8th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– A volume containing the Treaty of Peace, with facsimiles of the signatures of those who signed that document, and maps of the areas affected, has been distributed by the Clerk to the various parties which constitute this assembly,and I askthe Acting Treasurer whether representations cannot be made to the proper authorities, with a view to providing every member of this House, and ofthe Senate, with a copy?
– The request is a perfectlyfair one. I do not know how many copies have been received. I got my copythe other day.
Mr.Tudor.-I have been told that eight copies were made available to members ofthe Labour party, and, I think, about the same number to the members of the Ministerial party, other than Ministers. I think itshould be possible to obtain a copy for every member.
– I think so; and I. shall see the Prime Minister and ascertain what we can do in the matter.
-Is there any likelihood of an amendment of thePublic Service Act this session on thelines promised?
– It is the intention of the Government to bring in an amending Bill this session.
Mr.BURCHELL.- Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to certain articles in the Japanese newspapers in which it is allegedthatthe Commonwealth Government refused permission to the Japanese steamersNanking Maru and Madras Maru to engage inthe trade from Rabaul, while the American vessel C. D.Bryant, was allowed to do so ? .Will the right honorable gentleman make a statement to the House on the subject?:
– The honorable member was good enough to give me noticeof his intention to ask this question. In reply,I maysay that,in June, 1919, permission was refused to the Nanking Maru, and in March, 1920,permissionwas refused to theMadrasMaru, to carry cargo from Rabaul to Sydney. These steamers donot comply withthe coastal trade provisionsof the Navigation Act, and the refusal was in accordance with thepolicy approvedbythe House whenthe Bill to amend the NavigationAct waspassed in October,l919.Nopermission has been given to any vessel, noton the Australian register, to carry cargofrom Rabaul to Australia: Permission was given for the C. D. Bryantto carry copra from Rabaul toSan Francisco. Inthis respect, there has beenno discrimination against Japan, for permission has also, on occasions, been given for copra to be taken from Rabaul to Japan . TheNanking Maruand the Madras Maru brought cargo from Japan to Rabaul, and landed itat Rabaul without . restrictionby the authorities. . The only restrictionplaced upon them was in respect of trade between Rabaul and Australia, and, in this respect, they were
treated as any otherforeign vessel not complying with the Navigation Act would have been treated.
– Many wool-growers would like to subscribe to the new Peace Loan, but they are in doubt as to the attitude of the Government in regard to the woolsold to the Imperial authorities. Can the Prime Minister say what action it is proposed to take for the distribution of those profits?
– I said yesterday that I was unable to make a definite statement. I have made repeated representations to the British Government, by whom I have been informed, that a sum ofmoney will be made available shortly for distribution. The amount has been variously, stated, and I communicated again, with them on the matter to-day. All moneys so made available will be distributed on the advice, and through the agency, of thePool to the growers whose property the wool was.
– Considerable delay has taken place in handing over to the various shires and municipalities their share of war trophies. The Lord Mayor of Sydney informs me that he has no authority; to call together the mayors to discuss thematter. I ask the Prime Minister if he will stir up the Department in charge, so that , the distribution may be made expeditiously.
– I am not aware of what is taking place, but I shall get into touch with the Department concerned, and seewhat can be done to expedite distribution.
– Will the Acting Treasurerbe good enough to answer the questionI asked some time ago on the motion for theadjournment of the House, as tothe authority under which he paid over Common wealth money , in connexion with the Nauru Island agreement?
-As the Prime Minister has conducted the negotiations with the British Government, I suggest that thequestion should be addressed to him.
– The honorable member may repeat the question to the Prime Minister.
– I do not wish to repeat it. The Acting Treasurer said that he would give me the information, and he has not done so.
– I have received an intimation from the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) that he desires to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ The continued operation of the War Precautions Act and the deportation without trial, in times of peace, of persons resident in the Commonwealth.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
– Before calling upon the honorable member for Yarra, I remind him of. the ruling already given in regard to the discussion of matters that aresub judice .
– That is a gratuitous assumption. You should not hector members in advance as to what they are to say.
– I am the best judge of that. .
. Honorable members who have been in the House since 1914 are fully aware of the history of the War Precautions Act. Theoriginal Bill was introduced by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) on the 28th October, 1914, and on that occasion the right honorable gentleman said, as reported in Hansard, page 369, volume LXXV. -
The Bill confers upon the Commonwealth power to make orders and regulations of a far-reaching character, and, as honorable members may see in clauses 4 and 5, is mainly directed topreventing the leakage of important secrets,to secure the safety of means of communication, railways, docks, harbors, or public works, and to deal effectively with aliens, and, in certain circumstances, with naturalized persons. Its aim ‘is to prevent the disclosure of, important information, to give power to deport and otherwise deal with aliens, to interrogate and obtaininformation in various ways, and to appoint officers to carry into effect any orders or regulations which may be made under the Bill.
That measure was introduced and carried through all stages in one day; no division was taken on the measure, and no amendment was moved. If time permitted, I could quote the remarks of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs), who protested against panicky legislation at a time when people were not in a position to judge whether or not such legislation was proper. The honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt), the then honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Irvine), and the present Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) expressed a fear that the Bill would be used for purposes not set forth in the measure, and honorable members who have studied the history of the Act know that that has been done, especially during the last two or three years. Section 2 of the original Act provides -
This Act shall continue in operation during the continuance of the present state of war, and no longer.
That was the express limitation of its operation. The two amending measures in 1915 did not affect that section, but the last Amending Act passed, in 1918, enacted -
Section 2 of the principal Act is amended by inserting in sub-section (1) thereof, after the words “ state of war,” the words “ and for a period of three months thereafter, or until the 31st day of July, 1919, whichever period is the longer.”
Some honorable members who sit to-day, as they sat then, in the Ministerial corner, protested violently against any extension of the period of operation of this Statute. They objected to it operating for one day longer than was necessary, and every member of the party sitting on this side of the House voted against any extension of the Act. The honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory) complained that the Act and the regulations thereunder were upsetting the commercial world. I, whilst admitting that certain sections of the Act had worked advantageously, protested against the continuance in operation of certain powers whilst others were dropped. The regulations which dealt with price fixing did afford a certain amount of relief to the community, but price fixing was abandoned by the Government, notwithstanding that I recollect the Prime Minister saying that price fixing operations under the Act had saved to the purchasing community about £3,000,000. Other powers under the War Precautions Act are still being operated. I am convinced that, had the Ministry not given their word to the Corner party that the Act would terminate on the 31st July, 1919, or three months after the declaration pf peace, the 1918 Bill would have been defeated.
– The Government could not have passed it through the House.
– Yet certain sections of the Act, and certain regulations made under it, are still in operation. I know, sir, that you will not allow me to refer to a particular case, which was mentioned yesterday, and which is said to be sub judice. I remarked yesterday that it is very strange that, whilst we in this House are prevented from discussing that case, outside persons and Ministers on public platforms can say anything they please. Why are they not haled before the Courts for contempt? And why were members in another place allowed to discuss this matter yesterday for upwards of an hour and a half, one gentleman making charges, and a member of the Government replying to him? Apparently, in every other building in Australia persons are at liberty to say what they like about this case, but we in this House may say nothing. I say here, as I have- said elsewhere, that I am opposed to the deportation of any person without trial. When the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs), on the 15th August 1919, moved the adjournment of the House to discuss the matter of deportations, he put on record communications from the Defence Department, and showed how the authorities were separating husbands from wives, and children from their parents. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) informed this House a few days ago that 122 or more Australian children have been sent out of this country. I agree with the honorable member for Capricornia in his remarks, made in October, 1914, upon the War Precautions Bill, when he said: -
The time allowed to consider so important a measure seems to me to be too short. The Bill proposes to establish Naval and Military
Courts and Courts Martial. These, I imagine, will be secret tribunals. Neither the public nor the press will be allowed to be present at the trial of any person before them. While I am with the Government in every endeavour they make to get hold of any enemy in Australia, and to put him where he ought to be, I wish to know whether they are making due provision for the protection that ought to be afforded to every person who comes to Australia at our invitation, and who makes his home here. I regret to find that there is- a feeling against Germans who have come to Australia, and have made their homes here at our invitation - people who have raised families here, and whose sons and daughters are in every respect good citizens of Australia. What may be described as a “ pannicky “ feeling has taken possession of some members of the community,. and it is causing a great deal of cruelty to be exhibited to certain persons who are good citizens of Australia.
That was true at that time. It may have been panic legislation. I was a member of the Government which passed it. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) truly said the other day that we were going to resign at one particular stage when we were both members of the Fisher Ministry. That is not the only time when I was about to resign. However, I was not prepared to take the extreme step of resigning over every matter coming (before Cabinet with which I disagreed. Surely at this stage, so long after the signing of the armistice, we should have advanced far and away from this piece of legislation. There is no reason to-day to do things and make provision for emergencies which might have been necessary during a time of war.
I have never seen any one of those individuals whom it has been proposed to deport or who have been deported, but I take the stand that before we deport anybody - any man or woman who has been in Australia from birth, or who has been here for many years - a fair trial should be afforded in these times of peace before deportation takes place. It has been stated, both in this Chamber and elsewhere, that by the action of the Government, Magna Charta has been virtually torn up. Every man is entitled to fair and proper consideration of his case. There is no need for the War Precautions Act to operate to-day. The then Acting AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Groom) moved the second reading of the Bill to amend the War
Precautions Act in 1918, soon after the armistice had been’ signed, and he knows that the second reading, would have been, defeated if the Government had not agreed to insert a time limit. When that time limit was. included it was considered that July, 1919 - so late a period after the armistice had been agreed to - would furnish a reasonable term for the operation of the measure. To-day is twelve months later, but the Act is still in operation so far as the liberty of certain persons is concerned. The Government may say that they have reason for their action. What is that reason ? We have a right to know. I am not free to say what was said in another place yesterday by the Leader of our party in that Chamber. The statement of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), delivered elsewhere, would have been ruled out of order if one of his colleagues had sought to make it in this Chamber. Why should there be one set of rules for the guidance of one place and another set for the con- ‘ duct of this Chamber?
– Each Chamber makes its own rules.
– The honorable member knows full well that one can refer to the matter to which I allude in any town or city or building in the Commonwealth, except within these four walls. I supported the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Higgs) when he moved his adjournment motion nearly twelve months ago; and I recall that I, with other gentlemen, waited upon the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) and sought a definite decision in regard to the termination of the War Precautions Act. We had never understood that it would have operated as it has done, or for so long. If these persons who have been deported, or are to be deported, are a danger to the community they should be dealt with. I do not care who or what they are; but every man is entitled to a fair trial. A former member of the present Government, Mr. Glynn, stated that there was no single definite charge against the gentleman whose case is now the subject of everybody’s attention. I demand a definite statement from the Government concerning how long the War Precautions Act is to operate. Is it to cease totally, or is it to be whittled away so that’-‘ those portions which are advantageous to the community shall be done away’-wi’th and only those parts allowed fe’6’ remain which can operate unfairly upon certain sections of the community? This Act, and every Act passed by the Federal Parliament, should be administered by the Government without bias and irrespective of political or religious opinion: When the present Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) .brought forward ‘his Bill to amend’ the War Precautions Act he said -
Section 2 of the Act provides -
This Act shall continue in operation during the continuance of the present state of war, and no longer.
Then the Minister dealt with the matter of the proclamation. He continued -
When that proclamation has been issued it means the termination of the present state of war as far as this Act is concerned.
I remind honorable members that this debate occurred on the 12th December, 1918 - more than a month after the armistice had ‘ been signed. “ Hansard records that, following upon the statement of the Minister, which I have just quoted, the following occurred : -
Mr. Boyd. ; It does not extend to the ratification of treaties by interested parties.
– Taking . the interpretation which has been put on corresponding. Acts in the Old Country, as I stated in moving the second reading, the accepted view is that the exchange of ratifications marks- the’ termination of .the war.
Later, the Minister said - .
With the amendment I have indicated, the principal Act will then’ read -
This Act shall continue in operation dur- ing -the continuance of the present state !” of .war- and for a period of three months ? thereafter,’ or until the 31st July, 1911), whichever period is the longer, and no
If technically, the war does not finish until next June, that will not affect the attitude of _the Government in regard’ to the revision of all these regulations.
The Hansard report proceeds -
Mr. Leckie. ; Then, why prolong the Act for three months afterwards?
– Because: after peace has been signed, certain precautionary measures may have to be taken as a result; of the Treaty of Peace itself. We are asking for this period of three months in order to enable us to safe:guard the interests of our country. ‘: ’. ,i
That was in December, 1918; and yet, to-day, more than, “eighteen months having elapsed since;’ that -.’time, we find the Act still %c in operation against, not the whole community, but only certain sections;1 of “its; 1 have moved the adjournment, of the” House to protest against the application, pf -the Act during all this time to only sections of the community after any benefits that might have attached to it have been whittled away by the Government, .’.who,- for. their own political purposes,, have, continued in. force only certain parts of the -Statute.
– I shall be very .brief. ;ThI Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) has moved the adjournment of ‘ the House to protest against “ The continued operation of the War Precautions Act, and the deportation,, without trial, in times of peace, of persons resident in the Commonwealth.” The honorable member, who was a member of , the Government which brought that Act into existence, told me only ten minutes’ before the .House met that he proposed’ to take’ this action, and I have thus had but little time to refresh my memory by reference to Hansard. ‘My references to the records, therefore, must necessarily be of- a -fragmentary character. ‘ It was generally agreed by the party to which I and the honorable member at the time belonged, that a War Pre- cautions Act was necessary.
– Hear; hear !
– A certain section of the party, however, voted, against it.
– The original Act was carried without any opposition whatever.
– The honorable member voted for it. -. I find., that, on a proposed amend’m’ent of a clause that might be termed the. most .objectionable of all the. provisions of the War Precautions Act (No. 2). of 1915 ‘a division was taken on the motion of the honorable member for Bourke ‘(Mr:- Anstey) and that there were only’ five votes recorded for the “Ayes.” Those. : who voted for the amendment were the .honorable member for. Melbourne. (Dr. Maloney), Mr. King O’Malley. (who then represented Darwin), the honorable ‘member for Batman (Mr. Brennan)’, and the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath).
Among those who voted for the clause as it stood were the following members of the then Labour party: - Mr. Burns, Mr. Carr, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton), Mr. Dankel, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Hampson, Mr. Hannan, Mr. Jensen. Mr. Lynch, the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Parker Moloney), the honorable member for Mar,anoa (Mr. Page), the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Poynton), the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. Riley), the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Laird Smith), Mr. Spence, Mr. Thomas, the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins), Mr. Webster, the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West), Mr. Yates, and myself. I quote these names only to show that an overwhelming majority of the Labour party at that time affirmed the basic principle of the Act, and did so in the face of representations madebythe honorable member for Bourke in regard to the effect of this legislation,which, compared with those just made by my honorable friend, were as a thousand candle-power light to a tallow dip. The Labour party supported this form of legislation with their eyes open.
So much for the genesis of the Act. The authors of it were the Labour party. It could not have been carried without their support; and only five of its members voted against the principal clause to which I have referred. Speaking last week, I said that the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) had not changed; that in 1915 he was where he is now.
– I supported the original War Precautions Act. I did not vote against it.
– But I am speaking of the. Act of 1915. When speaking to the motion submitted last week by the honorable member, I called attention to the change which came over the attitude of the Labour party;and I may be permitted, perhaps, to point out that that was one ofthe first indications of that change expressed in terms of legislative activity. The Labour party was responsible for this Act, and I have not the slightest doubt that if that party, with the policy upon which it was returned by the people in 1914, had been inoffice to-day, it would have found the same reasons for continu-. ing it that the present Government have found.
All that has been said by the Leader of the Opposition was said with very much greater force by the honorable member for Bourke and the honorable member for Batman in 1915, yet the honorable member voted for the objectionable clause. I shall, therefore, direct my remarks to that phase of the motion in which complaint is made of the application of the War Precautions Act to deportations. The honorable member asked why we applied the Act, now that the war was over, to the deportation of persons resident in the Commonwealth. The answer is very simple. These men could not be deported during the war. They were interned during the war, and the reason is sufficiently obvious. If I were asked why the case of the particular gentleman about whom my honorable friends opposite are so much concerned, has been dealt with at so late a stage,- I would say that it is owing to the mistaken weakness of this Government, who listened time and again to representations made by honorable members opposite–
– I rise to order. The Prime Minister offends my sensitive ear by breaking the ruling so solemnly propounded yesterday by Mr. Speaker that we were not to discuss the particular case just mentioned by him. Mr. Speaker even warned us at the outset of to-day’s proceedings that we must not discuss it. If the Prime Minister is to be allowed by you, Mr. Deputy Speaker to discuss that matter, then we must all be allowed to deal with it.
-It will not be in order for the Prime Minister or any other honorable member to deal with any case that is now sub judice.
– Long before the last Parliament was dissolved representations were made to me by members of the Labour party that the deportation to which reference has been made should be delayed, and I agreedto that delay in order that every opportunity–
– I object–
– I direct your attention, Mr. DeputySpeaker, to the fact that the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), who, a moment ago, rose to a point of order, declines to obey that elementary and fundamental rule of the
House that honorable members shall be heard in silence. I do not propose to allow the honorable member to interrupt me. He must be silent while I am speaking, or else leave the chamber. I listened to the representations I have mentioned, and when the new Parliament assembled I was again met by what was, in effect, a round robin pleading that further delay should be granted. I agreed to that. Then it was suggested that the person concerned should have a fair trial before the Solicitor-General. A deputation waited on me urging this course. The members said that they would abide by the decision of the SolicitorGeneral. I agreed to the suggestion. -I agreed to all they asked ; the deportation long agreed upon was delayed, the tribunal asked for was granted; and if I am asked why this which is now done was not done before, my reply is that it was because of the representations of those who asked for delay. To this man consideration has been extended far beyond that extended to any other. The reason, then, why deportations are being carried out now is that they could not be carried out during the war, and the reason why this particular deportation is so delayed is because of the representations to which I have referred, and to which in a moment -of excusable weakness - if honorable members like to put it in that way - I listened.
– I rise to a point of order.
– Let it go.
M-r. Lavelle. - No. It also offends my sensitive ear, and my sense of justice, to hear the Prime Minister being allowed to discuss this particular case when no one. else is permitted to do so.
– I have listened very attentively and closely to what the Prime Minister has been saying. I am quite prepared to deal with him as I would with any other honorable member.
– Indeed, you are not.
– I call upon the honorable member for Hume to withdraw that expression, and apologize to the House.
– Having said it, I withdraw it.
– The honorable member must also apologize to the House.
– Yes, I am ready to do anything you like.
– I did not hear one sentence in which the Prime Minister referred to any particular deportee. It is the duty of the Chair to .take action when action is necessary, and had the Prime Minister attempted to deal with, or indicate any particular case, I would have called him to order. In the terms of the motion I cannot call any honorable member to order for dealing generally with deportations; but if any attempt is made to deal with a case which is now sub judice, and before the Courts, I shall exercise the authority of the Chair.
– The- honorable member has asked why the War Precautions Act has been used for the purpose of deporting persons, whom, under its provisions, it has been found necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth to deport, and I was saying that it was one of the chief purposes for which” the Act was brought into force. I was also saying that the principal reason why deportations had not been gone on with at an earlier stage, was ‘first, that it was impossible to deport these persons during the war, and secondly, because representations were made to which the Government listened, and those representations were in favour of delay. Owing to the wording of the motion, and the decision of the Chair, it is impossible to deal with the merits of particular deportations, and, therefore, I shall not attempt to do so. I am content to say, in regard to deportations generally, that the only charges that can be laid at the door of the Government are that it has not deported men who ought to have been deported; that it has extended undue consideration to certain persons, and has allowed the law to slumber when it should have been active. Those are the only charges that can be made against the Government. So far as the War Precautions Act is concerned, I said, when I introduced it years ago, that every man should have the opportunity of being heard, and every man has been given an ample opportunity of being heard. It is now said that every man should have a trial before a jury . Every one knows that, in the very nature of the case, it would be impossible to get a conviction against such persons before a jury. Every witness who came forward would be a marked man. We know what is occurring in other countries, where the man who dares to come forward and give evidence is shot.
– The honorable member has reached his time limit.
.- I appreciate the spirit in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) quoted from Hansard the names of the five honorable members who voted in opposition to the Fisher Government on that important division which took place during the discussion in Committee of the War Precautions Bill. There must be some honorable members now present who remember the attitude I have always taken up when anything relating to the Defence Department or the War Precautions Act, in particular, has been before the House.I never allowed a clause to pass by if there was the slightest doubt that the civil power would not be more powerful than the military law. I moved amendments to the War Precautions Bill; other amendments were moved by the party to which I belonged, even when we were sitting behind the Fisher Government, andI permitted no clause of that measure to pass without the assurance of the then Prime Minister (Mr. Andrew Fisher) upon the point of the dominance of the civil power over military law. Towards the end ofthe night, when the Bill was under discussion, the present Prime Minister, who was then Attorney-General in the Fisher Government, became angry, and asked me why I would not accept his assurance on the point. I told him that I would not take his word on account of the deception put up in the Melbourne Trades Hall, at the time I was Vice-President of the Central Executive of the Labour party, and he, accompanied by Mr. Andrew Fisher, Senator McGregor, Mr. Batchelor, and other members of the Watson Government, came to us as a deputation, informing us that in order to. “ dish “ the Reidites the New South Wales Executive had passed a resolution granting immunity to any of the Liberals supporting the Watson Government to the end of the Parliament, and asking the Victorian Executive to adopt a similar resolution.
– How does the honorable member propose to connect his remarks with the motion before the Chair?
– I am showing the attitudeof the Prime Minister on that occasion, and endeavouring to point out the illegality of actions taken under the War Precautions Act. At any rate, when I refused to accept his assurance in regard to the point I had raised in the House, he left the chamber and brought in Mr. Fisher, who informed me that the particular provision of the Bill to which I was drawing attention left the civil authority more powerful than the military. Will any honorable member say, in regard to the deportation of persons without trial, that the military is not stronger than the civil power? The civil power has been degraded by the War Precautions Act. That Act was passed on the understanding that it would have force during the war, not for three or six or eighteen months after the war. I have never defended a guilty man. Any one who is a traitor to Australia is a traitor to my country, which, with me, comes before England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales. But the war is ended. We are no longer fighting with Germany, with Austria, or with Hungary.
– Peace has not been signed with all the countries with which we were at war:
– The infernal military party in England, like the military party here, is keeping the struggle alive. There are no armies now facing ours.
– It is the international jurists and diplomats who are’ arranging the basis of peace.
– We have too much law and too much quibbling. I am proud that I, with four others, voted as I did in the division to which attention has been directed. Of the five, only one is now missing from the House, but of all those who voted against us, Ministers, and others, there are many now missing; gone to the political limbo!
– We have not all such safe seats as yours.
– My seat is safe, I suppose, because I trust the people, and have given them the right to recall me if they wish to do so. For between thirty-five and forty years I was a member of a German workmen’s club here, and in its gymnasium I developed the comparatively large chest which I possess, and which, I believe, saved my life the other day. When the authorities proposed to close that place, I introduced a deputation to that superfine gentleman, the ‘ Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), who said- that there was nothing against the management of the . gymnasium, but that on account of difficulties that had arisen in Melbourne, it was thought well to close it ; so the place was closed, with a mortgage upon it. Over thirty young men of German parentage went from it to the Front; to Gallipoli, to France, and elsewhere; and many of “them will never return. My Democracy was taught to me by old members of that club, and if they had their way, there would be neither Kaiser nor King on any throne in the world. Now this Governmnent is trying to rob the club by offering a paltry £8,000 for a property for which £10,000 has been offered. I sent the figures to the Minister, and asked that this wrong should not be done. People fought not to be ‘ forced to the Law Courts to get their rights. The Government does nothing for ,the physical training of the young men and young women of this city,; but hundreds of nien owe their fine physique to that club. The members of the City of Melbourne Swimming Club, of which I am president, have started a -free gymnasium, in the hope of doing good in this way. As a medical man, I say that the closing of the gymnasium to which I referred put a blot on the escutcheon of the Defence Department. By some persons, no one having a German name, no matter how good he may be, is regarded with honour. Lieutenant-General Monash is a good Australian, who proved his qualities on the field, but the gilt-spurred roosters in the Defence Department do not give him his rights, because he does not belong to the little gang that has the ear of Senator Pearce. The House, however, will not allow him to be passed over. I have had a ^quarrel with him, and would like to know who wrote or forged his name to a telegram in regard to Ozanne, which was sent out here.
– Is that matter sub judice?
– Unfortunately, it is not. It has been settled by, in my opinion, a biased Judge. If the recall of the Judiciary were in operation in
Australia, there are Judges now sitting on the Bench who would be removed.
– Is it not distinctly disorderly to reflect on the conduct of a Judge?
– I ask the honorable member to withdraw the observation.
– I withdraw it. Our rules of debate need amendment ; we have not the freedom of speech that they have in the Senate. No man would dare to tell his constituents that he was opposed to any one having a fair trial. The War Precautions Act is being manipulated by the Departments. Within the past two or three days, thirty or forty regulations, all having the force of law, have been sent to honorable members. Not a legal man in the city can say that he has a grasp of the law created by these regulations. During the war, as many as 340 were issued within a single year, and this year about. 120 have been issued. They are turned out like sausages from a machine. Andrew Fisher was an- honest politician. He gave his word that the civil law would be more powerful than the military law. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews), and myself fought continuously to make that certain. The promises made have been wilfully and brutally broken. No honorable member can now truthfully say that the civil power is not subservient to the military power. Is this to continue for all time? No honorable member would dare to tell his electors that he favoured allowing the military to be superior to the civil power. If men are guilty, let them be punished ; but if they are not traitors to our beloved Australia, do not send them away. What chance would a man of German birth have of sitting on the Ministerial bench?
– He might sit on the Government side. .
– Dankel was a member of the Labour party.
– I think that he was a supporter of the present Government. In England, a Minister of the Crown is of German birth.
– Lord Milner.
– Quite wrong.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- After the great fight for freedom by our gallant soldiers abroad, it is strange that we should hear the Prime Minister pleading for the continuance in operation of an Act which abrogates Magna Charta and the Habeas Corpus Act, and takes away trial by jury. I cannot understand how the supporters of the Government can justify their attitude to the War Precautions Act. It was interesting to hear the reasons put. forward by the Prime Minister for ‘the passing of the Act, and to hear those given by members for allowing it to pass. It is interesting, also, to know their confidence in the then head of the Government, the Honorable Andrew Fisher: But I say that no honorable member believed, when the measure was passed,, that it would continue in force for at least eighteen months after the actual conclusion of hostilities. Goodness knows how much longer it may operate if the Ministerialists and the members of the Corner party allow it to do so. Under the Act, the Government has not only the power to deport, but possesses also a general power of legislation to which, before I sit down, I shall briefly refer. But I should like, first, to draw attention, as the Leader of the Labour party (Mr. Tudor) has done, to section ,2, which shows clearly and definitely that it was the intention of Parliament that the Act should remain in operation during the continuance of the state of war, and no longer. Section 2 provided that the end of the war would be indicated by the issue of a’ proclamation by the GovernorGeneral in Council. The only power intended to be given to the Governor-General in Council by that sub-section was that of actually defining the time when the state of war ended, and the necessity for continuing the drastic powers that the Act conferred upon the Executive Government no longer existed. Some honorable members sitting on this side opposed the provisions of the original Act, but all honorable members of this party opposed entirely the amending Act of 1918,. which extended the War Precautions Act for a period of three months after the termination of the war, or until the 31st July, 1919, whichever date was the later. So that it cannot be said that any member sitting upon this side is responsible for the extension of the War Precautions Act, which gives the Executive the autocratic powers they are exercising to-day.
– If the amending Act had not been passed the original Act would still have been in operation.
– The Minister of the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) says that even without the amending Act the state of war would continue until the GovernorGeneral in Council issued a proclamation to the effect that the war was ended. A proclamation in regard to the termination of the war with Germany has been issued. It is admitted that hostilities with Austro-Hungary have ceased, and peace with that country exists, but on a technicality that the end of the state of war with that country has not been proclaimed, the ‘.Government put forward the contention that they are enabled to do all the un-British things that are now being done under cover of the powers contained in the War Precautions Act. I invite the attention of honorable members and the public to the manner in * which a superior Court of the United States of America deals with the matter of deportation. I shall, state the facts of a particular case as referred to in the New Republic in order to show how the Supreme Court of that great Commonwealth of the West regards the infringement of the rights of the individual. A man named Jackson, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, one of the “ reds,’’ and an alien, was arrested and ordered by the Bureau of Information to be deported. But in his behalf an application was made to the Supreme Court, the protector of the Constitution, for a writ of habeas corpus. It is almost bracing to read the judgment of the Court. The Court ordered Jackson to be released, not on any ground personal to him, but ‘on the broader ground that the whole method of seizure, trial, and deportation without due process violated the Constitution of the United States -of America. To the argument, supported by a passing dictum of the Supreme Court in an early case, that the constitutional guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizure do not apply to aliens, Judge Bourquin replied emphatically -
To say you shall be exposed to unreasonable searches and seizure without warrant, and deprived of the due process Congress prescribes in deportation, because you are’ an alien, is to say you are an alien because so found upon evidence secured by unreasonable searches and seizure and in’ proceedings without the due process Congress has prescribed - a vicious circle and a grave danger to all, citizens as well as aliens. It invokes the age-long methods of tyranny to convict by unlawful means because you are guilty, and to condemn as guilty because you are convicted by unlawful means. It is impossible that by the dictum aforesaid the Supreme Court intends to or will sanction so dangerous and tyrannical a construction of the Constitution, virtually legalizing outrageous, cruel, and horrifying raiding, mobbing, and lynching like that at bar, in which both citizen and alien are sacrificed.
The Declaration of Independence, the writings of the fathers of our country, the Revolution, the Constitution and Union - all were inspired to overthrow the like governmental tyranny. They are yet ‘living, vital, potential forces to safeguard all domiciled in the country, alien as well as citizen.
The Judge made some further observations, directed not to the particular case, but to a wider audience, and they are even more illuminating than are those passages I have already read -
The alien who advocates the doctrines revealed in the case is a far less danger to this country than are the parties who, in violation of law and order, of humanity and justice, have brought him to- deportation. They are the spirit of intolerance incarnate, and the most alarming manifestation in America to-day. Thoughtful men who love this country and its institutions see more danger in’ them and in their practices, and the government by hysteria that they stimulate, than in the miserable, baited “Beds” that are the ostensible occasion of them all.
Those are words that members sitting on the front Ministerial bench might we’ll take to heart. Judge Bourquin practically says to those honorable gentlemen that there is a greater danger in them and their practices, and in the government of hysteria that they stimulate, than are the ostensible occasions of them all, “‘the miserable baited reds.” He added -
The people may confidently assume that, even an, the “reds,” they, too, in time will pass, and the nation still live.
These are comments that are very proper to he read in this Chamber, because, according to this paper, they emanated from? a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States of America when dealing with the case of a despised alien, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, and one of the “reds,” who was hounded from pillar to post, and finally ordered to be deported. The case produced the truly magnificent sentiments and eloquent judgment I have read. I am sorry that I have not a longer time in which to deal with that aspect of the matter; but there is another matter which I desire to mention, and that is the manner in which the Government are using the War Precautions Act for legislative purposes. On the 7th July this year, the Government issued a new regulation which abrogates a regulation made in March, 1918, in regard to shipping. Regulation 21 of 1918 provided “ that all expenditure involved in the execution of these regulations shall be defrayed out of revenue derived from the operations of the vessels controlled by the Committee, and no charge shall be made on the. Consolidated Revenue Fund in respect of that expenditure,” Yet, on the’ 7th July, the Government, without reference to Parliament, or without even laying the regulation on the table, legislated to repeal the old regulation, and to authorize the money that they had lost on the operation of the ships to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Without asking honorable members to say yea or nay, they made this legislation, in order, I suppose, that the Treasurer may get the .shipping accounts past the AuditorGeneral. When the Estimates are before us, we may or may not have an opportunity of discussing the matter. Money, apparently, has been lost on the- requisitioning of ships. Although large profits have been allowed by the present Government to go into the maw of the profiteering concerns which operate the ships on our coast and overseas, are the taxpayers of this country to be asked to pay out of the Consolidated Revenue the losses incurred by the holding up of the ships during the strike? This action was taken under the War Precautions Act, that was supposed to he passed in order to save the nation in a time of great danger.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– In regard to the last statement made by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan), amid the torrent of abuse he poured upon certain “ profiteers who trade about our coast,” I say that the money was paid because it had to he paid. It was a just obligation, and it will be for this House to say, very shortly, I hope, whether or not the money was paid properly.
– To whom was the money paid?
– The honorable member will learn all about that at the proper time.
– But I desire the War Precautions Act terminated in order to prevent the Government from doing these things.
– The sooner the War Precautions Act terminates, the better.
– But do not do it!
– Nothing I say pleases honorable members opposite. If I say that the Act should be kept ir. force, they howl ; if I say that it should be terminated, they still howl. Well, they can howl away.
– If the Minister will move that it be terminated I will second the motion.
– No doubt. This question of deportations has been raised rather late in the day. It is very singular that all this pother has been caused when the deportations have practically ceased. We did not hear the welkin ringing in denunciation of these proposals while all the previous deportations went on. It is only now, when a particular deportation is taking place.
– You know that is not true.
– It is the truth.
– There is not an atom of truth in it.
– It cannot be denied.
– We were making these same protests when you were away on your joy ride.
– When the Minister was seeking Mr. Hughes.
– I believe I was more successful in finding the Prime Minister than the honorable member has been in finding certain other individuals whom he has been seeking. I sought, and I found. The honorable member sought, evidently, but did not find.; hence this particular howling in the House and its vicinity, and I wonder when the matter is to come to an end. Have you not made your protest? Did you not make it on the steps of Parliament House last night?
– We did, and we will make it on the roof to-night.
– Will you? We shall see whether you will or not.
– No threats’!
– In the Prime Minister’s room to-night!
– May I suggest that this new scheme of using the parliamentary steps for the furtherance of public propaganda - for inciting the people against this Parliament and Government - seems, somehow or other, to have synchronized with the advent of the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) to this House?
– Extreme cases require extreme remedies.
– Extreme cases require extreme action. That exactly sums up the case for the War Precautions Act and its regulations, and that was so throughout the term of the war.
– Is not the war over?
– The reference to extreme cases, coming from the lips of the honorable member himself, wholly justifies the action of the Government in regard to all these deportations.
In regard to the American case quoted by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan), the name of the unfortunate man concerned was Jackson. I fancy that an individual bearing such a name would be likely to belong to the British race. He may have been an alien so far as the United States of America was concerned; but, anyhow, the case does not apply here. First, I would ask the honorable member for West Sydney to tell us what became of the thousands of Industrial Workers of the World men who were deported right out of America. It is a matter of common knowledge. There is no country’ which has treated the Industrial Workers of the World with such severity as the United States of America. We, in Australia, have had to suffer because of that policy. These individuals were not permitted to remain in the United States of America. They say that a great many of them found their way to Queensland while the honorable member for West Sydney was Premier of that State.
– Who are “they “?
– I will undertake to say that a great many of these men found their way to the north of Queensland, and there was such a condition of affairs set up there as made North Queensland notorious. My point is–
– I have been wondering what is your point.
– I am sure the honorable member does not like the point.
– There is no point in your remarks.
– It would take a keener point than that which I am making to penetrate the honorable member’s skull. There is no parallel in the case which he quoted from the United States. There, the party concerned was not an alien who belonged to a country which was at war with America. Those individuals who have been deported from Australia were aliens, and were not merely aliens. The honorable member, however, stops at the point that this man in America was an alien. Therefore, his parallel fails. These men in Australia were aliens belonging to a country which was at war with our own. No country on earth has visited the Industrial Workers of the World with such severity as the great United States; nor do I know of any country which has treated with so much toleration as the British Empire those who set themselves against every interest that we hold dear.
– Do you think we should follow the American example ?
– One of the honorable member’s principal followers says we should; he has been citing an American example for us to follow.
– The Minister is misrepresenting what I said.
– Am I?
– Every other honorable member understood me, so that I feel quite justified in having said what I did. If, however, my remarks failed to penetrate the Minister’s skull, that is his fault or misfortune.
– It penetrated my skull only too well; and, within my thinner skull - whatever the honorable member may understand within his thicker one - I understood him to say that this was an example that we ought to follow. I say, in reply, that the great United States of America has never treated men with half the toleration that the great Courts of the British Empire have shown.
.- The Minister for the Navy has not endeavoured to justify the action of the Government, any more than the Prime Minister sought to do so in relation to the administration of the War Precautions Act. Both right honorable gentlemen spoke in wide generalities and endeavoured to make it appear that honorable members on this side are responsible for the position in which we find ourselves. During the course of the censure debate last week the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) read the names of certain honorable members who had taken part in a division connected with the War Precautions legislation. To-day the Prime Minister also read the names from a division list. At the time the Bill was introduced no division was taken. Honorable members were unanimous that in time of war the Government should be clothed with great powers.
– The honorable member is quite wrong. There was a division taken on this very question of trial by jury.
– The Minister quotes only that which suits him. I am stating the facts.
– I quoted the facts as recorded in Hansard.
– There was no question put before this House, because honorable members were unanimous that Parliament shouldbe clothed with powers to deal with any circumstances that might arise during a time of war. At a later period, however, there was a division, during the course of discussion upon an amending Bill. Honorable members on this side were constantly urging the Government then that, seeing that the war had virtually ended, there was no need or right to further administer the War Precautions Act. Let me call attention to a few remarks which I made on the 12th December, 1918, when discussing the amending Bill introduced by the Acting Attorney-General, the honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Groom). I stated -
We consented to the giving of this power to the Government in order to protect the Empire during the currency of the ‘war. With the cessation of hostilities, the necessity for this measure, except in relation to a few matters, disappeared. As soon as hostilities ceased the Government should have proceeded to eliminate every regulation designed to secure the safety of the nation while the war was actuallly being waged. Instead of doing that they come forward with a proposal to continue the government of the country under the War Precautions Act. This Act has been responsible for the sowing of the seeds .of dissension in this country during the last two or three years. Once the people get into their heads the idea that the country is being governed, not by their direct representatives, but by heads of Departments, whose recommendations are approved by the Government, there must be trouble.
At that time I was only expressing sentiments which other honorable members had already voiced. “We were opposed to the Act, and we voted accordingly. Certain actions had been taken under that Statute which were never contemplated. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) had given the party which he led at that time his solemn assurance that the Act would not operate against the best interests of the people, but would only be employed in cases where it was absolutely necessary to protect the welfare of Australia in connexion with the war. ‘ -
– We can truly say that it has not operated against the best interests of the people.
– The time has passed when this Act should remain in being. Surely, now that the war has ended, no one will argue that we should continue to exercise war-time powers. The Minister for the Wavy has just stated that the particular deportation which has been under discussion is practically the last.
– I do not know whether it is the last.
– The Minister informed us that it was the last. Sir Joseph Cook. - I said nothing of the kind. I said I believed that these deportations were coming to an end. I do not know.
– In other words, the Minister says, “ While I am a member of the Government, I do not know whether we are going to continue to operate the War Precautions Act or not. It will depend on circumstances. If it suits the Government, the Government will accordingly use it.” It is time we returned to responsible government. We have been governed by a bureaucracy. Departments have’ been set up, and have taken control, and this Parliament counts for very little. We cannot, apparently, get back to responsible government. The Government evidently think they can do just as they like. Familiarity breeds contempt. The Government look upon thi3 Parliament as a cypher.-
– That is pretty good, coming from an honorable member who represents miners whose very delegates are going before the Prime Minister at this moment to ask him to set up a Court which the Prime Minister has not the legal power to set up.
– For that matter, it is the duty of the Prime Minister to do all that may be possible to prevent industrial trouble, in the best interests of this country. However, the point raised by the Minister for the Navy has nothing to do with the question of legislation in this Chamber. I would remind him that, prior to the war, we always came before the head of the Government and besought intervention, in order to prevent, if possible, the precipitation of industrial disturbance. I recall that before I entered this Chamber I waited upon the late Mr. Deakin and upon the present Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) in connexion with a trouble then pending. Those two Ministers received me and my co-delegates with courtesy, and did what they could to help us. The reference of the Minister now, therefore, has nothing whatever to do with the matter. It is a question of legislation.
As I have said on former occasions, any man who is disloyal to this country must put up with the consequences of his disloyalty ; but no man should be held guilty until he has had a fair trial. That is the position I took up on a former occasion, and I stand by it to-day. If there’ are in Australia any persons who are working against its best interests, let them be tried, and, if found, guilty, dealt with.
An attempt has bean made to show that we are making this appeal on behalf of a certain person. That is not so. Hundreds of people, about whom we have heard nothing, have probably been deported since the war began. I learn with surprise that 126 children have been deported from Australia. Will any one argue that little children would be guilty of disloyalty?
– And they were Austraiian born.
– That is so.
– We are constantly saying that we want a larger population, and yet these little children - native born - are sent out of the country.
– Had they done anything to warrant their deportation ? Were they not born on our own soil ? Might they not have been amongst our best citizens had they been allowed to remain and grow up here? May not the day come when we shall be glad to take them back ? These are the kind of actions on the part of the Government which hurt the community. It is idle to attempt to draw a red herring across the trail.
– The honorable member is very disingenuous in his reference to the case of little children.
– The right honorable gentleman does not like to hear the facts. Is it not true that these little children have been sent out of the country ?
– The fact is that they went away with their mothers, whereas, listening to the honorable member, one would imagine that we had “bundled” them out of the country.
– The trouble is that the Government do not give us information regarding these matters. Why does not the right honorable gentleman tell us exactly what has occurred in regard to these deportations ? Why has not his leader told us everything? If the facts were put plainly before us there would be no possibility of misunderstandings. Mistakes must occur when the facts reach us in such a round-about way. These are matters of public importance, but the Government give us no information in regard to them. The Acting Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) now tells us that these little children went away with their mothers. I want to know whether the circumstances warranted the deportation of the mothers. There should be a fair public trial in every case, so that’ we may know who are guilty of acting against the best interests of the country. It would be just as well if those who are prepared to work against the interests of Australia were somewhere else.
– Does not the honorable member know that these women went away with their husbands, and that the children went with their mothers?
– Unfortunately, I do not. The fact that I, although a member of this House, have to make that admission, serves to illustrate the secrecy observed by the Government in the exer.cise of the powers conferred upon them by the War Precautions Act. It is this secrecy, amongst other things, that leads us to ask for the repeal of the Act. Eighteen months have elapsed since the cessation of hostilities; yet the Act continues to operate. No one knows what may be done under it to-morrow. The power rests entirely with the Government. If they choose, they may continue it so far as one can see as long as they please, because no one knows when peace will be signed with Austria-Hungary. When the Act was passed it was not thought by one of us that it would be continued in operation, so long after the close of the war. We were under the impression that with the cessation of hostilities the Act in the main would be repealed, and an endeavour made to bring about in the community a better feeling. We find, however, that during the last eighteen months the Government have been guilty of action after action calculated to make public feeling even more acute than it was during the war. They are not healing but aggravating the wound by continuing this Act. The Government are setting man against man and woman against woman.
– You are, without a doubt!
– That is the only answer we can obtain from the Government when we make this charge against them. I can do but little, but I have worked in the best interests of Australia. I have certainly not worked to its detriment, and the Government should also work in its true interests. They choose, however, to continue the operation of this Act, and, by virtue of the powers which it confers upon them,’ do things behind the back of Parliament. We do not know what is being done.
What is the use of the people sending us here to represent them when we cannot deal with matters of this kind vitally affecting their welfare. I am satisfied that, if the Act were referred to the people to decide whether or not it should be continued, they would vote at once for its repeal. No such opportunity, however, will be afforded them. The honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. McDonald) reminds me that the ActingTreasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), when the original Bill was before us, moved an amendment providing that it should not remain in existence for more than three months after the termination of hostilities.
– That happens to be the exact stipulation in the present Act.
– But that stipulation is not being observed.
– Hostilities ceased over eighteen months ago, but the Government say that, until Austria-Hungary signs the Peace Treaty, the Act will continue in force. Unless that Peace Treaty is signed in the meantime, the Act will remain in force during the life of this Parliament and the Government will go on governing the country under it.
– It is the world and nob this Government that is determining what is meant by the words “the end of the war.”
– The people of the world would say, if asked, that the war ceased over eighteen months ago, and that with the cessation of hostilities they expected a return to normal conditions. The people of Australia certainly did not expect to be still governed under aWar Precautions Act.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has been good enough to treat the House to many glowing periods as to the freedom and liberty of our citizens having been filched away, and as to the abrogation by the Government of the fundamental features of Magna Charta. Justice, he has told us, has been delayed, and, in some cases, denied. It would have been more to the point to emphasize the many cases coming under our notice of the abuse of that freedom, and the necessity for its punishment. No punishment meted out in this regard has been in respect of anything but the abuse of freedom. The Government have exercised their legitimate powers in discharging the duties placed upon them as an Executive. There can be no doubt as to at least two phases of this question, since they have been the subject of judicial decision. In the first place, the High Court has held that the War Precautions Act is in force.
– We do not deny that.
– It was challenged, but we have now a legal decision on the point, and there is equally no doubt of the fact that the Government have legally exercised their powers in respect of any deportations that have been made. I was one of those who urged as strongly as possible last year that the Government should take the earliest opportunity to repeal the War Precautions Act, so far as it controlled or attempted to control commercial and trading activities. At the same time I urged that, in so far as it was necessary for the safety of the Realm, it should not be repealed until superseded by some law which would furnish that protection. The Government then undertook that they would not exercise the powers conferred upon them by the War Precautions Act in all the directions in which they previously operated it. But they agreed, as many of us urged, that it should be exercised to insure law and order and the safety of the Realm, and not repealed until superseded by some measure which would grant the requisite protection. That is the position which must be remembered.
There has been much learned talk in regard to the war having ceased for more than eighteen months. As a matter of fact, although, technically speaking, hostilities ceased some eighteen months ago, the war cannot be said to have ended until peace has been signed. A most eminent Committee was constituted in the Old Country and a Committee of equally eminent legal men was created in Australia to consider and advise on this and other questions, and the advice tendered by both Committees was that the “ termination of the war “ occurred at that particular point of time when peace was actually signed. Thus the war is still, technically, going on. If the Government had failed in its undertaking to cease the operation of the Act in its general scope, Ishould be one of the first to bitterly complain. But I am also among the first to recognise that they have a duty to perform when they find that the safety of the Realm is challenged by reason of the poisonous work of any enemy of the country. They have performed their duty in the deportations which they have made, and they would have failed in the proper exercise of the powers intrusted to them had they not taken action. We have to look at this question from the driest legal standpoint. If the Government have exercised the powers conferred upon them by the Act in an unfair, unreasonable or illegitimate manner they should be challenged and dealt with. But so long as they are carrying out the duties cast upon them by the law, no fault should be found with them.
– In a British community is not a trial a fair claim for any man?
Sir ROBERT BEST .^Unless the subject of an Act of Parliament, has the honorable member ever heard of a trial by jury as to whether a man should be deported or not ? The power of deportation was originally inherent in the Crown, although it fell into desuetude for a considerable time, but if I remember rightly it was directly involved in a case which occurred in Canada some ten years ago, which subsequently went to the Privy Council, when it was there held that this power was still inherent in the Crown. In an Act passed by the British Parliament in 1914, a provision was inserted stipulating that before any deportation took place, the necessary facts of the case should be placed before a tribunal appointed for the purpose, and upon whose report the Executive could exercise its power of deportation. I believe that this legislation was copied by the Commonwealth. At any rate, if I remember correctly, there was a Bill before the House containing that provision. I quite approve of the principle; but today we are dealing with a totally different matter. The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has referred to American legislation, and to the care exercised by the American Courts in the preservation of any rights that the citizens of the United States of America or aliens may possess; but, on the other hand, it may be said that no country in the world has more arbitrary legislation upon the subject than that passed by America during the period of the war. Even in regard to normal times, the American legislation in this respect is as arbitrary as that of the British nation; some might deem it more so. At any rate, its war legislation on the subject might be described as tyrannical - to adopt the word used by the honorable gentleman - as indeed it was essential it should be, and in any case there is no analogy between a step taken in times of peace and an operation carried’ out under a war measure legally in force in Australia.
– What objection is there to trying a man by jury as to whether he should be deported or not?
– Persons may have been tried before juries on various offences which would render the offenders subject to deportation, but when the honorable member suggests that there should be a trial by jury as to whether a man should be deported or not, I say that such a thing is unheard of. I challenge the honorable member to produce a case io which it has been done. We are now dealing with the arbitrary provisions of a war measure, and the Government, having come to the determination that it was against the interests and safety of the realm to permit certain enemies of the country to remain here, have .simply exercised the duty imposed on them by deporting, them.
.. - The honorable member . for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has challenged the honorable member for West Sydney to point to any other Government in the world that has granted trial by jury in regard to deportations; but if it is impossible to do so, it is only because there is no country in the world which has a Labour majority. All the Governments in the world have been constituted as our present Government is constituted. That is to say, they are not representative of the Democracy of their countries. This afternoon it was pitiful to see the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) running back to six years ago in order to explain a matter referred to by the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) the other day, when he took so much trouble to show how certain Labour members hud voted on an amendment to the War Precautions Bill, moved by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey). The Minister for the Navy very conveniently overlooked the fact that in 1918, six weeks after the war had finished, the Labour party decided unanimously that the War Precautions Act should be repealed, and voted accordingly in this House, and consequently this party ought to be relieved of all responsibility for anything that has taken place under its provisions since then.
– At the same time, some honorable members did vote against trial by jury.
– That is absolutely incorrect. There was a Labour Government in power at the time, and Mr. Andrew Fisher, who was Prime Minister, gave the House the assurance that the civil law should prevail. He asked the Labour party, which he then led, to treat as inadvisable the amendment of the honorable member for Bourke, because it meant the combining of jury and military. On that occasion the honorable member for ‘Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) asked a question in these words : “Will the civil power be dominant over the military power?” and before we voted on the matter the then Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes), whom we had just followed back from an election, and’ who was then true to Labour principles, gave us this assurance - “ Yes, the civil power will remain dominant.” We voted with the Government because we believed that a Labour Government would be true to its pledge to preserve that plank of the Labour platform which gave trial by jury, and therefore our vote was one to insure trial by jury. So long as the leaders of that Labour Government remained true to their pledges they remained in power, but we kicked them out when they were false to them, and now the members of that Ministry;- with the exception of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor), are sitting side by side with the Minister for the Navy, wEo formerly sat in opposition to them, and who is now violating the principle of trial by jury which we maintained when in power.
– The time for the discussion of motions has expired.
– Cannot questions on notice be answered?
– With the concurrence of the House, ‘questions on notice can be answered. . Perhaps as there are only two hours now available for private members’ business, one hour might be allowed for Orders of the Day (private members), and an hour for notices of motion.
Honorable Members. - No.
– In the circumstances questions on notice might be answered.
– If that is the wish of honorable members, it can be done.
Admiralty Officer on Loan.
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– I propose to reconsider the whole question.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, uponnotice -
– The Commissioner advises as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Commissioner advises as follows : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister is unable at present to make any announcement in regard to this matter.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
Mr.GROOM. - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Appointment of Minister - Cost
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
It is not considered desirable or practicable for a Minister of the Crown to fill the office of High Commissioner. The House willbe afforded an opportunity of discussing the question of the High Commissioner when the Estimates are before it.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What is the total cost, including salaries, allowances, rents, &c, to the 30th June, 1920, pertaining to and for the High Commissioner’s office ?
Sir JOSEPH COOK (for Mr. Hughes). - The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Assuming that the honorable member refers to the year ended 30th June, 1920, the total expenditure in connexion with the High Commissioner’s office for that year was £124,148 0s. 2d. This includes an amount of £54,513 10s. 9d. representing payments in connexion with the erection of Australia House.
asked the Prime Min ister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - 1.The Prime Minister does not know.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Sir JOSEPH COOK (for Mr. Hughes). - The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
These answers do not apply to mortgages to which the Active Service Moratorium Regulations apply. The continuance of protection in the case of those mortgages is not affected by the Moratorium Act 1919.
Telephone Mechanics - Relieving Postmasters
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Under the Public Service Regulations, as amended since 1915, preference in temporary employment must be given to returned soldiers, and the request that the men concerned be reinstated cannot be complied with.
– On 15th July, 1920, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) asked me the following questions : -
I then promised that the information would be obtained. The following replies have now been received: -
asked the Prime Min ister, upon notice -
-The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : - 1 and 2. The Commonwealth Government, in concert with the Government of Western Australia, has been in negotiation with the Fremantle Trading Company and with producers in that State for the establishment of cooperative leadsmelting works; but certain producers insistently pressed the Government for a temporary removal of the embargo on exports in order to allow the sale of concentrates to furnish funds for the development of the mines, and the Government felt itself obliged to accede to this course. This delayed the progress of the Commonwealth scheme, as it was impossible to guarantee full supplies of concentrates for local treatment. The Government has always maintained the policy of local treatment, and is prepared to assist to the best of its ability any proposals for that purpose.
Commissioner’s Report - Counsel’s Comments
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Mr.FENTON asked the Minister re presenting the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Will he inform the House as to whether the Commonwealth Government has secured a quantity of war material from the British Government ?
If so, will he also inform the House what material has been secured, and at what cost to the Commonwealth Government?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Portion of the equipment for the Australian Imperial Force was provided in Australia, and portion by purchase from the
Imperial Government. On cessation of hostilities the whole of this war-worn equipment washanded over to the Imperial Authorities in France and Egypt, under agreement thatcorresponding articles of new or serviceable equipment would be forwarded to Australia from stocks in England, without further charge - such material is now being received here.
The cost of the portion of the Australian Imperial Force equipment purchased from the Imperial Government is not definitely known, the amount involved being included in the general debit against Australia.
It should be added that the British Government has made a most valuable contribution to Australia’s Air Defence, in the form of 128 aeroplanes, together with a full supply of equipment, spare engines, mobilization material, six months’ spares, motor transport, and hangars.
asked the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
The following papers were presented : -
Northern Territory Administration - Copy of letter from counsel for Messrs. Carey, Gilruth, and Bevan, regarding the Report of Mr. Justice Ewing.
Ordered to be printed.
Papua - Ordinance of 1920 - No. 2. - German Property.
– I move -
That in the opinion of this House it is desirable that the Government establish a metric system of weights and measures.
In moving the motion, I ask the House to re-affirm a resolution to the same effect, though not in identical terms, as that of one which it came to on the 19th June, 1903, on the motion of the late Hon. G. B. Edwards. There is no need to go exhaustively into the history of the metric system. The principle of the metric system was first adopted in France in 1790, and in 1801 the National Assembly approved of a concrete scheme, but the system was not wholly in force in France until 1840. Since that time it has been adopted by all the great nations of the world, except Great Britain, the United States of America and Russia. Japan has sanctioned its adoption without making it compulsory, and within the last year or two China has made it compulsory. In Great Britain there is a gradual and steadily increasing agitation for the introduction of the metric system, and public feeling there is growing in its favour. Many years ago private individuals and associations endeavoured to have it brought into compulsory use. A Decimal Association was formed in 1854, and a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons in 1864 to make the use of the metric system compulsory for certain purposes. As the Government opposed that measure, a permissive Bill was substituted for it, and became law. But the Act was drawn with such extraordinary carelessness that an inspector successfully prosecuted a man for having in his possession metric weights, and when the case was referred to the Crown Law officers they advised that under the Act a man might legally use metric weights and measures, but was liable to prosecution if such weights were found in his possession. In 1871 a Bill to make the use of the metric system compulsory was lost in the House of Commons by only five votes, and in 1895 the Weights’ and . Measures (Metric System) Act was passed, legalizing the use of the metric system in trade in Great Britain. Since then the matter has been frequently before Parliament. In 1901 a Bill was introduced to make the use of the system compulsory, but it was defeated by a narrow majority. In 1903 the Imperial Conference affirmed the desirability of adopting the metric system throughout the British Empire. In furtherance of that resolution the Colonial Office communicated with all the
Colonies for the purpose of obtaining their ideas upon the question ‘ of whether this system should- be adopted. In Mauristius and Seychelles it had already been introduced. In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Gambia, Northern Nigeria, Gibraltar, Guiana, Trinidad, the Leeward Islands, and the Windward Islands the desirableness of its introduction was affirmed. I think that the resolution to which I referred just now is that which declared the need for adopting thin system so far as Australia is concerned. Sierra Leone, Southern Nigeria, Ceylon, and the Falkland Islands were prepared to introduce it, provided that it were adopted throughout the Empire. Fiji said that she would follow the- lead of Australia. St. Helena, Cyprus-, Lagos, -the Barbados, the Bahamas, and the Gold Coast were ready for its introduction, but anticipated that some local difficulty and opposition would be encountered.- Canada, the Bermudas, and Newfoundland sent no answer, but we may take .it that these places will be governed by the action of the United States in this matter. In other words, when the reform is adopted bv the United States it will be adopted by them. Although the system was thus indorsed by ii majority of the Colonies and Dominions, the various Governments of Great Britain have exhibited considerable neglect in regard to this matter. When writing in support of the metric system, Mr. Arnold Foster, in referring to the Governments of. Great Britain, said -
No Government now ever seems to do anything because it is right or wise or logical or scientifically correct. Changes are made, not because they are wise, but because they are unavoidable. The pressure of public opinion, and the fact that it is more difficult and tiresome to refuse a reform than to grant it are now, in !M) cases out of 100, the prevailing motives which influence an overworked Administration. . . . Our system of government has advantages, but it is not conspicuous by its readiness to accept scientific opinion or to take a lead in any intellectual or scientific movement.
I hope that that statement does not apply to Australia. I do not think that it does. It is because of that opinion that I am appealing to this. House to indorse the metric system of weights .and measures. When we recollect that every nation in Europe, with the exception of Russia, has made the use of this system compulsory, and that even Japan, in the march of her manufactures, ha<s been obliged to sanction it, although it is only running to-day alongside her own ancient system of weights and measures, we ought surely to be impressed with its advantages. Japan has found it necessary to resort to the metric system in connexion with her trade in India. China, as I previously mentioned, has adopted it, but whether she will be able to enforce it I cannot say. Even in India, in very many cases, its use- has been made compulsory. Recently we have heard a great deal about the need for re-organization after the war in order that we may build up our industries and extend our foreign trade. I submit that to achieve our objectives we must use every means at our disposal, and certainly one of those means is to abandon our present archaic system of weights and measures in favour of -the scientific system which I am . advocating. The honorable member for Kooyong ‘(Sir Robert Best) smiles because I have characterized our existing system as “ archaic.” May I remind him that it has been described in much more emphatic language by other people. “Barbarous anachronism” was the description applied to it by one member of the House of Commons, and his description was not ruled out of order. The metric system is superior to our existing system of weights and mea.sures from the standpoint of every test that can be applied to it. We heard a good deal just now about Magna Charta But Magna Chart.a contains one clause which says -
There shall be one weight and one measure throughout the realm.
Notwithstanding that pronouncement, Britain has not yet obtained a uniform system of weights and measures.
– We have such a system in Australia.
– We have not. We have a troy weight, an avoirdupois weight, an apothecaries measure, a liquid measure, and other measures which I was taught in my childhood.
– We use them because they have been shown to be the best in actual practice.
– No. We use them because they have grown up with us. That is all we can say for them. The metric system has proved to be so much better in practice than our present system that since 1840, when its use was made compulsory in France, every intelligent country in the world, with the exception of the three I have mentioned, has adopted it. In the category of intelligent countries I include Australia, because as long ago as 1903 this Chamber unanimously affirmed the desirableness of adopting that system. Since then successive Governments have remained inactive, and apparently will continue to do so until they are compelled by the force of public opinion to take action.
– We carried a resolution in favour of adopting this system some years ago.
– Yes, in 1903. It is significant that when this Chamber affirmed the desirableness of introducing the decimal system of coinage in the same year, the proposal was carried only by a very small majority, whereas the proposal in favour of adopting the metric system of weights and measures was carried unanimously. The metric system is better than the existing system because in the latter the units employed are of an arbitrary character. Some honorable members may reply that the metre is also an arbitrary system. Even if that be said, it cannot be denied that in our present system of weights and measures there are several arbitrary units as against only one such unit in the metric system. For instance, we have the dram and the gallon, the yard and the link, under the existing system, while under the metric system we have only the metre, which is the basis of the whole.
– I repeat that the metric system has only the one unit as against three or four independent units which are not correlated in any way under the existing system. The. litre, which is the unit of volume, is the cube of the tenth part of a metre; and the gramme, which is the unit of weight, is one-thousandth part of the weight of a litre of distilled water. So that all come back to the one standard of the metre. There have been many who have declared that they could find a better standard, but they have failed to do so. I advocate the. adoption of this system, not. because the metre is the only standard which can bc adopted, but because it is the one decimal system of weights and measures which is so universally used that it would be wise for us to fall into line with other countries rather than try to establish a separate standard length of our’ own. The inferiority of the existing system of weights and measures is too plain to permit of argument. The multiples run through the whole range of numerals. We have, for example, 3 feet to the yard. Even the multiples are not all integral, some are fractions. For example, there are 5-J yards in 1 rod, pole, or perch. So that, instead of having one decimal system rising by tens, we have an arbitrary system, under which 12 pence make a shilling and 20 shillings make a pound, while 3 feet make a yard, and 12 inches make a foot. In all these arbitrary subdivisions in the existing system of weights and measures we find further argument in favour of the simplicity of the metric system. It is so simple that there is no difficulty in acquiring a knowledge of it. ‘ It has been variously estimated that by the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures anything from one to three years will be saved in the education of our children. The Director of Education in Western Australia expressed the opinion that the saving would amountto two years of a child’s educational life. Some time ago New South Wales appointed a Commission to inquire into educational systems, and that Commission, of which Mr. Knibbs was a member, recommended that for the present the metric should be taught alongside the existing system in order that the children might become familiar . with it. Arithmetic to-day is sheer drudgery and devoid of all intelligence. The fact that the introduction of the metric system would re- . suit in a great saving of labour in con;nexion with education is a. strong argument in its favour. I have already era- 1phasized the extreme simplicity of the system and the ease with which it is un- ‘derstood. Gradually it is commending itself to the whole world. I said that America, Russia, and the British Empire are the only countries in the world that have not adopted the metric system, but I omitted to say that both Great Britain and the United States have le- ‘ galized the system, although they have not made its adoption compulsory. We in Australia have waited too long for a lead from the Mother Country, and the time has come for us to do the right thing in the interests of our children, our trade and commerce, and the general advancement of the Commonwealth. One of the great objections urged against the system is the expense and the disorganization of existing relations which it is feared might follow its adoption. It is interesting to read a statement made ‘by Professor Ross, of the Perth. University -
The chief opposition had come from engineers, the ‘Lancashire textile traders, and shopkeepers. Since 1907, however, engineers had in many cases voluntarily adopted the metric system, and the great engineering societies now approved of the scheme. The question of the Lancashire cotton goods production had been carefully examined, and it was now recognised that there would be no need to alter the 750,000 looms, as the quarter variation allowed each” way in spinning numbers allowed adjustment to metric “counts. Moreover, the action of the East Indian buyers of silk and cotton yarns in insisting on metric numbers would now simplify manufacturers’ work if the metric system were adopted. Professor Boss gave interesting particulars- of inquiries he had made into the cost of alteration of weighing machines in the city of Glasgow shops. A few years ago, out of nearly 25,000 weighing machines in use, from 85 to 86 per cent, were beam balances, counter scales, or deadweight machines, and these would be unaffected.. Some 10 per cent, were platform or weighbridge instruments, and these would require alteration of the steelyard or dial. Spring balances and steelyards only amounted to 3 to 4 per cent., and while they would be rendered useless, the cost of replacing them was not great. From figures supplied by Messrs. W. and T. Avery Ltd. it had been calculated that a change to the metric system would entail an expenditure amounting to about 8 per cent, of the annual shop rental in the case of butchers, 4 to 6 per cent, in the case of grocers and fruit and vegetable dealers, 2 to 3 .per cent, in the case of hardware merchants, and under 1 per cent, in most other cases. These figures had been calculated on statistics compiled in Glasgow; but the percentage would probably be lower in Australia, in view of the higher rentals and despite the somewhat larger number of spring balances.
These facts tend to prove that the objections are not insurmountable, and that the time has come for us to take action. The metric system, in spite of the opposition to it, has, by its qualifications for meeting the needs of the day, forced itself upon the greater part of the world. Over 450,000,000 people are to-day using the system, and, in addition, between 200,000,000 and 300,000,000 have sanctioned its use, though they have not made it compulsory. If we are to gain and hold that place in the trade of the world which we so earnestly desire, we must adopt a system of weights and measures which is scientific, and which will be a help rather than a handicap to us in the’ attainment of our objective. As long ago as 1860 Richard Cobden,’, having been sent to France to arrange the details of a Treaty with that country, experienced such difficulty through the lack of an identical system of weights, measures and moneys that in his last speech in the House of Commons he said -
I was engaged, I believe, for six months in the constant study and conversion of English weights, measures, and prices into French weights, measures, and :prices ; and so much did I feel the disadvantage of our system, as compared with that of France, that to say I feel mystified and annoyed would not express my feelings at the time. I felt humiliated. The one is simple, symmetrical, logical, and consistent; the other is dislocated, complicated, uncouth, and incoherent.
Such a statement from such a source should recommend the metric system to the favorable consideration of the House.
.- ‘I have pleasure in seconding the motion, although I confess that I am not sanguine that it will be carried with any great amount of enthusiasm at the present time.” In spite of all our pretensions to be an advanced people, we in Australia are a very conservative community in many ways. In some regards conservatism is an eminently good thing, but it seems to me that a considerable amount of ingenuity is required to discover anything to justify the continuance of the present remarkable methods of calculating and naming our various weights and measures. Any one who takes .the trouble to study the history of these will realize, in what a higgledy-piggledy fashion they have grown up; they have been forced upon the community by sheer custom. Custom is a very strong influence in any community, and probably it is as strong in a British community as anywhere else in the world as regards adherence to things which our fathers, grandfathers, and even great grandfathers, regarded as eminently suitable in their time.
– I call attention to the state of the House. [Quotum formed.]
– Commercial ccompetition is becoming so keen in the world now that the British Empire cannot afford to put aside any method by which its inter- course with other parts of the world, with regard to trade and commerce generally, will be facilitated. It is .admitted by nearly all business people who have international relations in trade, that our present system of weights and measures undoubtedly offers a somewhat serious obstacle to the prosecution of trade relations with other parts of the world. It is quite true that up to the present we have had a large share in international trade. That has not been due to the existence of our remarkable method of weights and measures, but has been achieved in spite of it. Any one who has given consideration to the simplicity of the metric system, and places it alongside the very complicated and unscientific methods that we have in vogue at the present time, will realize the tremendous advantage that the more modern and more scientific system gives in any kind of international trade whatever. America, it is quite true, has not seen fit to adopt metric weights and measures, although it has adopted decimal coinage. There will, admittedly, be in the change a considerable amount of difficulty to many, and a considerable amount of confusion; but any old-established’ custom necessarily implies some difficulty in changing it, and sooner or later those countries which adhere in such conservative fashion to the old methods of reckoning weights and measures will have to put them aside. If such is the inevitable future, then we may fairly argue that the sooner these difficulties are faced and overcome the better. It is largely a matter of prejudice that has to be overcome, and it is not always reason which overcomes prejudice. It is the force of circumstance that does so, and probably the change will come only when we of Australia, in common with other parts of the world, realize that we are falling behind in competition with more scientific nations in the effort to win or retain the world’s trade. Then we shall have the change. But it is the duty of those who believe in the change to urge it as often and- earnestly as they can, so that we may not lose way in the course that the British Empire has successfully maintained in the world’s trade up to the present time.
– If the metric system had a percentage of the virtues assigned to it by my good friend the proposer of this motion, I am certain that the benighted British Empire and the United States of America would not be found at the present time not only rejecting it, but strongly protesting that to adopt it would be seriously detrimental to their best interests. Many who have given great consideration to this subject regard the metric system as a glorified fad. ‘ No doubt, that view may be the result of strong prejudice, but it has never yet been established, from a real, sound, practical stand-point, that the metric system would be more suitable to the necessities of the British -speaking people than the system of weights and measures which has been in vogue for such a lengthy period. As a matter of fact, it has been adopted by various nations, as has been mentioned by the proposer of the motion, but it has been only partially adopted in most of the countries to which he has referred, and even in France it is worked side by side with the British system. In France, they have their measurement of the inch just in the same way as they have the measurement of the metre; but in America and Great Britain, where there has been a considerable agitation in favour of it, it has never been put into actual operation to any substantial or serious extent in the way of trade, notwithstanding the fact that it has been duly legalized, and can be operated voluntarily. The metric system suffered a blow when it was definitely established that the .metre, the unit of the system, did not represent a definite portion of the earth’s surface. It was supposed to represent, if I remember, rightly, one-ten-millionth part of the quadrant of the earth. It has been conclusively demonstrated and established that this new unit, which really forms the basis of the metric system, is not a natural one, or a definite portion of the earth’s surface, as claimed, but is a mere arbitrary assessment, in precisely the same way as are the inch and the yard and our various other measurements.
The most amusing portion of the arguments of my honorable friends who have preceded me has been the emphasis they have laid upon the simplicity of the metric system. Let me give the House some illustrations of its simplicity. I quote from The Metric Fallacy, by two very able experts, Messrs. Halsey and
Dale. They annihilate all the claims which have been from time to time made for this system, and on page 115, say -
The pro-metric argument is that the decimal basis and the inter-relation of the units of length, of capacity, and of weight greatly simplify and abbreviate calculations. That is all, for when it comes to actually measuring things, no one claims that it cannot foe done just as readily by the English system; and, in fact, if there is any argument from this stand-point it is that the English system is better than the French system.
Then they go on to illustrate -
When it comes to the claim that this metric system reduces the labour involved in the calculations of everyday life enough to be a matter of public moment whatever, it simply is not so.
No dimension on a machine drawing above 9 millimetres (about f inch) is ever expressed by a single digit, and none above 9 centimetres (about 3* inches) by two digits. In English units 9 feet may be expressed with one figure, and 99 feet with two. Talk about simplicity. A metric drawing is a .wilderness of figures.
Even the assumed simplicity of decimal fractions is to a large degree fictitious. Compare the following table of equivalents: -
I shall not read the table, but will give a few examples. In our benighted system we speak of one-third. According to the metric system, we should have to express that simple assessment by the decimal 3333:
– A repeating decimal.
– That is so. If we wanted to talk about one-sixty-fourth, we should have to refer to .015625. The authors go on to say -
Head some of these expressions aloud: - “Oneeighth equals one hundred and twenty-five thousandths; one-sixtieth equals one hundred and sixty-seven ten-thousandths; one thirtysecond equals three thousand one hundred and twenty-five hundred-thousandths.”
I may be dull of comprehension, but it seems to me that there is not very much simplicity in those figures, as compared with our own simple means of expressing the same quantities.
– The lack of simplicity is entirely in the language. The simplicity is there when you come to do the actual work.
– It does not exactly appeal to one. We have to- deal with this matter from a solid and .practical business stand-point. We must not consider either system from the point of view of fads or theories. It has been dealt with very effectively in much literature that has been recently circulated. It is a singular fact that some little time ago there was initiated in San Francisco a hurricane campaign in favour of the metric system, and propaganda literature was spread throughout the length and breadth of America. It aroused the people of America to a very great extent, and the manufacturers became dismayed at the possibilities of it being seriously considered. The Iron Age, a well-known and ably conducted magazine, took the trouble, in order to bring’ the matter down to actual practical considerations, to show the chaos that would be involved in daily life. These are a few illustrations, just to show what the metric system would mean in ordinary every-day affairs -
In domestic life, grocers’ scales all require new poise weights,- all notched balance-beams scrapped, and new ones provided, with new sliding weights. Feck and bushel measures discarded. Litre larger than a quart, new containers required. Hectolitre, equal to 2.8 bushels, not a practical unit. (Prices on all commodities to be re-adjusted to new units.
That is how it would affect the simple daily life of the woman who goes to the grocer to .purchase articles.
– That happens to the manufacturer every few years if he is up to date, when he scraps his old machinery for new.
– That is another matter, which I will come to later. It is also stated -
In culinary matters, all recipes to be readjusted to kilogrammes and litres, cook books to be rewritten; general confusion in kitchen operations. New milk bottles.
In other household affairs, gas meters to be replaced by new system of units of volume, or readings of meters taken in one system and converted into the other, to avoid scrapping meters in use.
– Some of our present gas meters are bad enough.
– I admit that we are badly off as it is; but if we had to adopt some more complicated system that we understood less, I am afraid we should be very much worse off. Under the new system, we do not know what might happen to overwhelm us. We are also told -
Water meters in same category as gas meters. Tape measures and yard-sticks to be discarded.
In shopping, counter measuring machines to be reconstructed, yards to metres.
Dry goods to be folded at cotton and woollen mills in metre folds instead of .yard folds, requiring change of machinery. Photographic plates in common sizes to be known by awkward combination of figures. An 8’ by 10 plate becomes 203 by 254 millimetres.
Quires and reams to be displaced by decimal multiples, requiring changes at manufacturing plants. All containers and cartons to be modified in sizes and shapes to be adapted to new unit sizes. Shirts, collars, and cuffs to bc known by strange names of sizes. A la-in collar becomes a 406-millimetre collar. A 187-inilliinetre hat is worn instead of 7§-in.
I shall not weary . the House by dealing with more of these matters.
– I call attention to the state of the’ House. [Quorum formed.]
– When inter.rupted, I’ was referring to a very excellent article which, shows what would be the effect of the introduction of the metric system on the daily life of the people. The writer goes on, to consider what would be its effect oh building construction and public, land surveys. I desire, however, to specially bring before the House the fact that this question has been the subject of a very careful and close investigation by a British Committee of experts appointed to inquire and make recommendations to the British Parliament. The Committee in its report dealt with all the claims that had been made for the system and the effect of its operation on British trade. I can refer to only a few of the conclusions at which it arrived.
– When did the Committee report ?
– It presented its final report to the British Parliament in 1918. The nineteen members of that Committee were unanimous in reporting against the system, believing that its operations would detrimentally affect British trade. The Committee reported -
Having given very full consideration to the subject we are unable to recommend the compulsory adoption of the metric system in this country. In our opinion, it is absolutely certain that the anticipated uniformity could not he obtained for a very long period, if ever. There is, further, the serious objection that if we induce the above-mentioned countries to change over to the metric system we should be surrendering to Germany the advantage which our manufacturers now enjoy over hers, both in their markets and our own. We aTe informed that even in France, which has made the metric system nominally compulsory for more than halt-a-century, the “pouce” (or inch) is used in textile manufacture, and numerous local measures still survive.
In referring to these considerations, we have to point out that there is no unanimity even as to the theoretical merits of the metric system as compared with our Own. The practical argument that its adoption is desirable, in order to secure uniformity in the markets of the world, has been shown to be unfounded. Wc are not satisfied by any evidence which has been brought before us that trade has actually been lo3t to this country owing to the fact that the use of the metric system is not compulsory.
But to attempt to make the .use of the system universal and obligatory in this country would cause loss and confusion at a particularly inopportune moment for the’ sake of distant and doubtful advantages. We are convinced that, so far from assisting in the reestablishment of British trade after the war, such a measure would seriously hamper it.
The Committee in its report went on to deal with the- effect of the adoption of the system on education, and stated that all that had been claimed as to the advantages of the system in that regard was altogether unfounded. It reported -
It, is often popularly supposed that the introduction of the metric system would render possible the immediate sweeping- away of many complicated and varying weights and measures. As we have already indicated, this belief is, in our opinion, wholly fallacious.
We are not convinced that the metric system is, upon the whole, even theoretically superior to the British system, and we are satisfied that the practical objections to the proposed change are such as decisively to outweigh any advantages which are .claimed for it.
These are but a few of the determinations arrived at by this British Committee.
– Surely the honorable member will reply to the argument advanced by the honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden) when he said that the Minister for Education in Western Australia had. declared that the adoption of the system would mean a saving of two years in the education of children.
– On that point the British Committee reported -
As . regards the educational advantages claimed for the change, we have been referred to a statement quoted by the Select Committee of 1895, that no less than one year’s school time would be saved if the metric system were taught in the place of that now in use. The information which we have received does not support that statement, and even if it were well founded, it must be remembered that, for at least a generation, children would have to learn both the new and the old measures, and bow to convert from one to the other.
In the early portion of my remarks I mentioned that propaganda work was going on throughout the United
States, and that, as a result, manufacturers generally became greatly alarmed. There is scarcely a Chamber of Commerce or a combination of manufacturers in America which did not take up a strong and decisive attitude on the subject. The threat was made by Representative Vestal that he would introduce in Congress a measure having for its object the compulsory adoption of the metric system. A howl of indignation followed the announcement. Merchants and manufacturers showed that such a change would mean a loss of billions of dollars to them.; that it would mean “ scrapping “ the whole of their machinery and the disruption and disorganization of their trade. Various institutions took up the proposal, and the outcry against it was so strong that the Bill, although introduced, was abandoned. The proposal was pushed as far as possible by those who favoured the metric system, but the Bill was not proceeded with. The disastrous effect that the change would have on American trade was proved most conclusively. The American Institute of Weights and Measures advanced five arguments against the compulsory Bill before Congress -
The Institute brought before Congress the result of the investigations made by the British Committee, and the general feeling wasthat, unless there was some common agreement between the Mother Country and the United States for the adoption of the system, it should not be attempted by either nation, because of the vast trade existing between them, and the radical alterations which the adoption of the metric system would involve. I have selected only a few of the resolutions passed by various Associations of Manu facturers in the United States of America against the introduction of the system. Here is a typical one, which was carried by the National Association of Manufacturers at a Convention held in New York in 1918-
Whereas the agitation for the adoption of the metric system has been again revived and is beingvigorously conducted, and
Whereas the British Committee on Commercial and Industrial policy after the war has made an exhaustive analysis of this question and concludes in language as follows :
We are not convinced that the metric system is, upon the whole, even theoretically superior to the British system, and we are satisfied that the practical objections to the proposed change are such as to decisively outweigh any advantages which are claimed for it”; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we regard the agitation for the establishment of the metric system as particularly untimely because of war taxation on manufacture, and because under present conditions the overwhelming activity of manufacturers in war work makes proper consideration of such a subject impossible. It is further
Resolved, That we endorse the work of the American Institute of Weights and Measures in opposing the adoption of the metric system.
The Americans have a particularly happy way of looking after their own interests.
– They know what they are doing.
– They know exactly what they are doing. When it was felt that this radical change was about to be made the manufacturers were aroused, and it was due to the strength of their protest, notwithstanding the concentrated effort of the other side, and the opportunity offering to bring the matter before Congress, that the advocates of the metric system were overwhelmed, and the proposal to make the change was never proceeded with. The point I wish to make is that it would be well for us to know when we are well off. Our present system of weights and measures has served our purpose remarkably well. The merchants and manufacturers of America, and of the Mother Country, are possessed of sufficient ability and business acumen to be able to realize what will best serve their interests, and I venture to say that when they are convinced that the present system can be improved upon then will be the time to make a change.
.- I do not propose to discuss the motion at length. The metric system must ultimately be adopted. I fully support the motion which has been submitted. I wonder whether the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has any idea of the number of different bushels in use in the United Kingdom. Would the honorable gentleman be astonished to know that there are in use in the United Kingdom no less than 1,000 different varieties of bushels, or would he be astonished to learn that at one time 20,000 different bushels were in use. To-day it is very hard to say what the weight of a bushel of wheat will be in the different States of the Commonwealth. A bushel of wheat of fair average quality may range in weight from 58 lbs. to 62 lbs. or 63 lbs. No one oan definitely say what a bushel of wheat will weigh next year, but if we adopted the cental for measuring wheat we should settle the question for all time. We should be able then to say what a cental of wheat will weigh 10,000 years hence. I am at a loss to account for the arguments adduced from the United
States of America, where they _ have adopted the decimal system of coinage. Here we have to add up farthings, halfpennies, pennies, shillings, and pounds. The difficulties this gives rise to are eliminated altogether by the use of the decimal system of coinage. In 1880 I visited Norway at a time when a change was being made to the metric system, and I found that the change did not cause any difficulty. The only experience I have had of the decimal system of coinage was gained in the few days during my passage through the United _ States of America, but with that experience I had no difficulty whatever in counting the Norwegian coinage. I may inform members that I went with a friend to a bank in Norway as he desired to obtain Norwegian currency. When he had been attended to I said that he had received £5 too much. He said, “You always know things. I think that must be an Australian characteristic.” I happened to be the first Australian he had met. I said, “ I assure you that you have been given £5 too much.” He replied, “ We shall go to the hotel quietly and count the money.” He counted the notes that had been given to him three separate times, and then used paper and pencil, and said, “ You are right.” He embarrassed me by refusing to return to the young man who had served him, until next day. As an illustration of the courtesy extended to British people, I may say that when I asked the bank official whether he was not afraid that he had lost the money he said, “ No, I knew you were English and would come back.” There are thirty different varieties of bushels in use in the United States of America, and when I tell honorable members that they vary in weight from 14 lbs. to the bushel of red top and blue grass seed to 70 lbs. to the bushel of corn in the ear husked they will realize what a ridiculous system of measurement this is.
Professor Luff, who is now one of the shining lights of the scientific world iii London, has said that he could teach decimals to his students of chemistry in an hour, whereas it is impossible to teach all the combinations of the ordinary system of weights and measures in a lifetime. Let honorable members consider what a saving of time to scholars in our schools the adoption of the decimal system would effect. There would then be no compound multiplication, addition, subtraction, or long and short division. The adoption of the system would do away with the necessity for teaching about one-third of the arithmetic which is now taught to children, and which it is not worth their while to learn. As the record of the debate on this motion may be consulted by persons interested in the question, I make the following quotation from Modem Metrology, by Jackson, showing the dates of alterations in national measures during the present century -
Denmark. 1861. Decimal subdivision of the pound.
Sweden and Norway, 1878. French measures adopted by Act of 1875.’
England. 1824. Re-organization of measures. 1853. Date of the present primary parliamentary standards. 1859. The foot-weight adopted as a unit of weight. 1864. French measures rendered permissive. 1872. New normal standard temperature, 62 degrees Fahrenheit, exclusively adopted for trade measures. 1878. Re-adjustment of measures. Abolition of troy weight.
France. 1795. ‘Publication of the metric system. Old local measures used till 1812. 1812. Adoption of the mesures usuelles 1840. Adoption of the simple metric system for commercial purposes.
Germany. 1.806. Wurtemburg linear . measures readjusted. 1810. Baden adopts a modified metric system. 1816.Prussian foot and pound re-adjusted. 1817. Saxony - Dresden dry measures, and Leipzig weights adopted throughout Saxony. 1818. Darmstadt adapts a modified metric system. 1834. Zollverien units proposed. 1856. Zollverien measures adopted. 1868. French measures permissive; 1872, compulsory.
Netherlands. 1820. French measures adopted with local names.
Belgium. 1836. French denominations of metric measures adopted.
Holland. 1870. French denominations ofmetric measures adopted.
Austro-Hungary. 1873. French measures permissive; 1876, compulsory.
Russia. 1819. Adjustment of Polish measures on a metric basis. 1826. Re-adjustment of the Russian Imperial system. 1831. Imperial system adopted in Poland.
Switzerland. 1822. Canton Waadt adopted a modified metric system. Five other cantons partially adopted it. 1873. French measures legally adopted.
Italy. 1803. Lombardo-Venetia adopted French measures. 1840. Naples adopted a geodetic system of measures. 1859. French measures adopted throughout Italy.
Spain. 1859. French measures permissive; 1868, compulsory.
Portugal. 1860. French linear units adopted. 1861. French weight units adopted. 1862. French surface units adopted. 1863. French capacity units adopted.
Greece. 1836. French measures adopted with local names, termed royal measures.
Ionian Islands. 1800-1815. Local and Venetian measures in use. 1815-1864. English measures used. 1864. Greek royal measures adopted.
Europe. 1870. First conference of the International Standards Commission.
I have been astonished to find even one intelligent member of this House expressing views opposed to the adoption of this motion. The little inconvenience which would be caused by change of system would very quickly pass away. I venture to think that if the decimal system of coinage were adopted all difficulties arising out of the change of system would have disappeared in the course of a year. I commend the honorable member who introduced this motion, and, as I understand the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond), in whose name the next motion on the businesspaper appears, is absent because of illness, I think it would be well if his motion were considered along with that now before the House,and the two agreed to at the same time.
.- Unlike the honorable member who. has just resumed his seat, I am very pleased that the two motions are to be dealt with separately. One of the chief objections I have always had to proposals for the adoption of the decimal system of coinage has been that those responsible for them have always associated with them the introduction of the metric system of weights and measures. There can be no doubt that the adoption of the decimal system of coinage would save a great deal of trouble and time, not only in our schools, but in our offices. The principal objection to the metric system arises from the difficulties to which its adoption gives rise in connexion with the transport of goods.
I think it is right that we should commend the honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden) upon the research work indicated by his remarks in moving the motion now under consideration. There was one statement he made which seems to me to discount all that he said. He told us that practically all the. smaller countries throughout the world had approved of the metric system of weights and measures, but that the three largest - the British Empire, the United Statesof America and Russia - had all declared against it. The reason is very plain when we come to consider the question of the transport of goods over the enormous areas controlled by the countries referred to. For the transport of goods, the cubic system, if one may so describe it, is infinitely better than the metric system. Where you have measurements of four, eight, twentyfour, and so on, goods can be packed in solid blocks, but if you have parcels with measurements of five, ten, fifteen, they take up a tremendous amount of room, and are very much more difficult to pack for transport. This difficulty accounts for the resistance in the three countries referred to to the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures.
– I can scarcely follow the honorable member’s argument. If he applies it to railway transport, what is the difference between French and British railway waggons?
– As I have not worked on the railways, I am unable to say ; but I have handled a very great deal of produce of various kinds here and overseas in connexion with the work of the Army Service Corps during the war. I found that everywhere the cubic system was preferred by those handling goods, because, under that system, it is possible to pack stuff solidly, so that it will hold together.
The’ honorable member who introduced the motion told us that in some countries the two systems are operated side by side. That. appears to me to be the solution of the whole trouble. The metric system can be advantageously applied to all goods that do not require to be transported, whilst the cubic system should be applied to all goods that have to be moved from one place to ^another. The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has already traversed a good deal of the ground I intended to cover. The honorable member who moved the motion told us that the system in existence in Great Britain, the United States of America, and Russia, has grown up. But that is its recommendation. It has grown up from practical use; it has been found, by the people who handled these matters before the office became the controlling interest, and when the outside work was the chief matter of consideration, to he the most practical way of handling goods. Our present day civilization may have overcome the difficulties with which our forefathers had to contend, but we are not yet at that stage when we ought to allow the theory of the office to destroy the results attained by practical experience in the field.
.- The honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden) has put up a strong case in favour of the adoption of the metric system, and the information which he has placed before honorable members certainly swayed me in the direction of voting for his motion until I heard tho hon orable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) quoting reliable authorities–
– Not too reliable.
– At any rate, he quoted authorities to show that the metric system did not have that support it was expected to receive from Commissions appointed in Great Britain and the United States of America. I must confess, however, that in the latter country the authority quoted did not appear to me to make out a good case. It demonstrated that already there is legislation in existence in America dealing with the matter, and permitting the extension of. the metric system to weights and measures, but a3 we were not shown the extent of the exercise of that legislative power, it raised in my mind a feeling of doubt as to the actual result of the Commission’s recommendation. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming) has referred to transport difficulties, more particularly in regard to the packing of goods, hut there are many variations in the sizes of cases, and, as a matter of fact, it is largely a question of building one’s case to suit the packages to be transported.
– Is it not better to pack in cubes than in broken numbers?
– Where goods, are being packed on the flat, say, with a double layer of smaller packages on the bottom of a box, or, perhaps, three or four layers, it is a matter of indifference how long the case may be, or whether it will suit five or ten or, on the other hand, six or twelve packages. It is merely a question of adopting the size of the case to the habits of the community. For .the time being we are in the habit of preparing our cases to meet the requirements of a certain method of weighing and measuring goods.
– I would like to know how the honorable member for Robertson would deal with a cube of galvanized iron sheets 10 feet long.
– When loading larger sizes for transport by sea, rail, or motor, it is not a question of cubing, it is a question of how best to stow the various sizes of packages to be moved. On thewhole, I cannot see how any alteration in the system of weighing and measuring’ would apply in this respect. While I was in France, it was a strange experience for me to nave to handle goods under the metric system, or to have to think of distances in metres and kilometres. But the method was not unworkable. My difficulty was only that I had not been accustomed to it. The mention of the French system leads me to remember that, although the United States of America have not adopted the metric system as applied to weights and measures, they have applied it to their coinage. I can hardly reconcile these apparently conflicting ideas on the part of the American people. It is a very difficult matter to explain the uneven gradations of our system to a visitor from a country where the decimal system of coinage has been adopted. We have first the halfpenny as the unit; we double that for the penny; we treble the penny to make threepence; we double the threepence to make sixpence; and double the sixpence to make the shilling; double the shilling we call the florin, and two and a-half times the shilling we call half-a-crown. With decimal coinage there is far less trouble. The gradations pass . smoothly from the cent to a hundred cents.
I am sorry that the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) has been prevented from attending here today because of a severe attack of influenza. He had given notice of the following motion : -
That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that the Commonwealth adopt a system of decimal coinage based upon the British sovereign. ‘
And it appears next on the businesspaper, as a result of an understanding between the honorable member for Illawarra and the honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden), the idea being that the two subjects, which are so closely connected, might be discussed on the one day. No doubt, Mr. Speaker would have been requested to permit of the two matters being handled together.
Unless some further effort is made to give effect to the motion submitted by the honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden.) , its adoption will be merely beating the air. As the honorable member pointed out when introducing the subject, a similar motion was carried by this Parliament in 1903; and it is rather disheartening to find that -that unanimous vote of seventeen years ago has not, in the intervening period, received greater attention from those responsible for the control of the affairs of this country. Unless a serious effort is made to ascertain the feeling of the commercial community and the general public, it is idle for us to agree to this motion. We should follow such a step by the appointment of a parliamentary ‘Committee of investigation, or by action on the part of those interested in the adoption of the metric system in an endeavour to popularize it, by a series of meetings, which would enable the attitude of the commercial community to be thoroughly determined.
I feel sure that strong reasons will bo advanced against the adoption of the decimal system of coinage, and that there will be hostility towards having two systems of coinage in operation at the same time; but it will be quite “practicable to bring about the introduction of the decimal value of our coinage. It will only mean the removal of a small percentage of the coins now in use. For example, instead of the shilling representing twelve pennies, it could very well be made to represent ten pennies; instead of the sixpence representing six pennies, it could represent five, and so on. With the halfpenny as the unit, it would be necessary to have’ a coin representing five halfpennies.
– Would it not be better to work downwards from the half-crown, cutting out the florin and the sixpence and adopting coins representing ls. 3d., and 7½d.? >’
– It does not really affect the issue whether we start from the half-crown and work downwards, or start from the halfpenny and work upwards ; but I think it would be simpler to commence with the halfpenny as the unit and work upwards to five units, ten units, twenty units, and so on. Although honorable members may be averse to the metric system as applied to weights and measures, they might not take the same view in connexion with the decimal system of coinage. I commend this question to them for their serious consideration.
Mr. BOWDEN (Nepean) [6.211.- The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) was scarcely correct in saying that Great Britain and th© United States of America had’ condemned this system. As a matter of fact, they have been forced by circumstances to indorse it and are using it alongside their own system. The objection that the metre does not represent any definite portion of the earth’s surface seems to me to be altogether beside the mark. The French authorities endeavoured to get the exact length of a quadrant of the earth’s surface, in order to arrive at the ten-millionth part, and it has been demonstrated that on account of the scientific instruments then available to them a mistake in the calculations was made, so that it is to some extent true that the metre is an arbitrary measure. Nevertheless, this standard has been adopted by all the countries that have adopted the metric system. The honorable member for Kooyong said that France was running our method side by side with the metric system. That is true only in so far as certain manufacturing industries are concerned, because Great Britain and the United States of America want to buy according to their own systems. I have not read the report of the Commission to which the honorable member referred. I tried to get it, but it was not available. In reply to the argument that it would be impossible to enforce the system, I may point out that when Germany launched her manufacturing campaign to capture the world’s markets in trade, she adopted this system, though at that time nearly every province had different weights and measure systems in operation. Within about five years - and certainly within ten years - the new system was universal in Germany. If such results as these can be achieved in Germany, surely they can be achieved here also? The objection that the adoption of this system will be playing into the hands of the Germans is on a parallel with arguments that were used in connexion with the break of gauge problem in this country. Some people contended that with a uniform gauge in Victoria and New South Wales certain articles of manufacture in Victoria would find a market in New South Wales, and, on the other hand, that the Riverina trade would certainly come to Victoria. We are now called upon at great expense to remedy the mistake then made. I was staggered at the argument that the decimal system has not the advantage of sim plicity as against the system of vulgar fractions, because everyone knows that it is much easier to work a sum in decimals than in vulgar fractions. The honorable member for Kooyong has said that the housewife’s tape measure would need to be altered. The other day, when I went to use my wife’s tape measure, I found centimetres on one side and inches on the other, and if honorable members will look at the rulers which the children are using in our schools in New South Wales they will find that in many instances the centimetres are marked on one side and inches on the other.
– I think there ought to be a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
Motion (by Mr. Greene) proposed -
That notices of motion be postponed until Orders of the Day have been taken.
.- Is not the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) going to give the House any reason for postponing notices of motion 1 to 3?
– I also object to this.
– I do not know what reasons the Government have for altering the order of business. There are several important motions to be dealt with, and I should like to know why they are not to be proceeded with.
– I have moved to postpone consideration of notices of motion Nos. 1 to 3, to enable Orders of the Day to be taken.
– That does not carry us any further. It merely shows that the Government have made up their minds to postpone this business; but they have not submitted any reasons.
– Go on, waste time. You have wasted a week already.
– We are only doing what is customary.
– I am not going to be dictated to by the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook). A certain order of procedure has been arranged, and we are now told that the
Government intend to proceed with Orders of the Day. What is intended?
– The honorable member does not know anything about it.
– I know all about the motions that appear on the notice-paper, and I desire to know what motive the Government have in view. I want the Minister for the Navy to understand that he is not likely to gain anything by adopting this attitude. I intend to fight this matter out, even if I fight it alone; but I am sure I shall have the support of other honorable members.
– I do not care; the honorable member can fight if he likes.
– Yes, and I will.
-The honorable member is not going to “ bully “ me,either
– (Hon. J. M. Chanter).- Order!
– I intend to take my time.
– The honorable member cannot waste time as he likes.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the Minister for the Navy right in accusing an honorable member of wasting time?
– I did not understand the Minister for the Navy to use those words. I was under the impression that he said that the honorable member for West Sydney could not waste time if he liked.
– He said I was wasting time.
-It is marvellous how these things cannot be heard by the Chair.
– Order ! If honorable members will remain silent, it will assist me.
– I strongly object to the Government altering the order of business without giving reasons. It is due to the House to have some explanation. The Government, no doubt encouraged by their success in proceeding in an arbitrary way, are treating the House with absolute discourtesy. I came this evening fully prepared to discuss these notices of motion, and I am now informed by the Minister for Trade and Customs that the order of the business is to be altered. Surely honorable members are entitled to some consideration and courtesy. Why is it not necessary for the Minister for Works . and Railways (Mr. Groom) to proceed with his motion to have leave to bring in a Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1918? The second notice of motion is for the Minister for Works and Railways to have leave to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to industrial matters and the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes. I ask the Minister in charge of the motions if he will not have the courtesy to give some reason why the order of business should be altered in this manner? I trust honorable members will see that they are not treated in this cavalier fashion. The Government have been going on for a long period doing exactly what they like without consulting Parliament or giving any reasons for their actions, and when we object to this procedure we are told that we are wasting time. I am not wasting time, but protesting in the interests of the country. I shall not be treated in this way, and every time similar tactics are adopted I shall take the opportunity of protesting and endeavouring to get other honorable members to assist me. This is not the first time that this procedure has been sprung upon us, and the Government should give reasons to justify their action. Why should honorable members be asked to proceed with the consideration of the second reading of the Institute of Science and Industry Bill?
– Did I understand the Minister to say that the Government intended going on with notice of motion No. 3 ?
– My motion was that notices of motion 1 to 3 be postponed to enable Orders of the Day to be taken.
– The notices of motion appearing on the notice-paper are very debatable, especially No. 3.
– I understand the Minister is postponing consideration of Nos. 1, 2, and 3.
– The notices of motion are not debatable at this stage.
– Does the Minister for the Navy anticipate that the motions are likely to go through without debate? I think they should be debated.
– I never said that at all.
– The Minister for the Navy said they were not debatable at this stage.
– I say they are not.
– This is the stage when we define the scope of the order of leave and what will subsequently be dealt with by the House. I wish to have something to say on the scope of the motions to be moved to enable the House to define the scope of the measures. It may be that the Government will introduce Bills, if these motions are carried, containing specific clauses, and owing to the order of leave being limited, it might become impossible for honorable members in Committee to move amendments which we desire to include. I object to these motions being relegated to an obscure position to enable them to be rushed through without discussion. They are of the utmost importance, and, no doubt, other honorable members will be actuated by the same motives as I am.
– I am not quite clear now as to what the Minister’s intentions are. Does he intend to postpone notices of motion 1 to 3 until later in the evening ?
– They will not come on at all to-night.
– Then I have no objection at all.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) is taking the course every other Minister has taken since the inception of responsible Government.
– Then, why not give reasons?
– We are simply taking the course that has always been taken. These motions are more or less of a formal character.
– More or less - chiefly less.
– Will the honorable member allow me to proceed ?
– Thank you very much. Why does the honorable member for West Sydney objectto the usual course being proceeded with ? It is perfectly in order for the Government to arrange their business in the way they desire.
– Subject to the approval of the House.
– Of course, and approval has never been denied until the advent of my honorable friend to this Chamber,
– It happens too frequently.
– I think it is time that the Leader of the Opposition realized–
– I can look after myself, and the Minister for the Navy cannot create discord here. There is enough trouble in his own ranks.
– It is time the Leader of the Opposition realized that the actual leader just now is on the back benches.
– The Minister for the Navy has to take a back seat nowadays.
– Yes, and I am always willing to. It is time the honorable member for Maribyrnong took a back seat.
– I am in a back seat now.
– The honorable member is again out of order in interjecting after I have called for order.
– Who said so ?
– Order !
– The Minister has moved–
Honorable members interjecting,
– I have already warned honorable members-
– What a one-sided individual you are.
– Order ! In view of that insulting and disorderly remark, I have no other course to pursue but to name the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), and ask the Minister in charge of the House to take the necessary action.
– The honorable member for Maribyrnong does this every day, and there is no other course open to me but to move -
That the honorable member for Maribyrnong be suspended for the remainder of the sitting.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I desire to know–
– He does this every day.
– Because we have a oneeyed Deputy Speaker. He works for his party every time, and the public ought to know it.
– I again call the attention of the House to the continued defiance of the honorable member for Maribyrnong.
– The Government are anxious to exhibit their brutal majority.
Question - That the honorable member for Maribyrnong be suspended for the remainder of the sitting - put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 20
– I call on the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) and the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. Riley) to act as tellers for the Noes.
– You don’t enlist me for that purpose.
– That is a breach of order.
– It may be; but I would rather be with my friend outside than a teller for you inside.
– Insulting brute !
– If any one over here had said that, it would have been heard, and he would have been named.
– I call on the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) to act as teller for the Noes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr.Fenton) was therefore, under standing order 59, suspended for the remainder of the sitting, and withdrew from the Chamber, accompanied by the Serjeant-at-Arms.
– At the risk of being put out, I shall not agree to the postponement of the Government notices of motion, until good and sufficient reasons for that course have been advanced by the Minister in charge of the House. We are entitled to know if there are good reasons for the course proposed, and in their absence, I am unwilling to submit like a subservient school-child to the course that the Government wishes to take. In order to test the feeling of the House, I move : -
That the following words be added to the motion: - “and that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 8, be postponed.”
I move that amendment to bring forward for discussion the Judiciary Bill, and thus provide an opportunity for dealing with the high cost of living, a subject which is agitating the minds of the people of this country to-day more than any other. There are good and substantial reasons why we should postpone all other business to deal with the Judiciary Bill, but I cannot see any justification for postponing the Government notices of motion merely to deal with the Institute of Science and Industry Bill, a measure to which I have given little attention, because I do not think it worthy of notice. Members should assert their rights, and not allow themselves to be treated cavalierly by the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook), whom I regard as responsible for the trouble that has occurred, as he is responsible for a great deal of the disorder here, he being one of the worst offenders against our rules.
– Move the postponement of the consideration of notice of motion No. 3 until we can discuss it at Canberra this day twelve months.
– I could understand a proposition of that character, because it would enable us to deal with a matter of great importance, and one of, perhaps, greater importance than any on the business paper except the Judiciary Bill. A number of us have been waiting for some time to discuss the Judiciary Bill, and particularly an amendment which is to be proposed by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan). I wish to move another amendment regarding the extension of the moratorium. Prior to the last long adjournment, I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) if he would bring this matter before the Premiers at his conference with them, but he has not done so.
– The honorable member may not discuss the subject until the Order of the Day to which it relates is reached.
– I submit that I am in order in showing reasons why we should make a greater postponement of business than that proposed by the Government, so that we may deal with more important matters. I desire to stress why we should he afforded an opportunity of discussing a question which is of vital importance to the community. An amendment in connexion with the Judiciary Bill is to be submitted by the honorable member for West Sydney, who is anxious to obtain the opinion of the House upon it. He proposes to move after the word “ That “ in the motion for the second reading of that measure to insert the words, “ in consequence of the exploitation of the people of Australia by profiteering and of the urgent necessity of dealing therewith, the Bill be now withdrawn for the purpose of introducing at the earliest possible moment a more comprehensive measure which will confer all necessary powers of jurisdiction on the High Court of Australia and other existing Courts for the enforcement thereof, and which–
– He desires the Bill to be withdrawn.
– And another measure immediately introduced.
– Why does the honorable member wish to get to a Bill which he wishes to see withdrawn?
– The Government should provide for that.
– The Government will conduct its business in its own way.
– It conducts it very badly.
– Order ! The honorable member is now going beyond the scope of his amendment.
– The Government are desirous of postponing items of some importance in order that they may deal with matters of less importance such as the Institute of Science and Industry Bill. That Bill has been before us for some time. It really provides for a duplication of activities upon which the States have already entered, and constitutes another attempt to violate the professions of economy of which we hear so much.
– What about economy of time?
– Time is well spent when honorable members stand up for their rights. If the honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) is content to be silenced by the Government I am not.
– What is the difference between the honorable member and the Government on this matter ?
– The Government propose to depart from the order of business without assigning any reasons for doing so. This is the third time since the recent adjournment that they have treated the House in this cavalier fashion. Only last evening the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Groom) asked, as a matter of urgency, that the business should be arranged in the form in which it now appearsupon the notice-paper, and I protest against the action of the Government in departing from that arrangement.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) proposed -
That the question be now put.
– That’s right; get the “gag” to work!
Question put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 21
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the words proposed tobe added (Mr. Parker Moloney’s amendment) be so added - put. The House divided.
Majority … ..23
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - put.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - again put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The Order of the Day for the resumption of the debate, on motion by Mr. Greene for the second reading of this Bill from Wednesday, 21st July (vide page 2897), having been read by the Clerk,
– Order! I am afraid the honorable member has missed his opportunity. He could have moved in the direction he desired before the Order of the Day was called on. Now that it has been called on, it must be proceeded with in the ordinary way.
– How was it possible to do what you suggest?
– In the same manner as the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney) tried to deal with the matter. But, as the Order of the Day has been called on, it is now before the House.
– I rose immediately you declared the result of the division. Two of us could not be speaking at the one time.
– The honorable member will, I trust, accept my assurance that the Clerk distinctly read the Order of the Day before the honorable member rose.
– I do not wish to express my view, because it would be unparliamentary, and I should be called upon to withdraw.
.- In spite of what the honorable member for
Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney) has to say in contempt of this measure, I think honorable members and the country will appreciate the fact that the application of science to all our undertakings is the most important development that can take place.
– We have the States doing the work already. I spoke of the matter from the Federal standpoint, but I said nothing in contempt of the work itself.
– I made no reference to what the States were doing. I am dealing with tho importance of the application of science generally to our undertakings. I take it that the Government will see that the work of the States is not only carried on, but is even assisted to a very much greater extent than at present. I am convinced that the cooperation of- the Federal Institute with the States will lead to a great amount of good for those engaged in our primary undertakings. I propose to quote a notable instance to show what better methods mean to this country. We are dealing with a measure which goes to the very root and foundations of our prosperity, because it means the education and advancement of our people. If we do not legislate for the benefit of those who are to follow us, the sooner we get out and allow “somebody else to come in who will do so, the better.
I desire to give an instance of the results of the application of scientific methods which relates in the first place to ihe dairying industry, but the lesson can be applied also to all our undertakings. A demonstration was carried out in the Tweed and Richmond River country, in the electorate of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene). The results are shown in the report of the Tweed and Richmond River HerdTesting Association, and are really extraordinary. They show that the application of better scientific methods has been of the most salutary benefit to those engaged in the dairying industry. If those methods lead to increased production in Australia, surely honorable members will agree that it is a very good and desirable thing to adopt them to the widest extent possible. This particular instance was tha result of a competition which I started on the North Coast. The report is as follows: -
The figures in the “ Hay “ competition are compiled in such a manner as to embrace the Annual Statistics of the Council. ‘During the year there were tested by the eleven associations in operation 285 herds, embracing a total of 17,348 cows- average 60.87 cows per herd. The official testers of the various associations possess certificates of competency granted by the Department of Agriculture, and the general manner in which they have performed the duties allotted to them is highly creditable.
The figures show that the cow which gave the lowest yield produced “S2 lbs. of butter, and the one which gave the highest produced 720 lbs. in the year. This means that, taking butter roughly at 2s. per lb., the first returned £8 4s. for the year, while the second returned £72 for, the year. If a result of that kind is produced by investigation and experiment, the benefits to the country must be great, and those engaged in industries must be- induced to give deep thought to their undertakings. If a wheat farmer averages 11 bushels to the acre, and it costs him 10 bushels to produce, he has. a profit of 1 bushel to the acre, but if ‘by greater knowledge and improved methods he can produce an average of 12 bushels to the acre, he has doubled his income., I received the following letter from ‘the late Dr. Gellatly, who was the Director of the Bureau of Science and Industry: -
I duly received your pamphlet on “ Production,” and was exceedingly interested in it. Your account of the testing qf herds on the northern rivers is really remarkable, not on account of its magnitude only, but on account of the results. That sort of thing must give a tremendous fillip towards the introduction of scientific methods. Keep the’ ball rolling. With your influence among producers you can do a great deal. They would be less suspicious of’ you than of the purely academic type of scientist.
This is another letter from a man well known and highly esteemed by my honorable friends who sit opposite -
I have to thank you for copy of pamphlet on “ Production.” It is distinctly informative,, and should suggest to the Government and those immediately concerned the need for early action.
Its Appearance is .timely, as it is clear that in most countries post war trade will be highly organized, and unless Australian producers get busy in that direction they will be at a decided disadvantage.
It is not- only those engaged in our primary undertakings that are interested in the development of the country. Every section of the community must necessarily benefit from all the advantages which our people gain by greater education and increased knowledge, resulting in better conditions and higher production.
I arn sorry the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) is not present to hear another instance which concerns operations in his electorate. The mining industry in our State has drifted into a condition of ‘little or no production. One of the reasons, clearly, is that the most modern scientific methods are not being applied to the recovery of metals. The great Cobar mine in one of our most important mining centres, is now hovering on the brink of extinction. There is no reason why that should be so, or why the interests in that very important town should disappear, or why those engaged in production should cease to be so engaged. I am carrying on similar undertakings in that belt; and I suppose I am the only copper producer in New South Wales at the present time. By applying modern scientific methods to production, I am able to carry on profitably on the same values of ores as the Cobar people are unable to treat profitably, because they employ obsolete methods.
It cannot be denied that it is necessary to get this country into a new frame of mind. John Bunyan speaks of having seen a slough, which was named “Despond.” There is undoubtedly a. feeling of despondency on the part of a great many of our people who are engaged in production. They see no hopeful prospect. What with price-fixing and legislative interference of various kinds, they do not know where they stand. Notice has been given of a motion by the honorable member for Cook (Mr. J. H. Catts) providing for the purchase, securing, and holding up of our wheat for future years. I am convinced that if such legislation is passed in Australia our wheat production will decrease. What the primary producer wants to-day is freedom. He wants the world’s parity for his produce and nothing else. Unless we can secure that for him, and increased yields by the application of improved methods applied to agriculture, our production will go down.
– What clause of the Bill is the honorable member now discussing?
– I am discussing the application of science to industry. Our water conservation schemes are among the greatest of our undertakings to aid the producer, but unless we have still further applications of science to primary production, I do’ not know how many of our people will be able to carry on. Unless improved methods are applied to the cultivation of the soil those engaged in agricultural pursuits will either disappear from the land or require a guarantee as to prices. We all know that those engaged in. primary production work for hours which they never take into account, and if it were not for the support they receive from their families they would not be able to carry on. All this is because of want of better methods. If we have further legislative interference with them we shall have to pay at least double the price demanded to-day for their products. The honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. Riley) at the last general election spoke of 5s. a bushel being paid for wheat. If further restrictions are imposed upon producers we shall have to pay1 not 5s. but 15s. per bushel.
– Will not the setting up of this Institute constitute another interference with the primary producers ?
– It will not interfere with them any more than do the Universities and other educational institutions of this country.
I hope that when this Bill goes into Committee the Minister in charge will consider the advisableness of dividing it into two parts - one dealing solely with agriculture and the other with the application of science to secondary undertakings.
– Exactly. I am satisfied that the States will not regard this as a measure designed to interfere with existing State institutions. If the Director, when appointed, has the good sense to consult and confer with experts engaged on behalf of the States in work of this kind, the States will hail with delight an Institute of this character, which will act generally for the whole of Australia, and co-ordination and co-operation will rapidly result from its creation. In addition to consulting with those who are engaged in our agricultural colleges, the Director will have to invoke the aid and advice of the Director of Education in one of our chief States. In other countries the work of an institution of this kind is carried right to the doors of the public schools. The impressionable mind of youth is interested and young people are so induced to further qualify themselves for the undertakings ahead.
I propose to refer briefly. to the activities of similar institutions in three very important countries - Great Britain, the United States of America and Canada. Canada has recently made an appropriation to the extent of £2,000,000 to be applied during the next ten years in the directions aimed at in this Bill.” Let me quote from “ the speech from the throne “ at the opening of the Canadian Parliament in 1913 : -
It is essential to recognise that in a country possessing so great an area of fertile land as that with which the Dominion is happily ‘endowed, the great basic industry is agriculture. My Advisers arc convinced that the time has come when greater aid and encouragement should bo given to those who are engaged in the cultivation of the land. To this end a measure will be introduced, under which” it is hoped that there may be co-operation between the Dominion and the various Provinces -
That is what we require here - cooperation between the Commonwealth and theStates - for the purpose of assisting and encouraging farmers to secure the best results in production, and at the same time to preserve the fertility of the soil. A measure will be introduced for revising and consolidating the Acts relating to the inspection of grain, and providing means by which the Government can secure through a Commission control and operation of terminal elevators upon the Great Lakes.
Since then Canada has steadily devoted her energies, activities, and money to the promotion of this great work. I propose now to quote a statement made by the Minister of Agriculture in Great Britain, and published in the Journal of the Ministry of Agriculture, London, in February last -
The Minister emphasized the importance of securing the best men for the work -
He was referring to the extension of agricultural education - and of fixing salaries commensurate with the services required of them, since, however urgent the need for economy, inefficiency is dear at any price. He stated that forty-two counties had already appointed agricultural organizers, ‘ and he hoped that the delay in the remaining counties was. due solely to the difficulty of finding the very best men for the posts.
Here is a convincing statement which was made by President Wilson a little over two years ago, when addressing a meeting of farmers at Urbana, Illinois -
The farmers of this country are as efficient as any other farmers in the world. They do not produce more per acre than the farmers in’ Europe. It is not necessary that they should do so, but they do produce by two to three or four times more per man, per unit of labour and capital, than the farmers’ of any European country. - i
That is because they have applied to their industry the most modern methods -
They are more alert, and use more laboursaving devices than any other farmers in the world, and their response to the demands of the present emergency lias been in every way remarkable. Last spring (1919) their planting exceeded by 12,000,000 acres the largest planting of any previous year, and the yields from the crops were record-breaking yields. “
In the fall of 1917 a wheat acreage of 42,170,000 was planted, which was 1,000,000 larger than for any preceding year, 3,000,000 greater than the next largest and 7,000,000 greater than the preceding five-year average.
But I ought to say to you that it is not only necessary that these achievements should be repeated, but that they should be exceeded. I know what this advice involves. It involves not only labour, but sacrifice, the painstaking, application of every bit of scientific knowledge and every tested practice that is available……
In the field of agriculture we have agencies and instrumentalities fortunately such as no other country in the world can show. The Department of Agriculture is, undoubtedly, the greatest practical and scientific agricultural organization in the world. Its total annual budget of $40,000,000 (£11,794,872) has been increased during the last four years more than 72 per cent. (£20,287,179) approximately. It has a staff of 18,000, including a large number of highly trained experts, and alongside of it stand the unique land-grant colleges, which are without example elsewhere, and the sixty-nine State and Federal experimental stations. These colleges and experiment stations have a total endowment of plant and equipment of $172,000,000 (£44,102,564), and an income of more than $35,000,000 (£8,974,395), with 10,271 teachers, a resident student body of 125,000,- and a vast additional number receiving instruction at their homes. Counting agents, joint officers of the Department of Agriculture and. of the colleges, arc everywhere co-operating with’ the farmers and assisting them. The number’ of extension workers under the Smith-Lever Act and under the recent emergency legislation has grown to 5,500 men and women working regularly in the various communities, and taking to the farmer the latest scientific and practical information. Alongside these great public agencies stand the ; very effective voluntary organizations among the farmers themselves, which are more and more learning the best methods of co-operation andthe best methods of putting topractical use the assistance derived from governmental sources.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
Extension of time granted on motion by Mr.Higgs.
– The statement by President Wilson proceeds -
The banking legislation of the last two or three years has given the farmers access to the greatlendable capital of the country, and it has become the duty, both of the men in charge of the Federal reserve banking system and of the farm loan banking system, to see to it that the farmers are getting the credit, both short term and long term, to which they are entitled not only, but which it is imperatively necessary should be extended to them if the present tasks of the country are to be adequately performed.
I need not read further, but it is clear that the Government of the United States are doing everything they possibly can to assist the people on the land in that country.
I shall quote now for honorable members what was said by Mr. Potts, the principal of the Hawkesbury Agricultural College in the course of an address to the jubilee conference of primary producers, about eighteen months ago. Speaking of the United States of America, he said-
The Education Department in each State has someform or other of training in nature-study and elementary agriculture in country primary schools. Secondary schools are being rapidly established, in which agriculture forms an important aspect of training for youths under sixteen. There were 700 establishments in 1910, and in 1913 the number had increased to 2,300.
During the long summer vacation of five months at the University and college, members of the teaching staffs, graduates and undergraduates, are distributed throughout the agricultural areas to organize and conduct farm institutes. In 1901 these institutions numbered 2,000, with an attendance of 500,000; in 1912 there were6,000 institutions, with an attendance of 2,500,000. Between the years 1802 and 1912 there were over 600 colleges, Universities, and institutions, in which agricultural education formed part or whole of the curriculum, and in the aggregate cost £45,000,000, with a permanent endowment of £41,000,000.
Every aspect of applied science responds in its use to higher returns to the man on the land. The subjects of chemistry, plant-breeding, and selection of soil, physics, farm engineering and mechanics, veterinary science, amongst others, offer thetrained student unlimited opportunities of increasing the farmers’ profits.
The re-organization of our rural industries must occupy the minds of our commercial leaders and legislators, and it is to be earnestly hoped that facilities will be offered our rising generation to acquire advanced agricultural education such as that bestowed so liberally and wisely on the producers of other lands with whom we are brought into competition.
The education which the farmer needs is that which will give him more real appreciation of the progressive and scientific spirit of the age in which he lives; will arouse a keen interest in the facts and principles of science as related to his vocation; will show him that in agriculture there is ample opportunity for life-long study which may refresh and delight the mind, as well as minister to material success, and in general will lift agricultural practice out of drudgery into a domain of intelligent and hopeful labour. This is our hope in Australia. Ocassionally wo hear disparaging remarks as to the lack of appreciation of modern methods by our farmers - their narrow conservatism and indifference, but such are wrong. All honour is due to our pioneers who have suffered isolation, who, with stout hearts, industry; and extraordinary patience, have bravely made homes under the most adverse and discouraging circumstances. The dull routine of the untrained farmer must cease with his generation. It is our duty to see that his children are not deprived of refinement and culture, and are given that conception of advanced ideals which education alone can convey.
I need not quote further. It is quite clear that, in connexion with modern advanced ideas on the subject of agriculture, education has taken root, and is bearing fruit most abundantly. If we are to succeed in Australia, we must apply the same methods as those which are being applied so successfully elsewhere. I am convinced that, before very long, we must send a representative Commission to the United States of America to inquire into these undertakings, in order that we may be able t o adopt the scientific principles which are being successfully applied in those countries where modern conditions obtain.
It is said that war is the foundationof all the arts and sciences that belong to mankind. If that be so, we have surely had sufficient war recently to have brought into existence a great many new arts and sciences. I am satisfied that if our people generally will apply the arts and sciences to undertakings in Australia, we shall very soon find our affairs in a very prosperous condition. I am convinced, as I am sure my honorable friends opposite must be, that the . time has arrived when we must eliminate from our counsels the extreme men on both sides. The old Tory must go, and the extremist on ‘the other side must also go. The time has come when we must find the key to open- the door to enable common sense to enter .and deliberate upon what is the best to be done for this country. I trust that honorable members will realize the gravity of this question ? I hope that they will consider that this measure is designed to benefit their children. Education will form a very important part of the work to be done under it, and I personally hold the view that the man who will not support a measure of which education is a prime feature is not of very much use to this country.
I hope that when the Bill gets into Committee the Minister in charge of it will consider any reasonable amendment in order that when it leaves this Chamber it shall bear the hall-mark of the approval of the people, and if it does it will be of great advantage to Australia.
– I wish to congratulate the honorable member for New England (Mr. Haj’) on the very informative speech he has delivered on this Bill. Honorable members should be delighted to have had the privilege of listening to him. I cannot help remembering that last year when we were considering a Science and Industry Bill, Colonel Abbott, the honorable member’s predecessor as representative of New England, delivered one of the finest speeches on the subject it has been my privilege to listen to.
– What was the result?
– The result was to strengthen the opinion of practical men inside of this House, and outside of it, as to the necessity of applied science to production.
– Why did not the Government go on with £he first measure?
– If we had more representatives of the producers of the quality pf the honorable member who has just resumed his seat it would be better for the men on the land generally, and i for this country.
I opposed the Bill that was before the House on the last occasion, but I did not do so because I was opposed to the spread of scientific knowledge or the application of science to our primary and secondary industries. I believe in that thoroughly. I believe that the application of science to our primary and secondary industries is not only useful, but absolutely indispensable. I know from practical experience that it is indispensable to primary production. I opposed the last measure of this kind because, with several other honorable members, I was not satisfied that the proposed Bureau of Science and Industry would be conducted, not in opposition to or antagonistic to, but in co-operation with, similar institutions established in the States. If instead of hampering or limiting the results of State activity, it is designed to supplement them and to secure’ economy by preventing overlapping, it will give us the best assurance of good results. There was a suspicion ‘in my mind, and in the minds of some of my friends in this House, when the original Bill was introduced, that there was a desire to create a big central Commonwealth Department. I have no fear of that to-day, because we have had the fullest assurances that that is not intended. If I thought that was intended I should oppose this measure.
The time is ripe for development. The honorable member for New England in commencing his speech last night said that when discussing these matters with the producers of the country he preferred to speak rather of “ improved methods” than of scientific methods, because rural producers seemed to have a considerable objection to science as he understood it. I want to say Chat so far as rural producers in South Australia, and I believe in Australia generally, are concerned that prejudice against the application of science in rural industries is gone completely.
– The honorable member does not forget the difficulty we had to induce farmers to use superphosphates.
– I was going to say that in the early nineties when Professor Lowrie, Principal of the Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, introduced superphosphates for wheat-growing he had to face a terrible prejudice, which continued to operate for some years in spite of the fact that on the college lands he was doubling and trebling the production of men farming country outside the college lands. Than feeling of prejudice has disappeared now, and the farmer, generally, not only believes in the 1 application of scientific methods to his work, but is satisfied that he cannot succeed without their application. As the honorable member has pointed out, we cannot hope to grow wheat in this country with success unless we apply the most improved methods.
The point I wish to stress is the necessity for real co-operation with the States, from which, I believe, the bestresults will accrue. It is quite natural that there should be some misgivings in this respect; but undoubtedly we are not co-operating with the States in many directions in which wo should be working hand-in-hand with them. Without the exercise of that spirit of co-operation this institution will not be a. success. .The attitude of the Minister who’ will be in charge of this branch of the Commonwealth’s activities should be “ the Commonwealth for all,” and not “ the Commonwealth over all.” The display of that spirit of co-operation ought to lead to the achievement of the very best results for Australia.
– Does the honorable member anticipate that there will be no display of that spirit?
– So far our experience shows clearly that such co-operation is possible.
– Last year when I was speaking on the Bill I knew very well that South Australia had not come into line, and that the fault did not lie with the State. However, in such matters there are often mistakes on both sides. There must be give-and-take on both sides, if success is to be achieved. More than one honorable member has raised the question of economy; but the expenditure on this institution, if it be conducted on right lines, will be real economy.
– Does the honorable member believe that a big Government Department can carry on the institution economically ?
– It is very seldom that a Government Department can conduct a big undertaking economically; but I hope that when this institution is in going order it will not be under political or Government control, further than the supervision which this House will exercise in seeing that the money we vote is wisely expended.
The honorable member for New England has refered to the splendid work done by agricultural colleges and agricultural schools in the various States, work which has contributed enormously towards increasing the wealth of Australia; but these colleges have not done all they are capable of doing, and no one knows it better than those who are responsible for them. For one thing, they have not the best equipment that they might have to enable them to do so. There is room for great improvement in the matter of scientific education, and, at the same time, room for the exercise of real economy in the direction of co-ordination in regard to detailed expenditure.
Reference has been made to the journal published by the Commonwealth Institute; but I hope before long, instead of six or seven journals being issued by the Commonwealth and the various States, one journal, published by a central body in Melbourne, and added to by the reports of the activities carried out in the various States, will be available to the individual producer, supplying him each month with the most up-to-date information as to the developments taking place in his calling, not only in his own State, but in all the States.
– Has the honorable member any assurance that the .States will agree to do that?
– I think they will do it if the politicians will leave them alone.
– The States know that the Commonwealth Parliament has not had any control over the expenditure in regard to this matter, and that it has been done entirely by the Executive.
– We had a little bit of control last year.
– The money had been spent before it came before this House for approval.
– I remind the honorable member that yesterday quite unwittingly, probably, he was 100 per cent, out in his statement as to the cost of this business, and I also remind the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) that when the Institute gets going he must be prepared for a very considerable increase of expenditure. However, provided the money is spent on proper lines, whether it be increased fivefold or tenfold, it will be the best money ever spent in Australia.
– I am merely suggesting that the Estimates should be approved by Parliament before the money is spent. ; Mr. RICHARD FOSTER.- I am ten times stronger on that point than the honorable member probably is. I am not displeased that he is with us, and miling to help us, and if ho will confine his energy to doing the right things, we shall pull together occasionally.
Although I accept Ministers’ assurances, I warn them that I shall watch them night and day to see that they keep their word. I regret that one of our University professors, who has been associated with the Institute from its inception, has seen fit to resign. I am not satisfied in my mind that there was sufficient reason for the step which has been taken by such an eminent man who has rendered excellent service during the past three or “four years, but I am glad to know that the great body of men throughout the States who have been associated with the promotion of this good work, and to -whom Ave are indeed grateful for the great assistance they have given to the Commonwealth, are earnestly desirous that it shall proceed. When I think of what a movement of this kind has done for’ the United States of America and Canada, and ‘when! note the way in which the United Kingdom, with all her -conservative opinions, is forging ahead at a tremendous pace through the adoption of similar means, I feel that we are not entering upon something which is experimental, but are merely applying what the greater part of the world has already found absolutely indispensable. Therefore, I hope that the Bill will pass, and that happy results will speedily . follow the passage of this legislation.
.- While T indorse what every honorable member who has spoken to the measure has said in regard to the great need for applying science to our industries, both primary and secondary, I arn not satisfied that we are doing the best we possibly can to give assistance to those industries by the establishment of an efficient institute of science and industry unless we are assured by the Minister (Mr. Greene) that there is some clear understanding between the States and the Commonwealth Government as to the work it will carry out. It is idle to say that we ought to have co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth. We all realize the necessity for that. If we pass this Bill we shall be establishing another Department; and, as honorable members must know, there will be no limitation to its extension. At present we have in the States all the institutions necessary for the development of our industries; and I want to know what scheme the Minister has in mind for the co-ordination of all this very important work. It is idle to say that this country is faced with a very heavy financial responsibility, if we are not prepared in connexion with this Bill to prevent the establishment of another Commonwealth Department, because this will not’ only involve the Commonwealth in unnecessary expenditure, but will cause friction between State institutions and this proposed Commonwealth Institute. I believe the Minister’s intention is to secure coordination, but we know what happens in practice when we .set up a new Department. I feel sure it will not be long before the Commonwealth Institute will be working side by side with the State institutions of a similar nature.
– In opposition to them.
– Yes; that will be the position, unfortunately, whereas the object really should be to link up all those activities, so as to insure the assistance of State scientists.
– And at present they complain that they are being flouted.
– What the honorable member says is quite true. If we cannot get their co-operation in the development of this scheme it will not be a success. Therefore, it would not be wise to passthe Bill before we arrive at some understanding on this important matter. It would be much better if the Minister would agree to take the Bill up to the Committee stage, and then, in cooperation with State representatives, devise a scheme that will not overlap the work that is at present being done.
– We want one main institution, and, preferably, at Canberra.
– I am not quite so sure about its location, but we do want one main institution; and I make the suggestion to the Minister, not in a spirit of antagonism to the Bill, but in order to insure the success of the scheme. In the State which I have the honour to represent we have established a Department of Chemistry, which is doing very good work indeed. The creation of that Department was an administrative act of my own, when a member of the State Government, so honorable members will realize that I have a keen appreciation of the work of scientists, and if I offer opposition to the Bill in its present form, it is because I foresee the danger of proceeding with the scheme in the absence of an understanding with the various State Governments. Clause 12 provides that the Governor-General may - not shall - arrange with the Government of any of the States for the utilization of State research departments.
– We cannot make it mandatary.
– Perhaps not; but surely we can come to some arrangement and provide for it in the Bill. That is my only reason for opposing the measure. I shall vote against it. because I am opposed to the establishment of a huge Commonwealth Department, which will, in all probability, come into competition with State institutions, instead of co-operating with them.
– The Premier of South Australia has informed me he believes that the scheme will.be quite satisfactory.
– The Premiers have already considered it and indorsed its main principles.
– But we ought to make sure of their co-operation.
– It is impossible to make sure, in advance, on items which we have not definitely decided upon.
– Thissuggestion to make sure of co-operation is only another way of killing the Bill.
– I have no desire to kill the Bill, but I believe it is absolutely essential that we secure co-ordination. At present, there is grave danger of duplication. Even now, in South Australia, there are two similar Departments, one controlled by the Commonwealth and the other by the State Government, building soldiers’ homes, and by their competition making it more difficult for the men to secure homes.
Mr.Richard Foster. - You are quite right.
– And I fear the experience will be repeated in connexion with this proposed Institute of Science and Industry.
I also draw attention to the duplication of information contained in the scientific bulletins that are issued from time to time. Nearly every honorable member has an accumulation of these publications, which are really a nuisance, unless one can take them home for use in a bathheater.
– Give the farmer one instead of six, and he will read it more diligently than his Bible.
– If one takes up these publications, one will find the same information in many of them, because they cull one from the other. If we could eliminate the heavy expenditure involved in the publication and distribution of these pamphlets, the position would be much more satisfactory.
– Twelve months ago I was told that the pamphlets cost1s. 8½d. each to produce, and they were selling for1s.
– The paper upon which the science bulletin is issued is altogether too costly for pamphlets of this description.
I also direct the attention of honorable members to the fact that the Director is to be appointed for a period of five years. Can we expect any man with scientific attainments to accept a position for five years- only?
– That is the term offered to the High Commissioner.
– With all deference to the High Commissioner, I suggest that the position of Director of the proposed Institute will be more important than that of the High Commissioner in London, and I doubt whether any leading scientist, occupying a secure position under a State Government, will sever his connexion for a five years’ Commonwealth appointment.
– If the man . is good enough for this position, we shall find .that all the world will want him.
– That is so, and. I have in mind a really good scientific man in South Australia, Dr. Hargreaves. He does not- live in the clouds altogether, but is a practical as well as a scientific man.
– A brilliant man wasted.
– That is so. It is not likely that a competent Government official who has a. guaranteed position until he is, say, seventy years of age, would vacate it for the privilege of .taking up the directorship of the proposed Institute for a period of five years. I -direct the attention’” of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr.’ Greene) to that aspect of. the question, because, if the Government do establish the Department .they are not likely to secure a suitable Director unless there is some security of tenure.
– If an applicant is not in a good position, he will not be worthy of the job.
– No ; a suitable man is not likely to ‘ be found wanting around the streets with his toes out of his boots’. Of course, there is :a possibility of the Director’s-, term being extended.
I am sorry that- I shall Have to record my vote in opposition to the Bill unless- 1 receive. some assurance from the Government that amendments w>ill -be made in -the direction I; have’ indicated. Although it is my intention to -oppose the –.measure, I do ‘ not wish’ it: to” be thought that I do not recognise the need for effective scientific research; but I cannot support the Bill until I am ‘ as- ,sured that the Government do not intend duplicating the work -that is already being done by the State authorities.
– I rise to support the second reading of this Bill, because I fully indorse the principle -that it embodies.- But, like the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Blundell), I hope to see’ some considerable alteration in the substance of the measure when it is in Committee. . I was sorry to read an announcement in the newspapers quite recently to the effect that Professor Orme Masson has resigned, because if there is not to be a cooperation of. practice and science in this connexion our efforts .will be in vain, and the results, as negligible, as some of the opponents of this Bill hope.
I desire to congratulate the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay) on the excellent speech he delivered in connexion with this proposal, and especially would like to. mention the fact that he. has embodied .in. actual practice the value of science when applied to primary production, and even to the secondary -industries of this country.. , He has demonstrated in 1 practice that the application of science to industry - especially to primary industries - is of great benefit’. He has also shown us’ a method to burst up big estates, with satisfaction to the original owners and. profit to the country. On’ his. own estate 100 freeholders are working happily and prosperously “under the most improved methods, simply be1 cause he has done what the Government is asking this House to enable it to do for the farmers throughout Australia - apply science and better methods to farming.
I am pleased to be able to support the Bill, because I realize that , the existence of .such an Institute will bc of great benefit”, to the Commonwealth. During the past four years the Institute has, unfortunately, been dragging on ‘in ‘a most unsatisfactory way, simply because it has been unable to receive proper consideration. ;at. the hands , of : the’ Government and of Parliament. If the -Institute succeeds the people of Australia will be able to take a proper perspective of our national needs. Recently I noticed a report in an Empire number entitled Finance’? and Bullionist of last July, which showed that there has been in existence in Canada for the last eight or ten years a Commission, which, to all practical purposes, -is similar to the Institute we propose establishing. The work of this scientific Commission consists of .a proper tabulation of the country’s resources, and in the issue of the publication to which I have referred, one page was allowed each Dominion to enable it to advertise its resources. Canada utilized its page by showing the number of million horse-power that could be developed by harnessing its wasting waters and the horse-power that had been developed. On the page allotted to Australia appeared a picture of Australia House in London, and underneath it a photograph of our High Commissioner. That seems to typify the different outlook that obtains in Australia in regard to these matters.
Much of the” opposition that has been hurled at this measure is due. to the fact that we have grown to regard - both in the press and in politics - the political rather than the essential side of our development as of most importance. Those who are opposing propositions such as this are always urging that it is economy not to spend money in this way, but they must remember that true economy is not to be effected by reducing wages, but by eliminating waste and securing the maximum efficiency from every effort that is put forward to increase development and production. To obtain the maximum efficiency from effort it is necessary that we should have full and complete knowledge of all the facts, and there is no way in which that oan be done other than by means of organized research. I noticed that the A ffg newspaper five or six months ago referred to what it called the failures of this Institute. It showed how bread could be baked under an improved system, but took six hours longer; and how plates could be produced from a substitute for tin, but at a much higher price. These failures are due merely to inefficient methods and to insufficient support and under’ different circumstances the more satisfactory results could be achieved; This is one of the most important measures that could occupy the attention of this Parliament, and it can be shown that on it not only depends the national development and prosperity of the Commonwealth and comfort of every indivi-dual, but the security of the Empire.
Travelling throughout the country, as I have had the opportunity of doing during the whole of my life, I have noticed the needless drudgery and waste that occur on farm, in mine, in every shop, simply because there has been no ‘proper tabulation or indexing of the country’s resources that would have enabled wasting powers to be harnessed to the service, of man. It seems scandalous that there should not be a means of bringing before the young minds of this country the opportunities of national prosperity simply because we have no such institution as that now proposed.
Take the’ question of electricity. One can go to Japan, Canada, or Western America and then he will find that the water-power resources are tabulated, and in practically the smallest hamlet electricity is harnessed for the service of the people. In Australia that is almost unknown even in fair-sized towns, simply because the latent power in our waters has not been exploited. Our mineral beds have not been fully explored, their possibilities . have not been indexed, neither have they been brought before ‘ the responsible authorities. If ever there was a time when our national resources should be recorded it is surely now, when the war is over and we are on the verge of a new era. It is more than necessary at the present juncture that. we should have a national Institute to enable the whole of the facts to be placed before the people.
When I was in Canada I found that owing to the activities of the Federal Government ten or twelve years ago in establishing a national physical laboratory they had been able to convert iron ore, which contained a high percentage of sulphur, and which had been regarded as absolutely useless, into the best steel through the use of electric furnaces. That was accomplished as a result of the work of a scientific institute similar to that which we propose establishing here. The remarkable fact is that, although this was brought about by the activities of the’ Dominion Government in Canada, by reason of the failure of private enterprise in the country to follow the Government’s lead, Germany and the United States benefited. There are .other instances which could be quoted. For example, in the mines of Spain they found, that they had been .wasting 7,000,000 tons of sulphur valued at £14,000,000 simply because of the faulty methods employed in handling the ore. ‘ That has been corrected, “and now their sulphur is a marketable commodity. Only this morning a gentleman informed me that sulphur was not produced in- Australia, and he was desirous of having certain amendments embodied in the Tariff on that account. At Mount Lyell, and at many other copper mines in the Commonwealth, the whole of the . surrounding country is devoid of vegetation simply because the sulphur fumes are allowed to escape instead of being converted into a marketable product. The same is happening in the tin districts of Tingah, where they are also at the disadvantage of being unable to handle low-grade ores. Because of the want of co-ordinated Government activity which would supply our mines with cheap power, they are unable to handle ores which otherwise they could treat profitably. .Six or eight, months ago the owners of mines in the tin districts of New South Wales told the Government ,©f the State that if water-power were supplied to them from the Clarence, at a place about 70 miles away, they could employ 6,000 additional men, work three shifts, and save £125,000 a year in expenses, at the same time handling profitably “ dirt “ of about a quarter of the value of that with which they were dealing. There is continual waste for lack of the coordinate development of oUr resources. What is needed is a National Bureau for the tabulation, and indexing of the natural resources of the Commonwealth. , The war demonstrated, if demonstration were needed, the absolute and imperative, necessity for such an inventory-. . As .the war pro,gressed .we found ourselves getting short of all sorts of things, many of which we could have supplied ourselves with very easily had applied science been used to come to our aid; At the present, time paper is costing perhaps 700 per centmore than it cost before the war, and it could be produced here at a quarter the price with proper encouragement. Now, associated with the production of. paper is a host pf minor industries, none of which has been established, here, but alL of which we should have were we producing news print on a proper, basis. Then, a few weeks ago, a big firm, that had a million of capital to invest, came to Australia, but, finding that there was here no tabulated index and record of our resources and situation of necessary materials such as is obtainable in the United States of America, Canada, and other parts of the world, went away, instead of establishing, works that would have been of great benefit to the community.
Members generally are, no doubt, ire’ agreement on the principles of the- Bill ; but in considering it the question arises r Is the problem that we have to settle being .attacked in the best way? Have we already in existence agencies that can. do the work that needs to be done? If we have these agencies, are they adequate and properly equipped, and are they doing what should be done? To ascertain the exact position, we must find out what is being done by the States and by the Commonwealth, and obtain the opinion of independent experts who have studied the question that we have to face. The report of the Dominions Royal Commission, which was presented three or four years ago, is, in this regard, a very valuable document. Our next consideration must be the methods of procedure- followed in countries like Canada and the United States of America, where, as here, Governments control enormous territories. A moment’s reflection “-must convince any one that what is needed is aFederal institution. The problems that, will require investigation are not bounded by ‘State borders. Insect and other- pests’ do not regard artificial lines of demarcation, but spread over wide regions, unhindered by the boundaries which mark the limits of State control. In the district which I represent pests are doing great damage to industries that are com- mon to both New South “Wales and Queensland. There are diseases affecting the sugar cane and the banana plants, and there is the tick disease infecting the cattle.. No doubt the State Departments are doing useful work; but a Federal institution is needed to gather up and coordinate the present departmental activities of the States, so that they may be utilized to the fullest extent. For want of co-ordination there is a shocking waste of effort, even in the Departments of a single State. We have scientific ‘ or highly trained men in the Departments of Agriculture, Works, Mines, and so on, collecting and tabulating data, and yet we experience the greatest difficulty in obtaining a complete and comprehensive statement of the resources of a . State. . About two years ago, when the paper shortage became acute, Mr. Holman, who was then Premier of New South Wales, suggested that paper might be manufactured in that State ; but no one Department of Government could supply information which could settle the question, and he had to appoint a Commission, whose members were drawn from five different Departments. There could not have been a more striking illustration of the need for coordination of the activities of the Departments of the State Governments.
In support of the measure, the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) has read the opinion of the late Premier of South Australia (Mr. Peake), the Premier of this State (Mr. Lawson), and others, all of whom have asserted that the proposed Institute must be national in character if die .best results are to be secured from its establishment. Some four years ago scientific men from all parts of Australia met together and insisted that the proposed Institute should be national, and not provincial. I should be loath’ to see established’ an Institute which would be, to a large extent, administrative. Those connected with the proposed Institute will be engaged largely iri research work, and I hope it will be made completely independent of political interference. -.This, I understand, is provided for, though die machinery of the Bill seems- to me inadequately’ outlined. We need, as the’ honorable member- for Adelaide- (Mr. -Blundell) lias said, to co operate first with the State Departments, and secondly with the Universities. The Institute ‘ will not require legislative powers, and will want very few administrative powers. Its work will be the collection of exact information, and its experts will have to deliberate upon, digest and assimilate that information, so as to make it of practical benefit to the country. They will have to advise on all questions of policy ‘ which may arise in connexion with the active administration of our natural resources, their effective conservation, and economic use. But to obtain any satisfactory result the Government must be in possession of reliable data upon which to base their conclusions. In this connexion a comparison between the Commonwealth and the two great Federations of the United States and Canada will prove interesting. The middle western and far western States of America were settled at periods which exactly correspond with, those of our Australian settlement. A similar remark is applicable to Canada. The development of science has been so rapid during the past few years that even late-comers like ourselves are still able to get in on the ground floor if we act promptly. In 1906 or 1907 it was decided that a thorough inventory should be taken of the whole of the resources of the United States of America. Incidentally, I may remark that this was the first inventory ever taken of a nation’s resources. The President of the United States called together the Governors of the various States, as .well as representative scientific men of those States; and these persons affirmed that the first practical step in the direction suggested by this Bill was to obtain a proper inventory of their own resources. They recognised that the question of scientific development and progress is one which concerns not only the country which is being developed, but also, its neighbours, and, indeed, the whole world. As a result, they asked that a North American Congress should be summoned. After a united conference, both Canada and Mexico moved in the same direction, with a view to securing Institutes’ of Science and Industry, which are practically on all-fours with that sought to be created under this” Bill: Only the.. other, day the ‘Americans-, decided to’ summon a pan-Pacific Congress to meet at Honolulu next month, at which the whole of the scientific research workers on the shores of the Pacific, who are vitally interested in this matter, will be represented. I ask leave tocontinue my remarks on a future date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Suspensionof a Member.
Motion (by Sir Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
. -There is just one matter which I desire to mention, and to which I was prevented from referring earlier in the evening. Whilst; politically, we may disagree with each other there is no member of this House who can accuse me of ever having failed to use my best endeavours to induce an honorable member who had used unparliamentary language to withdraw it. At the same time, when an honorable member transgresses in the heat of debate, as many of us do, it is only fair that he should, after a brief interval for reflection, be allowed an opportunity to withdraw his unparliamentary language and to apologize for his offence. No honorable member should be suspended from the service of the House without first being offered such an opportunity. I cannot recollect any occasion upon which I have been named by the Speaker, although I have been threatened frequently enough, either deservedly or otherwise. But the pointI wish to stress is that any honorable member who transgresses our Standing Orders should be afforded an opportunity of withdrawing and apologizing before being suspended from the service of the House.
-What will be the order of business to-morrow? Are we to have the same thing again?
– We shall deal with the same Bill again. It strikes me that some honorable members opposite wish to be gagged. They seem to like it, and to thrive upon it. Nobody regrets the incident to which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) has referred more than
I do, but he must be quite aware of what is becoming a growing practice in this House.
– During my long parliamentary experience I cannot recall any worse offender than the right honorable gentleman himself.
– I quite expected my honorable friend was going to say that. He repeats the statement like a parrot about every other day. But I should like to say that I never received more consideration or courtesy at his hands than he has received from me. I do not believe that any honorable member opposite has ever received less courtesy than I did during the period that I sat in opposition. Yet I never squealed about what I got, though I used to get it “in the neck” pretty often. But I stood up to it. The honorable member knows that the case of. the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) is a particularly aggravating one. The latter indulges in the same sort of conduct almost every day of his life. However much I regret the incident of this evening, it must be distinctly understood that that sort of unparliamentary conduct must cease. I make every allowance for what takes place during the heat of debate.
– Of course, if the Minister for the Navy says that an honorable member is not to be given a chance of withdrawing, we shall know where we stand.
– Does the honorable member wish me to make a bargain with him across the table?
– I have never made a bargain with any individual in this Parliament.
– I do not desire the honorable member to catch at my words. But it is about time that things pulled up a little in this chamber . Whatever happens, Mr. Speaker must not be insulted in the future as often as he has been of late. The House will takecare of that.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 July 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1920/19200722_reps_8_92/>.