9th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Having brought before the House the projected flight of WingCommander Goble and Flight-Lieutenant McIntyre around Australia, I ask the Prime Minister, now that this flight has been so successfully and daringly accomplished, whether the Government will give consideration to the suggestion made in the Melbourne Herald a few days ago that a large map of Australia with the British Isles inset to scale, showing the route taken by the airmen, together with photographs, and, if possible, cinematograph views of the flight, should be exhibited at Wembley, and whether the facts of the flight will be brought before the British Government and His Majesty the King, so that some adequate distinction may be awarded to these airmen for their daring exploit, and for the service they have rendered to the country to which they belong?
– Both matters are now receiving the consideration of the Government.
– Has the Treasurer any reply to make to the deputation which waited on him on 20th March in reference to the position of Commonwealth taxation officers transferred to the States under the amalgamation scheme?
– I shall let the honorable member have the information next week.
– Will the Prime Minister say who is representing Australia at the Italian International Migration Conference?
- Mr. Percy Hunter will represent Australia.
– On the 7th May I asked the Minister for Defence what steps had been taken by him, or the naval authorities, to inquire into the murder of a seaman on the cruiser Brisbane, and I was informed that the matter had been referred to a Committee. Has the Minister any information as to the result of the investigations made by that Committee ?
– I have not yet been furnished with the result of the inquiry.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the fact that the bottom has fallen out of a large tank containing 20,000 gallons of oil at the depot of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, in which the Commonwealth is financially interested; and will he ascertain whether this mishap was due to faulty construction ?
-The matter has not been brought under my attention, but I shall have inquiries made.
– I have received from the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) an intimation that he proposes to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ The need for adequate Tariff protection for the Australian marble industry to enable it to compete successfully with Italian marble.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places -
.- Every year Australia sends £50,000 to Italy to purchase marble, which is imported chiefly in the form of sawn slabs, despite the fact that in Central Queensland alone there are in sight 18,000,000 tons of the finest marble, a quantity which the best geologists of the State of Queensland declare is sufficient to supply the whole of Australia’s requirements for the next 50 years. Every decade at least £1,000,000 is lost to Queensland through the importation of marble, and that money would have been kept here if the Australian marble industry had received adequate Tariff protection. The quality of our marble has been proved, and a sufficient quantity is available to be quarried, but, because the duty is not high enough to enable our own marble to compete against imported Italian marble, quarries have had to be closed down in Central Queensland and in South Australia. Practically all but the finishing work on imported marble is done in Italy. The Italian Government have placed a high export duty on Italian marble with the object of having the marble sawn into slabs in Italy, and thus giving employment to Italian workmen. What do the Government intend to do to combat that? One of Australia’s greatest needs at the present time is to reduce imports and to increase exports. In the year 1921-22, Australia exported goods and produce of the value of £117,000,000, but the value of the imports during the same period was £131,000,000. We could have much more satisfactory results at the end of each year by giving adequate protection to our own industries, both primary and secondary. Some of our industries, particularly the wool and meat industries, are fairly well developed, but others could be much more developed than they are by being given that measure of protection which is essential for struggling industries. Since July, 1922, when I was a member of the Queensland Parliament, I have been endeavouring, by correspondence and by representations through the State Premier, and direct to the Federal Government, to secure for the Australian marble industry the protection which is essential for its proper development. Various replies have been given to the representations put forward, but that most frequently favoured has been, “ The matter is receiving consideration.” The companies that have suffered because of those unfavorable replies are - theUlam White Marble Company, Rockhampton; the Ulam Carrara Marble Syndicate,Rockhampton; the Angaston Marble Quarries Limited, South Australia; and the Paris Creek Marble Company of South. Australia. Those companies have invested approximately £50,000 in machinery and plant, believing that they would be able to build up a great Australian industry . They have been sadly disillusioned. Until about two years ago, they were able to compete successfully with Italian marble, but the depreciation in the currency soon made that impossible. Our workmen lost their employment, and the quarries were closed clown. Of course, the Italian rate of exchange has varied considerably. The normal rate is 25.23 lire to £1. On the 14th May last, the rate was 98 lire to £1. To help the Italian exporter, sales are effected on the basis of the pound sterling, not on the lira. An export duty is placed on Italian marble in the rough, the object being to have the marble worked up in Italy. The central
Queensland marble companies requested the application of section8 of the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act to the local industry. That section reads : -
That was the request which was definitely made to the present Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman), and to his predecessors in that office. When it was refused, an alternative request was made thatan increased duty should be placed on imports, for the following reasons : -
No one will contend that wages in Australia should be lowered to enable the Australian manufacturer to compete with the manufacturers of Italy, where the wages are considerably less than those paid in Australia. In Italy, wages are from. 7 lire to 12 lire. A lira, when the exchange is normal, represented 9d. of our money. Some further protection, therefore, must be afforded, and that is what the Australian marble manufacturers have striven unsuccessfully to obtain. The increased duty urged by the South Australian marble manufacturers, according to information supplied me by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb), amounts to approximately 10 percent, on sawn marble. Because of the export duty placed on rough Italian marble, practically the whole of the marble imported from Italy reaches Australia in the sawn state. There is, in Italy, a special Government Board, which fixes the export price of marble. The business is very scientifically managed in that country, and unless the Australian industry is given similar sympathetic treatment it must go to the wall. In the year 1922-23 the sawn marble imported by Australia from Italy was valued at £24,691, and the wrought marble at £14,836. . On the other hand, the importations of unsawn marble were valued at only £312, proving that our importations are practically confined to sawn and worked marble. If may be asked is the . Australian marble suitable, and can it be obtained in sufficiently large quantities. I submit that the answer to each of those questions must be “Yes.” At Ulam, the estimated quantity of white marble is 1S,000,000 tons; in fact, there is n mountain of marble there. I had the pleasure of inspecting those quarries. I thank the Minister for Trade and Customs for his courtesy, while in Central Queensland, in having received a. deputation on this matter from persons interested in .the Central Queensland marble. I was pleased to take him to the yard of a monumental mason in Rockhampton, where we inspected statuary and tombstones made from Central Queensland marble. Our sole regret was that he had not the time at his disposal to enable him to inspect the quarries. It is interesting to note the opinion about these huge deposits held by experts. Mr. E. C. Saint-Smith, F.S.T.C., Government Geologist in Queensland, reporting on this deposit of marble on 15th May, 1921, said-
Quite apart from the marble obtainable from other lenses, there can bc no doubt whatever that these two quarries alone would not be worked out in HO yen rs.
The South Australian marble quarries also contain extensive deposits. At one time I read an article in the press which stated that those deposits extend from Angaston to Kapunda, a distance of approximately 18 miles, and- that their capacity to supply marble is practically unlimited. I shall .now deal with the quality of the Australian marble. I have been informed by those associated with the industry in Central Queensland that a sample of the Ulam Carrara marble was sent to Mr. Harold Parker, the Australian sculptor. Having exhaustively tested it, lie furnished the Central Queensland syndicate with the following opinion : -
I have now given thu block o£ white marble that you were good enough -to send mo a trial as promised. I have pleasure in reporting to you that, in my opinion, it is very good quality,’ and quite suitable for sculpture. … It is very like the statuary marble of Greece, and should have a great future before it for buildings, monuments, &c.
I think every honorable member will admit that Mr. Harold Parker is a sculptor of repute, and a favorable opinion by him is worth a good deal. Messrs. D. W . Custer and Co., Sydney, on J 8th February, 1921, wrote as follows: -
The samples show a quality equal in texture to most of the Italian marble imported into Australia, and should find a ready sale amongst the monumental and building trades.
Messrs. Gunnersen Proprietary Limited, Melbourne, wrote on 1st September, 1921:-
We are pleased to say that the quality of the marble shipped per s.s. Mackarra was quite satisfactory, the colour being good, and the marble was hard and firm.
Messrs. ‘William Train and Co., South Melbourne, wrote on 4th February, 1922 :-
The last blocks of marble received from you have turned out well, and we arc carving a soldier out of it. Our sculptor says ho is well pleased with it, and considers it as good as. the imported marble.
It may be objected that these laymen are not competent to give an expert opinion. I shall, therefore, quote the view of Professor H. C. Richards, D.Sc, of the University of Queensland. He said : -
From the dressed specimens it is seen that the marble can be worked very well indeed, and there is no evidence of cracks or brecciation Analysis shows Queensland marble equal to any in the world.
Such a testimony from a Doctor of Science and a Professor of the University of Queensland should carry a good deal of weight with any one who doubts the quality of Central Queensland marble. People generally are very conservative about continuing the use of an article to which they are accustomed, and many Australians doubt the worth of Australian products in comparison, with imported goods. Naturally, people who are making a great deal of money out of the- ‘importation of Italian marble . fire doing their best to hamper local production. But the representatives of the people in the Federal Parliament should take a broad Australian view of the matter and see that the local industry is given a fair opportunity. One Queensland newspaper published the opinion of Mr. L. Keith Ward, a South Australian Geologist, regarding the marble deposits in that State. Amongst other things he said -
The stone will take a good polish, and it is sound and amenable to work.
Mr. Ward is admitted to be a very capable man, and he knows what he is talking about. I think the quality of Australian marble is established beyond dispute. On the 27th October last a deputation representing the Ulam Marble Quarries waited upon the Minister for Trade and Customs at Rockhampton, and was received so favorably that some good was expected to result. On that occasion the Minister said -
It is conceded that the Ulam white marble is the best white marble in Australia. . . . If you can show conclusively in any shape or form the necessity for the application of the anti-dumping provisions of the Industries Preservation Act I will not hesitate to take the desired action. … It would be a very fine thing to get some of the Ulam marble for use in the construction of the Federal Parliament House at Canberra.
What more favorable expressions could have fallen from the lips of the Minister? ITo wonder the members of the deputation were buoyed up with hope ! Continuing, the Minister said -
I have to congratulate you on your local marble industries, and I think it is monstrous to bring marble from Italy when we can get marble like the Ulam marble in Australia. VW must have some faith in our own country and industries.
Those are delightful sentiments, and all I ask is that they be put into practice. So far they have been fruitless. I ask the Minister to act in accordance with those sentiments, so that example may follow precept.
– What does the honorable member suggest that I should do?
– I ask the Minister to keep his promise to protect the Australian marble industry. I know that the Minister now states that there are difficulties in the way of applying the Industries Preservation Act, but before I conclude my remarks I intend to ask the Minister to ‘ request the Imperial Government to relieve Australia of the alleged restrictions imposed by the 1883 Treaty with Italy. 1 shall show that the Imperial Conference of 1911 made an endeavour to have those restrictions lifted. The deputation at Rockhampton pointed out to the Minister that the depreciated Italian exchange was exceedingly favorable to Italian marble, and Mr. F. M. Allen, a monumental mason, who is interested in one of the quarries in Central Queensland, said -
We in Australia cannot sell under ?1 what in Italy could be obtained for 5s., and for that reason alone the anti-dumping .duty should be applied.
In reply to that, the Minister said -
In other cases ‘brought under notice where currency affects matter prompt steps were taken.
Mr. Allen said to the Minister ;
There are many anomalies, the chief of which is that the block of ‘ Italian marble can be landed in Sydney for 50s. per foot cube. . . . The same marble can be sawn up into ..slabs, and after all the labour involved, the price is considerably less than the original rough block on which no labour has been expended. This is one of the chief things that the Australian industry is up against. A block, costing 50s., could not possibly be sawn up into three-quarter inch slabs, and nine such slabs could be bought for ls. Od. a loot, so that the cut slabs are sold for considerably less than the original rough blocks. ‘ Of course, we have not the slightest hope of competing against business like that. . During the war, when marble was scarce, people were prepared to take the Australian marble, and were perfectly satisfied with it, but now, owing to the cheapness of the. Italian marble, they .are raising objections as to the quality of the Australian products. But the Ulam marble people are satisfied that there are no grounds whatever for such objections, and that they are merely raised with a view to justifying the choice of the cheap Italian marble. Ulam marble is just as good as any Italian marble. Anyone importing statuary into Australia has to pay 45 per cent., and by declaring it to be a work of art it comes in for nothing, or next to nothing. This is simply a method of evading the duty, and I can show from the monthly list of Italian imports that, instead of statuary, the goods are being imported as works of art. I do not import from Italy. It pays me best to buy from those men who import direct. I have paid ?12 for beautiful statues 3 feet high, which have been declared works of art.
There is evidence that certain interests in Sydney representative of the marble importers, are blocking the granting of the necessary protection to the Australian marble industry. This letter, dated the 22nd November, 1922, was received by the Central Queensland marble people from a reputable firm in Sydney - ‘
It has come to our hearing that a firm in Sydney is importing marble at ridiculous prices, and that they have purchased 500,000 lire worth at the price of 15 lire per 100, the exchange to-day being 94 lire to the £1. It is also reported that the firm in question- must have bought bankrupt stocks of marble in Italy, or purchased in such a manner that it is now able to deliver duty paid, Sydney, table, tops at the rate of ls. 6d. per square foot. Under the circumstances Australian marble has very little chance. We have given you this information as we think that the clauses of the Anti-dumping Act should be applied.
The firm in question would not have made such statements unless they were true. The following extract indicates the opinions held by the people with whom the Central Queensland marble interests do business. In October, 1922, 0. Heath and Sons, of 159 Dorcas-street, . South Melbourne, wrote -
The price of Italian marble sawn slabs is far cheaper than* what you are charging in block form.
Messrs. Payne and Company, of South. Melbourne, wrote in 1922 -
Owing to the big drop in the price of the imported- marble wo find the demand for the local marble falling OK
So the Queeusland central marble people could, not do business with thom. 1 have been informed by those who ave endeavouring to build up the marble industry.in Australia that Mr. D. B. Acton, of 162 Balmont-street, Alexandra, was appointed by the Master Monumental Masons and members of the Stone Manufacturers and Importers Association of Sydney, to put their case against protection for the Australian industry. He used all his’ influence on the Tariff Board and Government supporters. It is largely due to his efforts, and those of like persons, that the marble industry has not been able to obtain the necessary protection. On the 23rd “February, 1924. Mr. A. P. Savage, secretary to the Ulam Carrara Marble Syndicate,, in Central Queensland, wrote to me as follows : -
We are most anxious to re-open the quarries, and know you will always render your best assistance. Unfortunately, we- seem doomed to be obstacled, as, on top of the Anti-dumping Act not being applied to imported marble, we have a chance of supplying 2,000 tons (a big order) to New Zealand, but cannot up to the present get through freight, and the exorbitant transhipping charges, in addition to freight, make the c.i.f. prices high. In fact, the prices’ are much higher than we are charging for marble.
In reply to my question in this House, asking whether the Federal Government could not see its way to grant the necessary protection to the Australian marble industry, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) said : -
Importations of Italian marble were investigated by the ‘ Tariff Board some months ago, and the’ Board was then unable to say, on the evidence available, that dumping was taking place. It caine under notice, however, that under a Treaty in existence, Italy is entitled to most favored nation treatment, and in consequence it was impossible to impose any duties that did not apply tlo the goods of all other foreign nations. For this reason, further inquiries as to prices of Italian marble were not pursued ponding action being taken to obtain, if possible, a modification of the Treaty.
I have endeavoured to ascertain particulars of that Treaty. According to Hertslet’s Commercial Treaties, vol. 15, in 1883, long Before- the establishment of the Australian Federation, there was negotiated a treaty entitled “ Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Great Britain and Italy.”’ It was signed at Boms on the 15th June, 1883. This Treaty, wo are told at the eleventh hour by the Government, stands in the way of protecting the Australian marble industry by the imposition, of the provisions of the Anti.dumping Act. I wonder why the representatives of the Commonwealth, at’ th6 . various Imperial Conferences,, have not successfully endeavoured to modify a treaty that was not entered into hy Australia. In June, 1911, the following resolution was passed at the Imperial Conference : -
That His Majesty’s Government bc requested to open negotiations with the several foreign Governments having Treaties which apply to the overseas Dominions, with a view to securing liberty for any of those Dominions which may desire to withdraw from the operation of a Treaty without impairing these Treaties in respect of the rest of the Empire.
As a result of that resolution, negotiations were opened up by the British Government with the countries concerned, but Italy was not prepared to waive her right under the Treaty, unless there was a quid pro- quo. Conditions have changed since 1911, and I appeal to the Minister to negotiate with the British Government for relief from her obligations under a treaty enacted 40 years ago, twenty years before Federation - a treaty which, if observed by Australia, will ruin our marble industry. There is an unlimited supply of good marble in Australia, and any protection afforded to the industry will give employment to a considerable number of Australian workers. The depreciated currency of Italy, and the Government’s inability to impose a dumping duty, place Australia at a great disadvantage. The low wages obtaining in Italy make it im-‘ possible for lis to compete with that country. We require a reasonable standard of living in Australia, and no honorable member would advocate the lowering of wages here to meet Italian competition. The Minister should put into effect the promises that he made to a deputation in Central Queensland. If he cannot apply the anti-dumping Act he can increase tlie Tariff. He congratulated the members of that deputation oil their wonderful marble. He said that it was the finest marble in Australia, and that one day he would like to see it adorning the walls of the legislative hall at Canberra. Now I ask that he act up to those statements.
– I compliment the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) upon his very lucid and comprehensive address in support of the Australian marble industry. He is serving a very useful purpose. I have long wished to say something in this House about marble, but have refrained from doing so because it might be thought that I was trying to gain some advantage for the district in which I live. As “the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) well knows, a deposit of the most magnificent marble in the world lies adjacent, to my property near Canberra. I have time after time listened to diatribes against the building of the Federal Capital, knowing all the time that, within 30 miles of it, and within 1-) miles of the Michelago railway station, is a deposit of marble that would make Parliament House at Canberra something resplendent in the way of buildings. That it is magnificent marble can be vouched for by the curator of the Technological Museum, Sydney. A block of it is in that museum, and another block of it has been sent to the Empire Exhibition at Wembley, to be viewed by the peoples of the world. For some inexplicable reason, this deposit of marble has not been exploited. Mr. Goodwin, the Commonwealth SurveyorGeneral, is well acquainted with it, but neither he nor the Minister has taken any action. A cliff 100 feet high contains tens of thousands of tons of this valuable stone. The only fault I have to find with the honorable member for Capricornia is that he spoke on behalf of Queensland marble only. Queensland has no marble to compare with that at Michelago, which is superior to marble from Italy or any other part of the world. To prevent injury to our local industry, a duty should certainly be placed upon the importation of foreign marble. In eulogizing the Michelago product, I am doing nothing to bring grist to my own mill. It is situated upon a public reserve, leased by two working miners. If this deposit were successfully worked, the two miners and the district generally would receive the benefit. I ask the Minister to obtain a report upon this deposit. I am surprised that Mr. Goodwin has not had the marble tested. It is scandalous that no use is being made df marble situated within 30 miles of the Federal Capital. A small tramway could be constructed to nui from Michelago and across the River Molonglo to Canberra. Working miners have propounded a scheme for getting this marble out and conveying it to the top of the hill by trucks ; but without marblecutting machinery,, the business of quarrying cannot be undertaken.
– Is there any of that marble in Sydney?
– It may be seen at the Sydney Museum; but whether it has been used- for building purposes, I am unable to say, because, as I have already pointed out, at present there are no facilities for cutting it out of the quarry. The working miners have not sufficient capital to get together the necessary plant.
– And there is no en- “couragement for them to do so, in view of the unfair competition of Italian marble.
-I regret the necessity for the motion this morning to direct attention to the danger of the marble industry in Australia being absolutely wiped out. I very well remember what happened when we were considering the last Tariff Bill. I received a communication from the monumental masons in my own district, and ascertained that the movement originated in Sydney. We waited for some honorable member in this House to put the case for the importing interests. Nobody did so ; but when the matter was under consideration in another place, an honorable senator there took the necessary action, and when the Bill came back to this House, Mr. Storey, the then representative for Boothby, and I fought the Tariff proposal that statuary in the rough should be duty free. As the result, the then Minister (Mr. Massy Greene) amended the item, and the duty was fixed at 20 per cent, for marble in the rough. The original proposal was really an attempt to get in the thin end of the wedge in the interests of the Italian industry. The Minister (Mr. Massy Greene) when submitting the proposal for statuary marble in the rough to be free, said -
The effect of my proposal is that white marble imported in the rough purely for statuary purposes, and not for ordinary monumental work, would be admitted free. In this way, our own marble quarries -will be protected.
I invite the present Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) to note the concluding words of the sentence. That was the policy of the former Government.
– The intention was to admit pure Carrara marble free for sculptural purposes.
– But it was pointed out at the time that, once marble had been admitted, it would be extremely difficult to ascertain if it was actually being used for statuary purposes. We thought then that a duty on marble in the rough of 20 per cent, would be sufficient; but the depreciation of the Italian currency, and legislative action by the Italian Government, which placed an. export duty on marble in the rough for the protection of the home industry, have entirely altered the Australian position. Very often Italian marble comes out to Australiaas ballast, and consequently at a very low freight rate. I doubt if freight from
Italy to Australia is as high as on marble from the Angaston quarries to Port Adelaide, a distance of only 50 miles. This may be the fault of our railway policy, which like the Victorian, is designed to drag everything to the metropolitan area. At all events that is the position. I propose to put a few questions to the Minister, and lest he should feel disinclined to reply, I shall supply the answers myself. My first is - Have we, in Australia, marble of a quality suitable for all purposes for which” marble may be used?
– I will answer. “ Yes “ to that question.
– I am glad to have the Minister’s assurance that our marble is good enough for all purposes. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr.Forde) furnished sufficient evidence on that point just now. There is no need for me to add to what he has said, except that if any honorable member doubts the quality of our marble for statuary purposes, I advise him to go along North Terrace, Adelaide, and have a look at the statue of Robert Burns, which has been standing there for some considerable time. My second question is - Have we this marble in sufficient quantities?
– Again, I am glad of the Minister’s reply in the affirmative. There is no doubt about our position in this respect. The honorable member for Warringah (Sir Granville Eyrie) and the honorable member for Capricornia have brought forward sufficient evidence on this point. I might add to it by reminding honorable members of the immense deposits in South Australia, and I have no doubt that honorable members from Western Australia could do likewise in respect of their State. My third question is - Is it the policy of the Government to protect Australian industries?
– Again the Minister replies “Yes,” and I hope that, in the case of the marble industry, the Government policy will be put into practice. The former Minister, as I have already shown, definitely said that the existing Tariff was intended to protect the Australian marble industry, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce)., speaking in Adelaide only three days ago, said -
Protection was the accepted policy, and it was firmly interwoven into the fabric of our national life.
I need hardly add to that statement. My fourth question is - Have we the legislative means to overcome the effect on Australian industries of depreciated currencies in foreign countries? Perhaps the Minister will not care to supply an answer to this question, but he knows as well as I do that the Industries Preservation Act, commonly called the Anti-Dumping Act, is adequate for the purpose. The provisions of that Act can and should be put into operation. I remind the Minister that only last evening, when dealing with another matter, he told honorable members of the Country party that, no matter what they thought, it was his duty to administer the Act. I say now that it is his duty, in view of the unfair competition of Italian marble as the result of freight concessions, depreciated currency, and export tax in Italy, to give effect to the provisions of the Act. Seeing that the anti-dumping provisions of the Act ought to be put into operation, why has that not been done? I hope that the Minister will answer this question when he replies. His answer will probably be based on a Treaty made with Italy in 1883. If it is thought that the anti-dumping provisions should be applied to some imported articles, reasons should be given for not putting them into operation with respect to Italian marble. My opinion is that Sydney influence has been brought to bear upon the Minister for Trade and Customs. Members of the Tariff Board are often in Sydney. The Minister lives in New South Wales, and the importers of marble have evidently influenced him in their favour. On the other hand, the people who quarry marble in Australia have not a great number of votes, and therefore their industry has not received the consideration it deserves. The Commonwealth is under a Coalition Government, one of the wings of which comprises representatives of the Country party, and since marble quarrying is distinctly a country industry, and a primary one, too, I find it difficult to reconcile the attitude of the Minister with the principles for which the Govern ment is supposed to stand. No member of the Ministry has kissed the blarney stone more often than the Minister for Trade and Customs. I hope that on this occasion he will kiss the cold practical marble and give an answer that will be an encouragement to themen who are still persevering with this industry. Some men have already sold out their interests in it. A year ago I introduced a deputation to the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), in South Australia, and since then one of the marble companies in that State has put the whole of its plant up to auction. I believe it was sold about a month ago.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– That the anti-dumping provisions of the Industries Preservation Act should be put into operation. It will be mere camouflage and sophistry for the Minister to put forward a Treaty made in 1883 as the real reason for allowing the marble industry to be ruined.
. -I do not care to hear a claim, suchas has been made by honorable members opposite, advanced without opposition. Because of some strange hallucination it seems that certain honorable members imagine that the ordinary course of commerce and industry can be altered by means of legislation.
– Is not the honorable member a fairly ardent supporter of the bounty principle?
– I do not desire to enter into a general discussion concerning industries receiving abnormal protection, but I invite those honorable members who have a strong belief in high protection to state what great value has accrued to our industries since the 1950 Tariff was put into force. Have we not still as much unemployment in this country as formerly? Statistics show that the area under crops is less, that the population in rural districts has decreased, and that the production on which our wealth depends has fallen off.
– The honorable member should quote figures rather than make general statements.
– I have facts compiled which prove my statement, but it would be foolish for me to quote them on the spur of the moment, for I should have to rely entirely upon my memory. It must be realized that Parliament cannot interfere in industries such as that under consideration without courting trouble. How can there be economic liberty, as was pointed out the other evening by the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse), when various obstructions are raised from time to time in Australia against the natural flow of trade? The anti-dumping provisions have been applied time after time without regard to the welfare of the people in the back country who are most directly concerned. I make no reflection against the personal character of the members of the Tariff Board, but they are almost entirely a protectionist body.
– Does the honorable member support bounties?
– I prefer the bounty system to duties, because under it all the people have to pay for the protection given to an industry, but when special duties are imposed, such as those levied on agricultural implements and motor cars, the buyers have to bear the burden of the whole of the impost.
– In free trade New Zealand, agricultural implements cost more than they do in Australia.
– That statement is not correct. When the Bill for the appointment of the Tariff Board was before the House, I drew attention to the probability, of injustice being done to some industries. The Board sits in a starchamber fashion, and takes evidence from one side only. No intimation is made to the people who will have to pay the duties imposed, and they have no opportunity to state their case. No more preposterous statement could be made than that put forward by the Minister last evening, when he said that 70 per cent, of the wire netting of the type imported into Australia for rabbit and dog-proof fences is used within the United Kingdom itself. I have a copy of a cablegram from the AgentGeneral for Western Australia, who states that under pre-war conditions 70 per cent, of the netting manufactured in the Old Country was exported. If there had been a roof of this material erected over the whole of England its total out- put of wire netting would not have been required for home use. Then, shovels, which are required by practically every person who owns a home, and are also used extensively in the development of the country, are subject to a special duty merely because an industry which employs only fifteen men is manufacturing them in Australia. .That is sufficient to show the extent to which the industry has developed after years of protection. One has only to refer to the duties imposed on motor car bodies, imported from the United States of America, to realize what is happening.
– The United States has the highest Protective Tariff of any country in the world.
– Yes, and agricultural machinery is admitted there free of duty.
– Because the United States of America manufacture large quantities.
– The Minister informed me that the duty imposed on a body for a single-seated motor car imported from the United Kingdom was £30, and from foreign countries £40. On every Ford car body imported from America a duty of £40 has to be paid by the purchaser, while the rate on a doubleseater car body is about £60, which is about the price of a complete car in the United States of America. The Tariff Board recommends the imposition of certain duties after meeting in camera.
– I rise to order. I should like to know if the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) is in order in discussing Tariff duties. generally when the question before the House is the imposition of a dumping duty on marble?
– An honorable member is not entitled on a specific and a definite motion of urgent public importance to roam over the whole Tariff. I understand the remarks of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) to mean, so far as he has gone, that he objects to the remedy suggested by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb), and is giving one or two illustrations to show that what he desires cannot be achieved by the method pro- . posed. So long as he does not go beyond that, he will be in order.
-I was referring only to the operations of that Tariff Board, and the methods that will he adopted if the question of a dumping duty is referred to that body. I quite agree with the remarks made by the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) the other night when he stated that most of the more important Commonwealth public buildings are constructed of concrete and brick, and stucco, instead of stone. I always admire the splendid stone structures in. Collins-street, and it is to be regretted that the Commonwealth has not erected permanent structures of cut stone instead of concrete and brick. If we have such wonderful deposits of marble in New South Wales, comparatively close to the Federal Capital Territory, it is strange that no attempt has been made, on the part of the proprietors of these deposits, to bring about the use of marble in the public buildings at Canberra and elsewhere. Ample money is available for conducting profitable private enterprises, and it is surprising that marble is not more generally used if adequate supplies are available at. a reasonable price. In theconstruction of the Marble Bar, in Sydney, a large quantity of assorted marble was used.
– Marble is also used in the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney.
– I do not think so.
– Yes; that is Australian marble.
– One naturally wonders why imported marble, which has to be carried such a long distance by water, can: possibly compete with the local product.
– It comes out as ballast.
– Ships coming from Great Britain or Mediterranean ports, are usually fully loaded, as the freight on ballast is unprofitable. Possibly further information could be obtained concerning the deposits of good working marble in Australia. If adequate supplies of a satisfactory quality are available, the Australian product should he more extensively used in public buildings than has been the practice in the past.
.- I do not intend to approach this subject from the stand-point of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). The question is one which should be considered from the stand-point of the development of an important Australian industry of which we have no need to be ashamed. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) admitted, in answer to the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) that we have available marble of a satisfactory quality and in sufficient quantity to meet the local demand, which demonstrates our ability to do the job instead of purchasing the product of cheap labour. As I pointed out last night when discussing the question of borrowing on the Seat of Government (Administration) Bill, the financial activities of the different European countries are exercising an important influence over Australian development, and, as mentioned this morning, it is the depreciation of currency, and not the lack of ability on the part of the Australian producer, which is responsible for our present position. In other words, we have endeavoured to meet the position by passing the Industries Preservation Act, the operations of which in some directions appear to be quite ineffective. Notwithstanding the treaty referred to by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) the Act to which I have just referred should be applied, and a determined effort made to develop our natural resources. In this instance, we have an ample supply of good-quality marble available, and men capable of turning it into the finished product. If we cannot overcome the difficulties now confronting us, which are caused only by diversity of opinion and interests, we are not fit for our job. Valuable deposits of marble exist in South Australia, concerning which the honorable member for Angas has dealt fully. Italian marble comes out here in slabs which arc so much like the article required for table-tops that the Australian workers have onlyto polish the flat surface and bevel the edges. Practically the same thing may be said of the marble imported for grave headstones. As a matter of fact, our workers are scarcely more than assemblers. The marble-workers in South Australia have made so many fruitless efforts to remedy the position that they have either lost hope of obtaining relief or else have concluded that we are unable to give them any. I trust, however, that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) will make earnest efforts to place the Australian marble industry on a proper footing. Let honorable members think for a moment of the foolish position iu which we find ourselves. In Adelaide a half-finished Parliament House faced with marble clearly proves that at one time the people of South Australia were proud of, and endeavoured to use, their marble. Nowadays one never hears the suggestion ‘ that the South Australian House of Parliament should be completed in marble, according to the original intention.’ Australian marble was sent to England for use in the construction of Australia House, on the Strand, in London, for it was believed that it would be a good advertisement for the Commonwealth. In the Sydney Art Gallery a handsome carved marble spiral staircase is to bo seen. It also was put iu that building to advertise Australian marble. Yet to-day marble is. brought from oversea and our own ‘marble deposits are neglected.
– Does the honorable member suggest that that fact has made any difference to the completion of the South Australian House of parliament? I do not think so.
– I do not suggest that; hut I believe that if an attempt were made to finish the South Australian House of Parliament in Angaston marble, as was originally intended, the cry would be raised that marble could be obtained more cheaply from Italy. Circumstances are such that we are unable to consummate our desires.
– Because we have not the money.
– The time is coining rapidly when we shall have to consider seriously whether the present financial system should not be superseded. Surely we ought to exercise bur common sense and break down the barriers which prevent the development of our natural resources. “We should. not allow the prevailing financial methods to ham-string the .country. The honorable member for Warringah (Sir Granville Ryrie) stated that Australia possesses one of the finest marble deposits in the world. It seems strange, therefore, that we should be building in brick and stucco our Federal Capital, which is intended to be a monument to perpetuate the memory of those who conceived the idea of constructing the city. If the marble in those quarries were made available, we should be developing a great industry, and, at the same time, building a city in which wo could justly take pride.
– How would that help marble to compete against brick?
– Wo do not want competition ; we want ornamentation.
– I believe that we are slipping back to the days of the blackfellows’ wurley. If the view of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) were pushed to its logical conclusion, we should limit the Canberra project to the building of a. few wurleys, and hold our pow-wows around a camp fire. It could easily be carried to a. ridiculous conclusion.
– The honorable member’s policy will take us to the ridiculous soon enough.
– If the Labour, party were permitted to pursue its policy, it would soon prove that it is the best policy. Our opponents distort and malign our proposals, but they have not been courageous enough to repeal any of the important provisions which we have been able to introduce, at various times, into the legislation of the country. Though I shall probably be out of order, I cannot resist reminding the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) that before he was a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, the Labour party defeated a loan Bill, the intention of which was to borrow £3,000,000 to provide a Dreadnought for the British Navy, and established the Australian Navy. Notwithstanding the varying fiscal views which honorable members hold, I consider that they should co-operate to develop the Australian marble industry along the lines which the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade and Customs have admitted to bc the policy of this country.
.- I feel it incumbent upon me to reply to the remarks made by the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) in advocating that the provisions of the Australian Industries Preservation Act shall bo applied to imported marble. Queensland has benefited more than any other part of the Commonwealth by bur Tariff provisions, and having so enjoyed the felicities and benefits afforded by the
Tariff, its people are ravenous for more. After the industries of Queensland have been supported by the taxation of the people of every other State until they prosper, the Queenslanders say: “Look at what the Labour Government of Queensland has done ! “ When we consider that the sugar industry of Queensland has been protected by a Commonwealth contribution of about £2,500,000; that Queensland has claimed 90 per cent, of the meat bounty, totalling £110,000 ; that the Queensland banana industry is protected to the extent of 8s. 4d. per cental; and that the protection afforded to the pineapple industry amounts to 6s. per cental, we do not wonder that the people of that State favour Tariff assistance. We are told now by them that we must fix the price of cotton at a figure that will ensure a good profit to their cotton-growers. The Queenslanders also enjoy the benefit of Protection for their timber industry, and they are now clamouring for a still further Protection, in order that they may dispose of their pine tops. The latest proposition is that the marble industry shall be protected. Queensland, it is said, has one of the finest marble deposits in the world. In fact, some honorable members would have us believe that there are mountains of marble in that State. They say, also, that Italian marble comes to this country in ballast. If Italian marble may be used as ballast in overseas ships, why may not Australian marble be similarly used in coastal vessels? What is wrong with Australia? Our isolation appears to be making us themost peculiar people in the world. I want those honorable members who speak so glibly of low wages in other countries to realize that under the accepted policy of Protection in Australia about 36s. is required to-day to buy what £1 would buy in 1914. The more we employ Protection to cover inefficiency the less the pound will buy. It must be clear to any thinking person, notwithstanding the gibes that are thrown at me when I enunciate my views on this subject, that already the “writing is on the wall.” Yesterday the honorable member for Lang (Sir Elliot Johnson) presented a petition from the League of Women to reduce the cost of living. To what did they attribute the high cost of living? The Tariff. A Royal Commission, whichhas been appointed by the Government of Victoria, has been examining the boot manufacturers, who have confessed that they cannot compete in the export trade. They have outgrown the local market and can employ men in the making of boots only by charging the people of Australia very high prices.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– I suggest that if the Australian quarryman is efficient, as he claims to be, he should be able to take the marble out of the mountain, place it on the rails, and sell it for a price at which it will compete with marble imported from other countries. The wheat-grower and fruit-grower should not be asked to compensate him for his inefficiency. The housewife who uses a marble-top table has to pay an excessive price for it because of the import duty upon marble. Thus the cost of living is increased, and the purchasing power of money reduced. I am quite satisfied that unless the people of Australia pay more attention to efficiency, the purchasing power of money will continue to decrease, and that in the end our experience will be bitter. The raw material existing in Australia ought to be quarried and sold in competition with the marble produced by any country in the world. If other countries can send marble in. ballast to Australia, we ought to be able to send it in ballast along the coast. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) sneeringly referred to my remarks about the duty on bananas. He does not care a rap what Western Australians suffer. He is not a big Australian - but merely a Capricornian.
– I am amazed at the remarks of the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse). He said the duties on bananas, timber, and other articles, were likely to ruin the country; but it is peculiar that, whenever he gets an opportunity, he casts his vote to. support a Government which, in his opinion, is ruining the country. He surely cannot forget that the things of which he complains were done by the present Government.
– With the honorable member’s support.
– Did the honorable member for Forrest vote against the Government? If the policy of Protection is detrimental to the country he must take his share of the responsibility for it, instead of blaming the Minister for Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman), who has merely carried out his duty. It would be far more manly of him, if he sincerely holds the views he has enunciated, to turn out the Government, instead of standing up with his tongue in his cheek, and speaking to please the people of Western Australia, while voting to suit himself and keep the Government in power. I compliment the honorable member who moved the adjournment of the House. I am glad that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) referred to the decrease in the production of the country, because I recently saw figures showing the amount of money spent in building railways and bridges in the country and carrying out other works designed to facilitate the transport of produce to market. Many millions have been spent on purely rural development, but notwithstanding that expenditure, less is being produced in the country to-day per head of the population than was produced twenty years ago. On the other hand, the money spent on secondary industries has increased production a hundredfold, and has assisted to make this country selfcontained.
– £71,000,000 is spent in wages in the secondary industries.
– Yes, that is so.
– The sum is much more than £71,000,000.
– That is the last figure I have heard. In addition to marble we have beautiful granite in this country, and granite, also, is being imported. It is proposed to spend £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 in constructing a bridge across the Sydney Harbour. Granite is specified for the abutments and piers, and probably about £500,000 will be spent in the purchase of that material. I hope the Minister will not allow granite to be imported while it is obtainable in the country. Two or three miles from the Federal Territory I visited a granite quarry which is producing some of the best granite I have ever seen.
– The honorable member is not permitted to discuss that subject.
– Granite is next to marble.
– But it is not marble.
– If the marble industry is protected the granite industry should be protected also. There are beautiful exhibits of Australian marble in the Sydney Art Gallery, and the same material is used in the Commonwealth Bank buildings in Sydney and Melbourne. The Government would bo wise to apply the provisions of the Australian Industries Preservation Act to marble. Any man who advocates importing marble from cheap labour countries is advocating cheap labour. Australia cannot compete with cheap labour countries without bringing down the standard of living in this country, and if we do that the man on the land will not be able to get for his products the price that he obtains to-day.
– He will not need the same price as he obtains to-day.
– It is certain that he will not get it under a system of importing cheap marble. If the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) occupied the position of Minister for Trade and Customs, and carried out his policy, there would be thousands more unemployed in Australia than there are to-day. No country has made progress under Free Trade.
– In twelve months we went £9,000,000 to the bad.
– If the honorable member had his way, we would go £19,000,000 to the bad in six months. I commend the Minister for the attitude he has adopted. He has shown a true Australian spirit, and the sentiment of this House is behind him.
– I approach this matter purely from a business point of view. The present duty on marble is from 20 to 45 per cent. What is the amount of wages paid to marbleworkers in Italy?
– It is equal to about 5s. a day.
– If we in Australia pay three times that amount in wages, the duty should be increased correspondingly. We should maintain the standard of efficiency and the standard of living in Australia. This is purely a business proposition, based on the cost of living. I am here to develop Australia, and not Italy. If our laws are artificial, and not applicable to Australia, we should wipe them. off the statute-book. If any man in this House is prepared to say that our standard of living is too high, let him say so now, or else for ever hold his peace.
– I am in hearty accord with the object of the motion of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde). I am thankful also to the Government, and to the present Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman), for the attitude adopted by them in respect to this matter. For any one to say that Australian marble is unsuitable for ordinary work is absurd. It is true that marblehas sometimes been used in wrong places. For instance, in the National Insurance Company building, the marble pillars, which were exposed to the weather, had to be removed; but for internal decoration the marble in that building could not be surpassed anywhere, either for colour or appearance. If the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) had his way, our marble deposits would not be developed. The attitude of the honorable member is antiAustralian. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) stated that motors were admitted free into the United States of America. If he will look at Kelly’s Customs Tariffs of the World, page 1126, he will find in item 369 -
Automobiles, automobile bodies, automobile chassis, motor cycles, and parts of the foregoing, not including tyres, all of the foregoing, whether finished or unfinished, 25 per cent,ad valorem.
In addition, there is a proviso that if any country imposes a duty, in excess of the duty provided in the paragraph, on any article specified therein, when imported from the United States of America, there shall be imposed a further duty up to 50 per cent, ad valorem. The honorable member also said thatagricultural machinery was admitted free to the United States of America. Article 373 reads-
Shovels, spades, scoops, scythes, sickles, grass hooks, corn knives, and drainage tools, and parts thereof, composed wholly or in chief value of iron, steel, lead, copper, brass, aluminium, or other metal, whether partly or wholly manufactured, 30 per cent, ad valorem.
– That does not include agricultural machinery.
– Did the honorable member ever see a farm without a spade? Marble works of art, if not of less value than £10, are admitted free, the reason being that a lot of ornaments are turned out by machinery, andthe artists objected to their coming in free of duty. I compliment the honorable member for Capricornia on his action in bringing this matter before the House. As with marble, so with many other things, we in Australia should make greater use of our splendid possessions. In the Parliament House at Berne, Switzerland, there are some magnificent halls, where one reads notices like this: - “This stone comes from a certain district “, “ This marble is from another district,” and so on. By that means, the people there are endeavouring to advertise their own industries. But if we followed the advice of the honorable members for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) and Swan. (Mr. Gregory), then God help any Australian industry that in any way interfered with the industries in which they are particularly interested!
– I congratulate the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) on the manner in which he has presented his case to the House. The honorable member has also placed his views before me on other occasions, and 1 have looked into the question thoroughly. I wish also to refer to the subject mentioned by the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley). There is a duty on granite at the present time. The present duties on Italian marble are : -
Marble and granite, un wrought, including rough or scabbled from the pick, ad val. 20 per cent.
Slabs, scantlings, or blocks, sawn on one or two faces, ad val. 25 per cent.
Slabs, scantlings, or blocks, sawn on one or more faces, and one or more edges or ends, ad val. 30 per cent.
Wrought, n.e.i., ad val. 45 , per cent.
Those duties apply equally to granite and marble. Honorable members will recollect that, during the last Parliament, the duty on marble was increased, by a vote of the House, from 30 percent, to 45 per cent. I referred this matter to the Tariff Board. When the Minister is asked to interfere with a duty his proper course is to refer the matter to the men who under an Act of this Parliament were appointed to go into the details of such questions. They are in a position to secure professional evidence, and are naturally better placed than are members of this Parliament to advise upon such questions. I regret that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) has seen fit to make an attack upon the Tariff Board this morning. Whatever our political views may be. I think we are all agreed that those gentlemen do their best, and that is all they possibly can do. If their recommendations are not acceptable to us. we should try to combat them; but we should not make derogatory statements concerning them in this House. To do that is very unfair. So far as the references of the honorable member for Swan to myself are concerned, I do not mind them. I have been thirty-three years in Parliament, and I am quite used to having those who do not agree with me cavil at what I say or do. I am always very well pleased when, as in this case, the reason for the caviling is that I stand for Australia against foreign countries, and for decent wages for Australians as against wages of 2s. per day paid to black men. Should men who stand for low wages and the interests of other countries ever get into power in this Parliament, and I hope to God they never will, they will help to bring about the ruin of this country. Without our primary and secondary industries we cannot live in Australia, and it is just as well that honorable members should recognize that. I submitted this matter to the Tariff Board, with the result that an officer was sent to South Australia, and after making a thorough investigation of the South Australian marble quarries he reported that the greatest difficulty from which the industry suffered at present is the heavy railway freight; but action is about to be taken to secure a reduction of freight. I shall not now discuss the merits or demerits of Protection or Free Trade. The imposition of heavy duties on what we cannot produce or manufacture is not protection but is taxation only, to which I am opposed, but with protection that fosters employment and production in our own country I agree. I have been on one side of the Tariff hedge during the whole of my political life, and I have yet to be convinced that I am wrong. The marble industry is one which should give considerable employment in Australia. Honorable members should bear in mind that we have in this country some of the best deposits of marble in the world. Their quality hasbeen proved. There are such deposits, not only in the district of Capricornia, to which the honorable member who moved the adjournment referred, hut in every one of the States. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) and other honorable members will endorse the statement made by the honorable member for Warringah (Sir Granville Ryrie) that at Michelago, near Canberra there is one of the greatest marble deposits in the world. There is a mountain of marble of wonderful quality there close to a railway station. I see no reason why we should not use that marble. Surely in the beautification of Canberra no one will contend that we should send to Italy or some other foreign country for marble when we have the marbleat hand, and by utilizing it can give employment to our own workers.
– What is preventing us from using that marble?
– One thing that prevents us is the dumping of imported marble in this country.
– We have a duty of 45 per cent, on marble.
– I know that it is as difficult for me to convince the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) as it would be for him to convince me. We are on different sides of the hedge. The honorable member would give employment to the cheap foreigner, whilst I prefer to give employment toour own people. I believe in the White Australia policy, and realize that finding employment for our own peopleis the best way to maintain it, and thus stabilize and increase the home market forprimary products, &c. I promise the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) that I will look further into this matter. One thing which prevents us at the present time from dealing with , the dumping of marble is a treaty entered into by Great Britain with Italy in 1883, by which the Dominions are bound. It seems to me that these old treaties might be reviewed, and that, in a spirit of sweet reasonableness, the signatories to them might be brought to realize that in some instances they operate unfairly, and should be either amended or ended. I will submit the matter to the Cabinet that they may consider whether it would be right to do something to meet the difficulty in this case. It is not in my power to increase the duty on marble or on anything else, but I promise the honorable member for Capricornia to go into the matter with the Cabinet and see that representations are made concerning the treaty, if the matter can be dealt with in that way. It has always seemed to me to be a great pity, when we have deposits of marble or other materials in this country and have men looking for employment, that we do not use them instead of sending across the seas for what we require. Whatever may be the names of parties in this House, those who stand for white labour, decent wages, and the Australian standard of living must triumph in the end. There is only one great party in this Parliament when it comes to the expression of an honest decision upon such a policy - the Australian party. I hope that in the very near future we shall pass such legislation in this House as will tend to make Australia what we wish it to be, one of the greatest countries on God’s earth.
Question resolved in the negative.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Plans Supplied by Kirkpatrick and Company - Land, Belmont Shire, Queensland - Road Construction, Preston, Victoria.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Commonwealth Bank has furnished the following information : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Whether it is the intention to utilize the land in the Belmont Shire, Queensland, which was resumed for Rifle Range and War Service Homes purposes?
– It is intended to utilize portion of the land for rifle range purposes.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
Has he given further consideration to the representations made by and on behalf of the holders of War Service Homes in Estherstreet, Preston, regarding road construction; and, if so, what is to be done in the matter?
– Yes; but I cannot agree to the request that the road should be constructed and the benefiting applicants relieved from payment of their proportionate cost. The Commission is prepared to make immediate arrangements for the construction, providing each applicant agrees in writing to pay his part of the cost over the period fixed for the repayment of the price of the home.
asked the. Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The following information has been obtained from the Public Service Board: -
Certain men temporarily employed as cleaners have been refused permanent appointment because they are not . eligible under section 84 (9) (c), as permanent appointments arenot made to the position of cleaner.
Mr.FENTON (for Mr. Anstey) asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Did he receive a deputation from chequepaying bankson the subject of the issue of more currency by the Note Issue Board?
If so, (a) when, and (b) was it before or after the issue of £4,200,000 in notes in repayment of war gratuity loans?
Did he on that occasion agree that there was a case for issuing more notes to meet seasonal requirements to finance the exports of wool; butter, and wheat?
Did he promise to use his influence to change the views of the Note Issue Board?
Is it a fact that there is a great divergence of opinion between the Note Issue Board and the cheque-paying banks on the question of what constitutes inflation?
How many times since January, and on what dates, has a deputation from the chequepaying banks waited on the Note Issue Board to request a further issue of notes?
When was the last request for more notes refused ?
Will he cause to be published the official correspondence between the two. parties ?
Is it a fact that, owing to the shortage of credits as the result of the currency difficulties, competition has been diminished in wool buying?
Were Japanese buyers practically excluded from buying in the past two months owing to the difficulty of obtaining credits?
Is it a fact that great dissatisfaction exists amongst French wool buyers for the same reason?
Will he deny, on behalf of the Government, the suggestion that the Australian and British Governments are creating a situation making for lower wool prices in the interest of British wool buyers.
Is it a fact that the financial emergency referred to in section 60p (1.) of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1920 now exists?
If so, will he see that the Commonwealth Board of Finance is called together to advise on the steps to be taken to deal with the emergency ?
Was it the intention of the Commonwealth Bank Act 1920 to constitute the Note Issue Board the controllers of the bank policy of the country ?
Does not its present power to refuse to issue notes virtually give it this control?
Does not the restricted issue of notes make it more difficult to give trade credits?
Is he of opinion that a representative banker from the cheque-paying banks should be placed on the Note Issue Board?
Is he prepared to introduce an amending clause to provide that five directors be substituted for four?
What are the names of the present directors ?
How long has each sat on the Note Issue Board ?
For what period has each been appointed ?
When do the appointments expire?
Is it a fact that two directors of the Board are interested in the Mutual Life and Citizen Assurance Company Limited. If so, is this in the public interest?
Are Sir Henry Braddon and Mr. John J. Garvan both connected with that Assurance Company?
Has he seen the report of Sir Arthur Cocks’ speech, published on the 12th instant, dealing; with the Australian Note Issue?
Does he agree with Sir Arthur Cocks’ reported statement that there is a danger of an unprecedented period of financial difficulty?
Is it a fact that leading bankers hold the opinion that the solution of the problem of transferring borrowed money from the Loudon market to the Australian market is the expedient that the Note Issue Board should take London securities for an equal amount of new issue of Australian notes? 29. (a) Has he read the articles published in the “ Weekly Summary “ of the Daily Commercial News and ShippingList during March, April, and May, dealing with the financial situation, and (b) has, he refused to be interviewed by a representative of that paper?
– The answers to the hon orable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
With reference to a letter relating to No. 3088,ex-Private William Holland, 38th Battalion, addressed to the late Hon. F. G. Tudor, and dated 13th July, 1920-
– The answers to the honorable members questions are as follow : -
The Boards whose findings were relevant to the claim for war pension, and which were referred to in the letter mentioned, were as follow : -
On November 21, 1917, Drs. W. B. Vance and H. S. Forrest reported: - “On the transportBorda - Disability over-age, emphysema, complained of nothing. Discharged as permanently unfit. Present incapacity nil.”
On December 7, 1917, report by LieutenantColonel H. W. Bryant and E. Buller Allan reads: - “Discharge recommended, over age, incapacity nil.”
On February 4, 1920, LieutenantColonel C. C. Macknight and Major D. E. Deravin reported : - “ This man could only have been in Britain for a few months (and those summer months), as he enlisted on January 8, 1917, and was boarded as unfit and over age ‘ in August, 1917. Complained of nothing on discharge on December 7, 1917. In our opinion his present condition is not due to W.S.”
Reports from individual medical men were also received during this period, and are referred to in later questions.
Yes. As far as is disclosed by records, these reports were given as a result of personal examination of the man, except in the case of the Board, held on 4th February, 1920.
With regard to the war pension aspect referred toin these questions and answers, it is necessary to point out that no Medical Board with access to all files has considered this man’s disability as due to or aggravated by his service, and from this point of view the Boards who examined him on completion of service were in the best position to judge the effect of that service, and his discharging Medical Board papers are definite and clear on this point.
The Medical Boards of the Defence Department dealing with questions of treatment” and pay for Home Service personnel, acted purely on hospital records and patients’ statements, and had noaccess to pension or repatriation files.
Publication of Lottery Advertisements
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
In view of (a) the fact that there is a law in existence in the Northern Territory which prohibits the publication in any newspaper of lottery or art union advertisements, unless such lottery or art union has been authorized by the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth ; and (b) the fact that all Queensland newspapers, which have a large circulation in the Northern Territory, publish such advertisements without let or hindrance - Will he propose an amendment to the existing Act or Ordinance of the Northern Territory dealing with this matter, by inserting the words “ or authorized by any State Attorney-General “ or such other words as will be sufficient to prevent ordinary gambling concerns, not run for charities or public works, from indiscriminately advertising?
– This matter will receive consideration.
Alleged Congestion of Business
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
What is the probable date on which the regulations dealing with the conditions of the leasing of the building sites at Canberra will be laid on the table of this House?
– An Ordinance amending the City Leases Ordinance of the Territory for the Seat of Government, for the purpose of prescribing the conditions decided upon, will be submitted to the Executive Council next week. As soon as the Ordinance has been passed, the necessary amending regulations thereunder will be promulgated.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
Whether the price submitted by the successful tenderer for engines for the QuornOodnadatta railway was higher or lower than that submitted by the Perry Engineering Company?
– It is higher. In accordance with promise made in this House the papers were placed upon the table of the Library and remained there a fortnight.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What are the amounts of tax-free .securities now outstanding which were issued in Australia by the Commonwealth Government, showing date of loan, interest,- amounts, and final total ?
– Particulars of the Commonwealth securities, the interest on which is free of Commonwealth and State income tax, are as under : - £70,275,540, bearing interest at 4i per cent, per annum, and redeemable ou 15th December, 1925. £48,224,900, bearing interest at 4$ per cent, per annum, and redeemable on 15th December, 1927. - £12,591,009, of War Gratuity Bonds, bearing interest at 5i per cent, per annum, and redeemable on 31st May, 1924. Arrangements have already been made for the redemption or conversion of these War Gratuity Bonds. £980,425, of War Savings Certificates, bearing interest at 5 per cent, per annum, and redeemable at varying dates during the next tcn years.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions .arc as follow : -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions arc as follow: -
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
Debate resumed from 30th July, 1923 (vide page 1773, vol. 104), on motion by Mr. Atkinson -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- - I crave the tolerance of honorable members in my endeavour to place before them the view of this measure held by those whom it will affect. I realize and appreciate the responsibility with which I have been entrusted - to a greater extent, perhaps, when I find that in this Chamber there is not an honorable member who is not totally ignorant of . the matters with which the Bill deals. That, to me, is deplorable, and I shall do my best to inform honorable members of the way in which the Northern Territory will be affected if this Bill becomes law. Since I came to this House, I have listened to debates on proposed legislation for the granting of protection to certain industries, bounties to others, and assistance generally to all industries. I have heard disclosures by Ministers and other honorable members in relation to War Service Homes. I have learned that millions pf pounds of Commonwealth money have been expended in the purchase of land that it is impossible to cultivate, and of the hardships suffered by those who have been placed on such land. I have seen appeals made on behalf of those mcn for assistance to save them from starvation. This has happened despite the fact that in the Northern Territory there are thousands of square miles of Crown lands that are infinitely superior to a large portion of that in other parts of the Commonwealth for which almost fabulous prices have been paid. With a little sympathetic treatment, it is quite possible for the Government to establish the woollen industry in. the Northern Territory. It would need no protection, and very little assistance; but, on the other hand, would bring the world’s buyers to our doors to purchase our commodities. That, at present, is impossible. Honorable members probably will be told that large barren, spaces are to be found, particularly in. the centre of Australia. To any such statement I give an emphatic denial; there is not such a thing as a desert in the central portion of Australia. On the contrary, it comprises land capable of carrying from one sheep to the acre to one sheep to 3 acres. ‘The first essential, however, is to provide adequate moans of communication. As furnishing an illustration of the impossibility of carrying on production under the conditions now obtaining, I mention the fact that the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Stewart), during his recent’ trip through the centre of Australia, was informed in. my hearing that one settler who was endeavouring to. establish himself in the industry was charged £1.1 boat freight, £13 10s. freight on the Commonwealth Railway to the railhead, and £42 from there to his home, on 2-J tons of foodstuffs and wire which he had purchased. I think it will be admitted that settlement is absolutely impossible under those conditions. There must be an alteration, and it can be brought about by sympathetic administration and railway communication. As drafted, this Bill may be likened to an express train which will carry Australia to national destruction, and every member who supports its passagewill be purchasing a ticket for the national doom, and will have to share the responsibility. All that it can achieve is to lock up the lands of the Northern Territory for a further 100 years. That contention, probably, will be questioned. It must be remembered, however, that practically 50 per cent, of the leases are held under the provisions of the 1890 and 1899 Acts. It is obvious, therefore, that they must be reaching the expiration of their term. “Ry the simple process of electing to surrender his lease a lessee will have the privilege, under the new Act, of obtaining a fresh lease for a further period of 42 years. That is not the worst feature of the Bill. It allegedly sets out to make land available, but I shall endeavour to show that it cannot possibly achieve that object. When re-appraisement falls due in the years 1935 and 1945, the holder of a big area, in lieu of allowing the Commonwealth to resume one-fourth of the total holding, will be allowed to subdivide .his lease, without improvement, and nominate a successor for the subdivided portion. Foi the remainder of the holding he can secure a fresh lease for a period of 42 years, without resumption. Honorable members can thus see the vicious circle in which this system will work. I ask them to approach the consideration of this measure in a national, and not in a party, spirit. I hold the view that undue pressure has been brought to bear in the introduction of this Bill. I shall try to prove to honorable members that that is so by placing before them documentary evidence. The administration of the Northern Territory should not be a party matter. Honorable members of this House are supposed to be the custodians of the Northern Territory, and as such I ask them to consider this matter. I intend to move later the following amendment: -
That this Bill bc deferred pending the appointment of a practical Committee, which shall inspect the whole of the Northern Territory and report its conclusions to this House: such Committee to consist of honorable members possessing pastoral and agricultural knowledge.
I think honorable members will agree that that- is a very sane proposal. It certainly does not challenge the prestige of the Government. Would it be fair or honest if honorable members passed legislation of this character without having an understanding of the matters with which it deal’s? When other Bills are brought before this House, honorable members dcr mand to bc told the details. This Bill, if passed, will mean the locking up of the lands of the Northern Territory. If that is not sufficient to justify honorable members in adopting other means to arrive at the best conclusion, I am afraid that no justice can be expected from this Parliament, and the sooner the Northern Territory is handed back to the pioneers, to shape its destiny in the interest of Australia’s national aspirations, the better it will be for Australia. The area that is to be locked up is essentially sheep country. I shall quote some facts which can. be verified by the Minister for Works and Railways - at any - rate, he cannot refute them. Approaching the Northern Territory from the south we come first to the post office at .Charlotte Waters where ‘35 years ago 300 sheep were issued to the postal officials in lien of meat rations. No fresh blood has been introduced into that -flock in the meantime. Yet thousands of sheep have been sold and consumed, and 500 still remain. Surely that is evidence of the need for n. cautious policy. The Minister for Works and Railways was anxious to ascertain the views of the settlers in regard to the possibilities of sheep-growing, and every man he questioned expressed the opinio]! that the Territory was undoubtedly sheep country. One man who holds 1,000 square miles of country gave a characteristic reply - “ If the Commonwealth Government will do for us in the Northern Territory what the Queensland Government have done for its people, namely, provide railway facilities and cheap wire netting with repayments spread over a period of twenty years, I shall select 20,000 acres of my land, and prosper, and the Government can settle dozens of families on the remainder.” That man knows the possibilities of the country; he and others have graduated from the sheep areas of western Queensland. In the west of the Territory, Goldsbrough, Mort, and Company put 5,000 sheep on the Victoria River Downs Station 34 years ago. The sheep multiplied and produced good fleeces, but transportation costs and the low price of wool made the venture unprofitable, and the station was converted from sheep to cattle. A man of great reunite in the Northern Territory, who was on that, station in its earlier days, told the Minister for Works and Railways that the sheep had to be locked up in the daytime in order to kee: condition off them. Some of the stations of which I am speaking comprise 10,000 or 12,000 square miles. The leases are fast expiring, but by the simple process of electing to surrender the leases, the holders can get a renewal for 42 years, with the right of subsequently getting a further lease of 42 years by subdividing, and nominating dummies to hold the SUDdivisions. Undoubtedly, the conditions of this Bill have been inspired, and I shall prove conclusively that the men who in- ‘ spired them are holders of huge leases which, are fast. expiring. That interested outside bodies should be able to dictate legislation to this House is a travesty ipon our system of responsible government. I yield to none in the desire to participate in a constructive policy in the Northern Territory, but I cannot subscribe to the strangle-hold policy that is embodied in this Bill. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link ; the Northern Territory is the weak link in Australian national aspirations, and unless more brains and energy are applied to the strengthening of it, the whole Common- wealth will in time rue the consequences. The Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), in the course of his speech in another place, referred to the hardships caused by the slump in the cattle industry and their effect upon improvements, and added, “ The greater number of the smaller men would be forced off the land.” The- representatives of big interests invariably used the small man as a stalking-horse, but he is not so easily forced off the land as they would have us believe; it is he who has demonstrated the tenacity of the pioneer and his ability to battle on through adversity and hardship. I defy the Minister for Works and Railways to say that he met one man who did not acknowledge that improvements are essential to development, and state that he is prepared to effect such improvements. What the small men want is not a spurious sympathy, expressed by repealing the improvement conditions for the benefit of only the big sections that, , are exploiting the, Argentine meat industry to the, detri- ment of Australia, but practical assistance in the form of better transportation. Give them that, and the improvement conditions will not trouble them, because they will be able to get their materials at ‘ a reasonable price. In behalf of the small mcn, I resent the Minister using them as a stalking-horse in the interests of the big holders. The Minister for Home and Territories further said that the improvement conditions were amongst the most stupid provisions that could be put in a Land Ordinance. Will any believer’ in progressive land legislation endorse that statement? How can the best results- be obtained from land if it is not improved ? Surely improvements are a fundamental necessity of development. This Bill, however, proposes to wipe out the obligations bo improve the holdings. This policy ot abolishing the improvement conditions in conjunction with the proposed extension of the leases, will place the Territory in a. hopeless position, from which it will not be able to emerge foi- a century.
– Does the Minister foiHome and Territories propose to abolish the improvement conditions?
– In his speech in another place he very strongly emphasized that proposal.
– The stocking conditions enforce improvements. :
– I shall give the House some idea of the extent to which the Crown has enforced stocking conditions in the past. The chief inspector of stock in the Northern Territory, who is an able veterinary surgeon, was sent two years ago to report on the carrying capacity, of the Barkly Tableland, and he reported that the Mc Arthur River Station, comprising 5,671 square miles, was carrying 7,962 cattle, whereas it should carry 26,840 cattle. He considers that better results would accrue if the property were cut into small areas. The Newcastle Waters Station, owned by the Hon. John Lewis, comprises 2,422 square miles, and carries 9,000 head of mixed stock; it should, carry 34,220 cattle. Eva Downs has an area of 1,973 square miles, and should carry 22,595 cattle, but it has not carried a hoof for the last fifteen years. The stocking conditions are so lax that in one corner of their land lessees can carry sufficient stock to justify the holding of the whole of their leases. Consequently areas like Eva Downs have not had any ‘ stock on them for . the last ten or fifteen years. Yet thousands of people are ready to take up this land, and stock it to its fullest capacity. If the stocking conditions in the future are to be anything like they have been in the past, not one-fiftieth of the Territory will be utilized.
– The Ordinances state what the conditions are.
– Are they anything like the conditions that the stock inspector has reported to exist?
– The Chief Inspector is talking only of the past. These conditions are not yet in force.
– Did the Government in the past take the advice of the Chief Inspector, or will they do so in the future? When referring to clause 58 of the Bill, Senator Pearce stated that the Government were encouraging lessees to subdivide their leases, and to transfer them. We shall be told that the primary purpose of the Bill is to make land available, but when the period for resumption arrives, instead of one-quarter of the total lease being resumable for closer settlement, the lessee, by simply subdividing the land without improvements, will obtain an extended lease for another 42 years. This extended lease will not be subject to improvement conditions. The talk about making landavailable is all “bunkum.” This Bill is Gilbertian in character - it is the greatest political comic opera ever staged. From experience, I know that the big interests will not forgo one-fourth of their areas when the time for resumption arrives. On the overland track is a store carrying a stock of goods that would do credit to any suburban shop in Melbourne. It serves the travelling public, the stockmen, and the stations. The proprietor has much difficulty in obtaining stores. As the Northern Territory includes 500,000 miles of unfenced area, live-stock is, therefore, allowed to run loose. It would take from six to eight months to muster horses for the carting of fresh stores. This man asked me whether it was not possible to obtain a square mile of land from a holding of many thousand square miles, to enable him to fence it for stock purposes. The Minister was sympathetic, but found that it was impossible to interfere with the covenants of the lease. It was suggested to the holder of the land that he should make this small area available as a public utility and convenience, but he refused to part with even an inch of land, on the ground that his lease was hard and fast, and, therefore, he had the right to keep it, which he certainly did. That is all that we can expect of these squatters, when they are able to evade the resumption clauses of this Bill. It shows what will happen when the period arrives for resumption. The Government should seriously tackle the problem of land settlement. I did hope that, after the very suspicious manner in which the previous Bill was received, the Government in this instance would approach the House better equipped, and that, at least, the new measure would be compatible with a scientific system of land settlement. I find that it is compatible with the interests only of a few large holders whose methods I hope to expose later. The following passage is taken from a book entitled Land and the Empire, written during the war by Christopher Turner, as portion of a series of lectures on Imperial Studies: -
The placing on the land of ex-service men desirous of a country life will bring the problem of land settlement prominently before us at the end of the war, but it will not do for us to wait until the ex-service men have returned. We must create the machinery, and have our system ready to put into operation when the need arises.
The time has arrived to put into operation machinery to bring about the systematic development of the Northern Territory. There is great necessity for a readjustment of the British population. England’s surplus population is somewhere between 15,000,000 and20,000,000, and a portion of this number could be absorbed in the Northern Territory. This would be a far greater demonstration of our loyalty to the Empire than any lip loyalty or flag waving in this House. We must tackle land settlement systematically, and not wait until there is widespread congestion. The same authority further states -
There are many tenants holding 4.000 to 5,000 acres in districts where 25 acres would succeed admirably and as, from the national point of view, it is of the utmost importance to increase the number of independent men and women living on the land, I can see that private consideration of individual large farmers will have to give way to the larger interests of the country.
That is exactly the position we are in. This Bill is a reflection of the vilest traditions of those who inspired it. In our legislation: we must give way to the needs and requirements of the country. Dealing further with the English land cystem, J. A. R.-Marriot, M.A., lecturer on Modern History and Economics, Oxford, in a very fine work, concludes by saying :-
If the existing system has failed to secure the highest aggregate yield; if it has failed to maintain and retain upon the land a race of men and women strong in physique and adequate’ in numbers; if it has failed to contribute to the political stability and social contentment, there is at least fair ground for inquiry as to the cause of its shortcomings.. The system must stand at the bar of public opinion, on the defensive. If, after an impartial hearing, it is condemned, private interests must not and will not be permitted to obstruct reform, nor to withstand, if need be, wholesale reconstruction. The land system was made for man, not man for the land system.
I ask honorable members if our Administration has achieved any of those objects ; if, indeed, it has achieved anything in the Northern Territory, except worldwide ridicule? Now the Government are adopting the line of least resistance. They propose to hand the Northern Territory over, not to the people, but to those who control a few big interests that are linked up with similar interests in the Argentine and elsewhere, and want to make it impossible for competitors to get a footing and so interfere with their own enterprises. I should like to know to what extent the great pastoral industry, as it is constituted at present, has helped the Northern Territory in development and settlement. I do not want to reflect upon the industry as a whole. My remarks must be taken as applied exclusively to holders of big leases in the Northern Territory. What have they accomplished after half a century Of occupation? On this point there are significant figures in the I ear-Book for 1923, giving the census of non-European races in Australia up to April, 1921. The revelation is, to say the least, startling. ‘ I find that in New South Wales, the percentage of non-European races per 1,000, was .859; in Victoria, 3.97; in Queensland, 8.42; in South Australia, 4.77; in Tasman.a, 2.26; and in the Northern Territory, 364.11. That is a mee State of affairs after 50 years occupation. Over one-third of the total population of the Northern Territory is nonEuropean. Where are we drifting?
– Is not the percentage lower than it was 20 years ago ? :<->,
– It may be to the extent that, perhaps, there are fewer Chinese in the Territory than there were when Asiatic labour was introduced for the construction of the railway line. But there is another phase of this question which, I think, should cause the honorable member concern. The total white population in the Northern Territory exceeds the coloured population by only 1,206, but the birth rate of the coloured races there exceeds that of the white population by 27 per 1,000. Just as the black-spot is seriously injuring the apple export trade of Tasmania, so must this black-spot in the Northern Territory injuriously affect the racial purity and aspirations .of the people of Australia; The increase in the birth-rate among coloured people is so alarming that we cannot . afford to ignore it. The only way to combat the menace is to establist a healthy immigration scheme. I believe in immigration, provided the immigrants find occupation in reproductive channels, and particularly, if it is possible for them to play their part in developing our empty spaces. I do not believe in bringing people to Australia and dumping them into cur capital cities where they come into competition with- Australians in the local labour market. The Western Australian scheme is working satisfactorily. Immigration on the same plan could be carried out in the Northern Territory for much less expenditure. Hundreds of thousands of families could be settled there and industries, that would ask for no bonus or protection, could be safely established. The Northern Territory should bo the greatest wool-producing country in the world. I am sure that, ultimately, honorable members will be forced to this conclusion. If members on both sides of the House apply themselves to the problem and accept by amendment, good will result. All students of the Imperial problem admit that there must be a readjustment of population. In Great Britain there is a population of 480.5 per square mile, in Canada there are 4 persons to the square mile, in New Zealand 11.7, and in Australia 1.8. la it fair and honest, or in the interests of Imperial sentiment that we should lock up for the next hundred years one-fifth or more of this Island Continent when, by a sane immigration scheme, . we may effectively settle people there, readjust the balance of population throughout the Empire, and convert Australia from a dependency of the Mother Country, to her strong right arm of defence ? Consideration of the problem from this view-point should cause honorable members to hesitate before they commit Australia to a Bill such as we have before us to-day. The statement of the position of the cattle industry in the Northern Territory, and the possibility of developing other industries strengthens my argument. It is generally contended by the big interests that the carrying capacity of the Northern Territory is one beast to the square mile. For the purpose of comparison, I shall take the big men’s contention. On that assumption, the average price received on the stations is £5 a head, and, since it takes from three to five years to grow a beast, the annual value ofthe industry amounts to about £1 5s. per square mile. The Minister in charge of the Billwill, no doubt, tell us that provision is made for the resumption at any time of land required for agricultural purposes, but that argumentwill not bear inspection, because it is stipulated that there is to be no resumption for such purpose within 5 miles of any permanent water.
– Does that apply to agricultural land?
– Yes. While an annual return of £1 5s. to the square mile is all that can be hoped for from pastoral holdings, the yield from 640 acres under agriculture, taking the known production of £32 per acre, would be £20,480. From an area of 100 square miles the return from cattle would amount to £125 per annum, whereas under agriculture, even allowing for a reduction of the known earning capacity by one-half, the production would be worth £1,024,000. The Bill, in effect, will lock upthe agricultural land, which cannot be resumed if it is within 5 miles of permanent water.
– To what branch of agriculture is the honorable member referring?
– The cultivation of cotton, rice, peanuts, &c. Sheep may be of greater interest to the honorable member than these commodities. To be on the’ conservative side, letussay that a sheep in the Northern Territory will furnish a fleece weighing 9 lb., and worth 10s. Experts declare that thousands of square miles of this country is capable of producing £32,000 per annum to the 100 square miles under sheep, as against £125 under cattle. So far as I can see, the Bill makes no provision for the resumption of land for sheep raising. The measure is unlikely to produce any good result. If it is passed, the sooner the Commonwealth Government puts up the shutters in the Northern Territory and hands the control over to the residents, the better for all concerned. The total area is 523,620 square miles. Pastoral leases occupy 186,965 square miles, exclusive of 32,647 square miles held under permits and licences, which can be obtained on very short notice. The aboriginal reserves total 32,724 square miles, the commonages 701½ square miles, and the mission stations 1,700 square miles. The annual rental is in the vicinity of £18,708 14s.1d., but, to my mind, the proper development of the Territory is more important than the collection of a large revenue from rents. I should advise increasing the periods of tenure mentioned in the Bill, and I should make it impossible for one or two people to acquire a monopoly of the land. The Bill, as at present drafted, would permit all the Kidman- Vestey interests to co-operate in acquiring great tracts of country, the extent of which would only be determined by the geographical boundaries of the Territory itself. The small men, that is, the agriculturists, are in. quite a different position from that of the large land-holders. The Bill binds them down to fencing their leases, building houses, cultivating a certain proportion of the holdings, and residing on the land for a definite period. When it is suggestedthat restrictions should be placed on the large lessees, however, the Minister tells us that improvement clauses are absurd. To what extent have the pastoralists assisted settlement in the Territory? There are now 971 leases held under different conditions of tenure. According to the last report of the Administrator, the European population is 2,245, and 1,500 of that number reside in the northern end of the Territory. About 300 people are engagedin mining, road making, timber getting, fishing, and agricultural pursuits, and about 100 follow miscellaneous occupations, such as those of mailmen, teamsters, storekeepers, hotelkeepers, and Post Office employees, leaving a balance of only 345 persons to carry on the cattle industry. With 186,965 square miles under pastoral leases, 26,500 square miles under grazing leases, 3,456 square miles under pastoral permits, and 52 square miles under annual tenure, or a total of 216,973 square miles under various tenures, the cattle industry in the Territory is now supporting only one person - man, woman, or child - to each 628.9 square miles. If this Territory is in such a sorry plight as these figures would suggest, we should lock it up indefinitely, but I know that that is not the position. If the present Bill is agreed to, the Territory will be in a worse position 50 years hence under pastoral occupation than it is now. It is because of that I feel it my responsibility to explain the exact position and to give all the facts in connexion with the Bill. Although the Bill proposes to make an additional 46,741½ square miles of territory available in 1935, surrender, in consequence of clause 58 of the Bill, is entirely optional on the part of the pastoralist. Under existing Acts, 101,795 square miles will revert to the Crown by effluxion of time, as against 93,482½ square miles as is proposed under the present Bill. This Bill is therefore a bogey in the matter of making land available, as the Crown could secure a larger area by allowing the leases to expire and then resuming. Under Commonwealth Acts and Ordinances, and under the South Australian Acts of 1890 and 1899, the Crown can resume.
– Some have 21 years to run.
– What is 21 years as compared with 100 years, as is proposed in this measure
– The leases under Ordinances expire in 1965.
– The Honorary Minister says that the leases under the Ordinances expire in 1965, but what is to happen to the leases under this measure, under which the holder has the right to nominate the successorto occupy the resumed portion?
– A lessee cannot secure a lease extending beyond the 30th June, 1965.
Mr.NELSON. - The Bill provides that he can nominate a successor for the resumed portion. In addition to the area mentioned, there are 30,008 square miles held under licence which can also be resumed by the Crown upon giving six months’ notice. By allowing the leases to expire and resuming in the ordinary way, an additional 38,320 square miles would be available under existing Acts and Ordinances. Notwithstanding this, we are informed that the measure has been introduced with the intention of making land available in the Northern Territory. The Bill is for the purpose of perpetuating the present evil system for another century.From 1935 to 1939, 36,506¼; square miles could be resumed owing to the expiry of leases, and in 1944, 73,939 square miles would revert to the Crown. By 1935, which is the first period for reappraisement and resumption, there would be available 46,741 square miles. A further significant phase of the question is a statement made by a representative of Vestey’s in Sydney, to the effect that the Bill was to be passed by Parliament this time whether I liked it or not. The gentleman who made that statement privately conferred with the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) when the Bill was being drafted, and apparently spoke with some authority. He was in a position to influence the Minister before the Cabinet was acquainted with the position. This fact I hope to prove. If big outside interests can hypnotize Ministers and supporters of the Government when they cannot produce logical argument, it is an indication that honorable members opposite will not be able to use their own discretion. This is a matter of such national importance that party discipline should be ignored. Prior to moving the adjournment of the House to discuss the Ordinance, I got into touch with the Minister for Home and Territories, and asked to be given an opportunity to direct attention to the anomalies it contained, from the point of view of the people, and although I was the accredited representative of the Northern Territory, I was referred to third-rate clerks, while the Minister was workinginsecret witha com- mittee consisting of the representatives of Sir’ Sidney Kidman, Vestey’s, and the late Sir John Lewis. I have definite proof of that. I may be only a member of Parliament, but T am at least entitled to as much courtesy from a Minister of the Crown as are outside persons. I appeal to honorable members to save Australia from such partisan legislation. I have a memorandum of meetings held at Scott’s Hotel, Melbourne, on the 23rd and 28th February, 1923, at which the following were present : - Messrs. Douglas Fraser, M. P. Durack, M.L.A., C. McA. S. King, H. Brown, H. V. Miller (representing Bradshaw’s run), W. Massy Greene (representing Cotton interests), J. S. Thonemann, H. E. Thonemann, T. A. Snelling, 0. W. D. Conacher, C. J. Edwards, J. R. Murray, A. M. White, J. C. Warrington Rogers, W. Warrington Rogers, John Asche, and the late Hon. John Lewis, M.L.C. Honorable members will realize that these gentlemen neither include nor represent the small land-holders in the Territory. It is not likely that small holders would be able to attend such a meeting, held at Scott’s Hotel, Melbourne. I have seen in the lobbies of the House in the last few days a number of the gentlemen whose names I have read. A thing that strikes me forcibly is that many of the men who attended that meeting hold leases which expire before very long. I believe some of them have leases of from 12,000 to 14,000 square miles. Messrs. Vestey Brothers hold about 50,000 square miles of country, some of’ which is on the western border of the Territory, but the greater portion of which is actually in the Territory. One can understand why they are very interested in this measure. The memorandum relating to the meeting states) -
Previous to the meeting at the Minister’s request, a small delegation, consisting of Messrs. Conacher, Fraser, Durack, Snelling, Massy Greene, and Brown, waited upon him at 2.30 p.m., on Friday, the 23rd February. The Minister set forth his proposals for the purpose of encouraging pastoral settlement in the Territory. Pie stated as these were his own proposals, and had not been discussed in Cabinet, they were to bc regarded as confidential.
That indicates clearly that though the Minister regarded me as a third party, and would not discuss these matters with me, notwithstanding that I represent the Northern Territory in this Chamber, he was quite prepared to enter into strictly confidential negotiations with the Northern Territory pastoral lessees whose names I have mentioned. The memorandum proceeds -
Subsequently on the same date the full meetings of delegates commenced at 3.30 p.m., Mr. Massy Greene being elected to the chair. The Minister’s proposals were circulated and discussed. The following proposals were adopted at this meeting, and were submitted to the Minister.
I shall not read those proposals, for they are very lengthy, and, in fact, are a replica of the Bill before us. I must point out to honorable members, however, that paragraph 8 of the proposals was as follows : -
No compulsory improvement conditions shall be attached to any pastoral lease.
And no improvement conditions are attached to the Bill. On the 26th February, 1923, another meeting of these Northern Territory pastoral lessees was held in Melbourne, and the resolutions agreed to at that meeting were submitted to the Minister for Home and Territories on the 27th February, 1923. The third of those resolutions was as follows: -
That the Minister be requested not to proceed with the proposed dingo ordinance.
I assure honorable members that the dingo ordinance is essential to the development of the. Northern Territory. It has been confirmed for about twelve months, and it is significant that it has not yet been issued. The big interests in the Northern Territory do not desire the destruction of dingoes. They know that while dingoes infest the country it will be impossible for small men successfully to occupy holdings for sheep. Those gentlemen also realize that if sheep can be established in the Territory closer settlement will quickly follow. Resolution No. 8, adopted at that meeting, read -
That the Government discontinue and dispose of all experimental farms in the Northern Territory.
These gentlemen do not desire any. experimental farms. At their meeting at Scott’s Hotel on the 26th of February, the lessees appointed a committee of nine to watch their interests during the passing of the ordinance through Parliament. It was decided that three members of that committee should form a quorum. The personnel of the committee was as follows: - Messrs. Snelling, Brown, Durack, Greene, Thonemann, Edwards, Lewis,
Fraser, and Conacher. What happened to the proposals and resolutions of the meeting of the 26th of February is clearly shown in the memorandum to which I have already referred. It reads -
These proposals, together with the accompanying resolutions, were, at the Minister’s request, left with him during the forenoon of the 27th of February, 1923, For his consideration at 12.30. Such of the Northern Territory lessees that were able to be present interviewed the Minister at Parliament House. Mr. Massy Greene, on their behalf, explained shortly the nature and effect of the proposals and the resolutions, and his remarks were supplemented by the Hon. John Lewis, M.L.C., and Mr. Snelling, and the Minister was informed that a. small committee had been appointed to represent the lessees. The deputation asked that the Department should consult this committee during the formation of the proposed ordinances. This the Minister agreed to. The deputation then withdrew.
I can imagine the self-satisfied grins on their faces as they withdrew, for the Minister agreed to everything they required.
– The Minister did not agree to everything they required. The Government proposals were formulated Long before that.
– I have read from the memorandum of the pastoralists meeting.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
Motion (by Mr. Charlton) agreed to by an absolute majority of the members of the House -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the honorable member to continue his speech.
– The Minister has stated that the proposals made by these pastoralists were not agreed to, but I have read from the memorandum of the meetings of the Northern Territory leaseholders at which these leasehold matters were discussed, and I hardly think that it will be said that the extracts which I have quoted would appear in the memorandum if there was no foundation for them. One of the most prominent representatives of the pastoralists in this business was the late Hon. John Lewis. He had 2,500 square miles of country in one block. The rent is ls. per square mile, and the lease expires in 1936. Thonemann, who was also prominent in the negotiations, holds 5,329 square miles of country, the rents of which vary from ls. to 4s. per square mile, and the leases for which expire at different dates between 1936 and 1937. Honorable members must remember that the first re-appraisement is to be made in 1935, so that only about a year would then remain before the leases, would expire by the effluxion of time. The Crown Pastoral Company, the principal members of which are Sir Sidney Kidman and Mr. Pearce, with Sir Sidney Kidman holding the predominant interests, holds 3,350 square miles. Breadow’s Henbury station covers 4,090 square miles. The rent is ls. per square mile, and the leases will expire in 1935, 1936, and 1937. The Bovril estates have an area of 11,808 square miles, for which the rent is ‘ Is. to 4s. per square mile. The peases will all fall due before the second re-appraisement. Connor, Doherty, and Durack hold 5,307 square miles, all of which will fall due before the second re-appraisement. Miller Brothers have 6,800 square miles; they pay 8d. per square mile, and their leases will fall due before the second re-appraisement. Vestey Brothers’, Wave Hill, and Waterloo leases will expire in 1936, and all before the. second re-appraisement.
– Were all those men at. the meeting at Scott’s Hotel?
– The bulk of them were present, and they comprise a majority of those who were in close contact with the Minister during the drafting of the Bill. The Minister agreed to work in close contact with a special committee appointed by them. While this sort of tiling was going on, the accredited parliamentary representative of the Northern Territory was referred to a third class clerk. To show further to what extent we can expect to benefit by the passing of this Bill, and to corroborate some of the statements I have made, I wish to quote from a circular letter from the Northern Australian Meat Company, which is Vestey’s. It is a long document, and I shall read only extracts from it. Paragraph 2 of the letter says -
The mind of the southern public is confused by the suggestion of indentured labour, cultivation of rice and cotton, irrigation schemes, sheep-growing, &c, &c. So far the only industry which has actually demonstrated its immediate possibility is cattle raising. _ There is no need to waste time experimenting and waiting for results. It can go right ahead now if obstacles are removed. It can carry on without indentured labour, and without a railway if it has a market.
That sounds all right. They say they do, not want indentured labour. Certainly they do not, and for the reason that in no poverty-stricken part of this old globe can they get slave labour as cheaply as in the Northern Territory. If they indentured labour, they would have to pay for the transport of it, and would have to house and keep the labourers. In the case of the nigger, however, they do not even clothe him, let alone decently feed him. They keep him only as long as they want him to work, and then kick him out into the bush again. It is true they do not want indentured labour, but that attitude is dictated, not by patriotic motives, but by personal considerations. They say they do not want railways or sheep. That is because immediately the possibility of raising sheep is demonstrated, there is a demand for closer settlement. They do not want sheepand railways, because they do not want closer settlement. That is the confession ofthe manager of the great Vestey concern. Paragraph 16 of the letter says: -
It is not generally understood in the south, why at the present time a run of 400,000, or 500,000 acres, is necessary to the “small holder” in the Territory.
It will be noticed that he is using the smaller men, just as the Minister does, for a stalking horse. Theparagraph, proceeds : -
Broadly it is because he cannot afford to improve it by fencing, making water, &c.
The significant feature of the, document - and it is a feature which I have been trying to impress upon the House - is contained in the following sentence: -
If he could afford to do these things he could carry the same herd on a much smaller area.
The Minister for Works andRail ways (Mr. Stewart), during his travels in the Territory recently, had evidence of the fact that no attempt is made to improve the holdings. He had the statements of all the settlers to the effect that the land would carry cattle in far greater numbers if the- runs were improved. The Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) does not want improvements. In order to demonstrate the extent to which these people are neglecting their runs, let me quote a case which should secure the support of the Minister for Works and Railways. Even if he will not support me, I at least have the satisfaction ofknowing that he cannot contradict me.On oneof Kidman’s runs there is a man by the name of Thomas Pearce. He is one of the beat settlers we have had in the Territory. He has made many thousands of pounds, and no one grudges him his success. His brand on a beast is the hall mark of the genuine article. He started at the bottom of the tree, worked upwards, and produces the very finest stock. He went into partnership with the great Kidman on the Crown Point station. He put in some £15,000 cash on conditiont hat he managed the station. There were 3,000 head ofcattle running on it at the time, and as a result of making improvements and managing the place systematically, its carrying capacity was increased to 15,000. He told the Minister and me that, with further improvements, he could double that capacity, but that the great Kidman had stopped him. I quote this as another instance of the class of person for whom the Bill is catering. Mr. Conacher, the representative of Vestey’s, stated the position in a nutshell when he said that if they could improve the runs they would carry a far greater number of beasts. The Bill, however, decrees that there must beno improvements. I purpose further to stress the methods of these big past or - alists. Paragraph 5 of the letter says :. -
That this association views with alarm the suggested enactment of workmen’s accommodation legislation applying to stations in the Territory. That it considers the suggestion tobe im practicable, and that if the Territory has to depend for its. advancement on people who require spoon-feeding, feather-beds, &c, it will never emerge from the pioneering stage.
They view with alarm the suggestion that they should be called upon to. provide a. shed for their employees, and they call it “ spoon-feeding.” I have not noticed that that ordinancehas come to light, although it has been framed for a long time. This is the type, of man the Bill is designed to assist, while the genuine pioneer, the man who will make good, if he is given transport facilities, is threatened with the permanent denial of his rights. All this Bill will do will be to condemn the small land-holders to the tender mercies of Kidman and Vestey and Company. During, his recent visit to the interior, the Minister heard on all sides complaints regarding these twobig firms. Kidman, has a bottle-neck for hundreds of, miles along the track where these unfortunate small landholders haveto drove their cattle. The result is that,because of the absence of feed along the track, which has been eaten out by Kidman’s cattle, which are concentrated on it, they are forced to sell their stock for 10s. or £ 1 each. They are forced into the grip of Kidman, as they cannot take their stock back over this eaten-out track. These are the men whom we should assist. But they are to be sacrificed. The Bill is a masterpiece of inspiration. There is no phase of the big man’s interests that has been neglected, nor is there one phase of the small man’s interests that has been attended to. Clause 2 provides for the repeal of fourteen Acts and Ordinances - South Australian and Commonwealth - existing in the Northern Territory. In those Commonwealth Ordinances are conditionsor covenants requiring the lessees to improve their property. Those Ordinances are to be repealed for the sole purpose of ridding the big men of what, to them, is the most objectionable condition of their leases, namely, the necessity to improve their land. I noticed in the press recently a report that the Federal Cabinet will shortly approve of Senator Pearce’s proposal to appointa Commission to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory. It is proposed to place the responsibility of administration in the hands of aCommission, empowered to spend money on developmental work, to control land settlement, and, generally, to act in the same manner as the proposed Federal Capital Territory Commission. In view of the provisions of Part II., in which another Board of three members is contemplated, I ask the Minister whether it is intended that two Boards shall operate in the Northern Territory? Is the passing of every measure in the future to mean the appointment of a Board to administer it? This House is entitled to know what is in the. Minister’s mind. Does he intend to appoint a Board as set out in Part II., or does he contemplate the appointment of a Commission? Any controlling body, whether a Board or a Commission, which ignores the rights of the people who are doing the pioneering work will be unsatisfactory. Unless the people themselves have somesay in the administration of the Territory, progress will never be made there. The positionwith respect to the Board is unsatisfactory. Let us suppose that one of the three members is absent from a meeting. The remaining two may have an argument as to who shall be chairman. The matter may be referred to the Minister, whose decision may be that “Jim Brown is to be the chairman.” That would mean that Jack White, the remaining member, would have no possible chance of getting anything passed, except with the concurrence of the other, becausethe chairman is to have a casting as well as a deliberative vote. Such a position is impossible. Without the co-operation of the people doing the pioneering work, the work of any Board or Commission will be futile and abortive. Clause 28 deals with the power of lessees to assign or transfer leases. This is where Mr. Cotton, of the Barkly Tablelands, comes in. The clause provides -
The lessee under a lease granted in pursuance of this Ordinance may, subject to the consent of the Minister, assign, transfer, or sub-let the land included in the lease, or any portion of it.
The owner of some of the finest land on the Barkly Tablelands showed me a plan which he contemplates putting into operation should this Bill become law. He has 10,000 square miles of that country, which he proposes, if the Bill is passed, to cut up into 25-mile blocks, and to offer for sale. If De Garis had a proposition like that, he would be able to pay 20s. in the £1 and show a profit of a million sterling.
– Will that not make for closersettlement?
– Are the people who hold these large areas, such as Eva Downs, containing about 2,000 square miles of country, which has not had a hoof on it f or eleven years, tobe allowed to exploit Commonwealth ground, which belongs to the people, at the expense of the genuine new settler ? If there is any benefit, it should go to the settlers, and not to an individual who has done nothing to earn it.
– They need not deal if they are not satisfied.
– Later I shall refer to a feature of this Bill which, in my opinion, and in theopinion of experts, nullifies the whole of.it, so far as thedesire to make land available is concerned.Clause 34 sets out the period during which re- appraisements and assessments can be made. Sub-clause 4 requires the Board, in making any re-appraisement of the rental of any pastoral lease, to take into consideration the stock-carrying capacity of the land, its capacity for pastoral purposes, the proximity and facilities of approach to . railway stations, ports, rivers, and. markets, as well as all other circumstances affecting the value of the land to the lessee. It will be impossible for the Board to carry out those conditions. In the first place, the Government have persistently ignored the carrying capacity of the land. They have refused to take the advice of their officers. If the Board attempts to take into consideration the capacity of the land for pastoral purposes, the pastoralists will still have the upper hand, because, if the Government does not adjust the rents to their satisfaction, they will be able, even after their old leases have been actually forfeited, to go back to the conditions of the original lease. How that is to work, I do not know. Provision is made in the Bill to safeguard the interests of the big man at every turn. The covenants which pastoral leases must contain are provided for in clause 39, and I invite the attention of the Minister to the fact that it contains no covenant requiring the lessee to make improvements. I shall refer later on to the covenants required of agriculturists and small holders and contrast them with those required of the big pastoral lessees. I realize my responsibility, but because of my desire to conclude I am necessarily skipping many provisions of the measure. Clause 50 provides that -
Honorable members will see from this clause that, as I stated before, the big lessees will only be precluded , from expanding the area under their control by the geographical boundaries of the North ern Territory. If these men are, in this way - and the provision also extends to expiring leases - to be given a monopoly of the Territory, where is the small man to come in ? When we come to deal with the position of the holder of agricultural land, the provision under which land within 5 miles of water cannot be resumed puts an end to any hope for the development of irrigation or agricultural settlement.
– I think the honorable member is quite mistaken when he says that land cannot be resumed within 5 miles of permanent water.
– I shall read the clause dealing with the matter later on, and then honorable members will be able to say whether or not my interpretation of it is correct. Clause 51 provides that -
Any pastoral lease granted under this Ordinance in exchange for a lease existing at the commencement of this Ordinance shall expire on the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five.
Where the Crown resumes a portion of a lease the original lessee may, if he desires, get back the resumed portion under clause 58 by the simple process of electing to subdivide his lease and taking out fresh leases forthe subdivisions.
– The leases will expire at the latest on the 30th June, 1965.
– The Bill does not say so.
– I say that it does.
– Then I beg to differ from the honorable gentleman. Subclause 2 of clause 52 provides -
In fixing the rental to commence on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight, of a lease included in paragraph (b) of the last preceding sub-section, the Board shall take into account the rental payable under the surrendered lease as at the date of surrender, and the conditions of the lease.
I have already referred honorable members to one of the finest areas of country in the Northern Territory that is now held at a rental of 8d. per square mile. Here is a definite instruction to the Board that it must take into consideration the rental payable under the surrendered lease, and its conditions, when fixing the rentals of new leases. We cannot expect that under such a provision the rentals of new leases will be fixed upon an equitable basis.
-Thelease rentals are dealt with in clause 58.
– I shall deal with clause 58 presently. Sub-clause 3 of clause 52 provides -
In the event of the rental fixed for a lease included in paragraph (b)of sub-section (1) of this section not being satisfactory to the lessee, the lessee may, within six months after receiving notice from the Board of the rental fixed, elect to retain the old lease and the surrender of the old lease, and the grant of the new lease shall thereupon be void.
Honorable members should bear in mind that this provision applies after the lessee has elected to surrender his lease under clause 50 of the Bill. They will see that the big lessee holds a sledge hammer over the Board all the time. If the Board fixes a rent of which he does not approve, the lessee can decide, under clause 52, to retain the old lease. Clause 54 provides -
The Board shall, at least two years before the date of any resumption under the last preceding section, notify the lessee what part of the land it is proposed to resume.
It will be quite impossible for the Board to do anything of the kind, because no part of the lease can be taken which includes permanent water; and there may be permanent water anywhere on a lease. In the circumstances, it will be impossible for the Board to notify the lessee of the resumption of an area bounded by straight lines as provided in the Bill, and, further, because the Bill provides that the part or parts which may be resumed shall not comprise the head station or any of the leased lands within 5 miles of any permanent water.
– Where does the Bill provide that land within 5 miles of permanent water cannot be resumed?
– Many of the big stations have river frontages extending over many miles.
– The Minister wishes to know where the Bill provides that land cannot be resumed within 5 miles of permanent water.
– I am coming to that very soon, if the Minister will be a little patient. I refer him to paragraph dof sub-clause 1 of clause 55, which includes the rules determining resumptions, and says -
The part or parts which may be resumed shall not comprise the headstation or any of the leased lands within5miles thereof, or the principal watering place upon the land.
Later on in the Bill the distance of resumed land from permanent water is definitely stated. Not being satisfied with the provision I have quoted, the framers of the Bill make things secure by a subsequent clause. Clause 57 reads -
Where two or more leases held by different lessees are worked as one run, the Minister may, upon application made by the lessees, within six months after the date on which notice of the resumption has been received by the lessee, or within such extended time as the Minister allows, and on the recommendations of the Board, make a consolidated resumption from the land included in leases so worked, instead of separate resumptions from the land included in each lease.
What that means is that in some of these leases there may be blocks of from 200 to 500 square miles of very inferior country, and in these cases the lessee may elect to give up the barren area of his lease, or such areas of it as may be equivalent to the total area which the Minister is entitled under the Bill to resume from the lease of the good blocks. Clause 58 provides -
The Minister shall, on the request of a lessee, made at least two years before any date of resumption, in lieu of resuming any lands held under a lease, permit the lessees to subdivide for closer settlement purposes -
So honorable members will see that the lessee can not only nominate a dummy successor, but the Bill also provides that there is to be no resumption under the lease granted for any transferred subdivision. I ask leave to continue my remarks.
Leavegranted : debate adjourned.
House adjourned at 3.56 pm.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 May 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1924/19240523_reps_9_106/>.