7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon.W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot
Johnson.). - I have to inform the House that I propose to-morrow to- issue a writ for the election of a member to serve in the House of Representatives for the electoral division of Echuca, in the place of Mr. Albert Clayton Palmer, deceased, and that the dates appointed in the writ are as follows: - Date of nomination, 5th September ; date of polling, 20th September ; date for return of writ, on or before 2nd October. I might mention that, having regard to the date fixed for the Royal Agricultural Show, I have fixed the date of nomination a week earlier than would otherwise have been the case.
– Can the Minister for Trade and Customs tell the House approximately whenthe Navigation Act is likely to be proclaimed?
– I cannot do so to-day. A good deal of preparatory work has to be carried out before it is possible to put the Act into operation. The date will be announced at the earliest possible moment.
Action in the United States.
– I desire to ask the Acting Leader of the House whether his attention has been drawn to a cablegram published in yesterday’s issue of the Melbourne Herald stating that the Government of the United States is “ pursuing the profiteers,” that large seizures . of foodstuffs have been made at St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Toledo, and Detroit, and that the Federal officials estimate that 500 profiteers will be arrested in the next few weeks? Further, I desire to ask the honorable gentleman whether there is any obstacle in the way of the Commonwealth Government taking similar action having regard to the fact that our Constitution is practically the same as that of the United States of America, and will he promise that a proportionate number of profiteers will be arrested in Australia within the next few weeks ?
– The honorable member held office as Minister for Tradeand Customs at a time when profiteering, if it exists, was as rampant as it is to-day, and he must therefore know the exact position as to our power to deal with it. I cannot say whether or not the cable message is correct, but I would remind the honorable member that the United States of America, although comprising a very largo area of country, consists of a large number of very small States between which trade in all classes of commodities ‘ has taken place. On the other hand, in Australia we have only six States, each covering a very wide area. I should say,speaking offhand, that whatever legislation is in existence in the United States of America to-day in regard to profiteering has reference to Inter-State trade and commerce. I shall have inquiries made to ascertain what power the United States of America Government is exercising. I am not aware of any power enabling the Commonwealth to invade the domain of Intra-State trade and commerce in order to take action of the kind suggested by the honorable member.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether a petition signed by agents, traders, and speculators who have their own interests to serve, and have practically no regard for tha producers, has been received by him in opposition to the request of the growers of bananas in Queensland and New South “Wales for an increased duty on imported fruit? If such a petition has been received, will the Minister lay the paper on the table?
– A petition for the abolition of the duty has been received, and will be laid on the table of the Library.
– Has the Minister for
Home ‘ and Territories yet made up his mind as to whether a system of proportional representation or preferential voting shall apply to elections for the Senate ? If not, will the honorable gentleman state whether or not it is a fact that the reason he has not made up his mind is that honorable senators are divided on the question ?
– I can assure the honorable member that my personal mind has been made up for some time. My composite mind will soon be declared.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs given consideration to a statement by Mr. Hurley, who was a member of the Mawson and another Antarctic expedition, in which he complains of the national waste involved in the wicked destruction of seals and penguins round the coast of Tasmania? If so, will the honorable gentleman inquire what efforts are made by the Governments of other parts of the Empire, such as the Falkland Islands, for the protection of these birds and animals, and will he consider this alleged industry in connexion with the re-arrangement of the Tariff ?
– My attention has not been drawn to the statement referred to. I shall be glad to have inquiries made to ascertain what action it is desirable in the circumstances to take.
Export of Hides
– Is the Acting Leader of the House aware that the wholesale prices of boots have increased since the end of June to the extent of 7s. a pair, and that it is intended to make still further increases? If so, will the Government consider what action should be taken to prevent this sort of thing? If the Government cannot regulate the prices of boots and shoes, will they take action with regard to the export of hides in order to do away with one of the reasons given for these increases ?
– I am not aware of the facts mentioned by the honorable member, but will ascertain whether or not they are correct.
– Is the Acting Leader of the House aware that, despite the great increase in the price of boots, the average price being obtained for hides by the producers, who are now skinning hundreds of thousands of their cattle, is about 30s. each, so that there is a very big leakage somewhere?
– I am not acquainted with the facts to which ‘the honorable member has referred.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Home and Territories a question relating to a statement reported in last night’s issue of the Herald to have been made by him in regard to an offer by Messrs. Tymms and Kidman to build the North-South railway? In the course of that statement the honorable gentleman said that a survey through the Macdonnell Ranges to Alice Springs was made in 1889, and that as far (back as 1883 sanction had been given by the South Australian Government for the construction of the Palmerston-Pine Creek railway, a distance of 146 miles, and for the construction of the Port AugustaOodnadatta railway, of 178 miles? He stated, further, that in 1895 the proposed railway was the subject of a report by a special Commission, and that the first transcontinental work was the overland telegraph line constructed in 1871 ? If the Government have yet passed beyond the reminiscent stage, will the honorable gentleman state what view they take of the offer of Messrs. Tymms and Kidman to construct the railway ?
– It was only yesterday that I saw the offer. It is a matter for Cabinet consideration. I was asked generally what the railway position was as a matter of policy; and all I could speak of were the indications from the ‘history of the efforts of South Australia to construct this line.
– In view of the fact that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Webster) has been prevented from fulfilling an engagement to visit South Australia, owing to the lack of sleeping accommodation on the Adelaide express, will the Minister for Works and Railways endeavour to arrange with the Victorian
Railways Commissioners for special accommodation to . be provided for the Minister ?
– It is quite correct that it is impossible to get sleeping accommodation on the trains between Adelaide and Melbourne. Trains run only three times a week, and it is not possible to provide the requisite sleeping accommodation, and at the same time carry all the passengers. As to the Postmaster-General, I think that, in view of the excessive labours of his office, he is entitled to every comfort when travelling. From what I know of the honorable gentleman, if it were possible to go to any part of Australia to carry out his duties, he would unflinchingly do so.
– Will the Minister for Works and Railways request the Victorian Railways Commissioners to supply sleeping accommodation for Ministers travelling to South Australia?
– I am not prepared to ask the Victorian Railways Commissioners to concede to Ministers a privilege that they will not grant to anybody else.
– A great number of the members of the Australian Army employed at the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, owing to the heavy work entailed by demobilization, have not been able to take the three weeks’ annual leave to which they are entitled. Will the Assistant Minister for Defence issue instructions to the officer in charge to pay these men their wages in lieu of holidays?
– I shall make inquiries, and sec what can be done.
– In view of the absolute necessity for economy in order to pay off the war debt, will the Cabinet consider the advisability of adding to any referendum that may be taken at the next general election, the following questions: - The abolition of all State Governors, and the abolition of all State AgentsGeneral?
– These are matters of policy for the States themselves, and it would be an unwarrantable assumption on our part to’ put to referendum questions affecting State policy.
– Is it a fact, as stated in a portion of the press of New South Wales, that the Minister for Home and Territories has stated that the building of the Federal Capital must wait until after that big undertaking of the Government - the Worth-South railway - is completed?
– I did not see such a statement, and if it was made it does not represent a fact.
– In view of its immense importance to Australia, and the possible effect on our future financial position, will the Leader of the House endeavour to obtain a full report of the speech of Mr Amery, Under-Secretary for the Colonies, at a recent banquet to Senator Pearce, in which he foreshadowed, apparently on behalf of the Imperial Government, a complete change in regard to Imperial responsibility for safety in these waters?
– I noticed the speech, and will endeavour to obtain the full text of it. Of course, owing to the expense, it is impossible to have it sent by cable.
– It is a revolutionary speech, so far as this country is concerned.
– I shall endeavour to obtain the information for the honorable member.
– Married members of the Australian Garrison Artillery who at the outbreak of the war were receiving 8s. a day on which to maintain their wives and families are to-day receiving only 7s. 10d., notwithstanding the increased cost of living. Will the Assistant Minister for Defence confer with the Government, with a view to giving these men, who have rendered good service to their country, something like a chance to live? Mr. ‘WISE.- Yes.
Policy of Government
– Have the Government any desire to settle the seamen’s strike that is imperilling the existence of so many people? Do the Government intend to take any steps to that end; and, if not, will they tell the House what their intentions are?
– I thought the honorable member was fairly well acquainted with the intentions of the Government in this regard.
– I am not.
– I am sorry the honorable member did not notice the official statements on the subject. The position at the present stage is this: Negotiations are still pending, and it is expected that a decision will be reached this afternoon. I am not in a position at present to give any further information to the honorable member.
– I desire to ask the Acting Treasurer when he proposes to make his Budget speech?
– I am not quite sure whether I shall make a Budget speech or not. That being so, it would be very difficult for me to give the information for which the honorable member asks.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether the quarantine regulations prevent the importation of banana suckers of the Gros Michel variety into the Commonwealth ? If so, does not the same danger exist in allowing thousands of tons ofFiji bananas and stalks to be introduced every year into Victoria and New South Wales?
– The honorable member was good enough to notify me of his intention to ask the question, and I have been supplied with the following reply : -
– It has been the custom on the East-West railway line, when any one is sick or injured along the line, to send a message to Port Augusta for the ambulance to wait there for the patient. I am informed that of late this arrangement has been cut out by the Department. Will the Minister for Works and Railways inquire why that has been done, with a view to re-establishing the custom, as it was of great assistance to those who are sick on that long journey, or those injured out in the wilds of Australia?
– I was not aware of the practice having been, discontinued. It seems a very proper one to continue, and I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Railways Commissioner immediately.
– Some time ago a promise was given by the Leader of the House in connexion withthe present strike, and the difficulty of forwarding supplies to remote places, that every assistance would be given by the Commonwealth Government in providing supplies. Recently the Western Australian Government desired to send a small boat from Albany to Ravensthorpe with supplies. A very large quantity of mail matter was lying at Albany, and the Western Australian Government asked the Commonwealth Government if they would assist to the extent of about £20 in the chartering of that boat. The
Commonwealth Government refused. May I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether, in future, whenever an opportunity occurs to provide supplies For outlying places, he will see that some little sympathy’ is shown by the Federal authorities ?
– I am not aware of the facts that the honorable member has brought under notice, but I shall have an inquiry made immediately.
– Will the Minister lor Home and Territories state if it is a fact that a Commission has been appointed to inquire into the future government of the Pacific Islands? If so, have its members been given any instructions to inquire into the suitability or otherwise of those islands for soldiers’ settlements ?
– No Commission has been appointed that I know of to inquire into the future government of the Pacific Islands. The Commission recently appointed is dealing with New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, on outlines that have already been prepared.
– In reference to the many alterations that have been made in the form of the application cards for electoral enrolment, it is necessary for an applicant to state that he or she is over the age of twenty-one. It 16 also made necessary for every woman to write her name and the year of her birth on the front of the card. I hardly think J;hat is necessary; but, in any case, will the Minister for Home and Territories say why one signature -should not be sufficient instead of compelling people to sign the card on both sides ?
– I shall look into the’ matter. I saw the card when it was originally prepared and submitted to me. It is intended to be useful not only for electoral purposes, but for certain defence and other records. We want to secure economy by using the one card, if possible, for two purposes.
– Recently a letter was sent out to a number of women in Queensland stating that it was possible that their husbands might be deported. A statement was afterwards made by the Minister that the Commandant in Queensland has sent that letter out without proper instructions. Will the Acting Leader of the House state if any communication has been sent to those women intimating that the Government have no intention of deporting their husbands?
– This incident occurred only in one State, and as soon as it was noticed at head-quarters the State Commandant was instructed to take all steps necessary to allay any anxiety caused by his action.
– Certain suggestions were made to the Government the other day that they should inform persons whom it was intended to deport of the reasons why they were to be deported, that they should allow those persons to have an open trial, or, if not, allow them to bring witnesses to prove that they were good, loyal, and industrious Australian subjects. Has the Ministry yet arrived at a determination ?
– The matter was brought under my notice on Monday morning by tho papers which the honorable member left. I caused inquiries to be made, and the replies were coming in just before lunch. If the honorable member will repeat his question tomorrow, I hope to be able to supply him with an answer.
– Will the Minister for Home and Territories state if it is a fact that a Japanese boat, some six weeks ago, after unloading 100 tons of merchandise at Rabaul, was prevented from taking on board a quantity of produce consigned bo the mainland of Australia? If so, what was the reason?
– I shall find out the facts for the ‘honorable member, but I had not heard of the incident.
– May I remind the Postmaster-General of the deputation which he received on behalf of certain postal electricians who have lost their employment, and of a letter which has been sent by his Department intimating that the amended Public Service Act, giving preference to returned soldiers, deprives those men of their claims? In the light of that letter, I wish to learn from the Postmaster -General whether we can get an answer as soon as possible with reference to the other points raised, namely, that junior mechanics have been placed in these positions, and that steps have not been taken by the Government to give effect to the very definite promise made by Mr. Andrew Fisher, when he was Prime Minister, that the claims of these men would not be prejudiced ?
– The honorable member has already received a reply setting out the opinion given by the Crown Law officers upon the promise made by Mr. Fisher and its bearing upon the law subsequently enacted, which gave predominance to the claims of returned soldiers over those of mechanics who had passed examinations prior to the war. It is not true that junior mechanics have been placed in the positions vacated by the men to whom the honorable member has referred. There have been two junior mechanics appointed, but they were junior mechanics when they enlisted and went to the war. and their places had to be kept open for them. I am honestly endeavouring to carry out the policy of the Government.
Export of Mutton and Lamb
– Have arrangements been made to increase the insulated space on overseas steamers in order to meet the pressing needs of the coming export trade in Australian mutton and lamb?
– A cablegram has been despatched in regard to securing increased insulated space, but I am not aware that an answer has yet been received.
– Has a deputation representing the Bendigo farmers waited on the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) or the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt), requesting that there be no alteration to the Tariff; and is it because the deputation, was promised that no alteration would be made, an amending Tariff Bill has not been brought down to the House?
– No such deputation waited upon me nor, so far as I am aware, upon the Acting Prime Minister.
– When a Tariff Bill is introduced, will facilities be given to discuss it?
– I imagine that if a Tariff Bill is tabled the House will be given ample opportunity of discussing it.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - 1, 2, and 3. These are State matters. A full statement was published in Hansard in August, 1918, and later details are not available. The services rendered in connexion with the handling of wheat vary in each State, and from one season to another. The amounts per bushel paid were: -
The rates of commission or remuneration payable to the London Selling Agency are: - 1915-16 and 1916-17,5/8 per cent., except on the 3,000,000 tons sale, for the services in connexion with which a remuneration of 3-10 per cent, was fixed.
For the 1917-18 and 1918-19 harvests, the commission is per cent, on the f.o.b. value, except for Government sales, the remuneration for services connected with which will be determined by Australian Wheat Board.
Total payments made to date of latest London advices (31st May. 1919) are -
Ten thousand pounds has been contributed by the London Selling Agency to meet the Australian’ expenses of the Australian Wheat Board. The duties of the London Selling Agency are: - Making wheat and flour sales overseas. Arranging terms of conversion of wheat sales into flour sales. Preparation of contracts of sale. Negotiating shipping documents. Preparing and rendering accounts and collecting payment. Attending to and settling arbitrations and other disputes. Arranging for superintendence of outturns at ports of discharge, and pre paration and settlement of claims in connexion therewith. Attending to law cases. Keeping Australia advised of market developments. In the case of Imperial Government contracts, attending to distribution amongst the numerous consumers after discharge. (This entails much extra work, as a cargo may be split into fifty different parcels.) In addition, the Melbourne houses attend to the following details: - Following movements of vessels, studyingcharter parties, and allocating tonnage to various States. Attending to the allocation of suitable tonnage for wheat and flour. Attending to matters incidental to conversion of flour. Attending to and advising on questions relative to bills of lading and other shipping matters. Arranging with Australian representatives of British Wheat Commission matters arising out of contracts with Imperial Government. Instructing London on all matters requiring local knowledge.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Mr. GROOM (for Mr. Watt).- The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
On the 31st July, the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) asked the following questions: -
I am now advised by the manager of the Australian Wheat Board that the answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1, 2, 3, and 4. When essential returns which have been asked for have been received from the States, a statement on this subject will be issued by the Wheat Board.
War Gratuity - Remission of Fines - Gallipoli Landing: Special Decoration
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 at present under consideration.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Whether the Department will refund the amount of fines inflicted upon all soldiers, for minor offences which did not necessitate their being imprisoned away from their units or bases?
– The bulk of members of the Australian Imperial Force who were fined remained with their units during the period covered by the fine. A statement on the whole subject of the remission of fines was made on the 17th July, in reply to a question by the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. McDonald). It is not proposed to take any further action in this matter.
On the 31st July the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) asked the following question : -
Has further consideration been given to the question of issuing a Special decoration to soldiers who were present at the landing on Gallipoli ?
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
No further action has been taken in regard to a special decoration for the troops who par- ticipated in the landing at Gallipoli. The position has not changed since the available information was given to the honorable member for Illawarra on the 16th December last, and in view of the strongly expressed views of the Imperial Authorities, it is not considered desirable to re-open the question, which was then fully dealt’ with, and regarded as settled.
Pay of Acting Staff Sergeants-Major
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Whether he will inform the House when the increase granted to acting stall’ sergeants-major on tha 28th May, 1919, will be paid?
– The recent increase granted to acting staff sergeants-major dates from 1st July, 1919, and not 28th May, 1919, as stated by the honorable member. The arrears of pay and new rate will be paid in 3rd Military District (Victoria) on 22nd August, 1919.
– On the 30th July last the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) asked the following question : -
I have received letters from a firm in Rockhampton stating that, although they imported certain goods on 5th March, 1918, on which they paid duty, and which they sold in accordance with the cost of them, they received a claim on the 10th of July of this year, fifteen months afterwards, for further duty on those particular goods. I would like to know what is the practice of the Customs Department in regard .to this matter?
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
The question was referred to the Collector of Customs, at Brisbane, who was asked whether the case mentioned could be identified by the particulars given.
The Collector of Customs reports that the question evidently refers to a transaction with the firm of Messrs. Walter Reid and Company, of Rockhampton, the facts relating to which being as follows: -
An instruction was issued from the Central Office that certain adjustments were required in connexion with importations from a certain firm. The instructions required that adjustment was to be made for a period of twelve months prior to the 20th January last.
The Sub-Collector at Rockhampton at first reported that the invoices relating to Messrs.
Reid and Company’s transactions had been burnt in a fire on the 13th September, 1918, but, on the 18th July, 1919, he stated that the required invoices wore subsequently produced, and the importers (Messrs. W. Reid and Company) had been advised as to the amount of the duty due.
The firm then wrote objecting to having to pay further duty after the goods concerned had been sold, on the ground that they would be unable to recover the amount.
As the goods in question (one shipment only was involved) were landed and duty paid in March, 1918, and the claim for the additional duty was not made until more than twelve months afterwards, viz., on the 22nd April, 1919 (not 10th July, 1919, as stated by the honorable member), the claim could not be enforced. Messrs. Reid and Company were, therefore, informed on the 23rd July last that, owing to the failure of the Department to make the necessary demand within the prescribed time, no action would be taken to recover the amount, but the officer responsible for the neglect would be called upon to make good the shortage.
Subsequently the Sub-Collector reported that the amount outstanding, viz., £4 0s. 4d., was paid by Messrs. Reid and Company on their own initiative on receipt of the Collector’s letter of the 23rd July.
It will be seen that Messrs. Reid and Company were not only not required to pay the additional duty in question, but were actually informed by letter from the Collector of Customs at Brisbane that no action would be taken to recover the amount from them.
– On the 8th August, the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following question : -
In view of the almost universal custom in Australia among the legal fraternity to render the moratorium null and void by inserting a clause in all mortgages, will the Acting Prime Minister bringo under the notice of Cabinet the seriousness of allowing any section of the community to seek to defeat an Act of Parliament?
The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows : -
The War Precautions (Moratorium) Regulations contain a provision to the effect that the regulations shall not apply to mortgages executed after the 20th September, 1916, and containing a condition or covenant expressly excluding the provisions of the regulations. The insertion of such a condition or covenant in a mortgage was, therefore, contemplated and specifically provided for when the regulations were issued, and is not in contravention of the regulations.
Hearing of Appeals
– On the 6th August the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West) asked the Acting Prime Minister the following question : -
Statements are being made publicly to the effect that the Commission which was appointed to hear the appeals of German internees against deportation, hear only the cases of those who are possessed of means. This is to make the Commission a farce, and I ask the Acting Prime Minister to make inquiries?
I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that there is no justification whatever for these statements.
Reduction of Team Services
– On the 6th, August the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked the following question : -
In view of the great inconvenienceoccasioned the public by the present tram hours insisted on by the Government, will the Acting Prime Minister have inquiries made as to the advisableness of altering the hours by stopping the running of trams between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.? I understand that the engine fires could be banked just as well during those hours as at night.
The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Before the introduction of the present regulations of restriction, the whole matter was considered at a conference of the Tramway and Electric Power managements with the Board, but the effect of expert opinion was that no economy of fuel could be effected by such a proposition, as it would be necessary to maintain the pressure of steam to meet recurrent load. It was, therefore, decided that the only effective way of saving fuel was to cut off tram services entirely in the evenings, and let the steam down. The hour of 7 p.m. was fixed, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, and was concurred in by the various tramway managements.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table all the papers in connexion with the adoption by the Commonwealth Government of the Isherwood patent design for ship construction in Australia?
– It is not proposed to lay the papers on the table, but I shall be pleased to arrange for the honorable member to peruse them at the Prime Minister’s Department.
asked the. Acting Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
How long is an armed guard to be kept in front of the Navy Office in Lonsdale-strect, Melbourne?
– The Naval Board do not consider it advisable to abolish this guard at present.
Compensation to Soldiers and Munition Workers
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The . answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. I am unable to give the information asked for.
Case of Mr. Yates. - Court Martial on H.M.A.S. “ Australia “ - Manufacture of Steel for Shrapnel Shell - Prosecution of Mr. Mathews.
– On the 26th June, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), on behalf of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) asked the Acting Prime Minister (Mr, Watt) the following question : -
Whether he will lay upon the table of the Library the following: -
Papers connected with the arrest and trial of Gunner Yates?
Papers connected with the trial of the men of H.M.A.S. Australia for mutiny at Fremantle?
All papers connected with the endeavour of the Government to secure the secret formula for the manufacture of steel for shrapnel shell in 1914-15?
Papers connected with the summoning and trial, under the War Precautions Act, of James Mathews, at Maryborough, in 1917?
The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The following papers were presented : -
Blythe River Iron Deposits - Reports of Experts and other papers in connexion with.
Women in Industry - (Imperial) War Cabinet Committee - Appendices to Report, Summaries of Evidence, &c. (Paper presented to the British Parliament.)
Apple Bounty Act- Return for 1918-19.
Bounties Act - Return for 1918-19.
Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, Nos. 197, 199, 200.
Naval Defence Act - (Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, Nos. 169, 190, 198.
Public Service Act -
Promotion of J. N. O’Connor, Department of the Treasury.
Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1919, No. 181.
Shale Oil Bounty Act - Return for 1918-19.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The object of the’ measure is to modify and, in some respects, extend the provisions of the Act in regard to prohibited immigrants, to bring within the power to deport a new class to be prohibited, and, for the purpose of more effective administration, to amend some sections of the Act that deal with procedure. The general purport of the immigration law is to restrict the immigration of certain races, of persons mentally, physically, or morally weak, or who have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for twelve months or more for certain crimes, or convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, irrespective of sentence, unless five years have elapsed since the expiration of the sentence in respect of such crimes. The various classes areparticularized in section 3 of the Act -
In this Bill we propose to deal with a new class, and the prevention of immigration and deportation come in as the chief matters to be considered. Speaking generally, aliens have no right to land in British territory unless, so far as the Commonwealth Act is concerned, they have been domiciled in the Commonwealth. That was first laid down in the case of Musgrove v. Ah Toy, reported in Appeals to the Privy Council in 1891 -
He can only do so if he can establish that an alien has a legal right, enforceable by action, to enter British territory. No authority exists for the proposition that an alien has any such right. Circumstances may occur in which the refusal to permit an alien to land might be such an interference with international comity as would properly give rise to diplomatic remonstrance from the country of which he was a native, but it is quite another thing to assert that an alien excluded from any part of Her Majesty’s Dominions by the Executive Government there, can maintain an action in a British Court, and raise such questions as were argued before their Lordships on the present appeal - whether the proper officer for giving or refusing access to the country has been duly authorized by his own colonial Government, whether the colonial Government has received sufficient delegated authority from the Crown to exercise the authority which the Crown had a right to exercise through the colonial Government if properly communicated to it, and whether the Crown has the right without parliamentary authority to exclude an alien. Their Lordships cannot assent to the proposition that an alien refused permission to enter British territory can, in an action in a British Court, compel the decision of such matters as these, involving delicate and difficult constitutional questions affecting the respective rights of the Crown and Parliament, and the relations of this country to her selfgoverning colonies.
Summarized, that judgment meant that an alien could be prevented from entering British territory, and had no legal remedy for such action; but I may say an alien who was domiciled here, but had gone abroad, was not prevented under our Act from returning; whether he is prevented by the Executive power referred to in the case I have quoted is a matter into which I do not wish to enter at this stage. In the case of Potter v. Minahan, reported in Seventh Commonwealth Law Reports, the High Court decidedthat -
A person whose permanent home is in Australia, and who, therefore, is a member of an Australian community, is not, on arriving in Australia from abroad, an immigrant in respect of whose entry the Parliament of the Commonwealth can legislate under power conferred by section 51, xxvii., of the Constitution, to make laws with respect to immigration, and, therefore, such a person is not an immigrant within the meaning of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901-05.
That means, then, that a domiciled alien or other person is not an “ immigrant.” The report of the judgment goes on to state that -
Many definitions of domicile have been given, but they all embody the idea which is expressed in English by the word “ home “ - that is, permanent home.
The High Court, in Robtelmes v. Brenan, decided that it was an attribute of sovereignty that every State is entitled to decide what aliens shall or shall not become members of its community. The right of a nation to expel or deport foreigners from the country is as unqualified and undeniable as is the right to prevent them from entering the country, whether they are alien friends or enemies. Chief Justice Griffith said, in the case I have just mentioned -
I doubt whether the Executive authority of Australia or of any State could deport an alien, except under the conditions authorized by some Statute; but it is not necessary to discuss that question now. lt was fully considered by this Court in the case of Brown v. Lizars
That case practically decided that deportations should not take place except under statutory authority.
I thought it well that honorable members should know what seems to me to be the law on the subject. It will be seen that even under the existing Immigration Act deportation is expressly provided for, but that it can take place only where there has been an evasion of the law. That is the principle of this Bill. Section 7 of the principal Act provides that-
Every prohibited immigrant entering or found within the Commonwealth in contravention or evasion of this Act, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall be liable, upon summary conviction, to imprisonment for not more than six months, and, in addition to or substitution of such imprisonment, shall be liable, pursuant to any order of the Minister, to be deported from the Commonwealth.
That, then, is a general power to deport, irrespective of time, a prohibited immigrant who has come in by evasion of the law. There is another power to deport under section 5, but subject to a time limitation of two, to be changed ‘ now to three, years. Under that section, where an immigrant is found within the Commonwealth, and where it cannot be absolutely proved whether he has evaded the law or not; then within two years of his entry into the Commonwealth he may be called upon to undergo the dictation test.
– Did the power to deport exist under any previous law, apart from the Immigration Act?
– I do not think so. There are some cases of international arrangement which are covered by Acts of Parliament, and under which deportation by consent of the nations takes place, but I do not think there has been any specific Commonwealth provision for deportation except under the Immigration Act, the Pacific Islands Labourers Act, and similar measures dealing with this question.
We are now making provision by Statute in accordance with what has already been done.x
Apart from the sections I have quoted,, it is also provided by sub-section 5 of section 5 of the principal Act that -
If an immigrant is, within three years of bis entering the Commonwealth, found to be suffering from? or affected with, any disease or disability, either specifically mentioned or of a class mentioned in this Act or the regulations, he shall- be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant, unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the Minister that he was free from the disease or disability at the time he entered the Commonwealth.
I want to show that this Bill makes no fundamental alteration of the law as it stands. The question of extent is another matter. As regards that, I may say that justice and, so far as safety permits, liberality should be applied to the administration of laws affecting international relations. Although sovereignty may empower, it does not morally justify, unreasonable exclusion - the absolute separation of somewhat kindred races whose bloods, in a paraphrase of the poet’s words, “ of colour, weight, and heat, that blended all together would quite confound distinction, yet” would then “ stand off in differences so mighty.”
Community leads to some understanding and knowledge, which diminish doubts, anxieties, and fears, such as have had so much to do with international troubles in the past. In a world of isolated groups sequestered from all mutual relations, the spread of Christianity would have had a poor chance. “ Go and teach all nations,” the august command, obedience to which transformed so much of the world, according to Newman, would not have been effective without some openings for intercourse, and at least temporary migration. In administration, then, there must be vision and tolerance in so far as circumstances can safely justify them. That is the significance of the preamble to the covenant of the League of Nations. As a matter of fact, the need for such tolerance is recognised, in accordance with the very best British traditions, by some of the leading newspapers in the Old Country, where extremists, perhaps, have made suggestions which the British community as a whole, whilst taking the power, should not recognise in administration. I find, for instance, in the last copy of the Athenceum to reach me, reference to an article in the Daily Mail, by a writer named Boyd Cable, in which he urged the suppression, within the United Kingdom, of German art. In keeping with the finer, and yet absolutely patriotic, spirit of the British, there is an article by the editor containing these words -
A man who reads history with open eyes may reach disquieting conclusions concerning the elements and impulses of mankind, but we are convinced that he would never discover a belligerent nation, no matter how bloody and brutal in the actual conduct of war, in time of peace, summoned, in the name of patriotism, to deprive itself of contact with the consummate intellectual and artistic achievement of its aforetime enemy.
I do not want to tire the House by going further into this article, but it breathes a spirit which, although, perhaps, strangely expressed, must be recognised according to the best traditions .of British administration. Doubtless the references in the article are to great Democrats, some of whom may still remain, although, unfortunately, their spirit did not animate our enemy during the last war. My reference is to such historic names as Schiller, Beethoven, and Goethe. Schiller wrote the celebrated Triumphant Hymn to Democracy, or Joy, which Beethoven, whose works the writer of the article in the Daily Mail would shut out, set to the noblest music that ever lifted man’s thoughts to the eternal. To Schiller I need not refer, because I think really all his dramatic versions were taken from cosmopolitan history. His greater subjects, such as Joan of Arc, had absolutely no relation to the Prussian spirit. Civilization in less dangerous days depended upon comparative freedom of relations. Athens, the city of mind, capital of a little State, perfect in secular culture and, as far as the days of serfdom would permit, democratic in organization, was a small corner of the earth to which, as Newman tells us, the pilgrim student came as to a shrine, where he might take his fill of gazing on the emblems and coruscations of invisible, unoriginate perfection. It was the centre in which some of the very best people in the then world congregated. Yet its national traditions and emotions were unaffected by the gathering there for education of the world clans of those days. “ Greek patriotism,” it has been well said, “ fused the emotions’ of the school and family, of inheritance and early training, of ‘ religion . and politics - all the best of boyhood with all the best of manhood - into one passionate whole.” We must remember also that the mixture of the races depends upon the extent to which national individuality can be preserved without impairment. Community of traditions and sentiment must within reason be attained and preserved, and our object in taking power under this Bill is to protect, so far as for a time circumstances may require, our individuality as a nation against outside deterioration. We are anxious to see that the aftermath of the war has no deleterious effect on our victory, but at the same time the Act must be administered according to the best and safest traditions of British constitutional government. I may be wrong, but in common justice to one’s feelings of temperance, I give utterance to these impressions.
Australia seems less affected by foreign and mixed immigration than is any other Dominion. There are many races in Canada. I find, for instance, that immigration into Canada latterly has been largely from the United States. In the Times of 11th June last reference is made to a pamphlet issued by the Canadian Government, in which it is stated, that the British immigration to Canada in 1914 totalled 142,622; those coming from the United States totalled 107,530, and from other countries 134,726. In these circumstances, Canada naturally has to be careful, apart altogether from the war, in dealing with her foreign immigration. I visited on one occasion a big Canadian city, Winnipeg, where I found that no less than fourteen newspapers, printed in different languages, were published. According to a recent statement in the Times -
A feeling was running throughout the length and breadth of Canada to-day that they had been too liberal in the past, and that in the future they must admit only those whom they could readily assimilate - “ people who are prepared to become part of us, and not merely live amongst us.” They could not, of course, close the door altogether to people from foreign lands, but they could, and should, choose whom they should have; and they could do what ought to have been done in the past, but had not - they could give such people every assistance to become good Canadian citizens.
As to restrictions on foreigners, the Times states -
Canada has closed down all her immigration offices on the continent of Europe; she proposes to maintain in force, and it is so provided in the Bill, the war measure absolutely excluding Germans, Austrians, Bulgarians, and Turks; she intends to restrict in the future the migration of foreigners to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, where the majority of the foreign-born population is concentrated and the problem of British character is very acute; she is maintaining severe restrictions against Asiatics on the Pacific slope. There is evidence to show that other Dominions are also becoming alive to the necessity for discrimination with a view to preserving their true British stock and character, and that, above all, their desire and aim are to attract the right type of immigrant from the British Isles.
– We are a fairly mixed lot when we study our breed !
– We are all, more . or less, mixed on this globe, but time brings about associations which give some composite character, even to the most mixed classes.
Lt. -Colonel Abbott. - What is the attitude of the United States of America ?
– I was about to mention that. I thought the best thing was to state the position in other countries, particularly the Dominions, so that the judgment of the House might be well informed.
– Canada has legislated since the Armistice.
– Quite recently.
As to ourselves, we have to some extent, under the exemption powers of the Act, made an arrangement with India as regards the suspension of what we might call the dictation test. In this there is do derogation at all from the dignity of the race affected. We are practically equal in civilization as regards race. Our lines of education and our literature may not be the same, but we may take it as correct that, whether Asiatic or not, in civilization, speaking generally, one race, iu relation to its conditions, is quite as good as another. These exclusion provisions are not based on any assumption that one race has obtained a degree of civilization that renders it impossible to admit another.
– We should give the Indians a vote in their own country first !
– The law to which I am referring has been in operation since 1904, when an arrangement was entered into with India andi Japan to enable merchants, students, or tourist travellers to come in on obtaining passports from their own Governments on the lines prescribed. This dispensed with the dictation test, and permitted these classes to come in for twelve months. After twelve months, however, an application had to be made for a further extension, which was often given for four or five years, and sometimes a little longer. This arrangement was extended to apply to Burmese, Cingalese, Egyptians, Hong Kong Chinese, and also, under special conditions, to China-born Chinese. In regard to Indians, in April, 1917, and again in 1918, the Imperial War Conference passed resolutions - indeed, the resolutions passed last year confirmed that of 1917 - which, in effect, asked that we should modify the arrangement by allowing those classes to come in for a certain time without asking at the end of a year for an exemption. This was purely a matter of dignity, and, on the recommendations made, a new arrangement was drawn up, which, so far as I can see, has been fairly accepted by the Indian Goverment.
– Does the Canadian Act permit Chinese and Japanese students to complete their education in Canada ?
– Such students are allowed in under certain conditions, but whether those conditions are like ours or not I cannot say. We may take it, however, that the administration there is practically the same as ours; and the Canadian representatives at the War Conference supported a resolution on which was based our recent modification.
– Is the Bill based on the decisions of the Imperial Conference? -
– No; this Bill is based on Imperial policy. I am referring to the modification of the arrangement of 1904.
The principal Act in Canada is that of 1911, and the most important sections are 38 and 41, to which I merely give the reference. According to press cuttings received in the last eight or ten days from London, a new Immigration Bill was introduced into the Canadian House of Commons on the 7th April last. This measure, says the Times, extends the time during which immigrants may be deported from three to five years, and greatly enlarges the list of the prohibited classes. A literary test is provided, and all those who advocated the overthrow of constitutional government will be barred, also, those who conspired against the Crown. Any aliens who have been interned in, or expelled from, Canada will be unable to enter. The Canadian Bill also provides for continuance of the war measure absolutely excluding Germans, Austrians, Bulgarians, and Turks. Asiatic labour, skilled and unskilled, is to be debarred.
It will be seen that the Bill before the House is not exceptional, and is, in fact, a little milder than others adopted by some of the Dominions. The United States of America also has gone beyond us, and for war reasons. The United States Immigration Act of 1917 deals with the immigration of certain classes, and the deportation of those classes. Section 3 provides for the exclusion, amongst others, of - anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow, by force or violence, of the Government of the United States, or of all forms of law, or who disbelieve in or are opposed to organized government, or who advocate the assassination of public officials, or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property;
Persons who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching disbelief in, or opposition to, organized government, or who advocate or teach the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers, cither of specific individuals or of officers generally, of the Government of the United States, or of any other organized Government, because of his or their official character, or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property.
That is the American section, and if honorable members compare it with the clauses of the Bill before them, they will see that the latter are actually more temperate.
– Does “ other organized Government” mean the government of a State?
– Yes, any other organized government. Other countries have adopted similar legislation, amongst them, for example, Chili, which, in December, 1918, passed an Ordinance or, at all events, an effective law, articles 1 and 2 of which deal with this same subject. As a matter of fact, this law arose out of the deportation of Australians. The articles mentioned are -
Article 1.- Entrance to the country for strangers who have been condemned or who have actually transgressed the law which comes under the crime of offences in the Penal Code can be forbidden; and forthose who have no profession or who cannot exercise any office by which they may earn their living, and for those who are included in cases of sickness which are contained in the second paragraph of article 110 of the Sanitary Code.
Article 2. - The entrance is prohibited to foreigners who try to alter the social or political order by violence. Nor will the rights of a denizen be allowed to those who propagate doctrines inconsistentwith the unity or individuality of the nation; to those who work up manifestations against the established order, and to those who dedicate themselves to unlawful traffic which is contrary to the good customs or public order.
I do not desire to give any more illustrations, but honorable members will see that there are precedents, perhaps more extreme and severe than the main provisions of the Bill.
– Is South Africa taking similar steps ?
– I am not sure. South Africa is in rather a peculiar position, because there many laws have to be amended- to bring them in consonance with British laws. As a matter of fact, however, in South Africa, the Government, some years ago, did exercise powers without an Act of Parliament, but had subsequently to obtain the sanction of the Imperial Government to the deportations they had effected. In regard to America, we have had to impose checks on the exercise of their powers to deport. The American Government claimed the right to deport some persons to Australia, and in one or two cases the men were stopped. We have taken the precaution of providing that no one shall land in Australia without a. passport, and those deported from America will not be allowed to land here unless their passports are vised by the British authorities, who have been asked to make proper inquiries. The United States law provides for deportation - to the country whence they came, or to the country of which such aliens are subjects or citizens, or the country in which they resided prior to entering the country from which they entered the United States.
The Imperial Aliens Restriction Act 1914, gives general power to prevent immigration, but does not specify classes. The classes affected are covered by the regulations, which I have not with me, but they are, I think, classes similar to those dealt with an the Bill. There was a telegram in the Age about two days ago to the effect that Mr. Short, a Minister in the House of Commons, had stated that German business, men would beadmitted; subject to suitable conditions as to duration of stay, places to be visited, and reporting to the police as to change of residence, but Germans who had been: deported would not be’ allowed to. start business again’.
Mr:Fenton. - Is it not’ true that Britain is over-run now with German bag-men ?
– That may have been the reason for the- statement that was made.
The amendments made in the existing Act’ by the Bill’ are . really matters for Committee, and there are only a few to which I should make some reference. Clause 3 amends section- 3 of the principal Act. In the first place, it omits paragraph c - “Any idiot, imbecile, feebleminded person, or epileptic,” - and reenacts it in the following form: - (c).Any idiot, imbecile, feeble-minded person, epileptic, person suffering from dementia, insane person, person who has been insane within five years previously, or person who has had two or more attacks of insanity.
That is according to existing administration, for which we want statutory sanction. I draw attention to the following addition to the list of persons whose immigration into the Commonwealth is prohibited : - (gd). Any anarchist or person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established Government of the. Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials, or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization which entertains and teaches any of the doctrines and practices specified in this paragraph.
If honorable members compare that provision with those of the Canadian and American legislation, they will see that, by comparison, we have been really rather temperate in our proposal regarding the prohibition of the entry of such men into the Commonwealth. In America, mere belief in any of the opinions enumerated in that paragraph would be sufficient to bar the entry of such a person, but we require something more definite in the way of establishing the fact. There, again, we follow the traditional British procedure.
– Do you make any distinction between the philosophical anarchist and the other fellow ?
– That is a matter for administration.What that provision really covers is the man who is opposed to organized government, and who wants to substitute force for reason. I am sure that views of that sort are not consistent with those held by honorable members on either side of the House.
– You do not seem to have mentioned “direct action” there.
-“ Direct action “is a very broad phrase of which I do not know the exact significance. It might apply to a referendum, but it might also apply to force. I have no desire to use ambiguity of expression, which might often pass current on the platform, but not in a deliberative assembly.
– You have said nothing about Bolsheviks.
– I do not know what the term exactly means. To show what was done in administration by the United States of America, as far back as 1894 men were sent from here whose entrance into the States was objected to on the ground that they had been criminals pardoned for their offences. There is, therefore, nothingvery exceptional as regards principle or practice in what we propose.
– The United States of America have always been more particular than any other country in their immigration laws.
I draw attention also to the following new paragraph in the list of prohibited immigrants - (ge) for the period of five years after the commencement of this paragraph, and thereafter until the Governor-General by proclamation otherwise determines, any person who in the opinion of an officer is of German, AustroGerman, Bulgarian, or Hungarian parentage and nationality, or is a Turk of Ottoman race.
Precedents have already been given for that provision. Then follows - (gf) Any person who, in the opinion of an officer, is not under the age of sixteen years, and who, on demand by an officer, fails to prove that he is the holder of a passport -
– Will the Minister tell us at some length why he introduces . the provision ‘to keep out Germans and Austrians ?
– I have already dealt with that question.
– I think the Minister is acting in accordance with the principles laid down by Schiller.
– I have dealt already with the question of administration. I am dealing now with the Act itself. This provision is put into the Immigration Act because the Act gives power to exempt in certain cases. Hence my reference to administration. The chief object of the provision for passports is to identify all those who come in.
– Do you shut out German music under this Bill ?
– I think I have already sufficiently referred to what should be done as a matter of principle, according to the British practice. There is, of course, not the remotest intention of doing anything of the sort suggested by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Why not?
– If the honorable member has a reason for his suggestion, I hope he will be prepared to utter it.
– I am only wondering, when a Government is running amok like this, where it is going to stop.
– I do not know what the honorable member means by that very general phrase “ running amok.”
– On the question of principle, is not paragraph (ge) out of harmony with the well established practice in attempting to bind Parliament in advance for a number of years ?
– What is out of harmony? This is . a precautionary provision. It allows liberality of administration towards the classes who are mentioned. There is not the smallest intention, so far as I . know, of blocking men of that class, or excluding traders, tourists,, or others who come here. I am merely giving prima facie views as to what the intention is. This is merely a precautionary measure, taken here as well as in other parts of the British Empire, in consequence of what was discovered during the recent war.
– I think you ought to wait until the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) returns. He said there would be nomore trading with Germany.
– The honorable member will learn the Prime Minister’sreal intentions when he comes back.
Clause 4 amends section 4 of the principal Act. That section provides for a certificate of exemption for a specified ‘ period, and enacts that upon the expiration or cancellation of such certificate the person named “therein shall, if found within the Commonwealth, be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant, and may be deported from the Commonwealth. There is a provisothat in the case of a person entering the Commonwealth from any vessel under that section no penalty shall attach to the vessel or its master, owners, agents, or charterers To that proviso we add, by clause 4 of this Bill, the following words : -
But the owner, owner’s agent, or charterers of the vessel may, at any time within three years after the person entered the Commonwealth, be required, by notice in writing given by an officer, to provide a passage for him from the Commonwealth to the place whence he came and in default of compliance with that requirement shall be guilty of an offence.
Clause 5 enables an arrangement to be made with other nations to dispense with passports. Those are the passports referred to in new paragraphgf of clause 3.
The other clauses are somewhat technical. Clause 7 gives power to deport, but the deportation is to be incidental to immigration. It is not a general power to deport. It applies only to men who ought not to have come in and who, by coming in, have violated the principles of the Immigration Act. It provides -
Where the Minister is satisfied that, within three years after the arrival in Australia of a person who was not born in Australia, that person -
has been convicted in Australia of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for one year or longer;
is living on the prostitution of others;
has become an inmate of an insane asylum or public charitable institution; or
is an anarchist or person who . . .
Then the wording of new paragraph gd of clause 3 is repeated. Then follows the provision that the Minister may, by notice in writing, summon the person to appear before a Board within the time and in the manner prescribed, to show cause why he should not be deported from the Commonwealth.
– How will the Minister satisfy himself?
– It is provided that, before the Minister can have authority to deport, he must have a Board of inquiry to give the man an opportunity of being heard. That is a far more temperate and moderate provision than has been enacted elsewhere. Even the Canadian Act provides that an ordinary officer may be a Board for this purpose. I do not know that it is fair that a man should be constituted a Board to inquire into his own action, or the action of one of his colleagues.
– Will the man have an open trial?
– We provide that there shall . be a Board appointed to inquire into the matter before the Minister can decide in his discretion whether deportation shall take place or not. We provide also -
A Board appointed for the purposes of the last preceding sub-section shall consist of three members to be appointed by the Minister.
The Chairman shall be a person who holds, or has held, the office of Judge, or police, stipendiary, or special magistrate.
If the person fails, within the prescribed time, to show cause why he should not be deported, or the Board recommends that he be deported from the Commonwealth, the Minister may make an order for his deportation, and he shall be deported accordingly.
Thus there must be a judicial man on the Board.
– Will it be a Star Chamber, or an open Court ?
– It ought not to be a Star Chamber. The rules of administration are not drawn up yet, but I think I can interpret the sense of the Cabinet as meaning that the man is to be allowed every opportunity of pointing out how he stands, and of replying, and probably the hearing will be open. I cannot see any justification even for excluding counsel. In fact, what the man ought to be given is the same opportunity of having his case explained or his defence put before the Board as would be afforded to him by a Court of Justice.
– Still, the safety of the nation is the first consideration.
– It is. and the provision seems, on the whole, reasonable in the circumstances. The Bill, which amends the Immigration Act, deals with immigrants, and does not give a general power to deport any one. The power of deportation is taken in relation to the classes whose immigration is prohibited, the chief of which comprises those whose efforts would be directed towards the destruction of organized government. I submit the Bill to the generous consideration of the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Tudor) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 15tb August (vide page 11647), on motion by Mr. Groom -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Tudor had moved by way of amendment -
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.”
– I hoped that I would not be called upon to address myself to this question to-day. I thought, after the adverse criticisms from the Ministerial side, that the Minister in charge of the Bill, and the Government, would read the signs of the times, and note that there is considerable dissension among their own followers regarding the introduction of a measure of this character, which may mean, at a time when every penny counts, the expenditure of many thousands of pounds with probably very little advantage accruing in return. However, as the Government have not withdrawn the Bill, we have perforce to resume its discussion. Without wishing to be too drastic or harsh, I would much rather be engaged in discussing something else that might be for the real benefit of the people in whose interests we are supposed to legislate. My belief is that the measure will result, not only in the duplication, but in the triplication, of activity, and, in fact, in more than its triplication, because nearly every State, in some sphere or other, has already covered, or is covering, the ground that is proposed to be traversed by the Institute of Science and Industry.
If the Commonwealth is to launch out on the lines of this Bill, it is essential to precede it with a measure to settle once and for all, not only the Constitution of the Commonwealth, but the Constitution of every State in the Commonwealth. Without the adoption by the people of an amendment of the Constitution, giving this Parliament those powers that every National Parliament ought to enjoy, I can see that not only in this measure, but in others, we are going simply to follow slavishly along the track that has already been blazed, and more than blazed, by the State authorities. We ought to know where we are before we incur further expenditure on proposals of this nature. The present Ministry will be handed down to history as the Ministry of departmental constructors. They are establishing new Departments here, there, and everywhere, and new Departments under the auspices of government as carried on in Australia cannot be built up without a huge expenditure of money. This new Department, which has not been given statutory authority, has been struggling along now for some time, because it is four years since the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) indicated to the people of the Commonwealth that he, or his Government, intended to establish a Federal Institute of Science and Industry. At the latter part of 1915 a Committee was established by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and held one meeting under his presidency. On that occasion his promise to his followers was that the Institute- of Science and Industry he sought to establish would not be controlled by faddists, theorists, or university professors, but would be an intensely practical concern, which would be useful to . the people of Australia. Since then we have dragged on for four years, and I would like to hear the Prime Minister indulging this afternoon in a retrospect of what the Institute in its embryo stage has so far accomplished. It would not be a very entertaining narrative. As a matter of fact, it would be a displeasing one, not only to the honorable gentleman himself, but also to the people of the country. However, we should know where we stand before entering upon a departure of this kind, involving a considerable expenditure of money, and bringing about the establishment of new Departments to do practically the same work as the States are now doing. As a first step, the Constitution should be amended to place Australia in the position that Canada >or South Africa occupies. Only then will the necessary work of scientific investigation be carried, out by one authority for the whole of the people of the Commonwealth. The proposal now before us simply means adding a “ seventh “ wheel to the coach. In each of the six States there is already a wheel at work on scientific research, particularly in regard to agriculture. In introducing the Bill, the Minister (Mr. Groom) eulogized the efforts of some of the scientists employed in State institutions, and spoke of the benefits they had conferred on the people generally. The experiments conducted at the various agricultural colleges of the States in regard to the breeding of wheat have resulted in increased production, even in what may be termed the arid areas of the Commonwealth.
A report of the Executive Committee of the Advisory Council of Science and Industry, dated the 2nd July, 1917, contains the following paragraphs : -
In the opinion of the Executive Committee, one of the most important functions of the Institute will be to encourage higher scientific training,, and thus increase the output of skilled specialists available for the development of the (primary and secondary industries of Australia. It is hoped to achieve this result by both direct and indirect -means; directly, by the employment, of salaried investigators to assist iii specific researches, as well as ‘by financial grants to institutions for improved equipment; indirectly, by proving to the public the value of industrial scientific research, thus increasing the demand for trained specialists and improving their status and .the emoluments open to them. . . .
Technical Education and the Training of Artisans.-In addition to the subject of ‘the supply of scientific investigators, the Executive Committee has given attention to the question of technical education and the training of artisans. A large amount of information has been collected from reports issued by the several Departments of Education and by Royal Commissions, and through personal interviews with experts on the subject.
I quite agree that an Institute of Science and Industry will be of little value to the people of Australia unless our industries -primary or secondary - are controlled by practical men. The Working Men’s
College, in Melbourne, has done splendid work in the education and training of artisans. Similar institutions are available in the other capital cities. It is a pity that they have not been established as freely as they should have been in the larger provincial centres.
– Hear, hear !
– There is a splendid technical school in Maryborough, in the honorable member’s electorate. The old School of Mines has been enlarged to include all the subjects taught in uptodate technical schools. I simply draw attention to this fact in order to point out that already the same set of .taxpayers have spent considerable sums of money in doing the class of work now proposed to be done under Federal control. I object to this proposed duplication of expenditure. No doubt there will be. need for “ cooperation “ and “ co-ordination,” words which have been freely used during this debate, but in the States there are already technical .colleges at which a lad who is serving his apprenticeship may attend night school. Every State Department encourages .its bright young officers to improve themselves in the lines in which they are working, or in other avenues, and gives them every opportunity to get into touch with the experts in . engineering and other subjects attached to the Working Men’s College and similar technical institutions. Money which is spent on .education, technical, ordinary, or university, is money well spent, but, unfortunately, the universities of Australia are not open to the sons and daughters of the poorer sections of the community.
– The New South Wales University is open to them.
– Possibly the road may have been made easier in ,New South Wales in recent years, but even if reforms have been brought about, the facilities for giving a university training to the sons and daughters of the poorer section of the community are not what they ought to be in a democratic country. I would like to see the barriers wiped away, so that wherever a genius is discovered, that lad or lass may be given the -opportunity to pass from the higher schools to a university. The present Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, who .at one time worked at my trade, succeeded in winning a couple of scholarships, and was able to attend a university. Here and there we can pick out men who have been able to climb to the top of the educational tree, but great numbers of young people are debarred in most of the States from doing so. However, notwithstanding the disabilities attaching to our higher educational system in the various States, particularly- Victoria, I contend there is no need to duplicate, educational institutions simply to enable Federal control to be exercised over them.
One gentleman’s name has been mentioned during this debate,, and I desire to mention it also, because some of his work has come under my personal view, and because I am gratified at the’ manner in which he applied himself to the task of getting the. producers of Australia out of their difficulties during the war. I refer to Mr. Wilkinson, the Commonwealth Analyst.
Lt. -Colonel Abbott. - Is he looking, for this job?
-. - I do not know. The only request that he has ever’ made to me was when he said on one occasion, “ I wish that we had better’ equipment and more appliances in this laboratory, so that we could’ help’ the industries of Australia, more than we can at present.” I do not think that the honorable member for New England (Lt. -Colonel Abbott) spoke in a disparaging way of Mr. Wilkinson’s work.
Lt-Colonel Abbott. - Many honorable members seemed to be carrying a brief for a- certain gentleman.
– That may be the honorable member’s way of expressing himself, but it is a peculiar way, and is not very nice; nor is it complimentary to those honorable members who have mentioned Mr. Wilkinson’s name, or to the Commonwealth Analyst himself, who, I am sure, would be one of the last to thrust himself on honorable members in seeking a position in connexion with the proposed Institute of Science and Industry. From what I have seen of his work, I believe that Mr. Wilkinson is one of the bestqualified men in his profession in Australia. If the honorable member for New England is anxious to learn something about the work he is doing, and about his qualifications, he has only to visit the Commonwealth laboratory.
Lt. -Colonel Abbott. -The appropriate time for dealing with that matter is in Committee. At this stage the debate should be confined to general principles.
– I was pointing out the machinery already in existence, and was about to show that the expenditure of a comparatively small sum of money would place the Commonwealth Analyst in the position of being able to do far more for the people of Australia than the proposed Institute could do. When the cheesemakers of Australia found that they could not carry on without rennet, which had been previously imported, Mr. Wilkinson set about to manufacture that very necessary ‘ element in cheesemaking, and relieved the producers from a very serious difficulty. That is only one illustration of the good work he has been able to do for the producers of Australia.
– ‘Then the honorable member is advocating that we should have an Institute that could do useful work of that, character?
– We have such an institution already.
– But the work which Mr. Wilkinson did in the . manufacture of rennet was only incidental to his general duties. What we want is an Institute capable of doing that work generally.
– I have instanced what Mr. Wilkinson did for one primary industry. In conversation with me three or four years ago he said, “ I regret that I have not in this laboratory equipment with which I could test the tensile strength of steel.” No doubt the Broken Hill’ Proprietary Company has the machinery and experts for carrying out that work. But a comparatively poor manufacturer who undertakes a contract, the specifications of which provide for the use of steel of a specified strength, cannot afford to pay experts as the big corporations can do. What a fine thing it would be if he could go to a Commonwealth laboratory controlled by a man like Mr. Wilkinson, and have the tests made for him. Big names and magniloquent language will not bring assistance to primary industry. What is needed is the practical touch and the immediate help.
At the outbreak of war the Government were urged, as one of the first actions that should be taken to help the country through the coming struggle, to mobilize chemists and analysts. Australia to-day is particularly lacking in commercial chemists and analysts. Those manufacturing firms that are endeavouring to place upon the market certain goods which were formerly supplied by enemy countries complain, “ Our great disability in the effort to supplant Germans and others in Australia to-day is that we have not the properly equipped and trained commercial chemists.” The present and past Governments would have been wise if they had paid attention to that deficiency. Chemistry has played a marvellous part in the establishment and carrying on of the industries of Germany. The honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) referred to the aniline dyes, which, he said, had been originally invented in Great Britain, and pilfered by Germany. I question that statement. I know that twenty-six years of chemical investigation preceded the production of synthetic dyes in Germany. Several of the great commercial concerns combined in setting chemists ta work upon this problem, and after twenty-six years they discovered the secret of aniline dye manufacture. Since that day Germany has had command of the world’s dye markets. In a sense, she deserved that reward, because her manufacturers and financiers were prepared to pay expert chemists to investigate continuously until they discovered the secret which has since paid them so handsomely.
– But the aniline dyes Were first discovered by an Englishman.
– At one time the main constituent of ordinary commercial dyes was imported from India. Then a synthetic dye was invented in Great Britain, which for some years dominated the trade in that article. Later, German chemists discovered an improved method of manufacturing synthetic dyes, and left the British people, as we deserved to be left, in a very bad position.
In moving the second reading of the Bill, the Minister (Mr. Groom) read a quotation from the report of the Scottish Commission that visited Australia. The members of that Commission were mainly practical farmers. I had the pleasure of meeting some of them, and was struck, not only with their Scotch accent, but also with their practical outlook. One paragraph of their report stated -
Research. - In comparison with research work carried out in Scotland, where the subject has not received the attention which it deserves, the extensive arrangements which are made, the encouragements which are given to experiment, and investigation in Australia, are gratifying and surprising. Pleasant also is the universal enthusiasm discovered in the directors of experiment stations, and, indeed, in all connected with the work of development. It appeared to us, however, that a considerable amount of overlapping was going on, that in general there was a want of co-ordination and co-operation, that the policy of allowing each State to attempt to attack the solution of each agricultural problem by itself was not the most economical.
I admit that the paragraph goes on to draw attention to an overlapping of State activities and suggests that it would be better if the Commonwealth undertook the whole of the work under one organization and authority. I repeat that if the Commonwealth Parliament were in a position to assume entire control of the application of science to industry I would support such action, but the Commonwealth is not able to do that. By reason of the constitutional limitations placed upon the Commonwealth authority the proposed Institute will become merely the seventh authority to carry on scientific and industrial research in Australia. I see.no chance of avoiding that; therefore, I hope that the Government will see fit to withdraw the Bill for the time being.
– There is no hope of that. The national necessities are such that this Institute should be established at once.
– The national necessities could be provided for at much less cost than is proposed in this Bill.
Mr. Groom. So far the honorable member has made a ‘good speech in proof of the necessity for linking science to industry.
– It is true, as the Scottish Commission pointed out, that there is overlapping of State activities, but by the Commonwealth entering into work which the six States are carrying on the overlapping will be merely increased.
– The Scottish Commission pointed out the necessity for a Federal authority.
– Our visitors were not aware of how the Commonwealth is handicapped by the Constitution.
– They knew of that.
– Does the Minister suggest that practical Scots would propose the establishment of a seventh expensive authority to duplicate work that is being done in each of the six Sta’tes? In plain language they stated that considerable overlapping was taking place; now the Government propose more overlapping.
The expenditure on this Institute will not be justified. Four years have elapsed since the scheme was first promulgated, and nothing practical has been done. The latest issue of Science and Industry, No. 4, contains a very fine photograph of Mr. II. W. Gepp, “ an industrial leader and member of the executive committee of Science and Industry.”
– It is a good publication.
– From a printer’s point of view, I have seen nothing better.
– But there is plenty of meat in it.
– There is an article by Dr. Gilruth on the introduction and spread of stock diseases which most Victorians have read before. Honorable members may find articles very similar in the old files of the Victorian Agricultural Gazette. What is the advantage of issuing an expensively printed magazine for the reproduction of articles with the contents of which Victorians have been acquainted for years? In the issue to which I refer the following comment is made upon this Bill: -
It is proposed to snake it a body corporate, with perpetual succession and a common seal, and capable of suing and being sued. It will have power to hold land and other property, or may accept gifts or become a beneficiary under a will. These provisions differentiate it from ordinary governmental Departments. The object is, clearly, to encourage wealthy citizens of the Commonwealth to endow the Institute, either by gifts of land or money, during their lifetime, or by making provision for it after their death.
I wonder if they will rise to the occasion. I would gladly seize any opportunity to get such contributions during their lifetime from the rich men who have prospered so well in this land. If they have the money to give for public purposes why should we wait for it until they die?
– Some of them have already richly endowed the States.
– Certainly in South Australia the wealthy men have done their duty by the State. I believe that South Australia holds the premier position in that respect, and for that I give it every credit; but in Victoria and other States we must search far and near to find a wealthy man who has endowed the community with some of his wealth, except by the endowment of chairs in universities where in the past only the sons of rich men could be educated. The article in Science and Industry continues -
Those who drafted the measure evidently had in their minds the handsome bequests that certain institutions of this character in the United States of America have received from patriotic Americans desirous of seeing their names perpetuated through the centuries. The pork butcher of Chicago rendered his name imperishable by endowing some scientific or learned institute with a new library, or a much needed laboratory. So it is hoped that the wealthy pastoralists, mine-owners, or merchant princes of Australia will show their appreciation of the land from which their wealth has been derived by helping present and future generations to render themselves more efficient antagonists in the economic struggle to come.
– Apparently they intend to send out circulars asking for donations.
– I should think that the Income Tax Commissioner could furnish the Institute with a list of wealthy men who might well be circularized for contributions.
It is to make the way easy for the handling of these prospective endowments that these provisions in the Bill are being made. The pious hope may be expressed that these clauses may not prove a dead letter, and that those Australians who have waxed prosperous in this fair and fruitful land will not be neglectful of their obligations to generations yet unborn.
– Who is the writer of the article ?
– The article is signed “F.M.G.”, and at the foot of .it there appears the following quotation from Tennyson, “ Science moves but slowly, slowly creeping on from point to point”. That quotation would aptly describe the go-slow policy of the Government in connexion with the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry.
– The honorable member is not helping the Government to any extent in its effort to establish it.
– I am helping the Government by indulging in healthy criticism. In these days, all proposals of this kind should be closely scrutinized. If we fail to look carefully into such propositions, we may expect the taxpayers to deal vigorously with us.
There are other special quotations set out in the August number of Science and Industry. Here, for instance, is one that will interest the honorable member for Grampians . (Mr. Jowett), who has recently joined the Farmers “Union -
The farmer of to-day is an infinitely more practical nian .than .the farmer of twenty-five years ago, who sowed and reaped in uncritical imitation of his father, and who gave the old cow her free choice of what food she considered most suitable for herself.
This quotation is displayed in special type, and surrounded by rule work which the printer would take much time to adjust. Here is yet another, which seems to be in the nature of a reply to the Minister’s introductory speech -
Natural science is a subject which a man cannot learn by paying for teachers. He must teach it himself by patient observation, by patient common sense.
In other words, we must teach ourselves; and unless we have a natural aptitude for the work, it is useless for us to go to teachers for instruction. The Commonwealth has not control of education; but when our Constitutions are cast into the melting-pot, I hope they will emerge in such a form as will give the National Parliament supreme power, with the right to delegate certain matters to minor provincial councils. When that is done, we shall, doubtless, have charge of education, in connexion with which we ought to do in Australia what is being done in other countries. Japan, which is going to be a very keen competitor of ours, adopted western methods, comparatively speaking, only a few years ago, and in doing so availed herself of her educational system with marked results. The master of every school was instructed that any Japanese lad displaying certain qualities should be specially taught, with a view to the development of those qualities, and sent on from class to class until he reached the top of the tree in the particular profession, trade or calling for which he was adapted, and so with every Japanese lass. There is no such following up of our geniuses by the Education Departments of Australia. Here and there a genius may have rich parents or an interested teacher to guide him in the course that he should follow to achieve success. But, unfortunately, one of the troubles of society in Australia to-day is that we have too many round pegs in square holes. We have many people performing duties for which they are totally unfit, whereas in other walks of” life they would prove eminently useful. I do not know that the Institute of Science and Industry, for which this Bill provides, will help us to steer clear of such a system. Until we know where we are in this regard, why should we agree to establish an Institute to work on lines similar to those pursued by various institutions in the States? We have no money to burn, and we should know exactly what is to be done under this Bill.
The sugar industry of Australia owes the position that it occupies to-day to the introduction of scientists and other experts by the rich company which controls it. It can be safely said that commercially - I am not referring now to certain economic and industrial ‘ conditions - the sugar industry of Australia has reached the highest measure of perfection because of the employment of scientists in connexion with it. That may also be said of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company. When the Broken Hill mines were first opened up the intention was to mine for silver.
– Some of the best ores were thrown aside.
– I believe that is so. Later on the Broken’ Hill Proprietary Company waxed fat on the production of silver, but it discovered that there were important by-products, the production of which was even more valuable than mining for silver.
– They go in mainly for lead and zinc
– Quite so. I dare say that to-day mining for silver is only one of the subsidiary operations of the Barrier’ mining companies. Great developments have taken’ place as the result of the application of science to the industry. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company has had the assistance of chemists and other scientists, and is to-day turning out quite a number of products that have made its name famous in all’ parts of the world. Unfortunately, while we are doing all this, We are not turning our’ raw materials into manufactured’ articles to anything like the extent that we ought to do.
Before proceeding to establish an Institute’ of Science and Industry, we should provide for’ a really sound Tariff to protect our industries. We might have a dozen scientific institutions, but without such a Tariff their work would be of no avail. What is the use’ of training our Australian artisan’s if our ports’ are to remain open to the importer, who can come in year after year with millions of pounds’ worth, of goods from oversea ? ‘It seems’ to me that we should first of all endeavour to secure an amendment of the’ Constitution to enable- us’ to deal with matters that should properly be the subject of Commonwealth legislation’; that we should’ then build up a Tariff that’ would protect our industries, and that, having done that, we might establish an Institute of Science and Industry on proper’ lines.
In order to show that some members of the present Government at one time held the view that an Institute of Science and Industry on- the lines provided for in this Bill, was not sufficient’, I would point out that, in 1916, while the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) was in England a large number of- tradesmen following various callings in Victoria and South Australia waited on Senator Pearce, who was- then Acting Prime Minister, and said that they were not satisfied with the promise that had been, given by the Prime Minister as to what would be the benefits accruing to industry from, the establish ment of an Institute of Science and Industry on the lines proposed by him. Senator Pearce, although he is a Free Trader, admitted that an. Institute of Science and Industry would assist Australian industries in only an- indirect way. He agreed that something more practical was required.
– And after that the Government of the- day went on with the measure, and honorable members’ opposite did not accept the situation.
Mr.FENTON.- I did not accept the situation. The party was not consulted in regard to the’ measure; it was proceeded with because the Prime Minister said that we must proceed with it. He had called Conferences on this-, subject, and no doubt when he comes back he will convene other Conferences in order that he may confer with them inregard to political and other matters. Our party was not consulted with regard to this measure.
– Has the honorable member been: opposed from the first to the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry?
– I have. That is shown by the fact that I took part in the deputation to the Acting Prime Minister (Senator Pearce) on’ the subject, notwithstanding’ that I had received from the Prime Minister a letter stating that I would find that the Bureau which he proposed to establish would’ be of great advantage to Australian industries’; I was not satisfied with that promise, and when we waited upon Senator Pearce we elicited from him the view that the proposed Institute had too much of the professorial element about it. The Advisory Committee say that it is most important that we should train our artisans. My contention is that we should first of all establish a scientific Tariff to protect our industries.
We already have in the’ States various institutions for technical training. I think, honorable members would be- surprised to hear how many institutions- in which technical training is given are’ already established in- the several States. I do not complain’ of. expenditure,- but I regard this as unnecessary ; and, certainly, the same set of taxpayers -who will have to foot the bill are objecting to being thus overloaded. According to the report to which I have already referred, the expenditure in connexion with the Institute up to 30th June, 1917, was £3,593, and I suppose that it has very much increased in the intervening two years. If this expenditure was placed on the Estimates it must have been hidden away in some small corner and left unexplained by the Government; indeed, of recent years we have had no opportunty of looking into the finances, and when we do we shall be appalled. Yet we have honorable members glibly supporting a Bill of this kind, which must involve a much larger expenditure than we can foresee.
The telephone, there is not the slightest doubt, is going to play an important part in the life of Australia, which is a country of great distances. At the present time we cannot be said to have an uptodate telephone system. I am not now referring to the cities only, but more particularly to the out-back districts of the country, where it is highly necessary that the people should be placed in communication with their markets, with medical men, and so forth. Some time ago I had the temerity to ask the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Webster) whether his Department were elaborating any extensive scheme of telephone extension in the country districts, and the honorable gentleman expressed surprise that such’ a question should be asked in these times. We are complaining of the rush of people to the cities, and of the few advantages enjoyed by the country people, and proper telephone extensions would tend to make country life more bearable. I feel so strongly on this matter that I should be prepared to support the expenditure of £500,000 in the direction I have indicated. During the war work has been done in the Government workshops that was never done there before. I have personally inspected telephone appliances in steel, copper, and more delicate material still, and I can say that from every point of view they are not only as good, but in many cases superior, to imported articles. I have appealed to the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Webster) to give a chance to our own trained artisans, of whom many have attended technical colleges, and one, at any rate, of whom I know effected a valuable improvement in certain appliances. And yet that man is to-day walking the streets unemployed, although his invention was the means of saving money to the Postal Department. Not .long ago I asked the PostmasterGeneral whether he was prepared to have a number of common battery machines manufactured in Australia. The honorable gentleman’s reply was peculiar, but I am satisfied that he will not be able to satisfactorily gainsay what has been asserted in opposition to his attitude. As was proved during war time, this telephonic material can be manufactured in our own workshops; but as soon as -peace is declared we find the Postal Department sending their orders abroad. No one can deny that all work of this kind should be encouraged, but the men who were making the appliances during the war have been put on the streets by the Government, the work now being executed by artisans in other parts of the world. I think a little “ science and industry “ in the Postal Department would not be amiss. Reform, like charity, should begin at home; we should reform ourselves before we try to reform the world.
This Bill is not one that ought to be accepted by the House at such a time as this; and I feel convinced that its supporters will at some time confess that they are wrong. We ought to weigh well every proposition, especially one like this, involving the expenditure of large sums of money. I am certain that the people of the country generally will not indorse this legislation. There are great Government workshops at Newport, at Islington, Ipswich, and Clyde, and every appliance we need ought, as far as possible, to be manufactured there. We all recognise that the inventor is very much wedded to his ideas, and apt to be regarded as a nuisance, but inventors ought to be encouraged. The combined harvester and other agricultural implements had their origin in Australia; but it is not every inventor that can command the capital to carry out his ideas. Many men of brains have had to take their ideas abroad in order to find appreciation. In one case I can remember, in. pre-war days, two young Victorian engineers, who had an invention to dispose of, were given the cold-shoulder, not only by Australian manufacturers, but by British manufacturers. They took themselves to Germany, and there they found a firm ready and willing to give them every assistance. A special part of a workshop was set aside for them in which to carry on their experiments, and they were given hi:h salaried positions. Their invention turned out a huge success, as I am informed by a man who has personally inspected the results. If I had my way every inventor who could satisfy a committee that his invention was on the right lines, would be given room in the Government workshops, and assisted in every way to perfect his ideas. There are a thousand and one ways in which, without the expenditure of large sums on an Institute of Science and Industry, assistance could be given to both our primary and secondary industries. I am suprised that the Government are not keeping a tighter hand on the pursestrings, for they must recognise that the character of the men at the head of this Institute indicates exceptional expenditure.
– There is such piffle in their reports !
– As to the article by Dr. Gilruth, I am mistaken if I did not see a similar one in a Victorian publication some years ago. The honorable member for New England (Lt.-Colonel Abbott) urges us to deal with this question on general principles, but there is too much general principle, and too little of solid practical fact brought to bear. The reports of the Institute may make very nice reading, but the hard pressed taxpayer will say, “ To Hong Kong with your grandiloquent language; who is going to foot .the bill?” The Institute will move along at a snail’s pace, and only long days hence can the primary or secondary industries receive any benefit. I regret that the Bill is to be proceeded with. I understand that it is kept on the boards merely to fill a gap until the return of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes).
If we want to establish one authority to carry out research work throughout the Commonwealth, there should be granted to this Parliament, precedent to that, the power to do so, and to tell the States to keep within their proper spheres. As it is now, with the States enjoying greater powers than we as a National Parliament exercise, they will continue their expensive work ; investigation, research, and technical training will all go on in the six States; on top of all this the Federal Government will establish another Bureau, and the same set of taxpayers will have to pay for it all. I do not want much better meat to chew at election time than I shall have if we are going on with a measure of this kind.
Lt.-Colonel ABBOTT (New England) [5.37]. - After listening to the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton/ and other members on the Opposition side, one asks oneself whether they are approaching a Bill of these dimensions in a national spirit .or looking at it from a narrow, parochial, party point of view, with an idea of squashing it and refusing to see the meat and goodness contained within its four corners. Some of the members even on this side of the chamber seem’ to have lost sight of the actual provisions of the Bill. It provides for the election of three directors, one of whom need not necessarily be a scientist, but the other two are to be scientists. They are to be appointed for five years. The Governor-General appoints one of them to be chairman, and the Cabinet recommends the salaries. They are to be paid certain travelling expenses, and, in case, of incapacity, the Minister has power to suspend. A Board of Inquiry of three is appointed, and makes a recommendation to the Minister, and on that recommendation the Government will act. That means that it will remove the suspension cr discharge the officer. The directors have to give the whole of their time to the work. In each State an Advisory Council is appointed, and receives simply travelling expenses and fees. The most important part of the Bill, which seems to be lost sight of by honorable members on the other side, is that defining the powers and functions of the directors. This is clause 13, which provides -
The powers and functions of the Directors shall, subject to the regulations and to the directions of the Minister, be -
the initiation and carrying out of scientific researches in connexion with, or for the promotion of, primary or secondary industries in the Commonwealth ;
the establishment and awarding of industrial research studentships and fellowships ;.
the. making of grants in aid of pure scientific research;
the recognition or establishment of associations of persons engaged in any industry or industries for the purpose of carrying out industrial scientific research and the co-operation with and the making of grants to such associations when recognised or established;
the testing and standardization of scientific apparatus and instruments, and of apparatus, machinery, materials and instruments used in industry;.
the establishment of a Bureau of Information for the collection and. dissemination of information relating to scientific - and technical matters; and
the collection and dissemination of information regarding industrial welfare and questions relating to the improvement of industrial conditions.
The next, clause- deals with arrangements with the States in the following terms : -
The Governor-General may arrange with the Governor of any State for any of the following purposes : -
the utilization for the purposes of this Act of State research departments and laboratories and experimental stations, and farms;
the co-operation in industrial and scientific research with State Government Departments, universities, and technical schools; and
theco-operation with educational authorities and scientific societies in the Commonwealth with a view to -
advancing the teaching of science in schools, technical colleges, and universities where the teaching is determined by those authorities;
the training of investigators in pure and applied science,, and of technical experts; and
the training and education of craftsmen and skilled artisans:
Another important: clause is 18, which gives the Institute power to do- outside work for firms:, corporations, and Govern ments, and charge for it. That is a very correct and right proceeding.
The Leader of the- Opposition- (Mr. Tudor) has moved as an amendment on the motion for the second reading, the insertion after the word “That” of the following words : - 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 StateGovernments to avoid duplicating- the existing State bureaux or work at present carried on by them.
This is a Bill which will bring to life an institution that will be very farreaching and have a considerable influence on the welfare of Australia. I do not want to approach the question from a party point of view. I thought with pleasure when I saw the Bill that it was outside the realm of party politics, and that we could look at it through national eyes, in the light of what has been done in other parts of the Empire and of the world, particularlyduring the last four or five years of this gigantic war, and so profit by the experience of other countries. There is no doubt that at present scientific research in Australia suffers from the scarcity of trained men and of apparatus. We have too few laboratories, and too few trained men to- fill them. I have been rather fortunate in the last three or four years in having the opportunity to see what is being- done in other parts of the world to fill the gap between science and industry. I had the pleasure of seeing at Teddington, nearLondon, the National physical laboratory, which absolutely opened one’s eyes to the possibilities and potentialities of this movement, and to what a nation is absolutely losing by failing to grapple with these scientific and industrial questions.This Institute, when brought to life under this Bill, is going to fill the gap in the. same way as the national, physical laboratories in theOld Country are doing.
The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr:.Fenton) quoted the opinion of the Scottish Commissioners after their visit to Australia in 1911,. but he did not read the whole of the excerpt given by the Minister (Mr. Groom) when introducing the Bill.
– He gave the substance of -what you alluded to, and told you so, too.
.- I am going to give the honey and the meat which was not actually put before the House by the honorable member. That part alters the whole effect of the honorable member’s remarks. The Scottish Commission pointed out what had been done in Scotland, and said that they were falling very far short of the ideal. They indicated what we had not done in Australia, and what we ought to do. The Commission consisted of practical, far-seeing men. This is the part of their report which goes on from where the honorable member for Maribyrnong left off: -
There are many problems which are common to the whole of Australia, or to the greater part of it, and it would appear that time and money would be saved by placing some of the work of research in the hands of a Federal Department. For example, every State is afflicted with various stock diseases. In Queensland, there is “tick fever”; and in another, “ dry bible “ ; in another, there is “coast disease”; and so on. A strong and well-equipped Federal Department would seem more likely to cope with such diseases than the weaker and less well-equipped States Departments. The prickly pear, again, is not a State monopoly, but may, through time, spread over most of the country; and here again is an argument for Federal control, which would not absorb or limit the energies of the State Departments, but concern itself with a broader and a wider field.
If that were true in 1911, how much more true is it to-day, and how much more has it been rubbed into us that it must be true, after our experience in recent years. It has been alleged by honorable members opposite that the Universities are academic and unpractical institutions, but what we shall see here, when the Institute is established, is a closer association between it and the Universities. It will work in close co-operation with the Universities, just as similar institutes in the Old Country are doing. The Universities are permanent training bodies. Their duties are primarily those of teaching and training. The primary duties of the Institute will be connected with research. The Institute will employ graduates; it will not make them. The graduate who has gone through the Universities will, in this body, finish, or perhaps start, his career. He will launch out where he can make some money for himself - an opportunity which is denied to the scientist in Australia to-day. If the Institute is successful, it will impart a great stimulus to the science side of our Universities, and I think we shall find that we have the co-operation of the Universities, as well as the co-operation of the States themselves.
It has been advanced by honorable members on the other side that we are overlapping and trenching on the preserves of the different States.
– Deal with the members on your own side. They have said that pretty trenchantly.
.- I will qualify my remark by including some of the short-sighted members on this side. We find, however, that conferences have been held on all these different subjects, a great many of them in Victoria; and I fail to discover that any of the States, or the scientists of any of the States, are opposed in any particular relation to the measure now before us. I admit that, perhaps a little less than a year ago, Mr. Ryan, the Premier of Queensland, circularized all the members of this august body to oppose this Bill, for the reason that we were trenching on State rights; but I am inclined to think that, with the opportunity of further experience, and of broadening his views, Mr. Ryan has withdrawn that circular, because he sees that the objection he had at that time to the prospective operations of the Institute of Science and Industry, particularly his idea that in the matter of the cattle tick, it was going to undo, instead of assisting, all the work that had been done in Queensland, was unfounded. I quite admit that the cattle tick was a problem which almost wholly and solely interested the State of Queensland, and that it was only the northern part of New South Wales, in the Lismore district, that had a visitation of the pest.
– It has climatic limitations.
Lt. -Colonel ABBOTT- It has; but scientists tell us that in the rainfall area along the littoral of Australia - not the dry interior represented by the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Poster) - that is, along the fringe bounded by the coastal range, the cattle tick will meander gracefully, in time, right down to the south. Queensland was rather afraid that we were going to spoil the work done by her Bureau in that matter; but she now sees, I think, eye to eye with us. Her people recognise that to deal with the pest is a matter of national importance. . They know that scientists in America have been able to cleanse certain areas in a certain time, and thus to push the tick gradually back. It seems to me that when a pest such as the cattle tick is likely to cross the boundaries of one particular State, it is time for the national laboratory and national scientists to step in and cope with it. It is generally recognised that Australia has been absolutely neglectful of the scientific education of her young people.
– That has been the case throughout the British Empire.
Lt. -Colonel ABBOTT- One cannot pick up a publication written by a man of letters of to-day without seeing that the shortcomings of the British Empire from both an industrial and a military point of view have been due to the nation’s shortsightedness in educational matters. Many young men seeking a profession in life choose law or medicine, but if it were possible to hold out inducements to our youths and girls to continue their studies at the Universities in the science classes, with the possibility of securing preferment afterwards in remunerative occupations, we should find them freely taking up a course of training which would be of the greatest benefit to the whole community. When Professor David, who accompanied the Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic regions, and who has done a tremendous amount of geological and metallurgical work in New South Wales, was entertained on his return from the Front, he said that science had played a far more important part in the war than . any one would imagine from the small hints that had been dropped from time to time.
For obvious reasons, the War Office and the Navy had kept to themselves many of the most recent types of scientific discovery; but it was a simple hard fact that science had played an enormous part in the winning of the war. “It is up to each one of us, as scientific men,” he proceeded, “to see that the importance of science for national existence, whether in peace or in war, is properly appreciated by the public, and that scientific research finds its proper place in the history of this great Commonwealth.”
– Surely those are what one would call obviosities.
.- They are; but we are so slow to apply things which are and things which have been apparent to every one, that it is necessary to rub them in with a very severe quality of salt. Honorable members have referred to some of the repetitions in that very excellent publication Science and Industry, but it is only by agitating and agitating that any reform is obtained in the world. It is only by writing and writing upon different subjects that public attention can be focussed upon them.
– Does not the honorable member think that one’s readers can be tired by too much repetition, so that they cease to read.
.- I admit that, in some newspapers, the same thing is rehashed and rehashed, but it is absolutely necessary to stress certain points until redress is obtained, and reform is brought about. Formerly the youth of this country fought shy of science. There was no opportunity of making a living as a chemist or biologist. The proposed Institute will convince producers and manufacturers that science will pay. If it succeeds the Universities will have more students. We know that it is only education and training that fit a man for his life’s work. The Universities and schools look to the States for financial assistance. If this Institute ceased to exist to-morrow not one penny of the money spent upon it would be available for the States. Recently in connexion with an investigation into the kaolin deposits and clays of Bendigo, an advertisement was inserted in the newspapers asking for the services of a clay expert, but there was not a sufficiently trained man in Australia. Recently, also, in Western Australia experts were required in a particular line, but they could not be obtained. There is such a dearth of trained men in Australia that some of our industries, if they are not already languishing, soon will be.
I believe in the proposal to establish research scholarships, but our experience in Australia of such scholarships is that the men of genius who have won them, and gone further afield, have remained abroad where their scientific attainments have obtained recognition. I hope that such provision will be made that Australia will not lose the services of those who gain travelling research scholarships!
The most important work of an Institute of this kind is the establishment of laboratories in which practical tests will be carried out. It is suggested that the cost of running the Institute will be about £15,000 or £20,000 per annum. I do not object to that expenditure provided the Commonwealth gets the value that other countries seem to get from expenditure in this direction. I recommend to honorable members opposite, and to those honorable members on this side who do not see eye to eye with the Ministry in regard to this Bill, two reports of the Committee of the Privy Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for the years 1916-17 and 1917-18. Lord Curzon of Kedleston was Lord President. The Advisory Council comprised - Sir William S. McCormick, LL.D., administrative chairman; the Right Honorable Lord Rayleigh, O.M., F.R.S., LL.D. ; Sir George T. Beilby, F.R.S.; Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, C.M.G.; Professor J. A. McClelland, F.R.S.; the Honorable Sir Charles A. Parsons, K.C.B., F.R.S.; Professor J. F. Thorpe, C.B.E., F.R.S.; and Sir Richard Threlfall, K.B.E., F.R.S. The recommendations of that Advisory Council in Great Britain follow almost word for word the lines which it is proposed to follow in Australia. Page 10 of the report for 1917-18 contains the following: -
During the year 1916-17 we devoted a larger part of our attention to the difficult questions arising out of the recommendation to i your
Lordships foreshadowed in our first report, viz., that the most hopeful line of advance is “ co-operation between the various British firms in each industry and between the industries and the State in the furtherance of research.”
We are glad to be able to report that the experience of this past year seems to show that the foundations have been truly laid of a movement which is likely to suit the needs of many types of industry, and may prove capable of extension to many industrial interests besides that of research.
Research of this class is national in a more direct and obvious sense than that undertaken in the interests of any single industry, however important, and “ for that reason it is simpler and more just that all should contribute to the taxes” to its cost.
We have encouraging evidence on all hands that there is constantly increasing realization of the need for organized research in connexion with industry, but the movement for the formation of research associations will receive a serious set-back if the supply of trained researchers cannot be expanded in proportion to the increasing demands, and there is considerable danger of this happening.
They advocate what we are endeavouring to do here, and yet honorable members quibble at our Government’s proposal. They advocate spending more money on laboratories where practical tests can be made. This is what is proposed by our Advisory Council -
Moreover, it is quite essential that any investigator who has worked out a new process or material should be able to apply his work on a semi-manufacturing scale, so that it can be transferred to the factory by- skilled men who have already met the general difficulties which would be encountered in factory application. This development on a semimanufacturing ‘scale is, indeed, one of the most difficult parts of research, resulting in a new product, and the importance of it is shown by the fact that all the large industrial research laboratories, however concerned they may be with the theory of the subject, have, as parts of the laboratory, and under the direction of the research staff, experimental manufacturing plants which duplicate many of the processes employed in the factory itself.
It is hoped that, as far as Australia is concerned, the Institute will soon be able to supply this defect.
Later on, I hope to be able to tell the House what is happening in other parts of the world in regard to science and industry.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) has objected to the establishment of an Institute without parliamentary sanction. As a general rule, I do not applaud the commencement of Government institutions without parliamentary authority, but the step having already been taken, the Institute having been established, and its necessity having been demonstrated, it is now useless to cut its throat simply because some one did something a few years ago that should not have been done. The Leader of the Opposition has also twitted the Government with the expenditure on the journals printed by the Institute Advisory Council, but I recommend those publications to the close perusal of every honorable member. I go further, and recommend the publishers to be prepared to lose a little more money on them, by reducing the price to 6d., so that every person in the community may become .acquainted with the work which is being done by the Advisory Council.
The appointment of directors is a matter which, does not concern the House. I take it that the Government will see they are properly advised in making appointments. However, we ought not to be pernicketty in regard to the salaries or fees to be paid. Let us get the best scientists and the very best brains available, and pay them well. If we can give the University graduates the assurance, that they will have ample opportunity of preferment; if we get the very best apparatus that money can buy; and if we send to the other side of the world and bring back those Australian students who have been doing most excellent work for the Empire during the war, and are now completing their -studies abroad - if we bring them back to help us in developing our secondary and primary industries - any expenditure in this direction will be money well spent. Honorable members say that in passing this Bill we are entrenching on the rights of the States. I fail to see how some of the complex questions which are common to the whole of Australia can be handled by the States treating them separately unless they go over the same ground-work. These aTe problems which should be solved by a central body, as is done in the United States of America, Canada, Great Britain, and elsewhere.
Only by realizing what is done in other countries can one see in proper perspective the need for a physical laboratory, and the part it is playing in the world’s work. It was an eye-opener to me to see what was being done in scientific industry i-n. the Old Country. The lack of a National physical laboratory in Australia to-day is a crime. I am not speaking of a small academic retort in a scientist’s room at the University. “What we require is a .physical laboratory at which we shall be able to make practical tests in the mass, demonstrate to the manufacturer what can be done, and ask him to apply those demonstrated pro-, cesses to his industry. In order to apply science to industry, -we must have a. staff of trained scientists, .and if we wish to hold our place in the race of nations we must be at least abreast, and, if possible, ahead of, our competitors in scientific investigations and the practical application of its results. We must offer greater rewards to science. The laws of nature must be the same in the works as in the laboratory; principles which apply to the one must apply to the other. There must be no divergence between practice and theory. The tests of alloys, -to be effective, must be made on the same scale as in the works. .Small .pieces of metal cool too quickly, and differ in many other respects from larger masses. So, too, in regard to mechanical treatment; the forging, rolling, and even casting must be carried on with an experimental plant rather than, in the ordinary laboratory. Impurities, and the rate of cooling, also, must be studied.
We know that in the past Great Britain has been slow to realize the need for scientific advice. What is required now is scientific control, and the sooner we realize that the better. It is “necessary that we should create in. Australia, amongst those who control our industries, an adequate appreciation of science and its possibilities. We must make industry attractive. We must set up a National laboratory, with apparatus and experimental plant, involving the permanent employment of skilled labour and scientific supervision. One physical laboratory, for Australia should be able to sup- ply an equipment which cannot be reproduced, in a number of colleges. Surely we ought to be able to set up one National laboratory that will investigate and solve all the problems that beset Australia. In such a laboratory appliances could be used which it would not be safe to place in the hands of a student; to handle them we” must have trained men. The National laboratory would work in close touch with the- universities and colleges, co-ordinating and supplementing their activities. Before the war; not one, but many such laboratories were established by Germany. Two of the most famous were those at Charlottenburg and Gross Licherfelde. Famous also are the Federal laboratories at Zurich, in Switzerland. In the United States of America, there are: Bureaux of Standards, and in. France the National laboratory. I. hope to see- the establishment in Australia o£ a National physical laboratory.
Lt. -Colonel ABBOTT. - I have no. parochial sympathies in regard, to such a. project as a National laboratory. Establish it where you like. Let its organization be such that private firms may utilize it. paying fees for the work done for them.. In. the greatest physical laboratory in England,. I,, as an Australian, was delighted to find that the most important branch of the metallurgical work was under the control, of a young Melbourne doctor of science, who had won a travelling scholarship. His work, included the testing of guns, weighing in some instances over 80 tons when, completed ; the testing of. aeroplanes,, measuring 60 feet across the wings ; laboratory tests of the tensility of metals, the alternating stress of metals, and the breaking strain of different steels, so that when the parts were put info motor cars, aeroplanes, and guns, the makers knew exactly what strain they would stand. The only test they were subject to was the test in the mass in a practical laboratory, worked out on a model scaling 4 or 5 feet to an inch. When the formulas and plans were approved, they were passed on to the operatives in the factories. I’ mention this work’ as showing that, whilst we in Australia have yet to recognise- science, other parts of the world, have been quick to appreciate and take advantage of its potentialities. It would be the greatest delight of my life to see a. National physical laboratory established in Australia, let the cost be £10,000, £20,000, or £100,000. One honorable member stated the other day that he would spend £500,000- on- telephone extensions. No doubt, telephones are necessary; but let us put our money into a National reproductive work, from which we shall get real value, and which will determine the place that Australia is to occupy in the race of nations1.
My hope is that when this Institute is established, it will include a properlyequipped laboratory, which will undertake, amongst other things, a study of aeronautics. Aero-planes’ cannot be built under Australian climatic conditions upon models and plans designed and tested in the Old Country. We must have facilities for testing electrical machinery, and for the testing and standardization of all forms of electricity meters1,, the standardization of thermometers, and the testing, of gauges. One of the most important “ things in connexion with metal manufacture is the testing of. gauges. Gauges of the- diameter and calibre of cylinders in engineering works must be exact enough to register within one tenthousandth part of an inch. I should like to know what was the experience of Australian manufacturers during the war in. connexion with the making of munitions, and,, particularly shell cases.
– We had not got, and could not get, the formula.
– I saw the women graduates of English Universities and other scientists testing gauges for different munitions. Shell gauges, for instance, were tested to within- one tenthousandth, part of an inch in order to insure perfect fitting in the guns. The gauges were then sent to the different private munition works. When I saw that testing, work in progress, I wondered what would happen if Australia made munitions and sent them to the Old Country. I do not think- it is possible, without a proper laboratory and! a standardization branch, for us in Australia to be self-contained, and to produce munitions for use with our own big guns.
– The results obtained in England were not due to any Institute of Science and Industry.
– The testing of these gauges took place at the National physical laboratory, and without such a laboratory and trained scientists, it would be impossible to make shells to fit the guns with the requisite precision. Australia hopes to engage in shipbuilding on a large scale, and we must have a laboratory at which we can make our own models, which must undergo practical tests. It is a mistake to imagine that without such models and tests we can design, build, and launch ships. This National laboratory will carry on experiments in physical metallurgy and the production of tungsten steel, and will make analyses of iron, steel, and nonferreous alloys, and chemical glassware and porcelain.
The British Government has set apart £1,000,000 for a department of scientific and industrial research. Returning to the Orient, we find that Japan has voted for one year £500,000 for a similar purpose. France is allocating many hundreds of thousands of pounds for scientific research, and Canada, with a population of 7,000,000, less than double that of Australia, has promised to make available £1,000,000 for this work. Activities in this connexion are world wide. In India, Chili, and other parts of the world, Bureaux of Science and Industry have been set up, and particularly for standardization, because they are regarded as necessary to insure the industrial survival of nations, and because it is realized that those countries which do not give industry the aid of science straight away, will be late in the hunt. One of the results of the war has been to teach Britain that she can be, to a large extent, self-contained. Before, the war all her supplies of potash came from Germany. Now England gets all the potash she requires from a new electrolytic process. Optical glasses, for which we were formerly dependent upon the factories of Jena, in Germany, are now manufac tured in England. English magnetos have supplanted the German product, and, the Mother Country is now independent of foreign countries in regard to tungsten steel, which is used in the manufacture of filaments for electric lamps; thorium, which comprises 90 per cent, of the constituents of incandescent gas- burners; hard poreclain; thymol, a valuable anti-septic which the Germans produced from oil of an Indian seed ; aspirin, and salicylic acid. Germany formerly had the monopoly of the production of aniline dyes, which originally were an English invention. English chemists have now made the Old Country selfcontained in that respect. I mention these facts as illustrating what science can do for a country.
The production of Australia in 1916 represented a value of £270,427,000, comprising: Agriculture, £60,207,000; pastoral, £89,940,000; dairy, poultry, and bee farming, £26,949,000; forestry and fisheries, £5,505,000; mining, £23,621,000; and manufactures, £64,305,000. The purpose of the creation of an Institute of Science and Industry is to show how this production can be increased. If that is not to be its duty, its establishment will be a waste of time, money, and energy. But we know from . the history of other nations that production can be increased by the application of science to industry. Honorable members have asked what has this Institute done to justify its existence during the last three or four years. What has it done, for instance, in regard to the prickly pear? In Queensland there are 20,000,000 acres overrun with this pest, and that area is increased to the extent of 1,000,000 acres every year. Queensland has introduced the cochineal bug to cope with it, and by this means, as well as by gas spraying and other schemes propounded ,by the Institute, it is hoped to keep the pest in check. Prickly pear is found chiefly in Queensland, but it also occurs in New South Wales. The discovery of a means of eradicating it is a national matter, and the Commonwealth must subsidize this Institute, and arrange for it to work with the State scientists in devising means for the extermination of the pest. We know what the Institute has done also in regard to improvements in the tanning _ of leather, engineering standardization, paper pulp, and the treatment of weevil in wheat. What Professor Lefroy has done in regard to the last-named evil speaks for itself, and the same scientific remedies will deal with weevil in maize. Much has been done in Australia to promote the cultivation of wheat. The late William Farrar, of New South Wales, by hybridizations, evolved different types of dry-country wheat, as the result of which we have been able to carry on wheat-growing in different parts of Australia where before it was thought to be quite impossible.
– Mr. Pye has been doing the same thing at Dookie College.
.- ‘Perhaps so; but the foundational work was carried out by Mr. Farrar. Professor Lowrie, a Scotch professor, has also, by his scientific research work, put millions of money into the pockets of wheat-growers in South Australia and Western Australia. All these works should not rest where they are to-day. It is for the National Parliament to say that there shall be co-ordination of activities, that the scientists in the different States shall be brought together to carry on the work where Professor Lefroy, Professor Lowrie, and Mr. Farrar left off, and that overlapping by scientists shall be prevented ; in this way, Australia as a whole will be benefited.
– Does the honorable member approve of the method by which co-ordination is to be secured under this Bill ? Does he approve of the idea of having separate State Committees.
.- I do not know that I wholly approve of it, but I cannot suggest a better system. The directors of this Institute, whether they be in Melbourne or Sydney, must be paramount.
– Would it not be better for the States to appoint their own Committees to work in conjunction with the Commonwealth Institute 1
.- I take it that recommendations made by the different States as to the personnel of the State
Committees will come before the permanent directors unless there is any special reason to the contrary.
The cattle tick, although it has been an almost purely Queensland matter, is one in which New South Wales is now interested. Quite recently, largely on account of the work of this Institute, the life’s history of the cattle tick has been worked out. In 1916 a committee of experts estimated that Queensland had lost £7,000,000 as the result of the direct ravages of the tick, exclusive of the losses due to loss of condition of other stock and the reduced production of milk as the result of the pest. There is also much room for investigation with regard to bitter pit, fruit fly, and the codlin moth; also lung worm in sheep, nodules in cattle, and blow-fly in sheep. The ravages of the fruit fly have been responsible for a loss of some millions of pounds to our fruit-growers. Professor Lefroy, who recently visited Australia to investigate the blow-fly trouble, has told us that the parasite controlling blowfly in sheep in England has been discovered, and that the control of the Australian blow-fly can be definitely guaranteed. It is estimated that we suffer a loss of £3,000,000 a year because of this pest. The blow-fly maggot was first discovered in the Riverina district in 1897, and honorable members are familiar with the ravages caused by it. The spread of the pest has been largely brought about by the improvement made in the weight of our sheep, and in the fineness of the yolk. One of the penalties of improving cur breed of sheep has been the creation of a better harbor for the blow-fly.
While dealing with the necessity for scientific research in relation to the sheepgrowing industry, I would point out that statistics of recent years do not show that we are improving to any extent, except in so far as the price and quality of the wool are concerned.
– The honorable member is now on the wrong track.
.- I speak of the figures in relation to our flocks. In 1890 we had 97,881,221 sheep in Australia, and 10,299,913 head of cattle, whereas in 1916 we had only 76,668,604 sheep and 10,459,237 cattle.
– In Victoria to-day, unfortunately, we have more sheep than, we can feed, even in: a normal season, so that I would not advise the honorable member to pursue- the line of argument he has just opened up-. This inability is due only to climatic conditions.
– I thought it was due to Victoria’s- circumscribed area.
Sitting suspended from 6.38 to 7.45.
– Mr. SpeakerMr. Higgs. - I beg to call attention to the state of the House. [Quorum formed.]
.- There is much room for scientific research by the Institute of Science and Industry in regard to coal. There is a loss of £200,000,000 yearly in Great Britain by the consumption of raw instead of carbonized coal. That sum represents the value of the byproducts wasted. It is estimated that £20,000,000 is the yearly loss through failure to- save the benzol from; which toluene, one of the three constituent parts of the high explosive T.N.T. is made. The wastages’ from coal include sulphate of ammonia, the base for high explosives ; aniline’ dyes and paints, antiseptics, and drugs’. In Australia, we must make full scientific use of our’ coal by-products. In England these are the prices’ of coal’ - 1913- -10s.1d. per ton. 1915 - 12s. 5d. per ton. 1916’ - 15s. 7d. per ton.
And now there is an additional 6s. rise:
Hence, the price of iron and steel are increasing’ by leaps and bounds. The same, more or less, applies in Australia ; and to cheapen production, we must take advantage of scientific research, and that is the province of the proposed Institute.
Kiau-Chau, in China, on the Shantung Peninsula, formerly held by Germany, are now Japanese. J apan is not so much against a’ White Australia, but she is up against western interference with her eastern plans. Labour’ unrest in England makes capitalists wary, hence investments in China and the East with its. cheap labour. Australia must combat this- competition, because’ she is a country of high wages’; and science and cheaper production must be our: remedy. There is English and American capital invested in factories’ in China, where, by means of sweating and cheap labour, goods are produced,, and Australia is flooded, with these goods; and the Tariff, will not prevent this sort of thing. This is really a floating of the White Australia policy, and is perhaps, worse than if; the coolies were brought here. As a matter of fact, there is a boom in. foreign investment in China and other foreign countries greater than was the case after, the Napoleonic wars. The Japanese have gained control over the Tayeh iron mines, in central China, where there are- enormous quantities of. easily- worked ores. These, of. course, are very valuable to Japan, in which, country there is hardly any ore; and in the twenty-one- demands that Japan presented to China in 1915 was included recognition of control over those mines. When we see such developments in the East - cheap labour and enormous production- we must ask ourselves the question as to what is to be the future of Australia ? Science applied to industry is the answer. The Hanyang iron works, on the river, are run as an adjunct to these mines. I regret that time does not permit of my dealing with many other aspects of this question, which is one of supreme importance to Australia. Perhaps I might be permitted to conclude, in the words of Shakespeare -
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the’ flood, leads on to fortune ;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in. shallows- and in miseries-.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
– I desire to make a few remarks with reference to the amendment only, reserving my right to a general’ reply ata later stage. This Bill has been challenged by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), who has submitted an amendment; but the honorable member very properly does not challenge the necessity or the utility of the proposed Institute.
– He says he is in favour of it.
– The honorable member is in favour of it, and that is’ only to be expected, for’ he, himself, and his col- league, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) were members of the Government in 1916 when the Institute was proposed. Both of these honorable members are fully acquainted with the details, and both, as I say, were members of the Government which was pledged to the hilt to see that the Institute was brought into existence. We, therefore, ask why the Leader of the Opposition has submitted this amendment ? Let us see what the amendment is. In the first place, it declares that before the Government proceeds with this Bill, they ought to inform the House as to the approximate cost of the Institute- That is a strange contention when we remember that the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Capricornia were members of the Government during January, 1916, and from then to about September or October of 1916, and that the honorable member for Capricornia, although Treasurer at that time, never in that period, on any of his Estimates, indicated what was to be the cost of the Institute. A meeting was held during the month of January, 1916, to which I shall refer later on, and the proposal for the Institute was launched. During the financial year 1916-1.7 the Advisory Council, which was a body created for the purpose of doing work prior to the establishment of the Institute, expended ?3,593; in 1917-18, it expended ?7,174; and in 1918-19, ?8,939.
– Without the authority of Parliament ?
– No. Each year there was an appropriation.
– After the money was spent.
– And, further, I find that the Leader of the Opposition took part in the discussion on this very item in the Supplementary Estimates.
– Hear, hear! and opposed it.
– No; the honorable member did not oppose it.
– Yes, I did.
– I remind the honorable member that, on the 11th July, 1917, when there was a formal motion that the report of the Advisory Council be printed, he showed no opposition. The following is an extract from the Hansard report: -
Mr. HUGHES presented the following paper :
Science and Industry - Eeport of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Advisory Council of, from 14th April, 1916, to 30th June, 1917. and moved -
That the paper be printed.
.- I understand from a paragraph in the Governor-General’s Speech that it is the intention to make the Advisory Board permanent. I am not averse to such action-
– Go on, continue the extract.
– The report goes on - but honorable members should have an opportunity to read and study the report before definite action is taken.
– Hear, hear!
– This is the report of the Advisory Council for which Council the honorable member himself is responsible.
– No, I am not.
– The honorable member is responsible as a member of the Cabinet. If he is not responsible, then all idea of Cabinet government is blown to the winds. As a member of the Cabinet, the honorable member took part in its deliberations, and is responsible for its policy by silently acquiescing; but when out of office he tries to disclaim responsibility.
– I said that we had a right to know what the money was to be spent on.
– The honorable member knows as well as I do that the A B C of Cabinet government is that every member of the Cabinet is bound by that which is done by the Cabinet as a whole - is bound by the acts of his colleagues. Therefore, in. this particular instance, the Minister was responsible for the initiation of the scheme. According to Hansard, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), in replying to the honorable member on that occasion, said -
There will be the opportunity which the honorable member desires. In speaking on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in- Reply, I shall explain what is proposed to be done, but a Bill will be introduced to provide for the permanent appointments referred to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
That is the whole of the report of the incident.
– That is what I am asking for to-day.
– The honorable member for Capricornia will find also from Hansard, page 4297, that at a later date he said that the establishment of such a bureau was a good thing.
– I say that, too.
– Obviously the honorable member and his colleagues will say it, because they were responsible all along for it. I have shown that while they were in the Government money was spent. I have shown the sums of money spent in each successive year. Honorable members put to me, later on, the question of what the cost of the Department wa3 going to be. That was a very reasonable question to put. As was pointed out by the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) during the debate, the detailed expenditure obviously must be shown in the Appropriation Bill; but as a guide to honorable members as to what was in the mind of the Minister in charge of the Department when the last Estimates were passed, I refer honorable members to these two items:’ On page 165 of the Estimates, £20,000 was put down for salaries, contingencies, and expenses in connexion with investigation; and at page 290 of the Works Estimates, £3,000 was put down for the establishing and equipping of laboratories, experimental stations, &c. Honorable members asked me last year when that item was before the House, “If we pass it, will it commit us to the Bill that is before Parliament ? “ The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) will remember putting that question. My reply was, “ No ; the question of the Institute in its permanent form will have to come before Parliament in a separate Bill.” We are now acting absolutely in accordance with the policy as then declared. It is utterly impossible at this stage to attempt to tell the House what the cost of this Department is going to be. All I can do is to give an indication of what sums of money the Minister who will administer the Institute thinks he will require during the first year, when he is making his commencement and laying the foundations.
– It will cost only so much as Parliament permits.
– It cannot cost more than Parliament permits. In connexion, with the creation of the Commonwealth Departments, a Bill was generally brought down establishing the particular Department, and then the Estimates followed, showing the appropriations that would be necessary to carry it out. Parliament, therefore, has the power of appropriation.
– Parliament does not always get the chance of expressing its opinion on the Estimates.
– Hear, hear! Come over here.
– I quite admit the force of the remark of the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Atkinson). It is quite right, also, for the Leader of the Opposition to say, “ Come over here,” because he and his Government were the men responsible for introducing that system. When the honorable member for Capricornia was Treasurer,’ he could not always bring his Estimates down and get them through within the financial year to which they applied. Now that the war is over, let us hope that we shall revert to the normal condition of affairs.
– Are we likely to?
– I hope so. Let me remind the honorable member that last year this Government was the first Government for some time to come down with its Estimates, and get them through before the close of the year.
– You “ closured “ them through in a few minutes.
– I am pointing out that we got them through before the end of the year, and the moneys were voted before they were spent.
– They were very bad, and you have been pretty bad; that is the difference.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 August 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1919/19190820_reps_7_89/>.