House of Representatives
10 October 1919

7th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson), took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 13274


Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.

page 13274


Bill returned from the ‘Senate with an amendment.

page 13274


The following paper was presented : -

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired under, at Ivanhoe, Victoria - For War Service

Homes purposes.

page 13274




– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether it is true, as reported, that the embargo on the importation of sheep dips has been

*The Tariff.* [10 October, 1919.]Customs *Bill.* 13275 removed, or that the Government intend to remove it, so as to allow imported sheep dips to come in and compete with the locally-manufactured article? {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I have not seen any report to that effect. {: #subdebate-3-0-s2 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928 -- I have received a telegram from certain sheep-owners in Tasmania, setting out that some imported sheep dip purchased by them some time ago; but when freights were not available, has now arrived in Hobart. I wish to ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether there is any chance of the owners being allowed to obtain that for which they have already paid ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It depends upon circumstances. If it was shipped prior to a certain date they can obtain it. {: .page-start } page 13275 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### THE TARIFF Embargoes on Importations. {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
YARRA, VICTORIA -- On the 8th of August, 1917, the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Jensen),** who was then Minister for Trade and Customs, brought forward resolutions prohibiting 'the importation of certain goods, chief amongst which, from the point of view of Australian industries, were confectionery and motor car bodies. I was subsequently informed at a public deputation that it was not intended to remove these prohibitions until the Tariff had been dealt with. I desire to ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether those embargoes against the importation of a number of articles are to remain in operation - as I hope they will - until the House deals with the Tariff, which, apparently, it will not have an opportunity to do before the general election. {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It is not proposed to interfere in any way with the existing embargoes pending 'the introduction of the Tariff. {: .page-start } page 13275 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### CANADIAN-AUSTRALIAN STEAMSHIP SERVICE {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON:
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND -- Will the Minister for the Navy state whether any representations have been made to the Government in regard to subsidizing a line of steam-ships between Canada and Australia, or whether negotiations are expected or probable in that direction? {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Minister for the Navy · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I have no knowledge of anything of the kind. {: .page-start } page 13275 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### DEPARTMENTAL ECONOMIES Royal Commission's Progress Report {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- Will the Prime Minister make available to honorable members early next week the progress report of the Royal Commission on Departmental Economy, so that we may know something of its contents before we are called upon to resume the debate on the Budget? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister · BENDIGO, VICTORIA · NAT -- In the last paragraph of the Budget statement it is announced that the Government will give effect, wherever possible, to the recommendations of the Commission, and that the report of the Commission will be laid on the table of the House. I shall lay it on the table next week. {: .page-start } page 13275 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### PROROGATION OF PARLIAMENT Business to be Dealt With. {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -Now that it is understood that the general election will take place on the 13th December next-, will the Prime Minister inform the House what Bills the Government propose to pass before we prorogue, and can he give us the probable date of the prorogation ? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- I am afraid I cannot answer that question this morning, but will endeavour to do so as early as possible next week. The Government will have to consider what measures are absolutely essential, and lay aside those which are not. If the Opposition will agree to our meeting on Monday or Tuesday I shall take an early opportunity next week of making a statement to the House, setting out what Bills we propose to present for consideration, and the date on which we desire that the House shall rise. {: .page-start } page 13275 {:#debate-8} ### CUSTOMS BILL {: #debate-8-s0 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA -- Can the Minister for Trade and Customs inform the House whether we shall have an opportunity to deal with the Customs Bill andthe amendment moved by the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton),** insuring the publication of the fair market value of imported articles? {: #debate-8-s1 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I have already told the honorable member that it depends entirely on the courseof business in this House. As to the amendment to which he refers, it is utterly useless for the purpose that it is designed to serve. 13276 *Entertainments Tax.* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Prohibition.* {: .page-start } page 13276 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### ENTERTAINMENTS TAX {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-F4B} ##### Mr BRUCE:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA -- Will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation inform the House whether it is a fact that entertainments to raise funds for memorials to fallen soldiers are not regarded by the Taxation authorities as patriotic entertainments, and are consequently subject to the entertainments tax? If that is so, will the Government consider whether something cannot be done in the matter? {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I will bring the matter under the notice of my honorable colleague, the Treasurer, to whose Department it really relates. {: .page-start } page 13276 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### WAGES OF PARLIAMENT HOUSE EMPLOYEES {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA -- I desire to ask you, **Mr. Speaker** - (1) Is it a fact that there are in the Federal Parliament House certain employees who are not paid the legal Wages Board rate for their respective callings? and (2) Will you obtain, and lay upon the table of the House, a list of the names and respective salaries of the employees on the staff connected with the refreshment and billiard rooms? **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot** Johnson). - The honorable member was good enough to inform me that he intended to ask this question. The matters to which he particularly refers are not really under the entire jurisdiction of the Presiding Officer of the House of: Representatives, but have chiefly to do with the . Joint House Committee, of which the President of the, Senate is Chairman. The President has supplied me with the following answers to the hon-. orable member's questions:: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In connexion with the staffs of the Senate and the Joint House Committee, all employees, so far as is. known, are being paid the legal Wages Board award for their respective callings. 1. The permanent staff of the Refreshment Rooms is as follows: - Steward, R. C. Field, £250 per annum; assistant steward, F. D'Arcy, £182 per annum; principal cook, G. H. Jennings, £208 per annum. So far as is known, all temporary employees in the Refreshment Roomsdepartment are being paid at 'Wages Board rates. {: .page-start } page 13276 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### FEDERAL CAPITAL {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Now that the Govern ment have decided to go on with the Federal Capital, will the Minister for Works and Railways- take immediate action to employ a number of the re turned soldiers - who are now out of work - on the preliminary work at the Capital? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
Minister for Works and Railways · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · NAT -- Before any works are commenced at the Capital, it will be necessary for the Department to obtain a requisition from the Department of Home and Territories. We merely carry out the works which are requisitioned, . but I will put the honorable member's, representations before the Minister for Home and Territories. {: #subdebate-11-0-s2 .speaker-KYA} ##### Mr PIGOTT:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Can the Minister for Home and Territories say on what date we are likely to get into the Federal Capital and away from the influence of the Melbourne press ? . {: #subdebate-11-0-s3 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Minister for Home and Territories · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT -- I confess that things are so uncertain in these days that. I cannot possibly define the date, but, taking all things into consideration, it will be the earliest date possible-. {: .page-start } page 13276 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### PROHIBITION OF SALE OF INTOXICANTS {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- Has the Prime Minister noticed that the people of Norway have adopted prohibition by a 50 per cent. majority ? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- I have not noticed it. I shall not be able to go there. {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- Will the Government consider the advisableness of giving the people of Australia an opportunity to vote on that question-? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -Does the honorable member mean the question' of whether prohibition shall continue in Darwin ? {: .page-start } page 13276 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### PAPUA OIL-FIELDS {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Is the Minister for Home and Territories in possession of any information with regard to oil in Papua? What progress is being made, what staff is employed, and when are we likely to obtain definite information about the expenditure on development? {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
NAT -- I think there are about 170 persons employed on the works there, but they are principally natives. I cannot say how many of them are drillers. There were two or three about six weeks ago, according to the last report that reached me. The expenditure up to the present has been £90,000 odd. It has not produced the results that one would like to see although it has been going on since 1913. The prospects are good so far as the geological indications are concerned, but I cannot say that the bor- *Wireless Telegraphy.* [10 October 1919.] *Small Arms Factory.* 13277 ing has been perfectly satisfactory.There are indications, however, that oil will be found there. We shall soon have the assistance of some of the experts to be supplied by the Imperial Government, and I think that will facilitate the final testing. {: .page-start } page 13277 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: asked the Minister for the Navy, *upon notice -* >With reference to replies given to questions, asked on the 24th September,relating to the Commonwealth system of wireless telegraphy, will the Minister supply the following information > >Have the alterations to the generating plant increased itselectricalefficiency? > >Have thealterations to the transmitter increased its efficiency? > >What are the names of the" various officers " who are alleged to have discovered defects in the transmitting system of the original Commonwealth wireless installation?. > >What " advances in the science of wireless telegraphy " have rendered necessary alterations in the transmitting apparatus originally used ? > >What is the actual cost of the alterations already made in the transmitting apparatus? > >What is the actual cost of the alterations already made in the receiving apparatus? > >What is the estimated cost of the further alterations now contemplated? > >What is the amount of the claim made by the Marconi Company, or their representatives, on account of infringement of patent rights? > >Will the Minister specify whatportion of the apparatus isalleged to be an infringement? > >Who designed orcopied thisportion of the (apparatus, andwherewas it manufactured? > >On what patent or patents is this claim for royalty for infringement based ? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- The answers to the honorable member's questions areas follow : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes. 2. No good purpose would be served by giving names of officers; the Naval Board accept the responsibility. 3. Developments in continuous wave system. 4. Approximately £5,000, exclusive of cost of installation. 5. Approximately £5,000, exclusive of costof installation. 6. Approximately £3,000, which includes cost of theworking partiesengaged inthe installation of new apparatus referred to in questions 5 and 6; and refitting of the stations, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Thisinformation cannot be given at this stage, as the matter is under the consideration of the Crown Law authorities. It may be stated,however, that no infringement of any Marconi patent is alleged in connexion with alterations to -shore stations. {: .page-start } page 13277 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### SMALL ARMS FACTORY Sick Leave {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
for Mr.Nicholls asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that notices have been posted at the Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, informing returned soldier and civilian employees -that should they getleave of absence withoutpay through sickness, and should such sickness extend for a period exceeding twelve days, they shall have terminated their employmentin the factory, but they may, after having recovered from their sickness, apply to the manager for re-emplyoment? 1. If such is the case, will the Minister have the notices removed, and permit any employee who has suffered through sickness to return to his work when fit ? 3.if such notices were posted, who authorized them? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
Honorary Minister · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · NAT -The answers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Yes. . 2. The notices were issued by the manager, following on correspondence with Head-quarters, to meet a contingency under an award. The Minister has, how.ever, issued instructions that the notices be cancelled, and this has been done. {: .page-start } page 13277 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### RANDWICK WIRELESS WORKS {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY:
for Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for the Navy, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it is a fact that the report of the Royal Commission on the purchase of the Shaw Wireless Works shows (a) that Edward Beeby was employed an the Navy Office(page 33); (b) that previously he was managing clerk to Messrs.Piggott and Stinson, solicitors (page 33) ? 1. Wassuch appointment made on the recommendationof ithe PublicServiceCommissioner ; if not, by whom? 2. Is theappointment of a permanent or temporary character ? {: #subdebate-16-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- The answersto thehonorablemember'squestions (are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. The appointment was made onthe recommendation of ithe NavalBoard. 2. The appointment was of a temporary nature for war intelligence duties, and terminated on 14th January, 1919. {: .page-start } page 13277 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### WHEAT FOR SWEDEN {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that a representative of a Swedish firm is now in Australia, and has been in communication with the Australian Wheat Board, with a view to purchase 100,000 tons of wheat, best quality available, for shipment to Sweden, and that the buyers can lift the wheat intheir own ships? 13278 *Loans* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *to States.* 1. Is it a fact that the Australian Wheat Board has refused to quote a price, and informed the representative that he must make application through one of the Wheat Commission agents on their London committee? 2. Will the Prime Minister advise the Australian Wheat Board to deal directly with this gentleman, and by that means save the payment of many thousands of pounds of the farmers' money to commission agents? {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- I shall make inquiries, and let the honorable member know the position. {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### AUSTRALIAN NAVY {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY:
for Mr. Kelly asked the Minister for the Navy, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that, during the war, ships of the Commonwealth line, using oil fuel, were' "fuelled" in Sydney, at the British Imperial Oil Company's depot at Gore Bay? 1. If so, could he now arrange *(a)* for the constant replenishing of the Navy's oil reservoir at Garden Island by the Navy's special oil-carrying ship; (6) for the filling therefrom of the Navy's oil lighters; and (c) for the " fuelling " of the above ships of the Commonwealth line by the said lighters simultaneously With their ordinary loading? 2. If such an arrangement could be introduced without prejudice to the efficiency of the Navy, would money be saved (a) by eliminating the British Imperial Oil Company's profit on oil which could be imported in the specially constructed oil carrier, and (6) by materially reducing the merchant ships' time in port? {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- I am having the matter looked into, and hope to be able to furnish a reply at an early date. {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-19} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-19-0} #### NAVY DEPARTMENT: OFFICERS {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: asked the Minister for the Navy, *upon notice -* >Whether he will place on the table of the House a return showing the names of all officers in the Navy Department receiving £400 per annum and over? {: #subdebate-19-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- Yes. {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-20} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-20-0} #### LOANS TO STATES {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-JTC} ##### Mr BURCHELL:
FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Acting Treasurer, *upon notice -* >Whether he will quote the amounts loaned, or to be loaned, to the respective States which make the gross total of £50,005,965, shown on pages 18 and 19 of the Budget speech? {: #subdebate-20-0-s1 .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON:
Honorary Minister · GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT -- The answer to the honorable member's question is - >Apart from advances to be made to the States in 1919-20. for repatriation purposes, the amounts loaned or to be loaned to the States up to 30th June, 1920, are as under : - {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-21} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-21-0} #### SUGAR COMMISSION Mr.CORSER asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* >Whether it has been brought under his notice that returned soldiers are awaiting with anxiety the report of the Royal Commission on Sugar ? > >When will such report be available? {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The honorable member has brought this matter under my notice on several occasions. 1. It is impossible to say, but its preparation will be facilitated in every way. {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-22} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-22-0} #### ADMIRAL VISCOUNT JELLICOE'S REPORT >Will he state when Admiral Viscount Jellicoe's report to the Commonwealth. Government on Naval and Military Defence, or so much of it as can be made public, will be laid before honorable members? {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- I hope to make such portions as can be published available next week. {: .page-start } page 13278 {:#debate-23} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-23-0} #### AVIATION Flight to Australia {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many entries have been received and accepted in connexion with the £10,000 prize offered for a successful air flight from Great Britain to Australia? 1. Has a time limit for the flight been imposed as one of the conditions of the competition? , 2. Has the final landing-place in Australia been selected? 3. Are any special concessions being offered to Australian airmen in the competition? 4. Is there any stipulation that the competing machines must be British built? Censorship: Letters. [10 October, 1919,] Soldier Settlement. 13279 {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No information is available, but it is understood that four competitors intend to start between the middle and the end of October, 1919. 1. The flight must be completed within 720 consecutive hours, ending not later than midnight on the 31st December, 1920. 2. No. Any point within Australia will suffice for the conditions of the competition, but Darwin has been selected as a suitable point of entry. 3. It is confined to Australians. The pilots and crews of the competing machines must be of Australian nationality, as defined by the laws of the Commonwealth. To meet the case of competitors who might be prejudiced by the postponement of the flight from the date originally proposed, it was determined that competitors who were ex-members of the Australian or. Royal Flying Corps should be paid equivalent rates of pay to those provided for members of the Australian Imperial Force Flying Corps from the date of the notification of their entry for the competition to the date fixed for permission to commence the flight, and that other (i.e., civilian) competitors, upon demonstrating that they had been financially prejudiced by the postponement, should be similarly treated. 4. In each case the complete air-craft and all its component parts must be constructed within the confines of the British Empire, but the raw material may be obtained from any source. {: .page-start } page 13279 {:#debate-24} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-24-0} #### TROOPSHIP BAHIA CASTILLO {: #subdebate-24-0-s0 .speaker-JTC} ##### Mr BURCHELL: asked the Minister for the Navy, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether the Government intend appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into the complaints of the munition workers on the ship *Bahia Castillo;* and, if so, is he in a position to announce the *personnel* of such Commission? 1. Is the Minister prepared to give thereturned soldiers, as an organization, representation on the Commission? {: #subdebate-24-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
NAT -- It is the intention of the Government to appoint a Board of Inquiry into this matter, but the *personnel* of such Board has not yet been fixed. It is hoped that arrangements will be completed for announcement to the House next week. {: .page-start } page 13279 {:#debate-25} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-25-0} #### CENSORSHIP : LETTERS {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it is correct that letters addressed to private persons in Brisbane are still being opened and examined? 1. If so, by whose orders and for what purpose is. this being done? 2. In view of the repeated statement that the censorship has been abolished, 'will orders be issued that interference with the correspondence of private citizens be discontinued? {: #subdebate-25-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- I am making inquiries into this matter, and will furnish the honorable member with the information at a later date. {: .page-start } page 13279 {:#debate-26} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-26-0} #### TASMANIAN SHIPPING SERVICE {: #subdebate-26-0-s0 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA asked the PostmasterGeneral, *upon notice -* Whether under the terms of the mail contract for the Tasmanian-Melbourne service the contracting steam-ship companies have obtained the consent of the Federal Government for any increase in fares and freights? {: #subdebate-26-0-s1 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Postmaster-General · MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- No proposal for such an increase has been submitted to ma {: .page-start } page 13279 {:#debate-27} ### SOLDIER SETTLEMENT {:#subdebate-27-0} #### Queensland Sugar Lands {: #subdebate-27-0-s0 .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr CORSER:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it is a fact that the Queensland Government is refusing to make advances with regard to the settlement of returned soldiers on sugar lands until the Federal Government state that there will be no alteration in the import duty on sugar? 1. If so, will he give an assurance as to maintaining the present duty on sugar, and thus assist returned soldiers in obtaining advances on sugar lands'? {: #subdebate-27-0-s1 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I have heard that such is the case, but I have no official intimation to that effect. 1 understand the Government of Queensland is declining to entertain the applications of returned soldiers to settle on sugar lands, because it is contrary to the policy of that Government to encourage settlement on freehold lands, and I am informed that this is the reason for any dissatisfaction that exists in regard to this matter. 1. The Government has no intention of reducing the existing protection on sugar. {: .page-start } page 13279 {:#debate-28} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-28-0} #### TAXATION DEPARTMENT Clerks {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether certain fifth class clerks in the Taxation Department who have been recommended for promotion to the fourth class by the Appeal Board constituted under section 50 of the Public Service Act are not being promoted in accordance with such recommendations ? 1. Whether action is being taken to prevent the existing provisions of the Public Service Act from being given effect to? 2. If so, under what section of the Public Service Act is this action being taken? {: #subdebate-28-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- The question in its present form does not permit of a definite 13280 *Skins:* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Export.* answer. I am inquiring into this matter, which has been brought before me by the Returned Soldiers Association, and will let the honorable member know the result of my inquiries. {: .page-start } page 13280 {:#debate-29} ### WAR SERVICE HOMES {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Timber Mr.FINLAYSONasked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it. is correct, as reported, thatthe War Service Homes Department has invited quotations in America for 60,000 doors, 120,000 sashes,and 70,000,000 feet of flooringwithin one year, and for similar quantities in the followingf our years? 1. Is Australia unable to provide all timber supplies necessary for the erectionof homes for Australian soldiers? 2. Will the fullest opportunities be afforded to Australia industries to provide everypossible requirement of the Department ? {: #subdebate-29-0-s0 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Commissioner Las supplied the following : - {: type="a" start="l"} 0. No. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The honorable member must surely be aware thatsuch timbers as oregon, redwood, &c., are notproduced in Australia,but are imported from abroad. 1. Yes. {: .page-start } page 13280 {:#debate-30} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-30-0} #### AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE Debt by Australia to British Government. {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Prime Minister, upon *notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether he will state the total indebtedness to the British Government by the Australian Government for food, clothing, munitions, land general upkeep of the Australian Imperial Force? 1. What : is the amount owing by South Africa and Canada to the British Government for the like services? {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -.- The aswers to the honorable member's questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The indebtedness at 30th June, 1919, was £37,139,000. 1. This information is not available. {: .page-start } page 13280 {:#debate-31} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-31-0} #### RABBIT SKINS : EXPORT {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr MASSY-GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yesterday, the honorable member for Grampians **(Mr. Jowett)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In view of the proclamation prohibiting the exportation of rabbit skins, unless with the consent in writing of the Minister, is it a fact that prior to such consent being given for the export of rabbit skins a. favorable recommendation is required from an Advisory Committee or Committees upon which the local hat manufacturers and the rabbitskin exporter are represented? 1. Is the Minister prepared to appoint a representative of the rabbit trappers on each of such committees, such representative or representatives to be nominated by the Farmers Union of Victoria, the Farmers and Orchardists Association of Tasmania, and the Farmers and Settlers. Associations of New South Wales, South Australia, andWestern Australia? I am now in a position to furnish the following information: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. The Advisory Committees have been appointed solely to consider matters arising in connexion with the administration, and to assist and facilitatethe carrying out ofthe conditions laid down. The prohibition does not, in effect, prevent exportation, which is going on freely, butis precautionary in character, and only becomesoperative if local manufacturers are unable to obtain supplies otherwise. 1. I have no objection to the appointment by the associations directly interested of a representative of the rabbit trappers on the same conditions as 'the other 'representatives on the Committee. {: .page-start } page 13280 {:#debate-32} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (LEGISLATIVE POWERS) BILL Senate's Amendments. On the calling of the Order of the Day for the consideration in Committee of the amendments made by the Senate in this Bill- Declarationof Urgency. {: #debate-32-s0 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister and Attorney General · Bendigo · NAT -- I declare the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill to be an urgent Bill,and move - That the Bill be considered an urgent Bill. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- Can the motion be discussed ? **Mr.** SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson).- No. Question put. The House divided. AYES: 32 NOES: 17 Majority ... ... 15 AYES NOES *Constitution Alteration* [10 October, 1919.](Legislative *Powers) Bill.* 13281 Question so resolved in the affirmative. Limitation or Debate. {: #debate-32-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Min ister and AttorneyGeneral · Bendigo · NAT .-I move - . That the time allotted for the consideration of the Senate's amendments he untilone o'clock p:m.thisday. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -I would direct attention to the fact that there is no Bill upon the table with which we can compare the amendments in order that we may understand their meaning. {: #debate-32-s2 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra . -This is supposed to be a deliberative assembly, but it is not. Only on Wednesday of last week a Bill was made an urgent measure before even three members of the House, including Ministers themselves, had seen it. Newspapers which are bitterly opposed to the Labour Party are complaining of the indecent haste, with which measures are being rushed through this Parliament. For example, the *Argus,* to which no member of this party owes anything, has pointed out that the haste exhibited by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** in connexion with this measure was positively indecent. In another column of the journal on Saturday last, " Ithuriel," a very brilliant writer, satirically refers to (Constitutions being made here whilst one waits for them. He further states that, never since the Ready incident has such unseemly haste been shown in Parliament, and he adds that " the Prime Minister was the manager on bothoccasions." {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I rise to a point of order. Are we justified in discussing the amendments made by the Senate without having before us copies of the Bill itself in order that we may grasp the significance of those amendments? {: #debate-32-s3 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES -- The Clerk of the House informs me that a supply of the Bills was placed on the table and made available for honorable members, and that an endeavour is now being made to obtain "additional copies. But the question before the House at the present time is the motion relating to the limitation of time for the debate. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- -I think that my Leader ought not toattempt to discuss the amendments made by the Senate in the absence of copies of the Bill. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I am debating the question of urgency and that question alone. We know that in another place this measure was forced through in one sitting. That being so, and seeing that we were allowed only fourteen hours in which to consider the Bill, and that we are now to be granted only one hour in which to debate the amendments of the Senate, it is manifestly ridiculous to regard this Parliament as a deliberative body. But for the section in our Constitution which provides that Bills seeking to amend that charter of government must be passed at least two months before a general election can be held, an appeal would have been made to the people much earlier than is now proposed. The Prime Minister returned from Europe under the impression that his star was in the ascendant, and following the example of **Mr. Lloyd** George he desired to precipitate a khaki election. He was prepared to make all sorts of promises to our returned soldiers. He was willing to alter the Budget, and, through it, to grant them concessions which had been opposed by honorable members opposite. {: #debate-32-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member is not now debating the question ofurgency. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- On behalf of at least one constituency in Victoria Iprotest against rushing this measure throughin the way that is now being attempted, merely for the purpose of making political capital out of the miseries ofthe people. In this Bill the Government are pretendingto give the electors something when we all know perfectly well that if Ministers are returned to office, armed with the powers which they now seek, thosepowers will never be exercised. {: #debate-32-s5 .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr BOYD:
Henty .- I take strong exception to the curtailment of the debate upon this Bill in the manner that is now proposed. The party with which I am associated fought these Bills bitterly and I have denounced them ; bitterly, and I would not support them now but for the limitation they contain. We had a definite promise that a Committee of legal experts would examine these measures, and that any amendments they suggested would be inserted in another place. They have examined the measures, and another place sat all night in order to insert the amendments they suggested in the Bills, but. in this House, with the exception of a privileged few who have secured copies of the Bills as amended, none of us know what these amendments are. We are informed by the press that Professor Harrison Moore and Professor Jethro Brown, who are under no obligation to the Government, hold views which differ from those of the Solicitor- General, **Sir Robert** Garran. We should be informed as to the amount of difference, and should be given time to consider such important questions. It is an outrage on constitutional government to deprive us of the opportunity of doing so. There is a great deal of truth in the statement of honorable members opposite that insufficient time is allowed to do the work of this Parliament effectively. If these Bills are rushed through, I shall advise the electors in my constituency to reject them. Though I am willing^ to trust my own Government to administer the powers given under, these measures, I realize that, after the forthcoming election, there may be every chance in the world of another Government sitting on these benches, which I would not trust to administer these powers. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- So that is the reason for the limitation in the Bill ? {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr BOYD: -- Of course. Without that limitation I would not vote for the measures. However, I do not propose to vote blindly. I do not know whether the compact between the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** and the State Premiers, under which the latter undertook to lie low and say nothing if the Prime Minister would guarantee to place a limitation upon th« powers he asked1, has been kept; but twenty-five minutes is not sufficient time to enable honorable members to examine the contents of these measures.' When we left the House last night we were told that the first Bill to be discussed to-day would be the Land Tax Bill, yet here we are asked to consider the Senate's amendments to the Constitution Alteration Bills. What difference will one day make in dealing with profiteering? {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr Finlayson: -- All the difference in the world, because, unless these measures are disposed of to-day, the election cannot be held on the 13th December. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr BOYD: -- Then let them be held on the 20th December. Will one week make much difference? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Rich abd FOSTER: -- Yes; a mighty big difference to the farmers. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- The question is. the time to be allotted for the consideration of the Senate's amendment. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What is to be gained by having a little more time for the consideration ? {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr BOYD: -- Surely we are here to act as intelligent beings, and not as C0gS in a machine without any idea of what we are doing.. Unless time is given to consider these amendments, I shall vote against them. It is not essential that cor the sake of Holding an election on the 13th December, we should agree to them without giving them proper consideration. . {: #debate-32-s6 .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN:
Batman .- When a similar motion came before the House a few days ago I protested against it, as I protest against the carrying of this motion. My justification for opposing the motion put forward last week has been amply demonstrated by what has taken place since then. The Constitution Alteration Bills were rushed through this House before the authority to which the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** looks for his justification in connexion with these measures had decided what really was their scope or purpose. The Committee of experts which was appointed to inform the right honorable gentleman and the House as to the powers which are necessary' for dealing with profiteering, furnished a report, after the Bills left this Chamber, showing that there is very considerable room for doubt as to what the Prime Minister really wants - because he does not make up his mind; he looks to them to make up his mind for him. However, I sympathize with him and his Government. They dare not have a discussion on these amendments. -Any one who saw the right honorable gentleman a week ago, ranting and raving' iri this House as soon as some of his public utterances were held up for re-examination; ranting and raving with an impatience that could not find expression, because we threatened to bring him face to face -with his own arguments, utterances, and votes of former occasions, in connexion with these Bills, could easily understand his frame of mind. To show the Hughes of the past in juxtaposition with tha Hughes of to-day- {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- The honorable member is not in order. On this motion he is not per- *mitted to discuss the actions and views of the Prime Minister. However interesting they may be, they have nothing to do with this motion. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I was not about to put his views in juxtaposition. I was about to point out- that the Prime Minister is determined that this Parliament shall not discuss these Bills, not only because he fears that we will publish the views he expressed when similar Bills were before us in former years in juxtaposition with the views which he is now bound to express- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order I {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They will stand being placed in juxtaposition. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I have a confident belief that this proposed emasculation of the Constitution, - such as it is, will not be acceptable to the people, but apart from that aspect of the matter which we are not now in a position to discuss, it is perfectly obvious that the composite party on the Ministerial side of the Chamber do npt understand the meaning of these amendments. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Who has told the honorable member? {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- The honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Boyd),** the honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Falkiner),** who left the Chamber expressing in a few short words his opposition to these measures, and the press claqueurs and supporters of the right honorable gentleman, have made it perfectly clear that they are merely giving a tentative support to the Bill, in order to save his face, and because of his positive assurance that these proposed amendments will not be in any way out of harmony with their position in 1915. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- That is a deliberate misstatement. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- What is a deliberate misstatement ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I ask the honorable member not to reply to interjections, 'and to discuss the question before the Chair. So far he has not done so. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I can understand the restiveness of certain honorable members because they occupy a very anomalous and painful position in regard to these Bills. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I must insist upon the honorable member observing tha Standing Orders and obeying the directions of the Chair. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I .have confidence, sir, that you will insist on a direct observance of the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-KTU} ##### Mr LAIRD SMITH:
DENISON, TASMANIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Is not that a reflection on the Chair? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -The honorable member for Batman has cast a reflection on the Chair, and I ask him to withdraw it. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- There was no reflection, but I withdraw ft. It was a compliment; I withdraw it. . I was about to say that I felt perfectly certain that you, sir, would insist on a strict observance of the Standing Orders. I never rise to speak, but you follow meMr. SPEAKER.- Order ! I call upon the honorable member to discuss the question before the Chair. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- I shall do so. **Mr. SPEAKER.** - The honorable member has not done so. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- Then you, sir. should have called me to order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I have called the honorable member to order several times. I shall ask him to resume his seat, unless he is prepared to obey the Standing Orders and cease arguing with the Chair. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr BRENNAN: -- We may proceed quite leisurely in, discussing this preliminary matter, because we shall not have the opportunity of discussing tha merits of this most important question. To any one who has followed the discussion here' and in another place, and has observed the opinions of public and private citizens expressed in the press on these questions, it is perfectly evident not only that these measures deal with gravely important matters, but that there is a considerable difference of opinion in the public mind as to what their import really is. In these circumstances, to say that, without time for proper consideration, we should take this new step which is considered necessary to set right the mistaken procedure of the past is, in the language of the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Boyd),** an outrage upon parliamentary procedure. My views with regard to the Bills are known, and my view as to what the public will do with them is also well known. At least, we should have an opportunity to hold the Government up to the criticism and contempt of the public which they deserve. {: #debate-32-s7 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST:
Kooyong -- There are two features which justify the consideration of these amendments being treated as a matter of urgency. One is the simplicity of the amendments involved, and the other is like further limitation which they would impose upon the operation of .the Bills as passed by this House. I say frankly that in no circumstances would I support these Bills but for the limitation which appears in the measures themselves, and the additional reason' that a Convention, which has been generally demanded by the great mass of the people, after some twenty years' experience of the present Constitution, is to be held. My feeling is that the operation of the Bills should b& limited as far as possible, and I regard the further limitation now proposed as essential because of the complications which might follow legislation during their operation. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -The honorable gentleman i3 now discussing the Bills. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- No ; I. am discussing the question of limitation, and my reason for supporting the claim .as to the urgency of the matter. Anything in -the direction of the limitation of the operation of these measures meets with my most cordial approval. ' {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I point out to the honorable gentleman that he is discussing the limitation contained within the Bill. The only question now before the Chair is the limitation of time within which discussion upon the amendments may take place. That is a different matter altogether. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- As regards the limitation of time, it must be obvious to every honorable member that if the measure is not put through to-day, and if, as I understand, there is to be an election, it could not take .place on the 13th December as contemplated. It would be a calamity to postpone the election, if it is to take place, to .a later date. I do not hesitate to say that I -believe that the proper thing to 'do would ba to permit this Parliament to expire by. effluxion of time in May next. As it has been determined to bring it to a close earlier, we have to consider public convenience, and our purpose would be better served by holding the election on the 13th December than it would be by holding it on the 20th December. {: #debate-32-s8 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON:
Brisbane .- . I have to thank the honorable member for Kooyong; **(Sir Robert 'Best)** for so simply giving us the reason for the indecent haste with which the Government are rushing these Bills through. We are told that it is necessary that the election shall be held ...on the 13 ti December. Qf course, we know that the reason is that there is a constitutional provision under which a referendum must be taken within two months after the passage of the Bill providing for it. Will the honorable member for Kooyong say why it is necessary that the election should take place on the 13th December ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- As between the 13th and the 20th December, I say that public convenience would demand that the election should take place on the 13th. {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- Public convenience demands that the Government shall run their time, .and take advantage of it to redeem some of the promises which they made when they were returned. They were elected with a majority which they still command, and which would enable them, if they pleased to carry any business through this Parliament.. Yet, six months before the life of the Parliament terminates, they decide that they will not carry out their promises', that they, will abandon all the things which they professed to -desire, and will repudiate .their pledges to the electors in order to carry out a specific little policy which they think will suit them, and will give them another three years of control of public affairs. If public convenience demanded that .a -general -election should take place this year, one might well agree to -afford the Government every facility to finish the business and get to the country. But while six months remain of the life of this Parliament, and the unredeemed pledges of the- Government are still in pawn, I refuse to believe that there is any need for this haste,, and I refuse to assist .the Government in rushing through measures of this kind. *1* question whether there is any matter to which this Parliament should give greater time and consideration than it should give .to the proposed, amendment of the Constitution. The experiences of the past nineteen years, and particularly of the past five years, have so- convinced us of the weakness of our Constitution that Parliament should, permit unlimited discussion, of such matters. The Government are attempting to put through little amendments of the, Constitution which, they know will not achieve the purposefor which they profess they have brought them forward. In 1911, in 1913, and in 1915, when the Labour party proposed to submit amendments of the- Constitution . to the people, they were- under no delusion that they would accomplish all that t.hey desired. We looked upon them only as steps towards the grand consummation that we were prepared to try to achieve. The experience of the war has brought us face to face with the outstanding fact that the sovereignty of the Commonwealth must be established on such a firm basis that there shall be no doubt as to the powers of this Parliament to deal with national matters. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- Order ! The honorable member is not in order in discussing the amendments proposed, but only whether the time for their . discussion shall be limited to a certain hour. {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- The point I wish to make is, that the time proposed to be allowed for the discussion of this important matter is altogether inadequate for its proper consideration. I suppose that the Government realize that these amendments, if carried, will, not take them very far.. I am one who believes that the time of this Parliament should be taken up seriously and conscientiously, in an effort to discover how we may so get a grip of the government of this country as to insure that the interests of the people will be safeguarded. {: .speaker-KIL} ##### Mr Lynch: -- That is the intention of. these proposals. {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- I am quite sure that the members of the Government are no more under a delusion now than the1 Labour party were in 1911, 1913, and 1915, when they submitted almost identical proposals. I believe that an amendment of the Constitution should not be made either a party question or a sectional political question. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Nothing ought to be, but everything is, made a party question. {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- I am quite sure that there are honorable members on theother side who disapprove of these proposals, who do not believe that they aresuitable for the purpose for which they have been introduced, and. who object to the limitation- of debate upon them. But the party machine is so strong that they will have to- vote for these proposals, even though later they may advise the people to vote against them.. The party behind the Government have had little say as to the merits of these Bills, and no say as to the time allotted for their discussion. The Prime Minister **(.Mr. Hughes)** - the little Czar - has said, " This Bill must go through by 1 o'clock," and we all know that once he has given the word, his. docile followers wall vote for what he proposes, and take the chances. That is not the kind of government that the Labour party would approve of. And that is not the kind of government the Prime Minister dared try on when he was leading the Labour. Government. He did not try any of those monkey tricks with us,., whatever he may do with honorable members opposite. Every time he tried any of that kind of business we had a method of dealing with him upstairs that made him behave himself. **Mr. HECTOR** LAMOND (Illawarra) [12.15-1. - One would think from the remarks of * honorable members in opposition to the limitation of time that the question we were asked to discuss was the whole subject-matter of the Constitution, whereas it is only an amendment made by the Senate to the effect that legislation passed under this Act shall terminate when the time limit fixed in the Act is reached. That does not strike me as an important question requiring the colossal intellect of this Parliament to be devoted to it for two- or three days. The Bill having already been accepted by the House with practical 'unanimity, only two members voting against it, it is rather late in the day to say that we should have a debate traversing the whole scope of the Constitution. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- That is not the only amendment. {: #debate-32-s9 .speaker-KZC} ##### Mr HECTOR LAMOND:
ILLAWARRA, NEW SOUTH WALES -=-The amendments are very slight compared with the matters discussed, in the previous debate. The question of the amendment of the Constitution will come up in due course when the Convention is convened, but in view of the fact that it is desired to have the elections on the date which every member agrees is the most suitable for the whole of Australia, the limitation of this debate seems wise, and I shall support it. {: #debate-32-s10 .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY:
Darling .- If the powers in these Bills mean anything they mean vast economic changes in the life of Australia. If we can accept' the protestations of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** and others on the Government side, it means that vast changes will take place in pur commercial life. "We are asked to take the Bills at the value placed on them by the Government, but we know that the proposals constitute a gold brick which is being sold to the public. They were never intended to mean anything. If this Bill had any usefulness at all when it included the emasculatory clause dealing with the time limit, and the bringing together of a Convention - which, by the way, can be brought together without a referendum - the further clause taking the powers away and rendering the instrument more futile, makes it a still greater sham to the people. The amendments, on the value placed on them, by the Prime Minister and the rest of the Government, should not be passed in about twenty minutes. There must be very fine discipline within the ranks of the National party if, with the exception of a couple of members, they will take lying down the running of this country by one man. The honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Tudor)** stated that only three honorable members in the whole House, including; Ministers, had seen this Bill before it was placed on the table. I can quite believe it. Such a thing could not occur in the Labour party. We would not tolerate for a moment the contemptuous treatment that is being meted out to this Parliament by the Prime Minister in his method of bringing forward legislation affecting the Constitution and our commercial and economic life, and asking us to pass, it in twenty minutes. It is all very well for the honorable member for Illawarra **(Mr. Lamond)** to say that the amendments mean nothing. If they mean anything they mean great changes, but I am not prepared to take the Prime Minister's valuation of them. They are so many gold bricks being sold, to the people. They are not being rushed through because of any great desire on the part of the Prime Minister, or any member of his party, to protect the people from the depredations of the profiteer, because they have had two and a half years to do that, and have taken absolutely no steps whatever. If, then, the protection of the people is not the reason for rushing important matters through in haste, what is? It is simply that by an expenditure of something like £30,000 in giving the soldiers a day off, and an extra 5s., the. Prime Minister created an alleged atmosphere friendly to himself, and when he went to Sydney he found he could get only 2,000 soldiers, and probably less than 1,000 civilians to welcome him. He found that,, from the time he landed, even allowing for the well stage-managed effect, his popularity waned between Fremantle and Sydney to such an alarming degree that it was necessary for the Government to go immediately to the country, in order that they should have some semblance of a chance to get back to office. Up to x date it has cost the State and Federal Parliaments about £30,000 to welcome the Prime Minister to Australia. The honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** said that the 13th, of December was being- fixed to meet the convenience "of the public, that it was a much better date than the 20th, and far better than the 27th ; but why any date this year at all ? We, on this side, have always contended that the Government had plenty of powers. We say they have powers now, under the War Precautions Act, and will retain them for probably six months. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- When it suited them, they themselves contended that they had the powers. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr BLAKELEY: -- Yes, and there was no necessity to go to the country and to ask the people for powers which they did not intend to exercise, and which they will send to a Convention, if that Convention ever come3 into being. I do not suppose it will, and therefore the whole programme lapses. There is no need to fix a date this year for the election to suit the' public convenience. It would suit the convenience of the unfortunate public better if the Government did something to carry out even the promises they made in 1917, or to cope with the many great problems which will confront the people during the next six months. Instead of doing anything, they will waste seven or eight months, and before the Labour Party are able to occupy the Ministerial benches all that time will be wasted ; whereas, it could have been profitably employed by the Government in dealing with the vast problems that have to be faced. These new amendments have been brought down because many of the organizations -outside, which subsidize and support honorable members opposite, thought there was just the slightest chance that the Labour party would have a weapon if they were returned to power in December next. So they obtained opinions to prove that it was absolutely necessary, in order that the interests which support the Government should be further protected, to emasculate the Bills still further. When we are returned, we shall- not trouble to use this machinery, even if the people indorse the amendments. We shall make our own machinery in our own way. We shall not sell the people a gold brick, but with the powers we shall possess we shall achieve sufficient to cover the time before we can go before the people with another referendum. It is time we returned to some semblance of constitutional government. Many have refrained from criticism during this Parliament, or from talcing any steps to . retard the passage of necessary legislation. During that period a system of one-man Government has grown up, and is continuing with ail its faults and in all its hideousness. The old English system, under which the Prime Minister was practically a King, has crept in. Under that arrangement the Prime Minister consulted nobody, not even his party or his Parliament. He brought down his Bills, laid them on the table, and Parliament had to accept them whether it liked them or not. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #debate-32-s11 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- Once more I desire to enter my protest against the rushing through of important measures. I have never believed in amending our Standing Orders as .we have done, and have never yet been guilty of shortening the time of debate in this House by means of the Standing Orders. It is a hateful practice, particularly when we are called upon to discuss measures with such far-reaching effects. The amendment of the Constitution is no light matter. Although many of us have not been satisfied with the Constitution, we believe that any proposed amendment should be subjected in this House, if only for educational purposes, to the most drastic and extensive discussion. The Ministerial party have decided on their line of conduct, and, after all, what is controlling this procedure is not so much our amended Standing Orders as the fact that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** and his colleagues .desire to have an election before the end of this year. Otherwise, where is the necessity for rushing these Bills through *1* Where was the necessity for rushing them through last week, unless it is that behind this and the previous discussion the election day is looming? I am surprised that the Government have selected the 13th day of December. I have lively recollections of the 13th of April, 1910, one of the red-letter days in the history of the' Labour party, and my political birthday. I am looking forward with the most cheerful anticipations to the coming contest. The current of opinion is gradually setting in a certain direction, and will continue in that way until election day. Why should the discussion of important Bills, and amendments thereof, be made contingent in this Chamber upon the holding of an election on a certain day ? {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- I would sooner have had the election on the 13th of October. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I believe the Government would have "had it some time this month if the Prime Minister had not found it necessary to negotiate a constitutional hurdle. He found that the Constitution could not be amended without giving the people two months' notice. This Bill must be passed at least two months before the people axe called on to give a decision on it. One reason- why more time is needed for the discussion of this amendment is that the provisions of this Bill have been still further modified to suit the opinion of the Conservative element in the community. It was a Committee of legal gentlemen who recommended the adoption of this amendment. They appear to have stated the position very clearly - so clearly that any layman can understand it. It is evident that no great harm can befall the profiteer as the 13288 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* result of the amendment of the Constitution which is now before us. I know from the utterances of the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** that the Bill will be worth very little from the stand-point of the protection which it will afford the consumers of Australia. When we are asked to amend the Constitution we ought to be afforded ample time in which to discussthe amending proposals. Where is the necessity for this indecent haste? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -- Has not the honorable member heard of the popular wave which is flowing in favour of the Prime Minister ? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Yes. But I also know that if there be one man: in the political life of this country who is more prone than another to errors of judgment he is the prime mover in the attempt to hold a general election on the 13th December. I recognise that the " guillotine " will fall at twenty-two minutes *to* 1 o'clock. Honorable members are thus allowed only twenty-two minutes in which to discuss an amendment, the consideration of which occupied three leading legal luminaries - I refer to **Sir Robert** Garran, **Mr. Jethro** Brown, and Professor Harrison Moore - many hours. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -- They found that the boasted perfect draftsmanship of the Prime Minister Was very faulty. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I admit that there has been faulty draftsmanship. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- It is not a question of draftsmanship. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- At any rate, these legal luminaries were occupied some hours in determining what amendments in the Bill they would suggest to the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- This particular amendment did not occupy them very long. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- They doubtless analyzed the Bill, and- thought " Here is a danger to the States." Then they went a little further and. discovered another danger to the States. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member's time has expired. Amendment (by **Mr. Groom)** proposed - > That the figure "1" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure " 3." {: #debate-32-s12 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra. -- I have no objection to 3 o'clock or any later hour being fixed for the closing of this debate, but-. I desire to know whether it is competent, after a definite time has been fixed for its termination, to move' for an extension of it. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- It is always competent to submit an amendment to a motion. Upon a previous occasion the honorable member himself moved to alter the time fixed for the closing of a debate until a different hour. The time allotted for the discussion of the Prime Minister's motion has now expired. Amendment agreed to. Question - That the motion, as amended, be agreed to - put. The House divided. AYES: 38 NOES: 0 Majority ... 22. AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. *In Committee* (Consideration of Senate's amendments) : Clause 3 - >Section fifty-one of the Constitution is altered by omitting from paragraph (xx.) the words " Foreign corporations, and trading orfinancial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth;" and. inserting in their stead the words - " Corporations, including- > >the creation,, dissolution, regulation, and. control of corporations; *Constitution Alteration* [10 October, 1919.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* 13289 *Senate's Amendments.* - Leave out par (a). After " charitable " in paragraph (6) insert " educational." Clause 6 - >The alterations made by this Act shall remain in force - > >until the expiration of three years from the assent of the Governor- General thereto; or > >until a convention constituted by the Commonwealth makes recommendations for the alteration of the Constitution and the people indorse those recommendations, whichever first happens, and shall then cease to have effect: > >Provided that if no such convention is constituted by the Commonwealth before the thirty-first day of December, One thousand nine hundred and twenty, the alterations made by this Act shall cease to have effect on the said thirty-first day of December, One thousand nine hundred and twenty. > > *Senate's Amendment.* - At end of clause add the following new sub-clause: - " (2) No law passed by the Parliament by virtue of the powers conferred by this Act shall continue to have any force or effect, by virtue of this Act, after the alterations made by this Act have ceased to have effect." {: #debate-32-s13 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT -- I move - >That the Senate's amendments be agreed to. The most important of the three amendments made by the Senate is the first,' which deals with corporations, and proposes to leave out paragraph *a* from the corporations amendment clause. The Bill purports to amend section 51 of the Constitution by omitting from paragraph xx. the words " Foreign corporations and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth," and inserting in their stead " Corporations, including - (a) the creation, dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations," and two other paragraphs - *(b)* dealing with corporations formed under the law of a State, including their dissolution, regulation, or control, and (c) dealing with foreign corporations, including their regulation and control. The effect of the Senate's amendment, to omit paragraph a, is to prohibit the Commonwealth from creating any corporations under Commonwealth law, but it will have no effect whatever over the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth over existing companies formed under any State law or hereafter to be formed under any State law, or over any foreign corporations now existing or hereafter to exist trading in this country now, or hereafter trading here. The two remaining paragraphs *b* and *c* will give the Commonwealth complete power over all corporations existing in this country at the present moment, and any other corporations that may be formed in this country after this date. Therefore, this Parliament will have complete power to deal with the creation, dissolution, and control of corporations under State law. "We will have no power to create corporations on a Commonwealth basis, but we can control all corporations as they now exist. Honorable members may be satisfied that the clause, as amended by the Senate, will give us complete power over all corporations and companies, over their control, dissolution, and, in fact, every phase of their existence. The paragraph which has been struck out would have given us control over corporations under a Commonwealth law that does not yet exist, and as there are no corporations under a Commonwealth law- {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The right honorable gentleman is wiping out the most effective part of the clause. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I am doing nothing of the sort. I am putting the position before honorable members as it is. If they can tell me one thing which we cannot do to any company in Australia under paragraphs *b* and c of clause 3, then I will admit that they are right and that I am wrong, and will restore paragraph *a.* We have inserted the word " educational " after the word " charitable " in paragraph *b.* It cannot be fairly said that educational corporations are engaged in profiteering or in piling up profits, or are detrimental to the welfare of the people generally. As it may be held, and it was so held by the Legal Committee, that the effect of this clause might be to vest in the Commonwealth control over our Universities, which are or might be corporations, it is desired that it should be made quite clear that this power will not, extend to education.. I see no. ob?jection to that amendment. The next amendment is one for the addition of words to clause 6, which make the effect, of the proviso to that clause quite clear. The proviso reads - >Provided that if no such Convention is con.stituted 'by the Commonwealth, before- the thirty-first day of December,. One thousand nine hundred and twenty, the alterations made by this Act shall cease to have effect on the said thirty-first day of December, One- thousand nine hundred and twenty. The effect of the amendment is to put »in plain words what is already set out in that proviso, namely, that if a Convention is not called by the 31st December, 1920, then those powers go by the board; but if a Convention is called, .the powers- remain foi three years; or until the Convention has made recommendations to the people and the people have indorsed them or refused to indorse them. Naturally, the effect. of the lapse of the power under which a Statute is made carries with it, or ought to carry with it; the failure of the legislation which is based on that power. This is made clear by a reference to the operation of the War Precautions Act. When that Act was passed, it gave the Government a legislative power as distinguished from its administrative power: It made the Government, in fact, a Parliament. The Cabinet sat and decided what new law should be made. That new law- was given the form of a regulation under the Act, and .such regulations had the force of law. They derived their force md legal sanction ' from the War Precautions Act, and when that Act ceases to be in force, all the regulations made, under it *ipso facto* disappear. That is the course which will follow in connexion with these Bills in the circumstances here set out. I have stated the position so far as the three amendments to which I have referred are concerned. They may be safely accepted by those who' desire to support these measures for the amendment of the Constitution, because they do not. impair the effectiveness of the measures in any way, which are put forward- frankly for- what they are - war measures! - to deal with abnormal conditions created by the war. I do not wish' to again, emphasize that which. I stressed! at great, length when I. had. the honour of addressing'' the Committee' before; thai whatever: might be the opinions of honorable members as to the need for change* in the Constitution in normal times, there is a genuine- consensus' of opinion that the authority upon whose shoulders rests the responsibility for dealing with the aftermath of the war, should have the necessary power, to do. so. This is as much ran emanation,, properly so called, of the Defence power as was the' training of an army of troops to defend this country at a time when it was in great, danger. Those, who will view this question fairly .will admit that the authority to whom the people look. to. put this country right after the war- should have they necessary legislative powers to enable it to do so.. This is a war measure. *Sitting suspended from.l to 2.15 p.m..* {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Prior to adjourning I was emphasizing that these measures' are war measures-; that it is- in that spirit- that the Government has put them before Parliament, and that it. is in, that spirit also that we ask the Parliament and the country to accept them. I have explained the effects of the amendments- suggested by the Legal Committee,, to which reference, has been already made, which amendments have been incorporated in the Bill in another place; and regarding which I have moved that they be accepted by this-. Committee.. I desire to refer, now to the' report *>f the Legal Committee, and to the reasons which have actuated, the Government in accepting, certain portions, and in standing, by its original proposals in regard to other portions. It has been said *hy* certain honorable members in a spirit of complaint that they have not had an opportunity of seeing these amendments. I am rather astonished at that criticism, for they were published yesterday throughout the length and breadth of Australia. Every one of ' the principal journals printed them *in* *extenso,* together with the full text of the Legal Committee's report, and of my comments upon that report. Side by side were set out the reasons why the Government, accepted some portions, and was unable to accept others. I propose, in order, to conserve time; that these documents shall be. incorporated in *Hansard.* I hope the- Committee' will consent ta their full publication in the records of Parliament, although I propose merely to read portions *Constitution Alteration* [10 October, 1919.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* 13291 thereof. Thefirst is thereport of the Legal Committee: - . The Committee appointed by the recent Conference between the Prime Minister and the Premiers to deal with legal aspects of the proposed alterations of the Constitution has met, andpresents the following report: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. We areallofopinion that clause . 5 of the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill (Trusts, combinations, ' monopolies, and arrangements) is relevant to the subjects of the high cost of living (including profiteering), and industrialunrest and is a power "necessary to enable the Commonwealth to deal with those matters. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. As regards the Constitution Alteration (Nationalizationof Monopolies) Bill, we are of opinion that the question of the necessity of this power is rather a political than a legal one; but we agree that it is relevant to the subjects mentioned above, and that it contains safeguards against its use without deliberation and independentinquiry. 1. As to the other threeamendments, the Committee are unable to agree as to That were theactualmatters submitted to them. 4.SirRobert Garran takes the view that it was intended to give the Common wealth full power to control, not onlythe subjects of the high cost of living (including profiteering ) and industrial unrest, but also the' general conditions' arising, directly or indirectly, out of the war. On theother hand,President Brown and ProfessorMoore take the view that thematters were limited to the subjectsofthe high costof living (including profiteering) and industrial unrest. 2. The Committee are also divided in opinion as to the extentofthe power intendedtobe conferred under the heading ofindustrial unrest. **Sir RobertGarran** takes the view that the intention was that the 'Commonwealth should have full power to deal with the whole subject of industrial unrest,so far as it could bedealtwithby legislation as to industrial matters. President Brown andProfessor Moore take the view that it was, intended 'that the extension of Commonwealth powers relating to industrial matters should be limited to matters which could not be effectively dealt with by the States, or' bythe Commonwealthunder the powers contained in section51 (xxxv.') - : ( Conciliation andarbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extend: ingbeyond the limits of any one State) . 3. AssumingSirRobert Garran's view as to the intention of the Conference tobecorrect, SirRobert Garranand Professor Moore are tin agreement that thepowers asked for arenot excessive for the purpose. President Brown expresses no opinion based upon this assumption.TheCommittee agree, however, that in clause . '3 '('Corporation') , in view particularlyof the limited period forwhich the clause is to operate,paragraph *(a)* (which gives power for the creation of corporations under Federal law, and their 'dissolution, regulation, and control), it is not necessary, and that in paragraph (b) the word "educational " should be inserted after the word "charitable," so as to include corporations formed solely for. educational purposes among those exempted from the power. 4. Assuming President Brown's and Professor Moore's view as to the intention of the 'Conference to be correct, 'President Brown and Professor Moore are of opinion that the objeets in view could be adequately effected bythe following alterations of the Constitution: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. *Trusts, Combinations, &c. -* As set out in clause '5 of the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill. (b) *Trade and Commerce -* Retain paragraph 51 (i) of the Constitution, and insert the following new paragraph: - "(1a) Tradeandcommercein relation to the cost of living including prices and profits: Provided that this paragraph shall not be construed to empower the . Parliament tomake laws with respect tothe control or managementof railways the property of a State, or the ratesor fareson such railways;". Substitute for paragraph 51 (xxxv) of the Constitution the following paragraph: - " (xxxv) The settlement of industrial disputes and conciliation for the prevention of industrial disputes by authorities establishedby the Parliament or by authorities established under any State law., and invested with power by the Parliament; also the making of any award order ordeterminationinanindustrial disputea commonrule.". The questionwhether this power should be applied tosuch services of the State as are. included in what are known as " State instrumentalities " is a question of policy whichshould be settledone way or the other, and not left for subsequent interpre- tation. President Brown and Professor Moore therefore desire to call the attention of thePrime Minister and the Premiers to this matter. As regardsclause 3 'of theBill(Corporations), President Brown and ProfessorMoore considerthatthe clause goesfar beyondthe purposesof the Conference as understood by them, and is unnecessary for the purpose of dealing with the cost of living (including profiteering) and industrial unrest, in view of the other powers recommended. SirRobert Garran does notregard these proposalsas adequate. Asregards the " trade and commerce " proposal -apart from the fact that it does not cover the general conditions arising out of the war - he thinks that the distinction maintainedbetween Inter-State andIntra-State commerce,and the words of limitationas to the latter, would seriouslyhamper itseffectiveness. And as regards the "iindustrial disputes "proposal, while, it would give completepower of dealing with all industrial disputes, it would not extend to the whole subject of industrial conditionsas affecting industrial unrest. {: type="1" start="8"} 0. As regards the final clause ofboth Bills,to prevent any possible (contention that when these Constitution alterations cease to haveeffect. 13292 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES . ] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* laws already made under them might continue in force, the Committee suggests the addition of words to the following effect: - "No law passed by the Parliament by virtue of the powers conferred by this Act shall continue to have any force or effect, by virtue of this Act, after the alterations made by this Acthave ceased to have effect." R.R. Garran. {: type="A" start="W"} 0. Jethro Brown. 1. Harrison Moore. 3rd October, 1919. It will be noticed that in paragraph 1 of their report the Legal Committee say - >We are all of opinion that clause 5 of the Constitutional Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill, (Trusts, combinations, monopolies, and arrangements) is relevant to the subjects of the high cost of living (including profiteering) and industrial unrest, and is a power necessary to enable the Commonwealth to deal with those matters. Similarly, the Legal Committee assert that the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill is one which, in their opinion, is necessary. With respect to the other three amendments, the Committee point out that they are unable to agree on what were the actual matters submitted to them. I desire to emphasize that the Committee did not disagree as to what was necessary. On the assumption that we asked for powers to deal with the aftermath of war - providing that what was referred to them had reference to what were the powers necessary to deal with the aftermath of war - they decided that all these powers were necessary. The only difference of opinion arose over whether that was what was referred to them. Upon that point I will briefly quote from my comments also, and will ask that it be published in full in *Hansard.* It is abundantly clear. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** has spoken of the clarity of vision of the layman. As one who was a layman before he became a lawyer, I shall not venture to say whether I see more clearly now than I did previously, but I will venture the view that even a lawyer could understand this. I could not be fairer than that. When **Mr. Lawson** asked me what was my offer, I said I wanted to make the position perfectly clear. **Mr. Lawson** remarked that **Sir Robert** Garran, Professor Harrison Moore, and Professor Jethro Brown - are to confer and advise what minimum powers are transferred to Federal authority to enable it to deal with profiteering and industrial unrest. I then interposed, and said - >I want the position to be made quite clear. The powers required are those necessary to deal effectively with the aftermath of the war, including industrial unrest, high cost of living, and profiteering. I emphasized the cost of living as distinct from profiteering, because profiteering is only one phase of the cause of high prices. I continued - >Less than this will not do. I am willing to treat it as a war measure, and so limit its operation as set out by **Mr. Lawson.** But the amendments must deal with the aftermath of war. When two legal gentlemen say, on the face of that, that it was not the aftermath of war that we had to deal with, then I can only assert that no layman, and no lawyer other than those two, will deny that it was. The reference is perfectly clear. The scope of their inquiry is perfectly clear. The only thing that is not clear is, why, in the face of that very plain reference, they did not deal with what was put to them. The reason for that may be found in the application of a suggestion by the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Boyd)** when he was alluding to one of the most eminent lawyers in the Commonwealth, namely, the SolicitorGeneral. The honorable member sought to brush the opinion of the SolicitorGeneral aside by stigmatizing him as a Government official. The Solicitor-General is an ornament to the Public Service. He is one of the soundest constitutional lawyers in Australia, and there one on the Bench, or off the Bench, whose opinion 1 would rather take in matters of constitutional law,. If he is a Government servant, and leans to the side of the Commonwealth, is this Parliament the body which should censure him for that? Who are we? We are representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia; and, if any one should say that a man who represents the Commonwealth should not give to plain words their plain meaning, then that individual ought not to be a member of this Parliament - seeing that he is here, himself, as an official of the Commonwealth. The other two gentlemen on the Legal Committee were, to all intents and purposes, representatives of the States; and if the Solicitor-General leaned to the one side, is it not at least a fair assumption to draw that the other two members of the Legal Committee leaned to the other side? At any rate, there are the plain words: and I invite the electors of Australia to say whether the aftermath of war was not one of the references. If it were, then, assuming, as Professor Harrison Moore says, that **Sir Robert** Garran's views as to the intentions of- the Conference were correct - that the aftermath of war was what the Committee had to deal with - **Sir Robert** Garran and Professor Harrison Moore are in agreement that the powers asked for are not excessive for the purpose, while Professor Jethro Brown expresses no opinion based on that assumption. That speaks for itself. . I have already briefly quoted from my own comments upon the reports ; and I have given the reasons why we could not accept anything that was not unanimously agreed upon, or that was rejected because the conclusions of the Legal Committee were based on the assumption that the Com-, monwealth required powers to deal with the aftermath of war. I hand over my report for inclusion in *Hansard -* >I 'am unable to understand the disagreement of the Committee as to the actual matters submitted to them, in view of the fact that they had before them the shorthand notes of the proceedings of the Conference and summary of the conclusions reached. > >Those notes made it quite clear that the question submitted was, as stated by **Sir Robert** Garran, whether the powers asked for were essential to enable the Commonwealth to have full control, not only of the cost of living and industrial unrest, but also of the general conditions arising out of the war. > >The notes show that **Mr. Lawson,** in stating the position, said :. - " That **Sir Robert** Garran, Professor Harrison Moore, and **Mr. Jethro** Brown arc to confer and advise what minimum powers are transferred to Federal authority to enable it to deal with profiteering and industrial unrest." I then interposed, and said: - "I want the position to be made quite clear. The powers required are those necessary to deal effectively with the aftermath of the war, including industrial unrest, high cost of living, and profiteering. Less than this will not do. I am willing to treat it as a war measure, and so limit its operation, as set out by **Mr. Lawson.** But the amendments must deal with the aftermath of war." > >As regards industrial unrest, **Mr. Lawson** said: - " I understand that you desire power to make it more easy of access, i.e.. the Arbitration Court." I replied: - "I must make my attitude on this point, too, perfectly clear. I want the Commonwealth equipped with all powers that are necessary to give constitutional redress to labour and to capital, to give justice to both, to provide machinery and means whereby all parties, employer , and employee, producer and consumer, shall alike be protected; that we may have constitutional and legal remedies at once sufficient, speedy, economical, to offer to those who otherwise would be driven to ' direct action ' for redress." > >In reply to questions by the Premiers as to whether I intended that the Commonwealth should interfere in purely local industrial disputes, for which there was State machinery, I said: - "I want to give you a positive assurance that I have not in my mind the scrapping of State industrial legislation. I say again that I desire to take advantage of State industrial machinery, and I certainly do not want to scrap it." > >The position is quite clear. The Committee was asked to advise whether the powers asked for were excessive for the purpose of enabling the Commonwealth to deal fully with the whole aftermath of the war, including, but not limited to, the high cost of living, profiteering, and industrial unrest. > >It is significant that two of the members of the Committee agree that, on this assumption, the powers asked for are not excessive for the purpose; and the third member expresses no dissent. And the Committee are unanimous that, in any view of the matter, the " Trusts and combinations " amendment is necessary, and the " nationalization of monopolies " amendment is relevant to the subject, and adequately safeguarded. > >I cannot follow the view of two members of the Committee that, on the narrow construction of the powers intended to be transferred, the " Corporations " amendment goes beyond the purposes specified. Corporations exercise such a dominant control over prices that the Commonwealth would be maimed and impotent to deal with profiteering and the cost of living without direct and comprehensive power to control corporations. > >The unanimity of the Committee that full power is necessary to deal with all industrial disputes, whether extending beyond one State or not, is- also significant. But that is not enough; there must be power to deal effectively with the roots of industrial unrest, and for that purpose to be able to deal with industrial matters as a whole, not merely with disputes arising out of them. > >On certain points the Committee finds unanimously that the powers asked for are greater than is necessary. > >On all those points the Government accepts their conclusions, and will move amendments to the Bills accordingly. > >For the rest, the Government adheres to the view - from which no dissent is expressed by any member of the Committee - that the powers asked for are essential' for the purposes the Government has announced, namely, Commonwealth control of the conditions arising out of the war. > >I have said publicly, and I repeat, that the Government will not use those powers except for the purposes I have named. But it is essential, if the powers are to be effective for those purposes, that they should not be further limited. > >I would add that the short time during which the powers asked for will be in operation would make it impossible for the Commonwealth Parliament, even if it so desired, to do 13294 *Constitution Alteration[REPRESENTATIVES] (Legislative Bowers) Bill.* anything more than deal with the urgentprob-. lems of the reconstruction period; so that the fear that the Commonwealthmay usethese powers to invade thewholefield and scrap all existing. State legislation in that field cannot, from the very nature of thecase, he realized. Now I propose to refer shortly to one or two other matters. I have disposed of the objection which has been levelled at the measure, that honorable members have been asked to deal with something regarding which theyknew nothing. I can only say that I did my bestto make them acquainted with the matter by publishing it in every daily journal throughout Australia.; and, if they have not made themselves acquainted with it, then, upon theirshoulders rests the responsibility. It is objected, in respect of these measures, that there hasbeen no time for deliberation uponthem. I am not going to delve into that phase of theargument. I shall put these plain facts before the people. This is the fifth occasion on which the Parliament has been asked to deal with these very same measures, except that these latest contain a limitation of time. I ask honorable members on both sides to 'point out in what essential particular these' differ from any of the others, except that we have dropped one amendment out. I take no exception to the criticism upon thatpoint, amdupon the point that there is a limitation of time. But, as to the measures themselves they are the same asI had the honour to introduce 'in 1911 ; the same in all essentials. We have devoted ourselves to them *ad nauseam.* The peoplehave beeneducated upon them by everyhonorable member on both sides of the House, and by hundredswho are not mow here. If there is any question about whichthe people have been thoroughly informed, it, is this. And so, when it is said that we are not providing time for deliberation, I remind honorable members that eight years have passed since these measures were first brought forward here. They have been discussed fivetimes, amd,on three occasionshave been submitted to the people by way of referendum. They were fourtimes presentedin this House under the *aegis* ofhonorable members on the otherside; and they (differ in noessential excepting that they are now war. measures, and that there is , a plain limitation upon themso that they may be treated as war measures. Every man, therefore, may vote for these measures without prejudice concerning what he should do or say when the Convention asgathered together. He will *be* free then to take what course he pleases. We are really only asking for the samepowers as we possessed under the War Precautions Act; and less, indeed, than those powers. We are very familiar with these measures. It is not here that they require to be discussed. We (have discussed them over and over again. I have said that the people have been educated upon them. And,after all, it is a people's question. Weare not hurrying itbef ore the people. The people have ten weeks during which honorable members on both sides will be free to put before them any reasons they may care to express regarding why the electorsshould or should not favour them. It is a people's question; and I cannot understand how any honorable memberwho calls himself a Democratcan object to our putting something bef ore the electors and at the same time -giving them ten weeks 'in which to make up their minds whether they will say yes or no. Do honorable members call that haste? What are we to say to men who for thefifth time have debated these measures *ad nauseam,* and who still wish towaste time and seek to prevent the people from saying yes or no upon questions of vital importance , to them? I cannot understand my honorable friends who say that they willvote against these proposals, and will advise the people 'to oppose them. If theyvote against them, they will, first of all, have to explain why, on four previous occasions, theyhave urged the people to agree to them, and onthis occasion they will not.Even though they say these are measures that should not be hurried through, they should : be lifted on the wings of exultation, and be glad that, at last, something isbeing done that has never been done before.There is a reasonable chance ofthe people of Australia accepting them; and unlessthe people do as werecommend -no matter who gets into power - Parliament willbe absolutely powerless to help' the people of {: #debate-32-s14 .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN(Hon J M Chanter:
RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES -The right honorable memberhas reached the time limit. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- I am not going to deal with the political objections , raised tothe effect that wet do not intend to use these powers. I will deal with that questionelsewhere. My political life is knownto every ones If any one thinks I am not going to use thesepowers, let him vote against them. I have - at what : cost isknown to me-broken my association with men with whom Ihave worked all my life, because I did not agree with them on matters which I thoughtof vital interest to the country. I would break again with any party that did not use these powers if ithad them. I give fair notice to every man in this country who supports them, that, if I live, I shall put them into force. There are people in this country - I do not deny that there are certain reactionaries - who have learnt nothing- from the war. They are like the men,who, after the floodwaters had passed over a drowned world, had learned nothing. A great mass of the people of this country wish to endow this Parliament with power to deal with the consequences of war. I shall not use these powers for party purposes, but for national purposes, to the extent necessary for the salvation of the nation, and not one inch beyond, and not one inch, less. These measures are, in essence, democratic. They are to refer questions to the people, and I remind honorable members opposite that they are pledged to the Referendum. The sooner these proposals are submitted to the people, the better. This is the first time members of this House have been delayed in passing such proposals by honorable members now in Opposition. Is that the way men show their faith in the people? Are they to vote for questions to be submitted to the people only when they are questions of which they approve, or when they think the people will vote as they wish ? Are we to have the honour of submitting them, or is somebody else? It has been denied by honorable members opposite that they are party measures. Why not let them go to the people? It is true that a limited time is provided; but a democratic method has been finally adopted for settling the relations between the Commonwealth and the States. The proposals provide for a Convention. . If there was nothing in these proposals except the provision for a Convention, I would still support them: and. honorable members opposite know they, too, would give them their support.. It cannot be denied that a Convention is provided for. There is nothing to prevent theConvention being called together in January or February of next year. This is,inessence, a democratic method suited to our present circumstances, and made imperative by present needs. It is a measure to give us those powers without which it is impossible to govern this country. I ask honorable members on both sides to support the proposals, and thus save further delay. Mr.TUDOR (Yarra) [2.35].- It was my intention to rise to a point of order when the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** was speaking, . but I was not sure of the proper procedure. Is. it right for the Prime Minister, or any honorable member, to pass documents across to *Hansard,* and says that hedesires them . to be included in the official report ? I do not think it a; proper procedure, and I cannot remember it ever having, been done before in this House: mr.richard Foster.- Yes,it has. {: #debate-32-s15 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -Shall I be permitted **Mr. Chanter.** to ask that certain extracts from the pamphlet entitled *The Case for and Against the FederalReferendums* be embodied in my speech, although I may not read them ? It would save time. Is it right to do as the Prim© Minister has done, because if he is *to* have that privilege," it must be extended to others-? I believe,inother Parliaments of the world, it is permissible to hand over books and pamphlets, and have certain portions included in the- official records. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- If you do not wish the statements to. he included in the records, I will have them withdrawn. I thought the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Tudor)** wanted the information.; but, personally, I do not care two straws. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Does every honorable member stand on. the same footing ? I have the same privileges! as any other honorable member, and I. intend to have the same rights in regard to *Hansard.* The Government, although they have a large majority, cannot deprive; me of that right. I wish to include in *Hansard* what the present Prime Minister, when AttorneyGeneral in the Labour. Government wrote, on . the question . of. corporations-. His statement shows why this Parliament should have full power to deal with all 13296 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* corporations. Shall I be in order, **Mr. Chanter,** in reading part of that statement, and then passing the pamphlet over to *Hansard* with the request that that the full statement be included in my {: #debate-32-s16 .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter:
RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES -- What is the honorable member's point of order? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Can the Prime Minister claim that right? **Mr. Hughes.I** did not seek it as a right. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- If the Prime Minister has that right, have not other honorable members ? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- I did it because honorable members were complaining that the information was not there. I will withdraw the documents if it is so desired; but the particulars have already been published in the press. {: #debate-32-s17 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I ask the honorable member to proceed. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I regret that there should be this interruption, as my time is limited, because a vote has to be taken at 3 o'clock. I take no exception to the time occupied by the Prime Minister, but it must be remembered that there are seventy-four other honorable members who have the right to speak, and who have only twenty-four minutes in which to voice their objections: {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Do I understand that the honorable member raised a point of order? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Yes, **Mr. Chanter,** in regard to the Prime Minister's right to hand certain documents to *Hansard* for inclusion in the official report. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The point of order raised is in regard to the right of the Prime Minister, or any other honorable member, to include in *Hansard* the contents of a document which have not been wholly read. I draw the Committee's attention to the fact that on previous occasions a similar procedure has been followed, but it has always been with the permission of the Committee. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Then, let us seek the pleasure of the Committee. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Committee has power to regulate these matters at all times, and when the Prime Minister indicated that he intended speaking only on a few paragraphs, and asked that the documents should be included in *Hansard,* I acquiesced. On every occasion when such an appeal has been made to me I have, in concurrence with the will of the Committee, agreed. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I take it that the Committee has agreed in this instance. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- We are informed that the amendments are of a minor character' but it must be remembered that the provision relating to corporations has been deleted. The Prime Minister's excuse reminds me of a statement I heard in Manchester concerning **Sir Wilfred** Lawson, the temperance advocate, who, when informed that some desired to take just a little, said, "That would be all right." The Prime Minister's attitude also reminds me of the story of Moses, who, when coming down from the mount, met the devil, and asked him what he thought of the Ten Commandments. The reply was that he would accept them if the "nots" were omitted. The Prime Minister is taking the nots out of these proposals. He cannot say that they are similar to those submitted on previous occasions, as the railway employees, for instance, are excluded. We. have never had an opportunity of taking a separate vote on the proposed limitations provided in clause 6. {: .speaker-KZC} ##### Mr Lamond: -- That is the most valuable clause in the Bill. **Mr. TUDOR.It** binds the whole of the proposals, and makes them ineffective. In answer to an interjection I made last week, the Acting Treasurer **(Mr. Poynton)** informed me that the Convention was to be popularly elected, but we have not had a single word from the Prime Minister on that question. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- You had it from me yesterday. . {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- What was it? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- That this Parliament shall decide. What more do you want ? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I may havebeen out of the chamber at the time, and I certainly never heard such a statement from the Government. I am glad, however, to have the Prime Minister's assurance that Parliament shall be' consulted. It may be a Premiers' Convention ; but I am prepared to accept the Prime Minister's word. The proposals originally submitted are being whittled away. In dealing with corporations on a previous occasion the Prime Minister said - Corporations, including - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. the creation, dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations; *Constitution Alteration* [10 October, 1919.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill* 13297 {: type="a" start="b"} 0. corporations formed under the law of a State, including their dissolution, regulation, and control; but not including municipal or governmental corporations, or any corporation formed solely for religious, charitable, scientific, or artistic purposes, and not for the acquisition of gain by the corporation or its members; and 1. foreign corporations, including their regulation and control: The proposed amendment seeks to give the Commonwealth Parliament power to make laws for the corporations, or, as they are usually called, companies. At the present it has only the veriest shadow of a power. When the Constitution was accepted, it was understood that section 51 (s.s. xx) gave the Commonwealth Parliament complete control over the companies. The words of the Constitution seemed so very clear that not even the lawyers had any doubt that the Commonwealth powers over companies were very considerable. But the High Court, in *Huddart Parker* v. *Moorhead,* in spite of the apparently clear words of the Constitution, said that the Commonwealth had no power at all over the behaviour of companies once they were established. This means, in plain language, that the National Parliament has no control at all over the operations of the greatbulk of capitalistic undertakings in Australia. Or, in other words, the Commonwealth Parliament has no control over the powers which control the means of production to which the people look for employment to earn their daily bread, and which determine the prices the people pay for the necessaries of life. In short, the Commonwealth has no power over the greatest force in the modern world. Modern Industrialism in the Hands of Companies, but Commonwealth has no Power Over Them. The great undertakings of the modern world are almost invariably carried on by companies. Over £250,000,000 are invested in Australian companies. That is to say, that about 75 per cent. of all the capital held by private enterprises in this country is in the hands of companies. The sphere of their operations in many cases extends over several States, and the tendency of modern times is to widen this still more. It seems incredible, but it is nevertheless absolutely true, that neither the States nor the Commonwealth have any real power over the capital employed in trading and industrial enterprises in Australia. The State laws are not up-to-date, they do not protect shareholders or the general public, and in any case they cannot apply to the great companies whose operations extend beyond one State. For the laws of a State only operate within its own borders. The Commonwealth must have power to control companies, because companies control nearly all the capital invested in industries upon which the great mass of the people are dependent for a living. The control of companies is a bread and butter question, for companies not only employ 75 per cent. of all labour, but fix the prices of the greater part of what the whole community lives on. Companies control wages and prices, therefore the community must be able to control companies. Trusts and Combines are usually composed of companies working together for their mutual benefit and the people's detriment, and in order to effectually control Trusts and Combines we must have power over the companies that compose them. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- We Lave that power, under paragraph *b, over* the whole of the £250,000,000 of capital invested in Australia. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The power is being taken away by the amendment. {: #debate-32-s18 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will declare that the Commonwealth's power is preserved; he will stand by his own amendment. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- That is the truth. If the honorable member can get one lawyer in Australia to say otherwise I shall abandon the amendment. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- This House heard on a previous occasion an illuminating speech from the Prime Minister on lawyers. I know that you can get from a lawyer any opinion you want if you will pay for it. I say that deliberately. And you will not get any two lawyers to agree on any legal point. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- That is the most shameful statement that has been made in this House since I have been a member of it. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I make no reflection upon the honorable member or any other lawyer; but I say you can. get from lawyers any opinion you like to pay for, and if you go to two lawyers you will get divergent opinions on the same question. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- You get divergent opinionsfrom doctors, also. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- As a rule, the second doctor finishes you. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- Doctors are no better than lawyers, and politicians are worse than either. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Let the Prime Minister speak for himself. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- I am speaking for the honorable member. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I can speak for myself. I do not believe that this measure will be effective after it has been whittled down in this fashion, nor do I believe that it is intended to be effective. It is only political propaganda introduced to save the faces of honorable members on the opposite side. The majority of them do not believe that this law will ever be 13298 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* used in the way in which it was intended to be used by the party which placed the constitutional amendments before the people on the previous occasion. That is why honorablemembers are voting for the Bill. Will any honorable member tell me that the State' Premiers would fall in behind the Prime Minister and support the granting of these powers to the Commonwealth if they were intended to be effective? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- Why did the honorable member agree to what the State Premiers did in 1915? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I agreed on that occasion because I believed they intended to. give to the Commonwealth, not the powers conferred by the two Bills at present before the House, but the wider powers contained in the 1915 Bills. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- Did not the State Premiers believe in that year that we would put those powers into operation? {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- They did; but they did not carry out their promises. **Mr. Holman** was the only Premier who carried the necessary legislation through both Houses of a State Parliament. The then Premier of Western Australia **(Mr. Scaddan)** did not even introduce a Bill, and in Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland the Bills were passed through the Legislative Assembly but were rejected by the Legislative Council. The powers then sought were not the same as those contained in this Bill and the sister measure. Even the Prime Minister will not say that these proposals are on all fours with those of 1915. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- Yes; with the exception of the provision relating to railways. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- But the amendment made by the Senate eliminates paragraph *a,* which gives power to control corporations. {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- That will not limit our powerover.corporatians Mr.TUDOR. - Honorable members opposite, after limiting to one hour the time for the discussion of the Senate's amendment, granted an extension of time to the' Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** thus cutting down to twenty-three minutes the time available for voicing opposition to the proposal, and that time is being whittled away by interjections. I shall vote against the amendment, because I do not believe that it improves the Bill. It is introduced for the pur pose of injuring the Bill, by further curtailing its usefulness, and is in the interests of that section of the community who are exploiting the great masses of the people. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- I rise to a question of privilege. I have not been treated fairly in respect of the limitation of time. As a matter of privilege, I move - >That the time allotted for the consideration of the Senate's amendments be extended until 11 p.m. this day. {: #debate-32-s19 .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter: -- The motion is not in order. {: #debate-32-s20 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST:
Kooyong -- I do not think the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Tudor)** would attempt to wilfully mislead the. Committee, but he has spoken under a distinct misapprehension of the facts. If he states deliberately that this Bill, asamended by the Senate, does not provide for the complete regulation and control of corporations, his statement is totally inaccurate. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It is perfectly correct; the Prime Minister has said so. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** could not have said such a thing. The amendment is to strike out paragraph *a* of clause 3, which refers to the creation, dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations. What was contemplated when that clause was framed originally was the creation by the Commonwealth of a Federal law for the creation and registration of companies; but as it is realized that these powers are to last for a very limited period, the Legal Committee have thought it would be undesirable for a new Commonwealth law to be created, corporations to form and operate under it and vested interests to arise, when complication and confusion are inevitable if the enjoyment of these powers by the Commonwealth is not continued beyond the provisional period of three years. Consequently, the amendment proposes that the creation of corporations by the Commonwealth shall not be permitted. Under the existing law the only corporations which are, or can be created, are those created under State laws, and in respect of all existing corporations it is proposed- {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- I rise to a point of order, and. I have only two minutes in which to state it. My point of order is that any law passed in accordance with *Constitution Alteration* [10 October, 1919.] *(Legislative Powers) Bill.* 13299 this Bill will have no effect. Therefore, I shall support the amendment. {: .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter: -- That is not a point of order. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- By the Bill as amended by the Senate this Parliament will have full and complete power under paragraph *b* to legislate in respect of the dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations formed under the law of a State. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- Before 3 o'clock arrives I ask the. Prime Minister to extend the time for the consideration of these amendments. {: #debate-32-s21 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- I rise to a point of order. It is not right to extend the time. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- Under paragraph *b* this Parliament will have full power to make laws regarding corporations in existence under the State laws, including their dissolution, regulation, and control. Mr.Anstey. - I rise to a point of order. I contend that the honorable member is not discussing the amendment.' {: .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter: -- Order ! The time allowed for the discussion of the motion has ex- {: #debate-32-s22 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- **Mr. Chanter,** I wish to address myself to this question. A few minutes ago, I asked the Prime Minister to extend the time, and- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! Will the honorable member please resume his seat. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The Prime Minister has no right, on a question of this sort, to- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The question is - " That the Senate's amendments be agreed to." {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It is not fair- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- If the honorable member for Melbourne Ports does not resume his seat,. I shall name him for disobeying the Chair. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The Prime Minister has not treated this House properly over this matter, and I say- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I again warn the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that if he does not resume his seat,I shall name him. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The Prime Minister has agreed to amendments, which have cut the vitals out of the Bill, and yet he will not allow us to talk on it. Question -That the Senate's amendments be agreed to - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 40 NOES: 16 Majority . . . . 24 AYES NOES Question so resolvedin the affirmative. Question - That the resolution be reported - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 40 NOES: 16 Majority . . . . 24 13300 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *(Nationalization of* AYES NOES Question so resolved in theaffirmative. Resolution reported. Motion (byMr. Hughes) proposed - That the report be adopted. **Mr. MATHEWS** (Melbourne Ports) [3.131. - I accepted the Bill as originally introduced, because it was the best I could get, and I supported the Government in passing not what I wanted, but what they desired, as it was all that I could get. {: #debate-32-s23 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- I remind the honorable member that the time allowed for the discussion on this matter was until 3 p.m. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Surely you will allow a debate on the report stage? {: #debate-32-s24 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The House has ordered otherwise, and I am bound to obey the order of the House. Question - That the report be adopted -put. The House divided. AYES: 41 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 29 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative by an absolute majority of the House. Report adopted. {: .page-start } page 13300 {:#debate-33} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (NATIONALIZATION OF MONOPOLIES) BILL Senate's Amendment. *In Committee* (Consideration of Senate's amendment). Clause 3 (Duration of alterations). *Senate's Amendment.* - Add the following new sub-clause: - " (2) No law passed by the Parliament by virtue of the powers conferred by this Act shall continue to have any force or effect, by virtue of this Act, after the alterations made by this Act have ceased to have effect." {: #debate-33-s0 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT -- I move - >That the Senate's amendment be agreed to. The amendment made by the Senate is before honorable members, and it only remains for me to explain its effect on the Bill, and the reasons forthe Government accepting it. The clause it is proposed to amend is as follows: - >The alterations made by this Act shall remain in force - > >until the expiration of three years from the assent of the GovernorGeneralthereto; or > >until a Convention constituted by the Commonwealth makes recommendations for the alteration of the Constitution and the people indorse those recommendations, whichever first happens, and shall then cease to . have effect: > >Provided that if no such Convention is constituted by the Commonwealth before the 31st day of December, 1920, the alterations made by this Act shall cease to have effect on the said 31st day of December, 1920. The amendment is a replica of the amendment made by the Senate in the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill. It sets out in plain terms the effect of the provision in clause 3 of this Bill, and clause 6 of the other Bill. It does not, in my opinion, alter the purpose or the effect of the Bill ; but it, at any rate, makes it perfectly clear that this is a temporary measure. If a Convention is not called, or if the people do not indorse the recommendations of the Convention when it is called, then, after the expiration of three years, the whole thing lapses. As I explained before, this is exactly analogous to the regulations under the War Precautions Act. When that Act fails, all the regulations under it also fail, and when this Bill fails, all -the laws passed under it fail. The position is obvious; and I am not going to labour the matter. There is no alteration in the substance of the clause, and honorable members can vote for the acceptance of this amendment with the knowledge that they are committing themselves to no other principle than that which is embodied in the Bill itself,- excepting the possible and plain assurance that, unless the conditions s°t forth in the Bill are met, then the power of the Bill, and all done under that power, lapses. We ask for this as a temporary measure, and we propose to call a Convention which will place the matter before the people for- decision. If the people decide against any alteration recommended, or if nothing is done by a Convention for three years, the whole thing lapses. I commend the amendment, and hope the Committee will agree to it. {: #debate-33-s1 .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON:
Brisbane .- Had I been oppressed with any lingering doubts as to the correctness of my attitude in regard to the Referendum Bills, the attitude of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** to-day would have quite dispelled them. I desire to call attention very briefly to the position as it presents itself to me now. The Prime Minister has explained that this is a temporary measure. The Government are asking the people to give them temporary powers to deal with the trade and commerce of this country - with vital interests affecting the prosperity of the country, with all the ramifications of the most important matters to which we can devote our attention as connected with the development of the resources of the country. Tile Prime Minister points out that this measure confers powers analogous to those under the War Precautions Act. If the effect of these increased powers on trade and commerce is to be at all analogous to the effect on trade and commerce of the War Precautions Act, then God save Australia from any more interference by the Government in the commercial affairs of the community ! Nothing more destructive of trade and business, nothing more obstructive of the development of the interests of Australia, nothing more damaging to the resources of the country has happened during our life time, or during the period of Federation, than the operations of the War Precautions Act. Honorable members opposite have not ceased to denounce the obnoxious, irritating, and stupid interferences under the powers of the War Precautions Act regulations with the commercial interests of this country. The honorable member for Dampier **(Mr. Gregory),** for instance, has not failed to denounce the interference under the War Precautions Act with the metal industry, and the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Boyd)** knows how that Act has affected adversely the shipping interests of the community. There is not an interest connected with trading, producing, or manufacturing that has not suffered, and suffered keenly, under the War Precautions regulations. Yet, we have it clearly and .explicitly stated by the Prime Minister to-day that all the powers which are sought under the referendum proposals are to continue the War Precautions regulation powers. I hope the business people of Australia understand this; at any rate, I shall do my best to tell them that all the interferences, obstacles, and stupid- annoyances they have had to suffer under the War Precautions Act and regulations are to be perpetrated if they vote " Yes " for the powers now sought. I am more sure to-day than I was lastweek as to the futility of these powers to advance Australian interests; and my view is confirmed absolutely by what the Prime Minister has told us to-day. He has said what is absolutely incorrect, namely, that these powers are identical with the powers we sought under the referenda of 1911 and 1913, and the referendum proposals of 1915, which were . accepted by the Premiers of the States. The Prime Minister cannot produce a testimony from any Premier in Australia to-day that will identify the powers under this Bill with those sought under the 1915 proposals. The Prime Minister need not attempt to convince me, and I think he will fail also to convince a large majority of the thinking section of the community, that what he proposes now is on the same lines with what he proposed previously. He has admitted to-day, in so many words, that he has had to pay a price to get these proposals through, and the price in regard to the monopoly proposals is that a time limit is set to them, 13302 *Constitution Alteration* [REPRESENTATIVES . ] *(Nationalization of* and a circumlocutory method is to be adopted before "we can arrive at what is a monopoly. I ask honorable members opposite to remember that three years is the extreme limit of the life of these powers. I cannot but think of the interference during three years with the commercial interests of the community; of a continuation of the annoyance that the commercial community has suffered under the War Precautions Act; of a continuation of the same strangling, obstructive influences' against the establishment of new businesses and the opening up of this country in so many different directions which is necessary if we are to meet our obligations. Instead of inducements to the establishment of new industries; instead of encouragement to open up the country by means of development so as to provide employmentand increase our production, so that we may be able to meet our increased financial obligations caused through the war, we have proposals to continue this unwise interference for three years. One wonders really if it is possible to get honorable members to look at this matter from an Australian point of view, instead of a party political point of view. There is not an honorable member here who understands anything at all about business, who understands how destructive any interference by Government officials can fee in the course of business, who does not realize that no man or body of men would deliberately invest money in enterprises in this country if he or they were to be subject to the exercise of powers under this measure. Instead of there being any encouragement offered under this Bill, it wall have exactly the opposite effect. We have only to advertise to the world that any person who desires to establish a business in this country will be subject to the continuance of the War Precautions regulations - which the Prime Minister says is the object of this Bill - and the door will be closed to all fresh commercial enterprises. {: .speaker-JRP} ##### Mr Boyd: -- But what would have happened if your proposals had been given effect to? {: .speaker-KEX} ##### Mr FINLAYSON: -- In 1915, we proposed to establish the right of the Commonwealth to have a companies law. **Mr. Hughes** had said that State laws were ineffective, because they could only deal with companies operating within the borders of those States. He had pointed out that the Commonwealth possessed no power under the Constitution to enact a companies law. That was clear from a decision of the High Court. We proposed that the Commonwealth should secure the right to have a companies law of its own, and that, under that law, the Commonwealth should be able to deal, not only with the operations, but with the creation of any company. My objection to the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill at this juncture is due to the elimination of the power whereby we sought to control the creation of companies in Australia. Here we are facing an entirely different aspect of the matter under the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies)' Bill; and the Prime Minister says he recommends Parliament to accept this limitation, namely, that for three years the control shall continue, whereupon all the arrangements then in oparation are automatically to go by the board. What encouragement is there now for any one to launch into commercial enterprises 'under these powers? Here is the certainty that their operations will be continually obstructed. Those of us 'who . have had a little experience in business know that, under such powers as are proposed in this Bill, if they are to be operated along the same channels as during the past four years - the period of operation of the War Precautions Act - no expansion of our commercial life could be possible. We could not hope to see fresh capital introduced to this country ; indeed, there would be a tightening of established developmental work in Australia. Australians, and intending Australians, will not enter upon operations if they know that powers have been granted which may have the effect at the end of three years of compelling all those operations to 'cease, according to the decision of the Convention. I shall advise my constituents to refuse these powers to the Government, and to accept the alternative proposals of the Labour party - proposals which will give some guarantee that, not temporarily, but permanently, we shall control the most vital interests' of the Commonwealth. What twaddle it is to hear the Government talking of the urgent necessity for developing the country! How can they Monopolies) *Bill.* [10 October, 1919.] Northern *Territory.* 13303 expect to see any considerable development when their vision can carry them forward for only three years? Their ideas' of setting. Australia upon an era of enhanced progress are bounded by a period of three years. They can see no further. The Labour party have a wider vision. We should enter on a policy of developing commercial enterprise; a policy of business foresight that would carry us ahead, not for three years, but for 300 years; a policy that would lay down a sound and broad basis, with a guarantee of permanence, for those who may desire to make Australia their home. Question resolved in the affirmative. Resolution reported. Motion (by **Mr. Hughes)** proposed - >That the report be adopted. {: #debate-33-s2 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson: -- There must be a division in order to ascertain whether there is. an absolute majority of the House in. favour of the motion. Question put. The House divided. AYES: 42 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 30 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative by an absolute majority of the House. Report adopted. House adjourned at 3.45 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 October 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.