8th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Taxation of Income from Commonwealth Loans.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Representations by British Government.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister will have inquiries made, and furnish the honorable member with a reply as soon as possible. It will take some time to obtain this information.
Married Vocational Trainees
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorablemember’s questions are as follow : - 1.Yes, with an additional allowance for children, and up to 3s. per week travelling expenses, where necessary.
In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s message) :
Clause 13 -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - At the end of the clause, add the following subclauses: - “ (2) The Arbitrator shall, at the request of the organization which has submitted a claim or application, or of the Commissioner, or of the Minister of any Department of State who has submitted an application or who is affected by the claim or application of the organization, and may, withoutsuch request, appoint an assessor or assessors to advise him in relation to the claim or application, and the assessor or assessors shall discharge such duties as arc directed by the Arbitrator or as are prescribed. “ (3) One of the assessors shall be a person nominated by the organization, and the other a person nominated jointly by the Commissioner and the Minister of each Department of State affected by the claim or application, or, in default of such nomination, appointed by the GovernorGeneral.”
Senate’s Amendment of the Amendment. -
Leave out “ an assessor or assessors to advise him in relation to the claim or application, and the assessor or assessors “ ; insert “ two assessors to advise him in relation to the claim or application, and the assessors “.
.- When this Bill was before the Committee previously, new subclauses were added giving power to appoint assessors. The amendment was made somewhat hurriedly, and a slight mistake occurred in the drafting of subclause 2. The amendment made by the Senate is designed to correct that error, and to make the sub-clause read in accordance with what was undoubtedly the desire of the Committee. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
.- If I remember rightly, the amendment made by the House of Representatives was the result of a suggestion by the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell). We are to understand that under the sub -clause, as amended by the Senate, the Arbitrator will be empowered in any case to call in two assessors, one representing the Government and the other the organization of officers concerned ?
Motion agreed to.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 14th September (vide page 4457), on motion by Mr. Hughes -
That this Bill bo now read a second time.
.- In a leading article to-day, the Age makes the significant statement that the Prime Minister’s speech, “ in explaining the New GuineaBill, reads like a propectus drawn by a master hand.” I candidly admit that when the right honorable gentleman, in the course of his second-reading speech, compared the area of the Territory over which we are to exercise a mandate, with that of other tropical countries, such as Java and Japan, and showed that Japan, with a far more circumscribed area, maintained a population of 56,000,000, the impression might reasonably have been conveyed to one’s mind that German New Guinea was capable of carrying a population of the same magnitude. As to that, however, I have my doubts. Our experience of Territories has not been very happy. In 1905 we accepted the Territory of Papua, and I remember the late Hon. Alfred Deakin standing in this House, and painting a rosy picture of it, just as rosy as that which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) painted yesterday of German New Guinea. But our experience has not been up to the standard of the picture painted.
– It will be.
-For the last fifteen years it has always been a case of “it will be,” but so far anticipations have not been realized.
– Those fifteen years have been spent in development.
– I admit that in a great country fifteen years is not a long period to spend in development, but let us go a little further, and analyze our experience of the Northern Territory, which we took over from South Australia in 1910.
– We have not carried out our contract with South Australia, and built the north-south railway.
– Does the honorable member imagine that the building of that railway would have brought prosperity to the Northern Territory?
– Surely the honorable member realizes that the Territory has already cost the Commonwealth enough. However, I admit that with all the experience we have had of the Northern Territory and its mismanagement, we would probably do as we did in 1910 if we were asked again to accept the responsibility of administering it. No single State ought to be asked to bear the burden of either the Northern Territory or Papua. It is far better that the Commonwealth should control the latter Territory than Queensland, which for some years administered it. But we have not been too successful in administering our Territories. Will any honorable member contend that we are more likely to achieve success when administering German New Guinea and the Pacific Islands under the terms of a mandate, especially with all the problems which will confront us in them ? I do not think we will. But I admit that we must administer them. We read nearly every day in the newspapers that the Japanese are extending their control as far south as the Marshall and Caroline Islands, over which they have a mandate, and every honorable member agrees that as soon as practicable the military administration of German New Guinea should be replaced by civil government. I do not want to have military administration retained in any part of the Commonwealth or its Territories a moment longer than is necessary.
We ought to set out specifically our ideals in regard to these Territories. The Papua Act of 1905 went a good deal further than the Bill before us proposes to go. Section 5 of that Act says-
The possession of British New Guinea is hereby declared to be accepted by the Commonwealth as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, by the name of the Territory of Papua.
I do not think wewould be entitled to insert a similar provision in this Bill until the actual terms of the mandate are known to us. So to speak, we are now legislating in the dark in regard to these Territories. Section 29 of the Papua Act provides definitely for the establishment of a Legislative Council. This provision was inserted for the purpose of allowing the inhabitants of the Territory to govern themselves. We have had outcries in Australia from districts which are represented in this Parliament that they cannot be effectively governed from Melbourne. Surely such an outcry would come with much greater force from German New Guinea, where the planters and other settlers will have to face problems differing widely from those to which we are accustomed on the mainland. Nevertheless we ought to take more direct parliamentary control than is proposed in the Bill, if the terms of the mandate will permit it. Section 38 of the Papua Act provides for the assent to Ordinances passed by the Legislative Council being given by the LieutenantGovernor, and section 39 provides that the Governor-General may disallow any
Ordinance within six months of the Lieutenant-Governor’s assent to it. The most important provision in the Act, however, is sub-section 10 of section 41, which prevents the Lieutenant-Governor from giving assent to any Ordinance relating to the introduction or immigration of aboriginal natives of Australia, Asia, Africa, or any island of the Pacific, and reserves such measures for the assent of the Governor-General. In other words, it protects our White Australia policy. No provision of this character is contained in the New Guinea Bill. There is nothing in it to prevent the White Australia policy being absolutely abrogated in these mandated Territories. Of course, nativeborn Pacific Islanders will be entitled to return to their own islands, and also the natives of German New Guinea will be protected, but there is nothing in the Bill to prevent any aboriginal natives of Asia or Africa f roar, entering the Territory, and we must be on guard to see that we have complete control over this Territory in this regard just as we have over the contiguous Territory of Papua. Otherwise the latter may be overrun by persons who are restricted from entering the Commonwealth or Papua. The provision, therefore, which we saw fit to insert in the Papua Act 1905 ought to apply equally to this measure before us to-day.
Clause 13 of the Bill before us provides -
Except as provided in this or any Act, the Acts of Parliament of the Commonwealth shall not be in force in the Territory unless expressed to extend thereto or unless applied to the Territory by ordinance made by the Governor-General under this Act.
In my opinion the principle adopted is altogether wrong. We ought to provide that the Commonwealth Acts shall apply to the Territories unless specifically exempted by this Parliament. In the case of the Northern Territory, the Act of 1910 sets out what Acts are to apply to that Territory. I now move -
That all the words after “ now “ be left out, with a view, to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - ‘‘withdrawn and immediately reintroduced after re-drafting so as to provide for complete government by the Australian Parliament of the Territories and Islands of the Pacific under the terms of the mandate, and to provide that the laws of the Commonwealth shall apply thereto unless specifically exempted by the Parliament.”
– What does the honorable member mean by “ complete government “ ?
– This Parliament should have complete control and the Territory should not be administered merely by regulation or by act of the Executive Council. lt is very important that this Parliament should know how these Territories are being governed. We specifically enacted that the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. the Secret Commissions Act, the Land Acquisition Act, and the Australian Industries Preservation Act should apply to the Northern Territory and Papua. All of our laws should apply to the mandated territories, unless they are specifically exempted. Of course, there are certain Acts which cannot be applied to them, but the decision on this matter should be made by Parliament.
– The honorable member should state which of our laws should apply in New Guinea.
– The Immigration Restriction Act should apply to New Guinea just as .it applies to Papua. The line of demarcation between Papua and New Guinea is nothing more than the border dividing any two Australian States. Yet on one side of that imaginary line the White Australia policy is to apply, but on the other side, in the territory covered bv the mandate, it may not apply. Of course, until we see the terms of the mandates, setting forth the conditions upon which we are to govern these Territories, we shall be legislating, to a certain extent, in the dark. ‘However, the White Australia policy is one of the principles that should apply to -German New Guinea. Not even the most rabid. “ White Australian “ has ever advocated that the aboriginal natives of the country should not be allowed to work ; but we do object to the native labour being exploited. I may be told that, there is a provision in the Bill which will prevent exploitation. The only portion which bears upon that point is sub-clause 2 of clause 15 -
No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
Who is to decide the exception 1 A Government may embark upon a great number of undertakings, such as the building of roads, docks and piers, and the establishment of water supplies, and electrical works, and declare them to be essential public works, for which forced labour shall be permitted. They may thus absorb all the labour in the country. Who is to say what shall be adequate remuneration unless this Parliament has oversight of the matter ? We cannot disregard our responsibilities in this regard. Six months or twelve months hence another Government may be in power who will administer this Act in accordance with a policy which will differ from that of the present Government. Parliament should have control over the acts of all Governments.
– Parliament will have control under clause 14.
– That clause merely provides that until Parliament makes other provision for , the government of the Territory the Governor-General may make Ordinances having the force of law, and that every such Ordinance shall be notified in the Gazette, and be laid before both Houses of the Parliament within fourteen days of the making thereof, or, if the Parliament is not then sitting, within fourteen days after the next meeting of the Parliament.
How many honorable members have read the Gazette during: the last twelve months? I do not think I have read a copy for six months. A few days ago I received a bundle of about thirty regulations, made under different Statutes ; honorable members have received about forty of these regulations within the last fortnight. In 1913 the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford) gave notice of a motion to disallow a certain regulation, but the House never had an opportunity of discussing it.. During the 1917- 19 Parliament several honorable members tabled motions for the disallowance of regulations, but the notices were ignored. They were included in private members’ business, placed at the bottom of the notice-paper, and lapsed at the end of the session. So this power to disallow all Ordinances made under this Bill will not give Parliament any effective control.
– What the honorable member means is that the minority in the House has no control. But the House itself has control.
– The inference to be drawn from the Treasurer’s remark is that minorities have no rights. I dissent from that view. It will be a wise precaution if this Parliament insists upon having complete control of all things done in connexion with these mandated territories. If there is any part of the Commonwealth where trouble and difficulties are likely to arise it is in the NorthEast.
– Does the honorable member think that Parliament has any control over the present Government?
– Not much, although the House nearly had control on Friday. No doubt the Government, like most Governments, think they are in office for ever; but the Opposition has always a chance of unseating them. Regardless, however, of what Government may be in power, I desire Parliament to have control, and to declare that the White Australia policy shall apply both north and south of the imaginary line which divides New Guinea and Papua. It should be the Parliament which should have the power to say that our legislation shall or shall not be made applicable to the Northern Territory, or to these new Territories. We should not provide in our legislation that none of the Commonwealth laws shall apply to any particular territory if the Government think otherwise.
There are other phases of the Bill which are important. The Prime Minister remarked yesterday that he did not accept the opinions of the members of the Royal Commission to the effect that the area of cultivable land was limited, and he ventured to say that two of the Commissioners had not gone very far, and, consequently, had not seen very much. The Commissioners, namely, Messrs Murray, Atlee Hunt, and Lucas, stated -
It is important to remember that the area of cultivable lands in these, as in other tropical volcanic countries, cannot be gauged from the total areas mentioned, as, owing to the fact that so much of the country is mountainous and so much swampy or inaccessible, or of poor quality, the extent of land available for settlement is comparatively limited. It has, moreover, always been a principle of both German and British Administrations that alienations should not be permitted where the land in question was required by the natives for purposes of food supply. As the natives depend almost entirely on the products of their gardens and fishing stations, this provision reduces substantially the area which can be taken up for plantation purposes.
When civil administration replaces military administration we should see that none of these areas are taken away from the natives, if deemed necessary for their maintenance. It has been our boast that our administration .shall be at least as humane as that of our predecessors. The members of the Commission state, further -
At present there is a fairly complete Government organization in force; it is staffed by men bearing the titles and wearing the uniforms of soldiers, but entirely engaged upon civil work. Many of these men have displayed energy and ability in the discharge of unaccustomed duties; but, speaking generally, the staff cannot he regarded as ideally fitted for the functions its members have to perform.
That is absolutely correct. We should do away with the military and replace it with a civil administration, and at the earliest possible moment. Here, I wish to make it clear that the purpose of my amendment is not in any way to bring about an indefinite postponement of this legislation. The report continues -
The Service will be divided into two parts’ - the Central Administration and the Field Staff. In the former, which should be centred at Rabaul, there will be the ordinary agencies of government, divided into departments, of which the principal will be -
Administration Department - To supervise generally; to communicate with the Minister; to control the Public Service, appointments, promotions, &c. ; to direct all operations of district officers; to deal with all native affairs, audit, &c.
Law Department - Judicial work generally; legal advice for Government.
Lands and Survey - Administration of land laws, surveys, road construction.
Treasury - Control of public funds; medium of all payments.
Customs and Taxation Department - Collection of revenue raised by direct or indirect taxation.
Commercial and Marine Department - Control of Government inter-island steamers (conditional on interterritorial steam service being maintained as Government enterprise), wharfs, shipping, Government stores, posts, and telephones.
Public Works - Erection, maintenance, and repair of public buildings.
The Commissioners add, further, dealing with the approximate cost of government -
Your Commissioners have given this aspect of their inquiry the most detailed consideration as they recognise that it is the desire of the Government that costs should be kept as low as possible. At the same time, they consider they are correct in asserting that when Australia demanded that the Mandated Territory should be placed under the control of the Commonwealth, she was not influenced by questions of monetary profit or loss.
A much more important factor influencing the financial position of the Territory will be the decision of the Government in regard to repatriating the present German residents and the subsequent policy which is decided upon; if, for instance, the Government determine to acquire the German-owned plantations and retain them as Government enterprises, a complete organization of managers, inspectors, accountants, tat., will be required in addition to the working staff.
They proceed to point out that the total present cost is estimated at £169,000 per annum. The Prime Minister stated yesterday that the revenue for the financial year 1918-19 was £143,636. Summing up the estimate of revenue, the Commissioners say -
Thus it will be seen that income and expenditure practically balance.
Mr. McLachlan, in his report dealing with Public Service administration, refers to the Territories. In the first part of his summary of findings and recommendations, he says -
The Public Service of the Commonwealth should be widened, so as to embrace the present Public Service (to be known as the Federal Service), the Territorial Services (Papua, Northern Territory, and Norfolk Island), arid a Provisional Service, covering the Services specially established for purposes arising out of the war, or to be provisionally maintained after the war; these three Services should form the future Commonwealth Public Service.
I do not know what is the idea of the Government in this respect. Other re- commendations of Mr. McLachlan’s have been adopted ; possibly, this also may be.
Referring to the .proposed trip to New Guinea, the Prime Minister expressed regret that a certain section of this House - comprising honorable members on this side - had not seen fit to accept the invitation of the Government. Unfortunately, I was ill at the time when this matter received the attention of honorable members, so that I had nothing to do with the decision arrived at, but I think it was a correct decision, and I do not think it wise that a large number of members of Parliament should absent themselves when Parliament is in session. I held that view despite my knowledge of the fact that we are required to legislate for all parts of Australia, and, therefore, should have some first-hand knowledge of the whole of the Commonwealth. I might add that, if my health permits, I hope to have an opportunity during next recess to visit the Northern Territory, and I trust other honorable members will also be able to visit that Territory. I have not yet been in that part of Australia, and perhaps I may be able to take the opportunity at the same time to visit portion of the new Territories lying to the north-east of our continent.
I would like the Government to furnish further information respecting the appointment of the Administrator. In this measure we should fix the Administrator’s salary, so that Parliament shall have complete control .over finances. Clause 7 sets forth -
The Administrator shall be appointed .by the Governor-General under the seal of the Commonwealth, and shall, until the Parliament otherwise provides, hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General.
– According to the honorable member’s amendment, there is not to be an Administrator.
– That is not so. My amendment requires that the laws of the Commonwealth shall prevail unless and until this Parliament provides otherwise; but there must be an Administrator. I am not concerned with the fact of an Administrator being necessary so much as with the method of his appointment. Will the Administrator be appointed under the Public Service Act or independently, and solely by the GovernorGeneral? Further, will his appointment be permanent? Apparently, according to the Bill, it will be.
– The clause which the honorable member has just quoted states, “ shall, until the Parliament otherwise provides, hold office.”
– I admit that the Parliament has power to amend the law ; but in regard to Papua we passed legislation in 1905, and no amendment has ever been proposed until the present session, although fifteen years have elapsed. That may have arisen from the fact that the Government and Parliament have been too busy with matters within the confines of Australia, and the same result may follow in the case of New Guinea. It would appear that any Administrator appointed under the Bill might remain in office until he voluntarily retired or, unfortunately, died. Clause 8 provides that the Administrator shall exercise and perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his commission, and according to such instructions as are given to him by the GovernorGeneral. We do not know what the tenor of his commission will be, and we seem to be legislating in the dark. Clause 10 provides that the Governor-General may authorize the Administrator to appoint any persons to be the Deputy or Deputies of the Administrator within any portion of the Territory. If there is one thing we are all agreed in denouncing it is political patronage, but this clause opens the door wide to this abuse. Every appointment necessary for the Territory may be made by the present Government if they remain in power, and doubtless there will be a rush for jobs. In my opinion, the suggestion made by Mr. McLachlan in his report upon the Public Service should be carried out, and every officer appointed placed under the Public Service Commissioner, regardless of political faith or party; and, further, men appointed to positions of this kind should always have the chance of promotion to positions in what may be called more habitable parts of the Commonwealth. It is well known that missionaries and others who go to tropical countries find it necessary to send their families either to England or to Australia for the purposes of education, and, therefore, we ought to take care that public servants who go to New Guinea are not, as rs were, detained there for the rest of their lives.
– But, after all, this is merely a tentative measure.
– It is better for us to express our opinions now, because these appointments will be made directly we take over the civil control of the Territory, and officers appointed may regard themselves as having a permanent right. Many of the present holders of military appointments were civilians before the war, and the fact that they are now there in a military capacity should not debar them from civil offices. However that may be, we should be very careful to let it be distinctly understood that the appointments are not permanent, but that Parliament may bring in amending legislation declaring the whole of the positions vacant. No one should be permitted to enter the Service now under any misapprehension. Clause 15, which deals with guarantees, provides -
No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
I undertake to say that in Australia there is not one State Government that could not find “ essential public works “ in the making and keeping of roads at the present time; and the clause would enable the authorities in New Guinea to force the natives to undertake such labour.
– The honorable member must not discuss the clause at the present stage.
– I have no intention to discuss the clause, but merely suggest that we keep our eyes on what may be its effect. I submit the amendment for the purpose of allowing this Parliament to directly control the administration of the Territory.
– What do you mean by “ directly control “ ?
– If we allow the Ministry of the day, through the GovernorGeneral or the Administrator whom they appoint, to have direct control, Parliament will have no chance to legislate for the government of the Territory. If it was important in the case of Papua to enforce the White Australia policy in 1905, it is more important that we should enforce it to-day in the case of New Guinea, and show nations, which are looking with envious eyes on this Possession, that the legislation which applies to the Commonwealth applies also in its Possessions.
.- I had expected a reply from the Ministerial side to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), who has laid down some valuable propositions regarding the administration of New Guinea. The idea of the honorable gentleman is that we ought in this matter to jealously guard the rights of Australia.
– The honorable member did not show so much concern when he was prepared to hand the Possession over to the Council of Nations.
– I fail to understand, or to see the relevancy of that interjection. We ought to have reliable and first-hand information regarding the Possession, so that it may be administered in the interests of the natives and of
Australia. As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the Bill if passed as introduced, will allow the Executive, or the officers they appoint, to employ the natives in a forcible way to carry on certain public works. I have scanned the pages of the Peace Treaty, a copy of which, I think, ought to be in the hands of every member, so that we all may know exactly what the Versailles Conference did determine. We had only a very brief, and not a fully explanatory speech by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and I contend that, as we are taking on a huge responsibility, we should be in possession of all the facts. Honorable members opposite may be prepared to accept the declaration of the Prime Minister, who said that this is merely a shell of a measure for the commencement of a certain form of administration in New Guinea, and that later on there will follow legislation of a far more definite character. Unless, however, we hear from the Treasurer or some other member of the Ministry, it will be apparent to the House that the only member of the Cabinet who understands the Bill, as introduced, is the Prime Minister himself. Unfortunately, the right honorable gentleman, owing to another engagement, is unable to be present to-day. Is there any Ministerial reply to the proposition laid down by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) ?
– There is an emphatic “No.”
– Is that the only reply we are to receive? Is this House prepared to sanction any class of administration that may be determined upon by the Government? If I rightly understand the terms of the Peace Treaty, this Parliament has power to take over every Possession of the German Emperor or of the German Empire in New Guinea, but there is some doubt as to our power to take over privately-owned property there.
– Is not might right? Is that not the Government policy?
– But private individuals may be entitled to compensation. Certain German nationalists acquired under the German Government certain properties and rights in New Guinea. Those rights and properties they still hold. What do the Government propose in regard to them? Are they prepared to accept the best offer forthcoming for those properties? If a capitalistic syndicate offers to take over a rubber plantation, is the temporary Government authorized by the Federal Parliament to accept or decline that offer as it pleases? If a syndicate desires to carry on copra or rubber cultivation in this Territory, is it to have power to compel the natives to work for it? Are we to revert to the antiquated ideas of slavery, and to say to the natives of New Guinea, “ Here is a certain amount of work to do, and you must do it.” If we allow forced labour we shall simply be reverting to slavery. It cannot be denied that under certain clauses in this Bill there will be power to insist upon forced labour. Surely we ought to pause before assenting to anything of the kind. The Bill should be clearly explained, so far as these matters are concerned, before we agree that it be read a second time.
The proposition advanced by the Leader of the Opposition is not calculated to delay the establishment of civil administration in the Territory. All that he asks is that the Bill shall be withdrawn and so redrafted as to make it absolutely clear that this Parliament will have the first and the last say in regard to any class of Ordinance that may apply to the Territory. That is not an unreasonable proposal. Are we to refer to a set of officers, of whom asyetwe know nothing, the power to make Ordinances relating to the employment of natives and other matters? The power is one with which we ought not to part. It should never pass out of our hands. We have had a sorry experience of regulations and Ordinances. True, the Bill provides that all Ordinances shall be published in the Gazette, so that Parliament may have an opportunity, if it desires, to disallow them; but an Ordinance might be in operation for six months before Parliament had an opportunity to express an opinion with regard to it. In such circumstances Australia might be brought into disrepute. The civil administration, by virtue of an Ordinance, might take action calculated to disgrace Australia in the eyes of the League of Nations. In that event the League of Nations would say that the Commonwealth had not proved itself worthy of having remitted to its care the islands of the Pacific.
– That is what the Labour party said.
– I would refer the honorable member to the terms of the Labour covenant inserted in the Peace Treaty.
– Is the honorable member referring to that circulated in the Flinders electorate?
-I am referring to the Labour covenant inserted in the Peace Treaty itself. Unfortunately, copies of the Peace Treaty have been supplied to only a few honorable members.
– I told the honorable member that any honorable member could obtain a copy of the Peace Treaty on application to the Prime Minister’s Department.
– I have applied, but have not yet received a copy.
– I am aware that only a limited number of copies has been issued. Our party comprises twentyseven members, but only seven or eight have received copies.
– I see no reason why copies of the Peace Treaty should not be circulated.
– At present only a few copies are in circulation amongst honorable members.
– That is not so.
– Then Ministerial supporters in this respect must be more fortunate than are members of the Opposition. The Peace Conference laid down a Labour charter for the world. Surely we are going to pay some regard to that charter, to which our representatives affixed their signatures. We must take care that this Bill, which provides for a civil administration for New Guinea, contains no provision likely to cause alarm to the League of Nations. There must not be evena suggestion that this Parliament will tolerate forced labour among the natives. So far as the Australian aborigines are concerned, the legislation of the States has always been in the direction of ameliorating their condition, of caring for them, and not forcing them in any way to work. In the case of New Guinea, if we are not careful, we may have a repetition of what occurred in the early convict days of some of the States. We may have slave-drivers at work in this new Territory. I ask the Treasurer to give the House an assurance that New Guinea will not be governed by means of regulations or Ordinances, and that there shall be a direct command from this House to the civil administration that no act calculated to bring this country into disrepute shall be permitted.
The position taken up by the Opposition is that the Parliament itself should be responsible for the proper government of the Territory. That is all that the Leader of the Opposition asks, and the only reply he receives from the Treasurer is a stentorian “No.”
– We ought to respond with a loud “ Yes.”
– That is right; the Opposition always say “Yes” when we say “ No.”
– The Government ought to agree to our proposition, which is a most humane one.
– Is it? The more I see of this proposal the more I am convinced that the Opposition do not understand what they are doing.
Mr.FENTON.- If the right honorable gentleman can throw any light on this subject, we shall be glad to have it. If he hasgood cards to play, why does he not play them ? To a reasonable request we receive either a direct snub or an emphatic “No.”
– Did the honorable member see the directions that the Labour party sent to England when the Prime Minister was there?
– I do not know to what the honorable member is referring. When the Treasurer was in Opposition be frequently objected to government by regulation, and yet we have him to-day fathering a proposal to administer a mandated country by regulations and Ordinances. We should be jealous of our powers, and very slow to hand them over to a few officials, who in this case will be thousands of miles away from the Seat of Government. Is there any harm in asking that this be done?
– But the Opposition do not ask - they challenge the whole Bill. They say, in effect, to us, “ Take back the Bill; we will have none of it.” They throw back the Bill in our faces. That having been done, the honorable member says, “ Will you tell us this, that, and the other thing in regard to the Bill?” Would it not have been better to ask for information before proposing such an amendment?
– The honorable member knows that the Leader of the Opposition can make only one speech on the motion for the second reading of the Bill. If any honorable member is entitled to put forward a request or demand, surely it is the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor).
– He did not make a request. It is only the honorable member who is making a request. The Leader of the Opposition said, “ Withdraw the Bill and re-draft it.” We do not intend to do so.
– I am particularly anxious that no discredit should come to the Commonwealth through the passing of this measure.
– The Opposition wants every Bill brought forward withdrawn and re-drafted. When such a request is put forward, every time a measure is introduced, there is only one course for the Government to adopt, and that is to say “ No.”
– The experience of this Parliament is that, owing to the manner in which measures have been drafted, more time is taken up in amending legislation than in considering new Bills, showing that, in regard to draftsmanship, the Government is not performing its duties properly. Let us adopt a new policy; let us lay down firm principles as a basis for the administration of this Territory. It is more important that we should do so in this case that in regard to legislation applying to the mainland, because the eyes of the nations of the world are upon Australia, to see what we will do, and what kind of pace we shall set for other countries. Because, let usonce decline from our true principles in the administration of the Territory there is one other country which will take immediate advantage of any lapse on our part, and in connexion with islands which lie to the north of the Equator, do something hurtful to the Australian people. All I ask now is that in this legislation we should lay down right principles. If we do this we shall have nothing to be ashamed of in regard to the administration of these islands.
.- I shall vote against the amendment. The objections urged by the Leader of the Opposition, and others, against the Bill are entirely without foundation. The fear of honorable members who have spoken seems to me to be that, by this Bill, the Commonwealth Parliamentis giving up its control of matters in New Guinea and delegating its authority; but this measure, as applying to the government of that Territory, is purely a tentative one. For instance, in clause 14, dealing with the Ordinances which are to apply, we find these words, “ Until the Parliament makes other provision for the government of the Territory.” Obviously, the intention of the Bill is that it is to be regarded as purely tentative.
– And it is necessarily tentative owing to the fact that the mandate has not yet come to hand.
– The honorable mem ber is overlooking succeeding words in clause 14, which show that we are not delegating our authority.
– I was not quite accurate in using the words “delegating authority.” In fact, I intended to point that out. There are two safeguards in the Bill which are quite complete. The first safeguard is that Parliament retains full control over the laws that are to operate in the Territory. In establishing civil government there we first send up an Administrator and his staff. Their first duty will be to ascertain exactly what are the conditions obtaining there. Having done that, they will frame Ordinances and submit them to us for our approval.
– As a matter of fact, the Ordinances are made by the GovernorGeneral.
– Yes, having ascertained the conditions obtaining in the Territory, the Governor-General will make Ordinances and submit them to Parliament for approval.
Opposition Members. - No, not
– Yes, yes!
-clause 14 provides
Every such Ordinance shall belaid before both Houses of the Parliament within fourteen days of the making thereof, or if the Parliament is not then sitting, within fourteen days after the next meeting of the Parliament. If either House of the Parliament passes a resolution, of which notice has been given, at any time within fifteen sitting days’ after any such. Ordinance has been laid before the House disallowing the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall thereupon cease tohave effect.
It is a case of the application of the adage, “ Silence gives consent.” If we say nothing after an Ordinance has been submitted for our approval, it remains the law of the Territory. If we object to it, Parliament will disallow it. From my point of view, that is quite a sufficient safeguard ; but there is still another safeguard, which, I think, should meet the fear which the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) has expressed, namely, that we may appoint an Administrator who will treat the natives in such a way as to bring ourselves into discredit with other nations, and possibly with the League of Nations. Clause 16 provides -
The Governor-General shall make an annual report to the Council of the League of Nations containing full information as to the measures taken to carry out the requirements of the last preceding section, and as to the well-being and progress of the native inhabitants of the Territory.
The Administrator willbe obliged to satisfy the League of Nations every year that he is carrying out not only the letter, but the spirit, of the instructions defined by the mandate, which we have not yet seen. With these safeguards Parliament retains perfect control over the administration of the Territory.
– Is there any difference between the method in which the Government can make Ordinances for the government of this Territory and the method of making regulations under the War Precautions Act?
– I do not care whether there is any difference or not. I am simply giving reasons why the House should vote for the second reading of this Bill.
– The answer to the question of the honorable member for West Sydney is that the Government make both.
– As a member of this House I shall have my say when an Ordinance has been framed by the Governor-General.
Mr.Fenton. - Then the honorable member will be very lucky if he has any say in regard to the matter.
– I am inclined to agree with the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) that there is a danger in the provision applying to the employment of forced labour. ‘Sub-clause 1 of clause 15 says -
The slave trade is prohibited in the Territory.
But then sub-clause 2 provides -
No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
– Those guarantees are taken from the League of Nations Covenant and incorporated verbatim in our measure.
– I did not know that that was so; but the two sub-clauses seem inconsistent. On the one hand we prohibit slave trade, while on the other wo retain the right to force men to labour under certain conditions. If we force a man to perform certain work, it restricts his liberty for the time being, and, to the extent he is forced to labour, he is a slave.
– The sub-clause does not permit it. It is nothing more than a guarantee in the terms of the League of Nations Covenant.
– I shall certainly look into the point further. It was the only, matter to which I could take excep tion on reading the Bill. I am astonished that the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition members have said nothing in regard to sub-clause 5 of clause 15, which says -
The military training of the natives of the Territory otherwise than for purposesof internal police and the local defence of the Territory is prohibited.
Under such a provision it would be possible to conscript every native in the Territory for military duty, on the ground that it may be necessary to do so for the purpose of local defence. However, in Committee we shall have the opportunity of dealing with other phases of this question ; but it seems to me that the fears expressed by honorable members supporting the amendment are groundless.
.- I would not have risen to speak on the Bill but for observations by some honorable members of the Opposition in support of the amendment. It would be calamitous if it should go forth to the rest of the civilized world that the National Parliament of Australia had any doubt as to the treatment which the natives of New Guinea or any part of the Pacific would receive. One thing which has guided the British- Administration in the Pacific has been extreme sensitiveness - hyper-sensitiveness other nationsregard it - in respect to the welfare of the natives. And it is true in relation to every group of islands that, for years and years before annexationby other nations, repeated applications were made to the British Government for annexation by Great Britain. Our treatment of the natives in Papua as custodians for the British race has been even more generous than is the treatment of natives under British control elsewhere. Therefore, I say it is a reflection on this Parliament, and on Australia as a whole, that any doubt should be published broadcast in regard to the conditions that are likely to be imposed by this Legislature upon the people intrusted to our care.
– We brought kanakas into Australia against their will.
– It was not the Australian Parliament, but the Queensland Parliament, that did so, and caused such a revolt of feeling . throughout the
Teat of Australia, that I venture to say it was one of the main things that contributed towards the bringing about of Federation. Public sentiment throughout Australia was that there ought to be a definite Australian attitude towards the forced kanaka labour question. I have met many traders from Papua ‘and. the South Sea Islands, and the only complaint I have heard has been that the Australian and British Governments are treating the natives too well, and will not allow traders and others to exploit them without let or hindrance. In -regard to the question of forced labour, the people of the Commonwealth have to pay taxes in order to meet the cost of constructing roads and providing transport to carry out the ordinary functions of government In Papua, there is no money amongst the population, and it is necessary that the operations of government, which are to improve the country for the betterment of the natives themselves, should be contributed to by them. There is no way in which that can be done except by a contribution of labour, which cannot be designated as slavery, because in every case some payment is made. The payment may not be much according to our money values, but it may bo considerable in the eyes of the natives, and it is a remarkable fact that many natives who have been indentured in Papua have returned and asked for a further period of indenture. I think these facte dispose of the contention that forced labour can be and should be dispensed with.
I can see no objection to the form of government and procedure provided for in the Bill. It is impossible to impose selfgovernment upon people who cannot read or write, who are practically savages, and many of whom are cannibals.
– The Leader of the Opposition docs not propose that.
– There is no alternative but government from outside the Territory, and the appointment of an Administrator whose Ordinances shall be subject to disallowance by this Parliament, is a system which offers a complete safeguard to the natives.
– Let the honorable member wait until he has had a little more experience of Ordinances’ and regulations.
– I have had a good deal to do with natives, and I have personal acquaintance with a great many white residents of the South Sea Islands, and the universal testimony iB that the islands under British control to-day are governed in a manner that reflects credit upon- the Empire.
– That is what the world thinks of it, anyhow.
– It is a universal acknowledgment, the only exception being, perhaps, a small section of our ‘ own people on tho mainland. Sooner or later this Parliament will have to consider the general - administration of our Territories. We are merely drifting while we continue the present policy of devising one method for governing this Territory and a different method for some other Territory, and I hope that the Government will, in the near future, perhaps in connexion with tho forthcoming Constitutional Convention, bring forward proposals that will enable not only extraAustralian, but also intra-Australian, Territories to be dealt with in a way that will appeal to the good sense of the whole of our people.
.– This Bill brings to us one of the first bitter fruits of those four years of futile human slaughter which men call war, and which we were promised would make the world safe for Democracy. I should not like that this House, or my constituents, or others, should be under any misapprehension as to my view of that vaunting spirit of Imperialism which now encumbers us with these dangerous and expensive Territories. I took occasion to say, before the end of the war, and I repeat now_, ‘ that in my view nothing short of foolish ambition, inflamed by a certain amount of malice, induced the. representatives of this country to concur in that breach of faith by which the war was ended in encroachments on the territories of other nations, and seizures df land which, did not belong’ to us, and which we had engaged not to take. So much by way of introduction. There are some, of course, who will repeat to-day, as there were those who asserted during’ and before the war, that the control of further territories, in the Pacific was necessary to the defence of Australia. I take the view that every movement of ours in the nature of territorial aggressionwhich extendsour responsibilities,whether unclear a mandate or by some warlike seizure, extends also our dangers. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) was speaking yesterday, he referred to those who in years gone by had ventured the view that even the great State of Queensland was. incapable of development or not worth developing. My only comment upon that statement is that the great State of Queensland is still undeveloped.
– Hear, hear ! because it needs subdivision.
– It may be as the honorable member says, that the State requiresfurther division, but in my view it is more particularly because it requires population. Without population it cannot be developed, and without population the Commonwealth cannot be adequately defended. I might continue that argument by pointing out that the whole of the Commonwealth is undeveloped. Even the most highly developed State, that in which I have the pleasure of living, is not nearly as fully developed as it might be ; it is capable of carrying a very much larger population than it does. That applies in a much larger measure to each of the other States of the Commonwealth. Then, in comparatively recent years, to the accompaniment of glowing promises of the wealth it would bring to us. the extra security that would attach to it, and the general advantages, animal, mineral, andvegetable that would flow to us from the acquisition of the Northern Territory, we took over from South Australia that great stretch of country. I do not say for a moment that we should not have assumed control of the Northern Territory. I agree that we should. It has cost us a great deal of heartburning, as well as a large amount in hard cash, and our efforts at development have been, if not altogether futile, at any rate not as successful as we could have wished. At least, however; the Northern Territory is an essential geographical part of Australia, and whether we muddle in it or succeed in it, we are bound to undertake the responsibility of its government. There was some faint excuse, perhaps, even for the extension of our governmental interference in regard to Papua, but what I have already described as the vaunting ambition of those who are anxious to add to our already huge unused mainland other great undeveloped territories, can be in my view onlyharmful and dangerous. So far from these territories forming a buffer which will add to the strength of our defences, the truth is that they are, and must be a source of weakness. The population of German New Guinea is mainly black, and we are not even permitted, I. am happy to say, to rear fortifications or defence works upon the island. It is perfectly clear therefore, that by pressing our dominions further out and into closer proximity to those who, being quite friendly to-day, and I hope always, may yet be our enemies in future, we are really inviting trouble and disaster, including, of course, the possibility of invasion.
Coming to the specific details, of the Bill itself, it appears that this Territory, tentatively, at all events, is not to be governed by the Commonwealth through its Parliament. It is to be governed by that most objectionable process known as government by regulation under which rules of law, dignified by the sonorous title of “ ordinances,” are to be secretly passed, paraded like a moving picture before this House, and put into execution without honorable members being given any opportunity of criticising or withdrawing them. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), when he expressed his satisfaction in the knowledge that these ordinances would come before Parliament, succeeded in showing that although he may have great experience in the fields of legal activity, he is innocently inexperienced in the forms of this House, when he supposes that that provision affords him the slightest guarantee of being able to even pass criticism upon the ordinances . We know perfectly well that he will get no such opportunity. He may see the ordinances moving by, hut that he will ever be able to focus his eloquent opposition to any part of them by discussion in this House he need’ not suppose for a moment. The honorable member, however, performed one useful service in the course of his speech by calling attention to the clause which makes it possible - indeed that possibility is almost certain to be realized - to conscript not only the whitepopulation but also the native population, for military operations within the Territory. I am opposed to conscription in any form. I am opposed to that last remnant of conscription which we have in the Commonwealth, by which we conscript the infants for the defence of the country under the pleasant title of “ compulsory training.” I am certainly opposed to the conscription of coloured races for the defence of any territory under the control of Australia, and therefore, whilst I am against this Bill generally and all that it ‘ stands for, yet, as it must become law, I have some hope that it will not be disfigured by this objectionable provision. I hope that when the Government introduce a Bill in which they promise thai forced labour shall not be carried on - under which slavery shall cease to exist - they will give more tangible evidence of their sincerity than is contained in this measure, seeing that it provides that forced labour may be permitted for the carrying on of essential public services at an “ adequate remuneration.” I emphasize that clause 15 actually invites the application of the policy of enforced labour to ‘these Territories, and imposes slavery in the very clause that prohibits it.
To sum up: It is unfortunate that honorable members should be called upon even to consider and discuss such a Bill as this. I - am against the ambitious spirit of useless Imperialism which seeks to add to our responsibilities. I am against a policy which makes the acquisition of Territories a breach of that faith which was crystallized in the immortal fourteen points of President “Wilson. ‘ And I am especially against certain clauses of this Bill which seek to make slavery possible and probable, and which would make the conscription of the natives of these Territories likely in the interests of defence, if war or local disturbances of the kind in contemplation should ever take place.
.- Unless the clause to which the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has just taken emphatic exception is deleted, I shall have no hesitation in opposing tho Bill, or in saying that the measure is one for the institution of slavery by camouflage. We have had some experience of slavery in this country: I allude to the kanaka blot, which once defiled the fair face of Queensland. There has been another historic instance, namely, in Western Australia. When the Imperial Government removed permission to the Western
Australian authorities to lash the aborigines of that colony, the first Administration of Western Australia reenacted the Ordinance. I recall that the then Attorney-General of Western Australia, Septimus Burt, gave expression to the incomprehensible opinion that “ these poor aborigines actually liked the lash. And I remarked, during the lifetime of that gentleman, that I would have liked to try the lash on him, and to ask him if he liked it. However, as all honorable members know, while that blot was reinstated, the Queensland blot was removed. I believe that I was the only member of Parliament who saw the kanakas being taken back to their homes in the New Hebrides. Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company did every whit of their duty by those natives and by the Commonwealth Government, and they certainly left no scope for criticism in anything that I saw. An example may be cited concerning the company’s thoroughness in repatriating the kanakas. As our vessel was travelling from island to island, disembarking little groups of natives here and there, the weather was such as to preclude the landing of one kanaka at his own home beach. Although the captain of the ship could have landed him at a spot 1 mile from his village, the native objected. He said, “ No, if you land me there, I will be made ‘ Ka Ka.’ “ So, three times that ship, in the course of its journeying? from island to island, returned to put that individual native ashore on the exact spot where he desired to land; and only on the third attempt did the representative of Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company succeed. When we wiped out the infamy which disgraced Queensland and Australia, I thought that that would be the end of slavery; but I look now with great trepidation to the operation of this objectionable clause.- The coloured races everywhere have been utilized with a desire to secure cheap labour. Years ago I visited Queensland in company with Mr. Findley - afterwards Senator. Findley - and we had a long conversation with a gentleman who was connected with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. After talking to us for more than an hour he remarked that he considered that he had proved to me that the employment of kanakas was not cheaper than the utilization of white men; and that the kanakas cost as much, while white men could not do the work. He was rather startled when I remarked, “ I will go on every platform in Queensland and advocate the retention of the kanakas, rather than their removal, if you will undertake to do one thing by your native labour.” He said, “What is that?” I replied, “Give them an eight hours day, and pay them a white man’s wages.” That ended the discussion. In conversation with a man in the Bundaberg district, I asked him whether he would give up sugar growing if he were precluded from employing kanaka labour. He said, “ No blanky fear”; and he continued, “But I have no false opinions about the value of the kanaka. You see that youngster over there “ - pointing to a fine stripling of an Australian youth, who appeared to be about nineteen years of age, but was only fifteen - “ I will back that boy for any wager against any kanaka in Queensland, to cut cane, to strip it, to load it, and to carry it. But you cannot blame me for preferring to employ kanaka labour when I can get a full grown man for 5s. a week and less, who will do a good deal of work for me, although not as much as a white man would do.” We know that the greatest output of sugar from Queensland has been during those years since the repatriation of kanakas, when white men have performed the labour on the sugar cane plantations.
If this objectionable clause remains, I shall insist that it is nothing but an effort to reinstitute slavedom by camouflage. What is forced labour other than slavery? Honorable members know that nearly the whole of Europe, 120 years ago, was in a state of serfdom. The German peasant could not move away from his home without permission. Nearly the whole of Denmark was owned by about 100 landlords. We know of the condition of the Russian serfs. There is little good that I can say of the rule of the Czars. Yet it is to their credit that they freed more than 11,000,000 slaves from the grip of the nobles, and paid them £300,000,000. In those days the serfs were able to save a little; but, with respect to those who had nothing, it was provided that they could claim 10 acres from any noble in Russia without payment of one penny. Even although I can only speak of the rule of the Czars with anger, and, indeed) with horror, yet their emancipation of the Russian serfs compares wonderfully well with the freeing, of the 4,000,000 slaves in the United States of America. The removal of the shackles in .Russia stands out as something higher and greater than was the awful civil war in America, which entailed the killing and wounding of close upon 1,000,000 men. Not one Russian life was involved in the freeing of the serfs. I can imagine how Wilberforce would have spoken in the House of Commons had an Imperial Government dared to introduce into .any piece of legislation such a clause as that which blots the Bill now before the House.
In the course of the debate allusior has been made to the Northern Territory. That portion of Australia has never had a chance. A designing man was sent there in consideration ‘of a large income, together with a very large amount for allowance. But what did’ that parasite do ? He came down and remained in this part of Australia for more than eight months, drawing the while two guineas a day extra expenses, because, forsooth, he had condescended to leave his post in the Territory! How could any man hope to make the Territory pay while he -stayed here, drawing his fat income and additional expenses daily? This individual was a doctor of veterinary science, holding the highest possible diploma in that branch of scientific -attainment. But in mental ability he was a child in comparison with that other doctor - a doctor of science - whose name has also been linked with the recent history of the Territory. I refer to Dr. Jensen. It was not until I made a considerable disturbance that the doctor of veterinary science was sent back to his job. I remember once telling my beloved friend - although my political opponent - Mr. Glynn, that the Northern Territory was rotten through and through. And now we have had this business in which Judge Bevan has been involved - Judge Bevan, whom I would not permit to try a Newfoundland dog of mine. He is down here, drawing good money, when he ought to be sacked. The whole gang ought to be sacked, and would be if they were working men. It was decided to send a magistrate to the North- era Territory to camouflage the deeds of these men, and to whitewash them; but when a man of the calibre of Mr. Justice Ewing was appointed I knew full well that there would be no camouflage work. I said to Mr. Justice Ewing, in fact, “ They expect you to camouflage the Territory.” However, I knew this man as I had known his brother when he was a member of the Federal Parliament, and I knew that he could be trusted. Still, some of the members of this gang are drawing their money down here, and I ask that the same justice be meted out to them as to any ordinary individual.
The defence of this country depends upon our preparations beneath the surface of the sea, and in the air. The day of the super-Dreadnought has passed. Two of our greatest admirals of the recent past, namely, Admiral Sir Percy Scott and Admiral Lord Fisher, .have made known that fact in no uncertain fashion. Any honorable member who cares to read Lord Fisher’s memoirs must come to the same overwhelming conclusion. In my view, the great battleship has appeared, for many a day past, to be about as helpless as the armoured men of the middle ages, when, if one of these doughty individuals tumbled off his horse, two or three other men were required to lift him back into the saddle again. We know that in the days of old, on the plains of France, the men in armour sat on their horses all night long, and. when the grey dawn arrived, they could not lift their feet out of the mud. Then the English archers, with no armour, and no arms except the bow and arrow, but quick to move, attack, or retreat if need he, shot them down in their uselessness. As the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) truly said, population is our greatest defence: but, as a matter of fact, the Australian baby is regarded as almost a prohibited immigrant. Landlords and landladies, who go to church on Sunday and mouth their false-hearted prayers, always ask a prospective tenant if there are any children, and, if there are, they refuse to let their houses. The land agents, too, have to carry out the behests of these parasites. I have always been against landlordism, and I am stronger against it to-day than I was thirty years ago when I first entered politics. In this connexion I have always tried to set an example. At one time I owned about thirty houses, but I have made all- the tenants owners, and now I have but one house. Every honorable member will agree that the Australian babe is the best immigrant we oan have; but in every city of Australia to-day we find the same abominations, the -same un-Christ-like attitude, on the part of landlords. There is one case to which I could refer, and in regard to which I have to thank you, sir, on behalf of many people outside, for the action you took.
Could greater scope for a dictator be given than in a mandate government by regulation? During the war the Defence Department ground out laws like sausages. These were called regulations; but if, under a regulation, a man may be fined or imprisoned, that regulation is really a law. While we may look on this century as, perhaps, the century in which more seeds of human love are being planted than in any preceding century, I view with much trepidation that clause in the Bill which has to do with the forced labour of the natives; and I shall vote for an amendment, which I understand will be moved, and which I hope the Government will accept. I know that the majority of honorable members quite agree with what I am saying at the present moment, but actions speak louder than words, and have more weight than long, and sometimes unintelligent, prayers; and I ask all to vote for the elimination of the offensive words to which I refer.
– They are not dealt with in the amendment before us.
– I hope they will be dealt with in another amendment, but if provision is made for adequate remuneration, based on white men’s hours and white men’s wages, the ground of much of my criticism will be removed.
.- I rise to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor). The amendment is that the Bill shall be withdrawn for the purpose of having it redrafted, so as to provide for parliamentary government of these Pacific Islands under the terms of the mandate rather than government by the Executive of the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Yarra has made his point very clear. He wishes to have the government carried on by Parliament instead of by the Executive. As I understand the Bill, it is a kind of War Precautions measure ; it is certainly on the same principle, because it gives complete power to the Governor-General in Council. That means that the honorable gentlemen who occupy the front Treasury bench will have absolute power to legislate, by means of Ordinances, exactly as they think fit in the government of the Territories. We are told that Parliament has the right to approve or disapprove of any Ordinance that may be passed by the Governor-General in Council; but we know from experience that it is almost impossible, though a majority of the Parliament may be in favour of disallowing any particular Ordinance, to have it even discussed, if the Ministry are unwilling that it should be discussed. We have had an example of this in the last six weeks. Nearly three months ago, I think, I gave notice that I proposed, on a certain regulation being tabled under the War Precautions Act, to move that it be disallowed. The regulation was laid on the table, but my motion has been put at the bottom of the business-paper, with no chance of being discussed. Yet we are told that Parliament will have control over the regulations made under this Bill.
– Parliament certainly has control.
– That is not so ; we are not even given an opportunity to place before members reasons why any regulation of the sort should be disallowed.
– You mean that you cannot control Parliament.
– No, I do not mean that. If there is any foundation for the position taken up with regard to the government of these islands - if the control of Parliament still remains - why not make all laws in the same expeditious manner ? I have no doubt that the Treasurer would like to do that; at any rate, he has been governing Australia in that way for four years or more. It is one thing to have a proposal brought forward, initiated in Parliament, and discussed and approved by Parliament, and another thing to allow an Ordinance to be made by a Cabinet in secret conclave, with the proviso that Parliament may disallow the regulation or Ordinance under certain conditions, which, however, it is almost impossible to comply with.
– In ten years’ experience of Parliament, I have never known a regulation disallowed.
– We all know what happens. The Treasurer gave his case away when he admitted by interjection to me that the proposal in the Bill with regard to the issuing of Ordinances was of the same nature as the power to make regulations under the War Precautions Act. The Treasurer frankly admits that; he makes no secret of it. I have no apology to make for supporting the proposal of the Leader of the Opposition.
– The authority for issuing Ordinances is in this Bill, which Parliament is asked to approve of.
– And the Leader of the Opposition, quite rightly, does not desire Parliament to approve; he does not wish to hand over to the Government absolute power to make laws for the government of these Territories, but to retain that right to Parliament. That is the proper attitude, and we should not delegate our authority in this respect to the Executive of the Government of the day.
– We do it elsewhere.
– It has been done during the war under the War Precautions Act.
– No, sir ; before the war.
– And we know the great dissatisfaction that has arisen out of the exercise of the power. I shall do all I can to prevent the continuation of this form of government, which is a negation of parliamentary government.
– I should not expect that from the honorable member, because he will find, if he looks back, that it was the Labour Government which began this form of government.
– We have heard all that.
– I am not now talking about the War Precautions Act.
– Do you think it is a good principle of government?
– There are other forms of government in which this principle of Ordinances has been applied.
– I am not concerned with who initiated this principle. I am satisfied that if the right honorable gentleman will discuss the matter, I can show him that he is entirely wrong, and ismisrepresenting the position of Labour, as he often does. Whoever initiated such a system, it is one that Parliament should not approve of.
– It is in the measure that was quoted this afternoon; but that was quietly left out, of course.
– If the right honorable gentleman will take an opportunity to speak on this proposed amendment we shall see exactly what his contention is. It is one thing to hand over the whole power of legislating, as proposed by the Bill, to the Executive, and another thing to give power to the Executive to make regulations to carry out the purposes of a particular measure. In the latter case Parliament lays down the general principle, and the only power left to the Executive is to make regulations for carrying out that principle.
– In accordance with the Act.
– In accordance with the Act.
– Is it suggested that the regulations under this Bill will be inconsistent with the Bill?
– It is suggested that the Government have no restrictions placed on them with regard to the regulations they may make for the government of this Possession.
– I think the honorable member will find that there are several important restrictions.
– I have gone through the Bill very carefully, and I find it proposes to give to the Executive Government a power as wide as this Parliament has in many respects. That is not a usual thing at all, and we should see to it that this Parliament does not give to the Government a continuation of the type of power they have possessed during the last four or five years. We have had experience of their dealing with Nauru Island, for example; we know that they have made payments for this island without the authority of Parliament, and the Treasurer has never taken the trouble to explain why these payments were made. Then, the Executive have included Ocean Island in the agreement, and, furthermore, have paid for it, without the authority of Parliament.
– One million four hundred and seventy thousand pounds.
– Yes, and tens of thousands of pounds were paid by the owners of these places by way of bonuses to their directors. It must have been a very good thing. I, for one, am not prepared to place in the hands of this or any other Government the power to make deals of that kind without reference to Parliament. Are we to hand over in this way the control of what we are told are very rich Possessions that can be made the exploiting ground of a few, rather than the happy home of many? That is probably what will happen.
I do not want to enter upon a discussion of the whole policy with regard to the Pacific Islands, except to say that if the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) had had their way at the Peace Conference, we would not now have been discussing mandates.
– What is that?
– The right honorable gentleman stood for complete annexation.
– I did not.
– Did not the Prime Minister stand for complete annexation?
– What did the Labour party stand for?
– You stood for peace at any price.
– No. My honorable friends opposite do not wish to be reminded of the attitude taken up by the Government which they are supporting. Does the Treasurer deny that the Prime Minister at the Peace Conference stood for complete annexation?
– The honorable member had better ask him.
– He is not here. If we can go upon the press reports - and we have no reason to doubt them - the Prime Minister at the Peace Conference stood for the complete annexation of the islands north of the equator by Japan.
– And for complete annexation by Australia of the islands south of the equator.
– They agreed to that.
– And they pressed for it. If they had had their way Japan would have had complete possession and control of the Marshall and Caroline Islands, and could have- done what it pleased with them. The Labour party stood for the international control of these Possessions on the lines of the League of Nations.
– The basest piece of treachery to a White Australia ever put forward in this country!
– I can afford to ignore the interjection and the interjector, because it is well known that the Labour party stood always for the international control of these Possessions on the lines of the League of Nations.
– First of all it stood for no annexations and no indemnities.
– We stood for the international control of these Possessions. Thatis the position which obtains to-day, and Australia holds a ‘mandate in regard to them. I have heard a lot of talk as to “ no annexations and no indemnities,” but no resolution to that effect was ever passed by a Labour Conference. “ No indemnities” is quite a different thing from “no penal indemnities.”
The Prime Minister and the Treasurer need to be reminded that at the Peace Conference they did not stand for what was in the best interests of Australia. No one will deny that our White Australia policy would have been seriously menaced if Japan had been given complete ownership and control of the Caroline and Marshall Islands.
– I did not stand for that.
– The Prime Minister did. I hear to-day for the first time that the Treasurer did not stand for it.
– The honorable member was not a member of this House when I spoke here and said quite the contrary.
– I was much closer to the actual scene of operations, and I know that, in the reports which came from the Conference at the time, it was clearly stated - it was clearly reported in the press - that Australia was standing for complete annexation by Japan of the islands north of the equator, and by Australia of the islands south of the equator.
– It is not very difficult to ascertain the truth of what I am saying. We have to take the position as it is.
This . mandate has not yet been issued. We do not know what will be its terms; but we can at least stand for the maintenance of parliamentary control so far as the government of these Possessions is concerned. The Labour party, stands for that. The Treasurer says that we have not asked for that. It is not a question as to the manner in which the proposition of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) is submitted, but rather as to whether that proposition is right or wrong. In my opinion, it is right, and it is extraordinary that neither the Treasurer nor any other member of the Cabinet has seen fit to give the reasons why the Government will not accept the eminently reasonable proposal put forward by the honorable gentleman. We do not w;sh, and I am sure the people of Australia do not, that the Executive Government of Australia should be handed over the complete power that it is proposed to give them under this Bill. The wish of the people is that it should rest with their elected representatives.
For my own part, I think it will be a very long time before the revenue from these islands will meet the cost of administration. While Germany held them, she was falling behind to the extent of £60,000 per year.
– Sixty thousand pounds per year was, I think, the loss in respect of all the Pacific Islands held by Germany.
– Yes, including Samoa, which was the best revenue producer Germany had. We have no mandate over Samoa. New Zealand has that Possession, so that our position is all the worse, so far as the islands over which we have a mandate is concerned.
– But that was three or four years ago. I think the position has since improved.
– I have mentioned the fact only to show that, so far as the cost of administering these islands is concerned, Australia will probably be out of pocket, and therefore it is ail the more necessary that the Parliament itself should have direct control over their government. We should not allow them to be made the exploiting ground of a few people, as they can be if Ordinances are passed at the suggestion of certain individuals outside. It is ‘possible that, in such circumstances, they may become large revenue producers for private exploiters, and at the same time be great exploiters of the revenue of the Commonwealth. For the reasons which I have stated, as well as on the grounds which the Leader of the Opposition put before the House, I strongly support the amendment which has been so capably moved by him.
– The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has criticised this Bill from several standpoints. Like his leader (Mr. Tudor), he thinks that it has not one good feature. He asks that it should be taken back and redrafted to suit some whim or purposes of his own.
– Where does the honorable member get that information?, It is not in the amendment.
– It really is in the amendment. One might inquire in the first place what complete form of government would satisfy the honorable member? He asks that we should take back the Bill, and redraft it to provide for the complete government of these Territories by the Australian Parliament.
– In the terms of the mandate.
– What would be the honorable member’s idea as to the “complete government “ of these islands? Fortunately for us, he has told us.
– Parliamentary government.
– No; the honorable member’s idea is that this Parliament should not govern them at all. His view is that some international body should govern them. What does “ international control ‘ ‘ mean ?
– Isthis not international government of the islands under a mandatory power?
– Certainly not. When the honorable member insisted that these islands should be under international control did he mean this form of government by mandate? Will he answer that question ?
– Go on; misrepresent.
– I put that question to the honorable member. I ask him what he means by “ international control “ ?
– I have told the right honorable member.
– Does he mean control by mandate? Does he mean control by Australia? What does he mean by “international control”? I venture to say that any form of direct international control over these islands would do away in one act with any chance of a White Australia. Does not the honorable member know what took place at the Peace Conference? Does he not know what took place in the League of Nations ? Does he not know that the policy of a White Australia hasnot many friends up and down the world ? Does he not know that the other nations do not understand at all our point of view with regard to the question of a White Australia? And it is into the hands of these people, including those who are diametrically and deadly opposed to a White Australia, that he would give the government of these islands.
– No; that is the right honorable gentleman’s misrepresentation.
– It is not. There is no misrepresentation. International government of these islands, through the League of Nations, means that every signatory to the Peace Treaty and to the Covenant should have an equal voice in their government. It means that or nothing at all.
– How would that affect the Australian mainland, so far as the White Australia policy is concerned?
– If the government of these islands were put under international control the first thing that would happen is that we would have an open door for both men and goods. That is the first thing that would happen. And I say that this land is not safe when there are unrestricted opportunities to crowd the coloured races of the world into the back yard of Australia. That is all I have to say as to that matter. That is what I mean by a policy of a White Australia - that our policy shall not be menaced by the occupation of these surrounding islands by people who have no sympathy with our ideals and objectives.
I hold, therefore, that any proposals coming from my honorable friend (Mr. Ryan), and those who believe in international control, must be looked at askance. To begin with, we doubt their bona fides.
– You always did.
– Yes; any man who wants international control of these islands is no friend of a White Australia. There is no control by the League of Nations.
– None? Why have we to report ?
– No; the control is given to Australia in the terms of the mandate. The Peace Treaty provides in effect that, so long as we take good care of the natives, govern the islands first of all in the interests of the natives, see that they are not oppressed, and that the islands are not occupied by any armed force which will menace their integrity, or that of those immediately surrounding them, we may look after them just as we look after our other Territories. The Covenant on the face of it says, “ We do not want international control; we prefer to let you control the Territory since you know all about it, and we know nothing.”
– Does that also apply to Japan and the Caroline and Marshall Islands? Can we not enter those islands and inspect them in order to see what the Japanese are doing ?
– The honorable member cannot go in to-day and inspect those islands.
– Why not?
– Because he is not allowed to do so. As regards this talk about the Caroline and Marshall Islands, all I have to say is that it was a matter of great regret to me when I learned that anything had happened to them, because I had the great honour and privilege of running up the Flag at the beginning of the war.
– But did not your Government make the arrangement to allow Japan to have them?
– Our Government made no such arrangement. I defy the honorable member to find a tittle of proof for that assertion.
– Did not the right honorable gentleman know of the Treaty that was made in reference to them ?
– I took no part in it.
– Then who did?
– Let the honorable member ask some of his colleagues. They know a great deal more about it than I do. I was in Opposition at the time, and had no part or lot in the matter. I had nothing to do with the Government at that time.
– I think it was the present Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) who made the arrangement.
– At that time he was the colleague of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor).
– Yes, but it was not done with my knowledge or consent.
– Reverting to the amendment, the honorable member wishes to provide for completer government of the Territories by the Australian Parliament. First of all, he begins by saying that his party have always stood for no government of these islands by Australia.
– That is not correct.
– Yes. The honorable member advocated international control.
– I said nothing about international control.
– I am not referring to the Leader of the Opposition; I am referring to the Campaign Director (Mi-. Ryan), who said all over Australia that the Labour party wanted international control of these islands. He has repeated it to-day. He says that the party has always stood for it. Does the Leader of the Opposition now say that he is opposed to the attitude of the party in regard to this matter ? Does he stand alone as - the one stalwart against his party?
– The right honorable gentleman is misrepresenting the situation. I claim that control by the League of Nations is international control.
– I rather think the honorable member for West Sydney is back-pedalling a little. When he uses words he either knows what he means, or does not. I think he does, and, therefore, when he tells the House that he does not think Austria ought to have a mandate - and he said that in the country over and over again - that he did not believe we ought to have a mandate- .
– I did not say that.
– And that there should be a form of international control over the islands-
– I did not say that.
– I take it that, in these circumstances, he is not a good critic of what is contained in this Bill. The postulate here is that there is to be a mandate, and Australian control by an
Australian Government ; and on that plane we ought to begin, leaving outside all irrelevant questions as to international control.
From one extreme, honorable members opposite swing to the other. First of all some other nations, possibly unfriendly, are to guard our shores and see that our White Australia is not impugned ; and when that objection is overcome they say, “You must have a completer form of government than you are providing for here.”
– Yes, government by Parliament.
– If the honorable member would define what he means by government by Parliament, we should get to much closer grips.
– Australia certainly has not known it for the last few years.
– The honorable member means that Queensland has not.
– Misrepresenting again.
– I believe that the honorable member’s remark is absolutely correct as applying to the northern State; hence their troubles there.
We are told that we must withdraw the Bill to provide for complete government by the Australian Parliament under the terms of the mandate. In other words, before the mandate is delivered, we must have a complete form of government under it. Is not such a claim a little inconsistent ? Is it possible to have a complete form of government under a mandate before it has been delivered? The honorable member for West Sydney must see how absurdly the amendment has been drawn. It is absurd enough for the honorable member himself to have drafted it. However, I want to say that, just now, the position is rather delicate and difficult, and the honorable member and his leader would serve the best interests of Australia far better by not insisting on doing something which is impossible, and which would not be tolerated by the League of Nations ; and which, moreover, if its effect had been known before, would have had the tendency to prevent the mandate from coming here.
– We have been accustomed to that sort of humbug for years now.
– The honorable member is a good judge of humbug. The amendment asks us to provide that “ the laws of the Commonwealth shall apply to the Territory unless specifically exempted by the Parliament.” How are we to apply the laws of a White Australia to a black population?
– So you are going to allow the “ open door “ against which you have railed so much ?
– Am I? All right! I stand for a White Australia, and will take all sorts of good care that we do not prevent the possibility of maintaining it here by any such foolish statements as those to which the honorable member has given utterance.
As to the question of making laws, honorable members would imagine that we had done something quite unusual in providing for the administration of this Territory; but let me remind the Leader of the Opposition that, if we are going wrong now, it is only through following the example set by his party when they were in office. Somehow or other, the one object in life of the honorable member for West Sydney seems to be to denounce everything that his party has done. They may always have been wrong; but if the honorable member is right now, he has always been wrong in the past, because he was part of a great party which used almost identical language in legislation relating to other Territories we are now governing. For instance, the provision relating to Ordinances which applies in the Northern Territory is exactly the same as that in this Bill.
– Are not specific Acts of Parliament applied in the Northern Territorymeasure?
– If the honorable member will listen, he will learn something.Section 13 of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act passed by the Labour party says -
Until the Parliament makes other provision for the government of the Territory-
This is white Territory, and the laws applying there and the laws which run there do not apply to blacks - the Governor-General may make Ordinances having the force of law in the Territory.
Now the honorable member is blaming us because we propose to apply to black people the very language which his party applied to the government of white people. Could inconsistency go further?
– It is a gross misrepresentation of the situation. The Act which the honorable member is quoting applies specific Commonwealth measures to the Northern Territory.
– Again the honorable member is wrong. Section 13 proceeds -
Every such Ordinance shall -
If either House of the Parliament passes a resolution, of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after any such Ordinance has been laid before the House, disallowing the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall thereupon cease to have effect.
This is the provision which the honorable member’s party put on the statutebook for the government of white people, and it is followed exactly in the wording of the provisions relating to Ordinances in the Bill before us to-day. Now let me refer the honorable member to the Papua Act. I do not know who passed that measure.
– It was the Deakin Government, in 1905.
– Yes; when the Labour party supported them.
– No; the Deakin Government had a majority of their own at that time.
- Mr. Deakin never had a majority. He governed by the good graces of Mr. J. C. Watson and his noble band of followers, which included the honorable member for Yarra. Section 7 of the Papua Act says -
Except as provided in this or any Act, the Acts of the Parliament of the Commonwealth shall not be in force in the Territory unless expressed to extend thereto.
In every Territorial measure exactly the same provision is found; but now it seems to be all wrong.
– Then put it right.
– Does the honorable member think that so much noise ought to be made about our doing what we have done, when we are evidently endeavouring to follow the footsteps of honorable members opposite? We are told they are the only “ true blues,” the only true Democrats, who stand for safe government, yet the moment we attempt to imitate them in a single clause they fulminate in this way, and say, “ Everything is wrong. Take it back, and bring in something else.” I suggest that, as we have to wait for this mandate, the Bill before us meets the situation very fairly.
– The Treasurer might read paragraph 10 of section 41 of the Papua Act of 1905, in which Parliament deliberately applied the White Australia policy to that Territory.
– May I point to this difference - that under the Papua Act the Lieutenant-Governor himself makes the Ordinances. Under this Bill the Governor-General will make them through the Executive Government and through this Parliament. In Papua the’ Lieutenant-Governor makes the Ordinances without reference to this Parliament or any one else.
– There is the Legislative Council.
– Nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor. That is the sort of governing body that the Leader of the Opposition is recommending us to create.
– Cannot the honorable member speak the truth, even by accident?
– The Treasurer might try to be fair. He said that the LieutenantGovernor made the Ordinances without consulting anybody. When I pointed out that he had to consult a Legislative Council, the Treasurer misrepresented me. These are gutter tactics.
– Order ! I ask the honorable member to withdraw that expression.
– I withdraw and apologize to the gutter.
– I hope the honorable member will recognise what he owes to his position in the House, and withdraw the remark.
– I apologize.
– The honorable member need not get so angry. I was pointing out the fundamental distinction between the Act which his Government passed and the Bill now before the House. This measure represents a completer control by Parliament than did the Papua Act passed by a Labour Government. When the honorable member tells me that the Lieutenant-Governor could make Ordinances only with the consent of the Legislative Council, I say again that the Legislative Council was shaped, controlled, and elected by the LieutenantGovernor of the Territory himself.
This Bill aims at the creation of some simple machinery, tentative in the very nature of things. When we receive our mandate, and the reports as to the possibilities of the Territory, there must be completer legislation than is provided for in this Bill. The consideration for the moment is to set up machinery in the meantime, and to get the administration in operation as a going concern. Afterwards, when the mandate is delivered to us, and in the light of the full knowledge we shall have obtained as the result of the investigations which are being made, whatever is required for completer government and control by Parliament can be provided. The Prime Minister told the House yesterday that investigations are proceeding. Information is being obtained on which to base a completer form of government, but the Leader of the Opposition asks us to withdraw the Bill, and tells us that he will have nothing to do with it unless we at once bring down a measure for a complete form of government, even before the mandate is received. Nothing will tend more to cripple our mandate, or even jeopardize its receipt, than a proposal such as has been suggested by honorable members opposite. I beg of them not to press this amendment to a division, but to leave the situation to be cleared up after we have obtained our mandate.
– I will have a division if even only one member will support me.
– I am sure the honorable member will; he is very angry this afternoon. It is time to point out that there is a little inconsistency in these asseverations by honorable members opposite, who have only discovered a democratic language in relation to these Terri tories since the whole position has been made comparatively secure. While the question was in the balance, and we on this side were putting up the fight of our lives in order to get control of the backyards of Australia, and so be able to shield our White Australia policy, honorable members opposite were ridiculing our every effort; they were saying that Australia did not desire to fight for those lands, which were miserable clods of earth not worth fighting for; they were insisting that the islands were no good to us, and that we should not shed our blood for them, but should leave them to some form of international control, to government by some other people. Had we done that, they could have brought forward these proposals to their heart’s content ; they would have meant nothing.
– Why does not the Treasurer tell the truth?
– Order !
– Because the honorable member has a monopoly of it, I suppose.
– The Treasurer has Ananias’s share of the truth.
– The honorable member knows all about Ananias.
– He does when he recognises you.
– The Opposition are calling up their reserves.
– There is no doubt they are calling up their reserves of insult and gab. I suppose the honorable member for Angas cannot help it; it is in the nature of the beast.
– I suppose that remark will be allowed to pass.
– If the Treasurer applied that remark to any honorable member it is out of order, of course.
– I withdraw.
– I do not mind.
– The honorable member should be the last to mind.
– So long as I am not a traitor to my party I do not mind.
– The honor able member is not in order in continually interjecting.
– I have no wish to quarrel with the honorable member.I ask the House not to agree to this amendment. Nothing would strike a greater blow at Australian interests than to do such a thing as is suggested in the proposal by the Leader of the Opposition.
– The Treasurer would have the House believe that he and his party have always been strong advocates of the principle of a White Australia. Listening to him one would think that only he and his party have been the champions of that policy.
– That was true of the war period.
– As a matter of fact, everything that took place in regard to these islands showed that the policy of the other side was the very antithesis of a White Australia policy.
– The Prime Minister attempted at the Peace Conference to give away the keys to Australia’s back door.
– That is true; he attempted to give the keys to J apan.
– If the honorable member can get anybody to believe that statement he has great persuasive powers.
– If the honorable member will not accept my statement, I have here a very interesting publication by a member on his own side.
– That does not make any difference.
– At one time the honorable member was a member of . the Labour party. Now he is amongst our opponents. Apparently he is getting ready for another jump to another branch of the political tree.
– His next side will be outside.
– That may be. If the honorable member does not accept the statements which have been made on this side of the House,I shall quote something that was written by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler). I suppose honorable members have had the opportunity of reading that interesting little publication, Statesman or Mountebank? by J. M. Fowler.
– We have all read that. I hope you have something newer.
– I intend to put an extract into Hansard so that the public, too, may read it. As an indication of how anxious the Government were to preserve the White Australia policy, the honorable member for Perth tells us -
Mr. Hughes blundered very seriously in his handling of the Pacific Islands question. In characteristic fashion, and with an utter disregard of the delicacy and gravity of the situation, he put every consideration aside to pose as the champion of Australia against a menacing moveby a potential enemy. It was only a pose, but the temptation to strut before the world in pasteboard sword and armour could not be resisted by the gentleman who had, in an earlier stage of his career, trod the boards of the theatre as a super. This time he was the “ heavy lead,” and could get well into the limelight. Japan had made a hostile move against Australia, said Mr. Hughes, in effect, if not in as many words; but he would save the situation. He demanded that Australia should have absolute ownershipof all the late possessions of Germany up to the Equator. Had the claim been allowed, then the same concession would have had to be made to Japan in respect of those islands she had captured north of the Equator. Given the ownership, it is a certainty that the Japanese would have proceeded to fortify the islands, which would have necessitated similar precautions on the part of Australia. Can any one say how and where this would have ended? Apart from the provocation to warfare embodied in such hostile preparations, it meant, for the small community of Australia, an effort she could hardly afford, in providing warships and munitions for the setting up of an armed imperialism of our own in the Pacific.
In this matter the Peace Conference saved Australia - from Mr. Hughes.
When similar statements are made by honorable members on this side, Government supporters object to them as being partisan. I have quoted a statement of a friendly critic on the Government side.
– Very friendly!
– He is a critic who saves the Government whenever they are in a desperate position. On this question, at any rate, he expressed the Australian view-point. He spoke, at all events, as a friend of the White Australia policy.
– Does the honorable member say that the Prime Minister urged that Japan should have the Marshall Islands?
– I believe so.
– That quotation dors not say so.
– This extract says that the Prime Minister advocated that Japan should have all the islands north of the equator.
– The Prime Minister probably desired, rather, the whole of the islands, but found that he could not get those above the equator.
– The Prime Minister stood for the policy or complete annexation, and when the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) stated, in effect, just what is contained in this extract, he was accused by the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) of having made a partisan statement. Side by side with it, however, is this statement by a supporter, if not a friend - an effective supporter, if not a docile one - of the Prime Minister. As a matter of fact, what was done at the Peace Conference followed absolutely along the lines of the Australian Labour manifesto. The Treasurer knows that, but it was convenient for him to misrepresent the facts, as he usually does. I emphatically assert that what was done by the Peace Conference was based upon the principles asserted in the Australian Labour manifesto.
– Will the honorable member read the exact wording of those resolutions?
– The honorable member is as familiar with them as I am, and he knows that what I have said is correct. When the Treasurer lectured this House concerning the White Australia policy, one would naturally be led to believe that the policy of the Government was similar to the principles laid down at the Peace Conference; but such is not the fact. The policy agreed upon at the Peace Conference was the very opposite from that which the Prime Minister had advocated there. That is the crucial point, which, however, the Treasurer sought to cover up. He would have this country believe that the Government have been standing for the principle of a White Australia. But the Government are really opposed to that principle, so far, at any rate, as these Island Possessions are concerned. The advocacy of the Prime Minister at the Peace Conference was diametrically opposed to the policy of a White Australia. The key to the back door of Australia was sought to be handed over to Japan by the Prime Minister of Australia, whose word, fortunately, was not accepted by the Peace Conference. What the Prime Minister said at the Conference was based on the policy of his Government, which policy is opposed to the principle of a White Australia. The policy adopted by the Peace Conference was strictly along the lines of the principles of the Labour party in Australia.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question (Mr. Tudor’s amendment) - put. The House divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
This Act shall commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.
.- When is it proposed that the proclamation shall be issued?
– I am sorry that I cannot say, but it will be as soon as possible.
– Perhaps the. Minister will tell us what considerations will influence him in fixing the time; in short, is the Minister waiting for the mandate to be issued?
– No; but I should say that the proclamation will be issued at the earliest moment; directly the machinery can be got ready.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
The Territories and islands formerly constituting German New Guinea . . . are hereby declared to be a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth. . . .
.- I should like to know under what authority this clause is enacted. What power is there to declare this territory under the authority of the Commonwealth? I do not know whether, as in the case of New Zealand, the Government are proceeding under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdictions Act, or, as in the case of South Africa, under the authority of the League of Nations. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) was not clear on the point.
– The declaration cannot be under the authority of the League of Nations; all the authority we shall get from the League will be in the mandate. This clause is under the general authority of the Peace Treaty, which contains the terms of the mandate that we are to possess. The Peace Treaty denationalized the German form of government, or, shall I say, dispossessed the Germans of the sovereignty of the islands. The sovereignty, therefore, is at large, and somebody must assume it. We propose to do so under this Bill.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 (Office of Administrator).
.- What salary is it proposed to give the Administrator? We have fixed the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor of Papua, and also the salary of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. Have the Government arrived at any notion of what the salary is to be in the case of New Guinea ? In the Arbitration (Public Service) Bill we fixed the salary of the Arbitrator.
– Was the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor of Papua fixed in the Bill relating to the appointment?
– No; but the Government must be aware what salary is paid to the Lieutenant-Governorof Papua; what was paid to Professor Gilruth in the Northern Territory ; and what is now being paid to Mr. Staniforth Smith, Acting Administrator in the Territory. Of course, in the case of Papua and the Northern Territory, there was a fixed tenure of five or seven years. It will depend on the salary what class of man the Government will obtain for the position.
– I am sorry to say I cannot tell the honorable member anything about the salary. That has not been fixed, nor, so far as I am aware, has the appointment of any particular person been contemplated. Whoever is appointed will not have an easy task, but, on the contrary, a very big and difficult one. What kind of man we shall get, or what the salary will be, I do not now know, but I hope to make honorable members acquainted with the proposals of the Government in this respect later on. The whole position is tentative at present. As honorable members see, clause 8 sets out the nature of the Administrator’s functions, the tenor of them, as well, I should say, as the tenure.
– The tenure is dealt with in clause 7, and it is “ during the pleasure of the Governor-General.”
– That is not the meaning at all. Clause 7 is worded in that way because it is not possible to fix a tenure at the moment. The whole Bill is tentative, and permanent arrangements will have to be made hereafter. In the meantime, everything is at the disposal of the Government- tenure, salary, functions and conditions.
– What reason is there for appointing a separate Administrator rather than extending the power and authority of the present Lieutenant-Governor of Papua? If this Bill is tentative, will that aspect of the case be considered when permanent arrangements are made? I cannot see any reason why one portion of New Guinea as well as another cannot be administered by the present LieutenantGovernor.
– You think that the Territory could be administered as well from Port Moresby as from Rabaul?
– I do not say whether the Territory should be administered from Port Moresby, Rabaul, or any other place, but I do not see the necessity for setting up two expensive offices for the control of these Possessions. When the mandate arrives the whole position, of course,may be reviewed, and we may be given some clear understanding of what the Administrator will have to do, and what are the difficulties in the way of bringing the whole under one official.
.- I hope that the Government will appoint as Administrator a man who is a sympathetic Australian.
– Not necessarily a general ?
– Not necessarily any person. What is required is a man of considerable Australian experience and wide views. My reason for this suggestion is that Northern Queensland, principally Cooktown, has been mainly responsible for the opening of the mining fields of New Guinea, and those concerned in the work have been considerably embarrassed, not to say hampered, by some who were able to interfere with their progress. I am told by men who have been to German New Guinea that in that Possession there are supposed to be areas which contain gold in payable quantities. The German Government were not sympathetic to prospecting, and were opposed to the Australian prospector, and they imposed such conditions as made it impossible for any Australian to do prospecting. I believe that the licence cost £10, and a royalty was demanded of, I should say, 10 per cent. on the gold recovered. This made prospecting so costly, in view ofthe further fact that carriers had to be employed to carry food, tools, and so forth, that practically no prospecting was done. The Administrator under the Australian Govern ment ought to be one who will give Australian prospectors every possible support and help in developing what are supposed to be valuable gold-bearing areas. I understand that the waters that flow from the Stanley Ranges towards the north-east coast traverse regions in which quartz reefs are known to exist; and I hope the Government will bear my suggestion in mind.
– I support the suggestion made by the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond). This is a tentative measure, and I presume that is the reason the Administrator is to hold office only “ during the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral.” At any rate, it is clear that any appointment made now may be terminated at the will of the Government, and some’ new man appointed. During the initial stages of the administration of the Territory I see no reason why the present Lieutenant-Governor of Papua should not preside over the destinies of both areas. It does not seem to be quite realized by some that the Dutch hold about half of the New Guinea lands, and we do not know whether they will enter sympathetically into an administration of an up-to-date, white- Australian character.However that may be, I think that in the meantime the present LieutenantGovernor of Papua might suffice. If a permanent appointment is not now to be made, I think it would be wise to allow the Lieutenant- Gover nor of Papua to act in the meantime.
– I should not like to say that the man to be immediately appointed to this position will necessarily have to vacate it later on. I should think that if he does well in this sphere he will go up to the higher one. If he does good work, I think that his services will be retained.
– The government of the Territory will be under the provisions of the mandate.
– Quite so, but the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) has been referring to the person to be appointed as Administrator of the Territory. There are several reasons why the government of Papua and that of the new Territory should be kept distinct. We shall be governing these particular islands in relation to the mandate of the League of Nations.
– The League of Nations is an international body?
– Yes. We must, therefore, keep the government of them quite distinct from the administration of our own Territory. The honorable member for Maribyrnong must recognise that we shall not have over these Islands quite the same control that we have over our own. Everything that we do in relation to them will be as trustee of the League of Nations, to which we shall have to account.
– Would not the LieutenantGovernor of Papua be the best man to takeup the temporary administration of these Territories?
– I think it would not be wise to mix up the two. The honorable member must keep in mind the fact that this is only a tentative proposal, and that we are simply providing now the machinery necessary for the immediate civil administration of the Territories.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7 (Appointment of Administrator).
.-This clause provides for the appointment of an Administrator who shall holdoffice “ until the Parliament otherwiseprovides.” Those words suggest that other legislation dealing with these Islands will be introduced. I should like to know whether the Government intend to accept the advice tendered by Mr. McLachlan in his report on the administration of the Public Service, that all persons employed in connexion with Papua and other Territories, including Norfolk Island, should be brought within the provisions of the Public Service Act.
– I am afraid that my honorable friend must wait until the amending Public Service. Bill is introduced. We could not make an announcement at this stage.
– The question is of great importance to Commonwealth officers in outlying parts. I strongly hold that all these positions should be absolutely divorced from political patronage. The Administrator would not necessarily come under the Public Service Act. The position might come within the Professional Division of the Service, to which appointments from outside may be made.
– This will be an administrative appointment.
– Quite so. I presume that the position will be similar to that occupied by Mr. Staniforth Smith as Administrator of the Northern Territory, and Judge Murray as Administrator of Papua. The use of the words “ until Parliament otherwise provides “ suggests that this legislation is of only a tentative character, and that when we have received a mandate from the League of Nations permanent legislation dealing with the administration of these islands will be introduced.
– The whole scheme is of a provisional character. There cannot be anything else until we settle down in some sort of permanent relationship to the islands under the mandate. This Bill provides for the setting up of a provisional government in the meantime, so as to do away with the present military administration. All these principles in the Bill will follow its general purpose, which is of a tentative character.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.
Clause 10 (Deputies of Administrator).
.- I desire to know whether Australian appointments will be made under this clause.
– I hope so.
– There is nothing in the Bill to that effect. I recognise that a man should not be debarred from holding one of these offices merely because he is a military officer, but I sincerely hope that we shall have a purely civil administration of these islands, and that Australians will be appointed to these positions. I also wish to know whether natives will be eligible for appointment to positions other than in the police force.
– The Bill does not prevent their appointment to such posts.
– That is so, and I hope we shall endeavour to train them to govern themselves.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to.
Clause 13 (Application of Commonwealth laws).
.- I presume that the view of the House, so far as the clause relating to the appointment of officers is concerned, has practically been expressed by the vote on the amendment moved by the Leader of the
Opposition (Mr. Tudor) that the Bill be withdrawn and redrafted; but I must not be taken to concur in this proposal as a final settlement of the administration of these Territories. The proposal, apparently, isthat the appointment of all officers for their administration shall be a matter of Government patronage. The Bill does not make any provision to enable the country to test the merits of any particular officer, and there is no proposal for applying to these mandated Territories those safeguards which are enjoyed in the Commonwealth under the Public Service Act. I realize that the whole scheme is, as stated, of a moreor less tentative character, but I do not wish to be taken as acquiescing in the proposal that Government patronage, which provides no test for the efficiency of the officers to be appointed for the staffing and administration of these Territories, shall be permitted.
.- I support the observations made by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), and desire also to make a further inquiry. The Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), perhaps, will be able to give us some idea as to what Commonwealth laws it is proposed to apply to these Territories. Is it intended, for instance, to extend to them the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act? If the White Australia policy is to be maintained in them, it can be done only by applying to them the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act.
– Can the honorable member conceive of anything more delicate than such a question on the eve of the meeting of the League of Nations, where the whole matter will probably be considered ?
– The whole matter of immigration ? I have much experience of the raising of a bogy man by this Government whenever it does not desire to disclose certain matters.
– This is no bogy.
– They do not raise bogies here as has been done in Queensland.
– I can afford to ignore the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Lamond), who makes suggestions for which there is no foundation. Although once a professed Labourite, he is content now to be an instrumentality of the profiteers, and is always ready to stand for any bogy that the Government try to raise. Will the Treasurer give the Committee an idea of what Commonwealth measures it is intended to apply to these Territories ?.
– It is impossible to tell the honorable member in advance exactly what is going to be done. He rose to one specific point, and in interjecting, as I did, I was not trying to raise any bogy. If the honorable member was in Paris when the Peace Treaty was signed he must know that Japan plainly told us in the last plenary Conference that, although she was signing the Peace Treaty she reserved to herself the right to raise this question again in the League of Nations.
– Does the honorable member suggest that the League of Nations may interfere with immigration laws and Tariffs ?
– I suggest nothing except that which my language conveys. The honorable member should not try to make trouble in these delicate and important matters.
– I am not trying to do anything of the kind.
– The honorable member is.
– I simply wish to know what are the facts.
.- In regard to the appointments that are to be made under this Bill, may I once more put in a plea for recognition of the claims of some of the men in North Queensland ? When we took over the Administration of Papua, I urged the then Minister for External Affairs to appoint to the administrative staff those men who had been acclimatized in North Queensland, and who were of ripe experience. We have in the northern part of Queensland men who are inured to all sorts of hardships, and are thoroughly acclimatized. In choosing officers for New Guinea the Government should make a selection from them. They are available, and competent for the work. Nearly every man selected for duty in Papua came from Victoria, and the result was painful. In one case brought under my notice a man returned to Australia a mental wreck, owing to the climatic conditions, to which he was quite unaccustomed. Another man who returned committed suicide. They were both very good men, well qualified to do the work they were called upon to perform, but they were not used to a tropical climate. When selections are being made to nil posts in the Territory, I hope the Administrator will be advised to take men from the north-west of Australia, northern Queensland, or the Northern Territory, men who are thoroughly accustomed to tropical conditions, and are quite as able to do the work required of them as are men in the southern States.
.- The honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) has raised a question which the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) regards as too delicate a matter to be considered at the present time, but should it be reopened at the forthcoming Conference at Geneva, it is just as well that the League of Nations should know that the Government of Australia have the tacking of a solid Parliament in this regard. There is no doubt anywhere as to Australia’s sentiment in relation to the White Australia policy, and as I understand that it is part and parcel of the mandate given to Australia that whatever legislation applies to Australia also applies to the mandated territory, I can see no possible harm in applying the Aliens Restriction Act to the Territory. I think it unwise for us to remain silent upon the point. During the war, our mouths were closed, while in all other parts of the world publicists and controversialists were discussing the very questions about which we were told to remain quiet. “Hush “ was the word used whenever any mention was made of them in this House. We have been too silent upon such matters. Our silence upon such a vital point as to whether these Statutes should apply to mandated territory may be taken as acquiescence on our part in the policy of the non-application of certain legislation. I have no desire to kick up a dust for the sake of creating a quarrel with other people, or of interfering with international relationships throwing the world into turmoil again, but we were clearly given to understand by the Prime Minister that Acts applying to the Commonwealth would also apply to the Territory. If that is so, there is no reason why we should not discuss these matters.
– We are only occupying this Territory. We have not taken over the control of it. There is a limited ownership, with military occupancy, and the observance of German law and customs. No change in the form of government can be made in a night time. To chop off one form of government and institute another in a moment would lead to endless trouble, friction, and injustice. It can only be done as circumstances are favorable. Furthermore, we have not received our mandate as yet.
– Will the mandate not be received until after the forthcoming Conference ? 0
– I do not know. We are trying our best to get it, but it has not yet come along. The League of Nations is meeting again very soon.
– The Council or the Assembly?
– The Assembly. The Council, no doubt, will be there, and in matters relating to sovereignties and mandates, I should say it must be consulted, and will have the final say. The Council becomes part of the Assembly, and helps to control its decisions. The Assembly is the great popular body. The Council is more’ like the executive of the League.
– How many votes is Australia entitled to at the Geneva Conference?
– The rule is that one signatory has one vote, but our representative may have two or three others with him “to advise him.
.- In the report of the Royal Commission on German New Guinea it is set forth that arrangements would be made to compensate the previous owners of land there. I presume that we are not buccaneers, and that we will not take their land without paying compensation; but I would like to know what arrangements are being made for the valuation of the property which has been left by its former occupants.
I wish to quote the remarks of Mr. J. G. Latham, C.M.G., R.A.N.R., a member of the Australian delegation at the Peace Conference, Assistant Secretary of the British Empire Delegation, and British. Secretary of the Inter-Allied Commission on Czecho-Slovak Affairs, published in a brochure entitled The Sig an Australian Point of View. In regard to the White Australia policy, he says -
Hie subject of a White Australia in connexion with the Conference has been dealt with by Mr. Hughes in some detail. It may be interesting, in the first place, to explain how the matter arose. The Japanese delegates formulated a demand for the recognition of the principle of racial equality in the Covenant of the League of Nations. At the time when this question was first raised by the Japanese delegates in Paris, the Covenant of the League of Nations was under discussion by the Commission on the League of Nations. President Wilson was chairman of this Commission, and the representatives of the British Empire were Lord Robert Cecil and General Smuts.
Before bringing their amendment before the Commission, the Japanese representatives - who, as the result showed, were very skilful diplomats - endeavoured to enlist support and to remove obstacles in as many quarters as possible. They interviewed all the representatives of other nations on the Commission of the League of Nations.
When the amendment was put to the Commission of the teague it was carried by 11 votes to 7. (.This announcement has been made in the press.) President Wilson took the responsibility of ruling that it was not carried, declaring that any amendment of the draft of the Covenant then before the Commission could only be made by a unanimous vote.
But there was still another stage. It was open to Japan to move the amendment at the Peace Conference itself. If this had been done, the position would have been very serious. It was not done. Baron Makino confined himself to a protest,, delivered in dignified and weighty language. How it came about that the Japanese representatives adopted this course, instead of moving the amendment in a Conference which they had reason to believe would have supported their claim, is one of the interesting stories of the Conference which higher authorities have not yet told, and upon which I cannot, therefore, speak.
The terms of that protest should be read by every Australian, in order . that they may understand the point of view from which the Japanese public criticises our policy.
The principle of White Australia is almost a religion in Australia. Upon it depends the possibility of the continuance of white Democracy - indeed, of any Democracy, in a real sense - in this continent. Any surrender of the policy is inconceivable - it rests upon the right of every self-governing community to determine the ingredients of its own population. If that right is surrendered, the essence of self-government disappears.
But it must be remembered that there are various methods of expressing a policy, and various means of applying a principle. It also should not be forgotten that the principle underlying a policy is frequently misunder- stood in foreign countries. It is vitally important for Australia to understand her White
Australia policy herself - to get at the root of it, and view it in all its aspects. When the policy is so considered, it will be found that it contains nothing that can justly be regarded as offensive by any foreign nation.
For the reasons which Mr. Latham has set out I am very anxious to incorporate in this Bill sub-section 10 of section 41 of the Papua Act 1905, which prevents the Lieutenant-Governor from giving his assent to any Ordinance relating to the introduction or immigration of aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, Africa, or Asia. I contend that what we did in 1905 we ought to be able to do in 1920, instead of taking a retrograde step and going back on the principles of a White Australia, which, as Mr. Latham says, is a religion with the great bulk of the people of this country. If we have done anything that will permit of the nations of the earth coming into German N”ew Guinea freely, we have taken a step that the people of Australia will ever regret. We should adopt a definite policy at the inception of our administration, otherwise we shall have to retrace our steps very soon. The responsibility is now upon the Government, and not upon Parliament, to see that the restriction contained in the Papua Bill is made to apply to New Guinea.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) bases his argument upon section 41 of the Papua Act, and desires a similar provision in regard to Asiatic immigration incorporated in the Bill. It is, in effect, there. Certain Ordinances made by the Legislative Council under the Papua Act are reserved expressly for the assent of the Governor-General, who, of course, acts on the advice of the Government of the day. The Ordinances under this Bill have to be made by the GovernorGeneral through the Government of the day,” so that in reality the same authority makes or gives assent to the Ordinances in both cases. Therefore, the honorable member is urging the inclusion of something that is, in effect, in the Bill.
– I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition read the extract from the ‘remarks of Commander Latham. We should bear in mind that in regard to the White
Australia policy we are not yet out of the wood. During the last Parliament I had reason to point out to some of the leaders of democratic thought in this country that the attitude they were adopting was one of considerable danger. I venture to repeat that statement now. While the question of the mandates is still unsettled, it is the duty of every one who wishes to see this country preserved to the white race to uphold any Government in presenting Australia’s case to the other nations of the world. Whatever view one may take in regard to the personnel of different delegations that are sentabroad, we are in a position in which we can criticise them only at the risk of the loss of that policy, which, in my judgment, is essential to the development of the Commonwealth as a white man’s country. Therefore, I plead with honorable members opposite and their supporters outside that until this question of mandates is finally settled, we should all speak with one voice, and that voice should be in support of the Government of the day in their attitude towards the White Australia policy at the Peace Conference.
– In the extract which the Leader of the Opposition quoted from the writings of Commander Latham, a gentleman with whom I was intimately associated at the Peace Conference, and who did excellent work, there is a phrase which does not quite represent the Japanese attitude as expressed at the Conference. The Japanese were particular in stressing their claim to racial equality. I think the phrase was “ the just rights of all nationals signatory to the Treaty “ , although there were several variants, all having the same meaning. But it is only fair to say that the Japanese delegation insisted time and again that in the rights which Japan wished to establish for herself and other Eastern nations under the Peace Treaty, she did not claim to take advantage of the open door, so far as immigration was concerned. Of course, now and again they were pressed to make that statement good and to declare that they excluded immigration from the term “ just rights of all nationals.” But upon that question they would not yield. Altogether it was a piece of very skilful diplomatic work.
– Was that claim in regard to immigration general, or only in relation to the mandated Territories?
– It was general, but with that ability and astuteness that Japan displayed in all these matters, her delegates pressed the point more than once that she did not mean that to convey a claim to indiscriminate and unregulated immigration into any country.
– What rights have Europeans in Japan? They cannot own property.
– I do not wish to go into that matter.
– Has the Treasurer ever been in Japan?
– No, but we fought that question out before in connexion with our immigration laws, and I do not wish to revive it now.
Clause agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.29 to 8 p.m.
Clause 14 -
Every such Ordinance shall -
.-I am opposed to the passage of the clause in its present form. This mode of making laws is open toall those objections which apply to legislation by means of regulation. This afternoon, when speaking upon the second reading of the Bill, I referred, in the absence of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), to his genial optimism in supposing that this clause, as at present drafted and if passed into law, would enable him to review such Ordinances as these in a similar way to that which would be adopted if the Ordinances were to be re garded as Bills. It nas been our unfortunate experience, in a large number of cases, that review of statutory rules or regulations has proved quite impossible, fat the reason that, although rules are formally laid before Parliament, the Government in power does not necessarily provide opportunity for their discussion. When the war was running its tragic course, the Government habitually enacted regulations in large numbers. Sometimes it was our unhappy privilege to notice these regulations included amongst our papers, and on more than one occasion a member of this House has given notice of his intention to move that a particular regulation be disallowed. Having given notice, that notice of motion has duly appeared upon the paper; but, partly by accident and mainly by design, its discussion has never been reached. The Government have taken good care of that; and then, in due time - or, rather, in undue time - it has disappeared from the notice-paper.
– May I suggest, with bated breath and whispering humbleness, that the Government could not do anything of the kind if a majority in this House did not permit it?
– That is begging the question.
– So far from begging the question, that is the very essence - the fundamental principle - of responsible government.
– The question is whether the minority might, or could, with bated breath and due humility, venture to express an opinion upon the merits of these regulations, Ordinances, or laws.
– That could be done on grievance day.
– I have never known this House to be short of an opportunity.
– Grievance day would afford no opportunity for the reason that honorable members would then be anticipating something which was already on the notice-paper. As a matter of procedure, we would be absolutely debarred from discussing objectionable regulations by any other method than that proposed in the notice of motion given and recorded upon the notice-paper. The
Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) suggests, however, that we are in a minority ; and, therefore, why should we discuss them.
– I did not say that.
– That is the legitimate inference from what the right honorable gentleman did say. He said that, being the Government, and being responsible for the conduct of public affairs, the Government claimed the right to pass these regulations - these laws - without discussion. There is no escape from that logical conclusion.
– I never yet knew an Opposition which did not claim the right to obstruct all public business.
– That is a most unjust suggestion - so unjust, indeed, that, if it were not for ‘my well-known and long-established magnanimity, I would ask that it be withdrawn. Having regard, however, to the weakness of the right honorable gentleman, and to my own generosity, I will let it pass.
– The honorable member must admit that the Treasurer included himself; so there should be no cause for complaint.
– I admit that the Treasurer has had long and varied experience in Opposition. At all events, I think that these Ordinances for the government of the Territories in question - and more so those, perhaps, than ordinary regulations - should be considered and discussed by this Parliament. It does not seem unreasonable that the minority should be permitted to .consider them on their merits. Since the right honorable gentleman has reminded me that the Government possess a majority, no very great danger should be likely to follow from the fact that honorable members could review these Ordinances. I suggest, then, that the Government provide opportunities to do so. When it is remembered that we are setting out upon an uncharted sea; to deal with vast territories under new and untried conditions ; to have to do with peoples of whom we have no experience and little knowledge except that obtained recently by hearsay ; and when we remember, too, that these Territories are to be administered, subject to the purview of the civilized world, speaking and acting through the League of Nations, one feels that, as a guarantee of good faith - as a guarantee that we accept the mandate in the spirit in which it waa given us, as trustees for the Allied and associated Powers and those others which, we hope, will be, at no distant date, associated with them - we should show that we are acting, in regard to legislation for these Territories, with foresight and prudence, and, after due deliberation. I move -
That, in sub-clause 3, the words “ if either House “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Unless both Houses “; that the word “ passes “ be left out with a Sew to insert in lieu thereof “ pass “ ; that the word “ disallowing “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof “ allowing “ ; and that the word “ thereupon “ be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ on the expiration of such period or the longer period.”
The effect of my amendment will be to make sub-clause 3 read as follows: -
Unless both Houses of the Parliament pass a resolution, of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after any such Ordinance has been laid before the House, allowing, the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall, on the expiration of the period or the longer period, cease to have effect.
– That would have the effect of making government by Ordinance impossible.
– The object of my amendment is to require Parliament to affirmatively indorse Ordinances. A resolution to indorse an Ordinance would throw it open for the consideration of Parliament; and, if it was not dealt with in the very liberal time allowed for its discussion, it would cease to have effect.. As proposed by the Government Ordinances will come into operation as soon as they are notified in the Gazette; and, therefore, they will be availed of just as in the matter of the procedure of collecting customs duties under the tariff immediately the tariff has been laid upon the table of Parliament. Under my amendment, Ordinances will come into effect immediately upon notification in the Gazette, but will cease to have effect unless subsequently indorsed by both Houses.
– Does the honorable member’s amendment provide a time within which Ordinances must be considered ?
– I propose to retain the time allowance as the clause at present provides.
– I am sure the honor able member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) will, on reflection, realize that his pro-> position is quite an impossible one. It requires that both Houses of Parliament shall affirm an Ordinance before it becomes operative, and that, to begin with, is quite impracticable, The honorable member has only to recollect that sometimes the other Chamber is not sitting when this one is.
– The Ordinance becomes operative as soon as it is notified in the Gazette, but ceases to operate unless indorsed by both Houses of Parliament.
– Yes, and within fifteen days of being laid on the table even minor matters must be affirmed by this House. That being so, every time an Ordinance was laid on the table it would become a preferential piece of legislation, irrespective of what other measures were before the House. Ordinances would have to be discussed, and other measures deliberately placed aside. I. can quite conceive of the honorable member for Batman, with his kindly attitude towards those “ clods of earth “ up there, as he used to designate them, being out for a joy ride in the legislative coach. I think that he and the honorable member for “West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) would be doing nothing else but discussing regulations.
– Why associate me with the honorable member for West Sydney?
– Because there is a strong resemblance between the two. I can almost perceive the psychic force pass from one to the other.
The honorable member will see that machinery such as this is not possible in the government of the islands, as the same principles of government cannot be applied to them as apply under ordinary conditions. Something must be left to the Executive Government, and to the Administrator on the spot. The Administrator must have powers which he can exercise, otherwise he cannot satisfactorily control. The honorable member knows that his proposition is quite impossible.
– You had: an Administrator in the Northern Territory.
– Yes, and I am not prepared to say that he has been an unqualified success.
– If his work had been reviewed by this Parliament, there would not have been any trouble in the Northern Territory.
-Perhaps not. I am merely suggesting that if regulations are to be affirmed by this House, nothing else could be discussed.
– There should not be so many regulations.
– May I further suggest that matters in the islands are in a transition stage, and as we may require to act quickly, it would be impracticable to operate in this way; it would be only clogging the legislative and administrative machine, and making ordinary administration impossible. The Defence regulations are pouring out every week and every month, and some of them are good and some are bad. They are all laid on the table of the House. May I suggest that if we applied the same principles to one of our Departments, we would be placed in ah impossible position. I know of no system in which room must not be found for the Executive Government of the day to operate. Really, such a proposition as this could not apply, and does not apply, in any other direction. If nothing can be done in these Territories unless it has received the deliberate affirmation of both Houses, the position would be chaotic.
.- I intend to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). The Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) has stated that everything that is done, even in connexion with minor matters, would have to be submitted to Parliament; he endeavoured to lead the House to believe that the attention of honorable members would be entirely devoted to affirming regulations. It must be remembered, however, that we are dealing with a country with which we have to be very careful. Under the terms of the mandate, we shall be in the position of a trustee, and will not only be responsible to this Parliament and to the people of this country, but, as admitted by the Treasurer, we shall also be responsible to the League of Nations, that international combination which will closely watch all legislation passed in connexion with these Territories’. If the Treasurer is not prepared to accept the amendment, perhaps he will promise that this House shall have an opportunity of discussing all important items of policy before they operate. The whole business of the Government of the country is referred to in the Peace Treaty in Article 122 which reads : -
The Government exercising authority over such Territories may make such provisions as itthinks fit with reference tothe repatriation from them ofGerman nationals and to the conditions upon which German subjects of European origin shall, or shall not, be allowed to reside, hold property,trade or exercise a profession in them.
That is an important item relating to property held, so far as I know up to the present, by private individuals. I understand there are still a number of Germans to be repatriated if they so desire. Their property has to be purchased if they hold the fee-simple, and the businesses they have carried on have also to be purchased. Parliament should have the opportunity of discussing such questions prior to the Government coming to a determination. The land question will need to be dealt with and surely the Government will not ignore this Parliament altogether and indulge in a land policy without consulting the representatives of the people 1 If we cannot get a full measure of relief by. adopting the amendment, the Treasure!) should promise, at any rate, that Parliament will have an opportunity of discussing important items of policy.
– I have already informed the honorable member that the whole measure is provisional.
– But action may be taken under provisional legislation which may establish an important precedent.
– I hope it will.
– The Government will be laying down the foundation for the policy to be pursued, and important questions are involved. Surely the Treasurer will not say that the wisdom of this House is confined to the Cabinet. Parliament should have an opportunity of fully discussing important issues, and it is only fair and reasonable that a promise should be given in the direction I have indicated.
.- I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). In view of the provisions of this measure it is an eminently reasonable one, because the laws of the Commonwealth will not apply to these Territories. If the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) will say that certain laws will apply to the Territories there might be some foundation for the arguments he submitted in reply to the honorable member for Batman. Under this Bill it is proposed to hand over absolute power to the Government of the day, not to Parliament, to do what they wish in connexion with the government of the Territories. We have had experience under the War Precautions Act, and I am sure every honorable member of this Chamber, if he expressed his real view, would say that that Act should be immediately repealed, because it places ‘absolute power in the hands of the Government. Do we want that experience repeated under this measure? I do not think we do. The only way to obviate it is to accept the amendment. If the Treasurer is not prepared to do that, will he indicate some of the proposals of the Government in regard to the government of these islands and Territories? What laws do they propose to apply ? The right honorable gentleman says that this is only a provisional measure. What does he mean by that? How long will it operate? I am sure there will be little inclination, if the power is once given, to remove it from the hands of the Government. What taxation provisions will apply to the incomes derived in these Territories? Are they to be subject to the same taxation as incomes derived in Australia? Is taxation to be imposed by means of an Ordinance? The Treasurer does not reply. I do not think the people of Australia are in favour of placing such absolute power in the hand’s of this Government, and I cannot accept the suggestion that this is only a provisional measure. There is quite a number of Acts on our statutebook, and one in particular, which indicate that certain provisions shall apply until Parliament otherwise provides. That Act has been in operation for twenty years, and this measure may remain in force in its present form so long as this Government remains in power. I desire to take the opportunity of disagreeing with the views expressed by the Treasurer concerning the discussion in this House of matters of supreme importance to the Commonwealth.
It is hinted that we must not talk about the Immigration Restriction Act, because that is going to be talked about by the League of Nations, and it is also said that we must not talk about the Tariff, because to do so may also interfere with the discussions of the League. It is suggested that we should keep our policy dark; but if we have learned anything as a result of the war, it is that secret diplomacy should be done away with - that the aspirations of nations should be made public - and we should not be ashamed to proclaim to the world that we stand for a White Australia, and desire, through our representatives on the League, to make that fact known.
– Secret diplomacy done away with ! Why, we never heard about the honorable member’s appointment as Deputy Leader of his party until it had been arranged elsewhere and announced here.
– The honorable gentleman may endeavour to pass off as a joke a serious matter of this sort, but the people of Australia do not regard it as a joke.
– We never heard about Senator Millen going to Geneva until it was announced in the press this evening !
– Exactly. I am discussing a matter of vital importance to the whole of Australia, not only of importance to the people here, but of importance as touching the relations of Australia with other parts of the world. It is suggested that the League of Nations has some power to interfere with the policy of a White Australia.
– Not at all.
– Is that not suggested? If not, why is there all this talk about the League of Nations ?
– That is what I want to know.
– It is what I want to know.
– The White Australia policy has never been challenged by other nations.
– But we are told to-day that we must not talk about a White Australia, that the policy ought not to be discussed.
– In regard to the mandate.
– No; we are told we must not discuss the White Australia policy or the immigration Restriction Act, in case we interfere with some negotiations that are going on.
– I should like the honorable member to understand that I have made no such statements as he is putting into my mouth.
– I am not putting any statement into the mouth of the right honorable gentleman, who suggests that we should not talk plainly on broad questions of policy.
– Talk as plainly as you like.
– As I say, we are told that we should not talk about the Immigration Restriction Act or the Tariff.
– Who said anything about the Tariff ? I have never mentioned it.
– The right honorable gentleman never mentioned it, but it was suggested” that we should not discuss it or the Immigration Restriction Act, and I may say that I do not think there should be any power on the part of any outside body to interfere’ with the policy of a White Australia or our right to impose a Tariff. If no outside body has a right to interfere in matters of this sort we may discuss them here, and see to it that the principles we stand for in Australia are applied to any Territories that have to be administered as an integral part of the Commonwealth. It is with that object in view that we have been advocating the vesting of the power in Parliament, as distinct from the Executive Government. We have not been able to have our views accepted that Parliament shall have the supreme power as against the Executive, and the next best thing is to secure that the Ordinances shall only be operative for a certain period, unless during that period Parliament has said they may continue. That is an eminently reasonable position to take up, and I hope the Committee will carry the amendment.
– As I understand the amendment, it is that the Ordinances are to come into operation immediately on their publication in the Government Gazette, and that within fifteen days after Parliament meets it will be necessary for Parliament to definitely affirm that they shall continue in operation. That, I think, is the general effect of the proposal. In addition to the difficulties expressed by the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), the amendment is, to my mind, impracticable from a further stand-point. During recess Ordinances will be made, and some of them, no doubt, will come into operation . within a few days after Parliament has prorogued, and others come into operation within a few days of Parliament meeting. Under these Ordinances various acts will be done in the Territory. The Ordinances will have the effect of law. with the result that all sorts of strange and confusing conditions will arise, the people never being definitely assured as to their stability. If an Ordinance be of an enabling character, all sorts of vested interests may arise under them, only to be set aside immediately Parliament meets.
– Does not the honorable member see that the Bill, as it stands, provides for the possibility of an Ordinance being revoked by resolution of Parliament ?
– Of course, there is that possibility; but I venture to say on the honorable member’s own showing that that is vastly different from a condition of affairs which makes it the duty of Parliament to confirm an Ordinance. The clause, as. it stands, gives greater stability, as experience has shown, than would be given did it become necessary for the approval of Parliament to be given within fifteen days. Of course, there is the further practical difficulty that Parliament is engaged in work of a more urgent character, and it would be truly difficult at times to bring in the necessary affirmative motions to make the Ordinances valid: That would certainly have to be done in many instances at the sacrifice of far more important work. Prom that stand-point, and dealing with this solely as a practical, and not as a technical, matter, I say that greater stability is given by the clause in its present form. Furthermore, as a timewasting device, it leaves nothing to be desired. Then, in addition, the Treasurer pointed out that this Bill is really of a tentative character, or, as has been suggested, of a temporary nature. The mandate has not yet been issued, but is merely a provision in the Covenant of the League of Nations. That Covenant provides that the mandate shall issue; and when it is issued it will then be for us to enact the necessary legislation, having regard to the terms of the mandate. The present Bill is of a tentative character for the purpose of establishing civil government, which, surely, must be a preferable form of government as compared with the present military government. When we know the terms of the mandate under the Covenant it will be the duty and responsibility of the Government to introduce the necessary legislation of a more permanent character. Under the circumstances we are justified in the view that the greatest degree of stability, so far as that is necessary, should be given to the Ordinances during the period of the operation of the Bill itself. I am certain that the mandate, when it does issue, will call for a more permanent measure.
– I feel called upon to say a few words in consequence of a few tentative remarks from the tentative-permanent gentleman who has just resumed his seat (Sir Robert Best). I understand from the statement of the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) that this is purely a tentative measure, having for its object the establishment of a tentative government for tentative purposes; and the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has moved an amendment to this tentative measure for a tentative government, which amendment is objected to because it is said to be a permanent interference with a tentative measure. Why in the name of everything should there be any objection to the amendment on the part of men who say that this is simply a tentative measure - a measure of no permanent character?
– It is only a tentative amendment.
– According to the honorable member for Kooyong it is not a tentative amendment; he objects to it because it is permanent in its character, and will interfere with the operation of a Bill that has a tentative object. The honorable member says that the amendment will interfere with the capacity of the Administrator to manage the Territories in a proper and effective manner. He asks how the administration can be carried on if Ordinances may be interfered with by Parliament. According to the honorable member, the Administrator, whoever he may be, should be able to administer the Territory at his own sweet will, or according to the ideas of the Executive, irrespective of Parliament itself. I cannot refer to the Bill as a whole,because we are in Committee, and we know that when we are not in Committee we cannot refer to the individual clauses; and, therefore, I merely, in an indirect manner, draw attention to some provisions on the next page of the Bill. What is to happen if the Administrator decides that the powers given by those clauses should be put into operation? Suppose he decides to exercisehis judgment regarding what is necessary inorder to apply the powers and prerogatives conferred on him, and not even Parliament is to interfere, because, according to the honorable member for Kooyong, any such interference with the permanent government of the Territory can mean only chaos? I shall vote for the amendment, not because’ the arguments of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) carried conviction to me. but because the honorable gentleman who has just resumed his seat has persuaded me that I cannot do better than vote against the clause.
Question - That the amendment (Mr. Brennan’s) be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 15 -
The slave trade is prohibited in the Territory.
No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
.- I object to the employment of forced native labour, and as sub-clause 2 contains a reservation which may be stretched to almost any limit, I move -
That sub-clause 2 be left out.
– Here again is one of those difficult and delicate questions which we are up against in dealing with the natives of these Territories.
– Surely the right honorable gentleman does not stand for slavery !
– No. I propose to say in the words at the beginning of this clause -
The slave trade is prohibited in the Territory.
– But what does the Treasurer propose to say subsequently?
– The Government have inserted the provision which I have just read. It is not the proposition of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), but that of the Ministry. We say that there shall be no slavery in the Territory. But may I suggest a set of circumstances in which perhaps a meaning is attached to this clause which may possibly be overlooked. It does not imply slavery in any sense of the term. In the first place, we have to remember that the Territory of New Guinea has to be governed in the interests of the natives. We have been reminded by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) that this Territory will require to be developed, and that this will cost money. The natives of the Territory will derive substantial advantages from our beneficent rule. Their lives will be protected, their livelihood will be guaranteed to them, and they will be looked after by a kindly Government.
– The devil and despotism.
– No. I am not suggesting that at all.But is there any reason why these natives should not make some contribution to the development of their own land ? Is there any reason why they should not subscribe, as far as they can, to the doctrine that the burden of taxation should be laid upon the shoulders of the people in proportion to their ability to bear it?
– That sounds like Adam Smith.
– It does. It is a good, sound, healthy rule. It is a maxim which is constantly in the mouths of honorable members opposite. They say that people should pay taxation in proportion to their ability to pay, and in proportion to the advantages which they receive.
– But not that they shall work whether they want to do so or not.
– Unfortunately, the honorable member and myself have to work whether we want to or not. I have been at work for twelve solid hours to-day , and I shall get no overtime money. As the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) is aware, there have been in these Territories, from time immemorial rules to which we do not subscribe. Up there, where the natives have no money with which to pay taxes, they will make their contributions in labour.
– Under the lash.
– I wish that the honorable member would not make these infamous suggestions.
– That is what it means.
– The Treasurer hassaid that they must contribute their labour
– Is the honorable member laying down the doctrine that these natives must do nothing?
– What are they doing now?
– They are living under guidance and prudent control. We propose to deal with them in the same way as similar peoples are dealt with in all the Territories of the world, and certainly in the way that advanced civilization deals with them.
– That is what the slavedrivers say to them.
– Evidently it is useless to address arguments to men who use silly phrases which they know to be untrue.
– Our objection is to “forced” labour.
– What does the honorable member mean by that?
– What does the Treasurer himself mean?
– I mean that we may ask a native to pay his contribution to the taxation of the Territory in the form of useful labour. I have nothing else in my mind. I am laying down the principle that these natives, for the good government which we hope to give them, should themselves make some contribution towards the cost of governing the Territory. I am suggesting that, perhaps, the most convenient form in which they can make that contribution will be by doing a little labour for the Government in the development of the Territory. Is that forced labour? Is that using the lash? Is that slavery? To so characterize it is pure claptrap and humbug.
.- Notwithstanding the statement of the Treasurer in regard to asking the natives to perform a certain amount of useful labour in the Territory in lieu of paying taxation, this clause provides for something more than that. Its terms are very definite -
No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except for essential public works and services, and then only -for adequate remuneration.
That means, if it means anything at all, that the Administrator will have the Tight to compel the natives to work whenever he thinks fit.
– And, if necessary, to use physical force to compel them to do . so.
– Quite so. The Administrator will be the sole judge of what is “ adequate remuneration.” It is evident, therefore, that there is something more in this Bill than the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) contemplates.
– The natives have to be looked after. When we have a civilized .Government -there we cannot allow them to starve. If a native says, “ You must look after me, but I will do no work,” how are we to deal with such a man?
– We all know the Scriptural quotation, “ He that will not work, neither shall ‘he eat.” The natives are able to provide for .themselves. The aborigines of Australia, before a white man set foot in the country, were able to live. They had to work to secure their living, and they did not know what starvation was.
– All this is an argument for leaving the natives to themselves, and for refusing to ‘ take a mandate to try to train them to a higher degree of civilization.
– Not at all. If the cla.use simply provided that natives could be employed on essential public works at a fair remuneration, without making any reference to forced labour, the position would be ‘different. The natives, like every one else, if offered fair conditions, will accept employment. We must hold out to these natives the hand of friendship. We must let them see that we are kindly disposed to them, and desire to better their position. If we do, they will quickly respond. The clause provides, however, that there shall be power to force natives to work on conditions laid down by the Administrator, and for what he considers to be adequate remuneration. What is the difference between forcing a man to work and absolute slavery? It is a distinction without a difference. The clause opens with the statement, “ The slave trade is prohibited in the Territory,-“ and in the very next sub-clause provision is made for forced labour on essential public works and services.
– And the Government are to be the slave-owners.
– That is so. Men who were in South Africa in the early days have told me that the natives were compelled to accept the conditions of employment offered. They received only trifling pay, and there were white men who knocked them about whenever they thought fit to do so.
– And declared that to be “ adequate remuneration.”
– No doubt. I am not going to be a party to that sort of thing. What will the League of Nations think of a provision like this ? I believe that they will take exception to it.
– The right honorable member may think it is nonsense; but my reading of the Conventions is that the League of Nations was created to secure improved conditions for mankind, to’ do away with war; and it is only reasonable to assume that it will be opposed to forced labour or any form of slavery. We cannot distinguish between forced labour and slavery.
– We do; and the distinction is set out in black and white in the Bill.
– I object to subclause 2. It is a blot on the Bill, and ought to be struck out. How can it be argued that the natives will be free to do what they like if the Administrator is given power to force them to labour on public works and services whenever he thinks fit? Practically, there will be only Government work to carry out. If that is so, and the Government offer the natives sufficient inducement, they will readily do that work. But it is altogether wrong to compel them to work under any conditions that may be imposed. The Treasurer would be well advised to accept the amendment. It will be possible to govern these Territories without any such provision as that which it is proposed to eliminate. The Administrator may be a humane man, but, on the other hand, he may be altogether too exacting.
– If he abused this power we could dispense with his services.
– Unfortunately it is very difficult for us to ascertain what is happening in these far away places. If I were appointed Administrator of these Territories, I might be guilty of some wrongful procedure, and, because the Parliament did not hear of it, might continue that wrongful procedure for some months. No individual should have power to do what he likes.
– This power might be exercised not only by the Administrator but by subordinates.
– By subordinates who might be “nigger drivers,” and force men to do more than should fairly be expected of them.
– Will honorable members opposite please get it into their heads that there is a colony of white people out there.
– That is all the more reason why sub-clause 2 should be left out. If we are prepared to pay reasonable wages, the white people will respond, even if the natives will not, to the applications for men to carry out public works.
– Some white people axe the biggest exploiters of black labour.
– I need hardly suggest that, with a big white population, it would be impossible for what the honorable member suggests to happen without our knowing of it.
– I wish I could accept that view. On some of these islands white men employ natives, and exact all they can from them in order to make as much as possible. Very few white people in these islands do their own work. They depend upon native labour. In Papua all the work is done by natives, who leave their homes for months at a time.
– And there is no complaint of slavery there.
– Nor is there any compulsion, and there should be no compulsion in this case.
– The regulations applying to Papua will probably be applied to these Territories, and the same treatment will be meted out.
– This Bill is different from the Act relating to Papua, and the regulations cannot be inconsistent with the Bill.
In order to obtain sustenance every man has to work, and if employment on these islands is made attractive the natives will accept it. To compel them to work, whether they desire to do so or not, will bring about absolute slavery. The statement in sub-clause 1 that “ The slave trade is prohibited in the Territory “ is mere camouflage. The Administrator will be able to impose his own conditions, and to compel the natives to observe them. The acceptance of the amendment will not interfere with the government of the islands. The revenue may not be sufficient to pay for their administration, but we do not want to minimize the loss by doing anything detrimental to the best interests of the natives. Let us give them freedom to accept what they regard as a fair thing for the work they perform. Workmen, whether black or white, will respond to reasonable treatment, and give a fair return for their remuneration. Once people get into their heads the idea that they have to do what they are told to do, and that their employers can pay them what they please, discontent arises. If that sort of thing is allowed, the time will come when it will be necessary to drive the natives to work, or practically to whip them. We do not want that sort of thing to occur, and, therefore, I repeat that this provision is quite unnecessary, and should be eliminated.
.- I am rather surprised at the argument that has been advanced in opposition to this clause by honorable members of the Opposition. They are really making a mountain out of a molehill. We all know that they opposed, by every means in their power, the taking over of these islands. It was not the wish of the Labour party that we should have anyhing to do with them. Everyone admits that when these islands were governed by the Germans the natives were badly treated. Honorable members opposite, however, were opposed to the British controlling the islands, and were prepared to leave them in the hands of Germans who treated the natives badly.
Up to the present time, we have had in New Guinea a military administration, which, had it dared, could have done all these things which honorable members opposite suggest. But will any one say that either a military or a civil Administrator is prepared to use the lash ?
– I guarantee that the military would.
– Then the honorable member knows more than I do.
-It has been used in the Army.
– I have never seen it used.
– How many men in the Army have been “crucified?”
– I was with the Forces in Arabia, Persia, and Kurdistan, and I know that it was a criminal offence for any officer, non-commissioned officer, or man to use a whip or stick on the natives, or in any way to apply force to them. According to their own words and actions, honorable members opposite were prepared to leave the natives under German rule, by which the Germans were able to exercise authority, and whip them as they desired.It has been argued that we have no right to force men to work, but it has also been said that a man who will not work for his living has no right to eat. Any man who will not work for his living in Australia is arrested for having no visible means of support. The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) argues that we have no right to govern the islands. If so, we have no right to come to Australia, and we should hand this country back to the aborigines who were in possession of it originally.
– How are we treating the aborigines of Australia ?
– Very well.
– But with no forced labour, and no slavery.
– An aborigine cannot live in Australia unless he does his little bit, or unless he gets about in the backblocks.
– The Government provide the aborigines with free living.
– But they have to work for it. There is a bigger question to be considered than simply dealing with the natives of the islands at the present time. Coming down to bedrock, the continent of Australia is placed here for the benefit of mankind, and civilization should exploit its riches. We should not allow any country abounding in riches to lie idle when it can be used for the benefit of mankind. It should not be allowed to remain in the possession of a few natives who are not using it for the advantage of civilization. It is alleged that we are likely to take advantage of this clause to use force on the natives of the islands. Has any difficulty been experienced up to the present in getting all the labour required to carry on the work in Papua ?
– Then why put this clause in ?
– In case it is required. I say what I mean, and mean what I say. Papua, German New Guinea, and the islands have to be exploited for the benefit of civilization. I am satisfied that we shall get all the labour we require, and, as the clause states, it will be amply remunerated for its services.
.- The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) said these islands were previously under the control of the Germans. I am not responsible for what the Germans or anybody else did. I am not troubled about the control of the Philippines by the Americans or Japanese. The point is that these islands are coming under our control, and the question we have to answer is, “ What are we going to do with them ?” We see now the reason for the previous clause on which we took a division. It was devised for the purposes of this clause. We see now clearly and distinctly why the Government do not want the, Ordinances discussed by this Parliament. We see now that the rule is not tentative, but permanent, and that it is proposed to give to one individual in the new community, power to do things which are not done in any other part. The clause begins with the simple stipulation that no slave labour shall be permitted in the Territory. The Treasurer hammers his finger upon that phrase.
– No. I hammer my finger on the other part: “No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory, except “.
– Then I understand the right honorable member to say, “ No forced labour shall be permitted, except.” That means, I presume, “except where required.”
– There are exceptions to every rule.
– You shall not have a drink unless you need it. You shall not have forced labour or slavery unless you desire it. The first provision is that there shall be no slave labour, but the next paragraph says that there shall be forced labour under certain circumstances. Argue about that as much as you like, but it is there. There is no justification for it in history, or need for it on the ground of public interest. We can come to a division upon the question of whether we stand for forced labour, or slavery, or not, whenever the Government like. The Treasurer has only one argument for the proposal, whatever his real reasons may be, for in his heart of hearts he does not believe in this thing, and many others sitting behind the Government do not believe in slavery or forced labour. The Treasurer is going to support, at this juncture, a system of slave labour, or forced labour, on the one ground that there is a right of taxation, and that the natives have the right to pay taxes as a contribution towards the upkeep of their country. I do not suppose they have any objection to paying taxation. As a matter of fact, they have in existence a perfect means of paying any contribution that is necessary for the upkeep of their country. A system of forced labour is not needed for the maintenance of their country, and this proposal is not meant to make them pay their dues or obligations in that direction. The real purpose of it is to compel them to labour for other men for whatever may be given to them.
One honorable member opposite said that the natives would not be illtreated. Is that so? I direct the attention of theMinisterial party to the book Fiji of To-day, written by Mr. Burton, the Methodist minister. It demonstrates what the Colonial Sugar Refining Company would do in Australia, and what it does when it has unlimited power in a country which lies at a comparatively short distance from our shores. What is the history of Fiji? When the Fijians would not labour for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company at the wages and under the conditions that were offered by them, the company went to the Hebrides, and induced the inhabitants there to give their labour under an indenture system, because they could be got cheaper than the native Fijians. When, finally, the company could not get the natives of the Hebrides, or the Solomon Islanders, to work for them, they went to the cities of India, and brought thousands of the most degraded and miserable of the Indian natives into Fiji, up to the period of the war. The conditions under which those people lived and worked in Fiji were odious, filthy, and obscene. Every sentiment of morality and decency was swept aside by men who belonged to their particular churches in Australia, and who prated of their love of humanity, yet who, when they got outside the radius of a white man’s Government, treated these natives of India with the most horrible brutality. There is no need to state these facts on the floor of Parliament. They are in the reports presented to the British Government by men who came from India. ,It is stated that a woman was not even allowed time for her confinement, and the last great reform which the company effected was to bring a few women from India, and parcel each of them out like a bitch amongst dogs - one woman to seven men. Do honorable members know that fact? If they do not know it, they have only to study the reports. Dr. Earle Page. - Is that suggested here?
– No; and the Government dare not suggest it. They dare not advocate what went on in Fiji until within the last three or four years.
– We do not control Fiji.
– Honorable members opposite put up an argument and then fly away from it. They ask on the one hand, “Do you think any man of our race or creed would do these things?” and when I prove that they are done, and that where the impetus of greed exists, it overrides all questions of religion, my honorable friends say, “ We are not talking about that; we are talking of something else.”
– Do any of our British Governments do it?
– Of course they do. It is done with the consent of the British Government, and under the British flag. What was done in the kanaka trade under the Australian flag, and under Australian Governments? It is on record that, in reports to the British Government, the kanaka trade was described as one of “ murder, rapine, and brutality.” Where the instinct of gain and profit exists, men will do these things, if they ha_ve the opportunity. We need, therefore, to provide safeguards against it. The very principle and rule is laid down in other parts of Papua, and can be put into this Bill if the Government so desire. But they have some ulterior motive, some sinister design, something which is not to be declared openly.
There is in existence in New Guinea at the present time an indenture system of labour, which is not a forced labour system, but which is bad enough. In speaking of the natives, I refer to them as men, irrespective of their colour, Because there is only one sound basis of ethics to follow in the treatment of others, whether they are blacks or Chinese, and that is to do to them as you would be done by. There is, as I say, in New Guinea an indenture system which is not slavery, or forced labour, but which is - an indenture system, which means the same thing.
– Where is this going on?
– In New Guinea. The natives will not work unless they are properly remunerated, and since the white man will not give them anywhere near an adequate amount to induce them to labour in their own villages where their homes are, another way is found. No native will leave his little yam patch or his little net and bit of fishing to give his labour to somebody else, unless some incentive is offered to him. He must see that he can - get something more than he could earn by tilling the native soil with his primitive implements, but the incentive of greed prompts those ~who want his labour to offer him less than enough to induce him to work for them. So they get him to sign a little bit of paper, in which he agrees to give his labour for so many years, and when they have indentured him, as they call it, they take him away from his own locality. It . would not be so bad if he could work in his native village, where he could return to his little patch of ground. He is sent to some other part of New Guinea, and there he has to labour. They have him there as a slave to do as they like with, and when his indenture period expires, he comes back to his own village, only to find too often that the jungle has grown up where his patch was. He is cut off from his primitive means of earning an existence, and finds himself a bond slave, driven by necessity to work for others. Just as the British workmen, when isolated from the soil, were driven into the workshops and factories, so these natives, isolated from their own villages by the indenture system, and deprived of their primitive mode of life, are driven into a condition which is no better than slavery. The
Government say they axe going to send white men up there, and this system of forced labour means that you can make them work for you as long as you like. If you offer the natives enough, they will work. Offer them the incentive to sell their labour as free men, and you will get their services. But why should they, any more than any one else, be compelled to give their labour?
The Bill provides for forced labour, but no penalties are provided. Honorable members opposite say that, of course, the lash will not be used, and that it is outrageous to suggest such a thing. How, then, is the clause to be enforced ? The penalty is to be provided by Ordinance, and notin the Bill. There is to be forced labour for all public works and services, however extensive they may be, and the man in charge there can stretch the interpretation of “ public works and services “ as far as he likes. He can prescribe how far their meaning shall extend, and what the nature of the work shall be. He can declare how long the men shall work, and what amount of rice shall be handed to each of them for their services. The Government dare not say in this Bill what the penalty is to be, because they and their supporters dare not vote on such a proposal. They, therefore, carefully cover it up, and leave it to the Administrator. They empower him to impose forced labour on the inhabitants, and, since they dare not put it in an Act of Parliament, they leave it to him to devise the penalty, whatever it may be, according to his mercy or ferocity. If he has been brutalized by contact with other races he regards as inferior, no doubt the punishment he will inflict will reflect his odiousness. It ought not to be left to the individual himself to say what he proposes to do in this particular direction.
I ask the Treasurer upon whom he proposes to enforce labour?
– I shall tell the honorable member when he sits down.
– There should be no necessity for me to ask the question. Upon whom is this forced labour to be imposed? Upon the natives, of course. But why is it not put in the Bill? As I do not know much about legal matters, I ask the honorable and learned member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) does he see any thing in the Bill which specifies the persons to whom this forced labour will apply ?
– There is no limitation.
– Of course there is not. What is a native? Is he a purebred, or a half-caste, or an octoroon ? Where is the line of limitation to be drawn ?
– Why should we differentiate ?
– Now we have it from the honorable member. Here we see a probably budding Administrator of New Guinea, with its bubbling humanity, asking why we should distinguish between the pure black and the product of the white man’s contact, whether it be a trader or an officer who has seized a native girl, used her in his office, and produced something which is possibly worse than black or white, but is the shame of either race, despised alike by that which produced it and that which bore it. The honorable member says, “Why should we distinguish? That despised product shall also be a slave and entitled to be forced to labour.” But why stop at that which is a little black and a little white? Why stop as long as there is one single streak of colour? So long as there is one streak of the native race in man or woman the honorable member would claim the right to impose his odious forced service. There is no mention of it in the Bill, but the honorable member would draw no distinction between those who have some admixture of black blood in their veins and those who are pure natives.
– No; we are going to stand over all of them with a big whip !
– Quite so. Power given is always power abused. Of course, honorable members say that they would never do these things, that reference to the past is useless, that it is a waste of words to talk about what has occurred here, there, or elsewhere, and that we, of our race and under our flag, are noble, gentle creatures who would not be guilty of any cruel or unkind deed. But that is a lie. Under every flag, good men and bad, cruel men as well as generous, are born. In Leicester Square, in the heart of the great city of London, and in the centre of its most fashionable quarter, one could see from the portico of the theatre just across the gardens a little red light which, during the whole period of the war, never went out. One could walk across the gardens, look at the building, and see inscribed on it, “ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,” and gather that it has attended to 140,000 cases. A walk into its chamber of horrors would enable one to see the instruments with which men and women, of our race, brutalized by their environment and conditions, had inflicted horrible tortures on children. Now, can I be told that men and women who could be so degraded as illtreat those of their own blood will not display less mercy to those who are not of their own race or colour? What has the history of the white race told us ? It has told us of the slave traffic on the Congo, of the treatment of the natives in the early days of Australia, and of our own Kanaka trade, reeking with odiousness ; and to-day we have the modern case of Fiji, with its putrid sexual conditions. They form a complete answer to those who excuse themselves for the morrow, and when we say, “ Do not leave the door open to brutality and degraded and beastly conditions,” reply, “ Leave the door open to the most brutal conditions, but do’ not anticipate that anything brutal will be done.” But why leave the door open? Is there any sensible person who, speaking as man to man and apart from the limitations laid down by the respective diversities of party opinion, would claim that there is any sane reason why Australia should alter its traditional policy in this respect, or why forced labour should be imposed upon the people in this particular Territory? We say that under the flag that flies over Australia forced labour shall not be permitted, either here or in Papua, but yet we would permit it in a Territory where the same flag flies, and where similar institutions prevail. If we are to stand Tor any principle in Australia, let us stand for it wherever the administration of the Australian Government extends, and wherever the Australian flag flies. Is it not a sound principle that forced labour shall never be applied to any particular colour? Is it not good enough to apply in this Territory, so that no one can say that forced labour has ever been imposed by any Australian Administration? That is why, not for partisan tactics, but in the interests of all those principles we profess, those traditions we respect and this country itself, I claim that everything demands that we must not permit of any possibility of a departure from this -principle. In any case, there is no public necessity for . such a departure, and the Government will be well advised to withdraw this provision, or, at any rate, tell the Committee clearly and distinctly what sound public reason there can be for the* retention of this provision in the Bill in the interests of Australia. I sincerely hope the Treasurer will take it upon himself, without forcing the matter to a division, to say that forced labour shall in no circumstances be permitted wherever Australia’s administration extends.
– The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) is himself again. I am very pleased to see him glinting and sparkling, but may I suggest that in his “ fine frenzy rolling “ he has proved too much to-night. He has taken us all over the world and shown us all the enormities and immoralities which take place, not in the dark benighted lands, but in the very heart and home of the white civilization. But is that an argument against the lifting of restrictions? Really, if it be an argument at all, it is a reason for tightening the grip upon white people in order to control them in the interests of order and decency. Does not the honorable member see that if that is all we can get by keeping the door open and. giving every one unrestricted liberty, it is not very much of a “ crown and flower of liberty “ such as he has been detailing to us to-night, but is a poisonous weed that ought to be withered up and squeezed out at the earliest possible moment. I’ merely suggest that the honorable, members has let his logical faculty run right away with him, and with the aid of ‘his imagination has painted a picture miles away from the conditions we are considering here. I want to bring him back to what is really contained in the Bill. He took us to Fiji, with which we have nothing whatever to do, and related stories of atrocities there in connexion with Indians. Do these things occur because the Indians are poor benighted sots, who do not know any better ? Does not the honorable member see that it places the Indian on the same plane as the New Guinea savage?
– Oh, no !
– Yes, the maneating savage. I suggest that the honorable member does not do himself credit when, he puts the two races on the same plane.
– The right honorable gentlemen cannot defend the conditions that exist in Fiji.
– I am defending the Indian just now, and suggesting that he is on a higher plane of civilization that the man-eating savage of New Guinea.
– But the right honorable gentleman knows that in Fiji the Indian women threw aside all caste distinctions.
– What has all that to do with what we are talking about? Of course, there are abuses which will go on to the end of time, but does not the honorable member for Bourke tell us that they occur even under the very best forms of government? He says that they take place in the very heart of the ancient civilizations, where the world has done its best to root them out and modify them. It is a poor hopeless outlook he has. It is a sorry picture he paints. He says that the “ crown and flower “ of our civilization only blossoms into rottenness and corruption. May I suggest that he is carrying his argument to a complete and absolute absurdity. But even supposing these conditions do exist, I very humbly suggest to my honorable friend that this clause says they shall not take place in the Territories we are governing.
– What is the use of saying that?
– Honorable members had better look at the matter from the standpoint of the clause. They are looking at it from the wrong angle. The clause is intended to prevent all that kind of thing, but honorable members are arguing as if it were intended to encourage them, legitimize them, and make them right.
– Does not the clause make forced labour possible ?
– It limits forced labour; it prevents it, as it is intended to do. It begins with a “no”, not a “yes”; and so there is no point in the argument which we have been nearing for the last half hour. I tell honorable members plainly that the only object in including this sub-clause - and we did not put it in on our own initiative - was to prevent the kind of thing which we have heard so much of. I repeat that the sub-clause does not sanction forced labour.- It seeks to curb it, control i% and keep every vestige of slavery from it. If it stated that forced labour was to be the order of the day in regard to Government works; if it stated that the country was to be developed by means of forced labour, this eloquent diatribe to which we have just been treated would, no doubt, be quite proper and in order. But since it begins by saying, “ No forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory,”
– Yes ; exceptions prove (the rule.
– And sometimes exceptions become the law.
– May I suggest that the affirmative declaration of the clause is. that there shall be no forced labour except under certain circumstances. I am only endeavouring to get honorable members to look at the clause from the right angle, in order that they may properly understand it. If, however, they will persist in looking through the wrong end of the telescope, no doubt they can picture all these horrible things about which we have just heard.
– I suggest that the Minister is regarding the sub-clause from an obtuse angle.”
– I think I may allow the honorable member to be a proper authority on anything’ that is obtuse.
– You have been talking a terrible lot to-night, but you have not said very much so far.
– I might, if I wished, call the attention of the Chairman to the honorable member’s insulting observation; but I let it pass.
For the purpose of prohibiting, controlling, and preventing these things the same words are inserted in the South African mandate. Article 2 states that the mandatory power - undertakes that the slave trade shall be prohibited, and that no forced labour shall be permitted, except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
Then follow those undertakings with regard to the trafficking in arms, drink, -and so on. They are all a series of limitations and prohibitions. That is the point of view from which we must view this sub-clause. Its purpose is not to encourage the use of forced labour, as honorable members opposite have been endeavouring to prove.
– But it is to be permitted.
– Only, for tie purpose of limiting and .controlling it, and preventing abuse of this power. But I do not stand very much for this subclause, and if the Committee really feels that the Bill will be better without it, I do not mind whether it goes or not. I do protest, however, against this attempt to twist, turn, and shape out of all recognition, a clause which is intended to be benevolent in its nature, and to limit the very abuses about which, we have heard so much to-night.
.- The Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) has rendered a very useful service to honorable members by showing that the very highly coloured pictures presented to us by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) have very little application to the clause. There is no doubt that the limitations are intended to remove many of the objections that have been associated with forced labour in any shape or form; but I point out to the Treasurer and to the Committee that forced labour, even as limited by this sub-clause, would, I think, be reprehended by “the people of Australia with regard to these mandated Territories. Forced labour of natives has been practised in many countries. In Egypt, from time immemorial, the corvee has been a means by which urgent public works have been carried out on short notice; such works, for instance, as the repairing of damaged canal banks in order to preserve the country from an overwhelming calamity. Then, again, in South Africa, conditions similar to those allowed by this clause, have been permitted in regard to the natives there. But the utilization of this forced labour, even under safeguards like the protective provisions of this clause has caused a considerable amount of difficulty in dealing with the natives, especially in recent times.
– It is not easy to deal with them.
– In Africa, at present, there is a strong agitation against it, for it has been shown that a good deal of grave trouble has crept into the administration of forced labour, no matter how well it is protected. I congratulate the
Treasurer on the suggestion that he and the Government are quite willing to withdraw the clause if honorable members regard it as more or less objectionable. I certainly do not like it. I do not think it ig necessary, and I can assure the Treasurer that he will be consulting the wishes of the people of Australia if it is withdrawn and fair dealing conditions in regard to terms of labour are extended to the natives.
.- I think the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) would be well advised to consent to the elimination of the sub-clause. Those who know and understand the Papuan people will not come to the conclusion that they are savages, as suggested by the Treasurer.
– Not the whole of them.
– Then why brand a nation as thieves because there are a few thieves among them?
– I never said they were thieves. I said there were tribes of man-eaters.
– The Minister may be correct, but the impression conveyed by his remarks was that they were pretty well all of a kind; and as one who has been there, I can tell him that they are quite a different class from some of the aborigines in parts of Australia.
– How are you going to train them if you do not get them?
– The reason why, hitherto, planters have not been able to get sufficient labour is that the remuneration has not been high enough to induce the Papuan natives to offer their services. When we realize that under the guidance of missionaries and the Government of Papua, some of the natives are engaged in such work as running saw-mill plants, manipulating oil engines, motor boats, and even building motor boats in a manner that would do credit to the boat builders of Australia, we must realize that they are not all the kind of people who should not be compelled to do work under that sub-clause to which objection has been taken.
– The clause does not suggest that.
– It does. It is claimed that under this clause they should be compelled to contribute to the government of their own country. Surely there is some other way in which the natives of German New Guinea can he approached with regard to bearing their share of taxation along with the white population ? As one who knows something of the real position there, I think the Treasurer will be well advised to eliminate this proposal of compulsion from the Bill, because I am satisfied, from what I saw, that the Government will have no difficulty whatever in getting, by other means, all the labour that may be required from the native population.
.- I am not in agreement with the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins). I hope the Minister will retain the subclause. In fact, I congratulate the Government upon its inclusion, for unless the Government have this power, how will it be possible to bring about a material improvement in the condition of the islands? The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) said it was only, right that the natives should pay their share of taxation. But how many of them could pay in coin of the realm? The only way in which they can pay their share of taxation is by labour. Taxation which is imposed upon us, and which we must pay, whether we like it or not, is only another form of forced labour. We are compelled to work in order to earn sufficient money to pay our taxes. It is not intended that the natives shall be driven into forced labour, but . the clause provides that, if it becomes necessary for certain works to be carried out and the labour is not forthcoming voluntarily, the natives may be forced to give their services in return for adequate remuneration. One honorable member stated that if sufficient money were offered, the labour would be forthcoming. That has not been the experience in Papua. The daily wants of the natives are easily supplied, and after they have worked for a day or two they take a rest, and will not work again until they feel the pinch of necessity. That has been the experience amongst native races all over the world. In Papua, very few developmental works have ‘been carried on. Why? Because we cannot secure the necessary native labour. If we are to advance the natives of New Guinea, we must construct roads, drain the swamps in order to get rid of malaria, and open up the country generally. That can be done only by the utilization of native labour. Honorable members may ask why we should not pay for the’ labour. But, if we cannot get natives to come forward in sufficient numbers, it is only right that the Administrator should be vested with power to order men to work so many days on a certain task. If a man can pay his quota in money, well and good ; if he cannot, let him pay with his labour. I hope the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) will allow this provision to remain in the Bill; for, if it is struck out, the time may come when it will be necessary for us to re-insert it, and it will be a more unpleasant task to bring about compulsory labour two or three years hence than to make provision for it now.
.- I have listened with a good deal of surprise to the sudden access of fury in regard to this clause. It seems to me that a wrong view has been placed before the Committee. In dealing with these islands, the Commonwealth has two alternatives - (1) Leave them in a savage state, or (2) attempt to civilize them. There is no middle course. The native, particularly the savage, is mentally and in many other ways a child. I take it that no member of the Opposition will say that there should be no compulsory education, that the child should be allowed to do nothing and learn nothing until he had reached manhood, when he might become a menace to society.
– There is no incentive for any one to ill-treat a child in a civilized community.
– And there is no incentive for a paternal Government, which will have to pay out of its own coffers thousands of pounds per annum to maintain the Territory, as the report of the Commission indicates, to ill-treat its subjects. In fact, the whole purpose of British and Australian administration of natives races, as opposed to German administration, has been the betterment of the peoples controlled. Occupation has proved to be a civilizing influence in connexion with savage races, and, indeed, the only influence that has helped them to maintain their virilityand health. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins) stated that he saw certain men in ‘the islands exercising mechanical trades. It may be instructive to the honorable member to learn that, when Sir William McGregor went to NewGuinea, he found an absolutely savage race. He took with him some Solomon Islanders, and it was not until he secured certain Papuans, and forced them to assist the Government, that they commenced to learn those trades and to perform those mechanicaltasks of which the honorable member spoke. There is other independent testimony, which should help the Committee in arriving at a right conclusion. I do not think any honorable member will credit the InterState Commission with a desire to impose forced labour or slavery upon anybody. But the Commission, in its report upon New Guinea, said, in regard to the necessity for handling labour for the public benefit -
The Commission supports the view that the methods pursued are justified on economic as well as moral grounds.
Mr. T. J. McMahon, in an article published in the Brisbane Daily Mail, of the 13th September, wrote -
To-day the Gilbert people, by wise administration (British) have their own selfgovernment, the finest native hospital inthe Pacific, and with health and vigour so built up that they are rapidly returning to their old standard of population.
Further on, he said -
The Fijians and Ocean Island natives are the living examples of races quickly dying out through sheer idleness. Both, under beneficent British rule, are wealthy - the Fijians from the leasing of their lands, and the Ocean Islanders from the royalties brought them from the output of phosphate of lime.
Because there is no work, the natives are simply dying out through atrophy and disease. In regard to civilizing the native, Mr. McMahon said -
One of the secrets, indeed it may be called the main issue, of regeneration of native races is in civilizing them to find occupations.
– The civilization of natives generally means their extermination.
– That is not so. The natives of Tonga are continually improving in their condition under a system of rule which was possible only by reason of the fact that a system such as is suggested in the clause before the Committee was adopted at the inception of white administration. Mr. McMahon continued -
It is admitted by all who know anything of the islands that natives fed, housed, doctored, and worked are morally, physically, and mentally superior to thepoor vagabonds who roam, subsisting on Government doles or finding food as fortune favoursthem. It is quite a mistake to suppose that the savage native is an idler. He must be active in order to protect his life and hunt for his food. The essential quality of savagery is alertness, on account of the constant fear of a lurking enemy. The savage is a primitive man, and must fight to exist. This keeps him fit and energetic. Civilization demands that the native forsake his savagery, which means his alertness, keenness, and natural activity. He promptly degenerates into vagabondage, and his numbers decrease, and this decrease becomes intensely rapid if assisted by the vices of civilization, as was the case of old. The commercial progress of the islands must be, and is, a tremendous factor in the regeneration of the natives. Teach the natives the benefit of the white man’s commercial progress, give him occupation in helping the commercial progress, and instantly he shows a new spirit and vigour.
That is the experience of men who have travelled in the Pacific, and of every one whom we can trust to give a true opinion of conditions in these Territories. I do not see why the fair name which British people have gained throughout the world, though they may occasionally have committed mistakes, should be besmirched for party motives in this National Parliament. I have met dozens of traders from Papua who have told me that the Australian Government is so strict in its interpretation of a fair deal to the natives that a man found guilty a second time of striking a native is compelled to sell up his property and get out of the country. We are asked to believe that under this provision the Government of Australia, who will be spending their own good money in helping to maintain and develop New Guinea, are going to permit the flogging of the natives into subjection.
– How is the Government to force natives to work if they say that they will not work?
– It is not a question of flogging them at all. They like to work, as the honorable member likes to talk.
– The honorable member says that the Australian Government will be spending their own good money, but the Commissioners who have reported on the Territories have said that it will pay for itself practically from the start.
– This is not the first time that we have heard that certain proposals will pay for themselves from the start. We have been told that some saw-mills are going to pay from the start. I am not so optimistic as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), and I shall certainly be surprised if the administration of these Territories does not cost the Government of the Commonwealth a considerable sum of. money. It cannot be suggested that the Government are likely to bring about a condition of slavery in New Guinea, Such a thing is not at all in keeping with the traditions of government by British people.
I should like to know what exactly is the position. Do” the Government intend to delete the provision for forced labour? If they do, I have no wish to waste time in discussing the matter further.
– We shall very likely retain it after we have heard the honorable member.
– I have asked the Minister a simple question, which I think he ought to answer.
– Honorable members opposite are asking questions all the time.
– I had the pleasure of visiting Papua, and was in that country for about six weeks. Whilst I was there all the planters we met were agreed on the one point that voluntarynative labour was hard to obtain, and they suggested that the time must come when the Government would have to force the natives to work. They had recruiting agents going about the country visiting different villages and offering men bribes. They would pay them 10s. per month and huddle them together like a lot of cattle in sheds, where they were fed on rice. How could they expect to secure voluntary native labour under those conditions? In spite of that experience, in Papua we have a provision inserted in this Bill to compel natives to work.
– Nothing of the kind. The object is to prevent any abuse of that kind. It is the guarantee that the League of Nations requires on this matter.
– Those who compose the League of Nations do not. understand Australian sentiment. They do not know that in this country we are up against any compulsion of labour. Most of them have experience of other countries in which there is compulsion of labour. I am satisfied that if the drafting of this measure had been given to officers of the Commonwealth Government, such a provision would never have appeared in it. The Government, in this instance, are following slavishly lines laid down by the League of Nations.
– Honorable members opposite did not want the mandate. They wished these Territories to be left to the League of Nations.
– Who said that the Labour party had pronounced against the taking over of the control of these Territories ? I defy the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Marr) to refer to any speech by a Labour member in proof of his statement. There is not one word of truth in the slander that the Labour party is opposed to Australia taking over the control of these Territories. If the Government do not wish to compel the natives to work, this provision is not necessary. When the war broke out, we sent an armed force to New Guinea to take possession of the Territory, and it was said that the natives would be glad, because the Germans had forced them to work. Under this Bill, the Government are proposing to do just what the Germans were doing.
– We are doing nothing of the kind. That is an absolute misrepresentation, and the honorable member knows it.
– No, I do not know it.
– Let the honorable member readthe clause. It says, in effect, “ No German tactics.”
– The tactics of the Germans were to compel the natives to work, and the Government are asking- this House now to enact a provision which will enable them to adopt the German tactics. No similar provision applies to the natives of Papua or of the Northern Territory; but in this Bill, for the first time, the great Nationalist Government, with the support of the Country party, introduce a provision for forced labour. It is provided that the labourers must be justly paid. What is the payment to be - a cup of rice, or two cups of rice? In the interests of the fair name of this country, -I am not prepared to agree to any provision for the compulsion of labour. I know that there are some men in this country who would like to be able to compel white men to labour at certain times. They cannot do that, and here the attempt is to be made to impose forced labour on the natives of New Guinea.
– Who says so?
– I say so; and unless the Government agree to delete this provision from the Bill, the country will believe that that is their intention. I advise the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) to delete this provision. I remind him that the matter is one upon which honorable members can speak for hours. The Government say that they do not wish to compel the natives of New Guinea to work, and if that be so, they should not seek the power to do so in this Bill.
– The provision for forced labour has been incidentally inserted here.
– I believe that is so; and, therefore, I ask the Government, in the best interests of the country, to agree to the withdrawal of the objectionable words.
– I regard this clause as a very valuable charter, in that it expresses the highest ideals for the government of subjected races; but I think it would be much improved if the latter portion were omitted. Its verbiage is based, of course, upon the best and highest principles to which the gathering of statesmen, representing the Nations at the Peace Conference, was able to subscribe as a whole. However, in the administration of Papua, the Australian Government has set an example to the world. We have not used forced labour in Papua; we would do well to insert in this Bill, not what the Peace Conference was able to agree upon, but that which the Australian people have practised in our government of subject races in these same Territories.
– The difficulty is that if we omit the clause, there will be no guarantee given against the employment of forced labour. Honorable members opposite desire that the clause shall be left out, in order that no guarantee shall be stated.
– That is not so.
– If the whole clause is omitted, we shall lay ourselves open to the criticism of other interested nations, that we have failed to express our view regarding forced labour, and, thus, have retained the right to employ forced labour, not only in the performance of Government work, but in private employment also. Without the assurance specifically expressed that the Australian people are sound upon that principle, this guarantee would fail of its object.
My chief reason for rising to address the Committee was to suggest that the Government would be correctly interpreting Australian opinion if they agreed upon the retention of the first portion of the clause, which condemns forced labour - which, indeed, goes further than the decision of the Peace Conference regarding enforced labour - and were to strike out the latter part. As a matter of fact, I am quite certain that the Government have not the faintest intention of enforcing the provisions of this latter portion in the manner suggested by honorable members opposite. I am not prepared to vote for the clause as it stands. I cannot vote for the retention of the right to employ forced labour, in any circumstances. It would be a retrograde step if we sought to retain that right, because the Commonwealth Government have never enforced labour from the natives under their control. Sufficient of the clause should be retained to demonstrate to the other nations that we have high ideals in relation to this matter - higher, indeed, than those expressed at the Peace Conference. And, in such form, I feel confident that the clause would be acceptable to the. Committee.
With regard to the acceptance of the mandate, we would be perfectly justified in undertaking our obligations upon even better conditions than those actually imposed. For example, if the mandate were to state that we should not supply intoxicating liquor to the natives, except under specific restrictions, we would have a perfect right to say, while accepting the mandate, that we would not supply strong drink to the natives under any circumstances whatever.
– The extent of our powers is indicated by the fact that we are to be free to apply all the laws of the
Commonwealth. We are not limited regarding our intentions.
-Certainly not. These guarantees are sought from us in order to prevent our doing evil by the natives, and not in any wise to hamper us from conceding even better conditions than the League of Nations stipulates. I was rather surprised by a statement of the honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) regarding the commencement of activities under the High Commissioner for the Pacific. I have read reports regarding New Guinea, and the wholeburden of those statements has been that the problem of the government of native races can be solved without recourse to force. I compliment Judge Murray upon his administration in this regard. He has shown, incidentally, that the people of the islands can be educated in mechanics to a surprising extent - surprising, at any rate, to those whose acquaintance with coloured people has been limited to the Australian aborigines. We cannot do better than incorporate in this Bill the principles which have guided the Administrator of Papua in his treatment of the natives up to the present. He has secured better results by his humane governance than have been obtained elsewhere by harsh treatment.
.- If, in moving my amendment, I placed honorable members under any misapprehension, I can only express regret. My intention was, and still is, to secure the deletion of only the words - except for essential public works and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
– That was not the honorable member’s amendment. All the discussion and all the bitterness this evening have centred around the whole clause.
– That is absolute nonsense.
– My only desire is to come to a satisfactory decision, and is not to score points politically. If I made a mistake in the presentation of my amendment originally, I amprepared to admit it, and to ask that the amendment be withdrawn, in order that I may move it afresh, in the manner in which I have desired all along.
– The fairer procedure would be to allow the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond), who pointed out the position, to move such an amendment.
– I do not want to do that.
– So long as my object is achieved I am quite prepared to stand aside and allow any other honorable member to move in the same direction. I ask leave to withdraw my amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That all the words of sub-clause (2) after the word “ Territory “ be left out.
.- I am pleased that this formal alteration has been made in the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor). As a matter of fact, the meaning of the amendment was grasped by every honorable member. The only important matter is the object which the honorable member had in view, and which was completely grasped by every member of the Committee. If I may so call it, this petty quibbling and sparring for place on the part of the PostmasterGeneral
– I take exception to those words, which are offensive, and ask that they be withdrawn.
– I withdraw them speedily without any qualification, and I desire to say that the efforts of the honorable member, so far as his contributions to this debate are concerned, are in poor taste and advance the matter very little. I was very pleased to know that the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), who, from his responsible position, and from his point of view, had supported this clause so ably and eloquently, was prepared to waive it in deference to the wishes of the Committee. I had hoped that he would say that the Government would take the responsibility at this stage of deleting the objectionable subclause. But if the Minister is not yet prepared to do that, and the question is going to a division, in which the whole of the members of the Government will be arrayed against those in opposition, I shall exhaust all the forms of theCommittee and the time at my disposal in resisting the sub-clause or the part of the sub-clause which I conceive to be most objectionable and iniquitous. Coming to the arguments advanced in good faith by the Treasurer,
I find it impossible for me to follow bis line of reasoning. He lays great stress upon the fact that the sub-clause is in the nature of prohibition, and chat it clearly states that no forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory except-
– That is very plain.
– It is absolutely plain ; and up to that stage the sub-clause is prohibitive. In that prohibition there is something vetoed which is absolutely distasteful to the Australian sense of justice, and absolutely distasteful, I believe, to this Committee. There come the exceptions set out in the sub-clause, and it is the exceptions to that golden rule that [members on this side are taking, in turn, very great exception. May I ask the Treasurer to consider for a moment how this sub-clause may be read affirmatively? It may be so read, and immediately one does that one drives out of it the virtue to which the right honorable gentleman has attached so much importance. It may be read in this way -
That forced labour shall be permitted in the Territory for essential public works and services, and adequate remuneration.
There is no doubt at all that the mere prohibition does not alter the plain meaning that forced labour may be permitted under certain circumstances. I ask the Treasurer to remember that, whether this sub-clause is intended to apply only to the coloured or white races, to the members of a recently conquered race, or to whomsoever it is to apply, these persons are deserving of the protection of the law. Let us ask ourselves how far they will be able to invoke the protection of the law, and by that means we shall be able to put this sub-clause to the test. Let us assume that a native is taken from his home, his hut, or his humpy, wherever it may be, and from his occupation. He is bound hand and foot, and is brought to the place where a particular class of work is to be performed. At that place he is told to enter upon a particular task, and he replies, “ I cannot do it. I will not do it,” or “ I refuse to accept the remuneration offered.” When he takes that stand, there comes that crucial moment that honorable members opposite wish to evade. What measures are to be adopted to compel a man to work ? If the language means anything it means what it says, and that, in the event of a re fusal to obey orders, physical violence may be employed, including all kinds of torture. I suggest to the Committee that if the Administrator, or any superior or inferior officer who is in charge, adopts brutal measures to compel a man to work, he would be able successfully to rejoin that he relies on the security of this Act of Parliament. He would be able to say, “ I required labour for a particular purpose; I offered this man what I considered to be adequate remuneration, and he refused to work.” Because he refuses to work, and the work is deemed to be of essential public importance, he is compellable to do so in the way sanctioned by law. If the most brutal Administrator that one could imagine were indicted for misusing any person in the Territory, under these circumstances he would have an irrefragable defence, according to the laws of this country, and he could not be convicted.
– That depends on the regulations.
– If there is any regulation which unsays what this Bill says - and no regulation can do that-
– You spoke of flogging; this Bill does not provide for flogging, or any corporal punishment.
– It is very curious that neither the Minister, nor any speaker on the other side, will face the question of what is meant by compulsion; and I put the view strongly that, according to the dictionary, it can mean only the use of violence in any measure necessary to secure the object in view.
– The Bill does not even say that there shall be forced labour.
– The Bill, of course, does not say that, but I put the matter in the affirmative form, and that is what the clause means. It means that for adequate remuneration, and for an essential public work, forced labour shall be permitted - that is the affirmative effect of the qualification we are considering. I ask leave to continue my remarks to-morrow.
Bill returned from the Senate without request.
House adjourned at 10.45 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 September 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1920/19200915_reps_8_93/>.