8th Parliament · 1st Session
The Clerk reported the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker took the chair at 11.1 a.m. and read prayers.
– Yesterday, when the Minister for the Navy(Sir Joseph Cook) was speaking, he suggested bythe words that he used that I had something to do with the getting together of a very large gathering, amounting to many thousands of persons, that assembled within the precincts of this House on Thursday evening.
– I made no such suggestion at any time.
– Then I misunderstood the right honorable gentleman. He suggested that the gathering synchronized with my advent to the House, although a War Precautions regulation had been in existence for quite a long time prohibiting such gatherings. I assure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, honorable members, and the people at large, that I had nothing whatever to do with the getting together of that assembly, and knew nothing of it. I addressed some words to it, but only in response to the request of the gathering, and with a view to urging it to keep within the law, and to use that selfrestraint - those were my very words - which I thought necessary to save the right honorable gentleman and some of those associated with him from the consequences of the public indignation aroused by their arbitrary exercise of the powers conferred by the War Precautions Act.
– In reply to what the honorable member has said, and also by way of personal explanation, I wish to say that the Government are very much obliged to him for his offer of help. We should, however, appreciate infinitely more his action in refraining from addressing unlawful gatherings.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
– How long is this farce to continue?
– I ask that that objectionable expression be withdrawn.
– Will the honorable member withdraw the expression complained of?
– I made the interjection, and I repeat it.
– If the honorable member applied the words to any other honorable member, he must withdraw them.
– If he applied them to the proceedings of Parliament they must be withdrawn.
– I ask the honorable member to obey the rules of the House.
– In deference to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I withdraw what I said.
– It is reported in the press that yesterday, just before the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) invited the Serjeant-at-Arms to a cup of tea, the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) referred to me as an “ insulting brute.” It is almost incredible to me that the right honorable gentleman could have used such words, and it is unthinkable that they should have been applied, as is suggested in the press, to one whose manners and deportment have been modelled always on those of the late Lord Chesterfield. It is true that I heard the right honorable gentleman use the words “ insulting brute,” but I regarded them as in the nature of a soliloquy rather than of an epithet, and did not take objection to them, because I was under the impression that he was applying them to you,’ Mr. Deputy Speaker, or to himself.
– I hardly think that that is a personal explanation. The honorable member takes exception to an expression used by the Minister for the Navy, which he considers derogatory; but at the time the interjections across the chamber were causing such a babel that it was impossible for me to hear what was being said. The occurrence shows the need for obeying the rules of the House by keeping silence.
– In the absence of the Prime Minister, I ask the Leader of the House what is the reason for the undue delay in filling the position of Treasurer.
It is over a month, since the right honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Watt) resigned his portfolio, and statements have been made as to the extraordinary position of our finances. I wish to know when the office is likely to be filled.
– I candidly confess that I cannot give the honorable member an answer that he would like.
– Tell us what you would like, and we shall then know whether it is what we would like. ,
– For one thing, I would not like a Treasurer from the Labour party, with all due respect for the capacity of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. West).
– In the absence of the Prime Minister, I ask the Leader of the House whether, in view of the rumoured probability of his being appointed High Commissioner for Australia in London, the Government will give honorable members an opportunity to discuss the suitability of .the proposed appointee before any appointment is made?
– I know nothing whatever of any rumour as to any appointment to the High Commissionership. I have said that before, though the honorable member keeps repeating a contrary statement. At this moment I know nothing whatever of any appointment to the High Commissionership. The position is not vacant, and will not become so for some time.
– Senator Pearce and the late Sir Edmund Barton made similar statements.
– Is it the intention of the Government to continue price fixing in relation to butter after the termination of the current contract with the Imperial Government, which expires on the 31st instant ?
– I have already given notice of my intention to move for leave to -bring in a Bill to enable the contract which has been entered, in to between the producers of butter here and the British Government to be carried into effect; but the Crown Law officers advise me that, beyond doing that, it is not possible for the Government to fix the price of butter after the termination, on the 31st July, of the existing contract.
– Is it proposed that Australia shall be represented at the forthcoming International Postal’ Conference?
– The Secretary to the Postmaster-General’s Department has been appointed to represent Australia at the Conference.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral tell us when supplies of telephone instruments and material may be expected? There is a dearth of telephones now, and the public are worrying members to get connexions made.
– I shall make inquiries, and ascertain when the material is to be , expected.
– I understand that war trophies are now being distributed only to centres having a population of not less than 300 persons, and I ask the Minister for Home and Territories whether a certain number cannot be set aside for distribution in the great back country which sent such a lot of fine young men to the Front?
– The honorable member is aware that a Committee consisting of State and Federal members of Parliament has been .appointed to deal with this matter, and has arrived at a decision in connexion with the distribution of war trophies. However, I shall be pleased to put his suggestion before the Committee, that they may consider whether there is any necessity for an alteration of their proposals to secure a better distribution in country districts. If the honorable member will set out in a letter just what he desires should be done, I will submit it to the Committee at an early date.
– I ask the Minister for Home and Territories whether it is possible to arrange for the distribution of war trophies on the basis of the population of shires and municipalities rather than on the basis of the population of certain centres?
– Notice ought to be given of questions of this kind. I suggest to the honorable member that he should do what I have asked the honorable member for Wannon (Mr.Rodgers) to do - set out his views in a letter, which I will put before the Committee.
Mr.BURCHELL asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - 1 and 2. In May, 1919, the Government decided to issue a mercantile marine war-zone badge to masters and seamen of the mercantile marine who had served on a vessel under Australian articles which had traded within the war zone for any period during the war, and 3,500 badges have already been issued.
The term “ war zone “ applies to routes followed by such vessels when proceeding to and from a port on the Atlantic side of North America and Africa and/or in the United Kingdom, the Continent of Europe, or on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, and commences or terminates in each case at (a) the eastern end of the Panama Canal; (b) the Cape of Good Hope; (c) Suez.
In the case of a deceased seaman who would have been entitled to a badge, it was decided that the badge should be awarded to his next of kin.
The distribution of these badges has been undertaken by the Superintendent, Mercantile Marine Office, Melbourne, and applications may be made to that officer direct, or through the superintendents of marine of the other States, from whom the necessary application forms may be obtained.
Representation of Commonwealth
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The matter is now under the consideration of the Government.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Whether, in view of the hardship imposed on the provincial press through the present method of assessing the value of newsprint for Customs purposes, the Minister would fix the home consumption price of unglazed newsprint, flat or reel, at, say, £30 per ton till local consumers are able to purchase their requirements at fair trade values, or, alternatively, a fixed duty of not more than £3 per ton?
– It is not practicable to grant the honorable member’s request without an amendment of the Customs Act. This is not expedient, in view of the fact that it would accord preferential treatment to news printing paper as against other imported commodities.
Payment of Commonwealth Guarantee
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether it is the intention of the Government to pay the 5s. guaranteed to wheatgrowers in the States of the Commonwealth on delivery at country railway stations which was paid in respect of last year’s wheat delivered ?
– The method of payment of the amount guaranteed in respect of next season has not yet been determined.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether the Government will intimate its intention in connexion with the early construction of a direct north-south railway connecting the Northern Territory and South Australia ?
– The intentions of the Government will he announced in due course. I may add that I am to receive a “deputation of Federal members from South Australia next week, and the matter can then be discussed.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Will he state for public information -
What are the terms and conditions under which a foreigner may become naturalized in Australia, and the procedure to be adopted in making application for naturalization?
What foreigners may not become naturalized in Australia?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
The procedure is for the alien to apply, giving the information and certificates of character as required in the departmental forms and to advertise his intention to apply. The .Department then makes inquiries, and if the result is satisfactory the Governor-General is advised to approve of the issue of a certificate. The applicant next renounces his former allegiance, and takes the oath of allegiance to the King, after which the certificate is prepared and issued.
I may add, for the honorable member’s information, that a new law on the subject is in course of preparation, and a Bill to give effect throughout the Empire to Australian certificates will be introduced shortly.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– Inquiries will be made. I will send a cable and ascertain the position.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Whether it is the intention of the Government to continue the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Pool after the 31st August, 1920?
– The reply is “No,” except with regard to transactions not yet completed, and, to a limited extent, in connexion with the recent sale of butter to the Imperial Government. In accordance with an arrangement made with the Imperial Government, the present contract will expire on the 31st July.
.- I move -
That the Orders of the Day be postponed until after the consideration of Notice of Motion No. 1 in the name of Mr. Groom.
– I understand that the business of the day has been called on, and therefore the honorable member’s motion is too late.
– The particular Order of the Day appearing first on the paper has not been called on, and therefore the motion of the honorable member for Dalley is in order.
– My reason for submitting the motion must at once be apparent to any thoughtful person. Those who have any foresight at all can see looming in the immediate future the danger of great industrial turmoil in Australia. The business to which this Parliament should devote its attention is the consideration of the steps necessary to prevent industrial disputes raging from one end of this country to the other. The Government propose now to go on with the consideration of a Bill for the establishment of an Institute of Science and Industry, but that is not a matter of pressing importance, and its consideration may be delayed for a week or two weeks. The amendment of the industrial conciliation and arbitration laws of this country is a matter that cannot wait, because a day’s delay in dealing with such a matter may be vital to the maintenance of industrial peace in Australia.
– Ministers have said that the settlement of these matters is urgent.
– Nothing could be more urgent, and that is why I have submitted my motion.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided.
Majority . . 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the motion be agreed to - put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
– In reference to the point of order raised by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan), the standing order relating to the closure reads: -
Therefore, I rule that the motion of the Prime Minister was in order.
– The standing order uses the words “ after any question has been proposed.” That means proposed from the Chair. I submit that there is no question before the House until it has been stated by Mr. Speaker. The mere fact that some honorable member rises and intimates that he intends to move a motion does not place such motion before the House; it must be submitted to the House from the Chair. Therefore, jio motion to closure debate can be entertained until the question has been submitted from the Chair.
– My interpretation of the rule differs from that of the honorable member, and I repeat my ruling that the Prime Minister was within his rights, and that his motion to closure the debate was in. order.
– I give notice of my intention to move that your ruling be disagreed with.
– On a point of order, I submit that there is a standing order which enables Mr. Speaker. in his discretion, to refuse to accept frivolous points of order, or motions of dissent put forward by honorable members for the purpose of obstructing business. That that is the purpose of honorable members opposite is patent to everybody.
– Order ! I have not yet received from the honorable member for “West Sydney his written notice of dissent.
– In order that there may be no misapprehension, such as arose in connexion with the motion of dissent which was dealt with on Wednesday, I am willing to include in my written notice of motion, your own wording of your ruling, sir.
– The honorable member is taking charge of the House, and that must be stopped some way or other.
– I give notice that I shall move-
That Mr. Speaker’s ruling, that the motion “ That the question be now put “ oan be received before the question itself has been proposed to the House by Mr. Speaker, be disagreed to.
– That is not the Speaker’s ruling. The Speaker does not “ propose “ the motion at all.
– I did not “propose” the matter to the House. If the honorable member means that I put the question to the House, he had better express it so for the sake of accuracy.
– My point is that you should have proposed the question to the House.
– Mr. Speaker puts or states the question; he does not propose it.
– “ Propose “ and “state” are synonymous terms. I am quite willing to add the words “ or stated,” so as to make it read “before the question itself has been proposed or stated to the House by Mr. Speaker.”
Notice of motion amended accordingly.
Debate resumed from 22nd July (vide page 2964), on motion by Mr. Greene -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
”. - I drew attention last night to the various methods that had been called into operation in the United States of America and Canada - the two great Federations which are similar to this country in their extent, in the time of their development, and in their problems - in order to co-ordinate Federal and State activities. I should like to outline the methods adopted in those countries to insure that there should be no duplication, overlapping, or friction between the State and Federal Governments, either in administration or in the work itself. When the original Commission of Conservation was appointed in Canada, these- were the lines that were followed : -
In determining the lines upon which action should be taken, it was recognised that there was grave danger that the authorities of the Provinces might look with jealousy upon any Commission created by Federal legislation, and the provisions of the Act were expressly framed in such a way as to preclude the possibility of any ground for such a feeling, the representation being, in fact, such as to secure, as far as possible, the most effective representation of the views of each Province. The Commission is, in fact, probably the most truly national in its composition of any body that has ever been constituted in Canada.
I commend to our Government the lines adopted by the Canadian governmental activities, as shown iri the first annual report of the Commission: -
Where the scope is almost infinite, the effort should be to choose that which is immediately practical and useful. And, first of all, it appears clear to us that provision should be marie for making a comprehensive and accurate inventory of our natural resources, bo far as our available information extends. The beginning of all proper investigations is the ascertainment of facts, and there is no country that 1 know of where it is more urgently necessary in the public interest that the naturi),] resources should be tabulated and inventoried than it is in Canada. When the Commission was appointed by the Canadian Government to go to Washington last winter, we set on foot a preliminary movement to tabulate information. The results of that work are now among our records. It is, wo may say, of the most fragmentary description.
That was what the Canadian Government found regarding State activities, such as we have had, which had been in operation for many years -
It was surprising to find how difficult it was to get anything like accurate informationStatistical information of the class which our census officers prepare is abundant and accurate, but it does not assume to deal with the question of natural resources. At the present moment there are but few publications of any Government in Canada which give accurate and comprehensive information upon these subjects.
The utility of such an inventory hardly needs discussion. Both for the purposes of development and of conservation it is the first essential to have an accurate and complete statement of the facts, readily available, accessible to all, and couched in language that the average reader can understand.
Those were the lines on which the Canadian Government carried out this project, and now, ten years afterwards, they have, I suppose, one of the most complete, far-reaching, and comprehensive tabulations of the natural resources of their territory to be found in the world. The lines on which they have developed are worth imitating in Australia to-day.
– How are their Provinces represented ?
– They have representation practically on the lines of the advisory councils, which I gather were provided for in the previous measure proposed to this Parliament. I understand from this morning’s press that the Government intend to reintroduce provision for those advisory councils in this Bill.
– Then the Provinces have representation and some share of power ?
– Both in Canada and the United States of America the Federal Government, in many instances, subsidizes the State or provincial activi ties. In the case of agriculture, for instance, it does not overlap. It appoints its men in certain departments of work, but it does not “ butt “ into those which the State or Province already fills. In those cases, it simply subsidizes and increases the possibilities for good of the officers already in existence. It does not interfere with their control in any degree.
– From what you have said, evidently the Provinces, have some right of representation and some share of power.
– There has never been any conflict there, because there has been a continual desire to work in cooperation. The governmental activities are linked up properly, thus resulting in, co-ordination and not in duplication. The Federal activities simply fit into whatever vacant places there are in the existing mechanism. For instance, the Commission went into the question of mineral development. It found that practically the whole of the mining development of Canada had taken place in the central and inhabited _ territories, but that wherever prospecting had been done in uninhabited parts, indications had been found of the presence of valuable minerals, and in some cases great wealth had been uncovered. The Commission was satisfied, and has proved in the last ten years, that continual prospecting and mapping out of the areas has been of great value in indicating the most likely places to search for valuable deposits. Large bodies of ore were at the same time found to be useless because they could be worked only by certain special processes. The Government, in their physical laboratories, on a proper and comprehensive scale, investigated, for example, the question of the electric smelting of certain ores. They were able to handle successfully ores containing sulphur which had previously been absolutely useless, and to produce from certain of such iron ores some of the finest steel in the world. As the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay) says, something similar has taken place in Australia. Through the application of a process discovered at the Technological Museum, at Sydney, the whole system of the extraction of zinc, lend, and copper has been absolutely revolutionized in the last ten or fifteen years. That alone is an instance of the enormous importance of creating such an institute as is now proposed, and of applying science more extensively than is done at present. It was found in Canada, also, that many industries, such as zinc production, were entirely at the mercy of foreign smelters and refiners, and that enormous waste was taking place because in the ore sent abroad there were certain residues for which practically no value was given. The Canadian authorities set to work on a practical and scientific scale to investigate processes which would enable those ores to be treated, and the resulting wealth retained, in their own country. That is one direction in which great development has taken place since the efforts of the various Provinces were coordinated in Canada.
But in public health, especially, there has been the biggest advance, by reason of the establishment of a body on the lines that we now propose to follow. It is recognised everywhere nowadays that the physical strength of a people is the source from which all efforts derive their value. ‘ The extreme and scrupulous regard for the lives and health of the population may be taken as the best criterion of real civilization and refinement to which a country has attained. Any one who thinks at all can appreciate the fact that the care of public health must essentially be a Federal, and not a State, matter. I venture to say that if, during the last influenza epidemic, the proposals of the Federal Quarantine authorities had been carried out in their entirety, we might have been saved, to a very large extent, the invasion of the whole of our country districts by influenza, and possibly we might have been saved the invasion of several of the States. Then there is the question of water supply, the pollution of streams, and so on. Many streams are Inter-State in their catchment, but at present cannot be nut under uniform control, simply by reason of the fact that the Federal authority is not given sufficient Dower. There has been .established in Melbourne already, in connexion with the Institute, a very valuable laboratory, in which sera for curative and prophylactic purposes have been manufactured, for use. not only in cases of human sickness - such as diphtheria or tuberculosis - but also in certain animal diseases. The value of that undertaking was never thoroughly appreciated until the war had practically isolated us from other countries. If that provision had not been in existence at that time, we might have easily had a much bigger loss of human life in this country, simply because we were dependent entirely upon outside sources. We can scarcely expect, in a continent of the size of Australia, sparsely populated as it is, private people to undertake the preparation of these vaccines and sera on a commercial scale. In any case, if they are undertaken by private enterprise, there is always the possibility that we shall bp unable to control them sufficiently in the interests of public health. The greatest value which can be gained by the establishment of the Institute will be found, as it has proved in Canada, in the matter of the proper tabulation and indexing of the water resources of the Continent. Australia is continually referred to aa being drought-ridden. But in the eastern half of Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria right down to Adelaide, and taking a distance inland of from 300 to 400 miles from the eastern seaboard, the area compares very favorably in the matter of rainfall with any other similar average area of the continents of the world. Indeed, taking a survey of the continents generally, it will be found that the waste country within Australia is in no sense disproportionate. The greatest industrial development in recent years has come about by the utilization of water for the generation of electric power. From the River Barron, in the north, to the Murray in the south, and along the whole of the eastern coast as well as on the western slopes of the Dividing Range, there are afforded innumerable opportunities for practical scientific- investigation, development, and exploitation of water power. This is a matter which should be very thoroughly investigated. The whole subject of the utilization of our streams should be placed on such a basis as to permit exploitation either by the Government or from outside sources. Linked up with this subject of water resources there is the great question of irrigation and conservation. In this respect a strange criticism of Australia’s position is to be found in the final report of the Dominions Royal Commission, which was issued in 1917 after the Commission had traversed and taken evidence all over the Empire. In this publication, following upon references to the possibilities in Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere, it will be found that there are only about five lines devoted to Australia under the heading of water power. These cover the whole subject of our country’s possibilities of development by simply remarking, in effect, that no evidence was forthcoming. This referred to the year 1915, and no evidence could be placed before the Commission simply because there had been no national inventory taken of our resources.- In Victoria, however, I understand that some attempt has been made to obtain information along these lines.
– And a little has been done also in South Australia.
– In New South Wales, I believe, some small effort has been made during the past five years; but not more than £10,000, at the outside, has been involved in research upon so important a national feature. The British Prime Minister (Mr. Lloyd George) referred with apprehension the other day, in a public speech, to the fact that the industrial supremacy of England was being seriously threatened by the fact that coal as the source of industrial power was being superseded in various countries by the application of water power. He added that by such means Sweden was becoming a serious menace to Britain’s industrial leadership.
The proposed Institute can prove of enormous value, also in relation to agriculture, which industry depends so very closely upon the maintenance of the fertility of the soil. Prosperity cannot endure unless means are taken to insure close and anxious watchfulness upon our soil. “We know full well that some of the great lands of the Old “World, which once flourished and carried populations of millions, have become deserts, their inhabitants numbering but a few hundreds of thousands. Egypt was once the granary of the world, but its soil became impoverished ; and only now, by the conservation of water and the control of that water, has some of its agricultural glory been revived. A country which depends almost entirely upon agriculture and is closely populated can ho- gin to grow hopelessly impoverished inside of 200 years unless extreme care is taken to conserve its soil. There must be a proper rotation of crops, for example, and selection of seed. It is easier to conserve the fertility of the soil than to restore it. The proposed Institute should co-ordinate all the effort at present being undertaken throughout Australia with respect to agriculture. It should concentrate all the activity and research which have proceeded in dealing with the question of live-stock. It should take regard of such experiments, for instance, as have been made by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay) in the direction of herd-testing. The provision of manures and public instruction as to rotation of crop? should be matters transcending our State borders. In the United States of America there are not only the State Departments of Agriculture, which do their work very well. For example, some of the smaller States - less in area than Victoria - have from ten to twenty agricultural colleges. But, in addition, the Federal Government have one huge Department which deals exclusively with the improvement of agriculture and with agricultural conditions generally. This Department does not act in any way upon a merely State basis. It has three main head-quarters, namely, at Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco; and there are thirty or more local centres distributed throughout the States. Not only does this Department provide instruction and see to such matters as securing weather reports, but it endeavours both to increase production and to enhance the returns of the primary producer by securing for him favorable market conditions. It has established an office of markets and rural organization which possesses the largest and best trained staff of experts to be found concentrated upon this one subject in any part of the world. It investigates all the larger and more difficult problems confronting the farmer to-day. In the matter of marketing the people of Australia experienced during the war strong evidence of the fact that national activity can insure better opportunities and prices than along the lines either of State organization or private enterprise. As well as’ interesting itself in that phase, the organization in America has inaugurated a system of providing market reports to cover the whole of the States. Thus, a farmer knows before he ships his produce, where he is likely to secure the best return ; and he can gain some idea of his profits then, instead of having to -Wait for a return from his commission agent. A Grain Standards Act has been passed in the United States of America, with the idea of insuring uniform grading, so as to enable the farmer to obtain a far better price for his produce and at the same time diminish the shipment of inferior grain. Thus the standard of the whole of the products of the country is scientifically and commercially increased. A proposition has been put forward for the establishment of bonded warehouses also, which will handle the farmers’ produce in a co-operative fashion, and make him to a large extent independent of the market. He will be able to bring his produce to these warehouses and receive scrip, which can be negotiated to enable him to carry on. Thus, a practical effort is made to regulate the flush of a heavy season. Farmers in Australia know only too well that a good season is often less profitable than a comparatively poor one. In a good season the farmer is apt to get a low price for his abundant harvest, whereas in a poor year he can be fairly well assured of receiving an excellent return for whatever crop he reaps. In addition, in the United States of America, efforts have been made to inculcate sound ideas regarding the financing of farmers. It has been sought to emphasize the fact that the financing of the rural community should be placed on a slightly differentscale and basis compared with other industries, for the main reason that the elements themselves are never absolutely stable.
In regard to another important source of activity great efforts have been made in the United States of America, namely, to improve and perfect the meat supply. By means of scientific research and experiment, wisely co-ordinated throughout the country, the authorities have _ been able very largely to eliminate the tick.
Although it is impossible for an Institute such as is proposed in the measure before the House to at once launch out on such a scale and undertake such a great scope of activities as I have indicated in speaking of the United States of America, yet its foundation will permit its gradual working up to some such force in the country; that is to say, if it is founded on lines such as have been suggested by scientists in Australia, and, indeed, by the whole of the practical experience of the world. It is to have only a small beginning,, but it is to be hoped that it will steadily grow and act as a co-ordinating mechanism in relation to present institutions, not despising any .activity of value being carried on at this moment. If it should develop as is hoped for it, the Institute must prove one of the most beneficent influences in Australian public life. There are not in Australia at present sufficient or adequate Departments to deal with out national problems. I will_ quote from the report of the Dominions Royal Commission, where it refers, in two or three specific instances, to what should be done in Australia. Dealing with the question of forestry, for instance, the report states—
There is no Federal Forestry Department in the Commonwealth, and though each State has instituted some conservation methods of its own, we are not satisfied that enough has been done. We are glad to observe, however, that there is a movement towards co-operation between the Forest Departments of the various States. Thus an Inter-State Conference of Forestry was held at Adelaide in May, 1916, and it is proposed to hold similar conferences annually in future. At the 1016 conference a scheme was approved to provide for the uniform training of a competent staff for the forestry services, and a resolution was passed advocating the exchange of officers between the different States.
Much, however, remains to be done. The total “ number of persons employed , in the Forestry Departments of the various Australian States in 1914 was only 595, and the total expenditure of the year 1914-15 was only £158,000. . Tasmania, which possesses some of the finest forest areas in the Commonwealth, spent only £1,200 on forestry in that year.
Then, in the matter of our fisheries, the report points out that a similar condition of affairs exists. It emphasizes that national co-ordination and co-operation would enable the Australian fishing industry to be placed on a far bettor basis, and so do away with the importation of almost £1,000,000 worth of fish every year. There are about 2,000 varieties of edible fish around the Australian coast, and yet each year we import huge consignments. The Commission states -
The success of the action achieved during the war suggests that it is expedient that the various Governments of the Empire should take steps, as soon as conditions permit, to secure the development and utilization of their natural wealth on a well-considered scheme, directed towards a definite and recognised object. In our opinion, it is vital that the Empire should, so far as possible, be placed in a position which would enable it to resist any pressure which a foreign power, or group of powers, could exercise in time of peace or during war, in virtue of a control of raw materials and commodities essential for the safety and well-being of the Empire, and it is towards the attainment of this object that co-ordinated effort should be directed.
The result of afull survey should divide the necessary materials of trade and commerce into three main categories: -
The materials of which the world’s requirements are mainly or wholly produced within the Empire.
Materials of which the Empire’s requirements are approximately equalled by Empire production.
Materials of which the world’s requirements, and with them those of the Empire, are now mainly produced and controlled outside the Empire.
In the case of minerals, a properly coordinated mineral survey of the Empire appears to us to be an urgent necessity. We recognise the value of the work hitherto performed by the Imperial Institute in collecting and disseminating the results of mineral and geological surveys in various parts of the Empire, and in some cases of actively directing them. We have also seen the joint recommendations recently made by the’ Iron and Steel Institute, the Institute of Metals, the Institute of Mining Engineers, and the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, for the systematic collection and co-ordination of information bearing on the use of minerals and their production, and the investigation of all questions and problems relating to the utilization of the mineral and metallurgy resources of the Empire. Without indorsing their suggestion for the formation of a single Imperial Department of Minerals and Metals - a proposal which appears to us to offer constitutional and administrative difficulties at present - we are in sympathy with the general tenor of the proposals, and consider it urgent that systematic work in the direction indicated should be undertaken by the proposed Imperial Development Board, working in conjunction and co-operation with the existing scientific and research Departments and Institutions of the various Governments of the Empire.
Whenever thisproblem is dealt with, the Commission insists that in every Dominion there should be an institution charged with the tabulation and coordination of local resources, so that they may be readily accessible, not only to the community, but to the whole of the British Empire.
.- The Bill will, I hope, provide the nucleus of a system of scientific education in Australia which will supply a long-felt want. The financial position of the Commonwealth is such as to cause considerable uneasiness, and, therefore, it is very essential that we take some steps to organize our industries and exploit the wealth of this country, so that we maybe in a position to meet our financial obligations. In 1914, the national debt - Federal and State- was £336,781,121; and in 1920, it had grown to £746,357,655, an increase in seven years of £409,000,000, not including about £40,000,000 owing to Great Britain in connexion with war services. The national debt of 1914 represented £68 8s. 4d. per head of population; and this year was £141 - an increase in six years of over £73 per head. In 1914, the interest on this debt, per head of population, was £2 9s. l0d. per annum; and to-day it is £6. This is indeed a staggering liability for 5,000,000 people to bear. Figures relating to out imports and exports are not encouraging, for I find that, in 1913-14, we imported goods to the value of £79,749,683, and, in 1918-19, to the amount of £102,115,122. From a productive point of view, we occupy an almost unparalleled position; and, if we adopt adequate means to develop our natural resources, our progress should be entirely satisfactory. Unfortunately, we are neglecting our opportunities. For instance, we allow billions of gallons of water to run to waste, but the Murray waters scheme now in hand is a big undertaking, and, when completed, will prove of everlasting benefit to the Commonwealth. Generally speaking, we have donelittle to conserve our water supplies or to combat the many pests that attack our primary industries. I take it, therefore, that one of the first duties of this proposed Institute of Science and Industry will be to give careful attention to these particular problems.
Throughout the Commonwealth there is a general feeling that the hours of labour are too long and the wages paid insufficient for the requirements of the working classes, with the result that our Arbitration Courts are crowded and industrial strife is with us every day. With the application of the principle of shorter hours for labour and higher wages there must be an insistent demand for the more efficient organization of all industrial enterprises, in order to meet the position by preventing the awful waste that is at present going on. This, I take it, will be the particular function of this proposed Institute. I may mention just one achievement, namely, the standardization of structural steel. If that alone stood to the credit of the Institute, it would more than justify its creation, for with the standardization of all structural steel a contractor in any part of the Commonwealth may now place an order for T-pieces, angle-irons, and collars with an assurance that everything will fit, whereas, prior to standardization, as many as three or four different standards were in general use, and consequently structural work was rendered more complicated.
Many other problems will claim the attention of this Institute, notably the prickly-pear pest and’ plant life of the Commonwealth generally, in connexion with which much valuable information has been already gained, and which, no doubt, will be the basis of further research work. I may mention the waste, representing hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, in our wool-washing and fellmongering establishments. Until recently, at all events, no steps have been taken to utilize these by-products, and the same may be said of by-products resulting from the manufacture of gas. It would, I think, pay the Government to employ a number of scientists to devote their sole attention to this problem; but those who control these private establishments should subsidize investigations into the by-products of coal gas. The Institute should consider the economic production of gas power and the more economical working of industries generally.
The Rill now before us is, I believe, a better proposition than was the first Bill, but it is not as clear, nor does it go so faT, as I should like. It is reported that, owing to representations made to the Government,’ an amendment will be made to enable the’ formation of Advisory Councils throughout “Australia.
It has to be remembered that while men may be eminently fitted for research work, when it comes to work of a practical nature, apart from research, they are probably not so suitable as average business men. Great care will have to be exercised in the administration of this Institute. The Bill has not been received by the people of Australia with that approval which I think is necessary for the successful inauguration of the scheme. I should be sorry to see the Institute in any way hampered because of any public outcry owing to mistakes which have been made or may be made by it. Every possible avenue should be exploited in obtaining information to help in carrying the scheme to a successful issue. We in Australia have done practically nothing with regard to research. There are haphazard investigations by universities, technical .colleges and similar institutions; and private companies and firms, such as the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, retain staffs of highly qualified scientific experts. The company I have mentioned has evolved a scheme of treatment, which has reduced the expenditure on the production of sugar, and given many valuable byproducts. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company has also a staff of experts whose special duty it is to watch the manufacture of steel. When I recently visited the works at Newcastle I found that there was not a steel rail produced which was not analyzed. Immediately an error or defect in the structure of the steel is detected a remedy is found before there has been any great waste. As specimen samples of the steel are chipped off automatically from the rails as they are produced, they, are immediately tested by the analysts in order to see that they are quite up to standard. While these private firms and companies devote a certain amount of money to research, and the States, in a haphazard way, without co-ordination or cooperation, are many of them investigating the same problems, the lack of a governing or controlling head makes a good deal of the work, if not valueless, at least nroductive of much overlapping and waste. The sum total of the Australian expenditure in research work is not anything like what it should be in such a country as this; and I propose to show what other countries are doing, confining myself .to the agricultural phase of the question. The American States are not left to initiate or carry on the agricultural education of the people by means of scientific research, but are assisted by the Commonwealth Government on all occasions. The Federal Legislature of America, in 1864, alienated no less than 11,000,000 acresof land in order to endow agricultural colleges throughout the country. In that country there are practically unlimited funds available for the endowment of colleges, for scholarships, for scientific research, and so forth; and between 1862 and 1912 over 600 colleges and other institutions were founded to further the progress of agriculture, at a cost of something like £45,000,000. The Agricultural Department at Washington spends no less than £6,000,000 a year in subsidizing the agricultural colleges of the forty-eight States. As a matter of fact, in 1917 the expenditure was £10,000,000.
– You must remember that the population of the United States of America is 110,000,000.
– I quite realize that fact ; but if we, in proportion to our population had done as much as America has in the way of research and the exploitation of our natural resources, we should be in a much better position than we are to-day. In Italy, from 1907 to 1917, there were no fewer than 1,100 colleges, schools, and other institutions brought into being for the teaching of agriculture. In Switzerland, there are 1,600 agricultural colleges, subsidized to the extent of £250,000 per annum. In the small country of Belgium, prior to the war, something like £200,000 per annum was spent in this direction. In England, there are eight colleges supported by the County Councils by means of the rates, and subsidized by the Imperial Department of Agriculture. In Canada, owing probably to its close proximity to America, there is a much better system of education and research than in any other British Dominion. In Australia, many men have done good work,’ and, of these, I mention the late Mr. Farrar. The people of Australia generally have not yet realized what that gentleman did for Australia in increas ing the productive powers of the country. In New South Wales alone, by the breeding of his “ Federation “ wheat, he added thousands upon thousands of square miles to the wheat belt.
– It was my pride and privilege to secure the services of Mr. Farrar for the State Agricultural Department on a definite basis.
– Then the honorable gentleman secured a very good man. Working practically by himself, he evolved a type of wheat from which since that time other types have been obtained; and he laid down a basis of investigation which will, I hope, be followed by the Institute of Science and Industry. I urge upon the Government and those who will have the control of this scheme that, if this country is to have the benefit of the best brains, those brains will have to be paid for in competition with the older countries of the world. While some honorable members may object to derelict professors being paid large sums of money, if the Institute of Science and Industry is to succeed, we shall be compelled to immediately enter into competition with the whole of the countries of the world, with a view to obtaining the best possible brains. And it is worth our while to do so. Three years ago, I stressed the fact that the niggardly sums paid to the scientific brains of Australia are responsible for driving promising scientists from our midst to other countries where their services .are more adequately remunerated. Every year men are attracted from the Commonwealth by the better pay which is offered to them elsewhere. We frequently find the- names of men who graduated in the Sydney and Melbourne Universities, and particularly in our Schools of Mines, cropping up in Washington and London. They have practically been compelled to leave the country of their birth, and they will not return to it until we are willing to offer them an adequate recompense for their labours. Of course, if we want cheap scientists, we can get them. There are quite a number of scientific men who undertake investigations without fee or reward, and purely for love of their work. But there are others whose services are offered cheaply, and from whom nothing very much can be expected.
When I speak of scientists who, from their own private resources, have carried on investigational research, there occurs to my mind the name of McGarvie Smith, who discovered an anthrax vaccine.
– He did not get much help from Government Departments.
– He received practically no assistance. Had the Institute of Science and Industry been established when he was carrying out his investigations, it would have afforded him all the necessary financial assistance. I believe that he was not a chemist or scientist as we understand the term, but that he possessed a natural aptitude for research work, being practically a self-taught man. Had he had the assistance of such an institution as it is proposed to create under this Bill, his researches might have proceeded much farther than they did. The formula which he handed to the Government of New South “Wales has resulted in the annual saving of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock in that State alone. There are “other men here who have rendered valuable service to Australia, and in this connexion’ I may mention the name of Mr. “Wilkinson, the Commonwealth Analyst. He has done very important work. The questions with which the Institute of Science and Industry has already dealt are many and varied. The destruction of prickly peaT is one of them. This pest is assuming such gigantic proportions in Australia that we are compelled to take steps which will prevent it. further infesting our good lands, and also to recover the land which has been already overrun by it. There are 23,000,000 acres infested with prickly pear.
– That is in the whole of Australia?
– Yes, but principally in New South “Wales and Queensland. In Australia we have only 17,000,000 acres of land under cultivation, but there are 23,000,000 acres infested with prickly pear. This pest is encroaching upon our lands to the extent of 1,000,000 acres annually. That is the extent to which it is growing. It is true that some time ago the Government offered a prize of £10,000 for a formula which would be effective in the destruction of prickly pear, or which would pro vide for some financial return whenever the pear was used for industrial purposes such as the production of industrial alcohol.
– The Queensland Government offered a reward of £10,000 to any person who could destroy the pear at a cost of £1 per acre.
– I believe that that is so. So far, however, no such formula has been forthcoming.
– But many scientific investigators throughout the world have been endeavouring to win the money.
– Yes. The Queensland Government, I repeat, offered a prize of £10,000 for the destruction of the pear, but that is altogether an inadequate sum. “We have, in Australia, the prickly pear, nodules in beef, the blowfly, and other pests, and we can scarcely expect the scientists of the world to investigate means for their destruction unless we offer them an adequate remuneration for their services.
– The best men do not engage in research work for personal gain.
– But our scientists have to live just as do other people. “We have had eminent scientists in this country. Recently we had in our midst a gentleman from England who came here to investigate means for the destruction of weevil in our wheat. He was acting on behalf of the British Government, and I am sorry that for the moment I forget his name.
– The honorable member is referring to Professor Lefroy.
– I thank, the honorable member, for reminding me of his name. In the very brief period that he was in Australia he constructed an apparatus for the treatment of wheat that was infested with weevil, and thereby succeeded in considerably reducing the loss which would otherwise have been sustained by the British Government. But for his work, practically the whole of the wheat of New South “Wales would have been lost. Whilst Professor Lefroy was here he was approached by certain persons with a view to inducing him to inquire into means for combating the blowfly. As a matter of fact, he did a certain amount of work in that direction, and then returned to England. Everybody was under the impression that he intended coming back to Australia. But, unfortunately, some petty squabble occurred, as the result of which he did not return. He has since declined to return unless he is adequately paid for his services.
– The real reason for his refusal to come back was that he was abused by a section of the press, which made very uncomplimentary remarks about him.
– If we wish to get the best talent to undertake scientific research work we must be prepared to pay a fair price for it. It would be worth millions of pounds to Australia if she could get rid of such pests as the p’rickly pear, the blowfly, and nodules in beef. In regard to the blowfly, I have repeatedly urged that it is not only the duty of the Commonwealth Government to offer a large reward for its destruction, but that the pastoralists themselves have a responsibility in this connexion, and that they should bear a fair share of the cost of any scientific investigation in that connexion. In co-operation with the State Governments, it would pay the Commonwealth to offer a prize of £1,000,000 for a formula the use of which would successfully combat the blow-fly. In one little district with which I am familiar - that of Walgett, in New South Wales - a loss of not less than £250,000 was sustained in 1916 through the blowfly pest. Recently I observed that in Queensland a pastoralist, or the manager of a station there, has been conducting an investigation into the destruction of the blowfly by means of an arsenical jet. By his discovery he claims to have rendered sheep immune from this pest for two months.
– He forces the poison into the wool upon the skin of the sheep.
– That experiment might very well be taken as a basis for investigation by the proposed Institute. If we can guarantee that our flocks shall be perfectly immune from the blowfly pest for a period of two months, we shall save Australia many millions of pounds. Having been practically reared in the pastoral industry, nobody realizes more than I do the necessity for taking steps to prevent the terrible mortality which annually occurs in our flocks as the result of this pestThen there is the tick pest. It ought not to be impossible for a successful investi gation into that matter to be carried on by the Institute of Science and Industry. I believe that prizes should be offered for the destruction of all the pests which afflict this country - prizes which will attract the best brains in the world. Whilst we should offer a prize of, say, £500,000 for the discovery of some means of destroying the blow-fly, I think that any scientist who undertakes research work of that character, and who desires to carry on his investigations in Australia; should be paid for his services whilst he is here, irrespective of whether or not his efforts are successful.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I was gratified to learn during the adjournment that the discovery of the formula which renders sheep immune from the blowfly for at least two months is the result of successful experiments carried out by the Institute of Science and Industry.
On previous occasions I have spoken of the mighty problem created by the awful ravages of venereal diseases. It was not until 1905 that the Spirochoeta pallida, the organism of syphilis, was discovered, and although eminent scientists have been endeavouring since the beginning of the fifteenth century to discover some formula for the treatment of venereal diseases, it was not until 1878 that the gonococcus, the organism of gonorrhoea, the lesser form of the disease, was discovered. Every year these diseases cause the death of 7,000 people in Australia, and each year the Commonwealth pays at least £150,000 in invalid pensions to persons suffering from them. Ten per cent, of the population are_ affected by the more serious complaint, and it is estimated that 40 per cent, suffer from the effects of the minor form. Dr. J. W. Barrett, who has carried out_ some very interesting tests in connexion with an eye clinic in Melbourne, has shown that out of 500 persons who attended the institution for mere errors of refraction, 14 per cent, showed signs of syphilis. There are 500 children admitted to Sydney hospitals every year suffering from a venereal complaint. It is a big question, and I hope that a special committee of the Institute of Science and Industry will be set to work iri co-operation with the State institutions and Universities to endeavour to discover some formula which will give to the people of this country a speedier relief than is now available. No matter how good the existing form of treatment may be, those suffering from the graver form of the two diseases cannot be cured under less than twelve months. I hope, also, that when a proper formula is established, laboratories will be set up for its manufacture and distribution. Venereal disease is responsible for the condition of 25 per cent, of the blind in the institutions of Australia, and 22 per cent, of the insane. Seeing that hundreds of thousands of pounds are paid every year in the shape of invalid pensions because of it, and that 7,000 Australians die from it annually, surely it is a Federal matter more than a State matter, and I hope that if a committee of the Institute is appointed to deal with it, special grants of money will be made available to it to enable research in this direction to proceed with greater expedition.
Australia is a young country with boundless resources which we mostly waste. No check is kept upon waste. We allow our water to rush away to the ocean; we allow our fodder to dry and be carried away by the winds; we allow our stock to be killed off by pests which are controllable by science; we nave men carrying where machinery could do the work; we have men shovelling where machinery could do the work; we laboriously excavate, carry, and hew where machinery should be employed. The Institute of Science and Industry will have a vast deal of work to do to bring about the success which can be achieved by wise administration, and a wise selection of the men who will conduct the experiments, but in the end the good which will be caused to this country will be incalculable.
– I am pleased that the Government have yielded to the general activity and interest exhibited throughout the world, since hostilities have ceased, towards the subject of scientific research; because upon increased efforts in that direction depends the volume of production of the world. .It has been, alleged against, this Bill that it means the creation of a new spending Department and handing over to a new Institute the control of large sums of money to be spent as the directors of the Institute see fit, with little or no supervision on the part of Parliament. But that is a . wrong view for honorable members to take, because the directors of the Institute will not have the authority to spend one shilling without the consent of Parliament. On the various annual Estimates Parliament will be called upon to take the responsibility of deciding how much it is prepared to hand over to the Institute for the purpose of industrial and scientific research.
– After the money has been spent ?
– No. The money must be appropriated by Parliament before it can be spent. Therefore if any complaint is to be lodged in that regard it must be lodged against Parliament itself, which alone must accept the responsibility.
In view of what is being done in other countries in this direction, the utmost encouragement should be extended to the Institute established here. Of course it must prove itself. The Tight men must be appointed to carry out the duties assigned to it. There can be no possibility of success unless we are fortunate in that regard. But as the Institute proves itself Parliament will be more and more liberal to it- I am hopeful that it will justify itself, and that there will be a generous response1 on the part of Parliament, in full recognition of the vast field of work in which the Institute will be obliged to operate.
As the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay) has shown, there are two great branches of scientific research, agriculture and technology, as applied to industrial matters, which will serve to occupy the best energies and the ability of the ablest men who can be appointed to carry out the work of the Institute. The honorable member has dealt very fully with the agricultural side, and shown the great field for work in that direction. The few remarks I have to make this afternoon will be directed towards demonstrating what a vast field of work there is on the technological side. Technology has the widest possible scope, and should include the collection and distribution of technological information for the advancement of the industries and arts of the Commonwealth, and the initiation of researches relative to technical manufacturing processes and the study of contemporary progress therein. We ought to have an Institute in the position to digest and fully consider the vast amount of literature coming to hand, dealing with the most recent activities in this direction. Part of the duties of the Institute should he the custody of standards of measurement, the verification of instruments -and appliances of all kinds used as measures, and to co-operate with the States in the preparation of standards and specifications of quality of materials and merchandise generally. Co-operation with the States is vital.
I am glad to see certain provisions in the Bill which lay down in unmistakable terms the instruction of Parliament that there must be co-ordination and co-operation with State functions in industrial research work.
– Are we not duplicating the work of the States?
– I am prepared to admit that valuable work has been performed by the State authorities, and 1 would be one of the first to criticise this measure if I thought that duplication was intended. There is, however, at present a wanton and wasteful system, the various States engaging in. practically the same kind of work; but if these institutions can coordinate with the Federal body, and all the existing activities be linked up in an endeavour to apply science to industry in indicated directions, we shall be taking a very valuable step. The various Australian technical and scientific schools and the Universities now dealing with scientific questions should all be coordinated under the direction of the proposed Federal institution. I am glad that a number of honorable members have directed attention to this particular aspect of the question, and I am hopeful that the utmost effort will be made to establish a system of co-operation so that friction will be avoided and the work allowed to proceed in a harmonious manner for the good of the Commonwealth.
There is ample scope for technological work of a valuable character, and we are exceedingly fortunate in having in the employment of the Commonwealth service our present principal analyst, Mr. Percy Wilkinson, who is a distinguished chemist of wide and varied experience. He is a person who not only enjoys a great reputation in Australia, but one who, by reason of his ability and his great work, has a reputation beyond the shores of Australia. Mr. Wilkinson has also the advantage of having devoted special attention to our industries. He has a more extensive knowledge of our industrial undertakings than any other scientific man in Australia, and I hope the whole Federal sphere is to have the benefit of his services as a Principal in this Institute.
– The honorable member admits that it is better to have a practical man than one who is a mere theorist?
– I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) that we do not require merely an academic scientist, but a practical industrial one, and that is what I hope is intended. I believe it is the intention of the Government to obtain the services of practical industrial scientists, who will be employed ‘ to stimulate our industries by systematic research.
The Manchester Municipal College of Technology - a great institution, with a wonderful reputation - undertakes industrial research largely in co-operation with the firms engaged in industry in SouthEastern Lancashire.
– And that includes thewhole of the cotton and print mills.
– Yes. The point I am emphasizing is that the college works in co-operation with the various industries; this is one of its special features. It is now realized that it is time the old rule of thumb method was discarded. In days gone by, the average workman was inclined to discredit scientific methods,, and to depend entirely upon practical knowledge. But it is amazing now to hear the confessions of a number who held that view in the past, and who now realize that our only hope of salvation is in the application of science to industry.
I am anxious to draw the attention of honorable members to certain resolutions passed by the American Federation of Labour on tie question of scientific research. The resolutions are most’ suggestive, and the preliminary recitals, amongst other things, state -
Scientific research, and the technical application of results of research, form a fundamental basis upon which the development of our industries, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and others, must rest.
They refer to productivity in industries, and to the fact that the productivity in industries has greatly increased by the application of the results of scientific research, and show that the only potent factor in dealing with increased productivity and improving the position of the workers is that there should be development in this particular department. They then declare that the war has brought home to all the nations engaged in it the overwhelming importance of science and technology to our national welfare. They then say it is resolved -
That a broad programme of scientific and technical research is of major importance to the national welfare, and should be fostered in every way by the Federal Government, and that the activities of the Government itself in such research should be adequately and generously supported in’ order that the work may be greatly strengthened” and extended.
That is typical of the workers assembled in convention in dealing with this all important and vital subject. In response to the increased interest, both in Great Britain and America - countries which, perhaps, most excite our interest at present - this increased activity has been largely stimulated by the personal interest of the workers themselves. In Great Britain the Government was specially active in the matter of scientific research in relation to national industries during the war, and that activity has since been increased. Lord Moulton, a very distinguished lawyer and student of science, in a preface written to a little book, Science and the Nation, written by Mr. A. C. . Seward, says -
In every industry there is scope for research, and on it must depend the maintenance of, our position in the industrial struggle for existence. Hence there is no training so valuable for industrial life as that of being brought into close contact with those engaged in scientific research, whether it be in University Laboratories or elsewhere. By concentrating the work at our Universities, and making the students see and take part in it, we shall send out into the world a class of men fit for carrying out the industrial research necessary for the maintenance of our position in trade.
He realizes, with every thoughtful man, that in these days of keen competition we must depend for maintenance on scientific research.
The British Government itself, recognising the great necessities of the nation in this direction, have placed aside something approximating a million sterling, and have handed it over to an administrative committee of the Privy Council for scientific and industrial research. Associated with this administrative body are various advisory councils, which consult with the manufacturers - that is the point I am seeking to stress - and others. The result is systematic development of research, and co-operation with science and industry under the direct control of the industries themselves. The special feature is to organize all industrial research in conjunction with the industries, rather than prosecuting the work on a purely scientific basis. The great objective is to arouse the interest of the manufacturers themselves. I am strongly urging that there should be a close connexion and co-operation between the leading Universities, and technical schools and our industries, which rely on research to such an important degree.
The honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) dealt at length with the splendid results being achieved in Canada, and I do not intend to refer to them other than to say that a study of the work that has been accomplished there is particularly interesting. In that country certain proposals were made to spend a large sum of money in the creation of a central Institute, and the idea obtained that it was to be run by certain University professors. I happened to come across a criticism of the proposals, urging the wisdom of more attention to practical industrial research rather than investigations carried out on a purely scientific basis A leading newspaper in Canada says -
It considered it doubtful whether a centrally located academically populated and university inoculated research bureau is the last word in industrial research, as it is questionable if such an atmosphere and such personalities get the hang of what is wanted in actual production.
That is a criticism of a proposal that was before the Canadian Government for the creation of this large Institute, and the appointment of mere University professors. That idea was ultimately discarded. Although I have the greatest respect and admiration for our University professors, and whilst I recognise the valuable work they have performed in the interests of science, I must admit that in a matter of this kind, where our industries are vitally concerned, their training does not fit them for the service.
– That is what we desire to avoid.
– Yes; and I am glad that that has been embodied in the Bill.
In New Zealand, South Africa, and in- India, they are very active; but, perhaps, the most .striking example in the whole world is that of Japan. Her expansion in the industrial world has been of a most marvellous character. She has certainly had the benefit of the experience of other nations, and has had the wisdom to adopt what could be successfully applied to her own industries. A
– She has picked the brains of the world.
– That has been a part of her scheme. To show what has been achieved in the course of a year or two in the electro-chemical industry, I may state that at the beginning of the war it was quite a minor industry, but now its production is in the vicinity of £30,000,000 annually. In the tin plate industry similar results have been achieved. I do not know whether recent financial disturbances have upset their calculations, but it was contemplated by Japan to set apart £1,000,000 for the furtherance of commercial research.
I suppose that nowhere in the world has there been greater activity in this matter than in the United States of America, where colossal sums are spent. If I remember aright, the Federal Government of the United States set aside last year something like £14,000,000 for the carrying on of industrial research work by its own institutions. That expenditure is entirely apart from the expenditure of the various States of the Union, which maintain Departments that perform most valuable work in co-operation and co-ordination with the Federal institutions. No one can take up an American magazine of any standing without being impressed with the way in which the captains of industry and the leading intellects of industry in that country urge their manufacturers and workers to give the closest attention, to these matters. Here, for instance, are a few remarks by the United States Secretary of Commerce, Mr. William Badfield, who, in opening a Reconstruction Congress in December, 1918, said -
Find and seize hold upon all science has said, or can say, concerning industry. It was largely because Germany made her industries the operating end of her sciences that her commerce grew so vast and so powerful. It was more German science than German wages that made her competition dangerous.
The various associations of manufacturers in the States have issued a considerable quantity of literature on this subject, and at one of their recent conferences they indicated that the activity which is being displayed is to be increased. This is what Mr. J. J. Carty, Chief of the Research Department of the United States, said when speaking before the American Institute of Electrical Engineering–
While vast sums are spent annually upon industrial research in these laboratories, I can say with authority that they return to the industries each year improvements in the art, which, taken together, have a value many times greater than the total cost of their production. Money expended in properly directed industrial research, conducted on scientific principles, is sure to bring to the industries a most generous return. I consider it is the high duty of our Institute and every member … to impress upon the manufacturers of the United States the wonderful possibilities of economies in their processes and improvements in their products which are gained by the discoveries of science. . . . Those who are the first to avail themselves of the benefits of industrial research will obtain such a lead over their competitors that we may look forward to the time when the advantages of industrial research will be recognised by all. . . . In the present state of the world’s developments there is nothing which can do more to advance American industries than the adoption by our manufacturers generally of industrial research, conducted on scientific principles. . . . Pure scientific research, unlike industrial scientific research, cannot support itself by direct pecuniary returns from its discovery.
The lessons taught by the leading public men, and the prominent industrials and scientists of the Mother Country, of the United States, and of Germany are such as we must take to heart.
– We all agree with the opinions that you have read, but does the Bill further the objects in view?
– It creates opportunity for their furtherance, provided that the right men are appointed.
– The proviso is an important one.
– Yes, and were I not confident that the Government would appoint the right men, I would not support the Bill so ardently. As many other honorable members desire to speak, it would not be fair to prolong my remarks at this stage.
.- At the outset I wish to say how very much I appreciate the valuable and eloquent speeches which have been made in support of the Bill; I refer more particularly to those of the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay), the honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), and the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best).
– What about the speech of - the Minister ?
– I apologize for having omitted to refer to the great opening speech of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), also those of several other honorable members. I agree with everything that these speakers have said as to the desirability of encouraging scientific research, because I appreciate as much as it is possible to do the services which scientific men have rendered to humanity, in Australia as elsewhere. Provided the money is spent efficiently, I would not begrudge any appropriation for scientific research. But it seems to me that none of the speakers to whom I have referred . gave any satisfactory reason for agreeing to the second reading of this Bill, which is in reality a measure to create a new Commonwealth Department. We are not being asked to determine upon the value of scientific research or the desirability of encouraging it; in regard to those matters we are unanimous, but we are being asked to assent to the establishment of a new Commonwealth Department and to make a fresh attack on the functions of the States. The aim of those who support the Bill may be excellent, but the means by which it is proposed to attain it may fall far short of excellence, and, indeed, be entirely bad. I was very much struck by a headline in this morning’s Age - “ Air Craft and Quarantine - New Federal Measure, Commonwealth to have Paramount Authority.”
– Those are matters within the jurisdiction of the Federal authority.
– It is exceedingly kind of the honorable member to anticipate my remarks. I know quite well that under the Constitution those are matters within the jurisdiction of the Federal authority, but I have yet to learn that the matter of education with which this Bill deals is a matter in connexion with which the Commonwealth can claim paramount authority. For all practical purposes a portion of the heading which I have quoted from the Age might be applied to this Bill, which deals with the subject of education, and it might be termed, “New Federal Measure - Commonwealth to have Paramount Authority.” There seems to be a fixed determination on the part of the Commonwealth Government and many members of this Parliament to assume paramount authority over the State Governments in connexion with matters concerning which we are not given paramount authority by the Constitution.
The whole question involved in this measure is whether we are to create a fresh Commonwealth Department for the purpose of making a new invasion upon the functions of the State Governments, at the same time imposing totallyunnecessary burdens upon the people, by duplicating Government institutions. There are many instances which might be quoted in which the Commonwealth Parliament has created fresh Departments, and has’ undertaken functions already covered by the activities of the. States. In every one of these instances the taxpayers were promised that if the Commonwealth Government undertook the performance of those functions the State Governments would fall in with their proposals and would not clash with them. To quote a comparatively recent instance of the kind honorable members will recollect that the Commonwealth Government decided to establish Savings Banks all over the country. Members of this Parliament were assured that the States would fall in with the proposal; that they would retire into the background, and permit the State Savings Banks to be run by the Commonwealth authorities.
– That was a disgraceful proposal.
– It was a wicked proposal.
– My honorable friends may before long be constrained to admit that the measure we are now considering is open to the same objections. It was suggested that the State Governments would cease to perform certain functions when the Commonwealth Government undertook them.
– The State Governments might save money by handing these matters over to the Commonwealth.
– Unfortunately, the State Governments do not seem disposed to save money in that way. They may not unnaturally say, we have carried out these functions for many years past.
– The honorable member is a good State Rights man.
– I deny the soft impeachment.
– I should have said that the honorable member is a good statesman.
– I thank my honorable friend for his explanation. We know that when, in the case to which I have referred, the Commonwealth Government interfered in a matter which was not their concern, the State authorities, so far from falling in with the Commonwealth proposal, did all they possibly could to obstruct them, and established new branches of the State Savings Bank in a large number of towns throughout Australia.
When we appointed a High Commissioner it was intended that ho should represent the Commonwealth and also the six States in London. There was to be co-ordination and co-operation, and money was to be saved by the appointment.
– What put that notion into the honorable member’s head? Mr. JOWETT.- Everything I read on the subject did so.
– It was stated over and over again in this House.
– I was not then a member of this House, but I read what was said about the proposal, and in those days I believed the statements that were made in this House. What has been the result? So far from co-ordination and economy which were promised as a result of the appointment of a High Commissioner, we find that on a recent occasion, when the High Commissioner invited the States’ AgentsGeneral to confer with him in order to determine some matter affecting the des-. tinies of Australia, they refused to attend, because they said that the High Commissioner had no authority to call them together. We know that as a result of the appointment of a High Commissioner the expenditure of the States upon their agencies in London has not been diminished by one farthing. In that case we created a new Commonwealth Department, and yesterday afternoon we learned from the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) that this new Department, carelessly and casually authorized by this House, cost the Commonwealth £124,000 last year. Of that amount, £50,000 was spent on Australia House, but £74,000 was the expenditure due to the establishment of the High Commissioner’s Office.
– What did we get for it?
– The honorable member might well ask what Australia has received for that expenditure.
– Order! The honorable member is entitled to make only a passing reference to that matter in discussing this Bill.
– I shall endeavour to confine my remarks strictly to the Bill. In every instance in which this Parliament has decided to interfere with the ordinary and proper functions of the States, we have been promised economy and co-ordination. But in not one instance have those promises been fulfilled ; on the contrary, we have incurred, as a rule, useless additional expenditure.
I have listened with the greatest interest to the records that have been quoted of the march of science and the enormous benefits conferred upon mankind by the investigations of scientific observers; but I have failed to hear one argument to substantiate the claim that by creating a seventh Government Department to deal in Australia with scientific research we shall materially help to attain the object we have in view. The greatdiscoveries which have benefited mankind have been mainly the result of enthusiastic labours of love of men who have devoted their lives to scientific research; and I was exceedingly sorry to hear an honorable member deprecate, by implication, at all events, the value of the work of men of that class.
– What that honorable member said was that he did not think the energies called forth by this scheme should be expended in abstract scientific research, but that the efforts of the directors should be devoted principally towards obtaining practical results from the application of science to industry.
– I am glad to hean that explanation. If we look to the genesis of some of the greatest discoveries and inventions ever made, we find that they were the triumphs of men of a scientific turn of mind, who devoted their lives to scientific research - in the hope of some pecuniary reward, I admit, but often unsustained by any monetary support. They aimed at benefiting mankind by their devotion to scientific research, and they succeeded. Under these circumstances, one would have thought that everything possible would have been done by the Government to engage the interest and enthusiastic support of the best scientific research minds of Australia. The Institute has been working for some years under no Statute, but under the control of a Government Department, and it has been assisted by an Advisory Council, comprising some of the ablest scientific men in Australia. Of these, the Chairman (Professor Orme Masson) was not the least renowned for ability in the scientific world. It is well known that some days ago this gentleman resigned his position on the Advisory Council. It may be that he has since been persuaded to withdraw his resignation, and that the result of his action is contained in the Government amendment to reinstate the Advisory Boards, which they had decided to eliminate.
– The amendment does not do that. It provides for the creation of Advisory Boards, but not of the same character as those proposed in the previous Bill. This amendment will make it far easier to secure the co-operation of scientific men.
– I welcome the Minister’s explanation.
The question we have to decide is whether, the appointment of a seventh
Government Science Department in Australia, with a Director at its head, is likely to encourage and stimulate research by scientific men. Some light upon this matter is thrown by a press interview with Professor Masson, in which, he described what has actually happened in connexion with the Institute. He said -
As a net result of four and a half years’ work, I have no faith in politicians. That is a terrible charge, and perhaps I had better pass over that phase of the letter.
– Perhaps his view is reciprocated.
– I am afraid that there are some politicians who do not appreciate the work of scientific men. Professor Masson continued -
During that time the Committee has met once a week or oftener, and as an outcome of its labours it has advised the Government regarding various developments.
I wish to show to what’ extent the Institute, during its existence, seems to have alienated the sympathy and warm-hearted support of scientific men in Australia, instead of having, so to speak, welcomed their assistance. Professor Masson says -
But the treatment of its recommendations has been such as to induce and increase the conviction that the politicians are not in sympathy with the Committee in its desire to lay down lines along which science can profitably be applied to industry.
The Committee has found itself treated more and more as if it were a sub-branch of the Trade and Customs Department. Many times its recommendations have been set aside altogether, or not dealt with for months. Surely, if official departmental heads see fit to take up an adverse attitude, such recommendations should not be rejected without the Committee being given an opportunity to traverse the objections taken.
– Surely they would nob want to put themselves above Parliament ?
– But seeing that they were appointed as an Advisory Committee, they might not unnaturally expect that their advice would be occasionally asked for, even if it were never taken.
– Practically all those recommendations referred to the expenditure of money, and I felt it my duty, until Parliament had authorized the establishment of the Institute, to tell them that they ‘had to go slow.
– I can only inform the House of what Professor Masson says. He continues -
As it is, the Committee cannot help feeling that its opinion is given less weight than that of departmental officers. Ministers have taken so little interest in the work of the Committee that they have often felt themselves free from the necessity of even acknowledging recommendations or requests.
Then what follows is of the utmost importance as bearing upon what is likely to happen in the future if the Bill is passed.
– You must remember that that is the statement of one man.
– He was the Chairman, and is one of the most distinguished scientific investigators in Australia. His views regarding the future, providing that the Government continue on the lines now proposed, andthe House passes the Bill as it stands, are interesting. I am not opposing the Bill at all strongly, but wish simply to put forward some views which should make the House pause.
– What does the honorable member mean by “not opposing the Bill strongly” ? Would he vote against it?
– I am not prepared to say that at the present moment.. I am seeking light and information. Professor Masson says -
The Government proposals mean the crystallization of the Institute under political control. There is to be a single director,but no good man will accept the position, because he will be subject to a departmental chief. I hold, therefore, that it would be better to crush the movement altogether than to set it going on these lines. It is a reversion to a system which has been utterly dscredited in Great Britain, the system of departmental control of scientific endeavour as applied to industry.
That is briefly the case I put forward to induce the Government and the House to pause before they finally commit themselves to the creation of a fresh Department, until, at all events, the Government are able to satisfy the House that the creation of a new Commonwealth Department will mean the disappearance of opposing Departments in the six States.
– Professor Huxley, a friend of mine, was asked, “ What is science?” and he said it was common sense. From that point of view, how is the honorable member going to vote on this Bill?
– I am glad to hear that Professor Huxley was a friend of the honorable member for East Sydney. That is one of the finest things I have ever heard attributed to Professor Huxley. He was a great man, but I never realised his real greatness until this moment.
I am as enthusiastic a supporter of giving the utmost possible as sistance to science and industry, and the encouragement of research work in every possible way, as any one in Australia can be, but I am not satisfied that on its present lines the Bill will achieve the object which we have been led to suppose that it will. I propose to ask the Government to delay its passage until they can give us a satisfactory assurance that there will be real coordination between the States and the Federation in this matter. Such coordination has been taken for granted in the past so often, and we have been so often completely disappointed, that I feel exceedingly doubtful whether we are likely to obtain it in the future. If in the meantime it be desired to give the utmost encouragement to the application of science to industry, and we certainly ought to give it, there are Departments in the six States at present which can be encouraged, and given financial support if required. I urge the Government to take the matter into full consideration. If they are in a position to give the House an assurance from the various States that the passing of this Bill will not mean the duplication between two rival bodies - the States and the Commonwealth - of those functions now being carried on by the States, the Bill will have my support. I sincerely trust that that assurance will be given at once.
– I shall notgo into the question of the necessity for the application of science to industry, because we all know that it exists, but the position is peculiar. Professor Orme Masson’s action in resigning, and the interview with him which we have just heard read, proves how wise the Ministry were not to let him, and those associated with him, do whatever they thought fit, and spend money just as they liked. Unless responsibility in this matter is given to a Minister who is answerable to this House, I shall not support the proposal, because scientists, like military men, would spend money like water to bring into operation what they thought was correct. If they cannot assist without wanting to run the show, they will be useless so far as this idea is concerned. Like the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) I want to stop duplication. I am supporting the Bill generally on the second reading, but in Committee I shall vote against the duplication of any Department, although that is not because I think the State Departments are doing well. In my opinion they are not doing well, and need stirring up by the Federal Government. While it is necessary to have local bodies to deal with those things with which they are immediately concerned, there is no reason why the work cannot be done by the Commonwealth. There is much that concerns the whole of the States rather than any one in particular, and yet each is carrying on independently. This, of course, does not make for economy. My idea is, not that we should attempt to take from the States any of their powers, but that the Commonwealth should propose the conversion of all the various State activities into one Australian Department, thus relieving the taxpayers from having to find money for what is really a ‘duplication. At a time when we hear so much outcry against extravagance and for economy, I think honorable members on both sides of the’ House will agree that wherever duplication can be done away with ;there is warrantable opportunity to practise economy. I suggest to the Government that, having gauged the opinions of honorable members - which appear to be fairly unanimous - it should withdraw this Bill and introduce another that would, be more in conformity with the desires generally expressed during the debate. Of course, the present measure was introduced with the best intentions,, but difficulties have arisen, not the least of which has relation to Professor Orme Masson. The Government, when introducing a fresh Bill, should make clear to those who may be fearful about the matter that there is no desire to create a new Department, but to take over and coordinate the .present scattered activities. The sovereign rights of the States do not enter at this point at all. Surely the States would agree to the Commonwealth undertaking the work, seeing that it is the only way in which it can be done efficiently.
The committee of doctors over which, as a member of this Legislature, I had the honour to preside, when drawing up their reports on the causes of invalidity and death, suggested that the Commonwealth should Allocate certain moneys to the different States to combat those two fell diseases, tha white and the red plague.
Those professional gentlemen associated with me asked whether I thought the Government would be prepared to vote a specific amount. I replied that, in view of the nature of the proposal, the Government would probably not hesitate to do so. A sum of £10,000 was placed on the Estimates to deal with the red plague. But the . Government of New South Wales, which was attempting todeal with the subject independently, considered that it was doing well enough,, and that there was no reason why it should bind itself to the conditions suggested by the Commonwealth authorities.
Our quarantine laws would be much better administered solely by the Commonwealth Government. Last year we witnessed an example of how the States proved careless of the ruin that might have been brought upon Australia as anoutcome of their thinking first of their own petty interests.
– In some cases’ theStates were abused for preferring human life to trade.
– The Tasmanian authorities went mad on the question, and, after all, did not prevent what they sought to shut out; the whole business was a farce. The River Murray forms a great portion of the border line between New South Wales and Victoria; but what occurred at the Border? The Murray made no difference, and we witnessed a conflict between State and Federal authority. The Commonwealth Government was retarded in its desire to do that which it considered best for the people of Australia.
Whatever we may think of Germany, we must admit that the Germans showed wisdom in their willingness to spend millions upon scientific research; and if Australia desires to make progress her people must be ready to do the same. I again suggest to the Government that this Bill be withdrawn, and that the States be communicated with in order, if possible, to bring about co-operation and so save expensive duplication.
– I can see no reason for the antagonism displayed towards this measure by certain honorable members: opposite. I fail to appreciate the attitude of honorable members who profess’ to represent country districts, particularly, in the light of the speech delivered by the honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay). The ostensible reason for the opposition to the Bill has to do with the matter of duplication. That will continue so long as we work under the Constitution as it stands, but I trust that the forthcoming Convention will rid us of our troubles in this respect. Duplication, no matter where it has existed, involves additional burdens on the taxpayer. This measure, however, points to true economy and efficiency. The remarks of the honorable member for New England were highly informative; they were not merely a record of what might be done, but of what has been done. The honorable member himself has given practical proof. He was the owner of the big Berry Estate, in New South Wales, which included some of the richest land in Australia. But, practising the principles which the honorable member expounded when discussing this Bill, he converted that estate into a number of small holdings. All his former tenants became independent farmers - owners of their own broad acres and cottages. Some critics said that in so changing their outlook these people were foolish; but the fact is that they are contented in their independence to-day.
The honorable member for New England has a dozen times endeavoured to demonstrate why men should have the best. He truly says we cannot afford to have anything to do with inefficiency, either in respect of labour or in the matter of the expenditure of capital. Last night the honorable member gave us some startling figures. He stated that, in a dairy ‘herd test in his district recently, the results showed that one cow in one year produced butter worth £8 4s., while another cow gave a return of £72. We all know that a lot of time and money are spent in the advocacy of these theories, but, unfortunately, they are not put into practice very often. We really want less talk and more, practical application of sound economic theories, and I look for good results from the establishment of this Institute. For a long time we have been preaching decentralization. What have we done up to the present? Honorable members on both sides of. the House are in accord with the policy of breaking up big estates, so that we may be able to place men, women, and children on land at present occupied by sheep, and substitute the school bell for the cattle bell. So far we have not done very much in that direction. I. do not advocate the settlement of our soldiers on land in the “ never-never “ country. I prefer to see them on estates within the fresh-food zone. These areas will then be converted from sheep runs into smiling homes, and we shall have arrived at the true solution of the problem of utilizing our big estates. It is idle to advocate a policy that virtually places the settlers at the throats of owners of big estates; though I favour taxation, when properly applied, because I believe, if an owner does not put his property to its. best use, some pressure should be brought to bear upon him.
– Something in the nature of a gentle squeeze ? .
– Yes ; and I may add that my honorable friend has proved himself to be an expert in that business. It would be as well, perhaps, if we had some pf the legislation that he has given us up north. I know the honorable member for West Sydney is with me in my desire to see the big estates, especially those close to our principal markets, cut up for closer settlement, because if we drive our soldiers and other settlers out into the “nevernever “ country, they will not have much chance of success. And, after all, why should we do that? I have in my mind an estate almost adjoining that .owned by the honorable member for New England, who has himself settled about 300 soldiers on the land. It comprises about 1,000 acres, and if made available, I feel satisfied that a soldier could make a good living on 10 acres. This would be much better than offering a man 500 acres away back in a locality from which he is not likely to get transport for his produce. These results, I maintain, will follow the passing of this Bill. We talk about co-operation. What does it mean but recognition of the principle that capital and labour must go hand in hand? Consequently, any scheme that makes that possible, that demonstrates that interests are identical, ought to commend itself to every honorable member.
I regret that there appears to be a desire to block the Bill on the ground that it might lead to duplication of activities, because this difficulty will adjust itself. Although the framers of our Constitution were wise in their generation, we have discovered the weak links in the chain, and it must be our purpose now to remove them and prevent unnecessary duplication of Commonwealth and State services, so that the burden upon the taxpayer may be lightened, lt is idle to tell me that we cannot afford to go on with this proposal. This country, with a common -sense Government, is capable of achieving anything, and if we can make land settlement easier, if we can induce a large number of people to make their homes on the land and become taxpayers of this country, we shall have gone a long way towards the solution of all our present problems. I have no time for the pessimists. This is the greatest country on God’s earth, and we can do a great deal if only we go the right way about it. I only wish to God we had a common-sense business-life Government
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
– I am satisfied we would not get. a commonsense Government from honorable members opposite, who have just cheered my remark.
– Why not have an election, then ?
– We have just had an election, and I am afraid it proved pretty disastrous to the honorable member’s party. I remember when I was a boy-
– Order ! The honorable member must confine his remarks to the Bill.
– I was merely going to say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that when honorable members talk about an election they remind me of the story that boys in dark places usually whistle to keep their courage up. Honorable members who talk about an election are in the same position. I have fought a good many elections. This is my twenty-ninth year in Parliament, and honorable members opposite, who challenge me on that score, cannot frighten me by talking about an election. I invite any one of them to come to my district and I will take a fall out of him.
– What is this - science or industry ?
– The honorable member has been well named.
– Order ! These interjections must cease.
– I am merely replying to interjections by honorable members who seem to be under the impression that I am a little bit nervous. They are mistaken.
Referring again to the Bill, I am surprised at any opposition being offered to it. It will have my strongest support, because it is a step in the right direction. I am quite prepared to leave this matter to the common sense of the people, who may be trusted to penalize those who may be responsible for unnecessary duplication.
.- I move the following amendment: -
That all the words after the word “ now “ be left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words “ withdrawn until information is furnished to the House as to the probability of harmonious co-operation between the Bureau proposed to be established and existing State activities, and, more particularly until proof is furnished that the measure will not lead to a great increase of the already heavy burden of taxation by unnecessary duplication of Institutions.”
– More obstruction from the back benches !
– I consider that remark offensive, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– If the remark is considered offensive, I must ask the Minister to withdraw it.
– I withdraw the remark, but may I substitute, “More proposals for delay”?
– I also consider that remark offensive, and ask that it be withdrawn.
– The honorable member for Calare proposes by his amendment to do what’ the Minister says - delay the measure.
– Yes, I certainly do propose to delay the thrusting of a proposal of this kind on the country and taxpayers - a Bill that will probably be very deeply resented, if passed in the absence of sufficient information. I am satisfied that the Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) meant something entirely different; and it is in that light I consider his interjection offensive. I do not regard it as offensive to be accused of delaying the measure until we are given information to justify us in approving of it.
I wish to make it quite clear that I am entirely in favour of the principle of science as applied to industry, and I think that every member who has the best interests of the country at heart is also in favour of it. We have heard a good deal of -what has been described as the “myth” of the duplication, which we assert will result, of State and Federal activities. We know perfectly well that in the case of the Savings Banks there has been dissatisfaction and deplorable duplication. While in favour of the principle of science a3 applied to industry, I maintain that we have not the information at our disposal to enable us to conscientiously vote for the measure. We have heard much of the value and necessity for economy, and it has been said, and rightly, that true economy means fie elimination of waste. That is perfectly true; and I would be recreant to the trust placed in me by the electors if I were to cast my vote in favour of this Bill in the absence of necessary information. We ought to be satisfied that this Institute will, in the future, do work of a more beneficial character than has been done in the past.
I have before me a copy of a Melbourne newspaper, dated 13th March, 1920, dealing with this measure. I shall not read the whole of the comment-
– The honorable member would not be in order in reading newspaper comments on this Bill.
– Then I shall give the comments from memory, but I shall have to refer to the newspaper in order to insure my placing the facts accurately before the House.
– The honorable member will not be in order in doing that ; he must rely on his memory.
– The newspaper to which I refer says -
Although the Institute for two ‘ years has been spending large sums of public money, it has actually no constitutional existence. A Bill to provide for its establishment was introduced into Parliament last year, but the opposition to it was so manifest that the Government did not attempt to pass the measure -
– That is clearly dealing with the Bill, and I must ask the honorable member not to proceed ; he must rely on his memory.
– I submit that I am dealing with the Institute that has been carried on for some time past, the Institute which this Bill proposes to make permanent; I am not dealing with the
-The honorable member is reading newspaper comments on the Bill. As a matter of fact, it is not in order to read extracts from newspapers at all. The practice has been allowed to a certain extent, but it is out of order, according to our Standing Orders and the practice of the British House of Commons.
– As a new member I hope I shall be allowed a little latitude.
– I am giving the honorable member considerable latitude.
– I hope you will accept my assurance that I am referring, not to the Bill before the House, but to the Institute as it has been carried on for the last two years.
The newspaper article proceeds -
The funds upon which the Institute has lived have been provided by special appropriations on the Estimates that Parliament was given no opportunity to discuss. Reprehensible and unconstitutional as this course has been, it has had the one advantage of giving the public an opportunity of testing the usefulness of the Institute before Parliament committed itself to any permanent expenditure. Let the Institute be judged by its own record. In the two years of its existence what has it done? It was to have achieved wonders. Under its magic touch no local problem was to remain unsolved. But the prickly pear still grows in Queensland. The blowfly has still to be guarded against by the old methods of sheep dip. The gold mining industry has received not the slightest stimulus. Sparrows still fly west, despite the brilliant idea of stationing sentinels along the railway lines to shoot them. Australian manufacturers still work out their own problems, and if they can find a solution they patent them.
– I must ask honorable members to moderate their tone in conversation.
– The Government are arranging for the “gag.”
– They might as well complete their disgrace now they have started.
– I call attention to the offensive interjection by the honorable member for West Sydney, who, referring to myself and one or two others, says that we might as well complete our “disgraceful” conduct.
– If the honorable member for West Sydney made the statement attributed to him, it was a disorderly one, and I must ask him to withdraw it.
– The Minister for the Navy is under a misapprehension; but as he seems to think the remark ought to apply to himself, I withdraw it.
– I appeal to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to assist me in proceeding with my remarks.
The newspaper comment goes on -
For all the money that has been spent on the investigations by its innumerable Committees, what discovery has been made that has compensated Australia one penny piece? There has certainly been some valuable material for humour provided by the Institute, as when, for example, it found a substitute for tin plates that cost more than tin plate itself, and when it made the remarkable discovery of a new method for the treatment of alunite that was no more than 600 years old. It also nearly invented a machine for picking cotton, which would have been useful if cotton had grown in a different way to accommodate itself to the peculiarities of the machine, and it has discovered a process for baking bread rapidly, that takes only a few hours longer than the process already used by the bakers. It might have done many more wonderful things had it not been hampered——
Motion (by Mr. Greene) proposed–
That the question be now put.
– Will you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, be good enough to state the position for the benefit of honorable members who have just entered the chamber? It is inconceivable that honorable members would vote for the “ gag “ if they knew all the circumstances of the case.I ask you, therefore, to explain the position to them.
– I have already done so.
– When there were only half-a-dozen members present.
– If honorable members are absent from the chamber that is not the fault of the Chair.
Question put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 16
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question - put. The House divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The House divided.
Majority . . 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) propose -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I desire to bring before the House an’ important matter concerning the nondelivery of mails at the Wellington Hospital, in New South Wales. The question was brought under my notice, and I communicated with the Department. I have since been informed that the mails cannot be delivered to the hospital because it is beyond the postal boundaries. To-dayIhave received a letter from the secretary of the hospital, which reads -
Thecommittee and staff of the Wellington District Hospital, New South Wales, respectfully solicit your aid in helping themto get the mail delivered to the institution. It seems that before the present hospital was erected in 1902, there had been a postal boundary fixed, and the new hospital building lay just outside that boundary. The postal officials tell us that nothing can be done until the present building is placed inside the postal boundary. The hospital is already inside the municipal boundary. We have done our best toget this matter settled amicably, but cannot get any satisfaction, hence this appeal for your assistance.
– I draw attention to the state of the House.
There not being a quorum present,
Mr. Deputy Speaker adjourned the House at 4.21 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 July 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1920/19200723_reps_8_92/>.