a few nights ago the Japanese duty of 355 per cent. on tobacco. Japan is the only country in the world that has been able to beat the great American tobacco combine. With few exceptions, its Tariff is the best example for Australia to follow. I have already said that Japan will understand a policy of reciprocity. We can do to Japan as Japan does to the rest of the world, and we can follow, as Japan did, the advice of Herbert Spencer. We can follow, also, the Japanese example in the nationalization of industries. In 1889, I advocated that the tobacco, match, and alcohol industries should be nationalized. I still believe in that policy. France has taken more golden sovereigns from its tobacco industry than Australia has produced from all its mines, and “France would reap at least £150,000,000 to £200,000,000 per annum in profits if she could control the alcohol industry. Is there an honorable member on either side of the House who will advocate that our children, and our children’s children, should bear the burden of the present war for centuries by having to pay interest on the money borrowed foi- war purposes? A new policy must be adopted, based upon the opening up and development of our arid interior. The history of the world shows that dry and almost desert country becomes most fruitful when water is applied to it. The conservation of water is the great question that Australia must be prepared to face. When we have settled upon the land hundreds of thousands of returned soldiers and the immigrants who will come to our shores after the war, we shall be able to build up our secondary industries, but the foundation must be a Protective policy which will enable Australia to manufacture everything its people require. My policy is Australia first, the Home Land’ second, our Allies third, and neutral countries fourth, and do what you like with enemy countries.
– You had an opportunity of introducing these great principles, but you did not avail yourself of it.
– The honorable member has been in Parliament long enough to know that it is impossible for a private member to have a motion dealt with. This Parliament was elected in 1914, and there are on the business-paper notices of motion which have been there since that year. I gave notice of a motion for the erection of a memorial to the late Lord Kitchener. It is now No. 10 on the list. Mr. Finlayson wished to move for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the medical inspection of recruits for the Army and Navy. I desired the Old-age Pensions Act to be amended to provide for a destitute allowance. I have not forgotten that distressful period after the land boom in 1890. I remember, too, that when our soldiers returned from South Africa they were treated like dogs. I am afraid of what will happen in the future, and that is why I wish to institute a destitute allow ance, so that any person who is hungry or without a bed may go before a magistrate and make a statutory declaration, whereupon he should be entitled to relief. The honorable member for Lilley has only to look at the notice-paper to realize how impossible it is for a private member to give effect to his wishes. I understand that it took Mahomet three years to make one convert, and she was his wife. May the honorable member be in Parliament three years before he again asks an honorable member such a question as he addressed to me. In conclusion, I repeat that the three great requirements of Australia are the Referendum, Initiative, and Recall, a Protectionist policy, and the solution of the water problem.
.- My reason for rising to speak is the fact that Parliament is being used for the purpose of reflecting on a reputable firm, and its products. I had a few words to say in regard to this matter yesterday, but since then developments have taken place. The honorable member for Wentworth has submitted several questions dealing with the matter, and I should like to comment upon them. The honorable member has asked the Attorney-General -
Is he aware that the Digest of the New an<£ More Important Features of the British Pharmacopoeia 1914 gives authoritatively the ingredients of proprietary drugs sold under proprietary trade names?
No one has ever contradicted that. Every one admits that aspirin is simply a higher development of acidum acetyl-salicylicum. The honorable member’s questions proceed -
Is he aware that the above authority declares “ aspirin “ to be “ acidum acetyl-salicylicum,” and that it certifies that the said composition is manufactured under the names aspirin, acetosal, acetysal, salacetin, saletin, xaxa, anc! empirin?
The answer is that in all countries chemists have produced acetyl-salicylicum, but the aspirin is a higher product with all the impurities extracted from it, so that its medicinal qualities enable it to gain the exceptional name that is not borne by other similar products bearing various names. The honorable member’s questions proceed -
Is he aware that, before the war, the British chemical manufacturing firm, Burroughs, Wellcome, and Co., bought the right from the German proprietary to use in England the trade name “aspirin”.!
They did do so, but they were not the exclusive holders of the right. Nearly every British firm acquired the same right, but what they did was to get from the German manufacturers aspirin in a powdered form, and put it up in tabloids. That has been done all over the world. There is hardly a firm of chemists in Australia but did not purchase the powder from the German manufacturers - that is the acetyl-salicylicum in a purified state - and sell it as aspirin. They had the absolute right to utilize any ingredients, and make them up under any name they chose to use, but they were not privileged to sell those made-up ingredients under the name of aspirin, for that represents only the purified form of this particular product of acetyl-salicylicum. The honorable member’s questions proceed -
Is he aware that the said firm, after the declaration of war, patriotically discontinued the use of the German trade name?
The honorable member is under a misapprehension. The Chemist and Druggist, and other chemical journals throughout the British Empire show that Burroughs, Wellcome and Co. are advertising the product under the name of aspirin. They did not patriotically discontinue the use of the name. They could do the same in Australia, bub for the fact that as soon as the war broke out we prohibited the use of any German name on goods unless any person could produce the German product locally. If any person could do this he was given the right to use the trade name that designated a particular German product.
– The question raised now is whether these men who are manufacturing here are aliens.
– The honorable member can take my word that they are not aliens. There are two brothers, both young Victorians, and a third man, who was born in Lancashire. As soon as the firm commenced its operations an attempt was made to induce the Prime Minister to prohibit the issue of a licence to them, and the Prime Minister called upon them to produce evidence to show that they were not aliens. They produced their birth certificates showing that they were not only British born, but also of British descent.
– Has one of the partners recently changed his name?
– There is no vestige of truth in that statement. The Attorney-
General’s Department has gone fully into the matter, and there is no proof of any German being associated with the firm. One of the young men is a clever analytical chemist, and the article the firm is producing is the product of his brains and efforts. The questions of the honorable member for Wentworth continue -
Is he aware that well-established and reputable Australian chemical manufacturers are now manufacturing acidum acetyl-salicylicum and selling it under non-German names?
He is wrong. There is no firm in Australia producing acetyl-salicylicum. What they are doing is to import it from abroad and work it up in tabloid forms, and sell it under various names, empirin, and so forth. Aspirin is a particular name representing a medicinal product, and is typical of its state of purity, and they are prohibited from using the name for their products. I know that all these firms are anxious to sweep away the right that these young men have acquired by their invention.
– Has it been demonstrated beyond all question that the aspirin produced by these young men is a purer product than the articles which are supposed to be the. same drug only under different names?
– The Federal Analyst has certified to that.
– After the war broke out I was asked whether I would go down and see- what was being done for these young men. They had discovered the German process, and had asked for a thorough investigation by the Federal Analyst. In fact, they had been trying to get the analysis for months, and they sought my assistance. I induced the Prime Minister to instruct Mr. Percy Wilkinson, the Federal Analyst, ito determine the product of these young men, and, as a result, Mr. Wilkinson submitted the whole of the various products in th© market - empirin, and so on, the products of these young men, and also Beyer’s article - to a chemical test, and reported to the Government. He showed that the other products contained impurities - that is to say, they contained free salicylic, which is a stomach irritant - and that this defect was absolutely absent in the product of these young men, which he set down as pure aspirin. He certified to that. It transpired that it was even purer than much of the German aspirin, because some of the local manufacturers, in turning the powders imported from Germany into tabloids were using material which contained free salicylic.
– Was it in consequence of that analysis that these young men were granted the licence?
– Yes. But the licence is not merely based on the original analysis. The product has to be subjected to repeated examinations. The questions submitted by the honorable member for Wentworth continue -
Is he aware that Nicholas and Company, who hold his licence to use the German trade name, have in their public advertisements invoked the name of the Commonwealth Attorney-General, apparently to advance the sale of Nicholas “ aspirin “t
They do not invoke the name’ of the Commonwealth Attorney-General. They are compelled by He conditions under which they get their licence to use these words on their advertisements. Not only have they to pay duty on the salicylic acid and acetic anhydride, which constitute the raw material of their manufactured article, but they have also to pay a royalty to the Government on their gross sales. The honorable member’s questions continue -
Does he desire the public to get the impression that his licence is a guarantee that the product of Nicholas and Company is purer or more efficient than the products of the same drug by other Australian manufacturers?
That is unquestionable. This is not a monopoly. If any firm in this country can produce aspirin, they can get from the Government a similar licence.
– Could they use the name “ aspirin “ ?
– Certainly. The moment any of these firms can discover a product that will pass the test of the Federal Analyst they can get the same licence to sell it as aspirin. The licence is merely a Government guarantee that the product sold on the Australian market is pure aspirin, and meets all requirements.
– The regulations are quite clear on that point.
– Who is assailing the position of these young men ?
– The big chemical houses are assailing the position of these young men, because they, as a result of their brains, have secured the market. If we destroy their right to the use of. the word aspirin, and of the certificate of the Commonwealth Government, we will enable the big chemical houses to undersell them, and sweep them off the market. For that reason the idea is being spread abroad that these young men are Germans. It is an outrageous and preposterous slander, that should not be tolerated.
– It is said that they are keeping the name alive, and that the Germans will come in after the war and use it again.
– I shall deal with that point. The questions of the honorable member proceed -
Is he aware that after the war the ownership of the trade name “ aspirin “ will revert to Germany, and that, consequently, the value of the trade kept alive during the war by the licensed use of the said trade name will again fall into German hands?
As against that I would point out that at the Paris Conference the allied nations agreed that any product which could be manufactured in allied countries should no longer be introduced into those countries from Germany. That is the first answer to that argument. The second is that the trade name “ aspirin “ is kept alive, not by these young men, but by the laws of our own country. These men may describe their discovery by any name they please. They pay a royalty to the Government, not for the use of the word “ aspirin,” but to obtain a guarantee from the Government as to the purity of their product. They have applied to register the trade mark “ Nicholas aspirin,” but cannot do so for the reason that there is a registered trade mark “ Beyer’s aspirin,” and that the German name “ aspirin “ is preserved by that trade mark after the war.
– Will the honorable member express an opinion as to the advisableness of allowing the word aspirin to be retained?
– I think it very proper to allow its use. By way of illustration let us assume that some one in another country has the exclusive right to manufacture beer, which is known throughout the world as such. We do not know how to manufacture that article. A war breaks out, and subsequently some one in Australia discovers the process of beermaking. The word “beer” is known thoughout the world. It has a common use and a common value in the public mind. In like manner it may be said that this name aspirin has a certain value in that it represents to the community a certain product - something of medicinal value which has established itself in the minds of the people. The Government have laid it down that it is not merely a German name, but a world name, and that they have the right to sell it.Unless that was so, the discovery would be of absolutely no use to these young men. If, for instance, a man discovered in Australia a form of motive power which was previously in the hands of the enemy be could not advertise that fact, but under the terms of the Paris Conference all the allied countries are going to maintain the exclusive right to trade in any particular commodity which can be made within their own borders.
– Does the honorable member say that the quality of this commodity as placed on the market is equal to that of the sample submitted for analysis?
– Unquestionably. These products are submitted to the Government Analyst from time to time.
– Analyses are made every month.
– That is so. As a matter of fact, these men would be pleased if the German right to the use of the word “ aspirin “ could be eternally swept away. But the question of the maintenance of the name remains for the Government to decide. The Prime Minister, in answering the eighth paragraph in my honorable friend’s question said that steps had already been taken to maintain the exclusive rightof Australia to deal hereafter in this particular product. That is the position in which’ the matter rests.
– There is a fear that after the war is over the same article may filter through neutral countries into Australia under the same name, and obtain here a sale which it would not secure if the name were not maintained in this way.
– I understand that that is the point made by the honorable member for Wentworth - that the perpetuation of this name, no matter how bond fide it may be, means that as soon as the war is over, the Germans will come in and. take up our market once more. But there is an interesting reply to that contention. These young men have made not only this discovery, but several other discoveries in regard to the saving of the by-products, and this will largely reduce their cost of production. They are satisfied, therefore, that after the war they will still be able to compete, no matter how the price may be reduced. They are absolutely bonâfide,bothastotheirdiscovery and their nationality. The question of whether these enemy trade names should be perpetuated is one to be decided, not by these men, but by the Parliament; and unless the agreement arrived at by the Paris Conference is tobe valueless, it is a complete answer to the objection which has been raised.
– If these young fellows are able to cheapen the cost of production by reason of the saving of by-products, should they not be able, also, to compete in other countries ?
– They are quite satisfied that they can retain their hold of the market.
– I had not the privilege of hearing the honorable member for Bourke’s speech in full, but as soon as I learned that he was addressing the House, I hurried in. His statement, so far as it goes, is a very fair one, but it does not meet the real position. I am not concerned so much with the bona fides of these young chemists, or with the question of the excellence or otherwise of the article they have produced. There appears to have been in the minds of some people an idea that I was speaking for some other manufacturer. I am aware that there are other manufacturers of this well-known product in Australia - manufacturers who are producing it under non-German names - but I do not know the name of one of the products which they are placing on the market. My opinion as to whether the product of these young men is as good as, or better than, the article produced by others is absolutely valueless.
Mr.fenton. - Would they not have the right to use the word “ aspirin “ if they produced such a product to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth Analyst?
– I am not quite clear as to that, but I think they would. I sincerely hope, however, that they will not try to use the name, for the reason that the more the people of Australia are accustomed now to ask for “aspirin,” the more we shall be building up for German traders, after the war, a trade in which they alone will ultimately benefit. The honorable member for Bourke has said that these young chemists will be able to compete after the war with the German manufacturers because they are efficient. Efficiency, however, will not give them permission to compete. What gives that permission is the proprietorial right in the name “ aspirin.” After the war, by international usage’ and international right, the power to use the word will go back to Germany - to where it belongs.
– But under the terms of the agreement at the Paris Conference it cannot.
– Then why not at once abolish by Act of Parliament the German right to the use of the word “ aspirin “ ? To say that mere wind is going to abolish the German right to the use of that name is so much fudge. The actual fact is that the more we keep alive German trade names in this country, without, by arrangement with the British Government, undertaking for all time to wipe out the German proprietorial rights in these articles, the more we are building up German good-will in the trade of this country.
– From the very moment an Australian discovers any secret process, that moment he becomes entitled to use the name by which that process is known.
– Not at all. This is not a process. I have spoken to dozens of well-known medical men, and every one of them tells me that the formula and ingredients of aspirin arc thoroughly well known to the medical world.
– Just so.
– The honorable member admits that?
– No. Flour and water mixed together produce dough, but the important point is, what sort of bread is made with that dough.
– But there is no trade mark in the word “ dough.” That is the difference between this combination of well-known chemicals and the ordinary article of household use to which the honorable member refers. What is valuable about aspirin is the trade name “ aspirin “ itself.
– I disagree with the honorable member. I say that it is the quality of the product, and not the name, that is of value.
– If we disagree, then it is merely a question of the balance of authority which lies behind us. My authority is nil. I have not seen people making pretty experiments. I have not seen them turning white paper into pink, or blue, or green paper, as the case may be, and have not been thereby persuaded that some tremendous innovation has been discovered. I have gone, however, to the most authoritative source in the British world for information in this connexion - I refer to the British Pharmacopæia - and every medical man whom I have consulted bears out what it tells me on the subject. The British Pharmacopoeia., to which every honorable member may refer, shows that there is no magic behind this discovery. It is merely an association of products. I believe the German manufacturer did in the first place turn out an excellent article. Germans specialize in a way that has made them second to none in synthetic chemistry. But I am not going to be such a fool as to say that, because they have in the past made an excellent product, we should now allow their trade to be kept alive, and waiting for them after the war, by permitting local persons temporarily to use their trade names. If honorable members want to do that, they should proceed to wipe out for all time German ownership in those trade names. If that were done, I would make efficiency the basis of the right to use these trade names.
– Is it a fact that the name “ aspirin “ is still retained in Great Britain ?
– If it is, then this seamy side of the German trick is coming to light in different phases every day. There is a well-known tooth paste, named “Pebeco,” originally furnished by a German manufacturer, and used widely throughout the Commonwealth. That is on the list of the Commonwealth prohibited articles; but I find that the German name is used by the English Lysol Company, “ Lysol “ itself being another German trade name. This British Company is guaranteeing that they have no connexion with Germany, and yet they are circularizing their customers to the effect that it is not only the same article aa issued originally by the German manufacturer, but bears the same name, and is put up in the same packages. In other words, it is clearly intended to keep alive the old market tail after the war, when the original owners of the trade name will scoop the benefit.
What happens if we wipe out the trade name ? If a person goes to a chemist and asks for “ aspirin,” he is informed that “ aspirin “ is on the prohibited list, but that there is another product equally as good under another name. The customer finds out that the substituted article has exactly the same effect as “ aspirin,” and when he requires some more, he asks for it under the synonym that has been adopted for it. The result is that in about six months the original name is completely forgotten; and, after the war, when the Germans come back with all their powers of organization-
– Will they come back?
– They will try.
– I thought this was the end of them!
– I hope it is, and I propose to do all I can to make it the end of them; but we are not so foolish as to imagine that they will not try.
– The fear is that the article may filter in through neutral countries.
– Quite so, but if not by that sure means, some other will be tried. If the name be changed, however, and the public have forgotten the original name, the Germans will have to spend a vast amount of money in organization before they can get back the trade they enjoyed before the war.
– If the article is called by some other name, will the Germans not sell it under that name ?
– They cannot do that because the name Is the property of the legalized owner, and no one can use it without his permission. That is really the whole danger that arises fr.om selling under the German name now. The case which was the origin of my interest in the matter came under my notice in Sydney, when the war had been in progress for a considerable number of months. The agent for “ aspirin “ in Australia was one of the cleverest Germans here. He was a man who was getting Government contracts, and he was described in this House - erroneously, and I suppose by mere accident - as a loyal British subject. He now calls himself Arnold, but his real name has a “ t “ at the “end of it. If he was a loyal British subject when he got the Government contracts, he is now in an internment camp, after a trial for enemy trading. He, as I say, was the agent for “ aspirin,” and also, I think, for the tooth paste I have mentioned.
– Not this “ aspirin?”
– No; but he was agent for the trade name before the war started. If we encourage the public now to ask for “ aspirin “ and other articles under German names, we shall surely have the Germans to compete with after the war. What happened in the case in Sydney that I have just mentioned? Others desired to use the word “ aspirin,” and started to do so; but the agent for the German owners sued the interlopers in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and had them injuncted from using it.
It is not only our local law which governs these matters, but also international practice and law - an international arrangement with regard to patents, copyrights, and so forth - and it is no light thing for any one country to break those arrangements. If we did as the honorable member for Bourke suggests by implication, and by Act of Parliament abolished for alf time German rights in Australian trade marks, we have to remember that there would be retaliatory legislation of the kind against Australia.
– Who is going to retaliate ?
– Enemy countries, for a start.
– They will be all dead!
– I ask my honorable friend to treat the matter seriously; or, otherwise, I take it that he is not altogether so fair and outspoken as he was when he presented his case. The moment we start to break copyright or patent we are up against the international arrangement; and, in a case of the kind, not only Australia, but the Empire would become involved, and the pressure of every patent agent in the world, and every man in any country who depended on the sale of the article in question, would be brought to bear to prevent the Australian Government turning pirate. Now we are at war, however, it is a perfectly simple matter to absolutely prohibit the use of German trade marks while the hostilities last. If we take that step we shall kill the good-will of the trade; and we all knoW that good-will has a market value, which ought not to be kept alive for the ultimate benefit of Germany.
– Then, after all, the thing at stake is not of much value, for if I understand you, we abolish the name merely for the period of the war, and the only result is that the Germans will have to spend a good deal of money in order to revive their trade.
– The Germans will not only have to spend a good deal of money, but, also, go to a great deal of trouble in order to revive their trade. The honorable member’s suggestion is that we should not make it more difficult to revive the trade, but rather that we should keep it alive.
– That is not fair !
– I do not wish to do the honorable member an injustice; but I point out that unless such a policy is accompanied by an Act of Parliament, which the Government can assure us has received Imperial assent - for this is vital - the whole thing is so much helping of the enemy. If the honorable member can get such an Act, abolishing German rights, not only for the period of the war, but for all time, I shall fall in behind him.
Mr.Webster. - That is the only way.
– That is the only way, short of destroying the business, and I prefer it to the latter.
– Will you do me the honour to make it perfectly clear that I am not an advocate of German trade? I am advocating an Australian industry, conducted by Australians.
– One particular industry against a whole number of others. This “ aspirin,” under other names, is being manufactured widely in Australia by other people.
– We say it is not.
– But I know it is. I am not speaking of any particular manufacturer, or of any particular case. Any clever trader will tell you that he is the only person manufacturing the article fit to sell; but there are other manufacturers, who, from the size of their companies, and their large laboratory resources, are also engaged efficiently in turning the article out under other names. I do not make this statement on my own authority, but on that of the majority of persons engaged in the retail trade, and I venture to say that the first chemist from whom the honorable member chooses to make inquiries will tell him the same thing.
Apart from the significance of the German names of the original owners of the licence - though I do not attach undue importance to those names, because a man of long British descent may have one - there is the interesting point that the chemists who are selling the article under the original name - and I have one in my mind - are German chemists. The use of the German trade name keeps it alive, and the point is that the chemists who all seek to advertise it under that name are German chemists.
There is another interesting fact to which I should like to call attention. The honorable member for Bourke referred to the chemists for whom he is speaking as small chemists, who, for that reason, ought to be more favorably regarded by this Parliament. They are pictured to us as people worthy of our sympathy.
– Not at all. What I said was that they are men of brains, and on that account, and that account only, are deserving of sympathy. I told the House that these chemists do not constitute a company, but conduct a business by themselves; I did not picture them as struggling, or deserving on that account.
– But, according to the honorable member, they do not constitute a great manufacturing concern, like some of their competitors?
– That is so.
– If the honorable member cares to look at the advertisements in the newspapers in the Library, he will see that these small manufacturers advertise to about twenty times the extent of the big houses against whom they are competing. Honorable members can draw their own conclusion. It may be because these chemists think it a good thing to keep alive the German name, by means of which they see prospect of personal wealth; and if we do what has been suggested by my honorable friend, there must be a properly safeguarded Act, with the consent of the BritishGovernment, abolishing for all time German ownership in these trade names, otherwise we may find Australian companies in the future injuncted by German owners, who will thus reap the benefit of trade built up during the war.
Mr. PARKER MOLONEY (Indi) closing hours of this Parliament, I do not desire to allow the occasion to pass without referring to one or two matters which seem to me. to call for protest.- The Government seem determined to close Parliament without providing for an investigation into the very grave allegations known as the Watson charges. Yesterday, a majority of the Senate resolved that a Royal Commission should be appointed to investigate them; but, apparently, that resolution is to be ignored. Never before have such serious charges been made against a public man in this country, and no Government of any decency would refuse an investigation by a proper tribunal, which is what I think the people of the country desire. I enter a protest against this action of the Government, and I believe that, were honorable members generally free to speak their minds, a majority would do the same. The whole affair has become even more heavily clouded with suspicion because of the statement of the Premier of Tasmania that, some clays before Senator Ready took ill, the Prime Minister told him that there was going to be a vacancy in the Tasmanian representation in the Senate, and indicated that it would be caused by the resignation of Senator Ready. That statement is a complete contradiction of what the Prime Minister said in this chamber, and proves that the right honorable gentleman knew several days before Senator Ready took ill that he was going to take ill, and made his arrangements accordingly.
The Government is going to close Parliament without having done anything practical for the repatriation of our soldiers, of whom over 25,000 have returned, the number being increased daily. Ministers have failed in their duty to those who have fought, the battles of the country. They could materially assist the recruiting campaign by establishing a comprehensive scheme of repatriation, which would provide the best stimulant that could be applied to the recruiting movement. But they are not sincere in this matter any more than they are sincere in the statements they have made as to their desire to win the war.
Their insincerity was proved by their action last night in regard to the Tariff, when they refused to allow any amendments, a party vote making amendments impossible.
– The honorable member must not reflect on a vote of the House.
– The whole thing reflects on itself, so perhaps it is not necessary for me to deal with it further.
Ever since these gentlemen broke away from the Australian Labour party-
– We were driven out of it.
– The Postmaster-General knows that that is not correct, and that a motion was submitted at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour party, after the conscription issue, to ascertain whether the Prime Minister still possessed the confidence of its members. To that motion an amendment was moved; but before either the amendment or the main question could be put, the Prime Minister asked those who sympathized with him to walk out of the room, and those who followed him left the party. The other members of the party had attended in the hope that there might be a reconciliation, but reconciliation became impossible when these gentlemen deliberately left the room. Then the Government was carried on by thirteen ex-members of the Labour party. They were followed by the present Fusion. I cannot say that this Administration has done nothing. It has one legislative act to its credit, the Daylight Saving Act. I do not know that that measure finds much favour either in the country or elsewhere, and I do not think that it will secure many votes for the Ministerialists. But honorable members opposite have accomplished a fusion, and entered into one of those unholy alliances that, happily for this country, are rare. They have dignified the Fusion with the name of “ National Federation,” and will appeal to the country under that name. We may be sure that side issues will be introduced, and scarecrows raised, as during the concription campaign, to delude and frighten electors into voting for the Ministerialists. The pity is that many persons, including Labour supporters, will be misled by the name. The people are to be told that the object of the National Federation is to win the war; and although honorable members opposite are ready to do much that is undemocratic, the eyes of the electors will be blinded, and many will vote for candidates who should not have the support of any true Democrat. The thirteen members who recently left the Labour party are now the associates of the trusts, rings, and combines against which the Prime Minister was more bitter than any one else. To-day he is on the side of those whom he recently denounced. He is with the shipping rings, and with the meat barons who are supplying putrid meat to the soldiers.
– That has been denied, as the honorable member knows.
– It has been denied, but I am nob convinced by the denial. The thirteen members who left the Labour party are now the associates of the trusts and combines which the Prime Minister used to denounce, and are being financed by them. The National Federation will tell the people that it has their interests at heart. The Deakin-Cook Fusion was not so unholy as the present Fusion, yet this is what the Prime Minister said of it -
In my opinion, such combinations arc generally immoral, rarely expedient, and always subversive of the principles of representative government. For upon what does representative government depend, if not upon this - that the pledges given to his constituents by their representative should be faithfully and honestly kept? Being elected upon the condition that he should support a definite policy, he cannot be permitted to afterwards turn round and vote against it. Loyalty to party is a quality so highly esteemed that a member who deserts his party earns the eternal detestation of his former friends and supporters, and is pursued to the end of his political, and even his earthly, career with even more bitterness and fury than that displayed against a traitor who deserts or betrays his country.
– He was referring to the Labour party.
– He was referring to those who claimed to be Liberals, and yet joined forces with the Conservatives in this House. Every word he uttered then applies to himself today, because the fact remains that he walked out of the Parliamentary Labour party. He stands condemned out of his own mouth. No doubt the Government will appeal to the electors as a Government which is bent upon the restoration of responsible government. That plea will not deceive any one. It is not out of place to expose the deception. Within the last fortnight an attempt was made to extend the life of this Parliament by appealing over the heads- of the Australian people to the Imperial authorities. That proposal was the very antithesis of responsible government. The Government did not wish to go before the people, and yet it claims to be desirous of restoring responsible government.
– You are not too keen, on facing the electors, if you will speak the truth.
– At aft events, I strongly opposed the prolongation of Parliament, and I hope that whatever may happen to me politically, I shall always be able to put my own personal interests behind those of the country. The proposal to prolong the life of Parliament by appealing to the Imperial Parliament entailed a delegation’ to London of three .gentlemen, accompanied by their relatives and a dozen attendants. That project did not succeed. The remarkable feature is that the trip was proposed by a Government that pretended to be acting in the interests of economy. Though the Government claimed to be anxious to restore responsible government, when they thought they, had a majority in both branches of theLegislature, they sought to hand over the affairs of this country to the Imperial authorities in the despicable manner I have indicated. If that is responsible government, honorable members oppositeare welcome to the name.
Certain things which have been done by the Government on the eve of the elections should be exposed. During the last few days we have had a sample of the tactics of the Government. A dole of £500,000 has been handed over to the Queensland sugar-growers and millers which would not have been given if an election had not been approaching. Now we are told that the farmers are tohave representation on the Wheat Board.. They have been asking for such representation for months past, but, strange to say, they could not get it until the eve of the election. No doubt some of those gentlemen who are much interested in the farmers, especially at election time, became busy, and this electioneering dodge was agreed to. If the country had not been on the eve of an election the representation on the Wheat Board would not have been conceded. I asked’ in this House on many occasions that representation should be given to the farmers on the various Boards that are handling their produce, and the Prime Minister told me that such an arrangement was impossible. Now, with the election near at hand, the way seems easy for granting this request. The Labour party has always urged the representation of the producers on the various Boards established lately for the marketing of their produce. The farmers should have had representation on the Wheat Board long ago. It would be just as unfair to appoint a tribunal to try a man charged with an offence and to refuse him counsel as to refuse the farmers representation on a body that is marketing their products. In regard to the wool question, it would have been far better in the interests of Australia and the Empire if the Prime Minister had arranged to have the wool sent abroad in a scoured state, especially having regard to the shortage of tonnage, and the fact that employment would have been given to a large number of men . in the Commonwealth.
I wish to enter an emphatic protest against the action of the PostmasterGeneral in cutting down telephonic facilities and mail services in the country. These facilities were extended by the Fisher Government when it came into power after the elections in 1914, and I know of many country places that have been made habitable because of those facilities. It is deplorable that there should be in power a Government which can find no better way of economizing than to cut down the facilities to country settlers.
– Your party chose the present Postmaster-General.
– That is true; but while the honorable member for Gwydir was a member of the Australian Labour party, and sat behind Mr. Fisher, he never attempted to do these things. It is only recently that he has abandoned his principles. Much more requires to be done if we are to stem the tide of centralization in Australia. Life in the country should be made more attractive in order to discourage the exodus of rural populations to the cities. If that exodus is allowed to continue, disaster will overtake the Commonwealth. The action of the Government in reducing facilities will not tend to make country life more attractive, and unless that is done, a blow will be struck at the future welfare of the Commonwealth.
The Prime Minister sneeringly asked, a few days ago, “ What is the policy of the Labour party in regard to the war?” T answer him that our policy is sincere and genuine, and is that upon which the party was elected under the leadership of Mr. Fisher two and a half years ago. In pursuance of that policy, 300,000 men have been sent out of Australia to fight our battles, and the Commonwealth has carried out a war programme which has won for Australia the admiration of the Mother Country. That policy continued efficiently and well until October last, when it was interfered with by the action of the Prime Minister. Ours is not a policy of mere platitudes. I ask honorable members opposite, In what respect does the policy of the Government in regard to reinforcements differ from the > policy of the Labour party? The truth of the matter is that the gentlemen who pretend to stand for conscription have run away from that principle, and are not game to advocate it before the people. They are tumbling over themselves in their anxiety to remove any suspicion that may rest upon them in regard to their advocacy of conscription. I warn honorable members that the conscriptionists outside Parliament will not be too pleased with those honorable members who are so anxious to run away from that principle the adoption of which they have said is necessary to win the war. The New South Wales conscriptionists are signing a pledge, a solemn league and covenant, that they will not advocate conscription. They are sorry for what they have done.
– They respect the verdict of the people; that is all.
– The honorable member for Flinders does not say that. The real leader of the party opposite, the honorable member for Flinders, has said -
I do not look with any hope to the formation of a really National Government including the three parties now in the National Parliament. While it is said by many that it would be foolish to appeal to the people on a subject involving conscription within so short a time since the referendum, I cannot accept that opinion. ,
Honorable members of the Official Labour party stand by the voluntary system to the fullest extent to which it can be employed. Our friends opposite, notwithstanding all their platitudes, are in pre- cisely the same position - they propose to stand by the voluntary system; but if we come into power after the election, that system will have a far greater chance of success, because we have alway3 stood bv it. We have a far better chance of making it a success than those that have so recently embittered the manhood of this country.
We will also see that a fair deal is given to those soldiers who are returning to our shores. They can depend od our party to stand by them in the matter of securing their just rights. At any rate, they can place more dependence on us in this respect than they can on our friends opposite if they should return to power. Mr. Asquith, when he was Prime Minister of Great Britain, contended that men who returned from the war should be secured in their pay for twelve months, in order to give them time to look around and find employment. Such a policy has much to recommend it. What do we find in Australia? Men who have been maimed by the loss of limbs have been given pensions of not more than 5s. a week. There is a Conservative corporation in my electorate whose members are all conscriptionists, and frequently appear on the recruiting platform. The other evening this body was considering applications for the position of rate collector, and though a returned soldier, who was partly maimed, hub not so maimed’ as to prevent him from being able to carry out the duties of a rate collector, was among the applicants, he received only one vote, and the appointment was given to a man already in receipt of nearly £300 a year.
– Does the honorable member blame the Government in that connexion ?
– I merely wish to show that the party that has always stood for the under dog is the only one that will stand by these men when they will return. We have heard the honorable member for Flinders say, in reference to the old-age pension, “ These doles from the Treasury must soon cease;” and I believe that he will apply the same doctrine to those who return maimed to our shores. An effective war policy carries with it the proper treatment of our soldiers when they return, and there is but one party that will give ib to them. I often wonder why honorable members opposite are so anxious to pledge themselves, on the eve of this election, that they are not going to advocate conscription any more. Perhaps it is because of the exposures that we have had since the 28th October last. We were told during the conscription campaign that we were short of reinforcements. Above all, we were asked to listen to the voices from the trenches crying out for conscription; but a few days after the conscription issue was decided we received a cablegram telling us that His Majesty the King had just reviewed some 50,000 Australian troops in Great Britain. It was a complete answer to the statements that had been made. As for the other matter, the voices from the trenches crying out for conscription, we cannot drag the information from the Prime Minister, but there is every reason to believe that a majority of the men at the front voted “No;” at least, we can accept it that the voting was about equal. Consequently those people who said that the voices from the trenches were insistently crying out for conscription cannot justify their statement, and it is an additional reason why they now seek to run away from the attitude which they took up during the recent campaign. I would like to say further that the charges that were levelled against the anticonscriptionists that they were disloyal, and so on, could be equally applied to all the men at the front who voted “ No.” But gentlemen opposite dare not do that. If the anti-conscriptionists were wrong in advocating what they did, they were precisely in the same position as those gallant men Who, while fighting at the front, voted in the way that we recommended. Perhaps honorable members are running away from their recently expressed opinions, because the people are becoming alarmed at the vision of the crushing taxation that will have to be borne by the Commonwealth. Even under the voluntary system, the Treasurer tells us that he expects the war expenditure to be £80,000,000 for this year. What would that taxation have been if conscription had been carried on the 28th October last? We can realize that the burden of taxation that must be imposed to meet all this expenditure is making people think. They fear that they will be put out of their homes through the crushing taxation that will necessarily have to be imposed if conscription is enforced. The Treasurer has given no indication of the form that this taxation will take. That is another complaint I have against the Government. Shipping companies, meat rings, and various other trusts and combines, which are making huge profits out of the blood of our gallant heroes, are to be relieved of taxation on their war profits.
– The honorable member has no justification for making that statement.
– As the honorable member for Maribyrnong said the other day, the taxation will probably be provided for by imposts on tea and kerosene, so that the wives and relatives of those who are fighting at the front will pay heavily for what they use in their homes. I hope that the people will see through all this sham. While the Ministry claim to be a “ Win-the-War “ Government, there is nothing in their policy that distinguishes them from the party on this side of the House. They say that they will abide by the voluntary system. We stand for it. We stand to carry out the policy that was set in motion by a Labour Government over two years ago, a policy that will secure reinforcements for our men at the front, a policy that will provide for those who are returning to our shores, and that will build up industries so that men who are returning will find suitable avenues of employment; and we stand for a policy that will encourage settlement in the back country, and encourage those who are toiling on the land. We realize that, unless the primary industries are encouraged, production will not be carried on to the extent that is necessary for the proper prosecution of the war. If we accept the word of the party opposite, there is no difference between the policies of the two parties in regard to the war, except that we can give better effect to the voluntary system than can those who have so recently embittered the manhood of this country. We stand for a policy of sincerity, for a policy that has something in it, and not for a policy of mere platitudes. For many months past the Prime Minister has been talking about building up our industries and establishing a bureau of science, but nothing has been done in this direction. Parliament is closing without any indication having been given in regard to the matters that I mentioned at the beginning of my address. We have not had from the Government a word as to their scheme for repatriation, or as to what they propose to do to build up the industries of Australia.They are content to confine themselves to a mere appeal to the passions of the people. They have been properly . christened the “ S.O.S.” Government - the “save our skins Administration.” That is what they stand for, and the name is one by which they will be known for many years.
.- I wish to make a brief contribution to the debate opened up this afternoon by the honorable member for Bourke and the honorable member for Wentworth in regard to the use of the trade name “ aspirin.” The honorable member for Bourke has put in a plea for two young Australian chemists who have gone a long way in providing for the people of Australia a far better quality of aspirin than that with which we were supplied by Germany prior to the war. I have no fear at all in respect of Australians who commence the manufacture of drugs or any other article if on the 5th May the electors do their duty, for in that event Australia will be protected against German and other importations. The honorable member for Wentworth waxed eloquent when he said it was undesirable to keep alive the trade name “ aspirin.” He spoke of certain wholesale chemists in Australia who have quite an army of experts, and who,he said, were selling to the public a drug equal in quality to aspirin, but placed on the market under a different name. The impression that he conveyed, wittingly or unwittingly, was that these firms, some of whom are the representatives of large British firms of manufacturing chemists and druggists, were altogether eschewing the name aspirin, and giving to the people the same drug under other names. The honorable member for Bourke very properly pointed out that any chemist in Australia who could produce a drug in respect of which the Commonwealth Analyst’s certificate was forthcoming to show that it was aspirin was entitled to apply that name to it. I believe that one of the reasons why a number of these firms are not using the trade name aspirin to-day is that they have been unable to manufacture a product that will come up to the Common- wealth Analyst’s standard. The honorable member for Wentworth spoke of the patriotism of some of these large firms of wholesale chemists, and mentioned Messrs. Burroughs, Wellcome, and Co., one of the largest British manufacturers of chemicals doing business in the Commonwealth. These firms, he said, would not use the word aspirin in Australia, and did not advertise it here. I have before me a copy of the Chemist and Druggist, the official organ of the chemists and druggists of Great Britain, and it bears date 19th August, 1916. I find in this issue a whole page advertisement setting out the various drugs that Burroughs and Wellcome manufacture. Many of these drugs are advertised in bold type, and among them is the drug “ aspirin.” The honorable member for Wentworth proclaimed the virtues of several Australian firms who spurned the idea of using the German name “ aspirin,” but if it is unpatriotic to keep that trade name alive in Australia it should be still more unpatriotic for a British firm to keep it alive in Great Britain, with its population of 45,000,000. On another page of this journal Hartley Florey, manufacturing chemist, of 54 Lower Thames-street, London, E.C., advertises a list of fine chemicals that he has for sale, and in the list appears the name “ aspirin B.P.” If it is a crime for two young chemists in Australia to” use that name here, it must be a still greater crime for these large wholesale chemists in Great Britain to advertise it in this way. I repeat that if the people on the 5th May next vote in accordance with their true Protectionist principles, there will be returned to power a party that will protect inventors and producers of these articles in Australia, whether they be large or small firms, in making proper use of these names.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to7.45 p.m.
– My own opinion is that, after the war, arrangements will be made by which the different portions of the Empire will be protected against the encroachments of German and other foreign trade. I cannot conceive, for instance, that Great Britain will ever again allow the dye industry to pass out of her grasp. We are glad to know that British chemists applied themselves assiduously to the problem when supplies from Germany were cut off by the war; and I understand that in England and America to-day dyes are being produced quite equal to those formerly received from abroad.No more will Great Britain freely open her doors to the trade of her present enemy; and the position will be the same in the case of Australia and the other dominions, whether or not such names as “ aspirin “ continue to be used.
– Let the product be called by its scientific name, and everybody allowed to manufacture it.
Mr.FENTON. - We are told that if such names are retained, the trade after the war will be open to Germany ; but my hope is that our position will be sufficiently strong to prevent any such thing. The name of “ aspirin,” however, has proved very helpful to Australian manufacturers, who, according to the honorable member for Bourke, have discovered a cheaper method of manufacture, and it would, in my opinion, be a good word to trade with, and, I hope, compete successfully with the enemy product in other countries. Quite a number of industries have been started in Australia since the war; and if we allow those industries to be wiped out by German people, we shall deserve to suffer. Only recently, for example, have we been able to turn out porcelain wares and insulators that practically defy competition. We have plenty of the raw material here, and, according to the Postal experts, the finished article is superior to that brought from any part of the world.
– Then why does not the Postal Department use the local insulators?
Mr.FENTON.- The Postal Department is using those insulators.
– Then it must have been within the last three weeks.
Mr.FENTON.-Isawtheminthe Postal Stores, at Sydney, two months ago, and they had been there for some time before that. I am glad to say that large contracts have been let to the manufacturers.
– I also am glad to hear it; but the manufacturer told me three weeks ago that the Postal Department is not using them.
Mr.FENTON. - I suppose that every manufacturer or contractor thinks that the Government Departments do not use sufficient of his wares. Personally, I am assured that fully six months ago no importations were being received from abroad.
I have already briefly drawn attention to some of the contracts in connexion with our military camps; and I hope that the Assistant Minister for Defence will, prior to the prorogation, have inquiries made, and give me the information I desire. I wish, in every way, to encourage the industries of Australia, in order that employment for our own people may be found, and in order to prepare for the time when our soldiers come back from the war. At present we are in an absolutely unprepared position, and were the war to end in a week or so, it would be difficult for us to manage in Australia in respect to the people here now, not to speak of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of soldiers we expect from Europe. I hope that the reproaches which have been levelled at Great Britain for the treatment she has accorded to her returned soldiers in the past will never be applicable to Australia ; but, unless we make preparation, I am afraid that much that has been written about the Old Country in this regard will describe the circumstances here.
– Do not anticipate evil !
– I am not doing so, butanticipating the disastrous results there may be if we make no preparation, not only for our soldiers, but generally for the post-war period, I have asked every Government since 1914 to organize and prepare, and something ought to be done. I have here four lines of poetry, handed to me by an old gentleman of seventy, who remembers, as a boy, the treatment that was metedout to the old soldiers at Home, and whose father told him that the lines were truly descriptive. The lines may not be distinguished by genius, but they are worth repeating -
When war is near and battle nigh, “ God and the soldier “ is the cry.
When war is over and wrongs are righted,
God is forgot, the soldier slighted.
May that never be said of Australia !
– I should like to say a few words on behalf of the men in our Navy who in Australia to-day have no proper means of ventilating their grievances and seeking redress. Public servants are allowed to appeal to a Court, but not so the men in the Navy, and, therefore, the latter ought to have the strongest interest taken in their welfare by the Government. The State Governments at the present time are approaching a crisis, because, in some of the State Departments, the employees have no opportunity to apply; to the Arbitration Court, and I warn those Governments to be careful what course they pursue. In the Federal arena there has been an endeavour made to give the public servants some right of appeal, such as is enjoyed by those in private employ, but nothing has been done in this respect for the men on our warships. I am not attacking the Government on this point, because, for some time past, I sat behind a Government which did nothing to remedy the injustice to which I am referring. However, some time ago I submitted to the Minister for the Navy certain suggestions for an increase of pay to the men in the Navy, and I appreciate the difficulty that Ministers have to meet in matters of the sort. Certain concessions were made in regard to allowances, owing to the increased cost of living, but these concessions did not go far enough, either in amount or in the extent of their application. These men are paid a wage altogether out of proportion to the wages earned by men in outside employment. I may be told that they have permanent positions, but that is not a fact, for they can be discharged at the end of their period, whatever it may be, and, as a matter of fact, when economy has been desired, men have been retired on the plea that the Department no longer has any need for their services. I am sorry that the ex-Minister for the Navy did not do something in this connexion, and I respectfully suggest that some steps might be taken now. The Government are fully aware of the position, and know that these men have no means of redress but one, which I. in common with others, hope would never be resorted to in the Navy. But there is a limit to human endurance. Although there has been no public announcement, the Navy Department know that the men desire this increase. I, therefore ask the Government to do something for them before this Parliament comes to an end. If something is not done, the men will suffer a wrong, but
Ministers, in conceding their request, will be doing what is just and fair.
Question resolved in the negative.
Bill returned from the Senate without request.
Assent to the following Bills reported -
Supply Bill (No. 5) 1916-17.
Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1914-15.
Supply Bill (Works and Buildings) (No. 4) 1916-17.
Supplementary Appropriation Bill (Works and Buildings) 1914-15.
Mr. JENSEN (Bass- Minister for
Trade and Customs) [8.4]. - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
On the 3rd December, 1914, the then Minister for Trade and Customs laid on. the table a schedule which increased the Excise duties on beer, spirits, and narcotics. The increase was made mainly for revenue purposes, and to maintain the difference between the imports and Excise rates established by the Tariff of 1908-11. This Bill is to validate the collections which have been made under the Tariff schedule introduced in 1914, from the time of its introduction. The effect of the Tariff schedule has been to give the Commonwealth an increased revenue from beer of £731,153, from spirits of £207,075, from tobacco of £38,348, from cigars of £13,768, and from cigarettes of £280,695, or an increase from all the items enumerated of £1,270,939.
.-While I desired to have certain amendments made in the Customs Validation Bill, I have no amendments to move in regard to this Bill. In dealing with the Tariff, a Government should pass its Excise duties first, because there must be a margin between the Excise and import duty on any particular commodity, and that margin should be sufficient to give protection to the local industries. The margin we have allowed in regard to spirits is from1s. to 4s. ; in regard to bulk beer, 1s.; and in regard to bottled beer,1s. 6d.
– What does the honorable member know about beer?
– As a consumer, nothing, and I think the honorable member for Barrier has contributed as little as I have to the increase of revenue due to the increase of the Excise duties. I suggest to the Minister and to the Treasurer - I brought the matter under the notice of the ex-Treasurer - that it is desirable to put an Excise duty on wine, or, better still, on the spirit used for fortifying wine. I suggest a duty of 5s. a gallon, or more. In that way we could, with a stroke of the pen, increase our revenue by nearly £100,000. To impose the duty on the fortifying spirit would be less troublesome than to impose it on the wine, and it would have this further advantage, that it would encourage the manufacture of light wines. We have produced over 6,000,000 gallons of wine a year, but even on a production of 4,000,000 gallons the revenue would be considerable. Seeing that we raised the Excise duty on the 60,000,000 gallons of beer made in Australia from 3d. to 6d., it would be fair to impose an Excise duty on wine.
– There is a Protective duty of 20s. a gallon.
– That is on sparkling wine, not on the still wines. An Excise duty on all wine might cost more to collect in some places than it would yield, because of the need for having an Excise officer in every winery.
– The tax would be very unpopular.
– I would not care about that. The doubling of the beer excise was an unpopular act from which I did not shrink. I think that the figures quoted by the Minister to show the increase of revenue due to the increase in the excise rates must relate to last year’s revenue, not to the total revenue for the two years and four months since the Tariff schedule was introduced.
.- I think that an Excise duty should be placed on wine. Other countries have found no difficulty in collecting such a duty.I went into figures with a good accountant, who had got some information from a man in the wine trade, while I had gathered a little more, and I do nob see why Australia should not obtain £300,000 of revenue from its wine industry. The makers of wine are amassing huge fortunes, and increased their prices when we raised the duties on imported wines. The War-time Profits Bill, in regard to which there was such a flourish of trumpets, seems to be dead, and that makes revenue from other sources the more needed.
– I hope that the War-time Profits Bill will not be regarded as dead. The profits are accumulating each year.
– Personally I should like to see those concerned making twice, or even ten times, as much profit as they do. Nothinghas been done in regard to the War Tax Bill, which is as dead as ditchwater, so far as this Government is concerned. It was given in evidence before a Royal Commission that good whisky could be obtained in Scotland with the use of an up-to-date still for10d. a gallon. Look at the prices at which our local whiskies and brandies are sold. I have been told that they sell for as high a profit as 16s. per gallon.
– The Excise duties vary from 13s. to 16s.
– I understand that the profit is represented by the figure I have mentioned. The Excise duty has been raised owing to the war necessities in Great Britain. The whisky distillers of Great Britain have discontinued sending to Australia whisky in bulk, and I am informed that the hotels are only able to purchase whisky in bottles. Yet today there is as much whisky drunk in Melbourne as ever there was.
– Would it not be a good temperance reform to reduce the percentage of alcohol in wine?
– Most people get used to a certain flavour, and do not like it changed; but from a medical point of view, I do not think that any wine should have more than 10 per cent. alcohol.
– All the imported wines have an alcoholic strength 15 per cent. below the Australian wines.
– The wine-growers do not produce a wine that can be supplied to the public at a fair price. Those who have been to Continental countries know that the people, although paying a higher tax than we in Australia are paying, can get a wholesome wine with a low alcoholic strength at a minimum cost. I think the Government would be acting wisely if they could see their way clear to put a good Excise duty on all colonial wines, and increase the Excise duties on Australian spirits. If honorable members desire absolute liquor reform, they must stop all manufacture, and prohibit importation ; but if they do that they will experience great difficulty in coping with private stills. If the present Government do not increase the Excise duties, a rich source of revenue will be left for the incoming Government, which probably will be able to collect £500,000 a year from colonial distillers and vignerons.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
All duties of Excise collected (whether before or after the dissolution or expiry of the present House of Representatives) pursuant to the Tariff proposals to which this Act applies shall be deemed to have been lawfully imposed and collected.
Amendments (by Mr. Jensen) agreed to-
That in line 1, after “Excise,” the words “ demanded or “ be inserted.
That in line 6, after the word “ and,” the words “ lawfully demanded or “ be inserted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing Orders suspended, and report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 14th March (vide page 11495), on motion by Mr. Glynn -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- Although we may disagree with certain provisions of this Bill, it is better that we should state our disagreements at once, dispose of them, and send the measure on to another place. Members will agree that wherever practicable men who are absent from Australia should have an opportunity of recording their votes. I know that requests have been made to the Minister by Australians in Great Britain, other than those engaged in war work, to be allowed to exercise their votes. A very good claim can be made out for munition workers and others who have been sent away from Australian shipbuilding yards for the purpose of learning war-ship and submarine construction, and I ask the Minister whether it would not be possible to frame an amendment which would give votes to men in large factories in Great Britain. So far as the soldiers are concerned, it is possible that at Salisbury Plain, or at the front, there may be very few Australians at a particular point, but in most of the big factories, such as the establishments of Vickers-Maxim and Armstrong-Whitworth, there are a number of Australians who were sent to England by the Australian Government. Those men are engaged in war work, and they are as much entitled to a vote as are the men who have gone to the front. I do not say that Australians who happen to be in England on pleasure or business have the same claim as munition workers, but I do ask the Minister if he cannot modify the opinion he expressed yesterday and provide for the franchise being exercised by the munition workers and the men engaged in ship construction.
The Bill proposes for the soldiers’ vote an innovation that has never been applied in any part of Australia, viz., to present the electors with ballot-papers which have no names on them. Although we may send to the soldiers a list of names of candidates, the soldiers will be asked to vote merely for a Ministerialist or an Oppositionist. There are people in Australia who do not know who are Oppositionists and who are Ministerialists, and yet we are to ask soldiers 12,000 miles away to vote on that broad definition. Men abroad, who are acquainted with some of us, may think that, although we are not in the Ministry, we are sitting in support of the Government. The Minister states that a list of the candidates will be taken round, and the men will be able to make their selections from the nominations for the seventy-five electorates. That will not be satisfactory. There are many men in this House who are as well known by their Christian names as by their surnames. The honorable member for Melbourne is such a person. If one were to ask the first 100 people he met in the streets of Melbourne, “ Do you know William Robert Nuttall Maloney?” they would say they had never heard of him, but if they were asked, “ Do you know the little Doctor ?” more than 50 per cent. would identify him at once. I do not approve of this proposal to ask men who left Australia in 1914 to vote for a Ministerialist or an Oppositionist, as there have been three changes of Ministry since then. Either the soldiers should be able to see the names on the ballot-paper or provision should be inserted in the Bill that every man presented with a ballotpaper should have before him a list of the candidates, so that he may know who are the Ministerialists and who members of the Labour party.
– It might be necessary to place the names of 400 candidates on the ballot-papers, and they would have to be divided, not only in regard to parties, but also in regard to districts.
– I think that it will be found that there will be very few candidates outside the two parties, Ministerial and Labour. If we cannot make the provision in regard to the ballot-papers, we should at least provide that a list should be supplied to each man at the front, giving him the names of the candidates, as well as the names of the parties. Otherwise, we cannot expect an intelligent vote from the men overseas.
– The regulations will provide that every man will have an opportunity of seeing a list of candidates.
– The trouble is that regulations will be prepared after we have gone.
– How does the honorable member propose to furnish the men with the information, seeing that the names cannot be sent until the 5th April ?
– I presume that the information will be supplied by cablegram. Five days after the day of nomination, the Prime Minister will select the names of those who are to run under his particular banner, and the Leader of the Opposition in this House will select the men who are to run under our banner. A special Gazette will be published containing the names, and I presume that the information will be cabled to Great Britain, Egypt, and Mesopotamia,or wherever our Forces are operating.
– Does not the honorable member think that the names will confuse those at the front, seeing that many who are now on the Opposition side were Ministerialists at the time of their departure ?
– The ballot will be an absolute farce if the men cannot have before them the names of the candidates, in addition to the two parties for which they are asked to vote. Last year, during the ten months prior to the split in the Labour party, 115,000 men enlisted, and the great bulk of them are probably overseas to-day. They have not had the opportunity of following politics closely. I do not think that any honorable member would care to ask his electors to go into a polling booth and vote on a ballot-paper simply bearing the names “ Ministerial “ or “ Opposition,” and what we would not care to do ourselves we ought not to ask men 12,000 miles away - who have not had the opportunity of following the position here - to do.
– In the case of the honorable member, if his suggestion were carried out, his name would appear on the ballot-paper “ Tudor, Opposition,” whereas, when most of the men left, the honorable member was a Ministerialist.
– I do not think that there will be much confusion in regard to my name ; but if I had such a name as Smith, there might be confusion to the voter overseas who found Bruce Smith and Laird Smith in the same boat to-day when they were in different boats at the time of his departure for the front. In Committee, when we reach that part of the Bill which deals with the names of the parties, I intend to move an amendment with the object of deleting “ Opposition,” and inserting “ Labour “ in lieu thereof. Probably there will be important military operations in progress at certain parts of the front at the time of the taking of the ballot, and it may be impossible for some of the men to record their votes. Apparently, that is the reason for paragraphf of clause 8, which uses the words, “ so far as military and naval operations will permit.”
The other day, when speaking in reply to the Ministerial statement of the Prime Minister, I dealt with the question of alien enemies. The Prime Minister said it was the intention of the Government to disqualify them so far as elections are concerned, and I stated that alien enemies who could not be intrusted with the right to vote should be interned. A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister said he had absolutely nothing against the German nation. What he was against was the military power in Germany. I agree with him in that. We are not against those people who have been here for a number of years, and against whom nothing can be proved. Therefore, I maintain that we have no right to take away their votes. I am well aware that provision is made in the Bill that any natural born citizen of territory taken by Germany from France, Italy, or Denmark, can obtain a certificate entitling him to vote. Schleswig-Holstein was taken away from Denmark over forty years ago. The people covered by this provision must have came to Australia over forty years ago, yet they are to be compelled to obtain certificates from the Returning Officers for their divisions before they can vote. Some electoral divisions are thousands of square miles in extent.
– The provision is on the same plane as the language test.
– Yes; it is making it as awkward as possible for people who have been in Australia for forty or fifty years, and have absolutely nothing in common with our enemy, to obtain votes. The provision might apply to city electorates, but what about the electorates of Maranoa or Herbert?
– The honorable member for Maranoa has mentioned the matter to me, and I propose to make a slight amendment to that provision. I am only too glad to hear suggestions that may improve the Bill.
– I am pleased to hear the Minister make that statement. I am pleased that provision is made in clause 10, sub-clause 4, paragraphb, to enable parents, wives, brothers, and sisters of members of the Forces, though they may be naturalized British subjects born in enemy territory, to vote. The provision is entirely different from section 9 of the Military Service Referendum Act, under which men whose sons were fighting at the front were prohibited from voting at the recent referendum. One case that came under my notice was that of a man named Sholl. Some official believed that his name was a German one, whereas he could trace back his ancestry in Cornwall for about a hundred years, and there was no doubt as to his loyalty. Yet his vote was put aside, and he was not aware of the fact; that action was scandalous. There were only twenty-nine persons in the whole of my electorate who came under section 9, and among the number was a man who had been in His Majesty’s Naval Forces for twenty-one years. His vote was challenged, because, having regard to his name, it was thought that he was of German or Austrian origin. In this Bill we have a far better provision.
A point that I should like to stress is that if it be right to allow a naturalized British subject, born in an enemy country, to vote if his son or brother has enlisted, it should, also, be right to allow such persons to exercise the franchise where a son or a brother has volunteered, but has been rejected owing to some physical defect. Then again we have to consider the position of men who are so unfortunate as to have no family. We have in this House, men who, to their regret, have no sons who are eligible to go to the front. Men of enemy origin, whose sons have been rejected, will not be allowed to vote, although they may be as anxious that their sons should do their duty at the front as are any of those who come under the proviso to this clause. I know of Australians, born of German parents, who have lost as many as three sons at the front, and whose votes were put aside under section 9 of the Military Service Referendum Act ; but, in this case, they will be permitted to exercise the franchise. I hope that the Minister will consider the case of persons of enemy origin whose sons or brothers have volunteered but have been rejected because of defective vision or some other physical infirmity.
– I did consider that point, but there are certain difficulties in the way of testing bona fides.
– I admit that there may be difficulties, but we should not raise artificial barriers. My contention is that if there is anything against people of enemy origin living in our midst, they have no right to be free; they should be interned. I hope that the Minister will, if possible, make some modification of this clause.
I would now direct the attention of the
House to clause 13, which provides that -
The validity of any election shall not be questioned on the ground of anything done or omitted to be done under this Act…..
How far will that provision carry us? It will certainly create a very dangerous precedent; I know of no such provision in any other Act.
– It is in the New Zealand Act, and, I think, but am not quite sure, that it is in the Canadian Act.
– It is a very wide provision.
– It has to be.
– We are taking risks in our desire to enable our soldiers to vote.
– I recognise that ; but we should endeavour, as far as possible, to safeguard this provision. It is certainly an extraordinary power to take, and I hope that the House will carefully consider it before agreeing to it.
Under clause 15 provision is made to meet the case of the death of a Senate candidate between the date of nomination and polling-day. There is in the Senate to-day a gentleman who, but for such an occurrence as that for which this clause provides, had no more chance of being returned than he had of learning to fly. Owing to the death of the late Senator McGregor between the date of nomination and polling-day, Senator Shannon secured votes from both parties, and was elected for six years. I should’ like to ask why, since the Government have seen fit to make this provision in the case of a Senate candidate, they should not extend it to elections for the House of Representatives. Certain divisions for the House of Representatives are regarded as Ministerial strongholds, while others are undoubtedly Labour strongholds. North Sydney, for instance, is a Liberal stronghold, while West Sydney is a Labour stronghold. If anything happened to the Liberal candidate for a Liberal stronghold after the date of nomination, then, without such a provision as this, the Labour candidate opposing him would be returned and the electors of that constituency would not be represented as they wished during the ensuing three years. The position would be the same where a Labour candidate for a Labour stronghold died after nomination day and was being opposed by a Liberal candidate. In the principal Act, we make provision for the return of the deposit of any person who dies between nomination day and the date of polling-
– In the caseof the Senate, the whole State has to be polled. That is the difference.
– Quite so; but, after the war, this provision will be incorporated in the principal Act, and I see no reason why it should not be extended to elections for the House of Representatives. When the principal Act was under consideration, a similar provision was under consideration by the Government to which I belonged.
I come now to the last clause in the Bill, under which power is taken to make regulations -
Are we to understand that the grounds of rejection are to be practically those laid down by the High Court decisions in the Maloney-McEacharn and BlackwoodChanter cases? If not, we are entitled to ask that these regulations shall be presented to us before the House is dissolved. Under paragraph c of clause 17, power is taken to make regulations providing for the scrutiny, in the presence of scrutineers nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively. These appointments are to be made in London ?
– And also in Rabaul.
– As well as in Egypt?
– No. The papers will be sent from Egypt to London.
– I presume that the scrutiny of the votes polled at the Salisbury Plains Camp, as well as at the front, will take place in London; and I should like to know whether the Government will provide for the expenditure that must necessarily be incurred by the Leader of the Opposition in connexion with the appointment of these scrutineers and the sending of cablegrams relating to those appointments. I am sure that there is no desire on either side to gain any party advantage in this matter; but, since the Government have control of the official machinery, they are in a better position than are the Opposition in regard to the sending of cable messages in connexion with these appointments.
– This is an exceptional case; and if there is anything to be paid in respect to the Ministerial scrutineers, the same must be done in respect of the Opposition scrutineers. We will cable everything.
– Everything in reason. That is all I ask.
– We will take your desires in the matter so far as your party is concerned, just as we shall take the desires of the Prime Minister.
– The Electoral Office will do that?
– Very well. Subject to the amendments I have suggested, I hope that the Bill will be speedily passed, so that we shall have an early opportunity of making known the wishes of this Parliament with regard to the votes of our men overseas.
– This Bill to enable our soldiers to vote will meet with very general approval, but there are one or two features of it to which I would direct the special attention of the House. In the first place, it is proposed to deny to every soldier under twenty-one yearsof age the right to vote. I hold very strongly that a young man who is old enough to fight for his country ought to be considered old enough to vote at elections for the Parliament of his country. It is almost an absurdity that a youth of twenty, who has played a man’s part in the defence of Australia and the rest of the Empire, should be debarred from voting to determine who shall make the laws under which his country is to be governed, whilst the man of twenty-two or twenty-five, who ought to be at the front, but remains at home, is permitted to exercise the franchise.
– That is just the trouble in regard to the sending of boys of eighteen to the front.
– It is a noteworthy fact that at least 33 per cent. of the soldiers from Australia who have achieved distinction are under the age of twenty-one. We have allowed these young men to go to the front, and, unquestionably, every one of them has filled a man’s part. It would be a simple act of recognition on our part to say to them, “Notwithstanding that you are under twenty-one, you shall have the right to vote for the election of a War Parliament.”
Cases of hardship will arise in connexion with those whom it is proposed to disfranchise under this Bill. Some forty years ago the Tasmanian Government sent an emigration agent to Germany, paid the passages of immigrants to Tasmania, and offered them land on which to settle. Many Germans availed themselves of that offer. Some of these German immigrants were children when they came out here ; some were only a few weeks old. They have been educated here, have married, and have reared families in Australia, and, so far as any of us have been able to judge, they have not shown the slightest disloyalty to the Empire. To deprive them of the right to vote without making the least discrimination may be to inflict a grave hardship.
– Where would the honorable member draw the line?
-LiketheLeader of the Opposition, I think that any one who shows the slightest disloyalty, whether he is a German or not, ought to be interned. Any man who is disloyal to the flag under which he lives should take the full responsibility of his actions. Under this Bill, however, a man may be utterly disloyal, and yet if his son has enlisted - he may have enlisted despite his father’s objections - he is to have the right to vote; but if the son is rejected as medically unfit, that is deemed sufficient evidence of the father’s disloyalty. I received a letter the other day from a most worthy citizen and loyal subject, pointing out that, unfortunately for him in this regard his family are all daughters, and, therefore, he cannot vote. Does it not seem absurd to make the test of loyalty the fact whether a son has been passed by a medical officer as fit to go to the war. A young man is rejected, and his father disfranchised, while a cousin is able to pass, and his father is, therefore, deemed loyal.
– Look at it from the opposite point of view. What chance should we have of a vote if we were in Germany?
– I hope the people of Australia will never descend to the level of the Germans as they have displayed themselves in this war. I am not now dealing with the people of Germany, but asking honorable members to consider whether those whom we have brought here at our own expense, and who have lived here all their lives, should be disfranchised in this wholesale manner without the slightest discrimination. The subject is well worthy of our consideration. I urge that the provision as to the age of twentyone shall be struck out and an amendment inserted on the understanding that any man who is old enough to fight for Australia shall be considered old enough to have a vote on this occasion.
– I hope the Government will adopt some other method than that they now propose for placing ‘ ‘ Ministerialist ‘ ‘ and “ Opposition “ on the ballot-papers. It has already been pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition that there are numbers of people in Australia to-day who cannot separate Ministerialists from the Opposition. There are honorable members opposite who still unjustifiably claim that they are in the Labour party, and of course it is open to those gentlemen to form another Labour party, or to call themselves by any name they choose; but they must agree that they do not belong to the organization known as the Labour party in Australia. They may call that Labour party a “junta,”a “ machine,” or a “ Caucus,” but one thing certain is that they do not belong to that party. The people of Australia are accustomed to separate politicians into “ Labour “ and “ anti-Labour,” and those who are not in the Labour party are anti-Labour in the eyes of the Labour organizations. The position, I admit, is peculiar, but, once having departed from the old method, surely there is nothing to prevent our making the divisions as emphatic as possible, in order to secure the ends we desire. The electors ought also to be supplied with the names of candidates. There may be many people quite satisfied with the provision proposed, but those far away, who will have to rely on the newspapers - and I do not suppose that the newspapers at Home are any more reliable than they are here - will not be able to ascertain the true position, and chaos will be created.
– Suppose you sent a ballotpaper for a constituency new to the voter, and bearing the names of “ Smith “ and “ Brown,” what would a voter at the front know about them ?
– I admit that difficulty, but we have to remember the incident related by the honorable member for Melbourne in regard to the elector who insisted on voting for the “ Little Doctor.” What I suggest could easily be done, if certain honorable members opposite desire to call themselves Labourites, although, as a fact, some of them are crass Conservatives. The parties ought to be thoroughly distinguished, and we might use the title “ National Labourites “ if it were thought desirable. We on this side are in Opposition sometimes, but wherever we are we are called the Labour party.
– But the Labour party ‘s broken up now.
– We still claim to he called the Labour party. It is not possible for any honorable member who has left the Labour party on this side to associate, say, with the honorable member for Parkes, and still call himself a Labour man.
– I do not know how you can call yourself a Labour man !
– I am a member cf the Labour party. If it is desired to have a true reflection of the minds of the men at the front, we must give names as well, and allow them to say whether they wish to vote for Ministerialists or the Labour party.
– There is a room in this building bearing the inscription “ Leader of the Opposition.”
– The honorable member for Yarra claims that title.
– The Minister knows very well that, with all the chopping and changing during the last three or four months, the minds of even the people here must be somewhat mixed; and what must be the position, then, in the Old Country or in the trenches? When the Bill was first introduced we were told by the Minister in charge that certain things would be subject to “ military necessity.” If this means anything like what took place at the conscription vote we would be much better without a provision of the kind.
– The provision merely means that we must consult the Imperial Government as to whether we can apply the Act.
– At the taking of the Referendum vote in England the proceedings on Salisbury Plain were stopped by some message from General Birdwood. The men were told, afterwards that ‘ the stoppage was because a certain address had not reached the camp; and the vote was never taken afterwards. Then there ought to be civilian scrutineers - men who are not officers. We know very well that there is a class of elector who is disposed to say, “ I do not care for whom I vote.” That sort of attitude must be stopped, and these evils will not be stopped while officers superintend the taking of votes. Certainly better provision must ‘be made for the taking of our soldiers’ vote overseas than was made in connexion with the recent referendum. Then I would suggest to the Minister that, as soon as the names of candidates are known, lists should be compiled showing who are Ministerialists and who are Oppositionists. Again, if troops are on the water who have not been able to vote prior to their departure from our shores, provision should be made for them to vote on their arrival at South Africa.
– I am afraid that that cannot be done. ,
– Suppose that there are 3,000 or 4,000 troops on transports who have to leave Australia before they can vote. Why should they not be permitted to exercise the franchise when they reach South Africa?
– I have inquired into what is likely to occur, and I have based the clause upon that. I know what troops will be going away and when they will be going.
– Some should have gone last week.
– If time permits, what the honorable member has suggested will be done.
– I am satisfied with that assurance of the Minister.
– The Leader of the Opposition has pointed out that this Bill is a farce. I will not go so far as to say that, but I do say that it is an attempt to deal with a difficul I y which should never have arisen. Everything goes to prove that to have a general election while the present war is in progress is nothing short of a crime. I venture to say that, despite every pre- caution that may be taken by the Minister to prevent injustice being done, cases are bound to occur in which our soldiers will be unable to exercise the franchise. At the same time, I am satisfied that the Government will endeavour to give a fair deal to all. We have been assured that the best method of coping with the difficulty is by getting the names of the candidates for the different constituencies printed under the headings of “Ministerialists” and “Oppositionists.” Some confusion may arise in my own case and in others, owing to doubt as to which side we are supporting. Eminent thinkers have alleged that lack of imagination is a characteristic of Australia - in other words, that we entertain very crude ideas. But I would ask honorable members to endeavour to form some conception of the life that is led by our soldiers at the front. Do we imagine for a moment that the names of a’ll candidates can be placed before our troops there? The thing is utterly ridiculous, and has only been’ raised for the purpose of bringing contempt on the Government proposals. But if candidates are to be designated “ Ministerialists “ and “Oppositionists,” the older politicians, whose names are well known throughout Australia, will chiefly benefit. Take the district of Hindmarsh as an example. I do not know how many young men have gone from that constituency to the front, but I do know that one thousand have gone from Lefevre Peninsula alone. During this debate we have heard something about the pure brand of Labour, and have listened to a lot of canting hypocrisy of that sort. Whatever anxiety honorable members opposite may exhibit that rival candidates should be classified into two political groups, I venture to say that there are hundreds of thousands of electors in Australia who will recognise that the men ‘ who sit upon this side of the chamber are not traitors to the Labour movement. Consequently, double-distilled trash of that sort will have no weight with them. If this were an ordinary Bill, providing for the conduct of an election in Australia, criticism of the character that we have heard would be justifiable. It must be remembered, however, that it is a crime towards the Empire to hold elec tions at the present time, and that it is impossible, in the nature of things, to put our soldiers at the front on the same footing as electors here in Australia. Nevertheless, we must do what we can to give them a fair say on the present position. I cannot understand mawkish sentimentality regarding the proposal to disfranchise German residents of Australia. We are engaged in a dreadful war with the nations to which these persons belong. Those who know the German districts cannot say that the Germans are loyal. They are as loyal to the Empire as we should be to the German Empire were we living in Germany at the present time.. We must take the world as we find it. Our country is not responsible for the war, but -we cannot disregard the difficulties created by it. The German residents of Australia are getting off very cheaply. It is monstrous to say that they should be allowed to vote for candidates for seats in the new Parliament. The whole German people wanted this war, because for two generations they had been trained to consider it desirable. If for two generations the people of Australia were trained in the same way by the party opposite, this country would be saturated with the revolutionary doctrines of the Industrial Workers of the World. The loyalty of most of the German residents of Australia is only skin deep. Some Germans are as loyal as Britishers, though that is not saying a great deal, when one remembers the disloyalty of some Britishers. This is no time for long-winded disquisitions on abstract right. It is wise to provide that Germans generally shall not vote ; but where Germans have given a pledge of their loyalty to the Empire by sending their sons to fight together with ours under the British flag, we must let them vote. However, I do not propose to prolong the debate in order to air my eloquence for the benefit of my constituents.
.- I shall support the proposal to substitute “ Labour “ for “ Opposition,” as a description of certain candidates. The honorable member for Hindmarsh is a supporter of the Government - a Ministerialist -and any soldier at the front who wishes to vote for him will be voting correctly by recording his vote for the Ministerial candidate for Hindmarsh.- But, although I am now in Opposition, I was supporting a Labour Government when very many soldiers left my district.
– Twelve months ago, the honorable member was not a Trades Hall lackey.
– I have been called a Trades Hall lackey by my opponent and the press on every occasion that I have contested a seat. That criticism was directed against the honorable member and others 10, 15, and 20 years ago. I consider it an honour to serve the wageearners of this country and the Trades Hall Council, together with the tens of thousands of men and women connected with that institution. I think that “ Labour “ should be printed on the ballot-papers as a description of certain candidates, and that voters should be allowed, where they think necessary, to write on their ballot-paper the name of the candidate for whom they wish to vote. The honorable member for Hindmarsh says that many of those who are away, who may be desirous of voting for him, may be doubtful whether he is a Ministerialist or an Oppositionist. The same remark applies to me. Many of those who went away from the Fawkner division do not know with certainty whether I am still a Ministerialist or in Opposition. It should be our object to inform the voters regarding the candidates, so that they may vote intelligently. As the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has said, in the end the issue at the ballot-box is usually - Labour or antiLabour ?
– Would it suit the honorable member to have those descriptions printed on the ballot-papers?
– I should consider it perfectly satisfactory. It would be of great assistance to the men at the front. Amongst the supporters of the honorable member for Parkes there ‘ will be many who will have to face the same difficulty. When they went to the front, the honorable member was sitting over here as a member of the Opposition; and, for all they know to the contrary, he is a member of the Opposition to-day, and they may vote for the Opposition in recording their votes for the electoral district of Parkes in the belief that the honorable member is still a member of the Opposition.
– The honorable member was on this side when some went to the front, and they will be in a difficulty about him.
– I am saying that these mistakes will be likely to occur unless information as to the political situation in Australia to-day is conveyed to the men at the front. The best possible course to take to meet the difficulty would be, in my opinion, to substitute the word “ Labour “ for the word “ Opposition.” There is a provision for the writing in of the name of a candidate. According to my reading, this will apply only in the case of a candidate who is not nominated either by the Prime Minister or by the Leader of the Opposition. I believe that electors at the front and at Salisbury Plain should be permitted to write the name of any candidate for whom they desire to record their votes, if they are in any doubt as to whether he is a supporter of the Opposition or of the Ministry.
The Leader of the Opposition raised the question of the disfranchisement of enemy aliens resident in Australia. We understand the position quite a* well as does the honorable member for Hindmarsh. We know that we are at war. The honorable member asked what treatment would be meted out to Britishers living in Germany in circumstances similar to those for which we are trying to provide in this Bill. I am not particularly concerned about what would be the attitude of the people of Germany in such circumstances. Their conduct is not what we could desire ; but two wrongs do not make a right, and if they treat British non-combatants in their midst unjustly, that is no justification for following their example. There are many Germans in this country who came here years ago ‘ to escape the military laws in operation in Germany. They have enjoyed the freedom and liberty of this country, and have appreciated them. Many of them have been good and valuable citizens of Australia, and I would not be one to deprive them of the right to record their votes, only because in a large number of them there might be a small percentage whose loyalty could be called in question. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has said that if the Labour party were in power for another twenty years this country would be brought to a state of ruin.
– Yes, by the teaching of honorable members opposite.
– The honorable member said that this condition of affairs would be brought about because the members of this party would be preaching and giving effect to the principles of the Industrial Workers of the World. I have not been a member of the Labour party for as many years as the honorable member belonged to it, but the reason is that I am not quite as old as the honorable gentleman. I have still been for a good many years a member of the party, and I assert that the honorable member for Hindmarsh must be well aware that the foundation upon which the Labour movement of Australia is built is constitutional reform.
– That is not the basis on which honorable members opposite are working now.
– We have worked along the lines of constitutional reform since the inception of the Labour movement, and are doing so to-day. . The honorable member cannot point to one action of the recognised industrial and political movement of Australia that has been unconstitutional even during this time of war.
– Have honorable members always condemned strikes and upheld arbitration ?
– The honorable member may point to the actions of certain individuals which do not entirely meet with his approval; but the Labour movement is no more responsible for the actions of all persons in our community than it is for the actions of the honorable member himself.- The supporters of the Labour movement do not always approve of strikes. If there is a justification for preventing a strike, every one knows that they will prevent it. We know, also, that all strikes cannot be prevented.
– What has this to do with the Electoral Bill?
– I am afraid that it hasnothing to do with it, but the matter was introduced by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. I believe that if the amendment suggested by the Leader of the Opposition is not made in the Bill, the vote recorded at the front will not give satisfaction to either party in this House. Provision should certainly be made for the appointment of scrutineers in Egypt, at Salisbury Plain, and, if possible, in France. I want to say, here, that the soldiers in France will not vote in the trenches.
– We might send scrutineers from the Trades Hall.
– If all the men connected with the Trades Hall were compared with an equal number of men drawn from any other section of the community, it would be found that there would be a greater percentage of honorable and honest men amongst the Trades Hall men than amongst those withwhom they were compared. We feel that scrutineers . ought to be appointed to supervise the recording of votes at the front. The Labour party will have some difficulty in securing proper representation in connexion with the ballot about to be taken. One thing that pleases me is that the honorable member for Angas is at the head of the Electoral Department, because I feel that if there is one man amongst the members of the Government and its supporters who will give a fair deal to both parties in the coming fight he is that honorable gentleman. I believe it is the desire of the majority of members that the poll on the other side of the world should be conducted in a fair manner. In connexion with the soldiers’ vote on the conscription issue, promises were made which were never carried out. We were promised in this House that the same treatment would be meted out to anti-conscriptionists, so far as the soldiers’ vote was concerned, as was given to the conscription side. That promise was not honoured.
– The Government was anti-conscriptionist as well as conscriptionist.
– The Government as such was conscriptionist and it had control of the Electoral Department. In fact, for the purpose of the conscription campaign the Government was represented by one man, the Prime Minister. The honorable member for Batman asked the Prime Minister in the House whether it was intended to put to the people a pamphlet containing the reasons for and against conscription, and the Prime Ministersaid, “ No; anyhow there is onlyone case, and that is not yours.”
The Labour movement has an official standing in this community, and it must be recognised as a force to be reckoned with on every public question. The people in Australia had certain facilitiesfor recording their votes, and opportunities of obtaining information as to the reasons for and against compulsory military service. The soldiers abroad were given the right to vote, and the anti-conscriptionists asked for the same facilities for putting their side of the case before the soldiers as the conscriptionists had. But what occurred? Messages sent by anti-conscriptionists for the instruction of soldiers were censored, and not permitted to reach the Old World. Even a cable message from the Premier of Queensland was not allowed to leave Australia until the referendum had been taken. I am not certain that thesame tactics will not be adopted by some members of the Ministry in connexion with the forthcoming election. We have a right to ask that whatever facilities the Government have for putting their case before the soldiers should be extended to the Leader of the Opposition. The Argus this morning has a report of the selection of Ministerial candidates for the Senate, and the report is headed “ The Win-the-War party.” It is proposed that the soldiers should be given a blank ballot-paper on which they can record a vote for a Ministerialist or an Oppositionist. ‘ ‘ The newspapers tell us that the Win-the-War party is the Ministerial party. The soldier will see on his ballotpaper “ Oppositionist.” Oppositionist to what ?
– To the “Win-the-War party.”
– That is not true, and the honorable gentleman who is responsible for this proposal knows perfectly well that many of the soldiers in France on reading their ballot-papers, in conjunction with the Australian newspapers which get into their hands, must become confused as to the identities of the parties seeking their suffrages. In those circumstances the proposal contained in this Bill will give the Government an unfair advantage. The Director-General of Recruiting said weeks ago that the name “Win-the-War” would not be allowed to be used for political purposes, and his statement was indorsed by the Minister for Defence, but the name is being used for political purposes to-day. Therefore, I strongly object to the terms which the Government propose to use on the ballotpapers, because those terms can only be misleading to the voters. If the Opposition in this House is not strong enough to secure an amendment of the Bill, I hope that the Labour party majority in another place will be used with the best possible effect.
.- The more one looks at this Bill the more dangerous does it appear. I have a good deal of sympathy with some of the views expressed by members on the Opposition side, not because of any fear that they may be injured, but because of a genuine fear that the Government party may be injured. My objection is based on the same argument that the honorable member forFawkner used, namely, that confusion will arise if soldiers are asked to vote on a blank form for a Ministerialist or an Oppositionist.
– Then I suggest that we call the Opposition “ the AntiConscriptionist party,” and ourselves the “ Win-the-War party.”
– I am afraid that will not do. Since some of our soldiers left Australia there have been three changes of Government, three Ministries, and three Oppositions, and now parties are so inextricably mixed that we do not know where we are. The electorate I represent has sent many thousands of soldiers to the front, and as I was in the place of an Opposition candidate when those men left, it is possible that in. the approaching election many of them might vote for the Opposition candidate in the belief that they were voting for me. I feel that the ballot-paper in its present form should not go to the troops at the front. I believe that on the last occasion no fewer than 20,000 soldiers did not know the division in which they were enrolled.
– A considerable number of people in Melbournedo not know that there are six divisions joining at Elizabethstreet.
– I remember an incident when I was a representative of Melbourne in the State Parliament. A very strong supporter of mine told me on one occasion that he was surprised that I did not take part in the divisions in the House. He was interested in an important matter and missed my name from the division-lists. I told him that, as a rule, I was very regular in my attendance, and I asked him for an explanation. I went down to his office, and when he turned up the division-lists I found he was referring to the Federal Parliament, so I informed him that I happened to be a member of the State Parliament. Now, he was an intelligent citizen, but that incident, I think, exemplifies the difficulties of the 20,000 men at the front to whom I have referred.
We are all agreed that the men who are fighting for the country ought to have a vote, but, as custodians of the electoral laws of the country, we ought to be very careful to see that the men’s votes are cast only in those divisions for which they may be enrolled. It is provided in the Bill that in the event of a soldier not having a particular division, his vote shall be apportioned to that division in which his next of kin resides; but in view of the fact that some seats in this Parliament are won sometimes by from 100 to 200 votes, there is an element of danger in allowing soldiers’ votes to be so apportioned.
– I won by seven votes.
– It is quite possible that if a considerable number of soldiers thought their next of kin lived in Werriwa, and had their votes so apportioned, the election of the honorable member for Werriwa might be endangered, and that applies to all divisions which are won by narrow majorities. I hope, therefore, that some steps will be taken to remove this difficulty before the Bill passes the House. If the Government cannot solve it more definitely than is indicated in the Bill now before the House, it would be better to cut out that provision altogether, because it is absolutely too dangerous. Apart from being dangerous, it is possible that it may lead to misrepresentation in the House, because soldier electors might vote for the wrong man in the belief that they are voting for the light man. If no one else takes the responsibility, I am prepared to move to include in the schedule of the Bill the words, “ The names of the candidates for each electorate shall be submitted in addition to the word ‘ Ministerial ‘ or Opposition.’ “ If all the other details are going to be cabled to soldiers, the names of the candidates with, opposite their names, the word “Ministerial” or “ Opposition “ should also be sent.
– It will be all set out in the lists.
– But I would like to see it in the ballot-paper. I am prepared to trust the Minister in every way to do the right thing, but I want to know that the ballot-paper will be presented to a soldier in such a way that if he resides in any particular division he will know the names of the candidates and the party for which they stand.
– We took a great deal of trouble to settle that matter, and thought the best way was to supply the information on lists to be circulated amongst the men.
– I can quite understand the Minister’s difficulty. There would be no confusion with regard to members who, at the last election, were returned as Ministerial candidates and are still Ministerial supporters, but I can conceive there would be a great confusion with regard to those who were returned as Opposition candidates at the last election but have since come over to this side of the House, and are now Ministerial supporters. Likewise, there would be confusion concerning men who at the last election supported the Government but are now sitting on the other side of the House. The men in the trenches may have only the slightest idea of what has happened here during the past few months. It is not likely that when they are fighting for their country they are worrying very much about what is being done here in the “ Gas Factory,” as this Parliament has been termed. When we give to them the right to exercise their vote we ought to see that the vote is related as nearly as possible to the constituency to which they belong, and that they will have the assurance it will go to the candidate of their own choice. As the Bill stands at present, the words are not. a sufficient guide to the troops in the trenches.
– I am quite in accord with the suggestion made by the honorable member who has resumed his seat. He has certainly hit upon a very pertinent point. As he has truly said, three Ministries have come and gone, and three Oppositions to that . extent have changed, so that many at the front would not know Ministerialists from Oppositionists. If the names of the candidates can be given, it will be a great advantage. I understand that a list of candidates will be sent to the front; but I think that the simpler plan to adopt, in the case of those who do not know the electoral divisions in which they reside, is to have their votes distributed by officers who know their duties. If this cannot be done overseas, the papers could come back to Melbourne, and be held over for counting here. In any case, the ultimate resting-place of the ballot-papers should be in Australia, where they can be examined at any future date in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act. I distinctly object to the terms Opposition and Ministerial. I do not know what other name the Government could take. The description “ Coalition “ might be offensive to some who know the records of the wrecks of Coalition Governments of the past. When I first entered the State Parliament in Victoria, it was in opposition to the Deakin-Gillies Coalition Government: The term “ Fusion “ might be absolutely resented by honorable members opposite. Could we use the words “Liberal Government,” or the words, “ Liberal and Labour Government “ ? If the latter were employed, honorable members opposite would be known for all time as the “ Lib-labs.”
– Why not use “ Win-the-War Government “ ?
– Honorable members of the Opposition are just as anxious to win the war as are honorable members opposite. If the Government adopt the term “Win-the-War” for themselves, they must place on . the ballot-papers “ Win-the-War Ministerialists,” and “ Win-the-War Labour party.” No good is done to recruiting by bandying words across the chamber, and by using such phrases as, “ You are not for winning the war; you are against the war.” I know that the honorable member for Henty would, stand shoulder to shoulder with me in the attempt to destroy any proposal to designate Ministerialists on the ballotpapers as the “Win-the-War” party, while simply describing candidates of the Labour party as “ Opposition.”
– What about using “ Conscriptionists “ and “ Anti-Con scriptionists ‘ ‘ ?
– Considering how the votes of the soldiers were faked at the last referendum, I would not object to that suggestion, so long as we do not allow the General commanding the troops to .poke his nose into electoral matters. General Birdwood may be a good soldier - and many letters I have received from the front speak highly of his abilities as a soldier - but while they do so, they also resent his impertinence in interfering with the polling of his soldiers’ votes.
I agree with the honorable member for Franklin that any soldier who is eighteen years of age, and is doing a man’s work and earning a man’s pay, should be entitled to vote. In one country that the world has honoured by calling it the schoolhouse of Europe, the age is much lower than twenty-one years, which is the age at which persons may become entitled to exercise the franchise in British communities. There are many young men eighteen years of age who can hold their own with others who are older; add when they are offering the supreme sacrifice of their life, I will always support any proposal to give them the franchise.
I come now to the question that jars on me. We are supposed to be a civilized and Christian community, but I doubt it when I come to the prohibition in this Bill applying to naturalized British subjects born in enemy countries, and when I remember my old teachers, who would have killed every king and princelet in Germany if they had the power to do so, and who came out here in 1848 - the year of the rebellion - and talked Democracy. I love their memory, and honour them for what they have taught me. The honorable member for Gippsland has heard me say that I hate and loathe the military dominance of Prussia. I hope that this war will not end until that military dominance shall be absolutely destroyed. At the same time, the proposal in the Bill to disfranchise these citizens of Australia is neither Christian nor humane. Two honorable members in this House were unfortunate enough to be born in an enemy country, but no honorable member of the House would refuse to take their hands, or would doubt their loyalty. I honour both of them, and I shall always be glad to meet them. I know men born in Germany who have had to leave their country, hating and loathing the military dominance that holds it in thrall. If there is anything that can be proved against men born in enemy countries, let them be interned; but, so long as they are naturalized, and have married British or Australian wives, and brought up children under Australian conditions - children who, very frequently, cannot speak the German language - they should not be wronged by the proposal in the Bill.I shall vote against it.
At one time the ferocious honorable member for Hindmarsh used to howl on the top of a tub outside the gardens in Adelaide. At that time, he gloried in being called a Labour man, and at being associated with the Trades Hall ; but now he has gone sour. Mrs. Wiggs, of the Cabbage Patch, exclaimed, “ Oh, Lord, keep me from going sour !’’ It makes one tired to hear the honorable member talking about Trades Hall lackeys. There are as good men in that Trades Hall as there are outside. If it had not been for the great fight that the unions have fought, we would not be the free and civilized community that we are to-day.
It would take a page and a half of a closely-printed book to tell how a man could obtain a vote for the House of Commons. The other absurd anomaly is that, by the chance of birth, an absolute idiot, who is eliminated from the House of Commons, can be a member of the House of Lords because he was born a lord. Then to give that House a little leaven of respectability, two archbishops and twenty-one bishops are put there. Sometimes a genius like Bryce and others is made a member of the House of Lords. Some persons are made life members, but no one is ever elected. Even the second chamber in Japan stands higher than does the House of Lords. Has any one ever read a case where an Englishman, who had become a naturalized German, has been robbed of a single right he possessed? I challenge any honorable member to point to a case. I admit that very few Englishmen become naturalized subjects in another country, because the instinct of an Englishman - and it is a glorious instinct - is to remain a British subject. Whenever I use the word “ Englishman “ I mean the citizens of the four kingdoms. I like the word “ Englishman “ better than the word “ Britisher,” and therefore I use it. The badge I wear in my coat means that never during my life will I knowingly purchase anything made in Germany; but it will not prevent me from buying from a German who is a naturalized Australian if he manufactures an article in our midst, or from some of my dear friends who were born here of German parents. I do not say that I will hold that view when this terrible war is over, and the brute Kaiser and every beastly princelet and kinglet are hung up in the streets of Berlin, as I hope they will be, and the States in Germany have become a federated series ofRepublics. I do not say that I will hold to this badge then. It is the military power to which I am opposed, as I always have been, and that is why I have been against the adoption of conscription in Australia. The enemy countries could not have carried on the present war unless they had got men to give up the best three years of their lives, and, for a paltry pittance, to practise the goose-step for that period. What sane man in any of those countries would do it if he was not compelled by the curse of conscription? Therefore, the very word jars upon me. I am going to help to win the war, and I am doing my level best in that regard.
– Do you think that we would have had any chance at all if Britain and France had not conscripted their manhood?
– Order ! The question of conscription is not before the Chair.
– England was never conscripted until it was done by a Parliament which was elected by a privileged few. When Mr. Hodge, a Labour man from England, came out to Australia, I, through Mr. Fisher, who was in the chair, asked that gentleman to kindly tell his comrades how much his election cost. A number of Labour men nearly dropped on the floor when Mr. Hodge told them that his election cost £1,100.
– Order ! The honorable member cannot proceed with that line of argument.
– I was drawn aside for a moment. The late Mr. Munro told me once that in England his election would cost him £5,000.
The words “ Ministerial “ and. “ Opposition “ cannot be allowed to stand in the schedule. Let a decent word be selected, and I will offer no objection. I have pointed out in all good temper the difficulties which will arise. I am sure that the honorable member for Parkes would not like to say that he belonged to a Labour Government.
– I have laboured as much in my life as any one of you has done.
– Do we not remember that at one time the Treasurer was always complaining that he had to eat dirt because he was associated with Labour men ? Strange to say, some of these gentlemen are with him in the present Government. Such is the whirligig of political life. I would not like it to be said that the right honorable gentleman belonged to a Labour Government. Therefore, choose some decent, respectable, pleasant-sounding word, and I, for one, will not object to its insertion. Not only on account of our numbers, but because we represent a majority of the original Labour party, we have the right to claim an alteration. The party was split through one man’s ambition being blocked. It was split because he could not remain the Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the party. We only sought to remove him from the leadership. We exercised exactly the same right as the Ministerial party possess. If a majority of the latter party wish the honorable member for Parramatta to be their leader - and I think that they ought to have made the choice - they have the power, by a majority vote, to appoint him to the leadership. We simply desired to eliminate the honorable member for West Sydney as our leader.
– Order !
– I would have liked to finish the sentence. We claim the insertion of the word “Labour” in the schedule. I do not think that, in the division, a strict party vote will be given ; at all events, I hope that it will not be given. I trust that some honorable members on the other side will see the justice of my contention. No one can ever accuse the honorable member for Henty of wavering from the strictly Liberal point of view, almost tinged with Conservatism. Yet we have heard what he said. The schedule cannot possibly be allowed to stand as it is. It would be ap1, to mislead the men at the front, and w” do not desire to give those brave fellows more trouble than they already have.
From the General Post Office up to Victoriastreet the distance by measurement is 1,000 yards. Within that distance there are six subdivisions. How could men at the front be expected to understand the boundaries of those subdivisions ? Allow men who have lived in Melbourne, Sydney, or Adelaide to give their previous address, and then their votes can be easily allocated by means of a map supplied by the Electoral Department, through the medium of the High Commissioner’s office. With that assistance, an ordinary clerk could allot the subdivisions, if needed, to all the men who vote.
I take it that the Bill is being considered in the best of good temper, and now that we are going to our masters, the people, one thing that Australia will rejoice in is that on both sides of the House there is a full and earnest belief in the honesty of the Minister who will control the elections. No matter what happens, whether it comes from the Governor-General or any one else, I do not think he will allow anything unfair or underhand to be done while he holds that position.
– The honorable member for Melbourne is the only member who has really touched the most difficult problem in this Bill. I have listened to a number of speeches on that side of the House, and one or two on this, but they seem to have been devoted exclusively to a consideration of how each particular party could secure the largest number of votes at the front, either by the nomenclature of the party which the soldiers were appealed to to support, or by some other method of characterizing the different candidates. The honorable member for Melbourne has touched the most important problem, but has done so in a very unsatisfactory way. He is nothing if not emotional, and if he can find an excuse for bringing in the sentimental subjects of women and children, he will have them in at any cost, and become eloquent to an extent that becomes a little monotonous to other people. The honorable member has treated us to the same sentiments again to-night. He has a magnificent storehouse of sentiment and of what I can hardly call by the cold-blooded term of principles, but of poetic thoughts to which he treats the House on every occasion’ that he can bring the subject in. The honorable member has dealt with this difficult problem in this purely emotional way. He has first expressed his deep hatred for the Prussians, and especially, for the military class, and then he has rushed over to the other side, and expressed the rather emotional desire to be liberal towards the Germans as a whole. I do not think that is the best way to approach this question, Inch is a very difficult one, and worthy of much more thoughtful treatment than it has yet received.
We have in this country 130,000 people of the German race who have been naturalized. If we took the popular interpretation of the word, we should say they are to be relied upon, for they have sworn allegiance to our monarch, and, therefore, can be treated as ordinary citizens of our own country. But, apart from that, this problem confronts us : We have two standards of morality in regard to the way in which we should treat our enemies. The honorable member for Melbourne has brought in Christianity, and told us what our duty is as Christians ; but we have to think of this problem from two points of view. First of all, we are politicians, members of the Legislature. We represent a country which is at war, and have to consider what is the wisest course that the House can take towards those 130,000 people, who, on the face of it, have sworn allegiance to our monarch, and who yet. for reasons which I shall show later, are not entitled, through their own fault, to be treated as ordinary citizens.
We know that this is a war of many phases, one of which is that the British people have established in the world a reputation for magnanimity. More than ever after this war, the British will be respected for that quality; because, no matter what is done to them by the German race, they have endeavoured to do the right thing by their enemies. We have not retaliated by such deeds as the sinking of the Lusitania; we have not attempted to retaliate for such deeds as have been put into imperishable print by Viscount Bryce in his story of the treatment by the Germans of the women and children of Belgium. We have not attempted to retaliate in regard to the hundreds of murderous practices which the Germans have adopted. We have been magnanimous, and I hope we shall continue to be so. The British have interned in their countries, I should say, at least ten times as many Germans as the Germans have interned English in their territory, and yet it is seriously proposed in England at this moment, and in this same spirit, to release the whole of those interned there because of the brutal treatment that our much smaller number of prisoners are receiving in Germany. That is another outcome of the magnanimous feeling that animates the British people.
I live in New South Wales about 7 miles from Berrima, where is situated one of the oldest gaols in Australia. Many hundreds of Germans are interned there. They are allowed absolute freedom. They have a radius of liberty of 2 miles. They are well fed and well clothed, allowed even to retain and wear their own clothes, and indulge not only in riding and driving, but in boating on the river, as if they were a body of absolutely independent people. That is the treatment that we extend to them. The magnanimous attitude which every Britisher takes up towards the Germans, notwithstanding their murderous conduct towards us, would prompt me to say, “ Away with this Bill, and allow these men to vote, because they are naturalized subjects;” but we must not lose sight of the fact, asserted over and over again on the highest authority, that, , notwithstanding that these people have been naturalized, the German Reichstag has passed laws which completely absolve them from the obligations they have entered into by taking the oath of allegiance to the British Sovereign. The burden of proof in this matter is thrown upon them to show that those authoritative statements are untrue. It has been authoritatively stated in our press that the Emperor of Germany authorized the whole of his Consuls throughout Australia to visit the German camps and colonies, and not only to extend to all these German citizens complete absolution for the breach of law which they have committed in absenting themselves from their own country, but to assure them, also, that at any time they like to return to their Fatherland they will be received as if they had remained citizens of Germany from the beginning. They have had the further assurance that they have been released from any obligation to Australia or to Great Britain by the Act passed in Germany. While the facts stand as they are, and the Germans themselves have never tried to disprove them, I cannot help feeling that the mere fact of their having been naturalized is no conclusive proof of their loyalty. I quite admit, with the honorable member for Melbourne, that there are plenty of thoroughly loyal Germans in this country.
– The honour roll shows that.
– 1 am sure it does. I know of many British and Australian women married to German officers, and I know these women remain loyal to their King. I know of many British men married to German women. They also remain loyal. I know, too, of cases in Australia where the children of German parents have never been taught to think further of Germany, because their parents were enamoured of the liberties and the many great civic advantages which were afforded them under British rule. But it is impossible for us to differentiate. While this shadow remains over the Germans in this country, in that they have been absolved from their oath of allegiance, but have never taken any further trouble, although they are 130,000 strong, to asseverate their loyalty, and to re-assure us as a people that, notwithstanding that absolution by their own country, they have adopted our country as their own, and respect the dual nationality offered them, we cannot do otherwise than we are by this Bill proposing to do.
That is the turning point which reconciles me to the rather drastic step we are asked to take under this Bill. If it were not for that 1 should be inclined, with my own Liberal sentiments, to say, “ Let us be big; let us be magnanimous; let us give these people the right to vote. They are in our country. They have realized what our liberties are and what tremendous advantages they enjoy as citizens of Australia. Let us trust them. Let us do a.s Britain did in South Africa.” Britain won South Africa, but gave it back to the people, and they show their gratitude by their loyalty. I should have felt inclined to do the same in respect of the Germans here.
We have to remember, however, that we are at war. We do not want to emulate the Germans in their treatment of our people. We do not want to emulate them in their brutal treatment of all people who happen to be against them ; but we do want to guard the interests of our own land. We know that there are in this country to-day thousands who are crying out for the unconditional exclusion of all Germans in name and nationality from the franchise. They ask, ‘ ‘ Why should these people, who have no sympathy with us, take part in the shaping of our laws, which may have a considerable influence upon the great struggle that is taking place between their country and our own V
On these grounds, therefore, I feel justified in supporting this Bill, although otherwise I should not have felt inclined to do so. As to the electoral details of the measure, I have heard it said by honorable members of the Opposition that they have every confidence in the honorable gentleman who is at the head of the Electoral Department. I am sure that we on this side also have every confidence in him; and after the criticism that has been levelled at the machinery provisions of the Bill I shall be perfectly content to leave it to the Minister to so shape them as to commend the Bill in those respects also to the whole House.
.- I have a few observations to offer on this measure, and I shall make them with a full sense of the responsibility that weighs upon me by reason of the fact that these may be the last utterances I shall be privileged to make in this chamber.
– We are all in the same position.
– No. I shall probably not be seeking re-election. But for the knowledge that we are at war I should have said straight away that I do not favour this measure from any point of view. I recognise, however, that we are at war, and that the Bill has been introduced by the Ministry to meet a set of conditions such as, in my judgment, ought never to have arisen. If a wicked and wanton act has ever been perpetrated it is the forcing of an election at the present juncture upon the people of this great country. Had it been possible to take a plebiscite on the question, I am convinced that nothing like 20 per cent, of the people would have expressed a desire for a general election at the present time. Whilst I have the greatest confidence in the Ministry I am supporting, I have to express my regret that they have not taken advantage of the recommendations of a Royal Commission which was appointed, and existed for something like eighteen months, to review the electoral law, and to make reforms in our electoral system. I am quite prepared to admit that some of the recommendations made by that Commission cannot be embodied in this measure, since it is introduced very largely for the special purpose of allowing our brave fellows at the front, who number .now nearly 300..000, to have a voice in the election of the next Federal Parliament.
I agree with the honorable member for Franklin as to the desirableness of allowing our boys, who have gone to the front, and who are under the age of twenty-one, to vote, but I realize that there are great difficulties in the way of giving effect to that desire. Paragraph a of section 7 of this Bill requires that every individual must be enrolled as an elector of the Commonwealth, and the name of a soldier at the front who has not yet reached the age of twenty-one could not very well be on the rolls unless special conditions and opportunities were offered him. Whether it is possible for the Ministry to grant this right - and I look upon it as a right - to Australians who have gone to the front, although they have not yet reached the age of twenty-one, T do not know. I quite indorse the utterances of those who have urged that any Australian who is doing a man’s work, at the front, be he eighteen or twenty, should undoubtedly have the privilege of voting for the representation in this House. In my judgment he has more right to claim that vote than any cold-footer between the ages of twentyone and thirty-five who can, but will not, go to the front, who rests on his political privileges to-day, and will have the opportunity of voting. In contradistinction to such an individual, the youth of nineteen, who has shown his loyalty to the Crown and his love for his country in going forward to fight for it, should certainly receive some consideration. I leave it to the Minister in charge of the Bill to determine whether that can be done. I know be realizes the position quite clearly, and that even if he has to stretch his powers to their extreme limit he will endeavour to do what I think the majority of the House desire he should do in this direction.
I now come to that very much debated portion of the Bill relating to the disqualification of certain persons. I happen to represent a constituency which contains a large number of Germans; and, apart from what may have occurred since the outbreak of the war, I wish to say frankly that, in my judgment, it would be very difficult to find a more hardworking lot of men or a finer lot of citizens anywhere in the world. I quite realize all that the honorable member for Parkes has said with regard to the undesirable attributes which have become associated with the German people during the progress of the war. As to clause 10, I draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that a man born in an enemy country may have married an Australian girl, and under the laws of naturalization a woman takes the nationality of her husband. This Bill may disfranchise a woman, although she is an Australian bred and born, and, but for her marriage, entitled to the franchise and all the other rights of citizenship.
– The clause will not affect such a woman because, to come within the clause, she must not only be naturalized, but born in an enemy country.
– I am glad to hear that. The second part of the clause provides that a person shall be deemed to have been born in an enemy country if he was born in a country which forms part of the territory of any country with which the British Empire is now at war. From this it would appear that if a child, only a few months old, or even of tender years, who could have no possible knowledge or idea of his native land, came to this country, and lived here as a naturalized British subject, he would, when grown up, be disfranchised. I think a little discrimination should be allowed in this regard ; and I suggest that disability should be confined to persons who have not left their native country until they were 15 or 16 years of age. I am very glad to see that there is an exception in the Bill in favour of that deserving section of our citizens who are known as the Mr Lebanon Syrians. lt is well known that these Syrians have ever been in revolt against their conquerors, the Turks, and have suffered awful persecution ; and yet they were not allowed to vote on the referendum, although the result vitally affected them as citizens. The proposed relief is therefore to be welcomed. Clause 15 makes provision to meet the circumstances of the death of a candidate between nomination and the day of election. The necessity for such a provision was made manifest by the lamentable death of Senator McGregor not very long ago ; and I am very pleased to see that the difficulty is to be met, for the proposed provision is one in regard to which the Electoral Com.mission was unanimous in their finding. But 1 should like to know why it is confined to the Senate.
– There are several amendments I intend to move to cover suggestions of the kind made by honorable members.
– I should further like to know why this clause is confined to a case of death, seeing that there are many other causes which might render it impossible for a candidate to go to the poll. For instance, in the -present turmoil of politics, it is quite possible for it to be suddenly discovered that a nominated candidate has become affected in his mind.
As to the proposed form of the ballotpapers, I have great sympathy with the difficulties referred to by my friends on the Opposition side. This is a measure which, in my opinion, ought not to be dealt with from a party point of view, for I do not believe there is an honorable member here who is not absolutely and vehemently so desirous that our boys at the front shall thoroughly understand the conditions as to be able to cast an intelligent vote. My own opinion is that the words, “ Ministerial “ and “ Opposition “ are quite sufficient. There would be no difficulty, if a voter desired to vote for a candidate other than a Ministerialist or a supporter of the Opposition, in providing that he should write the name on the ballot-paper. Why not amend the clause so as to provide that if a voter cannot discriminate between Ministerialists and Oppositionists, he may write in the name of the candidate whom he favours? Many of our boys at the front have a personal feeling for the man who was his member before he left Australia, and he may not know whether that member happens to be on the Ministerial side or the Opposition side; to limit his choice to “ Ministerial “ or “ Opposition “ may cause him a good deal of distress.
– The Minister can answer that question when we get into Committee.
– If that matter can be arranged it will overcome a good many of the objections that I have to this Bill. I deplore the necessity for its introduction at a time like the present, when all our efforts should be concentrated upon one object, namely, the winning of the war. We do not want the electors of this country to be divided into two hostile political camps. We desire them to be in one camp for one specific purpose, namely, to win the war.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “ Member of the Forces “ means a person who is, or has been, a member of the Commonwealth Naval or Military Forces enlisted or appointed for active service outside Australia or on a ship of war, and includes a person who is, or has been, a member of the Army Medical Corps nursing service, who is accepted or appointed by the Director-General of Medical Services for service outside Australia. “ An election “ means an election for the
Senate or a general election for the House of Representatives.
.- There are several amendments which I desire to make in this clause. The first aims at bringing in the men who have offered to enlist, but who have been medically rejected. Though there may be some objection urged to this course on the ground of the difficulty of identification, I think that they should be included. I therefore move -
That after the word “been,” line 2, the words “ rejected as medically unfit to be “ be inserted.
– Does the amendmentmean that some persons resident in Australia will be entitled to vote who otherwise would not be entitled to do so ?
– Persons resident here will vote under the ordinary system, but under the amendment, if they happen to be abroad no .disqualification will attach to them. I do not think that the proposal will touch a great many people.
– The amendment of the Minister opens up a very wide question indeed. I need scarcely point out that the persons who have been rejected as medically unfit for service abroad are still in Australia. They have their citizen rights here-
– Let it go then. I am quite prepared to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– As regards munition workers it is impossible to bring all of them within the scope of this clause. But we can include those who are under agreement with the Government, and as there are lists by which we can identify them, I propose to bring them within the definition of “ member of the Forces.” I therefore move -
That after the word “war,” line 6, the words “ and a person engaged as a munition worker under agreement with the Commonwealth Government for service outside Australia,” be inserted.
That amendment will cover the cases of men who have gone Home at the instance of the Imperial Government. I have been assured by the Defence Department that that is so.
.- I should like to know from the Minister whether his amendment will include men who have been sent from Australia for the purpose of ship-building ? Unfortunately the honorable- member for Dalley, who knows most about this aspect of the question, is absent to-day.
– I do not think that more than fifty men have been sent away for ship-building purposes.
– I think that they would number more than 100.
– I find that it would be difficult to identify workers other than those whom I have specified.
– I understand that at the present time a number of men are being sent from New South Wales to the Old Country to learn submarine construction.
– I do not think so.
– I believe, too, that a great number of munition workers will be leaving soon. But my chief object is to safeguard the rights of munition workers who may be leaving Australia between the issue of the writ and polling day. Provided that they touch at any Australian port will they be allowed an opportunity to vote there?
– I do not know whether the conditions announced by the Prime Minister last week in regard to the departure of our transports are still operative; but if they are, those transports will not get past Fremantle for some time.
– If a vessel calls at any intermediate port beyond Fremantle those on board who are qualified to vote will be afforded an opportunity to do so. .
– I desire to ask the Minister whether he will consider, the position of those men who have left Australia, and who were reservists in the British Army J Many of them were settlers here, and when the war broke out they were called to the colours, and had to return to the Old Country.
– I do not think that we could get a list of them.
– You could get a list of them at the passport office, because they all left with, passports. Will the Minister .take into consideration the fact that a good many Australians have been transferred from the Australian Imperial Force to the British Army?
– How could they be located ?
– At the passport office you can get the names of practically all who have left Australia for the war.
– The men now referred to have ceased to be members of the Australian Imperial Force.
– Yes. Had it been allowed, some 2,000 Australians would have been passed into the British Army with commissions, but that was prevented by our Government. Some thousands have entered the British Army, many others have paid their passages Home, and have joined the Imperial Forces in Great Britain. Are they not entitled to consideration? In the British artillery alone there are over 2,000 Australian officers. In King Edward’s Horse there are hundreds of Australians. If one lot of men are to vote, it would be hard not to allow other Australians to vote.
– The position of the men referred to has been considered . After the last referendum the complaint was made by men in the Imperial Forces that no opportunity to vote was given to them. Of course, some of them have lost their connexion with Australia, and are really in the position of citizens absent from the Commonwealth not entitled under the electoral law to vote. I am informed that the difficulties of identification are so great that we could not give effect to the suggestions that have been made. I have to be guided in these matters by the opinions of the Defence as well as of the Electoral
Department. If I see any -way of improving the clause so as to extend the franchise in the direction suggested, I shall provide for its amendment in the Senate. As to the munition workers, I have been told that it would be impossible to identify any except those despatched by the Government.
Amendment agreed to.’
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 (Right of ‘ members of the Forces, to vote).
. - 1 wish to make again a suggestion that I urged when the Military Service Referendum Bill was under consideration, and that is, that the right to vote should not be confined .to soldiers over twenty-one years of age. The qualification of those who will vote under the Bill will be, not that they are enrolled, but that they are members of -the Australian Imperial Force, and over twenty-one years of age. I say that it is unfair and unreasonable to exclude from the franchise boys under twenty-one years of age who are doing the same duty and making the same sacrifices as those above that age. As I expanded the argument when discussing the Military Service Referendum Bill, I shall not delay the Committee* by making a full statement of my views on the subject now ; but having allowed boys of eighteen years of age to enlist for military service, we should ‘allow them to vote, because a man who fights for his country should be considered fit to be trusted with the franchise.
– Would .the honorable member take away the right to vote from men over forty-five years of age, on the ground that they were not permitted bo fight for their country?
– Of course not. My point is that we are making invidious distinctions between two sets of men performing the same services. Some of the men who will vote under the Bill are duly enrolled, but very many of them were not eligible for enrolment when they left Australia. The qualification for the franchise under this Bill is service with the Australian Imperial Force. Is the Minister prepared to give the right to vote to those in the army who are under twenty-one years’ of age ? To do so would be a recognition of the value of their services which they deserve and would appreciate. I do not -know why we should differentiate arbitrarily between those over twenty-one and those under twentyone. ‘Of course, in British communities a man on attaining the age of twenty-one years at once becomes, in the eyes of the law, an adult citizen.
– In providing for the referendum we admitted that twenty-one was early enough to enlist.
– But men of eighteen years of age have been accepted, and are doing the same duty as men over that age. They are rendering the greatest service that any citizen could give to his country. The exercise of the franchise is a right enjoyed ordinarily by virtue merely of age, but all men who are performing for their country the highest duty of citizenship should be allowed to exercise the franchise.
.- Several honorable members have pressed upon me the point that the honorable member was making. There is a great deal to be said for his proposal on grounds of sentiment and gratitude, but the Bill is a measure not for extending electoral rights, but for preserving them. It is true that it permits persons whose names are not on the roll to vote, but it does not give the franchise to any class not already entitled to it. The adoption of the honorable member’s suggestion would involve a substantial alteration of the electoral law, and the franchise proposed to be conferred would disappear at the end of the war. I think that it is better to keep the Bill strictly to its original object, which is to prevent those at the front from being deprived of their existing rights.
.- I ask the Minister how it is proposed to discover the age of soldiers on active service. Does the regimental sheet show the age of every soldier? I know that the age of each man is recorded when he enlists, but I doubt that the lists containing the ages go with the regiments on active service.
– I am informed by -the Electoral Officer that the number under the age of twenty-one is known. Besides voters will have to make a declaration. The prescribed lists show the ages of the men.
– In that case the Government can carry out its policy. I do not see any objection to the extension of the franchise in the manner proposed, but as the Government is under some pressure to pass the Bill to-night, I do not insist on it.
Clause agreed to.
With respect to the votes of members of the forces under this Act, the following provisions shall apply: -
Provided that where the member votes by writing on the ballot-paper the names of three candidates for the State in respect of which he is entitled under this Act to vote, bis vote shall be counted as a vote for each of those three candidates ;
Provided that where” the member votes by writing on the ballot-paper the name of any candidate for the division in respect of which ho is entitled wider this Act to vote his vote shall be counted as a vote for that candidate;
Such recognition shall be made -
.- It is upon this clause that the Committee must decide the question whether the ballotpaper, as set out in the schedule, shall be altered. The clause, for instance, provides that, in the case of a Senate election, a vote for a party shall be counted as a vote for each of the three candidates. I understand that in the Canadian Act four options are provided in connexion with the ballot-paper. The elector may vote for the “ Government,” for the “ Opposition,” for the “ Independent,” or may write in the name of the candidate for whom he desires to vote. It is also provided in this clause that a party vote may be recorded for the House of Representatives. I should like, in the circumstances, to know what the Government propose to do with respect to the alteration of the schedule. Our soldiers at the front have not had the opportunity to follow recent events in Australia, and many persons inside the Commonwealth to-day would be unable to say whether members on this side are Oppositionists or Ministerialists. Another matter to which attention might be directed is that the voter might be unable to write in the full name of a candidate. I can give an illustration of this difficulty. I acted as a scrutineer at the Benevolent Asylum for the honorable member for Melbourne on the second occasion upon which he stood in opposition to Sir Malcolm McEacharn. A number of the voters were illiterate, and when they were asked how they desired to vote, they said they intended to vote for the “ Little. Doctor.” The Returning Officer would say that there was no such name on the ballot-paper, and that the names on the ballot-paper were “ William Robert Nuttall Maloney “ and “ Malcolm Donald McEacharn.” Some voters might have a difficulty if called upon to do any more than write in the surname of a candidate. The pointI raise now is that if clause 8 is carried as it stands, it will be impossible to alter the schedule.
– If the schedule is altered, there must be a consequential amendment of this clause, and it will be necessary to come back to.it.
– I have an amendment to move upon the clause. I move -
That the word “Opposition,” first occurring in paragraphc( ii) , be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Labour.”
.- I think there is some ambiguity in paragraph c, owing to the form in which the clause has been drafted. There is, for instance, no sentence governing the words “ such recognition,” though every one of the paragraphs is, of course, governed by the opening sentence of the clause. Paragraph c says, “ Such recognition shall be made.” What is the recognition?
– Itis mentioned in a previous part of the clause.
– It requires some guessing to discover it, and I think it would be better to state clearly in paragraph c that, for instance, “ Recognition as to the partyto which the candidate belongs shall be made,” and so on. The various paragraphs are, by the preamble, mutually independent, and so they should be grammatically independent.
– From the point of view of finished and structural English the drafting of the clause might beimproved, but there is nothing in it to show that the antecedent of “ Such recognition,” in paragraph c, is not contained in a preceding paragraph. If the honorable member will look at paragraph 6, he will see the phrase “ candidates who have been recognised in the manner hereinafter prescribed.” That is the antecedent of “ such recognition “ in paragraphc.
– Each provision should be mutually independent.
– Not independent in grammatical structure, but independent in sense. The very object of grammar is to express in grammatical structure the sense intended to be conveyed.
.- I think that, in paragraphc of this clause, instead of the words “ Ministerial party,” it would be better to use the words ‘ ‘ Ministerial Liberal party “ and “ Ministerial Labour Party.” Personally, I should not have the slightest objection to the Opposition being known as the “ Opposition Labour party.” I think those alterations should be made.
– I wish to point out the danger that will attach to the amendment which the Leader of the Opposition has proposed. Men who left Australia early in the war will not be acquainted with the political developments since they left. I may not be the Labour candidate for Gwydir at the forthcoming election, but men who remember me as a Labour representative will, in all probability, give me a vote which they intended for the other candidate, because he is marked Labour.
.- Is the Leader of the Opposition trying to get by a trick votes that are due to members of the Government side of the House? Is it his intention by the misuse of a much misused word to take votes away from honest men like the Postmaster-General, and the honorable members for Grey, Hindmarsh, and Macquarie? I hope the honorable member for Yarra will not do that. I notice, however, that the provision makes no reference to independent Ministerial supporters, or to any other political denomination. There is no provision for the whole-souled Socialistic party. I do not know whether that party will run candidates in this election. I am inclined to believe that they will merge with the Industrial Workers of the World and honorable members opposite. Since the Leader of the Opposition was so tremendously anxious to obtain the chair he now occupies, the best thing he can possibly do is to allow himself to be defined as the Opposition party.
– Has the Minister made provision for parties other than the two mentioned!
– No others are mentioned, but candidates of any party may be provided for.
– I hope that names which have been identified with parties for years will be allowed to remain. Surely honorable members on the Ministerial side are not ashamed of the fact that they belong to the Ministerial party !
– Are you resigned to being described as belonging to the Opposition party ?
Mr.FINLAYSON.- For the next two months I am, and after that my objections will disappear. Already another party, the Socialistic party, of New South Wales, has announced its intention to run candidates. If there are sections in the community who wish to run candidates, provision should be made for them.
– I have got them all on the list.
Question - That the amendment be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 agreed to.
Subject to this Act every naturalized British subject who was born in an enemy country shall be disqualified from voting at elections.
A person shall be deemed to have been born in an enemy country, within the meaning of this Act, if he was born in a country which forms part of the territory of any country with which the British Empire is now at war:
Provided that a person claiming to vote who was a natural-born citizen or subject of France, Italy, or Denmark, and who arrived in Australia and was naturalized before the date upon which the territory in which he was born became part of Germany or Austria (as the case may be) shall not be deemed to have been born in an enemy country, if he produces to the presiding officer a certificate in the prescribed form, which has not been revoked.
A certificate for the purposes of this section may be issued in the prescribed manner by the Divisional Returning Officer of the division for which the elector is enrolled, at least three days before polling day, and may be revoked by the Divisional Returning Officer at any time before the elector records his vote, if the Divisional Returning Officer has reason to believe that the facts did not justify its issue.
Nothing contained in sub-section (1) of this section shall be construed as preventing any of the following persons from voting, namely -
Any member of the Forces who is serving outside Australia;
any person who produces to the presiding officer a certificate signed by the District Commandant of a Military District or an officer thereto authorized by him that that person is or has been a member of the Forces, or is a parent, or the wife, brother, or sister of a person who is or has been a member of the Forces;
any person who satisfies the presiding officer that he is or has been at any time during the present war a member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth or of a State;
any person who satisfies the presiding officer that he is a Christian and either a Syrian or an Armenian.
.- I am pleased that the Government have seen fit to preserve, under this clause the very best traditions of our Empire, notwithstanding that we are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the German nation, and that the franchise is not to be taken from those naturalized Germans who may have relatives at the front fighting for us, either in the Army or Navy, or on the nursing staffs. With regard to such naturalized German subjects as have been deprived of their voting privileges, it has to be borne in mind that they enjoy a dual nationality by reason of provisions made in Germany that they retain their citizen rights of that country, notwithstanding their residence here, and the fact that they have hitherto held full citizenship rights in Australia. I have had a long and intimate acquaintance with men of German ancestry, and I am glad to know that this Bill contains no provision challenging the bona fides of any Australianborn Germans such as were included in the provisions under which the referendum was taken. If honorable members visit portions of the district which I represent, they will find many names of German ancestry on the honour rolls, and find, also, the names of many who had given their lives in the service of our country. It would be un-British, and un-Australian, therefore, if their relatives here were disfranchised by this measure. There is another matter to which I desire to refer, in all fairness to these people. In the early stages of the war, enlistment of many Australian-born Germans was refused. If the policy of the Government of that day had been more clearly defined, there certainly would have been a greater enlistment. I am pleased that, on the whole, the Government have taken a broad view, and have only disfranchised those who have a dual nationality under which they may claim to be German citizens as well as Australian citizens. I know that, even under this provision, some who in their hearts are by adoption good Australians will be disfranchised ; but anomalies are bound to occur. The Government have done well in upholding the best traditions of our Empire by dealing out even-handed justice to all our citizens.
– In order to widen the scope of the clause, I move -
That in paragraph 2. the words “ and was naturalized “ be left out.
Amendment agreed to.
– There is also another slight amendment. The honorable member for Maranoa mentioned that it would be difficult for the Divisional. Returning Officer in his division to supply the necessary papers. I therefore move -
That in paragraph 3, after the word “ Officer,” first occurring, the words “ or, if prescribed by the electoral registrar “ be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I point out that paragraph 6 of sub-clause 4 makes no provision for the franchise to be extended to the father or mother of a son who may have volunteered, but has been rejected. Would it not be possible to add after “ Forces “ the words “or who has volunteered to enlist in the Forces, and has been rejected”?
– That is a point which I have raised.
– The Bill will not affect me at the coming election for reasons known to honorable members, but I would point out that at the commencement of the war specific instructions were given to the military authorities to refuse to allow Australian Germans to enlist, and even now before an Australian of German descent is accepted he must get from a confidential committee a certificate signed by a majority that he is a loyal person. Every obstacle has been thrown in the way of Australians of German descent enlisting, and it is not rightthat the parents of those who have offered their services should be punished. The naturalization paper that was granted to my father is dated 1858,twelve years before the present German Empire was established, and my own naturalization-paper, which I took out in order to remove all doubt upon the matter, dates back thirty years. So far as my rights under this Bill are concerned, if I did not happen to be the father of sons who are doing their duty to Australia - I cannot understand how any Australian can have doubts as to what his duty to Australia and the Empire is in connexion with this war - I would be disfranchised, and might just as well tear up my naturalization papers. I would like to see the amendment which I have suggested adopted. The risk will not be so great as the Minister thinks. The honorable member for Parkes, who always raises the tone of a debate, and who does not speak often enough, talked of 130,000 naturalized subjects. His figures were not correct. There are not more than 33,000 Germans in the Commonwealth, though there may be 100,000 native born of German descent, whose rights are not interfered with under this Bill. I hope that the Minister will accept the amendment.
– I can accept the amendment if it is limited to those who have been rejected as medically unfit.
.- The limitation proposed by the Minister would not cover those who volunteered during the period of indecision on the part of the military authorities. At one time the Defence Department would not accept as a member of the Expeditionary Forces any man of German parentage. Many persons have appealed to me to arrange for their enlistment because they had been rejected on those grounds. If the limitation suggested by the Minister is adopted it means the exclusion of the parents of those who offered to go to the front, but who were rejected, not on the ground that they were medically unfit, but for other reasons which do not now hold good.
– Have they not gone to the front since then ?
– I do not know, but when they returned to their districts they were taunted with the fact that they were not regarded as fit to serve the Empire.
– It has been inferred that my objection prevented provision being made for the voting of the people that the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Lilley refers to, but 1 contend that this sub-clause is the better place for an amendment in the direction desired. I agree with the objection that the honorable member for Wannon has raised, that the limitation proposed by the Minister will exclude those who were rejected for other reasons than medical unfitness. The fact of their having offered their services should be accepted as proof of their bona fides.
– I am agreeable to an amendment extending the provisions of the sub-clause to those who have offered their services, and have been rejected as medically unfit.
– That will be too restrictive !
– It will be difficult to go further. I cannot know on what grounds men have been rejected. I sympathize with the honorable member in regard to those who have offered their services and have been rejected for some inadequate reason. At the same time many have been rejected for reasons that cannot be mentioned. I move -
That after the word “ Forces.” first occurring in paragraph 4(6), the words “or who has applied for enlistment as a member of the Forces, and has been rejected as medically unfit,” be inserted.
.- I desire to know whether this is the broadest form which the amendment can take.
– I think that it is in the circumstances. Other words would include more than we intend.
– I recognise that in connexion with the conscription referendum, where the vote might have affected the issue the Government to a certain extent might have been justified in placing every possible restriction on this class of persons voting, taking it for granted that every German or person of German descent in the community would naturally vote against conscription. But this provision deals with an altogether different issue, and that is an issue between two parties. While there is a difference of opinion amongst members of the House as to which party will do the most to win the war, I think that the average member recognises, and the public recognise, that it will not matter a great deal which party comes back to power after the general election; in other words, that whichever party prevails, it will simply continue the war policy which is in operation to-day. Therefore there is not that absolute necessity for the safeguard which may have operated at the time of the conscription referendum. With all consideration for the honorable member for Lilley, I wish to say that I have many friends interested in the war. Out of all the families with which I directly come in contact, that which has the greatest representation at the war is a German family. Of the five sons who volunteered, one was rejected, and the other four are at the front. One of them has risen from the position of a private to that of a lieutenant for services rendered on the field. The clause practically provides that a German family in order to be entitled to vote must have done something to prove that they are loyal - that is to say, a member of the family must either have offered his services!, and have been rejected as medically unfit, or his services must have been accepted and rendered. According to the Government’s view in this Bill, that is taken as a practical display of loyalty. But let us take the other point of view, because the provision cuts in another direction. It does not apply to Australian-born or British-born people, but it is taken as a test of the loyalty of the German. Suppose that a German has been livinghere for many years, and shown that he is loyal, and, perhaps, a good citizen of the community, and that he has no sons. No matter how valuable a citizen he may be, because of the fact that he has no son who could volunteer, and because he is over age himself and cannot offer his services, he is disfranchised. That is an anomaly in the Bill. While, as I say, there might have been a justification for the provision, because of the nature of the last proposal submitted to the people, the same reason for disfranchisement does not exist in the present situation.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Glynn) proposed -
That after the word “ Forces,” second occuring in paragraph 4(b), the following words be inserted: -“ or of a person who has so applied and been rejected.”
.- Is there any need for inserting the provision in paragraph c? Has the Minister considered how many persons it applies to ? If I am not altogether wrong in my estimate, it does not apply to six men in all Australia.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to.
Clause 13 -
The validity of any election shall not be questioned on the ground of anything done or omitted to be done under this Act, or on the ground of any omission or irregularity in connexion with the administration of this Act, or on the ground that for any reason whatever it is found impracticable for any member of the Forces to record his vote.
.- On the motion for the second reading, I raised a question as to the extraordinary nature of this clause. I presume that what it means is that,in the event of perhaps a few votes being omitted to be taken or being lost in the case of Forces oversea, it will not disqualify an election. The ballot-box might be on a vessel which might be submarined. Is it not possible to make some modification of the clause, because it says that, although practically anything may be done, yet it is to be valid ?It is the most extraordinary provision I have ever seen in a measure, and I want to know whether it is absolutely necessary that it should be left in its present wide form.
Mr. GLYNN (Angas - Minister for not think that there is any danger. Of course, we shall have to see that the administration of the Act is strictly carried out. The clause covers, in the first place, the ordinary requirement that a person must not do anything on the ballot-paper which would identify the voter, and make it irregular. It does not raise any of the questions which were disputed in the case of the honorable member for Riverina. In a case like this, where we have to deal with such exceptional conditions, with men on the field of battle practically, we do not know what might destroy the rights which men have under the Electoral Act. We do not want the validity of an election to be affected by any question which may be raised.
– In another part of the Bill we practically tell the Electoral Officer that he will have power under the doctrine of military necessities.
-We cannot apply this provision except subject to military necessities.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 14 -
On the day appointed as polling day for an election of the Senate or a general election of the House of Representatives, no referendum or vote of the electors of any State, or part of a State, shall be taken under the law of a State.
.- I think that it would be wise to drop this clause. I admit that, generally speaking, it would be a good provision if it were included in the Electoral Act. I know that the Queensland Local Option Act, provides that a poll shall be taken on the same day as the Senate election, in 1916, or as soon thereafter as it can be taken. The result of this provision will be that we shall be deprived of the use of the schools throughout the State to conduct our poll on election day.
– Which poll do you mean ?
– The State Government will insist upon the use of their schools to conduct the local option poll.
– No; if this clause is carried, they cannot take a referendum on that day.
– How are you going to stop them ?
– I do not think that this provision is going to invalidate the Queensland provision for taking the Queensland local option poll. I believe that the State Government will hold the poll, whatever we provide. We cannot override the State Act. We can stop the State Government from taking a poll in our booths, but they will be masters of the situation, as they own most of the booths in the State. I throw out the hint for the consideration of the Minister.
.- I do not intend to argue the value of the clause. I think that it is very often wise to keep our election apart from State matters. Sometimes the States, in their desire to hold a referendum on a knotty question, will arrange for a poll to be taken on our election day, but they are not so anxious to have a referendum taken on the day of their own elections, whether it is a liquor referendum or any other kind. I ask the Minister whether we have the power to say that no State referendum shall be taken. The States, as sovereign bodies, have the right to make their own laws in respect of certain matters.
– I do not think that this clause, by itself, would give us the power. It is part of something which may give us the power.
– It might be possible under the War Precautions Act to issue a regulation to prevent the State Government taking a referendum.
– We have made a friendly request that they should not do it, and I think it will be granted.
– If so, why put this clause in to irritate them?
– It is unwise to pass legislation that we have no power to enforce. The State Governments possess the State schools and other places used as polling booths, and we have no machinery to prevent them holding their referenda on a Senate polling day. If we have no power to stop them, it is worse than useless to attempt to pass this clause. Is it intended to pass any legislation afterwards to punish the State Government for contravening this clause ? If not, it had better be left out.
– The Queensland Act specifies that the vote shall be taken on the date of the Senate election. If we enforce this clause we invalidate the State Act, and cause domestic trouble in Queensland. I told the Premier of Queensland that I did not believe in holding local option polls on election days. I am against the clause, because it puts the Commonwealth in the. ridiculous position of passing legislation which it has no power to enforce, and on which the State Government may defy us.
.The clause is not intended to have any coercive influence upon the discretion of the Queensland Government. I have full expectation that they will help us out of any difficulty that would be created by taking, perhaps, two referenda on the” same day.
– If the clause is not intended to be mandatory, why is it included.
– We wanted to have a power in reserve, which I do not say is needed. I do not say that it is adequate by itself, but it could be supplemented, if necessary, in war-time by something which would make it adequate. The Queensland Legislature passed an Act declaring that on our polling days they may take a referendum on certain things. On more than one occasion we have asked them not to hold a referendum. Three or four years ago, I think we made that request. We are putting in a statutory request, whereas they have put in practically a statutory mandate to their electors.
– Would this clause invalidate their referendum if they held it?
– I believe by itself it would not be sufficient, but if we were driven to pass something else we might be able to prevent it being done. I do not think there is the slightest chance of this happening. We have made a request, which I think will be complied with.
– I move -
That the following words be added, “ unless such referendum was provided for prior to 15th March, 1917.”
I amjust as anxious as is the Minister to avoid contentious questions being settled on election day, but the Queensland Liquor Act distinctly provides for taking a poll on our next Senate election day.
– The Queensland Government passed a similar Act before 1915, and their attention was drawn to it, so that the obligations of courtesy have not been exhausted.
– I am afraid the clause will lead to friction.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 15 -
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That after the word “ Senate “ the words “ or for the House of Representatives “ be inserted.
– There is no reference to the polling day itself, which is the most likely day for a candidate to die. If he dies after nomination, and before the polling day, all is well, but if he dies on polling day itself, God help the country!
– I move -
That after the word “ dies “ the words “ or becomes disqualified “ be inserted.
This would provide for cases of unforeseen disqualification by madness or bankruptcy. The Electoral Commission recommended an amendment of the Act to make provision in the event of the death or disqualification of a candidate.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 16 agreed to.
Clause 17 (Regulations). ,
.- I desire to ask the Minister whether arrangements will be made through the Electoral Office for the appointment and payment of the scrutineers who are to act for the respective parties overseas?
– If any scrutineers are paid on behalf of the Ministerialists, the scrutineers on behalf of the Opposition will also be paid. It is an exceptional time, and, therefore, there may be some payment. There will be no preference to either side.
Clause agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be inserted: - “ 16a. Nothing in the War Precautions Act or in any regulations under that Act as existing at present, or in any amendment of those regulations, shall apply to this Act.”
Under the clause to which we have just agreed, the Government have ample power to frame any regulations consistent with this measure. I submit this new clause with the object of preventing a recurrence of what happened in connexion with the military service referendum, when, at the last moment, regulations were sought to be introduced to prevent men from exercising the franchise. The Minister assures me that nothing will be done in that direction on the present occasion, but I want to make doubly sure of that by inserting this provision in the Bill itself.
– I would advise the Minister to be very careful of this proposed new clause. It is possible that our troops at the front may be flooded with literature containing all sorts of false statements that may be detrimental to the proper exercise of the franchise. That might be done by honorable members of the Opposition. Our knowledge of what they did in connexion with the military service referendum makes us believe that they will not be too particular in that respect. If they resort to such practices it will be nearly time for the authorities to intervene. The Imperial authorities may object to a poll being taken if the men at the front are inundated with leaflets comprising all sorts of tall electioneering yarns. They may say, “ This sort of thing interferes with tie discipline of the Imperial Forces.” I, therefore, urge the Government to allow themselves freedom of action, and not to tie themselves up. There is a desire, I believe, on the part of the Government to have a fair deal, and we have as much right to accepttheir assurance as we have to accept those of honorable members opposite. The Government should be free to protect the best interests of the country.
– The remarks just made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh are the best possible justification we could have for the proposed new clause. The suggestion he has made comes well from a member of a party which circulated freely, and through most unfair channels, electioneering literature during the last referendum, and prevented honorable members of our party from getting a word into the trenches. The Prime Minister and the Postmaster-General went so far as to prevent an official communication from the Government of Queensland reaching our men.
– I had nothing to do with the matter. The censor dealt with it. The honorable member knows that.
– The statement happens to be true so far as it applies to the honorable member’s Department.
– An official cable was lodged with the Postal Department by the Premier of Queensland. The military censor probably prevented its despatch, but that action could have been taken only after some consultation with the Postmaster-General.
– Nothing of the kind. The censor is there to see to such matters.
– Can he interfere with the honorable member’s Department ?
– In such matters he can.
– Then the honorable member’s responsibility is very small. Those who were opposed to conscription were not allowed to get a word to the ears of the soldiers, while those who favoured conscription used unfair methods, and indulged in the most unreasonable and, in some cases reprehensible, practices in getting their views before them. It is our bitter experience of the use of the War Precautions Act in this respect that urges us to propose this amendment. With the honorable member for Angas in charge of the Electoral Department, we have a fair chance, and his assurances must carry considerable weight. But we have to count upon the possibility of the men who arein charge of the War Precautions Act being determined to get their own way by hook or by crook. There must be some protection against that sort of thing. The Minister will admit that there is ho matter concerning which we should Be more careful than the administration of our electoral system.
– I assume our sense of what is right will be quite sufficient, without any amendment such as this.
– I am prepared to trust the Minister for Home and Territories; but he is not every one. The Prime Minister may deal with this matter, or try to deal with it, as he did when Senator Russell was in charge of the Electoral Office. That honorable gentleman was a mere automaton in the hands of the Prime Minister, who was not only the Prime Minister, but the whole Cabinet. The Prime Minister must necessarily take precedence, and exercise control over all his Ministers. I should have liked to see a provision that each side should be allowed to present their views in a small pamphlet, to be freely circulated.
– What is the use of that?
– If the views of the honorable member for Hindmarsh. are to be accepted as an indication of the feeling on that side of the House, this Bill is no protection to us on this side.
– The honorable member has said some strong things himself !
– We on this side say strong things because we have had to suffer strong things. Was there ever any attempt to interfere with the electoral privileges of the people equal to that at the military service referendum ? We seek no favours, but only a fair field ; and I think that a majority of honorable members opposite ask no more. What protection have we?
– Without this Bill you have no protection under the war powers.
– I know.
– Why try to stultify the war powers?
– The War Precautions Act is a general power, but this is a specific and particular measure. The War Precautions Act can override this Bill.
– And any amendment that you place in it.
– That is not so.
– The War Precautions Act can override everything in the Bill.
– We take from a general power one specific power relating to a particular matter. Does the Minister in charge of the Bill agree to the suggestion that, if this provision be inserted, the War Precautions Act can override a provision as to a particular thing?
– Of course it will be a limitation of the War Precautions Act.
– From the farreaching power of the War Precautions Act here is one matter which we take out, and so protect this Bill, which is for a special purpose, from any subsequent interference. Otherwise, we have only the word of the Minister between us and a repetition of what took place at the military service referendum; and that is not good for the country, the people, or the Parliament.
– If I thought that this proposal was honestly put forward I would vote for it. But we find an attempt being made merely to insult the Prime Minister. I do not say that in any heat; but I do not think this is -a fair deal. There are only two honorable members on the Opposition benches, so that the matter cannot be of much importance to the party. They know as well as anybody that, whatever may be the matter in dispute between them and the Prime Minister and the late Government, the Prime Minister and themselves are in conflict as to the facts. They now ask us to- place on record, by amendment, that the Prime Minister’s word is not to be taken. That is a degrading proposal in a Bill of this kind, and. for my part, I shall have absolutely nothing to do with it.
– Will the Minister state specifically that we will be protected in some way.
– I cannot for a moment assume that there will be any interference, and I do not see why we should pass this amendment. Apart from its direct significance, it would place a limit on our general powers which have no relation to the Bill at all.
Proposed new clause negatived.
.- My desire is that the names of the candidates may be placed on the ballot-papers.
– We cannot possibly accept that amendment.
– There is nothing in the Bill to declare that the names of the candidates have to be sent to the men at the front, or that they have to be sent to any one. There are over 100,000 men in the trenches and in camp overseas, and they do not know the divisions in this particular Parliament. I move -
That the following words be inserted after the heading “ Schedule - “ There Shall be inserted’ on the ballot-paper the names of the candidates for the various electorates.”
The ballot-paper should be exactly the same as that provided for in our Electoral Act. Members take care that the ballot-papers for their own electorates contain the names, and yet they deny the information to men 12,000 miles away.
– What the honorable member proposes is quite feasible in the constituencies, because every person in certain areas is voting for the same candidates. But with a regiment reinforced from twenty or thirty electorates, how can the ballotpapers be allotted?
– I propose that the names shall be . placed on the ballot-papers.
– Do you not think that you would arrive at the result in a more efficient way by getting the Minister to undertake to see that a list is sent to every unit with the names of the candidates of the various electorates?
– There is nothing in the Bill to provide for that, and the regulations are not here.
– I think that if the Minister gives an assurance to that- effect, we may take it. If we start handing out individual ballot-papers with the names of candidates for each electorate, we shall get into hopeless confusion at the front. The only way is for the Minister, by regulation, to provide that a full advertisement of all the candidates be sent to the troops oversea.
– As the honorable member for Wentworth has put the matter so clearly, it is not necessary for me to say more. Only to-day I was in communication with the officers as to the style of the lists. The names will be cabled, and there will be perfect identification of every candidate. There will be scarcely a group of more than a few who will not have them.
– Will it be possible for every person who so desires to see the list ?
– Yes; and if the honorable member can suggest the form of that list, I shall be pleased to consult with him.
– Will the list which the Minister suggests shall be issued show upon its face the party to which each candidate belongs?
– As a matter of fact, this Bill will give electors oversea more information than they could otherwise get in the circumstances. If they wish to take advantage of the group system, they will be in a position to do so.
– Is it not possible, in the second part of the schedule, to give an elector an opportunity of voting for an individual candidate instead of a “Ministerialist” or “ Oppositionist “?
– The honorable member may rest assured that if an elector names three candidates for the Senate; his vote will be effective.
– The schedule provides that if a man desires to vote for a candidate other than a “Ministerialist” or “ Oppositionist “–
– I can assure the honorable member that I appreciate his point. But if the schedule is not clear enough. I will undertake to make it clearer.
– Is it not intended to allow an elector to write the name of the candidate for whom he wishes’ to vote on the list, instead of putting “Ministerialist” or “Oppositionist”?
– Yes. This is an additional opportunity which is provided.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing Orders suspended;’ report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) agreed to -
That the House at its rising adjourn until half-past 2 o’clock p.m. to-day.
Business of the House.
Motion (by Sir John Forrest) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.Is it the intention of the Government to transact any business to-day other than any which may be returned from the Senate ?
– There are two or three little Bills which I am anxious to get through.
– What are they?
– There is nothing in them. One is the Sugar Purchase Bill.
– Will not that measure open up the question of the expenditure of £500,000?
– Is it the intention of the Government to complete the consideration of the business of the House to-day?
– I believe so. The Bills which we have to consider will not occupy much time, and if they do, we will not go on with them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.37 a.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 March 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1917/19170315_reps_6_81/>.