7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
. -(By leave). - Viscount Jellicoe, who is visiting Australia, with the consent of the Admiralty authorities, and at the request of the Commonwealth Government, is in Melbourne to-day, to present his report to the Government. He will leave for Sydney to-night, so that this is his farewell visit to Melbourne. I desire to move, with the unanimous consent of the House -
That Admiral Viscount Jellicoe be provided with a seat on the floor of the House.
– I second the motion. Question- resolved in the affirmative.
Possibility of Settlement - Food Shortage in North Queensland.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister any intimation to make with reference to the possibility of an early termination of the seamen’s strike?
– I have had to-day a conversation with my honorable colleague, Senator Millen, who is in charge of this matter, and he informs me that the Central Council of the Seamen’s Federation is in consultation in Melbourne to-day. He is hopeful of an early termination of the struggle; but beyond that I am not entitled to go at this stage.
– I have received to-day seven telegrams, one of which I may be permitted to read as indicating the character of the whole of them. It is as follows : -
Ingham, Queensland, 3.20 p.m.
No flour procurable here, other foodstuffs almost exhausted, general and isolation hospitals here full influenza patients; no butter procurable. Cane cutting proceeding and two mills crushing, storage space scarce, resulting early stoppage mills; position veryserious throughout district.Request you urge Government immediately endeavour relieve situation.
Chairman Hinchinbrook Shire.
Having regard to the serious position disclosed, will the Acting Minister for the Navy explain why it is that the Chillagoe, the only vessel available to carry foodstuffs to North Queensland, is to be taken off the trade in order to load locomotives at Maryborough for Port Augusta?
– If the honorable member will give notice of his question, I will obtain the information for him. No one appreciates more than I do the situation in Queensland at the present time. The honorable member is aware of the abnormal conditions at present obtaining. We hope at any moment to be able to relieve the situation, and as the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) has already said in the House, as soon as the opportunity arises those places most acutely affected by the trouble will be the first to be relieved.
– In regard to the proposed amendment of the Electoral Act, will the Minister for Home and Territories say what objection he has to taking the House into his confidence on the question of whether the Government propose to provide for proportional representation, or for preferential voting, in connexion with elections to the Senate?
– I think that the honorable member must mean that he desires to keep the House in my confidence. I cannot at present tell him the form of the Bill, because it is not yet finalized and drafted.
Adjournment of the House.
– Last week honorable members on both sides asked for an early intimation as to the intentions of the Government with regard to the sittings of the Parliament in view of the early re- turn of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). I promised to announce at the earliest possible moment the decision of the Government. I have now to state that, in order to allow time for consultation between the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, it is proposed that Parliament shall rise for a week. Both Houses will, therefore, adjourn on Friday, 29th August, until Wednesday, 10th September.
Preference to Returned Sailors and Soldiers
– Will the Acting Prime Minister state whether the Government will give Parliament an opportunity this session to amend the Public Service Act, with a view to granting the fullest preference to sailors and soldiers who have seen active service?
– I am not quite convinced that such an amendment is necessary; hut it is hoped by the Government that a general revision of the Public Service Act will be possible before the end of the session. If it is, that will provide the opportunity to which the honorable member refers.
– Has the Acting Minister for the Navy yet received a reply from the British Admiralty regarding the request of the Government for the extension of clemency to’ those whowere sentenced by the court martial on H.M.A.S. Australia? ‘
– I have no further answer than that which I gave last week, when I stated that the Admiralty were awaiting the receipt ofthe papers in regard to the court martial. I am expecting at any time to receive a further reply to the appeal made by the Government.
– In view of the fact that a great many returned soldiers are out of work, will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation state whether his Department’ is prepared to grant all such men out of work a sustenance allowance until employment can be secured for them?
– If the honorable member will give notice of his question, I shall be able to place it before the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen), and -to secure for him an official reply. We are now providing sustenance for a very large number of returned soldiers out of work. I am not aware that any of them are not provided for.
– In view of the rather unfavorable seasonal conditions, and the congestion of meat in the freezing chambers in most of the States, will the Government use every effort to secure insulated space to accommodate the abnormal supplies of mutton and lamb that are likely to come forward during the next few months?
– Every effort in that direction has been made. The Government will not relax its endeavours to get a proper outlet for the frozen meat that is awaiting export; and we shall do what we can to get the requisite insulated tonnage.
– Will the Government immediately convene a conference of State Premiers to discuss and deter-‘ mine whether the States will voluntarily surrender all powers necessary to enable the Commonwealth Parliament to comprehensively deal with the increased cost of living and profiteering ?
– The Government has under consideration the question of profiteering in its relation to the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth and the States, but I frankly say that I have not’ much faith in a conference such as the honorable member suggests. Even when the Commonwealth has been able to persuade a number of leading State thinkers to take a certain view, it has proved a matter of considerable difficulty to secure unanimity in the counsels of the States.
Remission of Fines - Ration Allowance - Canteen Profits - Reduction of Sentences
– Will the Assistant Minister for Defence favorably consider the question of remitting the fines of members of the Australian Imperial Force who remained with their units while they were completing their sentences?
– I shall submit that matter to the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell).
– Will the Assistant Minister for Defence order the payment of ration allowance to members of the Australian Imperial Force Pay Corps, who have not received such pay while on recreation leave ?
– I shall submit the honorable member’s request to the Acting Minister.
– In connexion with the disposal of canteen and regimental funds of the Australian Imperial Force, will the Government consider the advisability of requesting from the Imperial Government a share of the accumulated profits, amounting to approximately £6,000,000 in the British canteen funds, which were largely contributed to by members of the Australian Imperial Force ?
– The matter will receive consideration.
– Has the Defence Department yet considered the desirability of reducing some of the long sentences imposed upon members of the Australian Imperial Force overseas, and which are now being served in Australian prisons ?
– The matter was considered, and a scheme was announced to Parliament. The punishment for all purely military offences was remitted entirely, and in respect of offences of a civil character a remission of so many weeks for each year of the sentence was allowed.
– Has a publicity officer in connexion with the projected Peace loan been appointed ? If so, were applications for the position called for from returned soldiers?
– May I, without invidious distinction, congratulate the honorable member on having asked a question for the first time since he entered Parliament.. I am sorry that he has broken for the time being his exceptional and good example.
– He knew all the rest without being told.
– That shows what a clairvoyant mind the honorable member for Fawkner must have. I am not aware whether a publicity officer has been appointed,but I assume the same arrangements have been made in connexion with the Peace loan as with former loans. I shall ascertain what steps have been taken, and inform the honorable member.
– I ask the Acting Prime Minister how far the prohibition against the importation and sale of certain books during the war has been removed? A number of my friends are anxious to take out of the cellars some books which have been getting mildewed during the war.
– It would improve some of the books of which I am aware if they did get mildewed. I cannot answer the question offhand, hut shall do so if the honorable member gives notice of it.
– Will the Government decide as early as possible their policy in regard to the grant to rifle clubs? They are within a few weeks of the annual shooting competitions, and they desire to make their arrangements according to the funds that will be available.
– I understand that the matter is receiving the close attention of the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell). I shall submit the honorable member’s question to him at once.
– In view of the termination of hostilities and the special condition contained in the Imperial wool contract, will not the position now he that all the unsold wool in the Old Country, amounting to 1,250,000 bales of the last clip and the forthcoming clip, be sold on the joint account of the Imperial Government and the Australian growers, thus enhancing the return to the growers?
– Speaking offhand, I should imagine that the terms of the contract mean that as there will be less military requirements for the coming year there will be a larger civilian issue of wool. Therefore there will be more wool subject to the higher price, if any, than to the flat rate. I may go further, and, speaking in the same way, say that if the price rises, or if the price keeps up, it will be of great advantage to the wool-grower, whose wool is either in the Pool to-day or will be next year. But it depends entirely on what happens to the market, and I doubt whether either the honorable member or any of the wool kings can predict with certainty what will happen to the wool market in 1920.
– A fortnight ago the Acting Prime Minister promised to tell us when the instalments for the 1915-16 and the 1916-17 wheat would be paid, and we were also told that a general statement would be made as to the position of the Pool. When will that statement be forthcoming ?
– The general statement to which I referred has already been published, showing the payment position and the overdraft position. Whether the Government will be able to make a further payment on the earlier Pool depends, as I explained formerly, on when we get paid for the £10,000,000 or £11,000,000 worth of wheat recently sold. This matter is not yet cleared up in the correspondence between the Imperial Exchequer and the Commonwealth Treasury;but we secured an advance of £2,500,000 at the latter end of July in anticipation of a settlement being made agreeable to both parties. When the . payment question is cleared up, the Government will be able to see ahead and determine what payments can be safely made.
– Is the Acting Prime Minister aware that commission agents are buying up all available canned fruit, with a view to exporting it? If this be true, will he see that sufficient supplies are available for home consumption ?
– This is really a question, I should say, for the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), who is now on. his way to Queensland.
– I wish you could tell us where we can sell the canned fruit.
– I think the proper thing would be for the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. McWilliams) to seek to do business with the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Wallace), and thus settle the matter. Probablythe honorable member for Henty (Mr. Boyd) wouldact as broker without commission. I do not know anything of the facts of the case, and certainly I am not prepared to promise that this Government will wade into the fruit market, and buy enough supplies for the people.
– Is the Minister for Works and Railways aware that there is a dispute on the East- West railway, and that it has been threatened that if matters are not adjusted before the end of the month there will be a strike? Will the honorable gentleman endeavour to settle the present difficulty, so that we may not have a repetition of the circumstances of the seamen’s strike?
– The matter the honorable member refers to is in the hands of the Railway Commissioner at the present time.
– I have received several complaints from members of the Naval Forces in Western Australia about delay in the payment of deferred pay. Will the Acting Minister for the Navy see that the position is rectified?
– On inquiry into complaints of the kind it has been found that theblame is not altogether attributable to the Department. In the case of some of the men a considerable amount of deferred pay has been for some sixty days in the bank; and unless they give the Department addresses it is difficult to know where to send it. Money has been posted to Western Australia, and, apparently, the men have not received it. If the honorable member will give me any particular case I shall have it inquired into at once.
– Is it true that a Royal Commission, consisting of Judge Murray,. Mr. Atlee Hunt, and Mr. Lucas, has been appointed to inquire into the administration of ex-German New Guinea ? If so, why was Parliament not consulted before the Commission was appointed?
– It is true that a Royal Commission has been appointed to deal, in advance, with the system of government and other matters in connexion with outlines already considered by the Cabinet. This is not a matter which at present can be submitted to Parliament, but as soon as a Bill is ready, Parliament will be consulted by the submission of that Bill.
– Last Friday, on the adjournment, I called attention to the bad food supplied to the troops on the Port Lyttleton. Have any inquiries been made, or have the Government any information in refutation of my statement?
– According to a promise, I sent the matter for the immediate consideration of the Department concerned, but, at this stage, I am not able to say what the result is. Unfortunately, the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department has been seized with sudden illness, and the officehas become dislocated a little. I shall endeavour to get the information to-day or to-morrow.
– Will the Government, during the recess, consider the introduction of a Usury Bill?
– I cannot say whether the Government can pledge itself to that course, because I have had no opportunity of conferring with the Cabinet. I should require evidence that the functions discharged by the States in this connexion are ineffective before I felt that the Commonwealth was called on to interfere. I should also have to be assured that we were constitutionally entitled to act in such a matter.
– Has work yet been resumed in connexion with the telephone conduits for the Postal Department, or is there likely to be a resumption at an early date, so as to absorb a large number of the unemployed?
– The work has been temporarily delayed on account of the action of a few bricklayers’ labourers, but a settlement has been, or is about to be, made in the dispute, and work will be resumed at an early date.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Referring to the sale of a cargo of 7,500 tons of flour sent from Western Australia to Egypt at £27 10s. per ton -
What was the rate of freight?
What was paid for insurance and commission ?
What was the average rate per flour ton paid to millers by the Western Australian Wheat Scheme for gristing the wheat from which this flour was made?
Was it shipped ex store at North Fremantle, or from trucks ex mills, and what were the handling charges and cost of shipping?
What was the net equivalent per bushel of wheat to the grower, taking £27 10s. per long ton of flour, less freight, insurance, commission, handling, and shipping charges?
What was the rate per bushel of wheat paidby a Western Australian miller on the last cargo of flour shipped from Fremantle to Egypt by the steamer MeikaiMaru on the 8th April last?
– The sale referred to was not made to Egypt. A sale to Denmark is probably referred to. In the interests of wheat-growers, it is not considered advisable to make public the details asked for. The wheat-growers’ representatives on the Australian Wheat Board are aware of the facts.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will the Government approve of the export of base metal ores from Western Australia forthwith, subject to the same being sent to approved countries?
– I appreciate the consideration shown by the honorable member in having held back this question on one or two occasions. The answer is as follows : -
The policy of the Government to have, as fur as practicable, all ores treated within the Commonwealth, is designed for the betterment of the Australian metal industry. If evidence is furnished that the conditions imposed are unnecessarily burdensome to any producers, by reason of . their geographical situation, the Government will investigate the matter with a view to the modification of the conditions in such special cases.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Whetherhe can inform the House when the restrictions that were imposed upon Germans and other alien subjects are likely to be removed ?
– It is impossible at this stage to reply, as the whole question of the policy of the Government with respect to aliens is under consideration.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Cost to Australia
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What amount. of money was paid abroad to soldiers and for war materials during the war and up to 30th Juno, 1919?
– The following are the approximate figures : -
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
SenatorE. J. Russell, representing the Commonwealth Government; Hon. W. C. Grahame, representing the Government of New South Wales; Hon. D. S. Oman, representing the Government of Victoria; Hon. A. H. Peake, representing the Government of South Australia; Hon. C. F. Baxter, representing the Government of Western Australia; and Messrs. R. S. Drummond, W. C. Hill, Clement Giles, and Sinclair J. McGibbon, representing the wheat-growers of the States of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.
The Australian Wheat Board -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Whether, in view of the early ratification of peace, it is proposed to discontinue the present . war postage tax, and whether negotiations are proceeding between the Treasury and Postal Departments in this connexion?
– This subject will be considered in connexion with the forthcoming Budget.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
The scheme will also apply to ex-service women, i.e., those who enrolled for whole-time Service for not less than six months in corps under the direction of the British Government. Two lady delegates sent out by the Imperial authorities are at present on their way to Australia to inquire into the prospects of openings for women.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1, 2, and 3. It is understood that eight entries have been received in England. The conditions have been’ drawn up by the Royal Aero Club in London, but the commencement of the flights has been delayed pending the selection of landing places between India and Australia.
War Gratuity: Proportion of NonCompulsory Members of Citizen Forces.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Whether the Government have yet reached a decision on the proposal to grant a cash war gratuity to members of the Australian Imperial Force?
– The matter is still under consideration.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Will he furnish information as to the number of men in the Australian Imperial Force who wore not compulsory members of the Citizen Forces?
Mr.WISE. - A record of the members of the Australian Imperial Force who were not compulsory members of the Citizen Forces has not been kept, and is not available. The returns rendered by commanding officers of Citizen Force units indicate that on 30th September, 1918, 41,815 trainees were serving with the Australian Imperial Force. This number does not include all the trainees who joined the Australian Imperial Force during the war, as those who were returned to Australia, or had been killed in action, are not shown in these returns from Citizen Force units. It is estimated that approximately 50,000 trainees joined the Australian Imperial Force. Deducting this number from the total embarkations, it is estimated that approximately 270,000 members of the Australian Imperial Force were not compulsory trainees of the Citizen Forces.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The necessary details are being obtained from the several States, and upon receipt will be furnished to the House.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will he inform the House of the retail price of the following goods for the years 1914-1919: - Kerosene,benzine, candles, washing soda, soap, flour, bread, oatmeal, rice, sago, salt, butter, cheese, jam, honey, fresh milk, condensed milk, eggs, meat and bacon, cotton threads, wool (knitting), firewood, coal, boots, and shoes?
– The information desired is being obtained.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, Nos. 188, 189.
Public Service Act -
Appointments, Promotions, &c. - F. W. Arnold, Postmaster-General’s Department.
H. R. J. Harris, C. Henry, A. J. Metcalfe, R. L. Park, F. W. A. Ponsford, and A. Paul, Department of Trade and Customs.
C. K. Johnston, Prime Minister’s Department.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, No. 194.
Trusts - Report of Committee on. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Debate resumed from 7th August (vide page 11380), on motion by Mr. Groom -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- As this Bill has already passed the Senate, honorable members are, to some extent, familiarwith its principal features; but I was disappointed at the speech of the Minister (Mr. Groom) who moved the second reading. He gave us very few details. He did not tellus what the Institute of Science and Industry would be likely to cost. This is also a defect of the Bill itself. It does not mention the salaries to be paid to the directors. The Minister has explained that other measures do not set forth the salaries payable to the officers appointed under them; but I may draw attention to the fact that in the . measure which created the High Court the salaries to be paid to the Justices were fixed, and that the Public Service Act fixes the salary of the Public Service Commissioner. I hope that, before this Bill leaves the Chamber, honorable members will express ‘ a strong opinion upon the point, and that provision will be made in it for the salaries to be paid to the directors of the Institute.
An outcry has been raised in certain quarters against the Bill. It is said that the Government and Parliament are about to bring into existence another big spending machine. I do not worry about the creation of a big spending Department if there is a prospect of getting value for the money to be spent; but it is important that we should know whether this Institute is to be a theoretical or a practical one.
– Essentially practical.
– We are told that the Institute is to be essentially practical. It is actually in existence to-day, although the Bill providing for its establishment is only now before us. Various appointments have been made in connexion with it, and we do not know whether those appointments are of a permanent or temporary character. Will the Minister state whether Dr. Gellatly’s appointment as director- is for a term of five years ?
– I will supply the honorable member later on with details as to the terms of his appointment.
– We know that he is to receive a salary of £1,250, and not £1,500 per annum, as previously stated; but before we pass this Bill we ought to be given information as to the various other appointments that have been made.
– I will supply the information.
– The Institute was at the embryo stage when I retired from the Labour Administration. Since then it has been expanding, and we find that it is now issuing a journal entitled Science and Industry.
– An excellent publication.
– Will it pay?
– It will return a thousandfold the money spent on it.
– It tells us how many spots there are on a rabbit.
– Quite so. In the latest number there is an excellent portrait of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), together with pictures of spotted native cats and striped ‘possums. We are told by the honorable member for New England (Lt.-Colonel Abbott) that this publication will pay handsomely. A few days ago I put a question to the Minister as to the number of copies printed and sold, and was informed that 2,000 copies of the first number, issued in May, and the second number, issued in June, were printed, while the July issue consisted of 1,500 copies. The Minister stated further that the cost of each copy was1s. 8½d., so that the May and June issues cost £170 each. Two hundred and fifteen copies of the- May . ‘ number and 288 of the June number were sold.
– That shows that the circulation is increasing.
– Yes. The cash in respect of the July issue amounted to £16 10s. Doubtless some societies and institutions have paid a year’s subscription in advance, but I could not understand any private individual doing so.
– Why not? Is it science or is it industry to which the honorable member objects?
– I have no objection to the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry, but if its work is to be on a par with the publication of this magazine - if it is to build up a huge staff to attend to such matters - I do not think it will pay or produce any good result. Nearly three years have elapsed since the holding of the preliminary conference at which the establishment of the Institute was discussed. Although the Bill has not yet been passed the Institute is already in existence.
– The Institute is not yet in existence. We have only an Advisory Council. The Institute will be an entirely differentorganization.
– What is it going to cost the Commonwealth, and what good ‘ will it do? In introducing the Bill the Minister dwelt on the value of production in Australia, and said that in the application of science to industry it was intended to 00-operate with the States. The States complain that we are not cooperating with them..
– New South Wales is already co-operating with the Commonwealth Advisory Council in regard to cue inquiry. In any event, the honorable member agrees that it is desirable to establish such an Institute.
– I do, but my complaint is that the Government have set about the work in the wrong way, since the Institute has been started as a theoretical rather than a practical organization. Greater use should also have been made of kindred State institutions already in existence. It is being said outside that the Institute is to consist merely of University professors and other theorists. Complaint is made that there is no provision for the appointment of any practical men to the staff.
– Who makes that complaint ?
– The man in the street, who has to bear the whole of the cost of such enterprises. We may rest assured that this will prove to be a huge Department. It is to have unlimited power, and is not to be answerable to any Minister.
– The honorable member is in error. The Bill provides that all powers exercised by the Institute shall be subject to the approval of the Minister.
– It is not to be under any Department, and will have unlimited power to spend money. Appointments made to its staff are to be outside the Public Service Act, and, should complaint be made in the House as to any appointment, it will be said that the Government have no right to attempt to dispense with the services of any member of the Institute’s staff. My fear is that this will not be a practical Department. So far nothing has been done to justify the expenditure already incurred by the Advisory Council of Science and Industry. The Minister has asked whether
I object to the creation of an Institute of Science and Industry. I do not, .but I complain that the Government have not followed the proper lines. The Institute should not have been established by the Government before the Parliament had been consulted. The same may be said as to the appointments that have already been made.
In the last issue of the Institute’s journal, Science and Industry , there is an article by Mr. A. S. Le Soeuf, entitled “Our Animals, from an Economic Stand-point.” In this article, the writer of which is a very capable man, reference is made to spotted native cats and striped possums. I do not know whether it is suggested that it might be found wise to establish here fur farms like those existing in Canada to-day. Having regard to the price of rabbit and ‘possum skins at the present time, it might pay to set up rabbit and ‘possum farms.
– In the last issue of the magazine we are at least furnished with more information as to the work of the Institute than was supplied to us by the Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Groom) in his introductory speech.
– Quite so; but I doubt whether we shall receive value for the money expended on this publication. Already we are nearly £400 to the bad.
– Any attempt to make science attractive by pictorial work will merely involve a huge expenditure without advancing research work.
– I agree with the honorable member that research work is allimportant; but I would remind him that some of the most valuable discoveries have been made by men who have received no assistance whatever from institutions of this character.
– The honorable member knows that many practical problems await investigation.
– I do. For instance, the investigation of bitter pit is a matter that has passed from Government to Government.
– Quite so, and United States of America scientists say that Dr. McAlpine’s work in that respect has carried the investigation further than ever it was before.
– I am glad to hear that statement. The Commonwealth has spent some £5,000 or £6,000 upon that investigation, whereas the Government of the United States of America has spent something like £250,000 upon it. If the Commonwealth has money to burn, it might very well go on establishing institutions of this character. Doubtless, there will be plenty of work for them to do. The Institute of Science and Industry can inquire into the means of dealing with various pests, from cane-grub to the blow-fly, and from bitter pit to the codlin moth.
The Bureau of Agriculture Bill was passed by this House, but rejected by the Senate. The principal complaint made against the measure was that, although there was much work to be done by such a Bureau, the Bill did not provide for adequate co-operation with the State institutions.
– The Bill did provide for co-ordination of the work of the Commonwealth and State institutions, just as this Bill does.
– On that point I should like to quote a letter written by the Premier of Queensland in regard to this measure -
Brisbane, 23rd September, 1918.
A Bill embodying the constitution of the Institute of Science and Industries is to be submitted to the Commonwealth Parliament early in the current session.
The executive committee of the present temporary Institute, which is not representative of the States or the varied interests which will be influenced by the establishment of the permanent Institute, recommended to the Prime Minister that the absolute control of the policy and funds of the permanent Institute should be vested in three highly qualified salaried directors, of whom one should be chairman, and that their tenure of office should be fixed by the Act for a lengthened period.
It has been recently announced by Dr. Gellatly that he has been appointed chairman of such directors, and that the status provided for the directors in the Bill was- almost as strong as that of High Court Judges.
No provision has been made in the direction of the policy or control of the funds in conjunction with the directors or otherwise, for the representation of the States or their educational, commercial, industrial, or other varied interests which will be influenced by this important institution.
What Mr. Ryan said is absolutely accurate so far as this Bill is concerned.
– What is the date of that letter ?
– Twenty-third September, 1918.
– The Bill was introduced! on the 25th September, two days after the letter was written.
– That reminds me of ex-Senator Ready’s resignation. A week before he was taken ill upstairs, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) wired to the Premier of Tasmania that Senator Ready was to be ill. Mr. Ryan is only one-third as smart as the Prime Minister was on that occasion.
– The Prime Minister may have given Senator Ready a little slow poisoning in advance.
– The poison was not given on this side of the House. If ever we get the opportunity, an inquiry will be held into that episode.
– It was rather deadly.
– It was absolutely rotten. The comments of Mr. Ryan, made on the 23rd September, are practically true of the Bill to-day. The Minister, in replying, will be able to show where Mr. Ryan has fallen into error. His letter continues -
I desire to bring under your notice that this State, and probably certain of the other States, do not agree with the proposals, and that it is essential that the States and the interests referred to should be adequately represented and possess some controlling influence in the councils of the permanent Institute, if established.
It has been announced that the Institute would establish bureaux of information in Sydney and Melbourne, and eventually in every capital of the Commonwealth, and that, in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s scheme of trade organization, three bodies had been created to work in unison, viz. : - The Institute of Science and Industry, the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, and the Federal Board of Trade. Whether all these institutions are to be constituted under the one Bill now proposed to be submitted to the Federal Parliament or under separate Bills has not been stated.
The report and recommendations which were made to the Prime Minister by the executive of the temporary Advisory Council of Science and Industry, and upon which the Bill embodying the proposed constitution is based, have neither been submitted for consideration or approval to the Government or any of the institutions of this State, nor to the State advisory committees of the temporary Institute, the members of which were appointed by Order in Council to safeguard State interests. Consequently, no opportunity has been afforded for a study of the proposed constitution.
The public are under the impression that such interests have been protected by their representatives on the State committees; but this is not so.
You will therefore recognise that, until the proposed draft Bill has been submitted, it is not possible to make any exhaustive criticism thereon.
Your consideration is particularly directed to the following matters when the Bill is introduced to Parliament : -
The necessity for due powers to States and interests in conjunction with the directors.
The limitation of the powers of the Institute of Science and Industry to research and investigation. It will readily be understood that, with a power to administer, there may be confusion with the authority of the States and useless expenditure of revenue.
The control in relation to investigation and research by the State so far as internal matters are concerned. The central control will inevitably be directed from Melbourne, with a probable lack of understanding of local circumstances that will tend to inefficiency, because it is reasonably obvious that there will be an absence of enthusiasm where the State has no part in the control. This State has spent, and is spending, money on scientific work, and it may be prejudicial if the Federal Government, through the offices of the proposed establishment, work in. antagonism to the State; and there is evidence of such intention.
Enclosed for your information is a precis of work done by this State in connexion with prickly-pear and the cattle tick which discloses large expenditure in varied directions, supported by legislative enactments, which have been prepared from time to time, to enable these problems to be more effectively dealt with. The difficulties experienced by any outside body not directly associated with the State Government or the institutions and interests in successfully dealing with intricate problems created from time to time are obvious.
Much has been attempted during the past three years by the temporary Institute of Science and Industry, but with little, if any, new results, beyond the holding of conferences and the compilation and distribution of pamphlets. The benefits likely to accrue to the State by the establishment of a permanent Institute are very obscure, and the proposed expenditure thereon is apparently not justified on the results attained by the initial establishment.
I have brought these matters under your notice in the hope that when the Bill is before the Federal Parliament you will feel disposed to use your influence to safeguard State interests.
– Since that was written the Queensland Government have agreed to co-operate with us in regard to prickly pear and cattle tick.
– Both are important subjects, but prickly pear is particularly the concern of Queensland and New South Wales.
– The whole of northern Australia may become affected.
– The prickly pear problem is more important to Queensland than to the rest of Australia. If the Commonwealth Government intend to undertake any investigation of any pest the State which is most concerned should be consulted. But, of course, if the Government are prepared to spend endless money for this or any other investigation
– We could not get a pound from the Postmaster- General the other day.
– There is plenty of money for this Institute. The Bill contains no word as to a limitation of expenditure, or as to the salaries of the persons to be appointed.
– If 1,000,000 acres is being over-run by the prickly pear each year, does not the honorable member consider that problem is a national one?
– I do ; but it is of more importance to one State than to all the others, and that State is conducting investigations.
– Queensland has spent thousands of pounds in investigating the prickly pear pest.
– And it is not yet solved.
– It will not be solved from Melbourne, anyhow.
– We do not propose to try to do that.
– This Institute will be a huge spending machine, and up to date it has given no evidence of practical work. Yet I am anxious to see the scheme succeed.
Bulletins dealing with various subjects have been issued by the Institute free of charge. One relates to gold deposition on the Bendigo gold-field. I do not know of what value that publication will be.
– The inquiry might be carried further. It is said that there is gold in sea-water. Of course, the getting of gold is an. important matter.
– I do not know that any gold-field in Australia has been found by theorists; all the discoveries have been done by the practical prospector.
– The application of science to gold-mining has’ been ‘of tremendous advantage.
– But this paper relates to gold depositions.
– The scientific mind is being brought to bear on the occurrence of gold deposits.
– Any man who backs the scientist in mining will pay all the time.
– Every honorable member has read most promising prospectuses regarding coal and gold and other mining propositions; but I do not know that any more promising prospectus has- ever been placed before the Australian public than this Bill. We are the directors for the people of Australia, who are the shareholders, and will pay the calls; but, unfortunately, they will not have the usual option of refusing to pay additional -calls. Once we pass this Bill, they will be callpayers for all time; and if we start the Institute on wrong lines, it will be difficult to rectify our error.
– It will be another blank cheque.
– We might repeal this measure later.
– Once it is passed, it will not be repealed.
– But, taking the Bill as a whole, what is wrong with it.
– The House should have heard from the Minister an estimate of the cost of this Institute.
– And there should have been a prearranged scheme with the States.
– Yes, there should have been co-operation with the States. The Minister said there would be coordination and co-operation. Of course there should. Take prickly pear, for instance
– We are co-operating with Queensland and New South Wales in regard to that matter.
– I am very glad to hear that. We should co-operate with the States in regard to cattle tick, also; and we should know what they are doing before we commence our investigations. We should then be in a position to say that we believe that what the States are doing is wrong. If we tell the States that we intend to step in and “boss “ the show, they will be more reluctant to co-operate in our scheme. I have always said that one of the practical obstacles in the way of an extension of Federal power is not on the part of the general public, but on the part of persons who are afraid that their positions will be shorn of status and power, if a Federal authority is set up.
– We shall have under this scheme two Ministers in charge, two sets of scientists, and two sets of officials.
– And, worst of all, we shall sometimes get conflicting policies.
– That is the trouble. We shall have three separate inquiries without co-operation - namely, by the States of Queensland and New South Wales, and the Commonwealth - three sets of expenditure, and, possibly, three divergent reports.
– As there is so much overlapping through scientists working independently, does not the honorable member think that this Institute will co-ordinate all their duplicated and conflicting efforts?
– It is certain that the State scientists who are working independently will be less likely to co-operate with us if we do not invite them to do so before embarking upon our own investigations.
– We shall have scientific research run mad.
– I am afraid of that. If this Institute has unlimited money to spend, there will be research in every direction.
– The Institute cannot have unlimited money to expend. It is for Parliament to say annually what money shall be expended, and that sum cannot be exceeded.
– The honorable member knows that ever since 1901 this House has had to deal with Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure.
– Parliament must approve of the Supplementary Estimates.
– How do we always pass the Estimates?
– We know that it is a common occurrence for pages of the Estimates to be passed en bloc at 3 o’clock in the morning.
– After a “ stone wall “ on nothing for about eighteen hours!
– I shall not contradict the honorable member. I can remember the honorable member for Echuca (Mr. Palmer) - whose absence through illness we all regret - “ stone-walling “ the Estimates at 4 o’clock in the morning; and honorable members opposite are as much to blame as any others for this sort of thing. The Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Groom), in his speech, did not indicate in the remotest degree what the salaries are to be or what is likely to be the ultimate expenditure on the Institute. I know that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), in one of his expansive moods, said that we were prepared to spend half-a-million on this work; but if there is to be this expenditure, it ought to be on some practical, and not a theoretical, object. In addition to investigations into cattle tick, prickly pear, and so forth, we often have others in reference to manufactures and industries; and in last night’s Herald we were told that some man in Adelaide has discovered how to drive high-power engines with alcohol. In all probability, however, this discovery would have been made if no institution of the kind had been in existence. I do not object to expenditure if the public get value in return. When I was Minister for Trade and Customs I was criticised for being instrumental in sending Dr. Norris around the world with a view to bringing our quarantine arrangements up-to-date, and also when Dr. Penfold was appointed to the serum laboratory; but in both cases the expenditure was fully justified by the results. I move -
That the following words be inserted after the word “ That “- “ before introducing a Bill to establish a Bureau of Science and “Industry, the Government should have furnished the House with an estimate of the approximate cost per annum of such an institution; and should also have made preliminary arrangements with the State Governments to avoid duplicating the existing State bureaux or work at present carried on by them.”
.- This Bill has had a rough passage elsewhere and in the press, largely because the appointment of the present Advisory Council has proved an unfortunate one. There have been some distinguished academicians and others holding more or less prominent positions appointed to the council, but they have not yet been able to accomplish anything of a thoroughly practical character so far as the more utilitarian science in its application to our primary and secondary industries is concerned. Of course, I am not in any way speaking of them personally, but only as to the work they have done, or started to do, in the direction mentioned. Much literature has been issued containing information .as to what might or might not have been done.. The “ village blacksmith “ attempted something, and did something, but that has not beeen the result in the case of the Advisory Council.
– They have “earned a night’s repose.”
– I think that when this Bill is passed they will have a more lengthy repose. Because of the failure that has attended the Advisory Council we have much destructive criticism of the present measure, but I am hopeful that the mistakes of the past will be rectified. Distinguished academicians have made it clear that they are unsuited for this directorate; and I venture to say the Government’, in the administration of this Bill, will not overlook the experience of the past.
Very strong criticism has been advanced owing to an anticipation that the work contemplated by this measure will result in a degree of overlapping. If that idea were well founded, a great deal might be said for it; but if honorable members peruse the Bill, they will see that such criticism is not warranted by the provisions of the Bill. The whole design, as shown in the words of the Minister (Mr. Groom), is cooperation and co-ordination; and this is no mere platitude, but expresses distinctly the intention and objective of the measure. There is no university, laboratory, or other .State scientific or technological agency that it is not contemplated shall be used ; and if we desire to achieve the best results, it must be in co-operation with the States by a process of organization. If the proper class of men is appointed, and it is possible to secure complete co-operation and co-ordination, we shall achieve a great deal to make the work of the Institute effective. But, with me, everything depends upon the personnel of the directorate. T gathered from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) that he is strongly in favour of an Institute being created with the objects set forth in the Bill, but he fears, as I do, that if it is to be dominated by university professors, be they ever so distinguished in pure science, it will only continue the failure of the past.
Tlie Minister mentioned that we are fortunate in having as Director of our Commonwealth Laboratory Mr. Wilkinson, who is a distinguished industrial chemist, well known to many honorable members to possess a very wide knowledge and experience, and as having identified himself with the industries of this country. To my mind he is, above all others, the most qualified for the work which the Bill seeks to do; and if any man can make the .Institute a success it is he. I speak thus of that gentleman from my experience for many years as Minister for Trade and Customs when I was brought into close contact with him, and I am sure my remarks will be supported by the Leader of the Opposition, and the honorable member for . EdenMonaro (Mr. Chapman), who have held the same office, and are all aware of his high qualifications. He is a man of great industrial and scientific attainments, who for years past has studied our primary and secondary industries ; and his appointment »vill do credit to the Government ant justice to the Institute. I am quite sure that the Government will not fail bo realize the special qualifications of Mr. Wilkinson for one of the positions on tho directorate.
A great deal has been said concerning finance, and there is no doubt that honorable members are entitled to the fullest information in this regard. The Minister has indicated that the salary is to be £1,250 a year, which I regard as very modest indeed, for we cannot expect to get a gentleman of high scientific attainments and experience for a lower amount. Personally, I should have been prepared to pay a higher salary than that mentioned. It is feared by some that the Institute is practically to be given a blank cheque, with liberty to expend money at its own sweet will and pleasure. This criticism, I contend, is unreasonable, because it will be within the power of Parliament annually to fix the limitations so far as the financial obligations are concerned. In this way Parliament has full control over the expenditure, and there need be no serious fear in this connexion. The Institute will have to justify itself, and I am hopeful that the time will come when it will have proved its value, and justified a large expenditure for the extension of its sphere of usefulness. It is true that our experience of the present Advisory Council has been somewhat costly ; but I hope that with the right men in charge of this Institute there will be no difficulty in justifying any expenditure they may recommend. In any case Parliament will have reasonable control, because the financial provision for the Institute will have to be made on the annual Estimates. The intense application of science to industry is of such paramount importance that any money wisely spent in this direction will prove a most valuable investment for the Commonwealth, and in this regard some very cogent and practical remarks made by Mr. J. J. Carty, the chief of the research department of the Electric Company of the United States of America, have a direct bearing. In the course of a presidential address delivered in 1916 at the annual convention of the American Institute of Electrical ‘Engineers, he said -
Industrial research, conducted in accordance with the principles of science, is no new thing in America. The Department which is under my charge, founded nearly forty years ago to develop, with the aid of scientific men, the telephone art, has grown from small beginnings with but a few workers to a great institution employing hundreds of .scientists and engineers, and it is generally acknowledged that it is largely owing to the industrial research thus conducted that the telephone achievements and developments in America have so greatly exceeded those of other countries. With tlie development of electric lighting, and electric power and electric traction, which came after th& invention of the telephone, industrial scientific research laboratories were founded by some of the larger .electrical manufacturing concerns, and these have obtained a world-wide reputation. Whilst vast sums are spent annually upon industrial research in these laboratories, I can say with authority that they return to the industries each year improvements in the arts which, taken altogether, have a value many times greater than the total cost of their production. Money expended in properly directed industrial research, conducted on scientific principles, is sure to bring to the industries a most generous return. I consider it is the high duty of our institute, and of every member composing it, and that a similar duty -rests upon all other engineering and scientific bodies in America, ito impress upon the manufacturers of the United States the wonderful possibilities of economies in their processes and improvements in their products which are opened up by the discoveries of science. The way ‘to realize these possibilities is through the medium of industrial research conducted in accordance with scientific principles. Once it is made clear to our manufacturers that industrial research pays they will be sure to call to their aid men of scientific training to investigate their technical problems, and to improve their processes. Those who are the first to avail themselves of the benefits of industrial research will obtain such a lead over their competitors that we may look forward to the time when the advantages of industrial research will be recognized by all. . . . Until the manufacturers themselves are roused to the necessity of action in the matter -of industrial research, there is no plan which can be devised that will result in the general establishment of research laboratories for the industries. But once their need is felt, and their value appreciated, .and the demand for research facilities is put forth .by the manufacturers themselves, research laboratories will spring up in all our centres of industrial activity. In the present state of the world’s development .there is nothing which can do more to advance American industries than the adoption by our manufacturers, .generally, of industrial research conducted on scientific principles. . . . While a single discovery in pure science, when considered with reference to any particular branch of industry, may not appear to be of appreciable benefit, yet when interpreted by the industrial scientists, with whom I class the engineer and the industrial chemist, and when adapted to practical uses by them, the contributions of pure science, as a whole, become of incalculable value to all the industries. . . . By all who study the subject, it will be found that While the discoveries of the pure scientist are of the greatest importance to the higher interests of mankind, their practical benefits, though certain, are usually indirect, intangible, or remote. Pure scientific research, unlike industrial scientific research, cannot support itself by direct pecuniary returns from its discovery.
These views must appeal -to us all, and we in Australia should not overlook such cogent advice from a practical man.
The suggestion has been made that the work proposed to be carried out by the Institute is rather a field for private ‘enterprise, and is not such as should be undertaken by a Government. Such criticism is not well founded. It is based upon, what is done in America, where such wealthy enterprises as the Standard Oil Company, the ‘General Electric Company, the Westinghouse Electric Company, the Eastman Kodak Company, and various steel corporations have the finest laboratories to be found in the United States. Hundreds of leading scientists are employed in these laboratories, .and the very wealth which these fabulously wealthy corporations possess has practically been brought about ‘by lavish expenditure in this direction.. The fact that these laboratories are controlled by private .corporations in America ds exceptional. As a- matter .of fact, it is the very wealth which these institutions have enabled the corporations to amass that has prompted private enterprise to embark upon this .class of research work.; but we -have no such vast industries here, and, therefore, no such scope for private enterprise. It is, therefore, essential to have a Commonwealth laboratory, but the very best results can only be -achieved if there is full cooperation between it and the laboratories conducted by the various States. The work that can .be achieved by the proper co-ordination >of the efforts of the ‘Commonwealth .and the States will be of such national advantage that even those who are opposed to Socialism must feel justified in voting for a measure that will launch the Commonwealth upon such an endeavour. Indeed, I look forward to the time when our universities, which, so far, have devoted themselves to pure science, will direct their best efforts towards industrial research rather than to mere theoretical investigations.
The necessity for the Institute proposed to be created is well proven by the world’s experience. That experience ha3 demonstrated beyond all question that the. application of science and technology to industry is the surest, the speediest, and certainly the most potent means of achieving success. The whole world has marvelled at the development of science and its application to industry during the war, particularly in munitions production. Great Britain .was somewhat backward in her industrial efforts prior to the war, but during the war no greater or more wonderful discoveries were made in the application of science to industry in any part of the world than were made in Great Britain. In this regard I do not except even Germany or America. The world’s experience justifies us in concluding that our young industries must be stimulated by what the last few years have shown to be the most effective methods.
– How can the Commonwealth deal with the matter any better than the States?
– The States have been doing excellent work, and if the Bill were designed to destroy the efforts of the States in any way, I would oppose it. But such is not the case. It is not suggested for a moment that the State agencies are to be destroyed. The Institute to be created is to be a body organized to devote itself to industrial science and research, to survey the work that is being accomplished by the States, and to avail itself of the cooperative efforts of State agencies with a view to obtaining better and more valuable results. We are not without a precedent for the course proposed to be taken. Largely we are following the example of the United States, where the Federal Government takes control of scientific investigations, and avails itself of the co operation of State organizations. The Federal authority in the United States has spent millions of pounds in industrial research. It assumes control of it, and in the Bill before us, it is provided that the control of such a vast ‘subject shall be assumed by the Federal Institute” so. far as Australia is concerned. It will seek the aid of the universities, and obtain the assistance of every agency which the States possess. In this way, it is to be hoped, the greatest success will be achieved.
Now that the. war is over, the fiercest competition will exist in regard to trade, commerce, and industry. Australia must keep abreast of the times, and endeavour to play a full part in primary and secondary productions. A very important duty is, therefore, thrust upon members of this House, and that is to stimulate our young industries. We all marvel at the strength and power that the German nation displayed during the war. It was because her trade and commerce had advanced by vast strides largely through her devotion to scientific research, and the application of it to industrial development. She was one of the leading nations of the world so far as commerce was concerned.
– It is a wonder that the dear Old Motherland managed to exist.
– The honorable member will realize that I have no admiration for Germany, but I cannot ignore the value of the work she was able to achieve in industrial development. It is very significant that while the Mother Country, immediately prior to the war, had in her universities and technological schools only some 5,000 students, Germany had 12,000, and the United States of America 34,000. With such an example, I am certain that we cannot go very far wrong in organizing scientific research in Australia, as provided for by this Bill.
– Do the figures just quoted by the honorable member include students at Working Men’s Colleges and such like institutions; and those taking such subjects as English and arithmetic rather than purely industrial subjects.
– They refer to students of industrial science and technology. I have also in mind the great work that is being done in Manchester, where there is a magnificent institution, which had its origin in a mere mechanics’ institute, but grew, and ultimately blossomed, into a university, in connexion with which there are to-day vast scientific, technological schools. The expenditure on its buildings, equipment, and plant totals £500,000.
– I presume that that institution is blessed with a number of endowments.
– It is not endowed to the extent that similar institutions in the United States of America have been. I believe that the bequests and endowments to the educational institutions of England, including Cambridge and Oxford, do not amount to more than £2,000,000 a year, whereas similar endowments and bequests in the United States of America amount to something like £5,-000,000 or £6,000,000.
– But the United States of America have more than double the population of England.
– Quite’ so, and that country has also, perhaps, a greater number of specially wealthy men.
The point I wish to make is that the Government, particularly in view of the experiences of the war, should apply its best efforts to the stimulation of our industries. In connexion with both our primary and secondary industries, many of the most difficult problems have yet to be solved. Australia is fortunate in being a large producer of raw material, and to a considerabe extent the status of a nation is judged by its supply of raw material and by its application of systematic scientific research to that raw material, in connexion with the establishment of national industries. I am hopeful that much will be accomplished by a practical Board of Directors of Science and Industry, working in co-operation with the States, and I insist that there shall be co-operation and co-ordination of work. In that way the very best results can be achieved, and, therefore, I think the Bill is entitled to our support, particularly in view of the assurances which have been given that we are not asked by the Government, so far as this proposal is concerned, to sign a blank cheque. The moneys to be expended upon the
Institute are to be appropriated from year to year by this Parliament, and, having regard to the fact that we have to engage in fierce competition in trade and industry, I feel that any money we may spend in this direction will be to the distinct advantage of all our industries.
.- I feel constrained to support the amendment which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor). During the three years that have elapsed since the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), in a very eloquent speech, announced, his intention of co-ordinating science and industry, the Government have had ample time to make due inquiries as to the cost, and to ascertain from the States to what extent the services now rendered by them might be continued. There has been ample time, also, for the Government to ascertain the extent to which the Commonwealth could properly undertake work now being carried out by the States.
– Does the honorable member think that we would obtain an unprejudiced opinion on» that point from the State officials?
– I am obliged to the honorable member for that intersection. At the present time the Commonwealth and State Governments are confronted with tremendous financial responsibilities, and I believe the State Treasurers would be only too glad to find some way by which the Commonwealth could undertake work more economically than the States.
– To take over the whole thing?
– They would be glad to find a means by which the Commonwealth could take over a portion of the work now being carried out .by them. In every State we have a Bureau of Science and Industry that is more or less efficient; we have scientists employed by all the State Governments in carrying out investigations and experiments in relation to agriculture and mining. We also have bureaux of chemical research. Some companies, like the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, have their own chemists to make independent investigations, and these men have succeeded in making discoveries that have benefited their employers and the Commonwealth to the extent of thousands of pounds. If the Government had come to the House with a Bill providing for the nucleus of a Federal bureau, and for the appointment of officers duly qualified to carry out the work of organization, I could not have opposed such a measure ; but we find the Government approaching us with a cut-and-dried scheme, which is in some respects to overlap and overawe the bureaux that ‘have been established by the States.
I am compelled again to refer to the political appointment made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) to the chairmanship of directors of this Institute. Honorable members will not think that this, with me, is a personal matter, I hope, because I have absolutely no personal feeling in regard to it. If Dr. Gellatly had the qualification - if he were a trained scientist - I should not object to his appointment. I find, however, that he is not only not a trained scientist, but a most injudicious man. I invite honorable members to consider the following statement in an article written by him, and published in the last issue of Science and Industry: - >
So far the States have not been of one mind as to their correct attitude towards the youngest and newest activity of the Commonwealth. Some receive it with open arras . . . find some portion of the money that its work necessarily demands . . . Others seem inclined to spurn its advances to regard the scientific work they are now carrying out as self sufficient. At the bottom of this conflict of view rest two entirely dissimilar motives. The well worn “States right” attitude, purely political in its origin, is one, while a certain timidity on the part of some half-trained official scientists is another. These latter fear that the coming of the institute may in some way lead to the discovery of their incompetency.
Are we likely to secure harmony by referring in this way to the States which are hostile to this new institution, and by describing men who are engaged in scientific work for the States as “ half -trained official scientists”? Has Dr. Gellatly the knowledge and scientific attainments and experience entitling him to refer to the officers employed in the State bureaux as incompetent and untrained men? Is it in this way that the Minister expects to get this Institute in working order?
– I have already said that some of the men employed in this direction by the States possess very high qualifications, and that they are not opposed to our scheme. High-class scientists realize the value of such an institution.
– Does the honorable member know of any “incompetent,” “ half -trained scientists “ at present in the State bureaux?
– I have met many of the State scientists in connexion with this very proposal. They approve of it, and I must say that they are all competent scientific men.
– If the Minister had been at the head of the Institute he would not have endeavoured to establish harmony between the Commonwealth and the States in this way.
– Does the honorable member think that the Minister is qualified to say whether these men are highly trained and scientific?
– I do not suppose that he would claim to be able to pass judgment upon them.
– Without judging them, we may say that we know them to be competent men.
– I did not think any one connected with the Institute would be so injudicious as to make the State officials hostile to it from its very inception. Dr. Gellatly gives as one reason why we should establish a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry the fact that there are two great problems - the prickly pear and the tick pest - “which alone can be tackled by the Commonwealth.” The tick pest has been solved in Queensland.
– Hear, hear ! And we have paid dearly for it.
– We have. We have found a formula for dealing with the tick pest, and the dipping process has been most beneficial to all connected with the pastoral industry. Owners of cattle which were allowed to run wild have been compelled to deal with them in this way. with the result that they have been tamed and put on the market in better condition, and with more profit to the owners, and much less cruelty to the cattle-. Now, after the Queensland Government have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds, and have solved the problem, Dr. Gellatly says that one reason for the creation of the Commonwealth Institute is the necessity for dealing with the tick question.
– According to the statement of the Minister, the tick pest problem has been solved in America, too.
– With regard to the prickly pear, speaking as a layman who keeps his eyes open, I regard it as on allfours with the rabbit pest and irrigation. About twelve years ago, Queensland imported from America a gentleman called Colonel Pennyquick, to advise regarding the possibilities of irrigation in that State. In his report, he said that there would be very little prospect of irrigation in Queensland being made to pay, because it was so easy for people to get cheap and good land that they would not engage in intensive cultivation until they were compelled to do so.
– That applies everywhere.
– It does, but more particularly in Queensland. Once people find that land is scarce, they will make use of water for irrigation. In regard to rabbits, I invite honorable members to look at the picture published on page 187 of Science and Industry. It is proposed to introduce into this country a dreadful disease which will afflict the rabbits in the revolting manner depicted.
– It may affect human beings, too.
– It may. We know that domestic pets, such as cats and dogs, often communicate diseases to children ; and what guarantee have we that the dreadful disease which these scientists propose to introduce into Australia in order to kill off rabbits will not spread to human beings? Any man with practical knowledge knows that when men are compelled to protect their lands for closer settlement, they enclose them with wire netting in paddocks of 1,000 acres each. That is the only way in which the rodents can be effectively kept down; but, of course, if a man is a big squatter, with a hundred square miles of country, he is unable to divide his land into 1,000-acre paddocks, and he is unable to deal effectively with the rabbit pest.
Millions of acres of land in Queensland are covered with the prickly pear, and as much as £16 per acre has been expended in clearing it; but what is true of irrigation is true, also, of the prickly pear. People will not select prickly-pear land when they can get plenty of clean land for 10s. per acre, or its equivalent in rent for a perpetual lease and twenty years’ terms. That is equal to only about 3d. per acre per annum. Land is practically free in Queensland, and so long as it remains so people will not trouble, excepting in comparatively rare instances, to fight the prickly-pear pest.
– But all the time the scourge is increasing in virulence. The Government must do something until the land scarcity arises.
– What can the Commonwealth Government do? The Queensland Government have been trying for years to cope with the pest.
– Does the honorable member think that because of past failures we should adopt an attitude of despair?
– No; but Dr. Gellatly says that the reason for the establishment of the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry is the need for dealing with the prickly pear; and upon that basis these scientists proceed to build a huge superstructure.
– Did the Minister say that Queensland did nothing to eradicate the prickly pear?
– No; the ‘ Queensland Government did valuable work in investigating the prickly-pear problem. Now they are co-operating with the Commonwealth in seeking a remedy.
– How can they refuse to co-operate? The Minister will not be able to approach his constituents at Darling Downs at the next election unless he explains away his statement that the Queensland people have done nothing to eradicate the prickly pear.
– The honorable member will not be able to go before his constituents and tell them that he refused Commonwealth aid in fighting the pest.
– I am not refusing Commonwealth assistance; but I say that the prickly-pear problem is not a sufficient excuse to justify the founding of this Institute.
The Institute seems to be afflicted by one of the vanities that attack all Government Departments nowadays. The directors have advertised the Hon. Massy Greene as “ Minister for Science and Industry.” We might naturally expect the Minister for Trade and Customs to get the notice that is given to him in the journal of the Institute; but I think it is a mistake to convert the Institute into a publicity office. We have had too much of the publicity business. There are publicity offices in all Departments. I invite the attention of honorable members to the publicity campaign in connexion with the return of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) . About a fortnight ago, the honorable gentleman made a speech in Durban, only portion of which was reported in the Australian press at that time. Another portion of it was published to-day. By this means, the name of the Prime Minister is kept before the public. As an illustration of how careful the publicity officer is, I noticed that there was no report in the press of the Prime Minister’s motor accident in England until some time after he had departed for Australia.
– Order! The honorable member is digressing from the Bill.
– Of what scientific value will the reproduction of the photograph of the Minister for Trade and Customs be to any one but the Minister himself ? It may help him with his constituents, because people who do not know him will say when looking at the photograph, “ What a very fine-looking fellow ! I could not imagine from his speeches that he was that kind of man, but now I see what he looks like, I shall vote for him.” Part of the work done by the Institute is to investigate the Minister who controls it. This is what the scientists have discovered about that gentleman -
The Hon. W. Massy Greene, ‘M.P., whose portrait appears in this issue, is Ministerial head of the Institute of Science and Industry. Although his parliamentary career has not been a particularly long one, he having entered politics as member for Richmond (New South’ Wales) at the general election in 1910, he hasalready been called upon to fill several important positions. Prior to assuming Ministerial office he acted, with conspicuous success, as whip of the Liberal Opposition-
I wonder where they discovered that. I have not noticed any member of the Advisory Council in the precincts of this House - becoming later a strong supporter of the Hughes-Cook National Coalition. In March, 1918, he was made an Assistant Minister, especially in charge of matters relating to price-fixing.
The publication does not 6ay what a howling muddle he made of price-fixing. We know the mess he made when he fixed the price qf meat, because the people in the Melbourne suburbs were paying lower prices than those which, the Minister had ordained -
The same year he was appointed a member of the Board of Trade, and in January of this year gained full Ministerial rank, being given the portfolio of Minister for Trade and Customs.
Mr. Massy Greene’s personal interests are centred in the advancement of rural industries. Driven to the country in search of health, after a few years’ experience of a banking institution, he settled on the north coast of New South Wales. There he had literally to carve a home for himself out of the virgin forest, but his labours were rewarded by the enhancement of the value of the land, and the speedy development of the district into one of the most prosperous dairying centres in Australia. His intimate knowledge of the dairying industry
Gained, we presume, by attending to bank ledgers - has made him a strong advocate of the more efficient organization of producers.
The Minister has now gone to Queensland on what I regard as an electioneering expedition. He has gone to Brisbane to meet the producers of Queensland. He will meet other producers in New South Wales, and later in Melbourne, and this electioneering campaign is to wind up with a great conference of producers in Melbourne, which will be addressed by the Prime Minister before the next election. One has only to read the newspapers to understand what is taking place. I am drawing the attention of the House to the Government’s stage management in connexion with this Institute.
– The honorable member quite misconceives the position.
– The view I take is that each man should pay for his own publicity. Why should the Minister for Trade and Customs, merely because he controls the Institute of Science and Industry, be able to forward his candidature at the next election by publishing his photograph in the journal of the Institute?
– That is unjust. That biography of the Minister is simply a statement of facts by the officers in charge.
– And very modestly put.
– In the circumstances , yes ; because most of us, - if we had that opportunity-
– What would the honorable member have done if he had been Minister ?
– What I would have done would have been such, that afterwards I might, like Olive, have been amazed at my own moderation. In view of the financial obligations we have to meet, there should be a greater attempt on the part of the Government to curtail expenditure. The publication of the Minister’s photograph and biography is an instance of gross extravagance. The Minister should pay for this publicity out of his own pocket. Why should the Prime Minister have a- publicity officer for himself and the Minister for Trade and Customs have another such officer in the person of the Director of the Institute of Science and Industry?
It is with very much regret that I have to be to some extent personal; this I hate, but the Government compel me, owing to the appointments they make. I was present at a University lecture given by Mr. A. E. V. Richardson, and witnessed an illustration of Dr. Gilruth’s utter tactlessness. Mr. Richardson for two hours delivered one of the most interesting lectures I ever heard in my life; and Dr. Gilruth, when he rose to move a vote of thanks, occupied most of his time in criticism of a trifling omission by the lecturer. This gentleman, who made a great failure in the Northern Territory, has been sent away to investigate nodules in beef in other parts of the world; although, in the report of the executive committee of the Advisory Council, there is a paragraph declaring that nodules in beef are found in no part of the world except Australia. An honorable member suggests to me that Dr. Gilruth is a horse doctor, but I remind honorable members that amongst horse doctors are some men who stand very high in veterinary science.
– Dr. Gilruth is recognised by the profession as holding a high position in veterinary science.
– I quite agree; but, as another honorable member suggests, Dr. Gilruth is better able to handle horses than he is to handle men. It was only after repeated agitation, and a revolt, that the Government decided to replace him in the Northern Territory. He must have great political influence, or some of his friends must have great influence, for he has now been sent abroad on this mission at a salary of £1,750 and expenses. I am informed that in Australia we have had nodules in beef from time immemorial, and that they do not do any really great injury, or any injury, to the beef, for when they are cut out the beef is perfectly good. As a matter of fact, the refusal of the Imperial Government to accept briskets containing nodules has resulted in the people round about Rockhampton obtaining most excellent beef at a reasonable rate.
– Do the nodules affect the condition of the live beast?
– I do not think so. Beef out of which nodules have been cut may be seen at any time at meat preserving works in Queensland, and the nodules have very much the size and appearance of the shell of a Stewart Island oyster. As I say, when they are cut out, the beef is quite good.
It is bad enough in these times to waste money by sending men abroad, but I am informed that Dr. Gilruth, without Parliament being consulted, has been appointed a director of this Institute. Is that so or not? Does the Minister (Mr. Groom) deny it? The Minister knows that he cannot deny it. And is this not an outrage?
– It is nothing fresh !
– It seems to me that we require an election to clean up matters, because the Government, with its majority of two to one, ignores the rights of honorable’ members, and does what it likes. Whatever the Opposition, or the candid friends of the Government, may say, what do the Government care - “ after us the deluge.” They promised through the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) not to make any appointments to this scientific directorate without first consulting Parliament; and yet they go behind the back of Parliament, and,, in secret meeting assembled, appoint Dr. Gilruth.
– Is the honorable member at liberty to say where he gets bis information 1
– -I am not, but I have been so informed on good authority.
– It has been reported in the press that Dr. Gilruth is to have an appointment on the directorate.
– All these things leak out in time. Doubtless the Minister in charge of the measure, when in Cabinet, proposed that Dr. Gilruth be appointed, and then asked the Ministers around the table what they thought of the proposal. Some Minister in a weak kind of way - because I understand the Government are not very strong - would suggest that, in view of what had been said publicly, the matter ought to be brought before the House, whereupon the presiding Minister would point out that there would be a row if Gilruth’s name was mentioned, and it would be better to make the appointment and explain afterwards. The laughter of honorable members is the best confirmation of my suggestion or inference. I venture to say, however, that we will get no explanation; indeed, when the Prime Minister returns there will be such a “ welter “ - if that is the correct term - that there will be no time for explanations. We shall have a speech about the Peace Conference, the Peace Treaty will be put on the table, and the Prime Minister will draw out of his pocket the indemnity of £60,000,000, more ot less.
– The honorable member is getting off the track.
– Which Minister made the appointment ?
– Perhaps the Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Groom) can inform us who will have the administration of this Bill?
– It will come under the Customs Department.
– Then probably the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) brought the subject before the Cabinet. If one had time to go through the first report of this executive committee, and deal with the result of their researches, into the baking of bread for instance, quite a comedy could be built up. Their mistakes, their blunders, and general failure would under other circumstances cause the Bill to be laughed out of Parliament.
– How have we got on in the bush all these years, and been able to make bread, without an Institute of Science and Industry?
– The honorable member has spent the best portion of his life in the bush, and knows how the pastoralists have struggled and succeeded in spite of tremendous obstacles; but his opposition to the measure of the Government cannot blind him to the value of scientific investigation. It is now three years since the Prime Minister made a speech on the subject which extracted even from me some admiration.
– That was before yon parted with him?
– Well, yes. I admire the capacity with which the Prime Minister seized hold of certain facts connected with science, industry, and research, and built up a remarkable speech. That speech, it will be remembered, was published by the yard in the daily press of Australia, and I must say I thought to myself what an extraordinary man he must be. But I afterwards learned that the scheme was placed before him, and he took it home, and absorbed its fundamentals, and then allowed his imagination to get to work. Here is the result; this is what he said -
We must rise to this great occasion, turning frightful calamity into a lasting good. We are beginning late, but we may at least avoid the mistakes of those who blazed the trail. Our duty is clear. Our great industries, primary and secondary, must be stimulated, advised and aided by scientific industrial research, and by wise laws on a scale commensurate with their national importance and value.
That is a platitude which, might have been uttered by one of those “great orators “ of America referred to by Charles Dickens in Martin Chuzzlewit What practical good has come out of that speech? How have our primary industries been stimulated, advised, and aided by industrial research, during the three years since it was made? I have tried repeatedly to ascertain what the Government propose to do to stimulate industry, and protect the Empire.
– I suppose the honorable member is in favour of investigating problems.
– Can the honorable member suggest a means of getting rid of blow-flies in sheep?
– Yes. A Queensland pastoralist tells me that he has succeeded very well in trapping them. It appears they do not travel very far. He has succeeded in cleaning out a paddock, and no doubt, the same remedy will apply generally when we have closer settlement.
– The blow-flies have been trapped by the million.
– It did not require a gentleman trained at a university to discover that method.
If our country is to go ahead, we must be practical. It is useless to go on a public platform, and make oratorical speeches, in describing which the newspaper reporters will afterwards say, The speaker was so seized with the importance of his utterance that he wa6 halting in his delivery.” As a matter of fact, the gentleman to whom that statement applied was endeavouring to recall remarks he had previously put in manuscript, which had already been handed to the reporters. It will be useless for the Prime Minister to continue to attempt to gull the public in this way. If this country is to go ahead, we will need to be more careful in regard to the expenditure <o£ public money. We must secure the best scientists, and not make political appointments, or appointments of gentlemen simply because they happen to be friends of the family.
– What does the honorable member mean to convey when he refers to the appointment of Dr. Gellatly as a political one?
– In my opinion, he was appointed because he was a friend of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes).
– Who is he?
– He was a clever journalist, formerly employed on the Sydney Morning Herald.
– Is he a doctor of medicine?
– No; he is a barrister. I understand that he and the Prime Minister studied law together. At any rate, in my opinion, he is not the man to be at the head of this Institute. The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has suggested the name of one who ought to be at the head of it. I refer to Mr. Wilkinson, the Commonwealth Analyst. From my reading and my experience of him, he seems to me to be not only a scientist, but also a practical man, with vast industry. In my opinion, he would make an enormous success of the Institute.
– Would the honorable member have every branch of science represented on the Institute? If so, he would require a pretty big city to house it.
– If the honorable member is not joking, and requires my view on the matter, I will tell him what I would have done. I would have consulted the House, and said, “ Gentlemen, I propose to appoint Mr. Wilkinson as head of the Institute of Science and Industry.”
– It would be a most unusual form for the Executive to announce to the House every proposed appointment.
– I would have asked Mr. Wilkinson if he was prepared to undertake the work. I would have said to him, “ Get into touch with the State Governments, obtain their reports, and see what they are doing;. get into touch with the various agricultural bureaux in the States, and ascertain if we can come to some sort of agreement as to the work which they think ought to be done by the
Commonwealth Institute, and the’ work which they think they call best do by themselves.”
– That was done long ago by the Prime Minister.
– It is useless for the honorable member to make that statement.
– I know that it is true.
– It is most inaccurate. Here is Dr. Gellatly’s article saying that some of the States have received the idea with open arms, and that others are hostile.
– What would the honorable member have done in the case of States expressing hostility to his scheme?
– I cannot believe that any practical scientist would be hostile to co-ordinating with the Commonwealth in an Institution which would assist the work of the States, and avoid overlapping. At any rate, I think that I have said sufficient on the matter. 1 support the amendment.
– A vast amount of good may be done by the passage of this Bill, because Australia presents a great field for investigation by the best means procurable. A great deal of scientific research has been done in Queensland, but much remains to be done. Ticks are plentiful in many parts of that State, and there is a danger that they may extend over the border into New South Wales if they are not stopped. It has been suggested that this very serious pest may be eradicated by clearing the ticks out of certain districts . That means that the cattle in those areas which are at present immune from tick fever will probably lose their immunity, and this may lead to a very great loss to the pastoralists. A vast difference of opinion exists as to whether the ticks should be cleared right out of a district, or whether the risk should be reduced as much as possible by dipping, and rendering the cattle immune to tick fever. If tickinfected cattle are driven through a clean district, the stock in that district will be affected by tick fever, whereas if the ticks are not cleared out of the area, and the cattle already there are immune to tick fever, there is no great danger in taking cattle from infected country into that district.
– If the honorable member had clean country, and some one came along with a mob of tick-infected cattle, he would keep that man off if possible.
– But very often he cannot be kept off. I have known instances in which stations have been kept clean, and yet the whole of the cattle have become infected by imported bulls. If the investigation can devise means by which the tick question can be dealt with on permanent and sound lines, the saving effected will represent 1,000 per cent, on the cost of running the Institute.
We have a great deal to learn in connexion with the pests from which sheep suffer. The pastoralists have been able to cope with the blow-flies to a certain extent, but if some means may be discovered by which this pest can be permanently eradicated, it would prevent an enormous waste of wealth to the Commonwealth.
A good deal has to be learned in regard to agriculture We should obtain the very best scientific information procurable. We have not made as much progress in this direction as has been made in other parts of the world. The Institute may be able to arrive at the best possible method of conducting agriculture in this large continent of ours, with an area equal to that of the United States of America.
As honorable members are doubtless aware, we are endeavouring to establish steel works in Queensland. There is much to be learned in that connexion. The Queensland Parliament has voted a certain amount of money for the establishment of large iron and steel works in that State, and a manager has already been appointed; but in regard to that industry, much that is known in other parts of the world has yet to be learned in Australia. It will be one of the duties of this Institute to supply up-to-date information, on the subject.
Then, again, in Queensland we have the prickly pear - a very great pest. I have been over hundreds of thousands of acres of land infested with it, and have seen various efforts made to cope with it. In that direction, the State Government have done a great deal.
When I was at Dulacca, I saw that the cochineal bug, which had been introduced with the object of destroying the pest, was carefully housed in an enclosure surrounded by water. On inquiry, I was told that it was necessary to surround them with this water channel, in order to guard them from the ravages of ants. It seems to me to be of little use to bring out a bug to destroy prickly pear in a country where ants are so numerous. It has been found, as a matter of fact, that this bug does not relish the prickly pear of Queensland, and some prickly pear from New South Wales, which is more to its liking, has been introduced.
– It was introduced to enable the bug to be cultivated.
– Quite so; but no one will say that any good will result from the introduction of the bugin districts swarming with ants, and where, consequently, it cannot live.
Two years before the outbreak of war the Queensland Government made a grant of 100,000 acres of prickly pear country to a company formed partly in Victoria, and managed by a Mr. Roberts, subject to the condition that it would destroy the prickly pear on that area. The company started out well. Among its employees were some German chemists, who produced a gas which proved very effective in the destruction of prickly pear; but just before the outbreak of the war these men left the country. The company then endeavoured to carry on the work of destroying the prickly pear with another gas, thought to be the same, but this was not found to be anything like so effective. The Institute of Science and Industry will, doubtless, make it its duty to find out, if possible, the nature of the gas used by these German chemists. No doubt, it will go further, and ascertain whether during the war other gases were not discovered which would be equally, if not more, effective in the eradication of the pest.
– Is the honorable member sure that much of the gas to which he refers was not used at the Front.
– I know that gases have been discovered which are more effective than any that were used in Queensland before the war with the exception, perhaps, of that manufactured by the German chemists.
– The Imperial authorities asked our Government to supply them with certain gas made in Melbourne.
– If it were equal to the gas produced in Queensland . by , ‘the chemists to whom I have referred, I can well understand the request of the Imperial authorities.
– They did ask for it.
– I think the Imperial authorities found that during the war they were able to produce gas equally as, if not more, effective than that produced in Germany. Should not a determined effort be made to discover a gas that would destroy the prickly pear ? The establishment of a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry will involve the expenditure of only a few thousand pounds, whereas we should be benefited to the extent of millions of pounds sterling if we could eradicate the prickly pear at a reasonable cost. Attempts have been made to destroy it by spraying it with a poison; but the area is too large, and too thickly covered with the pest, to enable it to be properly dealt with in that way. What is wanted is a gas which when liberated will spread over a prickly pear area for some hundreds of yards at a time. The prickly pear lives’ on what it absorbs from the atmosphere. I have known a piece of prickly pear to be tied by wire to the limb of a tree, and to flourish there for three years. This is an. illustration of the fact that it derives all its nourishment’ from the atmosphere. Gas can be passed over the plants to the extent of some hundreds of yards at each application, and if it is effective, the plant on absorbing it is destroyed to its very roots. The root of the prickly pear is small, and the gas has not, therefore, to penetrate far below the ‘surface to destroy it. The Acting Attorney-General (Mr. Groom), like myself, had an. opportunity of observing how successful was the gas employed by the company to which I have referred in the early- stages of its enterprise. Since then the work has not been so successful, and one reason why I shall vote for this measure is that it will provide for the creation of an Institute which should enable us to secure knowledge that will be of immense value in the eradication of this serious pest, and thus save millions sterling to the Commonwealth.
The Institute of Science and Industry will also be able to devote its attention to the application of science to mining. Very little is known by many honorable members as to the immense variety of minerals to be found in Queensland, but which are not being worked and have never been worked. We have been told of their value, but do not know how to treat them. We have also in that State all classes of agricultural lands - from tropical country to lands that are subject to severe frosts. Although a great deal has been done by the State Government to furnish information as to the fertilisers suitable to these varying lands much more remains to be done. In connexion with the sugar industry also there will be much for the Institute to do. We have the sugar-cane grub and other pests to cope with. Much has been done by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, but there is still ample room for scientific research and for experiments as to the varieties of cane best suited to our varied seasons. Then we have the nut grass pest requiring urgent attention.
Australia is about to establish new and extensive manufacturing industries, but little is known here as to the methods followed in connexion with them in other parts of the world. If it is necessary in an old country like Great Britain to spend large sums of money at the present time in order to ascertain the best means of encouraging production, surely it must be doubly necessary in a young country like this where the information at our disposal is infinitely less. The British Government has established a Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and in addition to the annual appropriation amounting to about £160,000 lias placed at the disposal of the Department a sum of £1,000,000 to enable it to co-operate with the industries of other countries in the foundation and maintenance of an association for research during the next five years or more. This new Department deals only with secondary industries. In 1909 it was decided that an annual grant of £500,000 should be made by the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of developing agricultural industries by scientific research and by instructions and experiments in agriculture. Seeing that it has been considered necessary to make this provision in Great Britain, where those concerned are nearer the seats of scientific research than we are, it will be admitted that there is much greater reason for us to do something in the same direction. Why should any time be lost in setting out on this work? When the proposal to make the grant for scientific research purposes to which I have referred was under consideration in Great Britain some opposition was shown to it on the ground that it was inadvisable to agree to the expenditure of so much money during the war period. This was the reply made to that proposition -
It has been questioned whether it would not have been wiser to avoid the inevitable difficulties resulting- from the war by postponing action until peace is restored: but the President of the Board of Trade in England, Mr. Arthur Henderson, has pointed out that we could not hope to improvise an effectual system at the moment when hostilities cease, and that unless during the present period we are able to make substantial advances we shall certainly be unable to do what is necessary in the equally difficult period of reconstruction which will’ follow the war.
It was resolved that wai* or no war the scheme for research work should be proceeded with. I appeal to honorable members who desire that Australia should progress on an equal footing with the more scientific nations to recognise the wisdom of making every effort to secure with the least delay as much up-to-date scientific information as is possible.
Many manufacturing firms of comparatively small dimensions fail from time to time, and attribute -their failure to the fact that larger firms which are looked upon by some as being in the nature of trusts’ and combines are able to squeeze them out. In very many cases, however, investigation shows that, instead of their failure being due to pressure brought to bear upon them by larger enterprises, it is really due to the larger firms having more up-to-date information as to the methods of manufacture.
– And more up-to-date machinery.
– In the matter of machinery they might have been just as well situated as their competitors; but the methods of organization were different. Any manufacturer, when establishing his plant, knows that he has to compete with the larger plants of more wealthy firms; but he is satisfied that he can do that. What he lacks is the scientific information with which the larger firms are usually equipped.
Another pest that causes immense loss to Australia is the fruit fly. Queensland produces a large quantity of excellent fruit; but, unfortunately, the orchardists have not been able to cope with the fruit fly, and hundreds of tons of fruit are destroyed annually by that pest. What a blessing it would be to the orchardists if some scientific method of coping with the fly were devised, so that they would be able to reap the full harvest of their labours. There is much to be learned about worm nodules in beef, and no doubt, when the Institute is in full operation, scientists will apply their minds to discovering a means of dealing with that trouble. We have no right to say that scientists, by lack of experience, are disqualified from undertaking this work, or to be discouraged by reason of the fact that the problem has not been solved in other countries. We have only to remember the large number of scientific discoveries which have been made within our own life-time in telephony, aviation, and medical science. Why should we consider that the brains of the -world are not competent to solve the problems that confront us, as even greater problems have been coped with? We shall achieve nothing, however, unless we make an attempt,. and appoint persons whose whole business will be to use every endeavour to supply the scientific information that we lack.
The white ant pest is prevalent throughout Australia. Whilst it can be dealt with by a timely application of poison soon after its presence in a house is discovered, yet in many parts of Australia the pest has -destroyed valuable trees, both ornamental and productive. The discovery of some method of eradicating the white ant would be of tremendous advantage to Australia.
In regard to afforestation, we have a lot to learn. In Queensland, there is a large number of timbers, the commercial value of which is very little known, although information on the subject is spreading. I know of some timbers that were rejected as of no commercial use, but a Sydney firm who discovered their value has leased large areas of country from the Queensland Government, and is even now erecting saw-mills to convert the woods into marketable products. A large quantity of timber is destroyed every year because people believe that it has no commercial value. An Institute of Science and Industry might prove that many of om’ timbers so destroyed are of great value. Only recently it was discovered that paper can be made from Queensland timbers. I do not say that it can be produced as cheaply as in Canada, where the timber grows thicker, and - water-courses are available for conveying it to the mills with little labour; but we can successfully produce a low-grade paper. I believe that throughout Australia there is plenty of timber which could be used for making paper pulp if the people were educated to a knowledge of its value.
Recently, I discussed with Mr. Brophy, the manager of the steel works which are to be established by the Queensland Government, a large iron deposit, and assured him that there was plenty more similar country. He asked me why the deposit had not been brought to light earlier ; and I explained to him that nobody would be so foolish as to spend money in opening up the deposit when there was no sale for it. In working a bismuth “mine, we passed through this large body of iron ore, and Mr. Brophy informed me that at Biggenden, in my electorate, there is enough iron ore in sight to keep his proposed steel works going for six years.
– There are huge mountains of iron in Queensland.
– The deposits vary in quality. Some of the Biggenden deposits contain 90 per cent. ore.
There is room for much investigation in regard to the diseases of animals and plants. Many people are awaiting further information regarding the production of cereals in sub-tropical climates like that of the southern, portion of Queensland. About the breeding of stock there is much to be learned. A few breeders have acquired a great deal of information, but that knowledge is not available to the general community, as it would be if research and experiment were conducted by a Government Institute.
In Queeusland, are large deposits of pipeclay, which is reported by experts to he of excellent quality. How many people living outside of Victoria and New South Wales know how to handle a big body of pipeclay? I know of one district where, over an area of 640 acres, one can tap, at a. depth of 10 feet, 15 feet of pipeclay of best quality, without the slightest trace of grit. But nobody in the district knows what to do with the deposit or to whom to write for information. If you applied to a person interested in the trade, he would probably acquire the property over your head. But if one were able to send cores of the clay to the Institute of Science and Industry, and asked for a report as to its commercial value, probably an enormous ‘sum of money would be distributed throughout the community. We a.re annually importing from abroad, at great expense, pottery made from clay which experts have told me is not as good as the deposit to which I refer.
– For years people have been able to get all that information by applying to the Laboratory.
– At any rate, they have never been able to get satisfactory replies in Queensland. It would be the duty of the Institute of Science and Industry to make thorough investigations regarding any ‘deposit that might become the basis -of a big industry.
I recollect that when I was a mem-, ber of the Queensland Legislature, arrangements were made to render available to the farmers information regarding the manurial element which their soils lacked. Samples of soils were sent to the Department, and I read in Parliament some of the replies which were sent to the pastoralists in giving the results of the analyses. The language was so technical that it might have been German, for all the farmers understood of it. However, that difficulty was overcome by sending out experts to educate the farmers up to the meaning of analytical terms. That policy has been followed in Tasmania for a num!ber of years. One of the functions of this Institute would be to supply that and similar information to any inquirer.
What is the explanation of Germany’s remarkable success in the commercial world? Industrially Great Britain had a considerable start of Germany, yet the latter became pre-eminent in many branches of manufacture. For instance, the Germans obtained complete control of the aniline dye industry. The reason was that the German chemists were continually engaged in research to discover some improved method that was not known in other parts of the world. They were not satisfied to continue doing what other people were doing. Scientific research is what the industries of our country require.
I fully appreciate the important part which chemistry plays in almost every branch of our modern industry. We all recognise that without a scientific foundation no permanent superstructure can be raised. Does not experience warn us that the rule of thumb is dead, and that the rule of science has taken its place; that to-day we cannot be satisfied with the crude methods which were sufficient for our forefathers, and that those great industries which do not keep abreast of the advance of science must surely and rapidly decline?
That is advice we should take, and I trust that there will he no delay in the passage of this Bill, so that the Institute may get to work as soon as possible. While it is desired to promote industries, both primary and secondary, we should take care to safeguard those already established and those which have come into existence during the war, and thus, to the fullest possible extent, populate Australia if we intend to hold the country. We must show the League of Nations that we are advancing our industries, and that there is no necessity for outside assistance in the settlement of this great continent.
– It is my intention to support the Government, although I think we ought to have some evidence of an intention to work with the States. However, that aspect of the question has been dealt with exhaustively by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), and I support his contention that this is a case for cooperation and co-ordination. I do not stress the point of economy, because I think there is much twaddle talked in this connexion, for economy in many cases means inefficiency, or is only supported with’ a view to a reduction of wages. It is a fact that the hated Hun has outstripped all other countries in the application of scientific research to industry, and many commodities could be enumerated which by this means have been brought on to the market, and the manufacture of which has never been attempted by Great Britain or America. I do not believe, however, in the spending of public money in order to make the path easy for private capitalists to make fortunes; what I keep in view are the interests of the people. I suppose that is too much to expect in a matter of this kind, and that any advantageous result from the research work of this Institute will be left to private capitalists to exploit to their own profit. This has been so in the past, and I suppose will be so in the future. I hope the eyes of the people will be opened, and that they will see that they reap every advantage possible from the creation of an Institute of this kind. I may cause some indignation when I say that those who selected the members of the Advisory Council must have worn spectacles of one colour only; that they were able to see virtue and knowledge in only one section of the community. By this I mean that, so far as I can see, there is not a worker on this Council. There is an idea that successful heads of industries have been workers in the particular trades they now manage, but, as a matter of fact, there are very few in such a position. In Melbourne, at any rate, they are mostly business men with money and knowledge of finance who have reached success by engaging men with thorough knowledge and understanding of the trades they carry on. We are endeavouring to apply scientific knowledge to every calling, with a view to increasing the quantity and value of the products, and I contend that there is no calling where the man on the top understands the details of manufacture so well as those who do the actual work. I do not pretend to know anything about the properties of steel or iron, or how it is utilized for certain purposes, but I do know that workmen understand the defects of steel and iron in process of manipulation better than those who control an industry from the business point of view.
– Is your argument that the man who has this firstband knowledge should be put on the directorate ?
– Most certainly.
– Such a man is a specialist in only one particular branch of industry, and a blank in regard to all others.
– That is quite possible. I do not wish to say one word against any of the members of the Council, for they all have knowledge in one direction or another, hut it is nonsense to say that they possess as much knowledge of a particular commodity as do those who really handle it; and these latter should be represented.
– Do you not think that the end would be better, gained by giving scientists the benefit of the experience of the practical men, so that scien tific methods may be applied?
– I admit that, but I think that on a body of this kind there should be men who have really worked at the industry under investigation. For instance, the practical agriculturist ought to be represented when the blow -fly, prickly pear, or any other pest is being considered, and not only those who have their money invested in agriculture. Again, the man who turns leather into shoes, or woollens into garments, knows the real defects of the material better than does the scientist. I know there are many honorable members who may not agree with that view, but it is undeniable that these practical men have special knowledge not possessed by others. On a ship, for example, the first mate knows more about the practical working of the vessel than does the captain, and the chief engineer is never to be found at work in the engine-room. When certain difficulties are submitted to a scientist for solution, he actually refers them to the men whose daily work it is to deal with them: For that reason I claim that men in the more lowly walks of life who could give valuable information, and who are willing to give it, should have representation on the governing body of this Institute. When the people of Australia realize that the Advisory Council is representative of all phases of life, they will understand it better. It is essential to success that personswho can deal with every aspect of the matter under consideration should give their attention to it.
According to the second issue of Science- and Industry, an endeavour is being made to eradicate the prickly pear, which, as a’ pest, is about on a parallel with the bracken fern pest in Victoria. If some commercial value could be discovered in prickly pear or bracken fern, these pests would cease. If blow-flies were found to be of commercial value, people would be out trapping them.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– Things which we class as pests are pests only because they do not give as satisfactory a product as, possibly, something else might if grown under the same conditions. If rabbits had the same commercial value as sheep, they would not be regarded as a pest. They are only so regarded because they consume the grass that otherwise would support the more valuable animals. A pest ceases to be a pest when it is found to possess a commercial value. If there is commercial value in anything in the vegetable world, it is very quickly eradicated unless people take steps to perpetuate it instead of killing it rightoff. The discovery of commercial value in the prickly pear would be of immense benefit to the agriculturists and pastoralists of Australia. However, I wish to deal more particularly with the bracken-fern pest in Victoria. In this State it is a curse which cannot be overcome except by intense culture. In those portions of Gippsland and in the Otway Forest where ring-barking has been carried out for the purpose of enabling grass to grow, the bracken fern has crept in and smothered the grass. There ought to be some commercialvalue in this fern. It seems to me, as a layman, that paper could be made out of the stems. The root is a mass of black, gelatinous matter, which might have a commercial value. If research by scientists could discover it, a great blessing would be conferred upon the State of Victoria; it would mean untold millions of money to the people of the Commonwealth. I hope that the Institute will make investigations into the bracken-fern pest.
I want the people of Australia to understand the position. In the early days of childhood one cannot understand the use of hooks and hangers until they are placed side by side, and formed into letters. The general body of people will look upon an Institute of Science and Industry with suspicion, because it may prove to be a costly undertaking. It is the duty of the newspapers to see that money is not squandered uselessly, but I look to them to tell the people of the good that an Institute of this kind can do. Surely we, as a nation, ought to be ready and willing to pay our share of the cost of the research work of the world and not leave the whole of it to be borne by European and American countries. If we are backward in this respect we shall be lacking in our duty as a Commonwealth. I do not suppose there is one person in a hundred in Australia who knows that Parliament is considering a question of this kind, and if the people were told that the project on foot would very likely cost anything up to £1,000,000, they would, probably, be horrified ; but it i3 the duty of the press to explain the position - if they have the interests of the general community at heart - and assist Parliament to bring about the great benefit that scientific research work has achieved in other parts of the world.
– I am afraid that this Bill will meet with a great deal of opposition. It has already had a lively reception in another place. However, I do not think any complaint can be laid against the criticism that has come from both outside and inside Parliament. In a free country there should be no objection to the criticism of legislative proposals, but those who are in favour of the principle of this Bill should endeavour to make the position clearer to the country. I am inclined to think that a great deal of effective work can be carried out by the Institute for which the Bill provides. It is a remark- 1 able fact that in connexion with nearly every measure brought before this Parliament, no matter what party may be in power, the suggestion is made that it may give rise to difficulties as between the Commonwealth and the States. The glorious sovereign rights of the States are a veritable old man of the sea, and from time to time rise up before us. We know that the States have established bureaux of science with the object of meeting for the most parr, the. requirements of our primary producers. No intelligent per son will take exception to the work they are doing, because whilst they may be overlapping to some extent they are nevertheless performing a very useful function. We have to take care, however, that by means of a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry we do not traverse ground already being covered by them. It is very difficult to lay down in an Act of Parliament the exact lines to be followed by an institution of this description, but effect can be given to our desires by those responsible for the administration of the Act. It seems to me that the work should practically be divided between the Federal and the State bureaux. I do not share the view expressed by many honorable members that Parliament should be consulted in regard to every detail of administration. The chief object of Parliament seems to be to talk, and there are certainly occasions when it appears to be unable to do anything else. The Government, on the other hand, exists to govern, but it should recognise that Parliament is entitled to know the lines of policy that it intends to pursue iu regard to any given matter. A Parliament that desires more than that from the Government of the day merely wants to usurp the functions of government, and would give rise to discontent and ultimately lead to chaos. When I speak of discontent I have in mind the desires of the more intelligent section of the people “who are open to reason, and not those who have never been, and never will be, satisfied. There are people in this community who do not wish to be content, because they are .happy only when they are miserable and growling.
The State Bureaux are doing good work, chiefly in the direction of applying science to agriculture, but they are not doing half as much in that direction as is being done in the United States of America. The application of science to manufactures, in my opinion, is essentially a Federal work. From time to time we have talked of our shortcomings in respect of the application of science to industry, but we realize now that the war has thrown everything into the melting pot, and that it is absolutely essential that this Parliament, in common with those of other countries, should deal at once with a question of this ‘kind. In other countries science has been applied more largely to secondary industries than it has been in Australia. As a matter of fact, we have done very little in that regard. If an Institute of Science and Industry is established by the Commonwealth it should be capable of a vast amount of good. While I do not suggest that it should not deal with such problems as the eradication of the prickly pear at the request of the States concerned, I think that as long as our Constitution remains as it is, it would be well for us to observe a clear cut line between State and Federal functions.
I do not suppose that we have seen Australian laboratories attached to any of our large manufacturing enterprises, with the exception, perhaps, of those of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company could not carry on its work, either at Broken Hill or Newcastle, without such an equipment, but, generally speaking, very little has been done in that respect by private enterprise. The reason is that we have no big manufacturing corporations, such as exist -in America. Since we have a population of only 5,000,000, we could not think of incurring an expenditure that would be justifiable on the part of a country with a population of 20,000,000. The extent of our expenditure must be measured by the limits of our population; but, if we follow on the lines adopted by the United States of America in regard to its various bureaux, we shall be able to do much valuable work. As the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has said, the United States of America has done a -great deal in this direction ; but, remembering that it has an Englishspeaking population of 100,000,000, and having regard to the race from which it sprang, it has not done more thani might have been expected of it. The population of the United States of America may be a mixed one, but it is dominated by the Anglo-Saxon stock, and its ideas of freedom, and the conduct of trade and commerce generally, are very similar to those of Great Britain. The only difference is that the one is a new, while the other is an old, country.
In seeking to travel the road set out for us by the United States of America, we must take care to determine what analogy there is between the two countries. We must not forget the line of demarcation between the States and the Commonwealth. In Australia, the land is owned by the States, whereas in the United States of America, I understand, all the land, with the exception of that of the original States of the Union, was appropriated by the Senate, and is under the control of the Federal Government. That fact must have largely influenced Congress in establishing bureaux of this character. When I was in office I had brought before me a paper dealing with this and other matters. I read it very carefully, and it had an influence on my thoughts on this subject which it will take many years to efface. Whilst I agree that the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry should be prepared to deal with matters of national importance, like the eradication of the prickly pear and other pests affecting our primary industries, I think that, like the United States Bureau of Science, it should largely devote its attention to the application of science to manufactures.
– In- the United States of America they have also a large number of agricultural bureaux.
– Quite so; but I am dealing now with the importance of the application of science to manufactures. There is nothing of a party character about this measure, concerning which there appears to be much confusion. There are writers who seem to be anxious to increase that confusion, and I think it is our duty to endeavour to clear the way and make the position perfectly plain.
While leaving the State bureaux to continue the work in which they are now engaged, the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry should yet be able to discharge functions of the greatest value. The American bureaux are under the control of scientific men. My contention is that we do not require to appoint to this Institute ornamental “ top-notcher” men with a tremendous lot of letters at the end of their names - men who are so wonderful that it is difficult to get near them and to learn whether or not they really know anything. We do not need such luxuries. We should not incur lavish expenditure, but should go slowly, and learn from experience what it is best to do. Attached to the various bureaux in the United States of America are a number of scientific assistants. Those students receive lower salaries from the American Government than the rich corporations pay to men engaged in similar classes of work. The explanation of that is that the bureaux are such excellent training schools that any private corporation which is in need of a young scientist for its own branch of research applies to a bureau for a suitable man. I know of many young men who were of a studious character, especially those engaged in mineralogy, who did not get large salaries when they first started their careers, but who were so energetic and ambitious that to-day they are holding big positions and drawing substantial salaries both in Australia and abroad. Why? Not because they were richly endowed in their younger days, but because they had the scientific instinct and the ambition and determination to make good. The rich American corporations realize that fact, and recruit their scientific staff from the science bureaux. We do not want any wonderful ornamental figureheads. Such a man as Mr. Wilkinson, to whom reference has been made, would be an excellent man to be associated with this Institute. What we require for it are men who are known to have practical scientific knowledge. I am certain that the management of the Broken Hill Corporation could point to halfadozen, or perhaps a dozen, men in Australia who are better qualified for any mineralogical appointment than any man from a university. I say nothing against university training, but my observation has been that men emerge from a university with merely a theoretical training. We do not want theorists for this Institute. The men we choose must have a practical scientific education. I do not care where they got it. Some of the men who occupy, high positions to-day in the scientific and industrial world started very humbly in life, and the opportunities for a poor man to make his way in the world are much better than they were when I was young. Men who, in their younger days, climbed the hill are much better than those who’ were born with silver spoons in their mouths. If we can get men of sound practical knowledge - and they can be got - we shall form the nucleus of a useful and efficient institution.
There is a vast amount of research work to be done in connexion with our various industries. I need only refer to the matter of dyes. Our young secondary industries are not to be disparaged, but the dyes of Australian manufacture are certainly not of a lasting character. We need not ignore that fact; rather should we recognise that there is money to be made in wresting these secrets from nature. The discovery of first class dyes offers a big field for our chemists.
– The German aniline dye originated in Britain, and the Germans appropriated it.
– I have as much respect as has any man in the world for anything that belongs to Great Britain, but I have not much respect for anything Germain. The Germans are frauds. Even the so-called German dyes were invented in Great Britain. It is well known that the French are better chemists than the Germans, but owing to German propaganda every Britisher and Australian before the war was saying that the German was the only sensible man in the world. Any well informed person knows that the French lead in every department of chemistry in which the Germans claim to lead. I certainly think something should be done to produce a more efficient dye in Australia.
Of course, if we are to do anything in connexion with this Institute we must spend money, just as we should have to do in starting a new business. The initial outlay on a laboratory and buildings, which must be of a permanent character, will be great; we cannot stint our expenditure in that respect. But I sug- gest to the House that we should proceed slowly, and advance a little from year to year. If we do that, and the Institute shows a good record, as I believe it will, I am certain succeeding Parliaments will not be niggardly in voting money to continue the work. I hope the Government will not arrange an ornamental and fancy administration by all sorts of people who are prominent only because their names are well known. Expenditure on ornamentation of any kind will not be right. Get the man who can do the work, no matter where we have to get him. I hope there is no truth in tie statement that Professor Gilruth is to play a leading part in connexion with the Institute. If that is to be the case, the House will make a big mistake in voting any funds at all for this purpose, because the Institute will be bound to collapse; it will never achieve anything under the administration of such a man. We must have practical men; they are here; they are willing to serve us because they are ambitious, and they are anxious to serve because they have the scientific instinct. It is not true that the Australian people suffer from poverty of ideas. We have our faults, we may lack discipline, but to say that we are fools, and that we lack scientific ability and the more solid qualities that contribute to the greatness of a nation, is to speak an untruth. The question of salaries is an easy one to settle; pay the market price for the labour. I do not believe in cutting wages. If we cannot get for £500 the man we want, let us pay him £1,000. But let him be the right man - a practical man. Possibly in the years to come, when the Institute has achieved a great success, it may be possible to indulge in more lavish expenditure on frill and ornamentation. Australia has a big burden to face in connexion with its war, indebtedness. We have nothing to be afraid of, but we cannot afford to waste one pound, nor have we any right to do so for some years ahead. I ask the House to regard this project in the light in which I have shown it, and if that is done I think we shall be able to justify whatever expenditure we incur.
Several honorable members have said that the Commonwealth ought to arrive at an understanding with the State Governments in regard to general cooperation in scientific work. There will be “no harm done if this Institute, when it is established, tries to make an arrangement with the States; but be under no delusion - no agreement with the States ?s possible. The sooner we and the people outside realize that, the sooner we shall face the fact that the Commonwealth must have more extended powers than it has to-day. Is it to be supposed that while human nature remains what it is. the sovereign States, the State parliamentarians, the State scientists and officials will surrender one grain of the power they now possess ? Not they ! History does not contain one instance of a community voluntarily surrendering its powers. Individuals have done so; there is the instance of Charles the Fifth. Men who have dominated the political world of their day have given up their power, but never in the history of political institutions has a community surrendered its power. What is the use of continually repeating the farce of trying to have an understanding with the States? There can be no such understanding. We may as well save our breath to cool our porridge. We must remodel the Constitution, and the sooner we do it the better, so that we can undertake national work of this character in the manner in which it is being tackled by America and by Canada. The proper system of government’ for this country is that which obtains in the Dominion of Canada and the “Union of South Africa. A Federal Constitution of that kind is the only one that will be effective so long as we remain under the British Crown. I have no desire, and I know of no member of this Parliament who desires, to break the connexion with the British Crown. Therefore, it is necessary that we should have a Federal Constitution which will enable us to work in harmony with the British Crown. This matter is not of much importance tj me or to any other honorable member individually. We come and go; at the next elections half of us may disappear from this House. But the Commonwealth will go on, and it is in the interests of the people that they should have cheaper government.
I am in no mood for captious criticism of the Government, for I recognise that they have a “ hard row to hoe.” I think, however, that in Committee it will he possible to follow the lines I have indicated in regard to the Institute, or we should be told before the Bill is through, why they are not. I am certain that what I propose would be for the benefit of the country, and that we would never Lave any cause to regret the expenditure.
– I think I know some of the reasons why this measure has been introduced; and, in my opinion, the House ought to be better informed as to the expenditure to be incurred. The creation of new Departments is more serious and important than some honorable members seem to think. I remember that, years ago, when the State Departments were much smaller than they are now, many proposals were made for the exercise of further Government control, on the plea that no heavier expense would be incurred, while there would be great results. We all know, however, that a Department, once created, grows faster than the prickly pear in Queensland. I suppose I have attended as many deputations as most honorable members, urging for Government action in one direction or another; and I have often heard Ministers admit that the case presented was a good one, the only trouble being that in a few years the growth of Departments became a serious drain on the taxpayer.
The opposition to the Bill before us is based, to a large extent, on the undesirability of incurring any very large expenditure in this direction at this particular period of our history; and that opposition is justified by the fact that for years the State Departments have been carrying on research work of the kind, and have got together a number of very excellent officials. Much useful work has been done by these officers in connexion, amongst other things, with what might be called byproducts of manufacture. Such, for example, is the cyanide process, without which the Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie mines would be virtually closed. Then, again, there is the electro process in connexion with copper. Neither of these processes had their origin in a university, both having been discovered by chemists actively engaged in the industries. The agricultural discoveries of Mr. Farrar had nothing whatever to do with the university.
– He was a Cambridge man.
– But his agricultural discoveries had nothing to do with the university.
The proposal before us had its origin in the active mind of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), in a desire to please certain people in Australia. The address he delivered before the Chamber of Commerce in Sydney had evidently been carefully prepared, and was an excellent one, easily grasped by those who were anxious to do something in the solution of war problems. But it was very coolly received by his audience, and the comments in the press were anything but complimentary. If an institute of the kind is anything, it is the purest piece of Socialism possible to conceive, because it provides for a State stepping in to the immediate assistance of our primary and secondary industries. That sort of policy is, of course, entirely opposed to the views of such a body as the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Prime Minister, whom we all know as a Free Trader. I could understand such a proposal emanating from members like myself, who are anxious that Australia should be selfcontained; and we are consistent in our advocacy of this Institute of Science and Industry. The States at all times are very jealous of their “ sovereign powers,” but I would pick their pockets of those powers as quickly as possible, because I believe that their maintenance in such matters as that now under consideration is injurious to the people of the country. Instead of a united Australia, the States are trying to conserve their little “ tingods,” and put them on a pedestal in a way detrimental to the interests of the people. At the same time, I believe, without reference to State bureaux or laboratories, that there are some men employed by the States who would have been of great assistance in an institute of this kind, because they are practical men, not theorists, ‘ publicity officers of the Government, or former editors of newspapers. The men to whom I refer have approached their subjects in a manner requiring both mechanical genius and common sense, and we know that “ common sense” was Professor Huxley’s definition of “ science.”
The Prime Minister told us how progressive the Germans were in their marvellous schools of chemistry, and so forth; and there is no doubt that in the work of scientific research great as.sistance was given by the German Government. But the Prime Minister did not tell the Sydney Chamber of Commerce so in these words, because he knew his audience was composed of gentlemen who have no love for Australian industries; they are importers, and their only interest is the security of their own positions. In fact, they are like the ostrich, iri that they bury their heads in their ledgers and can see nothing outside; they cannot see the writing on the wall, and will not admit the possibility of any change, because that would interfere with their prospects. I believe, however, that Australia will wake up to the importance of making herself self-contained.
Holding the views I do, and have expressed, I cannot very well oppose the proposal before us; but I hope shortly to address my constituents, who will be sure to want to know if there is not some more pressing business to engage our attention. We have raised on loan in Australia over £180,000,000, and are now raising another £25,000,000; and the electors will be very curious as to how the interest and principal are to he paid, and our returned soldiers provided for according to promise. I feel justified in putting my position before the House, in order to show why I am not offering strenuous opposition to a Bill of this character. In my opinion, the Bill would not have been tabled but for the fact that the Government have no other business to bring before us for discussion. This Bill has been delayed for a great length of time; and really I think that it is now being proceeded with only with a view of making the people believe that Parliament is doing some work. Some of those connected with universities, and others interested in companies which have in their employ men drawing fairly large salaries, have told me that they cannot understand why we do not try to secure Australian-born men to fill these positions. The time will have to come when more attention must be given to the claims of our native-born in connexion with appointments of this kind. Wherever our troops went abroad, they showed, that Australia could rear men of the greatest capacity and ability, perhaps greater than was the case with any other nation. When our sons leave Australia’s shores they make their mark in the world, but we in Australia apparently do not recognise their capabilities. I do not know why it should be so, but there seems to be some prejudice at work. The fault may lie with the Australian-born themselves in not pushing themselves more to the front. The principal positions in Australia are taken by us fellows who come from England, and are ambitious for power and authority.
I trust that the discussion on this Bill will do some good. I confess that, unless the appointments to the governing body of the proposed Institute are different from some of the first appointments made to it, I shall not expect very much from it. I hope that the Institute will be the means of creating greater opportunities, particularly in chemistry, for scientific advancement te be made, because, in all but the ordinary industries that we started with in this country chemistry has been the chief factor.
– We shall have to get beyond native cats and bears.
– That is too small a matter for my great mind. I thought we would get something different from that in the official journal of the Institute, and I was not pleased when I saw it. I presume it was intended to please the tastes of some people, and no doubt it will do so. I sent one of my copies of the paper to the South Sea Islands, and am sending another to the schoolmaster at Lord Howe Island for the benefit of the children there. The Government should- be able to give us more complete information about the expenditure involved in the creation of the Institute. Failing that, perhaps it would be wiser to agree to the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor). I do not know who the next Treasurer will he, hut he has a very unpleasant task before him, and the people of Australia will have to bear very unpleasant burdens. We must face our financial difficulties, and Parliament should set the example by showing that there is nothing unwarranted about any expenditure which it sanctions. It is the duty of the Government to show that benefit to the nation will accrue from this expenditure. Although I do not feel called upon to directly oppose the Bill, I feel that the amendment moved by my Leader is one that might fairly be expected from the Opposition, because this is not the time when we should involve ourselves in any greater expenditure than is absolutely necessary to carry on the affairs of the Commonwealth. The session can last only a few months longer, because Parliament must go to the people next May. We must have something to show to the people, and if the Government cannot point to a constructive programme it will be the duty of the Opposition to inform the public of the very disagreeable financial tasks that have to be faced. I hope that the Government, whatever it mav do1 regarding this Bill, will see that the expenditure is kept down, and give openings to those persons who really understand chemistry and the workings of those industries which are supposed to be essential to meet our post-war problems, provide employment, and remove discontent. There is no doubt that discontent does exist in the community, as appears to be the case after every war. The people not only here, but all over the world, will not be satisfied with the teachings that they accepted before the war. In past Parliaments we have had rulers who were fine orators. I could sit and listen to some of them with pleasure, but when they had finished speaking, that was the end of it. Nothing was done. In this Bill the Government appear to be acting on the principle which the seamen adopted when they struck - that is, direct action. They have brought the Bill forward after practically committing Parliament to the expenditure, whether we like it or not. Even if we threw the
Bill out to-morrow, we should have to pass some of the expenditure, and the taxpayers would have to find the money.
If there is one thing more than another that this debate ought to warn the Government against, it is the callous indifference which they have shown in their treatment of Parliament when incurring expenditure. The situation has reached such a pitch that it might almost be called immoral, because Parliament is kept in ignorance of what is going on, and then thrown almost into a panic on discovering that the expenditure proposed has been incurred. The Opposition have been very lenient to the Government, who have been guilty of many sins,, both of omission and commission. We have been most generous and charitable in our treatment of them, because on many occasions we could have roused the public by delivering addressee outside. In the House, we have exercised our rights, but our moderation outside must have been of great assistance to the Government, because if we had taken the opportunities that offered, the discontent ‘among the public would be much greater than it is now. We on this side are aware that we shall ha.ve to explain to the public what is before us. I know what I shall have to stand up to, and I am going to stand up to it like a man, but I should feel that I was on velvet if I could, from a full knowledge of the facts, justify the action of the Government in creating this Institute of Science and Industry. We are, of course, practically committed to it, because, when the Prime Minister made his speech to the Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, he had made up his mind to create it. He may have thought it was a good electioneering cry, or that it would be a good thing to distract the people’s thoughts from other matters about which they would have worried. None . of us, however, thought that expenditure was going to be incurred, and appointments made, before Parliament had given its sanction. Prom reading the Ilansard reports of the British House of Commons, I notice that the leaders there have been much sounder in their conduct of the finances than has been the case in Australia. I feel that I shall not be acting contrary to any of my principles if, in the circumstances, I offer no strenuous opposition to this Bill. I hear the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Page) say, “Hear, hear,” to that remark. I suppose he is thinking about the prickly pear and the tick. No doubt all the pastoral interests will urge the Government to push on with the Bill, because they will be getting State aid to overcome some of their difficulties.
– That is where you are wrong ; the pastoralists do not. want it.
– I am sure they will take as much Socialism as they can get, but they will not give it to the other fellow. I shall watch the progress of the Institute with a good deal of interest, and if I find that it does not give employment to those, I think should be employed, I shall raise strenuous opposition to it, whichever party is in power at the time.
.- My complaint, if I have one regarding this Bill, is that the Government have been too slow* in introducing it: Having had some little experience of the work done by the Advisory Council, and a knowledge of its pretensions as to the future, I disagree with those who seem to fear that there is likely to be conflict with State Departments in regard to the work which the proposed Institute will undertake. Its most useful sphere of operations will be investigation work, which the State Departments are not undertaking, except where able men - there are many of them employed by the States - have undertaken a certain amount of research work in their own leisure time. Their official work has been confined to specific lines of investigation, and they have certainly achieved splendid results. For instance, they have undertaken a great amount of scientific investigation in connexion with agriculture. Queensland has had two stations experimenting in regard to the prickly-pear pest, and has spent a considerable sum of -money in this direction. The pest covers 22,000,000 acres of good land in that State, and has extended into New South Wales. It is a problem that must be faced. Attempts have been made to kill it off by gases, but while it has been found possible to do that, it has all the time been necessary to keep in view the commercial cost of eradicating methods. The prickly pear grows mostly upon land which would be used for carrying stock. If it is growing on good agricultural land, it may pay the farmer to get rid of it at a high cost; but if it is growing on- pastoral land, the cost of eradication must be kept very low. A suggestion has been made that a parasite might be secured’ which would destroy the pest, or, at any rate, limit its extension. Whether that can be done remains to be proved. The eradication of the prickly pear is one of the problems which cannot be ignored. Every one in Australia is interested in it, and it is a matter that should not be left to be handled by one State alone with its smaller resources.
I am satisfied that a great many honorable members have quite a misconception of what the Advisory Council was called upon to do when it was appointed. Its very title indicates that it was nothing but an advisory body. It was expected to make examinations into the question of whether or not new industries could be established in Australia, but it was not appointed to carry out research work. In fact, it could not do so, as it had not the means of doing so. It had no laboratory. Yet a great many intelligent members seem to think that it was expected to carry out research work and discover new industries. With the limited funds placed at its disposal it assisted some of the experiments that had already been undertaken in that direction, but until the projected Institute has its machinery set up, and two additional scientists are appointed, and a laboratory is built, no scientific research work can be undertaken. Some of our newspapers - one in particular which is very much misinformed, and is in the habit of making untrue statements on many subjects - has sneered at the fact that the Advisory ‘Council consisted of nothing but university professors. The truth is . that in every State Committees were appointed to work in co-operation with the Advisory Council. I believe that in all about fifty-three men have been doing honorary work on these Committees purely for the love of helping the country. There is certainly a small fee paid to the regular members of the Advisory Council, but there are only eight professors out of the fifty-three on the various Committees, and they are men of high standing and great knowledge. Furthermore, they are practical men. As for the others, who will say that Mr. Delprat, the manager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, is not a practical man 1 He has given his valuable time in order to assist the Government in endeavouring to discover new industries that may be developed in Australia. The various Committees have collected the information obtained in the different States, brought it up to date, and centralized it.
– Could not that information have been obtained without the appointment of an Advisory Council ?
– The honorable member will realize that by appointing able men from various industries to act in conjunction with scientific men and university professors, different points of view are secured, and as the different States had undertaken the work of investigating certain questions, the Committees in those States were asked to get all the information obtainable upon these matters right up to date, and forward it to the central body, where a precis could be prepared regarding it. This information could not otherwise have been obtained without sending men to the States concerned. By means of these State Committees the work has been done voluntarily by local men, with a knowledge of local conditions. State Departments have published most excellent magazines regarding the work done by them in various directions, and a bibliograph has been prepared by the Advisory Council. The efforts made to establish industries in certain directions, the drawbacks attendant thereon, and all the information available have been summarized and made ready for the Institute to start on when it begins its operations. All this excellent work has been done. It is all that could have been expected. Those who have been making reflections on the Advisory Council because it has not started any new industry fail to understand the object of appointing that body, what it was authorized to do, and what it was possible for it to do.
There are very few laboratories in Australia. The finest is that attached to the Customs Department, and under the control of Mr. Wilkinson, a very able man. I agree with all that has been said about him. But possibly £5,000 would represent the value of all the laboratories in Australia under the control of the Commonwealth and State Governments. Honorable members ask, “Why do not the Government tell us what the cost of this Institute will be?” No Minister can forecast what its cost will be eventually. No doubt, the Government have an estimate of the cost of a laboratory for chemical research work, but if we follow the example of the Americans, who have had long experience in this regard, and have been eminently successful, it will probably be necessary to have two plants. First, we shall need the chemical laboratory, where the initial experiments are carried out. Then, if the results achieved indicate the possibility of commercial value in any invention, a larger plant will be required to develop the idea on a bigger scale before the public are asked to spend money upon it. Every new invention must be tested in a plant sufficiently large to treat it on the lines on which it will have to be treated when put upon the market. Such an establishment will cost a great deal, of money. It will be necessary to progress steadily. All these things cannot be done in a day.
Many of the big problems facing us have been mentioned. The solution of these should be the first task undertaken by our Institute. By-and-by we shall come to the question of establishing the necessary plant, and to the appointment of that very -rare individual - perhaps the rarest of individuals - the man who is fitted for scientific research work. We have such men in Australia. We have here many young men who have the temperament, inclination, and ambition to undertake the work of exploring in new fields. Mankind has never fully realized the value and importance of that type of individual. The only country that seems to have really appreciated him is France, where they give to any person who is a genius in thatdirect ion a position which will secure for him his bread and butter for life, and then they tell him to continue his exploring and investigations for the rest of his life.
In the Old World and in America large corporations have their own laboratories, and employ their own chemical experts. If these men find out certain secrets of manufacture, the firms make use of them for their own profit and gain. Here, in Australia, where we axe setting out to limit the profits of the profiteer, we are adopting a new system of research work - the only method by which the public at large can be supplied with a knowledge that every one should possess, so that each individual may have a fair start. Our factories and enterprises are handicapped. They are not big enough to employ experts in their own laboratories. The manager of the electrolytic zinc works in Tasmania gave the Advisory Council a most interesting evening on his return from the United States .of America, where he had visited all the important works. He gave us one instance of their methods. It has been mentioned already by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald) and by the Minister in charge of the Bill (Mr. Groom). They pick their men, and, to some extent, they train men in practical work. A mining company possessing a laboratory of its own engaged a member of the staff of the Bureau of Science for six months and set him to work to ‘ascertain whether it was possible to improve on the method of treating its ores. Within six months that man discovered a new process which decreased by 50 per cent, the cost of production. The discovery of new methods of manufacture by the Institute of Science and Industry would be of the utmost value, not only to the manufacturers, but to the people at large, since any reduction in the cost of production as the result of information, gained through the Institute should lead to a decrease in the cost to the consumer.
I am not so much concerned with the position of the primary industries under this scheme, inasmuch as they have already received much assistance at- the hands of the States. The State Bureaux have done a good deal for our primary industries in the way of finding means of combating the ravages of various parasites, but they have done little or nothing for our secondary industries. In Australia there are two fields as yet untouched so far as our secondary industries are concerned. One of these is the making of experiments to cheapen the cost of production by the discovery of new means of winning the riches of nature, while the other is the utilization of the by-products of our various industries. Industries to which science has been applied have in many cases secured their largest returns from the utilization of by-products. We in Australia have not commenced to deal with them.
– Delpratt does not lose much of the by-products of his industry.
– I am speaking generally. I do not suppose there is anything much relating to the refining of sugar of which the Colonial Sugar Refining Company knows nothing, nor do I think that the Mount Lyell Company is not acquainted with the very ‘best methods of treating ores such as those with which it has to deal. The general manager of the Mount Lyell Company recently went to America and had some tons of ore tested there. Work of that kind is undertaken by the Bureau of Science and Industry in the United States of America, but the information thus obtained is confined to the company for which it is done, whereas the discoveries of our Institute of Science and Industry will be available to the people at large. The State Bureaux deal with analyses of soils and fertilizers, and in many other ways assist our primary producers, but much remains to be done in the application of science to our secondary industries.
Reference has been made during this debate to the aniline dye industry. When the war broke out Germany had £49,000,000 invested in dye works, and was deriving dividends of 2S per cent, from that investment. The secret of the dyes rested formerly with British manufacturers, but when they were allowed to transfer their operations to Germany those secrets went with them. Had all the secret processes relating to the manufacture of dyes been made public, as they would have been had they been discovered by a bureau of science and industry the position would h’ave been different. Before we can reach such a stage, however, we must have the machinery and organization under way.
It is ridiculous for honorable members to ask the Minister in charge of the Bill (Mr. Groom) to saY what the annual expenditure in connexion with this Institute will be. We shall have to determine from year to year what amount should be allocated to its purposes, and the directors of the Institute will have to keep their operations within the expenditure provided for by Parliament. Splendid work has been done by able men in the State Bureaux, but the treatment meted out to them has not always been satisfactory. In this connexion, I would point to the treatment received by the late Mr. Farrar, of New South Wales, which illustrates how often the ability of a really capable man lacks appreciation. In every other country the name of Farrar was known as that of a great wheat experimentalist. He did great work in connexion with experiments designed to secure a drought-resisting wheat, and his work was known and appreciated everywhere but in the country in which he lived. And so with very many others. Numbers of good men have not been given a chance, merely because the States by which they have been employed have not been prepared to incur the expenditure inseparable from adequate research work.
We are all anxious to reduce the cost of living, and one means of securing that is to cheapen the cost of production. It is easier to get rid of profiteering and the middleman than it is to apply science to the cheapening of the cost of production. Many big enterprises cut down the cost of their manufactures to an enormous extent by employing their own staffs of scientists, but the public do not reap the benefit. As the result of discoveries made by this Commonwealth Institute, however, we should be able to cheapen the cost of production, since information so obtained will be available to all who care to make use of it. If we push on with this work, and secure the services of the best men, the outlook should be ‘very bright. Some time ago I urged the Prime
Minister (Mr. Hughes) to establish without delay an Institute of Science and Industry, and in this Bill an effort has been made to meet the view’s which I then expressed. I pointed out that it was not necessary, as many seemed to think, that the chairman of directors of the Institute should be a scientist. My idea was that the Government should appoint to that position a man possessing a wide knowledge of Australia and of Australian industries. He should be a wellinformed, able man, with plenty pf push, energy, and organizing capacity. If he possessed scientific knowledge, so. much the better; but ‘I impressed upon the Prime Minister the view that what was wanted was a man with a wide knowledge of Australian industries rather than one who had devoted his whole life to scientific work. Such a man, when any proposal was submitted to him, would be able to determine whether it was a commercially payable proposition, and whether the population of Australia was big enough to provide a suitable market for it. That should be the work of the chairman, while the other two directors should be scientists thoroughly familiar with all laboratory and research work, and should have the choosing and oversight of the staff. With a chairman and two. directors such as I have mentioned, this Institute should do much valuable work. We have such men available in Australia today. I have in mind, at the present moment, a man who is thoroughly up to date. I refer to Mr. Wilkinson, who makes it his business to be familiar with practically every scientific happening in other parts of the world. He has a vast knowledge, and there are many industries in this State which have been able to draw upon it with great advantage to themselves. In quite a number of instances firms engaged in manufacturing enterprises have been helped by him to overcome serious obstacles, and to greatly reduce their cost, of production.
– But Mr. Wilkinson is not a director of the Institute.
– I refer to him as representing the type of men who’ should be employed in connexion with this Iri*- stitute. If he were one of the directors, his knowledge would be available to all the industries of Australia.
The Advisory Council has had brought before it many matters which go to show the necessity for the establishment of this Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry. Numerous inventions have been submitted to it, and the engineering section, presided over by Professor Lyell, who is a great engineer and a thoroughly practical man, dealt with quite a number of new proposals. Notable instances of the waste of by-products were put before the council. Much waste of the kind occurs- in connexion with the meat industry. I have been through Armour’s factory in Queensland, where there is absolutely no waste. There everything is utilized. There was no trace of anything being left except the clinker from the fire. But from those who have had experience in the management of such firms as the great Bovril Company, in the Old Country, I found that Australian factories had not even started to utilize the by-products. ‘They sell material refuse for manure at £6 per ton, and it contains considerable material, which, though of no use as manure, is valued at £10 per ton. The reason is that the Australian manufacturer does not know the full value of the material he is handling. Because we are a new country starting these industries in a big way, we regard bullocks as- merely providing a good food; we do not know that a bullock’s carcass contains forty products of commercial value. Australian firms either do not know of these things or do not bother about them, (because the extraction of all the by-products would involve the installation of additional plant, and some byproducts require special markets, which Australia may or may not provide. We are interested- in making our factory controllers understand these things, and thus take the full value out of every carcass they treat. The community has to pay for the wasteful method that is adopted now. If we crush down the present prices of these products, even by law, we may force the factories to try to produce more cheaply. It should be our endeavour to cheapen production in even branch of industry. That is why I sowarmly support the establishment of a scientific bureau of the- kind proposed. We have the men of “ability to carry on the work. There is the gentleman whose name has been mentioned, and there are others - young men leaving the university, who, if they were given a chance, would prove themselves equal to the scientists of other countries. Western Australia has four plants which are poisonous to stock. A young scientific student, who has been trained in the Melbourne University, set about investigat-ing these poisons in his spare time - this was not the work he was employed to do officially - and after nearly six months of research, he discovered an alkali that was unknown to science hitherto.
– He would have done that without being a Government officer.
– I know he would; but I am alluding to the advantage that would accrue from having men available to do that kind of work. This Institute’ will not require to take up the- work which the States are now doing, but it should co-operate with them in that work. The States know of a lot of other work that needs to be done; but Governments and Parliaments are only too ready to cut down the expenditure on any project that is not likely to be a direct producer of revenue.
Australia set up a fine educational system, and who will say that the expenditure on that system is not repaid to the Commonwealth? This Institute of Science and Industry represents a different form of education, and it, too, will pay the country handsomely. Look at the results which have attended the system in America. They ‘ are extending it year after year, and increasing their expenditure upon it ; but it pays the American people well. Australia is practically the last of the countries engaged in the war to consider a measure of this kind. It has been introduced in Japan in another form. The system is already in operation in Canada. It was in force in America before the war. America, to some extent, followed the load of Germany, which has bureaux of science and industry, and also universities which do a certain amount of research work. But universities are primarily teaching institutions, and can only do a limited amount of research work. Hence there will be no conflict between the Institute of Science and Industry and the universities. On the contrary, the Institute will have the co-operation of the universities.
– The universities have extensive laboratories.
– Yes, for teaching purposes.. Teaching differs from research. For the latter the right man for the job must be picked, and set to work for six months or a year or more to investigate the problem that is given to him. That is work which must be allotted to men who at a university obtained a foundational training in chemistry. It will be quite easy to arrange co-operation between the universities and the Institute.
I hope, with the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald), that the rumour of a second director being appointed to the Institute is a canard. I know nothing of such a proposal. The present head of the Institute was chosen as a man who possesses the requirements that were thought necessary in the principal of such an establishment. But I regard the salary paid to him as ridiculously small.
– No salary is fixed in the Bill.
– No; but the Government have engaged a chairman at a ridiculously low salary. The amount would be small for the position even in a country that did not possess men of the highest scientific qualifications, and it certainly is not creditable to this big Commonwealth to pay the head, of the Institute of Science and Industry the miserable salary of £1,250. I hope that there will be a revision of the salaries of the scientists, and that such amounts will be paid as will insure our getting the best men.
– You must leave the Executive a free hand.
– Some honorable members have objected to the creation of Advisory Councils in the different States. Already those honorary bodies have rendered excellent services at considerable trouble to themselves and practically no cost to the Commonwealth. We should be wise to continue those councils. They would not interfere in any way with the central body, but would keep it informed of developments in the different States. If a branch of the Institute were set up in each State we should at once create self-interests and add to the’ cost. The Advisory Councils would be able to perform very useful work at little expense. In regard to all appointments the policy of the Government should be to get the best talent available, and not stint the pay. Parliament will have an opportunity each year to decide what the expenditure on the Institute shall be. The cost of setting up an independent laboratory and staff will amount to many thousands of pounds, and we must expect a year or two to elapse before the Institute can get under full way and commence to give a practical return for the expenditure.
– ‘The proposal to establish an Institute of Science and Industry is worthy of our most serious attention, because of the enormous potentialities involved. One cannot approach the study of this question without acknowledging the immense part which science is playing, and will continue to play in- the world’s affairs. Experience in the recent’ war showed that science has a peculiar adaptability; in a remarkable manner it can readily adapt itself to the necessities of the moment. When one thinks of the enormous developments in death-dealing machines during the war, one marvels at the triumph of chemistry, and how obstacles seemed to vanish before energetic investigations along scientific lines. Take, for instance, the developments in poison gases. The chemists in the combatant countries were vieing with each other as to who could produce the most destructive gases. One wonders whether all the scientific ability and achievement which were employed in the destruction of human life and property cannot be now applied to the betterment of mankind. If those energies which were let loose during the war, and which were so destructive of all that was best and useful in civilization, were henceforth devoted to the uplifting of mankind, a great advantage would be conferred upon the world. We must admit that this is the day of the scientist. The chemist is abroad in the world to-day to such an extent that it is foolish for any one to dogmatize, and say in regard to land, for instance, that this area is useless, that a certain timber has no value, or that such and such a metal or ingredient is worthless. The scientist has discovered methods of making useful to the community things which for centuries have been regarded as valueless. Recognising these facts, we have to admit that the future of Australia, must be largely affected by the opportunities we give to scientific research and development.
I quite agree with the statement reported to have been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) the other day, that the future of Australia depends on our ability to produce - “ Produce, produce, produce,” he said, “must be our watchword.” In view of the enormous handicap imposed on us through the war, and the heavy financial burdens we shall have to bear for” some years, it is inevitable that, in order to meet our obligations and enable us to do what is necessary for the future prosperity of the country, we must pay particular attention to production; and production without some scientific basis is of very little use to us. During the war the developments in transportation have been remarkable achievements in scientific evolution - transport by air, by land,’ by sea, and under the sea. This shows that if ‘ the opportunity is there, the scientists can “supply the goods,” and can give whatever is necessary, at any rate within reasonable limits, for the particular purpose at the time. It has already been proved over and over again that production is largely dependent on . an available, ample, and cheap supply of power.
I was interested some time ago in looking through the Financial Review of Reviews, to notice a remarkable illustration of the advantages of cheap power in regard to production. In the article there is compared the net value produced per worker per week’ in Great Britain as against the United States of America, and the figures are as follow : -
Taking the average for all the trades mentioned, the result works out to £20s. 5d. for the British worker as compared with £5 5s. 8d. for the American, i.e., as 1 is to 2.6.
That looks bad for the British worker, but the explanation and whole point of the table is that in America scientific achievement has reached such a stage that it has been possible to produce power at a rate so low that production has increased enormously with the adaptation of that power to machinery, and the extensive use of machinery in manufacturing industry.
– Is it mostly electric?
Mr.FINLAYSON.-Very largely. If we can, through the agency of an Institute of Science and Industry, develop some cheap motive power in Australia, the Institute will pay for itself over and over again. We have- unlimited opportunities in this country for the development of such cheap power as I suggest: Take, for instance, the enormous water power running to waste. Tasmania is the only State that has, so far, made any serious effort to develop electricity, which’ is the most easily transported power in the world, and undoubtedly has a great future. Yet, with an enormous water supply available for the generation of electric power, no serious effort has been made towards its application to industry. It is not that the scientist does not know, or that the secret is undiscovered - it is not that there is any lack of knowledge of the basic facts - the power is there, and only requires to be applied; but it seems as if a lack of appreciation of the facts of the case prevents action being taken in the right direction. In Victoria at the present time, because of a shortage of coal from other States, industries are held up, and the community is suffering, though, at the same time, in the very same State there are enormous potentialities in water power that could develop sufficient electricity to drive all the machinery that could be employed in manufactures in any part. Whatever may be said in regard to Victoria’s position may much more readily be said in regard to any other State. Just recently the New South Wales Government have put forward certain proposals for the development of power. I cannot but think at times, when I visit either Northern Queensland or Tasmania, that it is an ‘ insult to our intelligence that in the twentieth century there should exist a steam-engine, either stationary or loco-; motive, when power can be had so cheaply. Again, take the . enormous potentialities in. regard to the production of power alcohol. Thousands of tons of molasses to-day are running to waste - are being disposed of in every possible way that can help the sugar mills in Northern Queensland to get rid of it ; and at the same time this Government have in operation, under the Defence Department, in Queensland, a factory where they are treating molasses for acetate of lime, and in the process extracting enormous quantities of power alcohol that could be placed on the market, and would simply revolutionize our motor transport. But we are content to import enormous quantities of petrol, benzine, and motor spirit of various kinds, when at our doors we have materials available to make motoring an everyday pleasure instead of the rich man’s luxury.
– How would the establishment of an Institute help in this, seeing that we already have the commodity ?
-I. am delighted to know that the honorable member desires some information on the matter.
We have not only opportunities for research, but demands for the application of research in a way that very few countries in the world possess. I know of no other country that is so open to research on. scientific lines, and the development of its resources on those lines, as Australia. We are rich in those basic essentials for the application of science to industry, and for the development of our potential wealth along the best lines. The trouble in my mind is not as to whether an Institute should be ‘ established, for on that point I have not the slightest doubt, but as to how best the Institute may be established. There may be something to be said as to whether this is the right time to establish it; but one cannot withhold a word of congratulation to the State Governments, which have all along recognised the necessity for some research along scientific, lines on behalf of the agricultural industry;, and in this regard every. State may be complimented on its success. It is obvious, however, that as this country is one and. indivisible, however we may subdivide it geographically, the interestsof one part are identical with the. interests of another. What may be of particular local interest to one part to-day may not be confined to purely local in-, terest to-morrow. Each State is so related to the other States that the mutual interest, is stronger than the individual interest can ever hope to- be. It is, therefore, necessary to approach matters that may appear to be of simply local concern from a wider stand-point, and to realize that a development of any one part of Australia, or the development of an industry in any one part, is not of particular interest only, but of general interest.
I have a very strong feeling that in these matters a Federal Institute of Science and Industry, or a Federal organization in control, is much more likely to be successful than any State Institute.This is quite evident, and scarcely needs to be mentioned. The sugar industry,for instance, is of primary importance to Queensland, but who shall . say for a. moment that it is . a Queensland rather, than an Australian industry? It is of much, more importance to Australia than it could be if it were confined and looked on purely from the parochial aspect of a State concern. Consequently, the development of industry, the protection of it from pests, the securing of the best results - from molasses, for instance, one of its by-products - the use of the cane, and cane tops, and the other various byproducts, all prove that this is a matter, not only of local, but of national concern. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company that I, with others, very strongly criticise at times, has not built up its reserves from profits made merely on the refining of sugar, but by spending enormous sums on laboratories and chemists, in order to turn their by-products into articles of commercial value. The same thing might be said of a number of other industries. While the States have done splendid work in the past, the time has come when we should have no overlapping of these, but a co-ordinating and linking up with one grand Federal Institute of Science and Industry. So far as we are aware, no consultation has taken place between the Federal and State Governments with regard to these matters. It seems as if the Federal Government said, “ We have the power to establish this Institute, and whether it conflicts with yours, or will dovetail in with yours, is not a matter of our concern. We are coming into competition with you if you do not choose to work in with us.”
– They have done the same with regard to taxation and electoral matters.
– The honorable member has expressed the thought I had in my mind. We have quite a number of Departments which overlap State activities. These overlappings are causing no end of waste of money, and certainly have not benefited the public. Is this going to be another such arrangement as the Electoral Departments, the Savings Banks, and the Taxation Departments ? If so, we may well pause. There is no doubt that the State rights feeling is still naturally so strong, and the idea of State sovereignty still holds such a big place in the minds of the people, that any attempt to wipe out State operations by the mere establishment of a Federal organization will be bitterly resented, ‘and lead to obstruction, opposition, and enmity where we want to develop cooperation and friendliness. Unless there is going to be a very close association and mutual assistance and effort between the Federal Institute and the State Bureaux, we shall be worse off with this Bill than we are without it. I strongly object to the Federal Government being committed to the establishment of this Institute until we have come to some sort of working arrangement with the State Bureaux, so as to insure that co-operation which is absolutely essential to the success of the scheme.
– If the States are against you, what do you propose then ?
– Then on them is the responsibility.
– As a matter of fact, the States are already co-operating with us in this matter.
– Not under this Bill.
– No; but in other ways on the lines we propose here. Both Queensland and New South Wales are working harmoniously with us as regards the prickly pear.
– Strong exception has been taken in the various States to the establishment of the Institute.
– By isolated persons. There is a certain State Rights -section that has always opposed, and always will oppose, everything the Commonwealth undertakes.
– I am entirely in favour of a Federal Institute.
– Because in one or two States there happen to be certain persons opposed to it, is no reason why we should not take national action.
– It is a reason why we should seek to arrive at some understanding, and work in agreement with the several States.
– We have been trying to do that, and this Bill will provide complete machinery for that purpose.
– But the Minister would be in a much stronger position if he could tell us, “ We propose to establish our laboratories and Institute, and we have the guarantee of the States that their Bureaux will work in association with us, and become really subsidiary branches of the Federal Institute.”
– At different times the States have notified us to that effect. As a matter of fact, Victoria, through Mr. Swinburne, said they thoroughly agreed with the establishment of the Federal Institute, and Mr. Barlow, on behalf of Queensland, said they quite agreed with a ‘bureau of agriculture on Federal lines.
– It is obvious that it will be worth while for the States to cooperate with the Federal Institute. It is equally obvious that the Federal Government will be better able to establish a complete laboratory, and a much more extensive and complete system under the Institute than any of the States can hope to do. But .the danger is that, instead of having a bureau in each State looking after its own local concerns, and directing its energies closely and continuously in the one direction, and for the good of that State, we may have diffused interests and lack point. Unless we can link up, by a much more cognate system than is apparent in the Bill - by which it is proposed to have only State Advisory Councils - the various operations in the States, we are going to fail.
– The .States have their own institutions. There is no desire to set up administrative organizations in conflict with the States. We have the Advisory Councils as connecting links.
– Unless those Advisory Councils are related in some direct and useful fashion to the Federal Institute they are bound to work, if not in antagonism, at least on their own individual lines, and we shall have two institutions where we should be better served with one.
– I assure the honorable member that his fears are groundless.
– No one will be more delighted than myself if it should turn out that there is real, genuine cooperation rather than opposition between the State Bureaux and the Federal Institute.
– The scientific men themselves, by whom, after all, the work has to be done, are in the great majority of cases sympathetic to this scheme.
– One can understand that, because it would be a very sad state of affairs if the scientists of Australia objected to the establishment of institutes for the development of their own particular business. I was very pleased to note the foreword in the first issue of Science and Industry, paragraph 2 of which states -
One of the objects of the Institute is to co-ordinate scientific work carried out in the Commonwealth. It is necessary not only that the research worker in Queensland should know what- the research worker in Western Australia is doing, but he should know it promptly and accurately. It is not true that the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry merely intends to overlap into State spheres. Far from doing this, it will tend to obviate that large measure of overlapping that now exists.
That is the ideal that the responsible officers of this Institute are setting before them. My assistance, so far as it is possible to give it to them, will be in the direction of securing all the co-operation they desire, and if that is attained the Institute will justify its existence.
Certain objections have been taken to the Bill on the ground of expense. If we are afraid of expense in this direction we should not touch the business. We can make no greater mistake in regard to scientific investigation than by a cheeseparing policy that will deprive us of the best men, or limit them in the equipment required to carry on their work if it is going to be of any value to Australia. I believe that capable, energetic, reliable and honorable men can be obtained in Australia equal to the best the world can provide, but we shall have to pay them as generously as private companies have found it to their advantage to pay them in other parts of the world. We must also give them opportunities to develop, and unless they have laboratories thoroughly equipped, and time and means at their disposal, we cannot hope for the best results. We are on the eve of great scientific developments in the way that no one can picture even iri his wildest dreams. This is the age of scientific research and invention. New things are being discovered every day. The commonest articles that we look upon with contempt to-day may to-morrow be of immense value. Who is to discover these things for us but the scientists? These discoveries are being made in particular by the American nation. To the Germans belongs a great deal of credit for the application of science to industry, which has enabled remarkably rapid developments to take place. No doubt the Germans have been largely copyists ; but they have been clever at adapting to industries the results achieved by the scientists of other countries. It is to their credit that they have been able to do so, but it is the American nation that provides us with magnificent examples of what can be achieved if the country is willing to pay and equip men, and provide them with those opportunities which are essential if the best results are to be secured. I am therefore not at all alarmed about the question of expense in this direction. We can spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar much more easily in this matter than in many others, and if we are afraid of the expense, then we should not touch it.
I am not prepared to express an opinion on the question of whether the best men have already been engaged. It is rather peculiar that Dr. Gellatly, who is a journalist, is being put at’ the head of our Institute of Science and Industry. He may have some scientific knowledge, but, so far as I am aware, the fact is not publicly known. He may have some industrial knowledge, but I have not heard of it, and you cannot get the suspicion out of my mind-
– Is he not a doctor?
– Yes, and a barrister.
– To me it appears that his appointment is a bad start. It is not the kind of start that gives the public confidence that the right men are going to be selected. He may be the right man. I do not know. We ought to know, because if we are going to pay salaries to men to manage this Institute we must start right. We must not overlook the fact that this Bill gives statutory authority to something that is, already in existence. The Institute was brought into operation during the war.
– No, that was the Advisory Council. This Bill establishes the Institute.
– It is the -same thing in another form; and the Bill will give it permanent form. Previously it was merely a Committee appointed, in some respects, of capable men, and in many other respects, of merely political appointees. It was like a lot of other committees appointed during the war for political purposes.
– The Advisory Council are men who are entitled by their merits to their positions. There was nothing political in the appointments.
Mr.FINLAYSON. - No doubt the Minister would say the same of the whole seventy-five boards or committees appointed during the war.
– I can certainly say it as regards this body, and, generally speaking, the Government consider nothing else than the ability of the men to fill the positions.
– Of course, the Government do; but the trouble is that they are one-eyed, and see only in one direction. On not one of the seventy-five boards appointed during the war was there anybody who could speak on behalf of the workers of the community.
– The Bureau of Commerce and Industry was one instance, the Board of Trade was another, and this is a third.
– I do not know the political opinions of these men, nor do I suggest that these were all political appointments. Several members of Parliament were put on these boards, but honorable members may search in vain for any member of the Labour party on any of them. There was distinct political influence at work in the appointments to all these boards, and I am afraid that, as we are putting the Institute of Science and Industry on a statutory basis, we are not going to give it a right start, but are going to prejudice it in the eyes of the people.
– If ever a non-party measure has been before the House it is this Bill.
– My argument is, that the Institute should begin on such a correct basis that will not jeopardize or prejudice its future success.
– The honorable member can have that assurance.
– The Minister’s assurance is somewhat in contradiction to the Bill. Instead of giving Parliament the opportunity to decide the various fundamental facts in connexion with the Institute the Bill leaves it to the Minister.
– Executive appointments must be left to the Government of the day.
– I have no desire to go into details in this direction, because my time is so limited. I ask leave bo continue my remarks.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Groom) read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Glynn) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Immigration Act 1901-12.
House adjourned at 10.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 August 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1919/19190813_reps_7_89/>.