7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– A statement appeared in last evening’s issue of the Melbourne Herald that the Commonwealth and States Statisticians now overseas have received full power from their respective Govern ments to deal with the question of double taxation. Will the Treasurer state whether full power has been given to Mr. Knibbs, while in England, to deal with that question?
– The honorable member for Grey (Mr. Poynton) has lately been attending to my work. I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member refers; but it is not correct that an officer has been given power to deal finally with taxation matters.
Munition Workers awd Armed Guard.
– I have no desire to prejudice the inquiry which the Assistant Minister for Defence states is proceeding in regard to the trouble among returning munition workers on board the Bahia Castillo, but I desire to ask the honorable gentleman whether he will pay particular attention to the demand that is being made for a civil rather than a military inquiry into the position that .has arisen, and as to the removal of the armed guard from th ls vessel ? A communication on the subject has just reached me from Fremantle, and I should be glad if the Minister would keep- this point in view.
– I will convey the honorable member’s desire to the Acting Ministor for Defence (Senator Russell).
– Oan the Assistant Minister for Defence give the House any information as to the situation with regard to the trouble on board the Bahia Castillo, and state whether any satisfactory arrangement has yet been arrived at ? .
– The Acting Minister for Defence has just informed me that he has received this morning a satisfactory communication, and hopes to be able, on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to-day, to make a full statement.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs request the Board of Trade to give special consideration immediately to the making of the arrangements necessary for the export of fruit during the coming season, and will he call the producers together so that we may arrange facilities for the export of grapes, pears, and other soft fruits, as well aB apples ?
– I shall be glad to give the matter consideration.
– Did the Prime Minister, while in Sydney recently, receive a communication from British and Australian women, married to German internees, asking that they might wait upon him as a deputation, and will he explain why he refused to receive such a deputation?
– I have not seen any women whom I have refused to receive as a deputation.
Case of Private Baker - Australian Soldier Stranded in England - Clemency tosoldiers Imprisoned Overseas.
– Some six weeks ago I wrote to the Defence Department regarding the case ofa member of the Australian Imperial Force named Baker, who had been four times wounded, and had on several occasions got into trouble, with the result that he had returned to Australia penniless, and had no deferred pay to draw. In reply, I was told that the matter would receive consideration. About the same time I also brought under the notice of the Department the case of an Australian who joined the British Forces just after the sinking of the Lusitania, and who, after serving for some years, now finds himself stranded in England, and desires to be repatriated. In answer to that inquiry, I was also informed that the matter would receive attention. Will the Assistant Minister for Defence expedite the inquiries into these matters, with a view to some satisfactory action being taken ?
– I will.
– In connexion with the proclamation of Peace, it was decided that clemency should be extended to members of the Australian Imperial Force undergoing terms of imprisonment; but the benefit of this act of clemency cannot be secured by such men now imprisoned on the other side until their return to Australia. Will the Assistant Minister for Defence endeavour to expedite their return ?
– I will submit the honorable member’s request to the Acting Minister for Defence (SenatorRussell).
– Is it the intention of the Treasurer, in connexion with subscriptions to the Peace Loan, to apply compulsion to graziers in areas, where a serious drought has been prevailing for the last twelve months, with the result that onehalf of these men are practically ruined ?
– The only persons who will be levied upon under any compulsory Act passed by this Parliament on the recommendation of the Government will be those who have means. The honorable member may accept the assurance that those who are subject to unfortunate circumstances over which they have no control will receive every consideration.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With reference to the papers laid on the table of the Housein re wool tops, will he cause a summary of them to be made for the information of honorable members, if he cannot see his way to print the whole of the documents?
– The documents are availably for the information of honorable members. It is regretted that the request for a precis of them cannot be complied with.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Has any provision been made for warrant officers of the Instructional Staff, Permanent Forces (who have been incapacitated through the war, and are unable to carry out instructional duties), to be employed on administrative or other duties, so that they do not suffer in any way for serving their country?
– The whole position in regard to warrant officers is under review, and it is anticipated that a decision will be arrived at at an early date.
Statement by Prime Minister.
asked the Prime Minis ter, upon notice -
Having reference to a statement made by the Prime Minister to the Farmers’ and Settlers’ Association, in Sydney, on the16th September, viz.: That he (the Prime Minister) could have sold Australian wheat at a better price if Australian wool had not been sold behind his back -Will the Prime Minister explain to the House how the sale of wool affected the price of wheat?
– The report of my speech which appeared in the press is necessarily condensed, and does not clearly set out what I said, but I explained the whole position to those interested.
asked the Minister for
Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– I have no information on. the point. Inquiries will be made, and the information desired will be supplied.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The eligibility of returned . soldiers from one State for land in another is determined by the land laws in the State concerned. The Commonwealth Government is entirely favorable to the suggestion contained in the honorable member’s question, and is willing that the advance it makes to the several States in respect of soldier settlers shall be available, irrespective of the State from which the applicant came.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer is- 1 to 6. No.
Australia’s Claimfor Reparation
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether, in view of the amended statement that the amount of reparation claimed by the Commonwealth against Germany is £100,000,000 as against the original statement of £54,000,000, the House is to understand that the original claim for the smaller sum has been withdrawn, and that the larger sum has been accepted by the Reparation Commission as the basis of the Commonwealth claim?
– The full figures of the claim were given to the Reparation Commission before I left France.
Cement - Amending Bill
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Is it his intention to give adequate protection to the Australian cement manufacturers of the Commonwealth?
– The representations that have been made in connexion with the cement industry have been noted for consideration in connexion with the forthcoming revision of the Tariff. The Government is pledged to give adequate Protection to Australian industries, but it is not considered desirable to indicate what action will be taken in regard to individual items.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Has he noted the remarks of the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) at Camberwell on the 22nd instant, pointing out the necessity for a revision of the Tariff, and will the Minister explain the delay in introducing an amended Tariff Bill?
– I have seen a report of the speech in question. I can add nothing to the reply previously given to the honorable member, that it is not considered to be in the public interest to answer questions which will give any indication in advance of. the probable date of the introduction of the new Tariff.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What progress has been made by the Commonwealth Government with the State Governments in the direction of avoiding the duplication of land and income tax returns?
– The Commonwealth Government is in correspondence with the State Governments with a view to the appointment of one authority to carry out the business of receiving returns, making assessments, and collecting the taxes.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a small Bill of a few clauses to amend certain sections of the Trade Marks Act 1905-1912. The first clause is_ an amendment of section 18 of the principal Act, which deals with the question of the registration of trade marks, and provides that the Registrar may refuse an application to register trade marks which contain such expressions as “ Trade Mark,” “ Registered,” “ Copyright,” or any representation of the King, the Queen, or any member of the Royal Family, or of the Royal Crown, or any representation of the Royal Arms, or of the Goat of Arms of the Commonwealth or any State. It is intended by clause 2 to amend this section by providing that the Registrar may refuse to register -
Any word or mark which is declared by the Governor-General by proclamation to be for the purposes of this section a prohibited word or mark, or any word or mark so nearly resembling any such word or mark as to be likely to deceive.
The Governor-General will b« empowered to proclaim certain words as prohibited words, and when they are so declared, the Registrar may refuse to allow them to be registered in connexion with a trade mark. For example, it’ is considered desirable to protect the use of the word “Anzac.” The Governor-General may proclaim the word “Anzac” and other words of a similar character to be prohibited, and thereupon they may not be registered in any trade mark. The clause is in harmony with what has already been done under the War Precautions regulations.
Clause 3 is really in substance an adaptation of section 91a of the Patents Act. It Ls proposed to insert a new section as follows : - 100a. Where any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trade mark, by circulars, advertisements, or otherwise, threatens any other person with any legal proceedings or liability in respect of any alleged infringement of the trade mark, any person aggrieved thereby may bring an action against him, and may obtain an injunction against the continuance of such threats, and may recover such damages (if any) as he” has sustained thereby if the alleged infringement to which the threats related was not in fact an infringement of any legal rights of the person making the threats:
Provided that this section shall not apply if the person making the threats with due diligence commences and prosecutes an action for infringement of his trade mark.
This new section will apply where one person is using a trade mark, and another who has really no valid right to the use of it threatens him with legal action if he does not abstain from exercising what is his own right. The provision is already in operation in connexion with the Patents Act.
Clause 4 repeals section 113 of the principal Act, and proposes to insert another in its stead. Section 113 provides that no person shall, without the authority of the King, or of some member of the Royal Family, or of the Governor.General, or of the Governor of a State, or of some Department of the Government of the Commonwealth or a State, assume OT use in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession the Royal Arms or the Anns of the Commonwealth, or Aims so nearly resembling the Royal Arms or the Arms of the Commonwealth as to be likely to deceive in such a manner as to be likely to lead other persons to believe that he is carrying on his trade, business, calling, or profession by or under such authority. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to enforce this section, and it is proposed to amend it in two ways. At present, the provision could be interpreted to mean that a State Governor or a State Department could give permission to any person to make use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and it is proposed to take .away that right, and stipulate that the Commonwealth Coat of Arms shall only be used under Commonwealth authority. It is also difficult to establish, the concluding words of the sectionin such a manner as to be likely to lead other persons to believe that he is carrying on his trade, business, calling, or profession by or under such authority.
It is considered much, more satisfactory to have a straight-out prohibition of the use of coats of arms, and these words are to be omitted. The amended section will then read as follows: - 113.(1.) No person shall, without the authority of the King, or of some member of the Royal Family, or of the Governor-General, or of the Governor of a State, or of some Department of the Government of the Commonwealth or of a State ( proof whereof shall lie upon the person accused), assume or use in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession the Royal Arms or Arms so nearly resembling the Royal Arms as to be likely to deceive.
I think’ that the amendments of the Act, including the provision to allow the prohibition of the use of the word “ Anzac,” will appeal to honorable members.
– I know that the word “ Anzac” is made use of by many people; but whether it is in defiance of the law or. not, I do not know.
– In every case brought under notice action has been taken.
– In many places of business battalion colours are advertised, as is also the fact that the proprietors of businesses have been members of the Australian! Imperial Force. It may be a case in which only one of the partners has been a member of the Australian Imperial Force, while the greater portion of the capital employed in the business may have been furnished by a partner who has not been a member of that Force. The prohibition against the use of the word “ Anzac “ may not go far enough.. Steps should be taken to prevent any fraud in this direction..
There is another matter which has been brought under my notice by a member of the New South Wales State Parliament who has recently been to the United States of America. In nearly every country in the world the words “Life Savers “ have been registered, as applying to a certain confection, but the registration of these words is refused in Australia. There is no doubt that most persons, particularly Americans, indulge in extravagant claims as to the healing or curative properties of the goods they offer for sale, but, as a matter of fact, “ life saving “ is a phrase usually applied to cases of drowning. This confection is got up in a form representing a miniature life-buoy. The point I wish to make is .whether the Registrar of
Trade Marks adopts a different standard from that which is adopted in other countries. It seems to me that no valid objection can be raised to the registration of a term which is permitted in other places.
I would like to know whether this Bil will affect those persons who advertise that the goods they offer for sale have marvellous properties. I know that this is a matter which is properly covered by the Commerce Act - at one time the Trade and Customs Department deemed it necessary to completely revise that Act, for the purpose of dealing with these extravagant claims - but I was wondering whether the Bill before us would cover such cases.
I do not wish to anticipate what the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) proposes to say; but in regard to the prohibition of the use of coatsofarms, I wish to call attention to the fact that I have seen the Commonwealth Coat.ofArms on a pamphlet which was sent to every member of this Parliament.
– Was it a registered trade mark?
– -I do not think it was. Therefore a person would not be allowed to use it ?
– Not as a trade mark.
– Would he be allowed tO’ use it. other than; as a trade mark? What is the difference? Mr. Rodier sent to every honorable member a pamphlet regarding rabbit destruction, and it bore the Royal Coat-of-Arms. Apparently a person may not use the Royal Coatof.Arms as a trade mark, but he may use it for anything else. ‘
– Was it used by Rodier in connexion with a trade or business ?
– No. We see every day on. the carts of butchers and fishmongers the Coat-of-Arms and the words “ Under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor.” Will this Bill prohibit the use of the Royal Coat-of-Arms in those circumstances ? I rose merely to indicate two or three respects in which the existing law might be further tightened up.
– The returned soldiers conducting the hand-woven tweed industry in Victoria and some of the other States have named their product “ Anzac tweed.” I presume that they, too, will be prohibited from using the word “ Anzac.”
– This Bill deals only with applications for registered trade marks; No person will be allowed to register a prohibited word or mark.
– Suppose a person already possesses that word or mark?
– Nobody possesses the word “ Anzac “ as a registered trade mark at present. Its use is prohibited both here and in the United Kingdom, and the Government of the United States of A mer icd also are taking steps to prohibit the use of the word.
– What difference does the application for registration make?
– The registration of any word or mark gives the person registering it a proprietary right in it.
– If the returned soldiers who are engaged in the hand. weaving of cloth desire to advertise their products by using the word “Anzac” without registering it, will they be allowed to do so?
– No ; the War- Precautions regulation still applies.
– I suppose that any word similar in spelling or pronounciation could be used?
– We also prohibit the use of “ any word or mark so .nearly resembling such word or mark as to be likely to deceive.”
– No imitation of the name “Anzac” would be of use to anybody.
– Because of the sentiment attaching ito the word “Anzac,” there is a certain advertising value in any word or words closely resembling it.
– If the resemblance were so close as to be likely to deceive anybody, the use of the word would be prohibited.
– Two or three, years ago the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Kelly) brought under the notice of the House the German trade mark “Aspirin “. I have never been able to see the need for objecting to the use of that word by Australian manufacturers. It was contended that the use of the word would keep alive the enemy interest in that commodity, and that, after the war, the Germans would again enter into’ full possession of the trade. But in Victoria one chemist has been for a number of years,, even when Aspirin had full sway in the market, manufacturing a drug quite equal in quality to that made by the Germans. It is sailed “Aspro,” but purchasers know very well that it is just the same as “ Aspirin.”
I ‘again ask the Minister whether the Bill would deprive returned soldiers of the right to use the word “ Anzac” in order to advertise their hand-woven tweeds ?
– If the use of the word “Anzac” were prohibited, neither they nor anybody else would be allowed to register it or any word so closely resembling it as to be likely to deceive. But this Bill deals only with trade marks. We have no power under this measure to deal with advertisements in which unregistered trade marks are employed.
– I understand that if anybody used the word “Anzac” as an advertisement without registering it as a trade mark, the Government would have to take proceedings under some other Act or regulation. The returned soldiers engaged in the hand-weaving of tweeds have been using the word “Anzac” for advertising purposes, and they are the only persons who have a right to use it.
. I draw the attention of the Minister (Mr. Groom) to clause 4, which provides that members of the Royal Family may authorize the use of the Royal Coat of Arms. If the wording is not altered, the Bill will give that authority to the Kaiser and his descendants, because they are members of the Royal Family. When the Bill is in Committee. I shall move an amendment to definitely exclude the Kaiser and his descendants.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
Section 18 of the principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following paragraph: - “or (h) Any word or mark which is declared by the Governor-General by proclamation to be for the purposes of this section a prohibited word or mark, or any word or mark so nearly resembling any such word or mark as to be likely to deceive.”
Section proposed to he amended -
Subject to the regulations, the Registrar may refuse to register any trade mark which contains any of the following words or matters . . .
– I hope that only returned soldiers will be permitted to use the word “ Anzac.” I speak feelingly on this matter, because I know that the “ Anzac “ tweed industry has not been given a fair chance. The returned soldiers engaged in it were prohibited from using certain colours on the edge line, which would have indicated to every tailor and purchaser of the tweed that it was of good quality, and was not made from shoddy. .1 again assert that shoddy yarn was supplied to those returned soldiers notwithstanding the denial of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen). I produced samples in this House, and I showed them to the Minister in the presence of a’ witness; he could, not deny that they had come from the Government mills. If the Minister in’ charge of the Bill will assure me that the use of the word “Anzac” will be permitted only to returned soldiers, and industries in connexion with which, they are engaged, I shall be content.
– This Bill deals only with what can or cannot be a registered trade mark, and the intention is to prevent persons getting, by registration, a monopoly of any word or mark, the use of which, as a trade mark, ia regarded as objectionable from a public point of view, such as “ Anzac.”
– Is it intended to retain the word for the use of returned soldiers ?
– The intention of the Bill is to prevent any persons, even returned soldiers, getting a monopoly of the word “Anzac.” Its “use is to be prohibited as a registered trade mark. A trade mark is in the nature of a monopoly. By registering a particular word as a trade mark, a person gets a peculiar property in it, and it becomes his own distinctive mark which other persona can be prevented from using. The object of the clause is to prevent anybody getting that monopoly.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section 113 of the principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: - “113. - (1) No person shall, without the authority of the King, or of some member of the Royal Family, or of the Governor-General, or of the Governor of a State, or of some
Department of the Government of the Commonwealth or of a State (proof whereof shall lie upon the person accused), assume or use in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession the Royal Arms or Arms so nearly resembling the Royal Arms as to be likely to deceive. “ (2) No person shall, without the authority of the King, or of some member of the Royal Family, or of the Governor-General, or of some Department of the Government of the Commonwealth (proof whereof shall lie upon the person accused), assume or use in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession tlie Arms of the Commonwealth or Arms so nearly resembling the Arms of the Commonwealth as to be likely to deceive.
Penalty: Twenty pounds.”
Amendment (by Mr. McDonald) proposed -
That after the words “ Royal Family,” line 6, the words “ excepting the Kaiser or his descendants “ be inserted.
– I ask the honorable member not to press the amendment. The words “member of the Royal Family “ have a definite meaning in connexion with British legislation.
– The Royal Family includes the Kaiser and his descendants.
– On what authority does the honorable member make that statement ?
– They are descendants of Sophia of Hanover.
– I do not think that will apply in this particular instance. I refer honorable members to the legal definition of “ Royal Family,” which I have not at hand just, now.
– We saw that definition a moment or two ago.
– What the honorable member saw was probably in Halsbury, dealing with a different matter. For certain statutory purposes in England, “members of the Royal Family” are limited to certain descendants; and the definition in the case of the Trade Marks Act is entirely different.
– The Kaiser is thirtysecond in line of descent.
– ‘The Kaiser would have no authority under the Trade Marks Act.
– It would do no harm to insert the proposed words.
– The proposed words are unnecessary; besides their insertion would convey the implication that it was necessary to exclude the Kaiser, because if we did not he would be regarded as a member of the Royal Family.
– He is a member of the Royal Family.
– Not in the sense in which the words are used here. The Kaiser would have no authority under the Australian Act.
– Supposing that there was a challenge, how should we determine whether or not the challenged person was a member of the Royal Family?
– By reference to the English authorities.
– I do not claim to be a legal authority, but this clause appears to me to confer a certain right on the Royal Family, presumably the dominant member ‘of the family, and in days to come that, or some other member of the Royal Family, on the ground of relationship, might seek to confer a certain benefit. In my opinion the amendment is distinctly in order, and would place us on safe ground ; and I shall support it if it is pressed to a division.
– Who is “ the Kaiser “ ?
– We all know who he is.
– Is there a Kaiser at the present time? In my opinion the words are unnecessary.
. I desire to put one view in support of the amendment. It is a well-known historical fact that if the war did not immediately arise out of a family dispute in connexion with the British Royal Family, the Kaiser William of Germany has never failed for one moment to assert his right to be. the reigning monarch of the BritisH Empire, on the ground that he is the descendent of the eldest child of Queen Victoria. Although we have no doubt in our mind as to the lack of any power on the part of William Hohenzollern to rank as a member of the British Royal Family, he asserts that claim, and we in Australia have perfect justification for specifying in our laws that he is not a descendent, and has no such right. I hope that an assertion to that effect will be made in this and every other Bill. The last British election was fought on the cry, “ Hang the Kaiser,” and now those concerned are at their wits end to know how even to try him. And he is to be tried not as an individual, but as a monarch. - as the sovereign of Germany. He stands in the relation of cousin to our present honored King, andthere is no doubt in the mind of the reigning House, at any rate, as to his claim to be the rightful monarch of the British Empire. We should assert ourselves in Australia, and exhibitour devoted loyalty to the Throne and Empire by repudiating at all times such a claim on. the part of William of Germany.
. -If the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. McDonald) wishes to safeguard this measure in the way he suggests, he must expand his proposal very considerably. There have been other inter-marriages among Royal Families to such an extent that they are really all one family more or less connected.
– There are special reasons in the present case.
– I quite agree that there are special reasons to-day for this suggestion; but there may be other reasons to-morrow in regard to some other remote connexion of the Royal Family. I take it that the phrase “ Royal Family “ indicates precisely the immediate family of the reigning Sovereign, and does not include any one who has not direct allegiance to the Crown ofGreat Britain?
– Suppose the present heirs were to die out, ‘and the legal heirs did not happen tohave direct allegiance ?
– We need not look forward to such an improbability.
– Is there any necessity for the words “ or of some member of the Royal Family “ ? What is their object?
– The honorable member has made a very useful suggestion. To me those words appear quite superfluous, and it would simplify tie matter if they were withdrawn. At any rate, I cannot support the amendment, because I am quite sure that the clause as it stands is preferable to the clause as it would read if the proposal were carried.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Mr. McDonald’s amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the word “deceive,” line 14, the following words be inserted: - “or the Union Jack, or any ensign or standard of the United Kingdom, or any adaptation of the Union Jack or any such ensign or standard.
On several occasions I have called attention to what Iconsider to be the unfair, unreasonable, and undesirable use that is made of our national emblems in the shape of flags and standards. On the 16th July, 1915, I put a question on the subject to the then Prime Minister (Mr. Fisher), and on the 14th March, 1917, a similar question to his successor (Mr. Hughes), and both informed me that the matter would receive attention. ‘ On the 20th September, 1918, the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) answered some questions which I addressed to him on the subject. My questions were as follow : -
In view of the replies given to the questions of the honorable member for Brisbane by Mr. Fisher as Prime Minister, on the 16th July, 1915, and by Mr. Hughes as Prime Minister, on the 14th March, 1917 - that the practice ofusing the national flag and national emblems for trade and advertising purposes would be investigated -
Whether any definite action has been taken by the Government in the matter ?
Has the attention of the Minister been called to the fact that the following trade advertisements, amongst others, are at present being published, in which the national flag and emblems are used: - Lippett’s Wines, Foster’s Lager, Johnnie Walker Whisky, John Bull Oats,Fluxite?
Does the Government propose to put a stop to this?
To this the Acting. Prime Minister replied -
The answer is that the matter was fully considered by the Prime Minister, but it was found impracticable to frame any legislation or regulation to prevent the’ use by traders of advertisements . suggesting loyalty and zeal for the Allied cause.
Whatever virtue that reply may have had at the time, the reason for it has gone. No particular virtue attaches now to loyalty or zeal for the Allied cause as displayed by the use of these emblems, because the war is over. Section 19 of the Trade Marks- Act 1905 prohibits the registration of any trade mark which contains - a representation of the Royal Arms, or of the national flag of the United Kingdom, or of the flag of the Commonwealth, or of the national arms of the United Kingdom, or of the arms or seal of the Commonwealth or any State.
That provision is evidently a dead letter. I do not profess to be an enthusiastic advocate of national emblems, but I recognise that they stand for a great deal in our national life, and are worth something. To some people they appeal very strongly, standing for very high ideals and putting into symbolic form our pride as members of the British Empire. It is very obnoxious to me to see advertisements of all sorts using the Union Jack, the Royal Standard, the Royal Coat of Arms, the Commonwealth Flag, and the Australian Coat of Arms in order to push the sale of goods. Hoardings all over the country are placarded with these things. Newspaper advertisements nourish them freely. The only difference is that, in the newspapers, there is an absence of colour, whereas on the hoardings they appear in the gayest of colourings.
– They make a lot of work for the artists.
– My amendment will make no difference to the work given to the artists. I feel strongly that the sense of the community is against the present display of these emblems for trade purposes, by which our sense of proportion and reasonableness and the fitness of things is offended. They tend to lessen the regard and respect which we all more or less feel is due to our national emblems, and which some of us gladly and readily accord ‘to them. In the question: I put to the; Acting Prime Minister last year- I quoted Lippett’s wines, which, display on all their, advertisements the Union Jack and the Australian Flag crossed. Foster’s Lager has an enormous representation,, clear, correct, and explicit, of the Commonwealth registered Coat of Arms, our heraldic emblem. Johnnie Walker whisky regularly uses the flag: The advertisement of John Bull oats is to be seen everywhere with the Union Jack as its distinctive feature. Fluxite also uses it, and in the Herald’ the other day I came across a most obnoxious use of the Union Jack, together with a reference to the Italian occupation of Fiume, as an advertisement for gin. The advertisement is obnoxious frsm the point of view of Italy, our respected and honorable ally, aud obnoxious also because of its use of the Union Jack. Advertisements of this kind are all over the country. Their objectionable features are patent to any one who; cares to take notice of them. If honorable members, when travelling in trains or trams, will watch the hoardings as. I have been doing lately, they will be amazed at the enormous number of goods that are advertised under cover of the flag and other national emblems. This practice is purely an exploitation of symbols which, ought to be held to some extent sacred. They are used now for purposes of personal aggrandisement and cash results, in order to parade the “ loyalty and zeal “of the advertisers, to use the phrase of the Acting Prime Minister,, or to cover up any suspicion that the goods are not of local or British origin. In the streets one can see over shop, doors and in shop windows all sorts of advertisements of that kind, which are not there to, exhibit any genuine affection, or regard, or respect for these emblems, but purely for the purpose of attracting business, and for ulterior and’ sordid motives. I do not know whether this is the right place to insert a provision in the law against that kind of thing, but it is the only place that offers any opportunity for it so far as I have been able to see. I move this amendment now in relation to the Union Jack, or any ensign or standard of the United Kingdom. Later on I propose to move for the application of the same prohibition to the use of the emblems and seals of the Commonwealth.
– I .cannot see my way to accept the amendment. The object of the Bill is to amend the Trade Marks Act, which deals with the question of the registration of trade marks. The effect of registration in general is to give the individual a proprietary -right in a particular form of trade mark. Section IS of the Act of 1905-1912 empowers the Registrar to refuse to register a trade mark containing “ any representation of the Royal Arms, or Royal Crests, or arms or crests so nearly resembling them as to be likely to lead to mistake, or of the Royal Crowns, or of the British National flags.” They cannot be the subject of a trade mark. The same thing applies to “any representation of the arms, flag, or seal of the Commonwealth, or of any State, or any representation of the arms of any foreign State or country.” Those are not allowed to be made the subjects of a particular monopoly. But, according to Halsbury’s Laws of England, “ the Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen of the Empire, as well as on Government buildings.” The use of the flag is the right not only of the Government of , the nation, but of every citizen of the British Empire. The honorable member seeks to prohibit the use of the flag iri connexion with business. I must confess I sympathize with a good deal that he says, and that when I see certain deleterious articles taking cover under the Union Jack I feel very much as he does. We must, however, look at the wider aspect of the question. The honorable member seeks to do something which is more than a mere matter of the law relating to trade marks. It relates to the carrying on of businesses, occupations, industries, or callings throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth.
– Is it not a fact that certain persons have the right to use these emblems on their bills or advertisements ?
– I do not know of any. I made inquiries regarding one particular firm which claimed some right to a coa t-of -arms. I found that they had never registered it in Australia. The Registrar will not allow the registration of any of these emblems, so that no person can obtain a proprietary right in the use of a coatofarms or a flag. Under the Constituti6n we have power to deal with trade marks, but trade and commerce is an entirely different matter. We are limited under the Constitution there, although we have unlimited power to deal with trade marks, as laid down by the Court in the Brewery Employees Case, 6 C.L.R., 49. The honorable member desires to prohibit the use of these flags in business as a general policy on the ground that they are used for moneymaking purposes. It is fair and legitimate to encourage in the community a sense of patriotism in regard to articles made in Australia. I cannot see anything wrong in that, nor can I see anything wrong in a business man flying the Union Jack over his business premises, but the honorable member’s amendment would not allow that flag to be used in connexion with any trade, business, or calling. I am not inclined to believe that it would be a proper thing to prohibit the use of the Union Jack in connexion with any business, calling, or profession. It would be an anomaly to prohibit the use of the Australian flag in that way, and at the same time to allow the United States flag or the French flag to be used in connexion with a business by way of appeal to the people. If our flag were prohibited, we could not have competition. There would have to be a general prohibition, or otherwise our own people would be put at a disadvantage by being unable to use’ our flag for the encourage.ment of our own trade and commerce, the fostering of our own industries, and the promotion of a national sentiment for the consumption of our own goods. I frankly admit, although I want to see Australian goods used and consumed throughout Australia, that I am not much in sympathy with the use and consumption of the specific articles which the honorable member mentioned.
– I made no discrimination in regard to the articles.
– No; but the honorable member quoted certain articles regarding which I know he has very strong opinions. I thought, in what I said, that I was paying a tribute to the honorable member’s just advocacy of reform. Looking at the subject as a whole, I cannot see my way to accept the amendment.
The strength of my case is proved by the weakness of the Minister’s reply. Let me briefly point out where I think his case absolutely fails. The honorable gentleman said that every citizen is entitled to fly the Union Jack. That is not denied; nor is it my proposal to limit that right. There is, however, a great difference between a citizen flying the flag and using it as part of a trade advertisement. The Minister (Mr. Groom) points out that the Bill provides that the Royal Arms shall not be used in connexion with any trade, business, or calling. That is exactly the limitation- 1 wish to apply to the use of the flag. It i3 foolish and futile to argue that because a citizen flies the Union Jack over his business premises he is using it in connexion with his business, trade, or calling. A doctor, for instance, flies the Union Jack over his chambers or residence, not as an advertisement, but with a perfectly legitimate and proper desire to exhibit his loyalty on a particular occasion. My amendment does not propose to interfere with anything of that kind. The Minister’s contention that the right of every citizen to fly the flag is unlimited is recognised in my amendment, which conforms to the principle laid down in this clause, that no person shall have the right, without the authority of the King or other authority set out, to display or use the Royal Arms in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession. That is a proper and reasonable limitation, which should be extended to the flying of the flag. There are some business places which exhibit the Royal Arms by Royal Warrant.
– Both the Age and the Argus display the Royal Arms on their title page.
– Quite so. The reasonable interpretation of this clause is that the Royal Arms shall not be used in connexion with a trade, business, or profession as an attempt to advertise. I am merely asking the Committee in this case to subject the use of the Union Jack, and in a later case the Australian flag, to the same limitation. All that the amendment provides is that neither the Union Jack nor any representation of the standards of the United Kingndom shall be used to assist in advertising any business, or identifying it with the flag. It is the association of the flag with a business advertisement to which I object.
Having listened carefully to the objection raised by the Minister in charge of the Bill (Mr. Groom), I am still of opinion that there is no good reason why the amendment should not be accepted. The Minister suggests that the use of the Australian flag in connexion with the advertising of Australian productions is quite unobjectionable. My desire is that Australian productions shall be as well advertised as possible, but the fact that goods are of Australian- origin can be manifested other than by putting our flag in close association with an advertisement relating to them. If everybody adopted that method of advertising their goods, it would come to be somewhat ridiculous. Apart from that point, there is good reason why wo should have a little reverence and respect for such emblems as the Union Jack and the Australian flag. We are beginning to understand their importance and value, in the conception that they give to the rising generation, of the country and the Empire to which they belong. We have the flag raised in our school grounds for the children to salute, and it is indicated to them that they should treat the flag, not as some fetish, but as representing that for which it undoubtedly stands. Many a time, during the war, when passing through our railway stations, my indignation was roused at the sight of the glorious Union Jack, no doubt perfectly drawn and magnificently coloured, but draped over something with which it ought not to be associated. I have known cases in which people who were justly suspected of disloyalty during the war hastened to make an indication of loyalty in connexion with some of their goods by plastering them with loyal emblems of this kind. In order that our children may have a proper conception of the honour that is due to these emblems for what they indicate, we ought to prevent the miscellaneous and degrading use which is being made of them in connexion with the ordinary methods of trade advertising.
– I urge the Minister (Mr. Groom) to accept the amendment. The burden of his reply to the honorable member for Brisbane (Mt. Finlayson) seems to be that a large number of Australian manufacturers desire to use the Union Jack or the
Australian flag toindicate that their products aremanufactured under the flag. There is no reason why they should not use the map of Australia insteadof the Australian flag, to indicatethat their goods are made in this country.. These emblems have been used in such a degrading way for advertising purposes that the rising generation are led, instead of respecting them, to hold them rather in some sort of contempt. There is a great difference between a man flying the Union Jack over his place of business or private house and employing it as an advertisement for goods which degrade those who eat or drink them. Our newspapers use the Royal Arms on their title page.
– They may have obtained permission to use it.
– It seems to me that if this clause be agreed to, no newspaper will have the . right to use the Royal Arms without authority, and if that permission be granted in one case and denied in others, friction will be created. That great institution, the Australian Natives Association,of which many of us are members, has the Australian coat-of-arms . on its memorandum forms and literature. Is it to be denied the right to use thatemblem?
– It is not a trade or business, but a patriotic association.
– That is so. I see no difference between the use of the Royal Arms andthe use of the Union Jack or the Australian flag in these ways. The great bulk of the people regard these emblems as something to cherish and admire, because of all they represent. The boys and girls in our State schools salute the flag when it is run aloft, and have an Australian sentiment for it. On their way to and from school, however, they may see in a bottle-gatherer’s truck all sorts of bottles labelled with the Australian flag or the Union Jack. They axe given temperance lessons at school, yetthey may see the Australian flag on beer bottles. The use of the flag in connexion with various trade advertisements is calculated to lower the, sentiment attaching to it. Let us make the same provision in regard to the use of the Union Jack and the Australian flag that we have made in this clause inregard to the useof the Royal Arms for advertising purposes.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Mr. Finlayson’s amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the word “deceive,” line 24, the words “or any ensign or flag of the Commonwealth of Australia, or any adaptation thereof,” be inserted.
If honorable members approve of the provision in the Bill which stipulates that the Australiancoat-of-arms shall not be used in connexion with any business, trade, calling, or profession, why should there be any objection to the prohibition of the use of the Australian flag in the same category ? The argument used by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) is very apposite - that it is impossible to keep active in the minds of the rising generation a respect and regard for national emblems if, while, on the one hand, they are held up to the highest respectand regard, on the other hand, and in juxtaposition, theyare to be found employed in a humiliating and degrading way. Section 19 of the Act provides that no trade mark shall be registered containing representations of the Royal Arms or of the national flag of the United Kingdom, or of the flag of the Commonwealth, and so forth, and section 113 is much wider in its scope, inasmuch as it prohibits the use of coats-of-arms in connexion with any business. And this is where the weakness of the argument of the Minister (Mr. Groom) is displayed, for all that he claims in support of the present provisions of the measure can be equally advanced in support of the prohibition of the use of the national flag in any business, trade, profession, or calling. To me, the Australian flag is the best in the world.
– Does the honorable member turn down the red flag?
– That is in a different category. I am speaking of national flags. The red flag is not a natk»al flag. The mere fact that the Austalian national flag embodies the Union Jack, and is symbolic of the Federation, invests it in our minds with some sacredness. Every honorable member who voted against the last amendment declared that he had no objection to the use of the Union Jack as a cover for a whisky bottle, a wrapper for soap, or packets of starch, or anything under the sun. We carry the Union Jack to the top of the flag-pole, and regard it as something demanding our utmost loyalty and devotion, and yet we permit it to be used anywhere and by any one for most degrading, humiliating, and despicable purposes. No limit is placed upon the use of the Union Jack by any citizen;but I now ask that some limit should be placed upon the use of the Australian flag. Are honorable members willing to put that flag in such a category that, for ulterior purposes or for personal aggrandizement, any meanminded citizen may make use of it to advertise his business ?
.- Several honorable members have said that had it not been for the fact that the use of the Union Jack in business matters has been permitted for many years, they would have voted to prohibit its further use in that way; but I do not think the Commonwealth flag has been made use of in such a way. We could readily prohibit the use of it in business, and at the same time fix a time limit for the use of the Union Jack in connexion with any business. We have already provided that the use of theRoyal Coat-of-Arms shall be prohibited. In future the Melbourne newspapers will be prevented from having the British coat of arms on their front pages. The newspapers parade the coat of , arms every day, and this clause will compel them to discontinue that practice. I am anxious that the Union Jack shall not be exploited for business purposes.
– Has any company a monopoly of the use of the Union Jack for advertising purposes?
– It isnot registered as a trade mark.
– But it isbeing used as an advertisement for whisky.
– And for fluxite.
– It is used, not as a trade mark, but as an advertisement.
– Yes ; . and the object of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) was to prevent its use for that purpose. I am sorry that the Committee did not accept the amendment. I trust thatthe Government will agree to prevent the Commonwealth flag being used for advertising purposes.
.- I see no objection to the free and constant use of theCommonwealth flag or Union Jack for advertising purposes, provided that neither be exploited for the trading purposes of any particular company or firm. I rather like the look of the Commonwealth flag, and I do not know why honorable members opposite should object to it figuring on the hoardings. I like, too, the Union Jack.
– What does the honorable member think of the use of the red flag?
– I do not think it is attractive or symbolical, like the Australian flag and the Union Jack, of sentiments that makethe heart warm. I understand that the purpose of the red flag is not to make a man’s heart warm, but to make his toe itch. Ifthe amendment aimed at preventing anybody having an exclusive commercial right in the use of the Union Jack or the Australian flag I would support it, hut I see no need for prohibiting its use inconnexion with the advertisement of goods.
– Very often the flag is put to a degrading use.
– But could that be prevented by any provision that might be inserted in a Trade Marks Bill?
– The clause provides that the Royal Coat of Arms and the Australian Coat of Arms shall not be used in that way. Iwish to put the flag in the samecategory.
– I notice that the Royal Coat of Arms has become almost a perquisite of some of the large newspapers. I do not wish to disturb them in their possession of such insignia.
Mr.Fenton. - What does the honorable member think of a man who, because he has mended the umbrella of the GovernorGeneral, placards his shop with the Royal Coat of Arms?
– After all, the fact of his having mended the Governor-General’s umbrella is a guarantee of trade efficiency, and he is entitled to whatever advertisement he can get from that fact. I do not believe that the people are deceived for a moment by this practice. A teetotaller would not be persuaded to drink whisky because the label bore the Union Jack. The community is fairly well protected under the existing law.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted (Mr. Finlayson’s amendment) be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
.- I move -
That the following new clause he inserted : - “ (4a.) After section one hundred and thirteen of the principal Act the following section is inserted: - (113a.)No person shall, without the authority of the Governor-General, or of some De partment of the Government of the Commonwealth (proof whereof shall lie upon the person accused), assume or use, for advertising purposes, in connexion with any trade, business, calling, or profession, a stamp or seal of, or a certificate issued by, any Department of the Government of the Commonwealth or a copy, or any colourable imitation, of the whole or of any substantial part of any such stamp, seal or certificate.
Penalty : Twenty pounds “
In my previous amendment I made no distinctive allusion to any particular business or article; my argument in regard to the prohibition of the use of the Royal Coat of Arms, the Union Jack, or the Australian flag, was general in its application. In submitting this amendment,
I desire to call attention to a use that is being made of a Government Customs certificate or seal. I have here a copy of an advertisement which I took out of the Herald of the 26th July this year. It is not an unusual advertisement by any means, but is in common circulation in many of the newspapers of Australia, besides being quite a common feature of advertisement hoardings. It advertises Joshua’s Boomerang whisky, and states that that is a whisky fit to carry this incontestable proof of superiority, namely, the Customs label. On each bottle, as advertised, is a replica of that seal, together with the picture of a crown, the letters “ G.R.,” and the words “ Pure Australian Standard Malt Whisky.” There is also circulated an advertisement of this firm’s brandy, which is declared to be guaranteed by the Customs Department. I do not know what value this certificate may have from a Customs point of view - that is not perhaps the question at the presentjuncture - but it is evident that the Department does issue it. So far as I am able to discover the certificate only guarantees that the liquor has been Under test for a certain period.
Mr.Tudor. - For two years.
– The firm advertises this Customs seal as giving to their particular product an incontestable guarantee of superiority. This is making an entirely mischievous and unfair use of a purely technical certificate as an advertisement to their prospective customers of the purity of their whisky. If there is any reason at all to be urged for the prohibitions which the Minister (Mr. Groom) has already accepted as part of the Bill in regard to coats-of-arms - if there is any justification for the prohibition, as a trade mark, of any duplication of coats-of-arms, flags, emblems, and portraits of sovereigns, surely there is much stronger reason in the case of a Customs seal, which, so far as I can discover, gives no guarantee of purity or otherwise.
I do not know whether any other firm uses Customs certificates in a similar way or for a similar purpose. For all I know they may be used for starch, blue, soap, or kerosene; but I pin the Minister down to this concrete illustration of the objections I am offering to their use in an effort to secure business. Such a use of public documents seems to me to carry its own condemnation, because the public are not so much concerned about the relations between the manufacturers of products and the Customs Department as they are about the purity of the article supplied. The purity of an article is not based on a Customs certificate unless the Customs analyst makes a specific inquiry and issues a guarantee, or otherwise, of purity.
– The certificates should not be used in this way without authority.
– That is the whole point of the objection. Advertisers have no right to use these seals and certificates for ulterior purposes - for advertising their products ; otherwise what is to hinder any firm demanding that their goods shall be analyzed, and using the certificates for the purpose of misleading the public?
There is another thing to which I take exception. Under the present restricted Commonwealth powers, articles can be introduced, and are being introduced, into this country with certain reservations in order to protect the public against the purchase of articles that are not according to label. But immediately such goods are admitted through the Customs, they may be put in circulation in this country with any label, or with any admixture, that the importing firm may choose to adopt. The Customs Department deals with the importation into Australia, but after the goods are imported the Customs label is valueless, and the Commonwealth has no authority to protect the public against admixtures or the misuse of Customs certificates. Foreign matter may be introduced into goods that is quite destructive of the protection the Customs proposes to give.
I hope the Minister will recognise that, so far as this whisky is concerned, there is no reason why the public should not be protected. The protection of the public is, or ought to be, our main consideration in regard to trade marks and the purity of articles supplied under trade marks and certificates. I have not had an opportunity to consult with the Minister as to his views, and I should be glad to know whether he thinks protection can be extended to the public in the way I suggest.
– There are difficulties in what the honorable member (Mr. Finlayson) proposes to do. We are dealing in this amending Bill with trade marks, and the desire, of course, is to confine the operations of the measure to the law relating to trade marks. Now, however, the honorable member is bringing in another general branch of substantive law - that is, the use of certificates, seals, and stamps, which is outside the general scope of trade marks legislation. He is really putting up a case for the regulation of the use of stamps, certificates, seals, and so forth by the Customs Department in the administration of its various branches; and it is rather in a measure dealing with that administration that such an amendment should be inserted.
The object of a Trade Marks Bill is, generally speaking, to lay down the conditions under which a person may acquire the right to a trade mark, and to prescribe the law by which that proprietary Tight may be preserved. In the circumstances, I cannot accept the amendment. A Government certificate or seal is quite a different thing from an ordinary trade mark. A trade mark is, generally, some distinctive mark applied to the goods, and a certificate is not that. These certificates are used by the Department in connexion with different articles on which they are required to certify as to quality. In the Spirits Act of 1905-7, for instance, it is provided : -
The law requires these certificates to be used by the Department for the protection of the public, and the advertisement to which reference has been made is an advertisement of the provisions required by law. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), who was Minister for Trade and Customs for some time, must be quite familiar with the procedure.
– I am in favour of the amendment, so as to stop firms doing what has been described.
– Does the honorable member wish to repeal the provisions of the Spirits Act?
– I do not wish to repeal the provisions of the Spirits Act, but I do not desire advertisers to be able to use the Government stamp as a guarantee.
– The very object of the Act is to secure pure spirits in the protection of the public interest.
– Spirits cannot be sold unless they are pure.
– But a guarantee to the public is desired. I do not wish to raise any technical objection, but the amendment ought to be made in’ some other measure.
– Are you going to bring in legislation subsequently, in which it will be included?.
– I did not say so. The proper place to deal with this matter is the Spirits Act. If the honorable member objects to the certificates being granted-
– That is not my amendment.
– That is the effect of. it.
– It doe3 not affect the certificates in the slightest degree. It simply says they shall not use those certificates for advertising purposes.
– The Trade Marks Act is not the proper place to insert a law relating to advertising.
– Whenever any amend- j ment is proposed, it is somehow never right to put it into the particular Bill which the Minister has before us.
– That is not correct. I did not take that attitude with regard to an amendment put forward by the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Finlayson) this morning. If the law requires that, before an article is put on the market, a certificate of a particular kind must be obtained, what is wrong with the man advertising the fact that he has that certificate when he is selling his goods? When we make a provision to safeguard the public health, and issue certain certificates, surely the man who sells the goods is entitled to the benefit accruing to him if he fulfils the prescribed conditions?
.- The British Stamp Act provides that patent medicines sold for ls. shall bear a ltd duty stamp, and those sold for higher prices up to 2s. 6d., a 3d’, duty stamp. On those stamps the following words are distinctly printed, “ This stamp implies no Government guarantee.”
– But ours does.
– Firms who advertise that they have received a Government guarantee lead1 the public to believe that the stuff sold by other people is not pure. It should be remembered that, if they comply with the Spirits Act, the whole of the goods have to be pure. It was found in England that the Government duty stamp was used by patent medicine proprietors to delude the public into the belief that their nostrums were guaranteed by the Government. That is shown by the report of a recent British Commission on patent medicines. On page 95 of the. report on Secret Remedies, presented ta this Parliament in 1912, it is stated that in England, in the- year 1908, no fewer than 33,037,202. patent medicines bore l£d. duty stamps, and the price paid by the public for those preparations, at ls. and upwards,, was £1,858,000. I do not say that they were all worthless, but it certainly was- found that, through the Government applying an Inland Revenue duty stamp to them, the proprietors conveyed to the public the impression that there was a Government guarantee attached to them. In our Spirits Act there is a provision that the spirits must be two years old before they are sold. They must be aged in the wood for that time. Mr. Lloyd George, in the House of Commons, said that the provision in our Act was a good one. The Government certificate showing that the spirits have been kept in the wood for- two- years is, how- ever, no guarantee of quality or purity. The amendment of the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr.Finlayson) commends itself to me, because we can and should give no guarantee.
– But we do. We would not put the guarantee on unless the spirit had been in the wood for two years.
– A man might come forward with some patent pills, composed of soap and other ingredients, each of which was pure of its kind, but the Government could not give a guarantee that those pills would have no harmful effects. I trust the amendment will be carried, so that these people will be unable to employ a Government guarantee, which was never intended, when the Spirits Act was passed, to be used in that way, for private advertising purposes.
– We cannot amend the Spirits Act in a Trade Marks Bill.
– I am quite aware of that.
– What you want to enact is, in effect, that no matter what certificate is issued under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, it shall not be used for advertising purposes?
– That would be fair. Spirits receiving the certificate may be afterwards bottled by some other firm, who could not print the certificate on the bottles.
– If the law entitles a man to get a certificate of purity for his article, surely he is entitled to let his customers know that..
– If the spirits went out in bulk from that particular firm, and the duty was paid on them, the Customs Department would have no further control over them. Any person bottlingthem afterwards could not attach the same label or certificate of purity to them, although they were exactly the same spirits.
Question - That the proposed new clause (Mr.. Finlayson’s amendment) be added to the Bill - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 12
Question so resolvedin the negative.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, and, on suspension of Standing Orders, passed through its remaining stages.
.- I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The consideration of this measure should not engage the attention of the House for many minutes. It is very simple, and purports to deal only with damage to lighthouses and marine marks. It provides that any person who damages or destroys any marine mark or lighthouse shall be liable to pay the Commonwealth the cost of repairing or replacing the lighthouse or marine mark, unless he canprove that the damage or destruction was not caused through wilful negligence, misconduct, or want of skill. Where such damage is the result of accident, and not due to negligence on the part of the person controlling the navigation of the vessel causing the damage, then the damage is not payable by the owner of the ship. It is. also provided that notice of the damage is’ to be given within fortyeight hours to the Collector of Customs at the nearest port by the person causing it. The penalty for failure to report the occurrence is £100.
The Commonwealth Government have recently placed aroundthe coast in the vicinity of the Northern Territory a large number of floating buoys, and if any of these buoys are damaged or destroyed it is essential that the matter should be immediately reported so that steps may be taken at once to repair or replace them. It is becoming the practice of the masters of a number of luggers trading along the north coast of Australia, when the wind falls, and the tide is running in a direction opposite to that which they wish to take, to tie up to one of these buoys. Sometimes a buoy is thus carried away. It is most essential that if a buoy is dragged from its moorings or damaged in any way, the fact should be immediately reported, so that the danger to navigation caused thereby may be remedied at the earliest possible moment.
These are the only matters with which the Bill deals. It has already passed through another place, and I hope that honorable members will consent to its passage as speedily as possible, so that it may quickly become law.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, reported from Committee without amendment, and, on suspension of Standing Orders, passed through its remaining stages.
Debate resumed from 20th August (vide page 11748), 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 have also made preliminary arrangements with the State Governments to avoid duplicating the existing State Bureaux or work at present carried on by them.”
.- When this Bill was last before the House we had the benefit of a concentrated debate upon it but the time which’ has since elapsed, and the return to Australia of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), who is practically the designer of the Institute, will somewhat alter, I hope, the future trend of the discussion.
Honorable members on all sides of the House, whether they are ardent supporters of this measure or not, regret the death of that eminent man, Dr. Gellatly, who, as the Prime Minister has announced, had, as Director, set his heart on the work of this Institute, and whose loss is indeed a very serious one to the Institute at its advent as well as to the nation. I was hopeful that upon the resumption of this debate we might have had a contribution to it from the Prime Minister himself. The right honorable gentleman could enlighten the House and the country as to what really is the scheme to be undertaken by what I might describe as those three harnessing Departments - the Board of Trade, the Department of Commerce and Industry, and the Institute of Science and Industry. Can the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) say whether the Prime Minister proposes to speak?
– I do not know.
– I hope that he intends to do so, because in every political party and every Legislature, as well as on the part of the general public, there is to-day an absolute conviction that we must discontinue the duplication of political effort. The superimposing of Department on Department is something which the country will no longer tolerate.
When speaking to this motion on a previous occasion I said I had hoped that the Government would be able to tell us that it was bringing forward a predetermined plan of co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, each governmental agency having defined the scope of its operations so that one would not be walking upon the heels of the other in relation to every subject to be dealt with by the Institute. We have had a sharp conflict quite recently between the Commonwealth and the States on the question of butter control. The Commonwealth seeks to place a veto on and to exercise a limited form of control over the Commonwealth’s entire output of butter. The State of Victoria has had in operation for many years its own Department, with its own machinery and staff of experts and directors, with herdtesting branches, and, in fact, all the most modern devices, to put the dairying industry on a good footing. The control of the sale of the surplus butter of the States is something to which the Commonwealth’ aspires, and there is a sharp division of opinion between the Federal and State Governments on that point. I was hopeful that since the adjournment of the debate on this measure the Minister would have had an opportunity to confer with the State Ministers and Departments of Agriculture with the object of ascertaining whether or not definite fields of operation can be arranged. It is no pleasure to me to’ play the part of critic.
– As each particular investigation is taken up arrangements will be made. I have already explained the lines on which, that course is to be followed.
– I know that the Minister in introducing the Bill outlined what he thought were the desirable lines of co-operation.
– In a second speech’ I indicated the actual lines on which we are now working. I referred to the action we were taking in regard to the eradication of the prickly pear and other pests.
– I have before me the “ Programme of Works of the United States of America Department of Agriculture,” which in a clear and definite statement covers everything pertaining to the agricultural world. In the United States of America nothing is left to chance.
– The honorable member realizes that that is the programme of a Department that has been in existence for very many years.
– Yes; but I propose to show how the United States of America Department sets to work in a keen, business way. Instead of giving the directors of the Department a roving commission to inquire into everything, from the cause of a lump on an elephant’s knee to the best means of dealing with the prickly pear, it deals specifically in its programme with every one of the diseases common to the animal and plant life of the country. First of all, we have set out in the programme each disease, its origin, its investigation, and the cost of investigation. The Department is limited each’ year to a definite expenditure and a defined field of organization. It has a settled business policy, as clear and distinct as that of any business enterprise in this city. From one end to the other it follows business lines.
The object of my remarks is not to disparage in the slightest degree the value of scientific research or demonstration, or education resulting from, that investigation. I will not have it put in my lips by the Department, or by any Minister, that I desire to impede or restrict investigation. What I ask is that, as the question of finance is the most serious factor confronting us to-day, there should be some limitation in regard to the financial provision for scientific investigation, and that the two fields of operation - Common wealth -and States - should be distinctly defined, in order to avoid duplication of expenditure and duplication of staffs. We should not have State directors and Commonwealth directors, State supervisors and Commonwealth supervisors, or State demonstrators and experts as well as Commonwealth demonstrators and experts. In other words, we ought not to have two big staffs investigating the same subjects.
– It is useless for the honorable member to talk in this way when he proposes to vote for the Bill.
– I suppose that the honorable member will do exactly the same.
– 7So; I shall vote against the Bill, because I regard it as a proposal to rob the taxpayers.
– I am hopeful that the effect of my remarks will be to prevent the Ministry giving a ‘blank cheque to a Board of Directors. Of course, a Minister will be in ultimate control, but he will not be an expert in every branch in which scientific research may be carried on, and will not feel that he is able to say that this or that expenditure is not justified. Therefore, the whole of this work of investigation will be controlled by an outside body of men, who, while possibly they may be gentlemen of the keenest intellects, will more than likely be quite unaccustomed to the expenditure of public money. I do not say that they will be unbusiness-like ; I would not so designate professors in a young community; but, at the same time, I contend that we are not likely to get. the best financial results from the expenditure of public money when the full con* trol rests with a body of men with professorial minds. The object of my remarks, which may be resented by the authors of the Bill, is that we should set out upon this undertaking on more definite business-like lines. The linking up of science and industry with the everyday affairs of the country is a most desirable object; but, at a time like this, when the burden of finance is pressing so heavily, it is my clear duty to seq that we do not employ two people to perform one job.
Personally, I am not very keen upon the value that Australia will derive in the early stages of the proposed Institute from the application of science to secondary industries, in regard to which we are still an infant nation. The manufacturing world is comprised of very astute people, who are keen in watching for the invention of mechanical devices to cheapen their output, while in adopting new methods of manufacturing or marketing they are ten times as keen as university professors would be. I have not a tittle of faith that any public Department can in this respect take the place of captains of industry. I have no faith in any professorial mind, or any individual in a State Department, having that keen sharp edge which the captain of industry displays, because the latter is a man who, by contact with the incessant competition of the whole world, is thoroughly trained in the application of modern scientific methods to business.
There is an immense field for scientific investigation and research and for the practical application of science. In Australia, for a quarter of a century past, we have been applying artificial devices to the growing of cereals, and the manurial system has achieved wonderful results; but the application of scientific methods to the growing of herbs and grasses has not yet been attempted, except in a few isolated cases, where wonderful results have been obtained. Australia ‘has not yet tackled the problem of doubling the grass supply. I remember laying down in this House the doctrine of-
– Two blades of grass.
-Yes, where one grew before. I am just as keen a believer in it to-day. The United States of America depends upon the agricultural effort of the nation for the carrying of her great flocks and herds. On the other hand, Australia depends entirely upon nature. We are fortunate in having a small population to sustain, and a wonderful climate; but devastation exists in Queensland and New South Wales at the present time as the result of a total reliance upon nature. I know from my own experience, and from some of the large pastoral firms, that there are grand old families in either State just on the verge of ruin. We have no Department of Animal Husbandry attached to any State Agricultural Department. It is quite a new field of operations for Australia. At the basis of such’ a Department is stock feeding.
I , am hopeful that, as the outcome of the acquisition of Nauru Island and other discoveries now being tested, we shall be able to produce in Australia a cheap manurial treatment for our grasses. It would mean a new era for our wetter and coastal areas. For a quarter of a century we have been able to apply manurial treatment to the growth of cereals, and now the time has come when people, instead of reaching out all over the map for new areas, should set to work to fertilize the existing grasses and plant additional grasses, in this way giving the country a carrying capacity that would enable it, in good years or in bad years, to support ten times its present population.
.- As a primary producer, I feel confident that the efforts of the Government to establish an Institute of Science and Industry have not been put forward before they were required. We may differ as to the constitution of the proposed body, but, having consideration for the needs of our people and our country, we cannot afford to romain idle and allow the old systems and standards to continue without making, at least, someattempt at progress. I am in sympathy with much that the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) has said about the problem of making two blades of grass grow where formerly only one flourished.
– We have overcome the same problem in regard to wheat.
– We have had to face similar problems in otherdirections. After thirty years’ experience on the land, I have come to the conclusion - starting with no capital - you can only take out of the soil in proportion to the amount of labour and capital you put into it, sensibly directed. The greatest hardship to which farmers and graziers are subjected arises from the fact that, so far, they have not been able to take full advantage of their opportunities. There is great need for an Institute such as that proposed, not only for the purpose of pointing the guiding finger of science to better processesand systems and to a higher standard of education, but also for the purpose of bringing forcibly home to us the necessities of our position. To the latter my attention has been drawn by a publication issued by Mr. Richardson, the Director <of Agriculture in Victoria. He gives a very interesting comparison between the State of Kansas and the State of Victoria, and points to a moral we cannot possibly avoid. He shows that a real comparison may be made “between the two States: -
Mr. Richardson says
Here are two States alike in size, population, rainfall, and material resources. Both ure cereal and dairying ‘States. The climate of western Kansas is even drier and more uncertain than that of north-western Victoria. Yet Kansas produces, approximately, six times as much wheat, several hundred times more maize, five times as much oats, three times as much hay, and raises 1,500,000 acres of dry-land crops - such as grain sorghums - as well as being far ahead in all live-stock, save sheep. Every bushel per acre added to Victoria’s wheat yield would mean at least ?500,000 increase in annual income.
We cannot ignore those facts. While other countries are not producing as much as ultimately .they will do, yet have established means and methods by which the generations of farmers, as they succeed each other, will be infinitely better fitted by education and other aids to produce more, are we, because of a cry for economy, to refuse to give effect to those means and methods which will enable us to do what those other countries have done, and even to surpass their efforts ? . It is our proud boast that Australian soldiers and workmen, and even statesmen, are second to none in the Empire, and are we to lag behind for ever in the matter of education -and scientific training ? Surely, with the incentive which the necessities of the position, arising out of the war, have given to us, we should adopt those higher methods by which alone we can achieve success. ‘
– Our natural facilities for production are second to none in any part of the world.
– That is so.
To-day we are engaged in a huge scheme of repatriation, upon which the prosperity and contentedness of a, section - not the least estimable - of our community depends. We are repurchasing large estates all over the country, and axe settling men upon much smaller holdings than have been considered in the past “ living areas,” in the ordinary acceptation of the term. In New South Wales, of which I can speak with a more intimate knowledge, the Government are -endeavouring .by every means in their power to promote land settlement and the productivity of the soil. For instance, in connexion with the establishment of hundreds of returned soldiers in the fruit-growing areas, the best expert knowledge is being employed in laying out the ground, planting the trees, and educating the soldiers, and there is a promise of training in the best scientific methods of treating the surplus fruit, .either by canning or by conversion into jam. Ah immense scheme of scientific organization is being entered upon, in order to give those men a chance of success. Is it to be said that this National Parliament is careless of its duty, and refuses to take advantage of the best brains .and intelligence in the various branches of science, in order to blaze the .track and show for the benefit of, not only the soldiers, but of every deserving man and woman- who is willing to take upon himself or herself the responsibility for material existence, how things can be done ‘better than by the present methods.
A-s a man who has worked his way up on . the land without financial means to start with, I know that the opportunities which came to us in the early’ days, when we could select, in large areas, good land having a reliable rainfall, are not available to-day for the men whom we are asking to go from the cities and help to develop the rural resources. Those who go upon the land to-day must operate smaller areas, and they must have those advantages which can be given only by higher .developmental systems ‘being placed within their reach. The Government are to be commended for this forward movement, and no cry for economy and retrenchment ought to be allowed to deprive us of the benefits which would come to us from the initiation and teaching of methods of increased production.
– Is not the honorable member merely generalizing on that point? The States are already undertaking investigations.
– They are doing a certain amount of generalization work; but Mr. Richardson has pointed out that in the United States of America the Federal and State authorities co-operate in all undertakings of this character.
– At least four of the States have agreed to co-operate with the Commonwealth in this matter.
– That is so; and the argument that we may duplicate existing services should carry little weight. Many of us who had to battle along under the old aboriginal conditions of settlement
– It is the things that the practical men have discovered that have enriched Australia.
– We are forever treated to the old argument about what the practical man has done. I willingly admit that it is the rough miner who discovers the diamond, but it is the capable lapidary who, by cutting and polishing, displays the gem in all its beauty.
The greatest disadvantage of the majority of country towns and districts throughout Australia is the lack of an adequate water supply. In that respect we have progressed no further than the aboriginal with his water hole. When the hole is dry, we are without a water supply.
– Did ever an aboriginal sink an artesian bore?
– It is true that huge schemes for artesian boring are being launched in New South Wales, and I hope that they will prove a practical success, but with other schemes they involve the expenditure of millions of pounds, and the question arises as to whether these works should be carried out and maintained at the cost of the National Government, or by municipal enterprise. The water must be found, and when honorable members realize that with a 24-inch rainfall sufficient water falls in twelve months on 60 acres to pro vide an adequate supply of water for a population of 3,000, but that science has not yet developed a means of conserving that supply, they will realize how great is the scope for research and inquiry, even in that field. We have a thousand and one problems to solve in regard to the discovery and mining of minerals, and processes for the development of our primary and secondary industries. We must tackle those tasks. All the resources that the best brains and intelligence in Australia can produce to help us to realize our economic destiny ought to be fostered.
The Government did not bring forward this proposal for the establishment of an- Institute of Science and Industry merely for the purpose of finding, as some persons hint, fat jobs for certain individuals. They are alive to the necessities of the position created by the war. They are anxious to get out of the old rut. We have the alternative of getting out or going under. I see nothing in this scheme to prevent full co-operation with the States.
– On the contrary, the Bill is specially drafted to secure such cooperation.
– It is specially drafted to submerge the States.
– And it is not the object of the Labour party to wipe the State authorities out of existence ?
– How does the honorable member know that?
– I have not much authority for my statement; I have only the words uttered by honorable members opposite on the public platform. v
The only real obstacle I encountered in my effort to become an independent land user was the fact that I was hampered by my own ignorance of up-to-date methods and conditions by which I could improve the revenue producing capacity of my holding. Every man upon the land is hampered in much the same way. There are difficulties to be contended with in respect of which rio help is afforded in any way. We are required, to experiment on our own to a large extent, and whilst no man in this House is more sensible than I am of what has been achieved by the practical man, yet I realize that, after all, science is, in its highest expression, the channel by which truth can be best expressed in practice, and that, without its finger pointing the way, much of our effort is misdirected, and therefore wasted. Whilst this measure has been attacked, and doubtless will be attacked, because it opens up a new avenue of expenditure, I say that such expenditure is warranted, and even though fifty failures were to result from the investigations, the country would be more than repaid for all its disbursements by one success. Above all, what we cannot afford to do’ at this stage is to sit still , without attempting to improve the old methods that will serve us no longer.
.- The consideration that weighs most with me at the present time in regard to a question of this kind is that of ways and means. This country is undoubtedly in need of many things, but one of the most crying of all is economy in Federal administration ; and there is very considerable ground to be covered in connexion with work of this kind. The financial position of Australia will be a very precarious one for some years to come; and there can be no justification whatever for launching out into new methods of expenditure unless we can see a compensating return. There is a great deal of talk about the advantages of science as applied to production, and no one here will dispute those advantages. We are all anxious to see the most scientific and up-to-date methods applied to production generally throughout Australia. We find that, not only in Australia, but throughout the world, people are more and more turning their minds to the utilization of brain power, where previously brute force and “ rule-of-thumb “ existed. But we must be careful that, in our desire to further scientific production, we are not merely imitating other countries in a feeble and ineffective manner. We in Australia can spend a very considerable amount of money on a Department of this kind, which may only be following up work that is being done in other parts of the world. When I say “following up,” I mean practically following in the footsteps of those who have already made discoveries. In the United States of America magnificent work is undoubtedly being done in connexion with the application of science to industry, particularly rural industry. A great deal of that work can be of immediate advantage to this country, and, indeed, has already been of considerable benefit. The conditions in some parts of the United States of America very closely resemble our own.
– The soil does not.
– I should say there is no very material difference between the soil of some portions of the United States of America, and the soil of Australia. If we have the same geological conditions, we have pretty well the same soil, modified, perhaps, to “some extent, by local conditions. But my point is that, generally speaking, a considerable amount of the work in the United States of America is of immediate advantage to a country like Australia; and, therefore, we may dispense with scientific investigation which is being better done in that country than we can possibly do it here. I am speaking now of the amount of money and energy that can be applied, and also of the probability that in the United States of America there is a greater field of ability, though I do not for a moment wish to disparage the Australian intellect in this connexion.
There is a good deal of misconception and misapplied argument in this House in regard to scientific production, and we have had two instances of that this afternoon. The honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lynch) and the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) both spoke’ of the advantage of applying science to rural industry ; but they missed the point that, as a matter of fact, we have already all the scientific knowledge that is required to make a tremendous advance in rural production. Our real trouble is that our people will not apply that knowledge. The agricultural colleges are undoubtedly doing good work; and we are very far behind in regard to the attention that ought to be given to agricultural production and training in those colleges.
In this country it is not a matter of discovering or of making scientific advance, but of applying the scientific knowledge which is the common - property of the world. Take the matter of grasses. There is undoubtedly great necessity for the improvement of our pastures, which have been grossly neglected. I remember some years ago, in the Western District, talking to a squatter with a very fine run, who was lamenting the fact that for years the production and quality of his grass had been steadily declining. This he could not understand, and I said to him, “I suppose you send a considerable quantity of wool and mutton from this station every year?” and he replied in the affirmative. “That means,” I said, ‘ taking much out of the ground ; how much are you putting back into the ground ?” He- agreed that it meant taking much out of the ground, but he stared at my suggestion about putting something back again. The idea had never occurred- to him that the sheep were extracting from the ground something that it was his duty to replace in some shape or form,, and that he could not expect to continue to he successful unless he took some steps in that direction.
In Great Britain, the artificial feeding of pastures is one of the most important factors in rural production. It may surprise many honorable members to learn the amount of money an up-to-date farmer in that country will spend in enriching grass pastures! There is nothing required in Australia in the way of discovery in regard to that kind of work. The scientific needs and necessities of pastures have been known for many years; and it is only a matter of getting the people to apply the knowledge, and this Department of Science and Industry will not be successful in that. It is going to embark on a considerable amount of work of a scientific nature, but it is not going to do what we require, namely, educate the people up to the advantage and necessity of applying to production the scientific knowledge that is already the common property of the world.
Those of us who look on this proposed Department as superfluous are regarded as being opponents of scientific ‘ production in Australia. It will take us many years here to reach the methods that are already being applied regularly in other parts of the world in regard to production. This is work that falls to the different States rather than to the Commonwealth, and it is work which undoubtedly some of the States are trying to do, but, in many instances, have failed lamentably.
– Some people are doing such work privately.
– No doubt, there are wise and capable men in Australia who spend themselves and their money in proving what can be done in this direction. The pretentious scheme we are considering will not help forward this class of work very much. Such a Department may make scientific discoveries, but those discoveries can be utilized only when the common sense of the people has been properly educated to appreciate them.
I say, without hesitation, that I could find the Government a dozen ways in which this minimum annual expenditure of £50,000’ could be utilized to more advantage in production. If we were to devote £50,000 to the improvement of the country postal services, there would be more increased production than we are going to realize from an equal annual expenditure on a Science and Industry Bureau in half-a-dozen years. While we have demands for expenditure in these other directions of comparatively small amounts, we have no right to spend money on such a scheme as is now before us. If we desire theoretical research, let us seek for it straight out; let us subsidize the various universities where we can get scientific research equal to any in the world. As it is-, we are to have something that is neither scientific nor practical, and which will create friction and duplication rather than efficiency. If we desire practical work in regard to scientific production, is it not a fact that the States are doing such work to-day ? Each works in its own particular sphere, taking note of its particular requirements, and employing the most capable men.
We are often told about the pricklypear problem in Queensland, on which the people of that State have had their minds employed for some time. A great many people seem to imagine that by the application of science to some of those troubles in Australia, there is meant some kind of magic wand which has only to be waved to clear away all difficulties. We cannot expect the prickly pear, or any other pest, to be made to disappear in that way; but what we may expect is some method of profitably utilizing the pear. Such a method is already known, for the prickly pear could be so profitably utilized to-day as to be converted from a pest into a means of enrichment to the State.
– What do you suggest?
– I understand, for instance, that it can be utilized profitably in the production of industrial alcohol; and if the Government would only take the steps urged on a Federal Government many years ago by myself and others, to facilitate such production, it would prove of considerable benefit to Queensland.
– You realize the great danger of the spread of the prickly pear over all the lands of the State?
– There may be that danger, but if it is made profitable to utilize the prickly pear in the way suggested, people might as wellgrow the pear assomething which does not give such a good return. I know the prickly pear is a serious pest inQueensland, but, according to my understanding of -the position, it has already been demonstrated that it may be utilized for the production of industrialalcohol.
– On a commercial basis?
– Yes. I am speaking purely from a practical point of view, I hope; it would be no use talking of utilizing the pear on any other basis. If that be so, 1 suggest that, instead of incurring a minimum expenditure of £50,000 a year on a Bureau of Science and Industry we offer abonus for the productionof industrial alcohol throughout Australia, at the same time releasing the industry from the restrictions that now hamper it. Then, probably, we should find the prickly pear regarded, not as a curse, but as a blessing.
– We do not think that in Queensland.
– I know the honorable member and his friends regard such asuggestion as requiringaconsiderableamount of imaginative power, but thesethings have happened before to-day. The honorablemember should give the Queensland Government the tip to do this kind of work, and probably itwouldbe done.
I come now to the oneclaim that is being made for this Department, that it will co-ordinate the workof the various States. “Co-ordination” is a blessed and a useful word, and we hear it very often now. It sounds somewhat imposing, but it sometimes means very little. I could quite understand a bureau ofa limited character doing some little good work in co-ordinating scientific production in the various States, but it requires the particular man ‘that we do not seem to have got up tothe present time. I am prevented by the sad death of the late head of the Department from saying much in that direction, but it has always been a great surprise to me that one of the most capable and practical scientific men in the Commonwealth has been leftout of the composition of the Council of the Institute. I am referring to Mr. Wilkinson, of theCommonwealth Laboratory, a man ofthe most remarkable gifts, of high scientific attainments, and of a thoroughly praotical nature as well. His work has been of considerable value to Australia in the past,and none the less valuable because it has not been advertised as it should have been. I have known him for many years in connexion with my work as amember of Parliament, and can assure the House that wehave not , a more valuable official in the whole of the Commonwealth Service.
– On one occasion some material which, I think, was ambergris, was. found here, and ‘he was the only man in Australia who could analyze it.
– Yet hisname does not appear on the Council of the Commonwealth Institute of Science aud Industry. It is one of the most emphatic condemnations possible of the whole scheme that such a gentleman is not taking a prominent part in the work. I have asked what is precisely meant by the term “coordinating the work,” and I can get no satisfaction. If a scientist in Queensland is doing certain work, and another in Western Australia doing work of a different kind, what is the necessity of coordinating them ? It is not an advantage to coordinate their work if they are engaged on different problems. If they are workingon the same problem there is no advantage in a third person coming in between, talking now to the one and now to the other, and perhaps distracting the attention of both. If these gentlemen find it to their mutual advantage to coordinate their work - and scientists of the proner frame of mind are never jealous of letting each other know what they are doing - it is better for them toco -ordinate direct without the intervention of a third party. As I look at this proposal carefully and impartially - and I had intended to support it at the outset - it seems to me that it is a superfluity and a luxury, and as at the present time we cannot afford luxuries I feel it my duty tovote against it.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Page) adjourned.
Conditions on Transports: Munition
Workers and Armed Guard on “ Bahia Castillo “ - WarService Homes : Purchase of Houses - Supply of Potash : Cargo from Germany.
Motion (by Mr. Groom) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I desire to ventilate the question of the treatment of munition workers on the BahiaCastillo. On Wednesday I asked the Assistant Minister for Defence (Mr. Wise) if he was in a position to make a statement, and the honorable member replied that as the inquiries then being made had not been completed he was not in a position to say what was being done. The House did not sit yesterday. According to advices from Western Australia the munition workers are not prepared to return to the ship and continue their journey in her to their destination. They complained about the arrangements on board the vessel before they left Plymouth, and a special investigation was ordered by the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). They say that, although they were promised that certain alterations would be made, the promise was not carried out. Further trouble was experienced at Durban, and, I believe, a special investigation was made by the officer in charge of another transport who happened to be in Durban at the time, and was asked by the Government of the Dominion of South Africa to investigate the complaints. Two days after leaving Durban there was trouble between the munition workers and the crew. The captain returned to Durban, where, at his request, a military guard was placed on board. I believe that in South Africa the promise was made to the munition workers of a full investigation on arrival in Australia. The vessel arrived at Fremantle a day or two ago, and I understand that an inquiry Board was constituted, and an inquiry held. The- Board was composed of gentlemen of the highest repute. They were Captain Burford, of the District Naval Staff of Western Australia; Captain Collins, representing the Military Department of Western Australia; Mr. Collier, the Leader of the State Opposition; Dr. Williams, the Port Health’ Officer; and a representative of the agents of the steamer. That was a very fair Court to establish, but I have not seen its decisions. The 600 men and women are still waiting in Western Australia for some means of transport to the East, and the fact that there have been so many complaints justifies the most careful investigation and inquiry. I do not know whether there is anything in those complaints or not, but when men and women refuse to proceed further on a steamer’ it looks as if there must be some grounds for their action. I rose particularly to ask the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) whether he is in a position to make a statement to the House. At present the
Commonwealth is bearing the cost of maintaining these people, some in an old school-house in Fremantle, and others in the military reserve at Karrakatta. The position has to be faced, and we must take some action to get these people across here.
– Why did they refuse to go to Albany?
– They object to a military guard being placed over them. I am at a great disadvantage in dealing with this question, because I do not know all the facts. I am not going to criticise the members of the Australian Imperial Force unless I know all sides of the matter. I want the Minister to tell us what he knows, and he can do so much more conveniently on this motion than he could in reply to a formal question. There ought to be a special inquiry, and the Government would be well advised to appoint an independent tribunal with very wide powers.
– The trouble is that they are over there, and will not come.
– I would not care if the inquiry was held over there. The Government might arrange with the State Government for a Judge of the State Supreme Court to make the investigation. One of the demands of the munition workers is that a public investigation shall be made. If they are courting publicity, and if the position of the Department is quite sound, the Department ought not to object. The Returned Soldiers Association in Western Australia have asked me to see . that they are represented on any Board of inquiry, because they wish to be in a position to protect the interests of the men who were placed on the boat at Durban as a military guard.
– Hear, hear! And they are quite entitled to it, too.
– It is a perfectly fair request for the association to make, and whether the inquiry is held in Western Australia or in Melbourne, the association, as such, should have a direct representative on the Board.
– The Returned Soldiers Association have never worried very much about the treatment of the soldiers on the ships.
– I do not know that that statement is justified. Although I am a member of the association I am not in a position to answer for all their acts of administration or maladministra- tion; but I have always supported th honorable member when he has raised in this House the question of the treatment of returned soldiers. The Port Lyttleton case is one instance. I do not want to be misunderstood regarding my attitude towards the members of the Australian Imperial Force who were detailed to act as a guard on the Bahia Castillo. They have every right to continue their voyage to their home ports. They were not responsible in any way for the trouble which occurred between the munition workers and the staff of the ship; but a full inquiry should be inaugurated by the Government without delay either in Western Australia or in Melbourne. We should have some absolutely unbiased, unprejudiced verdict with respect to this matter. Can the Minister tell the House what is being done in connexion with this particular trouble?
, - The whole trouble that has occurred on the troopship Bahia Castillo rests at the door of the Government. They have never seriously investigated the reports as to the bad treatment of soldiers and munition workers on transports. The naval and military authorities in no case will admit having made a mistake. Where a mistake has been made, they practically say, “ We must let it go.” While the men returning to Australia on some transports have received not good, but fair, treatment, others have been not only badly fed, but underfed. No attempt has been made to get at the bottom of complaints of this kind. The men returning on a transport on which the food supply has been bad or insufficient, are landed at different ports, and scatter all over the Commonwealth, with the result that no complete inquiry is ever made. It is only because the owners and agents of these vessels have been allowed to treat men as they please - because of the inefficiency of officers commanding troops on board transports - that this trouble continues. In many cases the officer commanding is an excellent fighter and an honorable man, but he has no proper idea of effectively catering for the wants of his men on board ship.
– A man would not be at the head of affairs if he had no administrative capacity.
– Then I shall say that the administrative capacity of many of these officers is not that which should be required of officers commanding troops on board a transport. I wish to be as sympathetic as possible in dealing with such officers, because in three cases where there was serious cause for complaint as to the food supplied the men on board our transports the officers commanding were brave and gallant soldiers. For these positions, only those who are specially capable of looking after the men should be selected. Recently I referred to the action taken by the officer commanding troops on a transport, who, on learning that the men were not receiving their full supply of meat, directed that the acting-quartermaster should attend at the butcher’s shop and see each man’s allowance weighed out. The acting - quartermaster shortly afterwards reported that the butcher had chased him out of his quarters with a knife. The officer commanding then appointed as actingquartermaster the champion boxer on board ship, and ten minutes later was advised that a new butcher was required.
Honorable members must realize that 600 men would not have left the Bahia Castillo at Fremantle unless there was some reasonable cause for complaint. Those in charge of the ship - the ship’s agents and others - must be in some way responsible for the trouble. Trouble often occurs between the passengers and officers of a ship, and I am well aware of the difficulties that sometimes arise between troops on board ship and the ship’s officers. On three distinct occasions, as a youngster, I travelled with troops on board ship, and in each instance trouble occurred between the officers and crew and the soldiers.
– The trouble nearly always relates to the food supply.
– The existence of a canteen prevents a great deal of difficulty. But for what the men can buy at the canteen, we would have riots on these boats.
– Returned soldiers have told me that life on board ship would have been unendurable but for the Comforts Fund, while others have said that, despite the excellent handling of the Comforts Fund, life would have been intolerable if it’ had not been possible, by spending something like 3s. per day, to obtain extras from the cook’s galley. The supply of these extras has been stopped. If the rates paid for transports are not regarded by ship-owners as sufficient, the Government should lay down a flat rate according to the cost of rationing the ships.
I have received to-day a letter from the Sydney branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, stating that 100 of its members were on board the Bahia Castillo. The members of that society can command a fair wage in all parts of the world, and are therefore accustomed to good living conditions. If they were supplied with bad food on board ship, it was only natural that they should kick over the traces. I repeat that it is impossible to imagine that 600 men would have left this ship at Fremantle unless there was good reason for doing so. Naturally, members of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers would expect civilized conditions to prevail on board. The determination of what are civilized conditions would not be left to them, and it certainly should not be left to the owners or -agents of the. ship. Ship-owners are out to make money, even if, in order to do so, it is necessary to underfeed or badly feed those on board. A week has elapsed since the trouble took place in connexion with the Bahia Castillo, and the Government have not yet told us what they are going to do.
– What would the honorable member do?
– I would have taken off the armed guard and have allowed the men to come home as humans.
-. - The armed guard consists of returned soldiers - members of the Australian Imperial Force.
– That does not justify their conduct.
– What conduct is alleged against them? Soldiers have rights as well as the munition workers.
– Trouble of this kind has occurred, not only on transports carrying munition workers, but on ships bringing our soldiers home. I admit that the armed guard have rights as .well as their brother munition workers. The guard on a troopship, however,, is changed every day. The Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) knows that they are disciplined as a guard, and they would arrest any man who came through for drunkenness, although they may have been arrested a month before for the same crime. Surely the Government could have altered the conditions which induced the people to leave the ship at Fremantle. The Minister is asking what I would do. I would have a full inquiry by a civil authority into all the circum stances. Up to the present, the Government have encouraged actions of this kind, because they have not taken matters into their own hands and dealt with trouble effectively. If the shipping companies which bring these men out-
Six Joseph Cook. - May I suggest that this is not a naval or military inquiry only, because there were also appointed to it the Health Officer for the Port, also Mr. Collier and Mr. Carter, both civil men.
– But the Minister did not mention the name of another man. I think he is a naval man.
– These appointments were in addition to the others.
– Who was the naval man?
– Captain Burford, Captain Collins, Dr. Williams, the Port Health Officer, Mr. Collier, and Mr. Carter comprised the Committee of inquiry.
– I do not know whether it was a minority or a majority report, but I do know that, in the case of the Port Lyttleton, the whole trouble was adjudged trivial; but the explanation proved that the men were justified. There is no doubt about the Somali case and men being jailed for stopping trouble and ventilating it. The Government must accept responsibility for these troubles, which are likely to take place on other ships; but, fortunately, we have not very many more men to return to Australia. Nobody will ever make me believe that 600 people would leave a ship without good reason.
– I want again to direct the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation to the failure of the Government to keep their promises to those returned soldiers who wish to buy homes already, erected. Almost every mail brings complaints that soldiers have been induced by promises of the Government, made not only in speeches, but in the press, and circulated on the boats as they are returning to Australia, that returned soldiers would be assisted to purchase homes for themselves. On the strength of these promises, a number of men have made arrangements with owners of properties, and have undertaken certain financial responsibilities, but they can get no satisfaction from the Department. I brought the matter before the House some months ago-; but we have no information beyond the fact that the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank is taking up an attitude entirely different from the attitude of the Government a.” outlined in their policy. Apart altogether from architectural schemes for the building of new towns and industrial centres, the practical thing to be done now is to assist soldiers who are here, and married, to get homes for themselves. These houses are available to them. They are being sold on the market every day, and a question of Government policy, as to future building, should not be allowed to interfere with the extension of assistance to men in these circumstances. It is nearly time this House had a definite Ministerial statement as to what promises, made over and over again, are not being kept. I have in mind one particular case ; that of a young friend of mine, who made application to the Department about four months ago. He came back to a wife and child, and naturally wanted to get a home of his own as quickly as possible. On the strength of promises made by the Government, he arranged with the owner of a house to buy the property, and, although he only wanted £150, he could get no assistance from the Homes Department so he had to make other arrangements. I have no doubt that other honorable members have similar cases. This matter is urgent. Returned soldiers who desire to buy homes already “built should, I think, have precedence. The erection of new homes with a flourish of trumpets and brass bands is, no doubt, very interesting, but it is not doing this job. The immediate work is to assist men who have made engagements for the purchase of homes already built. This phase of the business ought to be taken away from the Commonwealth Bank altogether, and dealt with separately by the man who is paid to deal with it. The arrangement with the Commonwealth Bank is not part of the repatriation scheme as put before honorable members, and it is apparent to me that a most serious blunder was made in the selection of a man to control the War Service Homes Department. Whatever that man’s qualifications as a builder may be, as an organizer of this big scheme he is an absolute failure, because he has been in office for many months now, and these cases are still not dealt with. The matter is serious. We are breaking our promises to our soldiers, and the sooner the matter receives the attention it deserves the better it will be for all concerned.
.- We had hopes that, after the agitation caused by disclosures as to conditions on some troopships, complaints along that line would have been obviated; but it is most unfortunate that so late in the day, and after all the experience chat has been gained, there should have been any complaint in connexion with the Bahia Castillo. I am not going to traverse the ground covered by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Burchell) ; but I point out that, on the very day the ship was to leave Plymouth, the munition workers refused to sail unless their grievances were remedied. Throughout the voyage the trouble seems to have continued. A few days ago, I received from the chairman of the Committee a lettergram, which I published in the Melbourne press, making distinct charges.
– Who is he?
- Mr. Saunders, chairman of the Committee. In his lettergram to me from Fremantle, dated 22nd September, he states -
Ali armed guard, despite the strong appeal of men, women, and children, with rifles and ammunition, forcibly ejected men from the Sleeping quarters…..
Complaints genuine. Food beggars description. Crew obstreperous and undisciplined. Repeated brawls occurred. A steward is in hospital, and a fireman in prison, at Capetown, as a result of fracas. One of the ship’s officers and several of the crew deserted at Durban. Officer and guard were intoxicated during the voyage, inviting passengers to fight in the presence of acquiescing officers.
I can quite understand how difficult it is for the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) to make a definite statement, in view of the lack of first-hand knowledge; hut I am particularly anxious to raise the question, in order to see that, whoever was responsible, be it a military or naval officer in London, on the ship, or in Australia, any inquiry held should be of such a nature as tq. sheet home to that officer once and! for all the responsibility for hrs neglect of duty which has brought about such a regrettable and unfortunate state of affairs. I have no doubt, as to the sympathy of the Ministry for the people who have been placed in this position. When the munition workers found it necessary to leave the vessel at Fremantle, they showed that their complaints must be thoroughly well founded. The information they have supplied, which is all we have to go on, is of such a character as to demand that any inquiry to be held shall be free and without any’ suspicion of bias or domination by military or naval officers, and such as to insure that its results will be acceptable to the public. Whether it is acceptable or not to the munition workers is, so far as I am concerned, a secondary consideration. I hope that the result of the inquiry will go a long way towards preventing a recurrence of these painful episodes. The honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) was anxious to say something in regard to his experience on the Somali, but he had to catch the train for Adelaide. He has told us in the House, and privately, that a file of soldiers with guns loaded with ball cartridge was waiting on the wharf when that vessel reached Adelaide. We all admit that discipline must be maintained ; but there is a method of carrying it out which is effective and reasonable, and there is another method which is not only irritating, but also unnecessary. I hope that as a result of the inquiry asked for_ a Court will be constituted which will give absolute satisfaction to the public, and assure them that the best is being done, not only to investigate these particular complaints, but also to protect returned soldiers and munition workers on other troopships.
.- I wish to supplement the remarks of the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Lamond). Returned soldiers in the Maribyrnong electorate are in danger of losing their homes through the sale of the houses they are now occupying. One man has to make other arrangements before the end of this month, but, so far, has received no reply to his application, which has been before the Repatriation Department for weeks past. Unless he receives a favorable reply he will lose an opportunity of getting a home at a reasonable price. These delays are dangerous, and the men are beginning to believe that, after all, the repatriation scheme is not to have the good effect it was originally intended to have. If the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank is to be blamed for the delay, it is time he appointed more officers. I notice that he has opened a new office in- Collins-street, Melbourne, to deal with soldiers’ homes. I hope that this step will lead to more expedition. I can assure the Ministry that the complaints of the men are serious and are becoming all too frequent. The men are becoming disheartened, because they feel that the opportunity to secure suitable homes is gradually slipping through their fingers, owing to the departmental delays.
The supply of potash for Australia is a most serious matter. One of the. Commonwealth line of steamers is now on its way to Australia from Rotterdam with a full load of potash, but there is an embargo on the landing of goods in Australia containing more than 5 per cent, of the product of an enemy country. I cannot understand how one of the Commonwealth line of steamers should be engaged in this class .of work, unless she was specially sent to Rotterdam to bring this cargo to Australia. There is a good deal of misapprehension here, and I hope it will ‘be removed before the vessel arrives. A supply of potash is essential for our agriculturists, and as soon as this boat arrives I hope that its cargo will be distributed, and put into use.
– Without troubling much about where it comes from?
– Germany is the only country from which we can obtain supplies of potash. I understand that under the Peace Treaty France will be in control of considerable potash areas that formerly belonged to the Germans. That will be a very good thing indeed; but even if the cargo to which I have referred does come from the centre of Germany, I hope it will be landed as expeditiously as possible, seeing that there are no supplies of potash here.
– I regret the trouble that has taken place on board a transport at Fremantle. Perhaps I may give a few of the facts, so that honorable members may know what has taken place. There appears to have been what I was going to call the usual complaints about food and accommodation before the ship arrived at Capetown, and as I have had an experience of life on board a troopship, perhaps I may have a few words to say on this point. There is a tendency, not only among the men, but also among the officers and all sections .aboard ,a troopship to regard it in the same light and judge it by the same standards as an ordinary passenger liner. That often leads to trouble. On the troopship by whichI returned to Australia I persuaded the officers to allow the troops to parade the saloon deck while the saloon passengers were having breakfast. The troops have not much room for exercise, and I thought it fair that while we were having breakfast they should be allowed to parade our deck, where they would be in no one’s way. They paraded our deck on this one morning. Next morning an officer told me he would object to that kind of thing occurring again.
– An officer of the Australian Imperial Force?
– No; an Imperial officer. I asked what was wrong with it, and he said, “ There is little enough space now for the first class passengers.” We forget that the first objective of such a vessel is to get the troops out to Australia as fast as possible and land them as healthy as possible, and not to give people all the habiliments of a first class passage. That, I pointed out, was a secondary consideration. These troop ships differ in many ways from the ordinary liner, and that may sometimes be the cause of some of the troubles that occur.
In the case under discussion the complaints were made before the vessel arrived at the Cape. They were investigated, so far as that could be done, and the reply we got from the Cape was that, in conjunction with an Australian staff officer, one of our own men, at Durban, the vessel had been inspected and found in every way satisfactory. The only reasonable complaint was the condition of the potatoes. I may say that on the boat by which I returned the potatoes were not good on all occasions. It was the latter end of the year, and the potatoes would not all keep in good condition until new potatoes were procurable. That kind of thing happens at Home. Complaints reached me when I was in London, in consequence of which I visited one of our hospitals. The complaints were about the fish and potatoes. mr.b urchell. - At Southall.
– Yes. I went down there and told the doctor in charge of the complaints that were reaching me. He said, “ I know. There are two things wrong: The fish and the potatoes.” He then proceeded to show me the papers, in which he had already recommended the prosecution of a man who had supplied bad fish. He had received two consignments of bad fish from this contractor for supplies. It was of no use to blame the officer in charge of the hospital. Ha was as much annoyed about it as any one else, and took steps to remedy the complaint as far as possible. We may get bad fish and bad potatoes occasionally at home, but I am afraid that we do not make the same allowance for public institutions as we make in connexion with our own families. I am not saying that in justification of this kind of thing, but only to suggest that these matters should be considered reasonably.
The complaint of the munition workerswas investigated at Durban, and it was found that there was nothing serious in it, and what little faults there were were rectified, and the steamer sailed. After she had sailed, she came back to port. The ship’s crew refused to proceed any further on the voyage unless an armed guard was put on board. It seems that the munition workers had shown a threatening attitude; their conduct was reported as mutinous, and so the vessel came back to port. The naval authorities in South Africa had to put on a guard of seventy-four men, including four officers. These men, I understand, were taken from another boat that was on the way out to Australia. They were returning soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force. They were put on board the Bahia Castillo, and then the row began about the guard. Up to Durban, the complaint was about the food, and after leaving Durban it was about the guard, and so it continued until the vessel arrived at Fremantle, when the munition workers declined to go any further with the ship unless the guard was removed.
-When the honorable gentleman speaks of the “ship’s company,” does he refer to the crew and officers of the vessel?
– Yes; to the captain and crew of the vessel.
– They refused to proceed without the guard?
– Yes ; they refused to bring the ship any further unless they had the armed guard, so threatening was the attitude of these munition workers. These are the faets asrelated to us.
On arrival at Fremantle, it seems that these people went ashore and would not proceed with the vessel any further. Arrangements were made for an inquiry to be held there by a Board, consisting of Captain Burford, Captain Collins; Mr. Collier, M.L.A., Leader of the Labour Opposition in the Western Australian Parliament; Dr. Williams; and Mr. Carter, representing the agents of the vessel. The Board endeavoured to obtain evidence from the passengers, but the passengers declined, by a unanimous vote, to have anything to do with a Board of that kind, and demanded that their evidence should be taken on oath in open court, with the public present. So the ship’s crew, refusing to sail without the guard, and the ship’s passengers refusing to sail with the guard, the passengers had perforce to be left behind, and there the matter stands at present.
– Did the ship come on?
– The ship went back for them, but still they could not be induced to go on board.
– Did she go back to Fremantle?
– No, to Albany. The passengers will not come on by that ship. That is the plain English of it. They have struck, and will not come by that ship.
– And they are being maintained at the Government expense?
– That is so.
– Will means be provided for the passengers to go down to Albany to board the ship?
– Yes, every provision is made for that, but they will not go on board the ship. Although the munition workers would not give evidence before the Board to which I refer, there was an investigation, and, as a result, the report we get is that the accommodation on board the ship is ample, the cooking arrangements were for 2,000 people, the sleeping accommodation is ample and to spare, the messing accommodation is provided, not on the living and sleeping decks, but in the saloon, the food scale is ample, and the quality of the food good, with one exception, that the potatoes were not good on one day. The other food was good. Up to Durban, thecomplainits were against the cooking, serving, and food; and, after Durban, the presence of the armed guard.
I do not think that we should take that armed guard off the vessel to please the munition workers, unless good reason can be shown. The guard consists of returning soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force, and I think we ought to know why this guard is objected to. The munition workers say that they will come home if there is another guard appointed from amongst themselves.
– I suppose that they feel that practically they are coming home under arrest.
– Held down and captive by returning soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force! It seems to me that this is a revolt, not against the authorities, but a revolt against the “digger.”
– Does the honorable gentleman know anything about the man who is leading the munition workers?
– I understand that his name is Saunders, and I am told that this is not the first time he has led a revolt of this kind.
– I have heard something about him also.
– That is what I have heard. It is not a difficult thing to lead a revolt on board a ship. When people have nothing else to do but think about their troubles, it is a very easy matter for one or two men to induce them to make trouble. At the same time I wish to say that the facts in this matter ought to be investigated, and, so far as I am concerned, there shall be a full investigation of it.
– What is the honorable gentleman going to do with the munition workers if they will not return?
– I have stated the position. Has any honorable member a suggestion to make ?
– I suggest that the Minister should go to Western Australia and investigate the matter for himself.
– Willthe honorable member accompany me ?
– I will not.
– The munition workers say that they will travel if seventy-four “diggers “ are turned off the boat, and I repeat that I shall want a very substantial reason before I shall agree to that condition.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.41 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 September 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1919/19190926_reps_7_89/>.