9th Parliament · 2nd Session
Crown Lands Bill 1019
House of Representatives.
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– In view of the fact that an announcement was recently made in the press that the Government had decided to appoint a Board to administer the Northern Territory, will the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories make the statement to the House during the discussion of the Northern Territory Crown Lands Bill, that it is intended to appoint, not only a Lands Board for the Northern Territory, but also an Administration Board?
– No decision has been arrived at by the Government in regard to the matter referred to by the honorable member. All that I know about it is what I have seen in the public press.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral noticed in this morning’s press a statement made by Mr. Arthur Henderson in the House of Commons, that Australia is one of the few countries which have failed to take action in regard to the Geneva White Lead Convention, and will he take steps to direct the attention of the various State Governments to the necessity for immediately determining their attitude in regard to this matter ? *
– The honorable member knows what action the Commonwealth Government have taken ir this matter, which comes within the purview of the States, and not of the Commonwealth. The Convention has been forwarded to the State Governments for them to take tho necessary action.
– Has the Treasurer received a report from the Repatriation Commissioners who visited Adelaide to inquire into the complaints regarding the Bedford Park Sanatorium?
– The report has not yet been brought under my notice.
– Have representations been made by the Pan-Pacific Union that Australia should be represented at the Pan-Pacific Food Conservation Conference to be held at Honolulu in July next, and will the Commonwealth pay the expenses of the delegates!
– An invitation to attend the Conference to which the honorable member has referred has been received, but as the Conference has not been convened by any Government, the Commonwealth does not propose to be official!) represented at Honolulu.
– Has the Prime Minister any commen t ‘to make upon the statement of Mr. Ammon, Parliamentary Secretary to the British Admiralty, that the
British Government have not been informed of the Commonwealth’s intention to build two cruisers?
– Of course, the British Government have no knowledge of the Commonwealth’s intention to build two cruisers, because the proposal has not yet been submitted to this Parliament. Until this Parliament has come to a decision n; statement can be made to the British Government as to tho Commonwealth’s intentions in this respect.
– In view of the general dissatisfaction with the postal regulation requiring letter-boxes to be fixed within 12 feet’ of the footpath, will further consideration be given to the matter with a view to increasing the distance to 24 feet?
– A deputation upon this subject waited on the Acting Postmaster-General yesterday, and the regulation is now receiving his consideration.
– As. postal matter in country districts is delivered on horseback, and as municipal regulations prevent postmen from riding on footpaths, how is it possible for the officials of the Department to deliver letters into letterboxes from horseback?
– I shall certainly bring that aspect of the case under the attention of the Acting PostmasterGeneral.
– In view of the time occupied almost daily in discussing motions for adjournment, will the Prime Minister consider the advisability of asking the House to meet on Tuesdays, so that reasonable time may be afforded for transacting business ?
– All honorable members must realize how little time there is for Government business during the three sitting days in the week, and- the Government will certainly have to give serious consideration to the advisability of taking steps to have more time made available for the transaction of business, a great deal of which has to be brought forward.
-Has anything been done by the Defence Department to dispose of the Leyland lorries, aeroplanes, and other material, the gift of the British Government now stored at Spotswood, so that the country will not suffer any loss?
– The material is not depreciating where it is stored. The lorries are being reconditioned and put in good order, and an arrangement has been made with the Postal Department to make use of as many of them as are required. Already that Department is making use of nine or ten of them, and is applying for others.
– Has the Prime Minister any information to give concerning the statement reported in this morning’s press that the British Government have set aside £25,000,000 for migration to the Dominions ?
– Various cablegrams have been exchanged, but so far we have not been able to ascertain exactly the basis of the proposal of the British Government, and what it actually involves. We are endeavouring to secure the fullest information, but it is unlikely that the whole matter will be cleared up until Senator Wilson, who has been conducting the negotiationson behalf of the Commonwealth Government, reaches Melbourne. He should be at Colombo today.
– There have appeared in the press from time to time statements respecting the preparation by the Defence Department of souvenirs of the Australia for various public bodies throughout the Commonwealth. I ask the Minister whether these statements are correct, and, if so, will the souvenirs be distributed as has been suggested ?
– Arrangements have been made to present to the six capital cities of the Commonwealth the breachblocks of the big guns as souvenirs. Arrangements are also being made for other souvenirs of the Australia to be available to the shire and municipal councils if required by them. Many of these souvenirs are ready, some having already been distributed.
– I have received an intimation from the honorable member for Wentworth that he desires to move the adjournment of the House, to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “ adequate provision for docking and fuelling naval ships and air craft.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places,
.- In view of the question asked just now by the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Manning), I move this motion with some diffidence, because I do not, for one moment, wish to waste the time of this House; but, for some weeks, I have postponed my departure for Europe, hoping to have had an opportunity to speak on the Naval Construction Bill when it came before honorable members. As that is now not possible I have taken the course of moving the adjournment of the House. I desire to sound a note of warning on a matter of great importance. Much water has flowed under many bridges since the Prime Minister returned from the Imperial Conference and announced the Government’s intention to construct two 10,000-ton cruisers. These, when constructed, will have to be docked and fuelled. I want to know where the bases for docking and fuelling are to be, and to try if possible to save the people of the Commonwealth an enormous amountof money. Any bases that are constructed at the places where I think they may be put, certainly will have to be destroyed on the approach of an enemy fleet. The Imperial Conference passed certain resolutions concerning defence, and suggested, among others, the following as guiding principles -
Rear-Admiral Field, when in Australia, gave us a very broad hint - whether it was his own idea, or that of some one else, I do not know - but he almost specifically told us that Port Darwin would make an ideal naval base. Before I deal with that point I ask honorable members to look around the Pacific and see whence trouble is likely to come. We need not expect trouble from America, our own cousin. China has no army and no navy. There is no danger from Siam; and India is our own cousin. Take the whole of the nations bordering the Pacific and we come down to one, the name of which most people are afraid even to mouth; I refer to Japan. Unfortunately, some journalists are not afraid to publish cartoons that are deeply insulting to the Japanese race. Leading men make anti-Japanese speeches . that are highly dangerous. I shall not give a review of Japan’s position, because I have spoken on this subject in this House on three occasions. Honorable members, by reading later in Hansard what I say to-day and my speeches made in March and June of last year, will obtain the complete story that I wish to put before the House. Let us take a supposititious case. Supposing that Japan is our enemy, and that we construct a naval base at great cost at Darwin, anywhere east of Darwin, or anywhere down the east coast of Australia, what will be the result? The Japanese Government will bow four times down to the ground and say, “ Thank you, Mr. Bruce, we are deeply obliged to you; we have not had the opportunity hitherto to construct naval bases and fueling bases in Australia, but as you, sir, have done so for us we are deeply indebted.” After the arrival of the Japanese fleet, Australia could not live five seconds as a part of the British Empire. We should immediately have to use all the dynamite at our disposal to blow any works we might have at Darwin into the air to prevent their use by the enemy. Any docking or fuelling base constructed at Darwin will have to be later destroyed, and so with any other base on the east coastof Australia. In the absence of the British Fleet we could do nothing to prevent the Japanese Fleet from capturing Australia if Japan were our enemy. But there is another part of our coast-line where we must construct naval and fuelling bases. The Imperial Conference talked of trade routes. Which are Australia’s two main trade routes? They are from Fremantle via the Cape to England, and from Fremantle via Port Said to England. Statistics show that over those routes, or, rather, over the Indian Ocean, produce and raw materials valued at £1,000,000,000 are taken each year to the Motherland. Each week are carried 6,000,000 tons of food and 20,000,000 tons of raw materials, the combined aggregate being valued at £17,500,000. It was on those trade routes that, during the war, the Emden sank in two months seventeen ships to the value of £2,200,000. The Moewe, another small ship, sank 23 ships on one cruise and twelve ships on another. Australia’s main trade routes do not touch Darwin. I feel that I am absolutely right on this question, and I thank honorable members for their attention. Fourteen hundred ships are daily traversing the trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Why did Beatty want the Singapore Base ? It was mainly to protect that £1,000,000,000 worth of trade and to ensure the mobility of the Navy. Australia’s life-blood circulates there, and not at Darwin. I submit that the proposed two 10,000-ton cruisers will really be trade route protectors, with their base in Western Australia. Where are they to dock and fuel? At Port Darwin ? With two cruisers, one will be in and the other out of port all the time. I have already submitted that we should not have less than four of these cruisers. The point I wish to make to-day is that the Government should immediately prepare and submit to the House a defence programme for a period of ten years for the navy, army, and air force; the problem should not be dealt with piecemeal. I have heard honorable members say that we should have a defence stocktaking; that, I know, has already been done, but we all are awaiting some lead by the Government, in addition to the proposal for the construction of the two 10,000-ton cruisers. What else is required ? From four to six long-distance submarines, which certainly could operate on the east coast and frighten away the Japanese fleet if it should .come with hostile intent. I have previously stated that I do not believe for a moment that Japan has any intention of attacking Australia; but international events are moving very rapidly, and the relations between Japan and America have changed considerably since, in June last, I advocated the building of two cruisers.. I have no fear of the Japanese, but, as Lords Birkenhead and Derby have said, in these days, when nations are much troubled, we should be absolutely prepared even against friends. In regard to docking facilities, are we to have a graving dock or a floating dock? The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) sees eye to eye with me on this question; he, the late Mr. Ryan, and I were members of the Cockatoo Island Royal Commission, which unanimously recommended the establishment in Australia of a floating dock capable of accommodating the largest ship in the British Navy. No action was taken in pursuance of that recommendation, but, if the Hughes Government had proceeded with the establishment of a floating- dock, it would have been available for the cleaning and repair of the Hood on her recent visit. At the present time about fourteen of the largest ships of the Royal Navy cannot be docked east of Suez. “We rely on the British Navy for our security, and will do so in the future, but if the larger warships of the Navy visit Australia, there are no docks in which they can be cleaned aud repaired. An injured battleship or an aircraft carrier, which may have a displacement up to 30,000 tons, cannot be floated into dock with less than 45 feet of water. That requirement disqualifies the Cockatoo Island dockyard. The Royal Commission, however, suggested that a floating dock should be established at Ball’s Head, Sydney. With some high naval officials in Australia, I have studied the chart to discover points where docking facilities could most effectively be provided, and the place which appeals most strongly to me and others who make a study of naval matters is Fremantle Harbour, which already has a depth of 38 feet at low-water mark. The two wooden bridges across the Swan River at North Fremantle are rotten, and must be replaced, and the Western Australian Government has to come to an immediate determination regarding certain railway construction at Fremantle. The State Government is willing, at its own expense, to dredge the channel to the depth requisite to give a battleship entrance to a floating dock in Freshwater Bay. The river bed is of sand, and the deepening of the channel will not be difficult. We must have another base, but not necessarily with docking facilities, because the two cruisers guarding the trade routes could repair and refit at Fremantle. A second fuel and oil base should be established at either of the following places on’ the north-west coast: - Shark Bay, King Sound, Admiralty Gulf, Vansittart Bay, or Napier - Broome - Bay. A reference to the chart will convince honorable members that those are magnificent harbours for naval purposes, and they are close to the trade route from Fremantle to Aden. If any one of them were adopted, the patrol steamers could get . in and out of it quickly and without waste of oil. I do not object to Darwin being made a fuelling base for the convenience of ships that may call there, and the airships that are now being built by the British Government. En route to Melbourne they will land at Darwin, and will require mooring masts and oil supplies, and the tanks could be quickly destroyed if ari enemy threatened the place. A base, with or without a dock, must de defended. We should require anti-aircraft guns to repel the aircraft sent to bomb the oil tankssuch attacks happened more than once in the Great War. Those guns would have to be manned. We must have a certain number of 8-inch guns to repel an attacking raider equipped with S-inch guns, and bent on destroying the dock or oil tanks. Those guns will necessitate a garrison. All these provisions involve the expenditure of much money, and the warning I am uttering is that if bases are established on the north coast or east coast we shall be playing into the hands of Japan, if she is to be regarded as a likely enemy. In the event of an outbreak of hostilities, a base on the north or east coast would have to be destroyed immediately, whereas we could retain the base at Fremantle and on the north-west coast until the last moment in order to accommodate the cruisers protecting our trade routes. Eventually, of course, they would have to be destroyed, because, in the absence of the British Fleet, we could not withstand for five seconds an attack by the Japanese Navy or Air Fleet.We should retain them until our Air Force advised us by wireless of the approach of the enemy force.
I come now to the second phase of my subject. What aircraft should we have in Australia? That problem must be faced. The present state of affairs is absurd, and cannot continue. Our Air Force is costing a lot of money and yielding no results. We have magnificent aviators in the Air Force, and there are other trained men in reserve. We must provide them with suitable machines. In order to save time, I shall read to the House the programme recommended by a number of the expert airmen of Australia who have considered this problem: -
Already established. This could be wholly equipped from gift aeroplanes, which merely require to be reconditioned - excepting Fighters.
Naval Training Unit,Corio Boy ( for seaplanes and flying boats) -
Land for this purpose has already been purchased at Corio Bay; but, in view of the reported statementby the Minister for Defence that he proposes to substitute Rushcutters Bay, it may be expedient to start operations at the latter Base immediately, provided, of course, that incidental training operations will not interfere with Harbour traffic.
Army Co-operation Units. (To be equipped with gift aeroplanes.)
Melbourne - 1 Squadron (12 machines).
Sydney - 1 Squadron (12 machines).
Brisbane - 1 Flight (4 machines) ; with nucleus of Citizens’ Air Force personnel for refresher training of pilots and Citizens’ Air Force Reserve at capital cities.
Adelaide - 1 Flight (4 machines) ; with nucleus of Citizens’ Air Force personnel for refresher training of pilots and Citizens’ Air Force Reserve at capital cities.
Perth - 1 Flight (4 machines) ; with nucleus of Citizens’ Air Force personnel for refresher training of pilots and Citizens’ Air Force Reserve at capital cities.
Total - 36 machines.
Navy Co-operation Unit.
Sydney -½ Squadron (6) ship’s, aeroplanes, for proposed new cruisers;½ Squadron (6) flying boats, based on or near Sydney; ½ Squadron (6) seaplanes, based on or near Sydney.
Albany, Newcastle, and Torres Straits - 6 each (18 in all), seaplanes or flying boats, for coastal and submarine patrol.
Total - 36 machines.
*Fighters (for peacetime training): 14.
Brisbane-½ Flight (2), attached to Army Co-operation Flights.
Adelaide -½ Flight (2), attached to Army Co-operation Flights.
Perth-½ Flight (2), attached to Army Cooperation Flights.
*To be of modern types. Present equipment unsuitable, obsolete, and inefficient.
Torpedo-Dropping Aircraft. 12 of standard type adopted by R.A.F.
For this purpose, experts strongly favour Albury in preference to Laverton, owing to its existing facilities for rapid mobilization of equipment. It is believed that the future air centre will be Cootamundra, in direct railway communication with Albury. No re-trucking of equipment for Sydney and Brisbane.
Above programme should not cost more than about £750,000 per annum. It makes no provision for mobilization equipment; but this could be met by allocating a fixed sum annually toward building up a war-time reserve, as in ease of Munitions Supply Board in respect of big-gun ammunition and ordnance. No provision is made in above for new bombing aircraft.
That is the programme which Iplace before the House for early consideration. If part only of it is adopted, that should be done in such a way that it will fit in with the whole scheme in the course of eight or nine years. These things should be considered now, as there is no doubt that we are absolutely drifting. The majority of the people of Australia, during the period that the magnificent Special Service Squadron was here, gave a mandate to the members of this House to provide adequate means of defence. I am sounding this warning to-day, as it will be my last opportunity for some time. I repeat, “For God’s sake, do not construct anything north or north-east.” Whether or not Japan is to be our enemy, we would gain nothing by constructing anything in those parts. In either case it would be a waste of public money. Any action taken should be in the direction of protecting our trade routes. For that reason, I urge this House to watch events during the next few months, so that Australia shall make no mistake. In conclusion, I wish to thank all honorable members for the courtesy they have extended to me during the time I have occupied a seat in this Chamber, and for their comradeship at all times.
– Honorable gentlemen will agree that it is impossible in the short period allowed to a motion for the adjournment of the House, to have a debate on thissubject which will really be useful, and of assistance’ to the Commonwealth. I appreciate the reasons which have led the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) to speak on this occasion, and I am sure we are all .glad to have the benefit of his views, as, owing to his early departure for Great Britain, he will not be here when we are considering the Defence proposals. I shall not indicate this morning what are the views of the Government about the matters raised by the honorable member. When the subject of the defence of Australia is brought before the House at a later stage, I shall place before honorable members the proposals of the Ministry, and an opportunity will then be open to all to express their opinions concerning the matters placed before us this morning by the honorable member for Wentworth.
– I approach this subject .with a great deal of diffidence. Only yesterday I received a communication from the Fremantle Council urging me to take steps in connexion with the Henderson Base. I have no desire to indulge in parish pump politics, and would not advocate the spending of public money at Fremantle if it were not in the best interests of Australia. I congratulate the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) on the able manner in which he presented his case to the House, although I am only a layman and a novice, and cannot follow all the intricacies of Naval Defence policy. There is no doubt that the people of Western Australia consider themselves to be in a very insecure position. As pointed out by the honorable member for Wentworth, Fremantle is the first port of call in Australia on all the big trade routes connecting this. Continent, and, naturally, we believe Fremantle would be the first place to be attacked. I shall deal with this matter further when the Naval proposals of the Cabinet are before the House. The people of Western Australia are very anxious to know what really has happened in connexion with the establishment of the Henderson Naval Base. We know of no naval expert who has condemned that site,’ either from a strategic point of view, or because of general unsuitability. The Western Australian people consider that this matter has been made the battledore and shuttlecock of politicians, but I have no desire to impute motives, and deprecate at all times any attempt in that direction. We should, however, be glad to know if any expert with knowledge, or any body of experts, has condemned the construction of a naval base at Cockburn Sound, and, if so, what were the reasons given? We all sincerely hope that Japan may never be our enemy and that Australia may never have an enemy ; but we should be ready, nevertheless. I do not agree with the honorable member for Wentworth that in the event of attack Ave would be impotent. I am neither a naval nor a military expert, and do not intend to speak in this House on any subject which I do not understand, though some honorable members have done so, and have made very good speeches, too. If Japan should become our enemy, I believe Fremantle would be the first point to be attacked. It is far removed from the more populous centres of Australia, which is a very serious matter. Owing to the many breaks of railway gauge throughout the Commonwealth the difficulty of mobilization in the event of war would be very great. When the naval policy is under consideration I shall endeavour to ascertain why the Henderson Naval Base project has been abandoned, and, if I find it is owing to political influence, I shall fight with the utmost of my ability for the resumption of the work. On the other hand, if naval experts have deemed the abandonment of the work necessary I shall accept their dictum, as I would be the last to advocate the expenditure of public money on work which in the opinion of reliable authorities is unwarranted.
– But naval experts themselves differ.
-Yes, and we must bc guided by the opinions of the majority.
– T - The site of the Henderson Naval Base was recommended by an expert, and the work was discontinued on the advice of an equally prominent authority.
– Admiral Henderson reported favorably on the Cockburn Sound as a naval base, and said that strategically the site was one of the most important. Later Admiral Fitzmaurice endorsed the recommendation of Admiral Henderson, and Lord Jellicoe, who visited Australia, not for the purpose of inspecting such sites, inspected the spot and expressed the opinion that it was a most important site, and that the location reminded him of Scapa Flow. I submit, for the information of honorable members, the following letter from the Fremantle City Council : -
I have been directed by the Fremantle Council to convey to you the following resolution which was carried at the last meeting of the council held on the 19th inst., and which is as follows: -
That all the Western Australian Federal members and Senators be supplied with a copy of the letters sent to the Prime Minister, and be requested to urge the claims of Cockburn Sound as a Naval Base, and that a copy of the article appearing in the Weekly Herald on the 16th inst. on the subject be forwarded to them to be placed before the Prime Minister.
The article referred to in that communication states that amongst the objections urged against the base is that it would be necessary to dredge through two sandbanks subject to rapid siltation, and that it appears that this has been used in favour of the discontinuance of the work. The article mentioned states that a marine surveyor, whose name has been suppressed for obvious reasons, writes -
My opinion based on five years constant sounding and resounding of the channels is that no silting in the broad sense of the term, that is filling in by accretion of sand, will take place. After heavy gales some little amount of seaweed may find its way into the channel. During my five years sounding, I frequently left portions of the 16,700 lineal feet of dredging unsounded for twelve months at a time, and on re-sounding them I found no siltation, though in Parmelia Bank I found definite signs of scouring. In this connexion it is to be noted (that the 200 feet broad and 30 feet deep cut was completed in the Parmelia Bank channel. The 300 feet broad and 20 feet deep cut was completed through both banks, but the 200 feet broad and 30 feet deep cut was only half completed in the Success Bank. I believe Captain Rivers, in the Lady Forrest, took some few soundings late in 1922 or early in 1923 in the vicinity of the Success Bank. He had a young fellow (a
P.W.D. cadet) heaving the lead, and there was a lop of a sea on. From what that young fellow told me, they had only the vaguest idea as to where the dredged channel was. The Lady Forrest had no sounding stanchion, belt, or grating which with the lop of the sea and any knowledge as to the absence of alignment of the dredged channel would make the test a very crude and unreliable one. Only “ blank “ and myself know the alignment, and I alone know the trignometrical location should all the piles be gone. Another thing that confirms my opinion is that the whole area covered by the chart of Cockburn Sound, which chart was made in 1878, there is only one point, viz., west of Fish Rock where siltation has taken place during 46 years. This, of course, excludes the dumping ground north of North Mole. If affairs turn out as I expect, I may soon be in a position to induce the powers that be to test the Success Bank in the interests of the State and of the Owen’s Anchorage Freezing Works, as it would be a great asset to the Stateto have a deep direct channel down to Robb’s Jetty.
I have brought this opinion before the House so that honorable members may see that there can be no objection to the site on the ground that there is siltation in the channel. I do not know what other objections there may be. The Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden), I believe, said something concerning a depth of 10 feet of water, but I find from the chart that the depth varies from 32 feet to 72 feet. I trust that when the Naval Estimates are under consideration honorable members will approach this and other important defence questions free from party bias, and if it should be found that the HendersonNaval Base is essential to the public safety of Australia, I trust the work will be proceeded with. If it can be proved that the site is undesirable I shall not assist in advocating the expenditure of a single penny there.
Mr.R. GREEN (Richmond) [11.47].- Although the Government policy in regard to Naval Defence, and the general defence of Australia has not yet been submitted to the House by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), certain statements made this morning by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) should occasion much thought, and between now and the time when the general defence policy of the Commonwealth is under consideration, honorable members should devote their attention to certain aspects of this important question. Naval Bases and fuelling depots - I use the plural advisedly - are necessary. In studying the question of sites for Naval Bases particularly - and this is where I disagree with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson) - consideration must first be. given to the direction from which Australia might be attacked. The honorable member has suggested, that in consequence of Western Australia’s proximity to the principal trade routes, that State is in an unenviable position. But the various countries which border on the Indian Ocean are not likely to attack us. If an attempt were made by an enemy to the westward, the distance to be traversed would be so great that there would be little likelihood of an invasion from that direction. The principal portion of South Africa, is, fortunately, under the control of Great Britain, and is protected by the British Navy. The republics of South America that border on the Pacific, are of no particular account in this connexion. Chili, Peru, Ecuador, and other countries there can be eliminated from our consideration. It is unthinkable that the great republic in North America - the United States of America - would ever attack us, and we must feel the same in regard to Canada. That eliminates all parts of the world from which an attack might come but the north-western edge of the Pacific. There is only one nation there liable to attack us, and that nation is Japan. I disagree with those honorable members who believe that we should hide our head in the sand and not discuss the possibility of a conflict with Japan at some time or other. I disagree entirely with the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks), although he has recently been to Japan. I have twice been to that country, although the last time was a number of years ago. My sources of information in that country were different from those of the honorable member. He was fêted and taken round the country by persons holding high positions, and he was shown only what they wanted him to see. He was under their tutelage during the whole time he was there. He has told me so himself. It must be remembered that Japan has a definite object in view in trying to retain for the present the goodwill of all countries. She is endeavouring, for instance, “to keep sweet “ with theUnited States of America, although the people of that country have exercised their right to say who shall enter it and who shall be excluded. In this country we have done exactly the same thing. We have said that certain people shall not be permitted to come here. Americahas also done so, but has, in fact, treated Japan somewhat better in this matter than we have.
– It is not competent for the honorable member to discuss international relations generally under cover of this motion.
– I wish to point out that there is a possibility of Japan being our enemy. That fact is related to the locating of our naval bases, which has been discussed on this motion. As Japan is showing unmistakable signs of being, to put it mildly, very annoyed at the action of America, we can readily imagine what her feelings are towards Australia. When I was in Japan in 1908, and was asked whether I was an Australian, I always replied, truthfully, that I was a Britisher. But at no time did I deny being an Australian, if pressed for an answer. I found that even among the coolies, the rickshaw men, and the semieducated classes, there was a distinct feeling of resentment toward Australia. They resent the various rebuffs they have had on the colour question.
– The honorable gentleman is discussing a subject which is quite outside the motion.
– Japan is our potential enemy, and we shouldbe foolish to persuade ourselves that there is no chance of a conflict with that nation at any time in the future. How long ahead that conflict may be I do not know, but I sincerely hope that it will not come in our time.
– S - Speeches like that which the honorable member is making will help to create that war in our time.
– If it comes, it comes, and if it comes we must make the best of it. In considering Darwin as a naval base, I have assumed thatour potential enemy, in our lifetime, can be no other nation than Japan. We have to make some provision for the defence and protection of our shipping routes and of the forces that may be operating against the enemy. At the same time, we must have the base in such a place that our own Fleet can operate along the lines of communication of the enemy, should it attempt to come farther south into the more populated parts of Australia. The honorable member for Wentworth was somewhat contradictory when he objected to Darwin as a base, because it would have to be destroyed, and advocated Fremantle, while admitting that that would have to be destroyed also. I wish to direct attention to what Great Britain has done in establishing bases at different places. She has one big base at Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. It is situated at the mouth of a river, in an out-of-the-way situation. There is high ground inland, which is very highly fortified, and the river runs out to a sandbank, all of which has . also been highly fortified as a support and a place of refuge for naval vessels in case of hostilities. Another place is Aden, which is again in the wilds, at the southern .end of Arabia. The country is sandy, there are hills in the background, and it is a most desolate and dreary place. Great Britain, notwithstanding the isolation of the place, made a base there. Those two bases give us a precedent for establishing a base in the wilds at Darwin. Germany adopted a similar policy at Kiau-chau, in China. It took the Japanese a considerable time to capture that base during the war. If we establish a base at Darwin, we can protect that place as Germany did her Outpost in China, and it would take Japan a considerable time to occupy it, if at all. Were Japan - I assume that Japan is the potential enemy - to besiege Darwin, she would be held up sufficiently long to enable us to concentrate our land forces there. Parliament is concerned about the development of the Northern Territory. Naval experts have declared that Darwin is an excellent place for a naval base. A very distinguished naval expert recommended it recently.
– Does the honorable member not consider that we have made trouble for ourselves by taking too much advice from experts?
– The soundness of the advice of the expert to whom I have referred is borne out by our own experience. His opinion has been well substantiated. . If a base were established^ at Darwin, it would be necessary to provide means of communication by land as well as by sea. The provision of railway facilities would, in addition, develop Dar win and its hinterland, thus assisting to solve the problem which the Northern Territory presents. I disagree with the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks), who has suggested the establishment of a base at Fremantle, purely because of my assumption that in considering this matter we must consider what nation is our potential enemy.
– The honorable member is an enemy of Australia.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I did not intend to take any part in this debate, recognizing that the motion was moved to enable the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) to place before the House, prior to his departure abroad, his views regarding the defence proposals of the Government; but, having listened to the speech of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), it is incumbent upon me to repudiate the sentiments he has voiced.
Opposition MEMBERS - Hear, hear!’
– I think I voice the view of the Australian people when I say that if we hold and express such opinions as he has expressed we are going the right way to precipitate war. I could have understood the honorable member had he confined his remarks to the necessity for making preparation in Australia to meet a possible attack; but I entirely disagree with his definite statement that Japan is the nation against whom we must prepare, and that she is doing everything possible to make herself ready for war. The facts prove that the reverse is the case. During the recent war Japan played as big a part as she was able on the side of the Allies, and since its termination, if the information we have received is reliable, she has assisted materially in the efforts that have been made to preserve the peace of the world.
– Her Budgets do not show that.
– Japan has taken a part in every conference that has been held, and I believe she will respond most willingly to the invitation to be represented at that which is expected to take place within the next twelve months.
– She has already expressed her willingness to take part in that con- f 6pghcg
– In view of those facts, what justification is there for honorable members of this House, who are charged with very heavy responsibilities, to constantly make statements that can only create bad feeling between Japan and Australia ?
– The Prime Minister of Japan himself told me that he deeply resents such statements.
– If I were in his position I also would resent them. Our White Australia policy has operated for very many years, and if Japan desired to take advantage of Australia she had the opportunity to do so during the recent war. But it is to her credit that she stood by the Allies and assisted them to the best of her ability. It ill-becomes a representative man in this Chamber, under cover of a motion of this character, to make an attack upon the Japanese people. I am prepared to see that Australia is defended, if necessary, but 1 am not one who expects war to be made on us by any particular nation. When a nation evidences a disposition to do so, that will be the time to take steps to counter any move that might be made. Japan has never openly declared that she has any intention of making war upon Australia. What could do more to create in Japan a bad feeling against Australia than the statements that are made from time to time, both inside and outside this chamber, by our public men.
– Hear, hear!
– What is the use of advocating peace if in the next breath we accuse a certain nation of being likely to make an attack upon Australia at any time?
– That is asking for it.
– It is inviting it. Let us place ourselves in the position of the Japanese representatives, met together in a deliberative assembly. If statements such as those which have been made by the honorable member for Richmond were cabled to us, what would we say or do ? Would we not say, “ Australia is about to inaugurate a defence scheme for the purpose of taking action against us “ 1 We would resent such statements, especially if we had not taken action to prepare for an attack. All the evidence goes to show that Japan is doing everything possible to arrive at an understanding with the different nations, with a view to proceeding with further disarmament. I deplore the statements that from time to time are made by honorable members, and I hope that, for the good of Australia and the peace of the world, they will be discontinued.
– It is very necessary to make them.
.- Like the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson) I do not pretend to possess the qualifications of a naval expert, and for that reason I am always delighted to have the opportunity of listening to those who have studied the matter and can help to guide our views. I, therefore, listened with very great attention to the remarks of the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks). I believe that the care and enthusiasm he has always manifested in the study of naval matters entitle his opinions to be regarded as authoritative.. He has made certain statements which ought to receive the very careful consideration of honorable members. It appears to me that these matters must be decided by experts. By that I mean the professional, not the political, experts. The ideas expressed by the honorable member for Wentworth this morning commend themselves to me because he has endeavoured to- show that the essential thing in considering a policy of this nature is to place the matter on a sound strategic basis. He explained what he considered should be the strategic principles governing our naval defence proposals, and outlined a scheme which he believed would adequately deal with the matter. Whether his estimate is correct or not I cannot say. In effect, the honorable member contends that our policy should be simply one of protecting our trade routes until the British Fleet - on which, I agree, we are absolutely dependent - can arrive on the scene to meet a direct attack with capital ships. The honorable member contends that docking and fuelling depots should be located at such points as can best support the operations of cruisers specially designed for the defence of the Indian Ocean trade routes. That is the crux of the honorable member’s speech. It seems to me, therefore, that many of the matters raised in this debate are extraneous. I rose merely to say that the question should be considered solely from the point of view of naval strategy, and should be decided by experts. Some honorable members may think that I have risen to speak because the honorable member for Wentworth has made certain suggestions which appear to be specially advantageous to the State I represent. If the views of the honorable member are not supported by naval experts, he, I am sure, will be the first to vote against Western Australia having a naval dock established on its shores, but the honorable member appears to have presented a logical case. The choosing of the sites should not be a game of political battledore and shuttlecock.
– It is an Empire matter.
– Yes; it is a national question which should be determined irrespective of local interests. It should not be affected by the wishes of any State or city, or any combination of interests in Australia. If the experts tell us that the main depot should be located on the east or the north coast instead of the west coast I shall support them, but let it be definitely understood in this House that the decision shall be according to the opinion of naval experts. As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson) has said, this House cannot determine the issue. I feel that the matter of the Henderson Base has been handled very unsatisfactorily, for to this day we do not know whether the dominating factor was political influence or whether the site was rejected according to expert advice. I hope that there will be no undue political influence exercised in the consideration of future naval policy, and that the warning note of the honorable member for Wentworth will be heeded. We know that he is a disinterested critic, because of the topographical situation of his electorate ; moreover, he has expressed his conscientious convictions. If the honorable member is right, no political consideration should be allowed to interfere with the main basis of naval policy. If, on the other hand, he is wrong, and this House is informed that the weight of expert opinion is against his view, 1 am sure that he will be the first to give way in the national interests. We should adopt one principle, and one only, in coming to a decision.
.- In a question addressed to the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) this morning, the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Manning) complained of the waste of time involved in discussing various subjectson motions for adjournment, but the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks) has now moved the adjournment of the House on a most important matter. He has provoked the blood-thirsty instincts of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), and we have listened to words of wisdom from the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann). The latter holds the view that there should be a clear distinction between the naval experts and the poli’ticians, and I quite agree with him. He said that he was not in a position tojudge whether the honorable member for Wentworth was right or wrong in hiscontention. I maintain, however, that not one word uttered by the honorable member for Wentworth can be justified by the opinion of naval experts. There is no need for any dock or fuelling facilities on the coast of Australia. “Man that is born of a woman has but a short time to live.” Considering that the end of the earth will come in 1934, why should we not eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die? The honorable member told us that there should be naval docking, fuelling, and victualling facilities in Australia, since there is to be a war in the Pacific. Let’ me remind the House that the next war will not take place in that ocean. A great authority has told us where it will occur. It will take place in the Mediterranean, and it will be a war between combinations of nations. It will be fought in 1934, at Jerusalem, in close proximity to which the men of war of all nations will be gathered for the Armageddon. “The cemetery,” says this great authority, “the time for the collection of the dead, the time for the collection of the arms of war to be destroyed, are all mentioned.” Everything: of great importance that is going to happen is prophesied in the Bible. Three nations are to attack the British Empire. Two of the nations were mentioned by the authority I am quoting. The third he preferred not to name. “ The two “nations,” he said, “ are Russia and Germany,who combined with the other, will be -at war with the British . Empire in Palestine.” The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R.Green) had the courage to mention the “name of the third nation. It is interesting to learn that there is to be no war in the Pacific, and that? -
The final scene in the setting is that in which Christdirects the British ships to proceed to all the ends of the world to collect His chosen people - the Jews - and bring them back to Palestine, where they become the greatest nation that the world has ‘seen.
Seeing that this is to happen far away from Australia, why should we waste our substance inthe gatheringtogether of armies andnavies in our own country? Why waste our money at Fremantle, or any other harbour? Why not spend it more usefully, so that in the short time we have leftto live wemay do something pleasant and profitable.
– How does the honorable member arrive at the date, 1934?
– It has been fixed by one of the greatest experts the world has seen.
– It is a pity the honorable member for Bourke does not say these things tome outside the House.
-I am addressing my remarks to you, Mr-. Speaker, not to the honorable member. This same authority continues -
I do not say that colossal expenditure should be incurred to-day,or forthe next few years, on great armies andnavies.
Mr.Marks.- That is correct.
– Also we read
So far as we can see the Japanese will not invade Australia. As a matter of fact, many “believe that, according to the Bible, great numbers of Japanese and Chinese, on Christ’s return - the millennium following Armageddon -are to go to Palestine with Christ and the Jews, because the Japanese have always been looked upon as a people who are immortal.
That should be our hope and salvation. It is at least a guarantee that the Japanese will not come to Australia, and there is the answer to the honorable member for Richmond. If the honorable member wishes to join in the attack upon them he will not meet them in the Pacific; he will have to go to Palestine. Nothing that the honorable member for
Wentworth has said this morning conformswithhis statements onthe3rd of November, 1921, when he promised us Armageddon in 1934. We were told that it was important for him to make this speech before his departure for Europe. I do not think it was important. Why should we spend huge sums of money in building docks and constructing a navy to meet a , potential enemy which the honorable member says will onlyfight in Palestine. It is claimed that we should have put before us the views of some who are calledexperts because we are mere ignoramuses. I may beonly an ignoramus in the opinion of some honorable members. In any case, I cannot seethe importance of the speech delivered this morning bythe honorable member for Wentworth, and I feltthat itwas desirable to remind him of his remarks on the same subject on a previous occasion.
– Many thanks.
.- I congratulate the honorable member for Wentworth on his speech, but I am sorry that Icannot do the same for the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey). That gentleman must havemost peculiar ideason the affairs of the worldsnations to express the view that he uttered this morning. I remind him that -
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modeststillnessand humility.
– But when the blast of war blows in his ears “-
-“ The Then imitate the action of the tiger, stiffen thesinews, summon up the blood “ ; but that time is not now. We wish to live in peace with all the nations of the world; and wedesire internal, as well as external, peace. I wish that honorable members opposite would advocate such a policy.
– That is not what the honorable member said the other day about the Germans.
– This Australia of ours is a noble heritage. It was the last portion of the earth to be peopled. Let honorable members allow that remark to sink into their minds. Do theyhope that we can retain this continent and develop it with a population of only 5,500,000? We should endeavour to people it with the best of our stock.
– Order! I can see nothing about that in the motion.
– I will connect my remarks with the subject under consideration by saying that we need a naval base to protect our trade routes and the interests of our people if trouble should arise. A naval base is essential if we propose to retain Australia for the Empire. It is of no use living in a fool’s paradise. Australia must be prepared for war. Every good general is prepared for war, and is thus able to defend his country in time of war. If no preparation has been made only defeat can result. We ought to appreciate the fact that Australia is a wonderful asset which we should be seeking to develop in every way. We shall not develop it if we fail to adopt necessary precautions for the protection and welfare of the country. We should not permit the adoption of a go-slow policy. We must encourage and assist trade and commerce, and, as a means to that end, we must have a naval base to protect our trade routes. Our desire is to live in peace and harmony with other nations, and to develop our own resources by a systematic and definite policy, and we should use the right channels to do so., I trust that we shall do our best to adopt a policy of the character that I have described.
– I should not have spoken in this de- bate except for the altogether unjustifiable attack made upon Japan by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green). Alarmist statements and stupid admissions do more to provoke hostilities with a friendly nation than anything else individuals can do. I resent the remarks of the honorable member for Richmond. Possibly no Australian other than those in official positions is better known outside of this country than myself. When I wished to visit Japan the merchants of Sydney attempted to prevent my doing so. They tried to stop my landing from the vessel on which I travelled to Japan. I am glad to say that the Consul-General in Japan would not permit himself to be made the tool of Sydney merchants. Those gentlemen then adopted other means to give effect to their desires, but they failed again. I have visited Japan twice and have mixed with the coolies as much, probably, as has the honorable member for Richmond. I have never, in a single instance, been treated with lack of courtesy by the Japanese. The Japanese of every rank treated me well. Possibly, I did not mix in some of the company that the honorable member for Wentworth met, but I have a very fair knowledge, through newspaper connexions and in other ways, of the general habits and opinions of the Japanese people. I mentioned the White Australia policy to certain educated Japanese gentlemen, and they admitted to me that every country should have the right to discriminate between people who desired admission to their country. I have repeatedly stated in this House that the Japanese policy is founded upon the advice of Herbert Spencer, one of our greatest philosopher’s.
Question resolved in the negative.
Singapore - Java Trade - Agreement with Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship Company.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I am unable at present to give the honorable member the information desired, but I will have inquiries made from the Australian Commonwealth Shipping Board, and will advise him of the result as early as possible.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice-
Whether the Income Tax Department levies a flat rate tax of1s. in the £1 on all surpluses madeby co-operative societies?
– The flat rate of income tax of1s. in the £1 is charged on the net income of co-operative societies after deducting (a) any rebates granted to purchasers in respect of purchases during the year, or (b) sums paid to suppliers in respect of goods supplied during the year, whether the sums are paid when the goods were supplied, or at any later date.
Financing of Wool and Metal Exports - Attitude of Associated Banks and Mutual Life and Citizens’ Assurance Company
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1, 2, and 3. I have no knowledge of these matters. 4. (a) No; (b) No.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice-
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
When is it the intention of the Department to proceed with the erection of a new postoffice and quarters at Mullewa, Western Australia, as provided for in the Estimates of the current year?
– It is hoped to let a contract for the erection of the building within the next few days.
Appointment of Mr. Taylor
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Conditions of Occupation - Improvement of Grounds
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Referring to the letter of 18th December, 1923, T. & C. D/23/6833, to the honorable member for Batman from Mr. Ernest Hall, delegate of the Public Trustee- Has paragraph 3 been given effect to, and if so, when?
– Paragraph 3 of the letter of the 18th December, 1 923, stated that remarks made in a letter concerning a case being dealt with by the Public Trustee would be forwarded for the consideration of the SolicitorGeneral. The whole of the papers, including the letter containing the remarks in question, were submitted to theSecretary of the Attorney-General’s Department for advice on the 8th January, 1924, and on his advice further inquiries have been made. The Public Trustee is now about to reply further to the letter in question.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Will he make arrangements with the Commonwealth Statistician to have published in detail in each quarterly report the predominant retail prices of the several articles upon which the relative cost of living figures are based?
– This is already the practice.
– On the 21st May, the honorable member . for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) complained that Western Australia was almost without means of transport, and asked me if I would take steps to arrange with the Shipping Board to meet the position. In reply, I promised him that I would discuss the matter with the manager of the Commonwealth Shipping Line. As a result, I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the Commonwealth Shipping Board advises me as follows: -
The Commonwealth Shipping Lane is at present carrying a number of passengers to and from Western Australia, together with a small quantity of cargo, for which the Inter-State companies cannot provide space.All applications for space will receive consideration, but up to the present there has been very little demand, and the supply of tonnage through the usual channels is, apparently, almost sufficient to meet requirements.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 29th May, vide page 1019) :
Clause 7 -
There shall be a Land Board of the Northern Territory consisting of three members appointed by the Minister, of whom one shall, if the pastoralists of the Northern Territory nominate, in the manner and within the time specified by the Minister, three persons, oe appointed from among those persons nominated.
Upon which Mr. Nelson had moved, by way of amendment-
That all the words after “ members “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ one of whom shall be a pastoralist elected by the pastoral lessees in the Northern Territory; two to be appointed by the Minister.”
– I thought that, after the debate last evening, the Minister in charge (Mr. Atkinson), after consultation with the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), would have made some explanation as to the reason for the attitude of the Government towards the amendment. Although the clause indicates tha,t the Board shall consist of. three persons, it is quite probable that on certain occasions most important questions affecting Northern Territory administration will practically be decided by one man, for it is provided in subclause 6 that, in the absence of the Chairman, the members of the Board present shall appoint one of their number to act as Chairman. In such circumstances, if there is a difference of opinion between the two members of the Board present, important questions may be determined on the casting vot e of the acting - Chairman.
– That is one of the strangest arguments against accepting the amendment.
– I cannot agree with the Minister. . The Ministry have trampled underfoot all those sacred democratic principles which at one time some of them, at all events, cherished. Whilst the amendment proposes to allow those who are vitally interested in the Northern Territory to have one representative on the Board, paragraph d of clause 11 provides that he must not be in any way, directly or indirectly, interested in any land other than as a place of residence for himself or his family in the Northern Territory. I submit that, although the Minister might say -that the difference between his proposal and the amendment is the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee, he should accept it. The Ministerial proposal is to allow lessees to submit the names of three persons, one of whom shall be selected by the Minister as the representative of the lessees concerned. Why not permit ‘ them to select one representative straight out, instead of nominating three? This provision is included in other measures.
– It would be necessary, then, for the Minister to endorse the appointment, although he might consider that the person selected was undesirable.
– T - The Minister could withhold his sanction if, in his opinion., the person chosen was not fit to occupy the position
– But there would be (he danger.
– And the amendment would make it mandatory on the Minister to accept the nomination.
– I do not think so. The Minister would have a good defence if he could show that the person chosen as, a representative of the lessees was not competent to fill the position, and refer the matter back to the lessees.
– That course might make the business of selection -rather complicated .
– Not necessarily. No Minister who valued his position would take such drastic action unless he were absolutely sure of his ground.
– Surely the honorable member can visualize the resentment that would naturally be felt by those who elected a representative on the Land Board, if the Minister vetoed the selection?
– The same position might arise under the Government proposal. Not one of the three persons nominated might be satisfactory to the Minister.
– But there would be a three-to-one chance.
– The principle would be the same, and I submit that it would be a greater affront to any section of the people if, after having nominated three men, the Minister told them that not one of the three was suitable. It may be suggested that in this instance we are adopting a dangerous course in taking the side of the big lessees, but the Minister must see the justice of the claim that is made, if they are to be effectively represented. If there were only three candidates for nomination there would be no need for a selection or election by the lessees. But if there were more than three candidates for nomination, some form of selection by the lessees would be necessary even under the Government proposal, and no better method could be suggested than an election.
– The fundamental difference between the proposals is that under the Government proposal the Minister would have some opportunity to exercise his discretionary power of selection, whilst in the other case he would have only the right of veto.
– The Minister would not exercise the right of veto without good and sufficient reason. My point is that the same position will arise whether the lessees nominate one or three persons for appointment as their representatives.
– If the lessees selected only one person as their representative he might, in the absence of the chairman, be appointed chairman, and then, having a casting vote, the control of the Board would be handed over for the time being to some one who was not selected by the Minister.
– I - In just the same way the man selected by the Minister from the three nominees of the lessees might, in the absence of the chairman, be appointed chairman, and the operations of the Board would then be controlled by the lessees’ representative.
– That is so, but in that case the responsibility for the selection would be upon the Minister. He would be responsible if the man he selected was obviously unsuitable for the position.
– I contend that whether three names or one are submitted to the Minister, ultimately the selection will be that of the lessees. It would be far better, in my opinion, if the lessees were given the right to elect the man they desire to represent them on the Board. Although the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), who was in charge of the Bill in another place, is supposed to know more of this Ordinance and the conditions in the Northern Territory than any other member of the Ministry, the Minister in charge of the measure in this Chamber is submitting amendments to clauses of the schedule which were passed after protracted debate in another place. That being so, it cannot be said that the Minister for Home and Territories will be slighted if the Government accept the amendment which has been proposed to this clause.
.- The Government has’ itself to blame for the trouble that - has arisen in connexion with this clause. It would have been avoided if sub-clause 1 had ended with the word “ Minister “ where it first occurs. The Leader of the Opposition (Mi. Charlton) last night suggested an election for the lessees’ representative on the Board. I remind the honorable member that an election would occupy a considerable time, and would involve considerable expense. Honorable members who have travelled in the Northern Territory know that while the mail services may not be erratic or irregular, there is in many places a long time between the deliveries of mails.
– There are telegraph centres.
– That is so, but there are stations on the Victoria River that are 200 or 300 miles from a telegraph centre. The telephone might be used, but west of Barrow Creek one settler, Mr. Lynch, is 50 miles from any telephone. Another settler, 100 miles north of Arltunga, is 170 miles from a telephone. One could not get in touch with settlers so situated without considerable delay and expense. The pastoralists’ organization to which the honorable’ member for the Northern Territory referred has its head -quarters at Darwin. I doubt whether any of its members hold land south of the Katherine River.
– It is a general pastoralists’ organization.
– No doubt, but it is unlikely that any of its members hold land more than 200 miles south of Darwin. To depend upon the nomination of that organization might be to disfranchise lessees in the southern part of the Territory. There was nothing of the “ holeandcorner business “ about the selection of nominees - from whom the Government might appoint one as a member of the Board. By advertisements published in all the State capitals, with the exception of Hobart, and also in Townsville and Darwin, members of the Territory Lessees Association, which has its head office in Sydney, were asked to send in the names of persons they desired to be nominated.
– To which association does the honorable member refer as having its head office in Sydney?
– I understand that the Northern Territory Pastoral Lessees Association has its head office in Sydney.
– The honorable member is totally wrong.
– If I am wrong, the honorable member can put me right when he speaks, but my information came from a man who I understand is the secretary of the organization. Apparently these gentlemen met in Sydney, and decided to nominate three persons. It will be conceded by all that it would be totally wrong to have as a member of the Lands Board any person interested in land in the Northern Territory, and, therefore, if a person who is interested in land is a member of that Board, this land must be in one of the States. I do not know the gentlemen whose names have been submitted to the Minister, and from which he is to make his choice, but one, I understand, is a licensed surveyor, a civil engineer, and a returned soldier who has surveyed probably as much pastoral land as has any other man in Australia.
– And he has probably not ploughed an inch of it.
– I do not know that it is. necessary for a man to have ploughed land to know the value of a pastoral lease, but I should think that one who has surveyed many thousands of square miles of pastoral country should prove to be a suitable member of a Lands Board. One of the. other gentlemen is also a surveyor, and the third is the manager of a pastoral company. I understand that the two gentlemen who are surveyors are public servants.
– Have these gentlemen already been nominated ?
– They have certainly been nominated by the association at the invitation of the Minister.
– Before the Bill has been passed 1
– The names of the three gentlemen have been furnished to the Minister, and if the Bill is passed, one of them will certainly be appointed.
Honorable members interjecting,
– I am not responsible for what any Minister thinks, but if the Minister for Home and Territories has been in possession of this information-
– The Honorary Minister denies it.
– I have not denied it, but I have said that I know nothing about it.
– The Honorary ‘Minister may not know anything about it, but it is certainly information that should be given to Parliament. I understand that the names have been furnished to the Minister for Home and Territories, and honorable members should be in possession of the information. I do not want a repetition of what has been done by some of the Boards appointed in <the States. There is no need to go into details, but if there is one Board which the Government have the opportunity to make a real, sensible, useful body, it is this Lands Board which is to be entrusted with the task of administering land matters in the Northern Territory. I want an assurance that the Government will have on that Board a gentleman who knows more about the Territory than does any other man in Australia, and I think that the honorable member for the Northern Territory will agree with me that the Board should not be constituted unless Mr. Copley Playford is a member of it.
– I would not say that. No one knows more about the Territory than does Mr. Tom Pearse.
– I agree that Mr. Pearse is a most capable man. Mr. Playford has spent the best years of his life in the Territory, and I would be satisfied if he were on Board along with one of the gentlemen nominated by the Pastoralists Association. I would not be concerned very much about the third member so long as I knew that he had some knowledge of pastoral matters. Honorable members of the Opposition think that the choice of the pastoralists’ representative should be made by a popular vote. That method would be impracticable. If a score of names were submitted to the lease-holders of the Territory, it would be utterly impossible for them to know, personally, all the candidates. Of the three gentlemen whose names have been submitted to the Minister, not one of them is personally known to the majority of the members of the Pastoralists Association. Evidently the choice of the executive of that Association has not fallen upon one of their friends, which the honorable members of the Opposition suggest is likely to be the result of adopting the method of appointment proposed by the Government. ff
– They could not pick one of their friends, because of a later provision in the Ordinance, which will certainly have to be deleted if the amendment is agreed to.
– I did not suggest that they would select one of their own men on the land in the Northern Territory. They might have chosen a man, who, while not interested in the Territory, was interested with them in -land in one of the States. No one knows better than does the Leader of the Opposition that Lands Boards in the States are not elected by popular vote. I think I can say that the gentlemen who were invited to send names to the Minister represent four-fifths of the lease-holders of the Northern Territory. In regard to the claim of the Leader of the Opposition that the small lease-holders would not get a fair deal from a Lands Board as proposed to be appointed by the Minister, the honorable member will see later on in the Bill provision for the right of appeal to the Court at Darwin. The Minister will do everything he can to constitute a good Board. I am sorry that he has seen fit to depart from the usual routine in appointing such Boards, and thus caused a lot of “ fuss “ among the Opposition. I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition should have spoken of delaying the measure if he cannot get his way in regard to this clause. There are Lands Boards in every State, and I think that if there is to be proper development in the Territory, it will be necessary to appoint a separate Lands Board for the southern portion of the Territory. However, I sincerely trust that the Committee will pass the clause without amendment.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
In Committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral’s message) :
– I move -
That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue and moneys be made for the purposes of a Bill for an Act to authorize the . raising and expending of certain sums of money.
When the Loan Estimates for the current financial year were prepared, it was anticipated that the Federal Territory Commission would be established by the 30th September, and as it was intended that the Commission should raise its own moneys for the establishment of th« Federal Capital, provision was made in the Loan Bill for only three months’ expenditure. It was not found possible, during the short time we sat last year, to introduce the legislation to constitute the Commission. It, therefore, is necessary to ask Parliament for- an additional appropriation to carry on to the end of the year. Additional moneys are also required now to enable the Postmaster-General’s Department to carry out its approved three years’ programme for the extension and improvement of it3 telegraph, telephone, ind postal services. As the introduction of a supplementary Loan Bill is unavoidable, advantage has been taken of the opportunity to provide for some small unforeseen expenditure which is properly payable out of loan. The total amount in the Schedule to the Bill is £822,000. The granting of this money will not mean that the estimated loan expenditure for the year will be exceeded; on the contrary, savings of expenditure in other directions will more than compensate for the additional amount for which we now ask. Omitting redemptions of maturing loans, the loan expenditure of the Commonwealth for the current year was estimated at £18,945,622, and the actual expenditure for the ten months ended 30th April was £7,789,545. It is quite certain, therefore, that when- the final accounts for the year are available, they will disclose a material reduction in the anticipated loan expenditure. The items making up the total of £822,000 are as follow : -
After the available appropriation for the Federal Capital became exhausted, the expenditure in the Territory was made out of revenue, by means of the vote for Advance to Treasurer. On the passing of this Bill, the, amount ‘so expended will be recouped to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The remaining expenditure embodied in the measure, with -the. exception of a. small amount for lighthouse steamers, has been so arranged that it will not fall due for payment until towards the close of the year. I shall now explain the various items.
Respecting the loan to the Territory of New Guinea, £10,000, the revenues there are not sufficient to enable the Administrator to defray therefrom the whole of the capital expenditure. Much’ of this expenditure is of such a nature that it can properly be paid from loan, and the Government has decided’ to borrow the necessary’ moneys on behalf of the Administration of the Territory. The amount of £10,000 will cover the estimated expenditure until the loan appropriation for 1924-25 is available, and forms part of a definite programme for wharfs, drainage, buildings, &c, full particulars of which will be submitted with the Budget for- next financial year. The amount included for the Federal Capital Territory is £275,000. The expenditure estimated for the first three months of the year, after deducting the receipts of the Territory, was estimated at £150,000, and provision for this amount was made in the Loan Bill for the current year. The net expenditure for the full year, after deducting receipts, is now estimated at £500,000. Towards defraying this expenditure there is available an appropriation of £225,415. This comprises the amounts of £150,000 included in Loan Bill 1923-24, and £75,415, being the unexpended balance of appropriations in earlier Loan Acts. The balance, in round figures, is £275,000, which is provided in the present Loan Bill. The estimated receipts of the Territory for the whole year are £60,000, and, as. these are applied to the reduction of expenditure, the gross expenditure on the establishment of the Federal Capital for 1923-24 is estimated at £560,000. The amount for the acquisition of and alterations to vessels for lighthouses is £37,000. Facilities for the steamer attendance on lighthouses have, for some time, been insufficient. Provision was made in the Loan Estimates for the current year of £140,000 for the construction of two vessels for lighthouse purposes; these vessels, are now being built. The attendance on the lighthouses on the coasts of South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania, has been carried out, as far as possible, by the Lady Loch, but it has been necessary from time to time to augment this service by the hire of privately-owned vessels. Steps will, therefore, be taken to purchase a vessel for lighthouse attendance in South Australia, and £20,000’. included in the present Bill is for that purpose.
– The last expenditure for some of the vessels in the lighthouse service seems to have been largely a scandal.
– This expenditure is for the purchase of new vessels. The lighthouse vessel for Western Australia became quite unserviceable, and it was found necessary to replace her with another vessel. The matter was one of such urgency that an amount of £17,000 was provided from Treasurer’s Advance for the purchase of the Kyogle. The vessel which was replaced is being dismantled, and steps will be taken to dispose of the hull for what it is worth.
– Will this expenditure on lighthouse services necessitate a further loan, or will it come out of loans already in hand?
– It will come out of loan moneys already in hand. This Bill gives authority for raising and expending of money.
– Do I understand that a new vessel will be purchased for lighthouse purposes on the South Australian coast ?
– The Navigation ‘ Department is trying to secure, for tho South Australian service, an additional vessel thoroughly serviceable, in place of the Lady Loch. The item for the construction and extension of telegraphs and telephones, &c, is £500,000. When delivering his Budget speech in 1922-23, the present Prime Minister, who was then Treasurer, announced that a definite scheme for extending and improving the service of the Post Office Department, over a period of three years, at a total cost of £9,750,000, had been formulated. To enable this Department to proceed more quickly in overtaking the arrears of development, it was decided to make an additional amount of £500,000 available for the present financial year. This will form part of the approved programme of £9,750,000. Authority is contained in clause 2 of the Bill to raise £850,000 to meet the expenditure authorized by it. The total of this expenditure is £822,000, and the additional amount to be raised is required to cover discounts and flotation expenses of the loan.
.- I do not intend at this stage to enter into a general discussion . of loan policy, but shall say only a few words bearing on the expenditure, chiefly in regard to the Postal Department. Under this Bill £500,000 of borrowed money is to be expended on it. I doubt very much the wisdom of borrowing such a large sum for this Department when it has every year a huge surplus, which is paid into the general revenue. Prom the point of view of a business concern, this is most inadvisable, because it loads the Department with a very heavy interest charge. Last year the surplus revenue of the Postal Department was over £2,000,000. That money is paid into the general revenue fund, and immediately afterwards the Government borrows £500,000 for capital expenditure, and debits it to the Department. That is not a satisfactory way of dealing with the Postal Service. The Department should be regarded as a business concern, and the profits it makes should be applied to the extension of its operations in the interests of the public.
– Would not the honorable member distinguish’ between capital expenditure and other expenditure 1
– I do not think so. If the Department is a business concern, and is making profits, why not apply those profits to the carrying out of necessary extensions, and so save the Department a big interest bill?
– If profits were used for capital expenditure interest would have to be charged on them.
– The main concern of the public is that the Department shall be run as cheaply and efficiently as possible, and it is not sound business to appropriate the Department’s profits and then load it with borrowed money, upon which it has to pay interest. Having regard to the position into which Australia is getting, on account of its borrowing, the excess of imports over exports, and the peculiar exchange conditions, we should borrow abroad as little as possible. It cannot be said that the Department is being .treated as a business concern. There is another point upon which I. de sire information. According to a return furnished to me last week, there is an Advisory Board in the Postal Department, of which Mr. Brown, an engineer loaned by the British Government for a period of twelve months at a salary of £1,500, is a member. In March last the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), and subsequently the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), stated that the services of Mr. Swanton, the other member of the Board, were being given free of charge. Therefore, the expenditure of the Board would appear to be confined to the payment to Mr. Brown. Ho was in a temporary position for nine months before he was permanently appointed to his present position. During that period the expenditure of the Board was £2,512. Pro rata, Mr. Brown should have received about £1,125, leaving £1,387 available for other expenditure. That cost is greater than the statements by Ministers led us to expect, and we should know something more about it. Is the Board still in existence, and, if so, does Mr. Brown, whose present salary is £2,500, draw fees also as a member of the Advisory Board ? I should say that he does not. I do not approve of appointing men from abroad to positions in the Public Service for which capable men are available in Australia. The members of the Service should have opportunities of promotion. I do not question Mr. Brown’s qualifications. I believe he is a very able man ; but he came to Australia to a temporary appointment at a salary of £1,500. He has since been appointed to a permanent position at a salary of £2,500, although his predecessor, Mr. Oxenham, received only about £1,150.
– Mr. Brown came to Australia on loan.
– He did not give up his position in England or his pension rights while on loan to the Commonwealth. That may have had some bearing on the salary he was receiving.
– A man does nob lend his services for less remuneration than he receives in his permanent employment, and it may fairly be assumed that the salary of £1,500 paid to Mr. Brown as a temporary adviser was at least equivalent to the salary he had been receiving in England, but within nine months he was promoted to a high position over the heads of other officials.
– He had to give up his pension rights, &c, when he accepted a permanent appointment with the Commonwealth.
– I believe there are in the Public Service men qualified to fill his position, and we should give to Australians some incentive to fit themselves for’ the highest offices in the Service. If wo bring men from outside to take the best positions in the Service, over the heads of other officials, there is.no inducement for those officials to do their best. An efficient Service cannot be maintained under those conditions.
– When the services of a man like this are loaned to the Commonwealth, and he is able to show where big savings oan be effected, it is worth while keeping him here.
– I say nothing about that; but many men here could have done the same thing if given the chance. They did not get the opportunity.
– Perhaps they did not have the necessary training.
– Some of them have the necessary vision and experience to see what is necessary. They, however, were not given the opportunity to apply.
– The men should, be encouraged to make suggestions.
– I have advocated that for a long time.
– There is a special, box for suggestions.
– The nien should not only be permitted to make suggestions, but they should be amply rewarded for those which are adopted.
– They get about £5 for a patent worth thousands of pounds.
– I should like to know the position regarding this Advisory Board. Does it still exist?
– No ; it has gone out.
– That is only right. There is very little in the other items to which exception can be taken. They have been decided by the House previously. I think it is necessary for these matters to be brought forward, so that Ministers may have the opportunity to reply. I do not approve of the appointment of officers from outside the Service over the heads of our own men. I believe in giving those already in the Service the opportunity to fill the higher positions whenever vacancies occur. Mr. Brown is probably a very highly qualified man, and may have proved his worth before he obtained his present position. But otter men in Australia were equal to the task, and should have been given the opportunity to apply for the position.
.- I realize that any opposition at this stage to further expenditure on the Federal Capital Territory is useless.
– Keep on trying.
– I do not believe ,in running my head against a wall for nothing. Honorable members are justified in discussing any expenditure which is incurred, or which is proposed; and even if no further result is achieved than that Ministers, and those in charge of Departments, are made to realize that public men are keeping their eye on them, some good may be done. I have risen to refer to the proposed expenditure of £500,000 in connexion with the Postal Department. I do not take the slightest exception to the amount proposed to be expended. In fact, I would be prepared to go still further. Notwithstanding the rapid advance which has taken place during the last year or two in postal, telegraphic, and telephonic development in this country, there are still many people who are clamant in their demand for services which cannot be given to them at present. For some considerable time I have interested myself in the installation of an automatic telephone switchboard at Geelong. My efforts met with some success, in that the Department placed an order overseas for the necessary equipment. Personally, I am sorry that these things cannot be manufactured in Australia. The Department recognized the necessity for the switchboard at Geelong, and promised that it should be installed not later than the end of June of this year. The switchboard was to arrive in Australia in the early part of April last. At that time I ma.de some inquiries concerning it, aud was informed that it had been placed on a vessel in America some time previously, and was to arrive in Australia that day. It did not arrive. After further inquiries, the authorities ascertained that the switchboard was still lying in one of the sheds on- the wharf at the American port. It’ had never been shipped. The non-arrival of this switchboard has caused a great deal of trouble to many of my constituents.
– All these “ boards “ seem to be unfortunate.
– The interjection of the honorable member applies with equal force to switchboards as to the other boards he has in mind. There are centres other than Geelong which have reason for complaint that their requirements are not being met.
– We waited ten years in South Melbourne.
– Greater expedition, and more oversight, should be exercised in respect to these matters.
– In any case, it is not the fault of the officials.
– Places other than Port Melbourne have been deprived of necessary telephonic services, not because Parliament was unwilling to provide the facilities, but because we felt at the time that we were not justified in incurring huge expenditure to secure the necessary material.
– Everything was starved during the war.
– That remark applies to every country. During the war period, every country got behind with its postal and telephonic facilities. I appreciate the difficulties of the Government in connexion with the switchboard for Geelong. As these switchboards are not manufactured in Australia, it was necessary for the order to be placed overseas. Naturally, the manufacturers there will not fulfil foreign orders until the requirements of their own country have been fully met.
– What can be done about it?
– Seeing that we are rapidly returning to normal conditions, and that the demand for these services in other countries is probably not so acute as formerly, the Postmaster-General’s Department should look further ahead, and anticipate the requirements in many centres. At Geelong, it is proposed to make provision only for about as many subscribers as are to-day asking for the service. I want to impress on the Treasurer, and the officers of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, the necessity for makingprovision for the future. It is not sufficient to supply Geelong with a telephone switchboard capable only of pro viding for those who now desire to be connected with the service. Those who make application for telephonic connexion within a few months after the installation of the new switchboard will have to wait an almost indefinite period before a service is supplied. This matter affects, not only those in the electorate which I represent, but also others in the large cities of the Commonwealth and those adjacent to the main provincial centres. I trust that the responsible officers of the Department will look ahead, when installing mechanism of this kind, and anticipate so far as is possible the requirements of the people.
– I ask honorable members to agree to the resolution, so that the Bill may be introduced, when honorable members will be in full possession of all the facts and the various items can be debated.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Standing Orders suspended ; resolution adopted.
That Dr. Earle Page and Sir Littleton Groom do prepare and firing in a Bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Dr. Earle Page) read a first and second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Authority to borrow £850,000).
.- The practice of submitting statements of public expenditure to the Committee in this form is a very dangerous one, involving as it does the risk of some honorable members agreeing to proposals contrary to their principles. When the Estimates for the last financial year were before Parliament, many honorable members were opposed to the operations of the Post and Telegraph Department being conducted on loan money. In consequence of a change of officers in the administrative branch of the Post and Telegraph Department, we will possibly be told that the new Secretary to the PostmasterGeneral’s Department is a perfect genius, and is performing the work more satisfactorily than any other public servant who has held the positron. We know that this gentleman will have the opportunity of spending larger sums of loan money than his predecessors; but I am satisfied that if those who preceded Mr. Brown had enjoyed the privileges which he possesses they would have been able to show results equal to those which it is anticipated he wilt be able to produce. I have endeavoured all along to show how desirable it is to provide for the Post and Telegraph Department out of revenue. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) said that, according to the official statement issued, there will be a surplus in the Post and Telegraph Department which will be paid into the general revenue ; but I contend that it is stupid and unbusinesslike to continue to borrow money at 5£ per cent, for postal purposes, and pay the profits derived by the Department into general revenue. The present maladministration in connexion with this Department must be discontinued.
We have been told that certain vessels which have been in use in the lighthouse service for some years are to be replaced by other vessels which are to be built with loan money. In a few years these vessels will also be obsolete, and as they have been purchased out of loan money, the debt, in the form of interest, will be handed down to our successors. No ordinary individual would carry on business in such a way. This practice has been continued year after year, and one wonders who is to make the change. The Commonwealth and States have now borrowed practically £1,000,000,000, the interest on which will have to be met by our children, or our children’s children. We have been informed that every child born in Australia to-day now carries a debt of £170. I remember a statement made by Sir Henry Parkes on the hustings in Sydney. He said, “ I would like to tell you of the great prosperity of this country. Every individual in it is worth £366.” He had obtained figures from the T ear-Book. One individual in the crowd remarked, “I say, Henry, may I call round in the morning and get my £366?” There was, however, a great asset there - a better asset than we have in- a lighthouse steamer, which, after a few years, may run on the rocks, if the bottom does not fall out of it. The only way to get- the alteration I desire is to change the Government.’ In that direction lies our salvation, and the sooner we get it the better.
– When we get the honorable member in the Treasury we shall shake him up.
– I hope I shall put a stop to some of these practices, and if I do I shall be a godsend to the people of Australia. We cannot object to this Bill, for.it seeks merely to authorize expenditure for works which have already been sanctioned. I merely want to put the Government on the right path, for I shall probably be dead before these debts are paid.
– Do not be pessimistic.
– I shall remain here as long as I can, if it is only tq annoy the Government.
I wish to support the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) regarding the appointment of persons from outside the Public Service to important positions within the Service. It is a wrong practice, and is injuring ‘ a large number .of our servants. In the Navy to-day there ia much discontent for the same reason. In the near future I intend to bring before the House a proposal relating to that matter. The Navy brings out officers from England to take high positions, while we have men available who have been through our colleges, and who, if they were given the opportunity, would prove a credit to the country that has. paid so much for their education. After paying £1,500 a year for four years for the education of each of these men, we get nothing out of them except subordinate service. That sort of thing ought to be stopped.
.- I wish to’ say a few words on the item ‘ relating to the “ Acquisition of and alteration to vessels for lighthouse purposes.” This is a matter of some importance. I understand that the lighthouse services are in a special difficulty at the present time. Not only do we know that the proposed additions to the lighthouse services along the Western Australian coast have been very much delayed, but” I have heard lately, and regret to have heard, rumours to the effect that attendance upon the lighthouses is in danger of being neglected.
– I suppose the honorable member knows the reason.
– I am asking the reason. I hope the rumour is riot true, but I have been informed that many of the lights, a large proportion of which are automatic, are now approaching the time when they will expire unless they receive attention. It is said that provision is not,,available for attending to them. It is necessary that vessels and equipment be provided to go out to the lighthouses and also to re-charge unattended lights. If the statement is true, it reflects very seriously upon the management of the lighthouses.
– The honorable member ought to give his authority for the statement” he makes.
– I do not feel called upon to do that. The honorable member often makes statements without giving his authority for them. I ask the Minister if the statement is correct, and, if so, whether, when adidtional services are being provided for the lighthouses, something cannot be done to get over this impending difficulty on the Western Australian coast?
– I propose to emphasize the remarks made by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann). As honorable members are aware, I have been trying for some time to push to the front this question of lighthouses for Western Australia. The exMinister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) always met me in a very fair spirit, but I regret to find that in the schedule to this Bill the small sum of T only £37,000 is allotted for the improvement of these services. I made inquiries some time ago regarding what it was proposed to do with the Governor Musgrave. That boat has been used for the lighthouse services on the Western Australian coast since the days when the State had control. It is quite unfitted for the work. As honorable members are aware, many of the lights on remote parts of the coast of Australia are now unattended, and from time to time the vessels of the lighthouse services, such as the Governor Musgrave, must visit them. For seven or eight months out of the past twelve months it has been impossible for that boat, in her present state, to attend to the lights. I believe that the difficulty has been foreseen, and that it was decided some- time ago to meet it by the construction of two new vessels. The construction of those vessels, I have heard - not from the Government, but from a source that I accept as authentic - has been held up for some reason for four months.. That requires explanation by the responsible Minister. The construction of these vessels has been delayed, for four months after they were authorized. That state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. I do not wish to be parochial, but I feel that I would be neglecting my duty as the representative of this portion of Western Australia if I did not stand up Here and state the facts. Between Cape Leveque and Darwin, a distance of 625 mile3, there is not one light, although it includes some of the most indented and dangerous portions of the coast of Australia. I do not wish to allege unfair treatment, but no such neglect of the Northern Territory has been shown by this Government. Between Cape Darwin and Port Don, in the Northern Territory, there are ten lights, but between Cape Leveque and Darwin, a distance of 625 miles, with 10- knot tides on many portions of the coast, and with the ordinary spring tides running up to 22 feet, there are no lighthouses. That is a disgraceful state of affairs. The provision of these lights is an urgent matter. What is the position to-day? The boats that run up the north-west coast of Western Australia, after they leave Broome, have to make a detour of 32 miles from their route off the east Lacepede group of islands, because of the lack of a light.
– Who is responsible for the lights not being attended to? Has it not been caused by the strike on the Kyogle, in Sydney ?
– That strike is not responsible for the absence of lights at these points. I regret, as much as any one, the fact that work was held up on a boat that was to be utilized to ascertain the places at which lights are necessary. The main point, however, is why are not the large boats being built for permanent service on this coast? Who is responsible for that? Their construction was held up, I am told, for four months after it was decided that they should be proceeded with. After a boat leaves Broome, because of the detour necessary to go outside the east Lacepede group of islands, she arrives at the entrance to King’s Sound, off Cape Leveque and Meda Pass - which is a most dangerous pass to negotiate - at nightfall. In the dim light the skipper has to keep a sharp lookout to see that his vessel does not drift on to the rocks, or the land, because of the swirling tides. If two lights were placed on the Twin Islands, and another island adjacent to them, it would be possible to negotiate the Meda Pass at night, and boats would be able to go right up to Derby, 50 or 60 miles distant. No time would then be lost. As honorable members must be aware, £50 or £60 is lost by every vessel, through delay, in entering Derby, because there is not a light on the east Lacepede group of islands.
– Would the skipper of a vessel negotiate those places in the dark even if lights were placed there?
– He would; but at present he cannot.
– The honorable member realizes that the navigation is dangerous on account of the tides. Would a skipper, in view of that fact, go through during the night?
– Yes. I do not pretend to be a marine expert, but I have gleaned this information from skippers of all vessels that go up the north-west coast,; whether in the service of Dalgety and Company or the State Steamship Service.1 ‘They have asked for years for this provision to be made. The records are on the file of the Navigation Department. North of Derby it is necessary to go outside and make a detour round what is known as the Holothura Bank. Three small, unattended lights, stationed close to the coast, would enable vessels to save 27 miles steaming. A light at Lacrosse Island, at the mouth of Cambridge Gulf, upon which Wyndham is built, and a number of leading lights, would enable vessels to go into Wyndham at night time instead of anchoring outside, in precisely the same way as they do at Derby. There is no light whatever on Lacrosse Island. On two or three occasions I have had the experience of standing on the deck of a vessel at night time, watching the skipper anxiously peering through the murk at the mainland, with a 10-knot tide rushing through, and having to exercise the utmost vigilance to prevent his vessel from drifting on the rocks. At the present time 120 lights dot the coast of Australia; yet Western Australia, which has two-fifths of the total coast line, is provided with only nineteen lights. That is the most dangerous portion of the coast, and I ask the Govern ment to place a reasonable amount on. the Estimates to enable this work to be proceeded with at once.
.- There are one or two matters connected with our lighthouse system with which we should deal at the earliest opportunity. I am becoming afraid of the loan policy of the Federal Government and of ‘ the Governments of the States. I realize that in’ our borrowing during recent years we have gone beyond the safety mark. In discussing a small Bill of this sort one does not want to go into that matter fully, but I do urge that all future Loan Bills should provide that the Treasurer shall not issue loans free from either State- or Federal taxation. I think the time has arrived when that practice, which has been followed of recent years, should be departed from. If it is continued it will land us in financial difficulty. In spite of the conversations that have been held from time to time between representatives of the States and the Commonwealth, the last Federal loan was issued free of State taxation. We should refuse to permit of loans being raised in that Way, even though we have to pay a little higher rate of interest. If, later, we are faced with the necessity of raising further sums of money to meet the additional interest charge, we can increase our income taxation. If loans are made free from taxation that obligation cannot be repudiated, and the income which otherwise would be derivable from the interest on those loans is lost to the Government. In the Estimates tinder discussion there is an item relating to the lighthouse service. I bring to the notice of honorable members the questions asked by Senator Kingsmill in another place quite recently in relation to the building of certain ships for that service. The two boats built by the Department cost no less than £155 per ton.
– They have hardly been started yet.
– That is the COntraCt price.
– There must be something exceptional in the design which makes them so expensive. It seems to be an outrageously large sum per ton to pay for any ship. When expenditure such as this is proposed, there would be, at any rate, no loss to the Commonwealth if it were made the subject of some investigation, so that a Department would not be able to have specifications prepared for a most expensive type of vessel when a far less elaborate design might be equally serviceable.
– I have been told that these vessels require heavier machinery than ordinary ships because they have to cope with very rough weather at times.
– That may be so. I am under the impression that the vessels are required for carrying supplies to the various lighthouses. In Western Australia an old boat called the Penguin used to do this work particularly well. Rather than sanction lavish expenditure on these vessels, I should like to provide the occupants of the lighthouses with such facilities as wireless sets and libraries to make their lonely lives more pleasant than they are under existing conditions. The Department should inquire whether there has been any undue expenditure, and take care, in future, that specifications are not drawn up on too elaborate a scale. The abnormal cost of the vessels is apparently due, not to the fact that they are being built in Australia, but to the nature of the specifications.
The subject of the expenditure of loan money at Canberra has been raised, and in my opinion a good many of the public works now in hand ought to be financed out of surplus revenue. I am not one of those who believe that Canberra will eventually prove a paying proposition.
– I think I have heard that statement before.
– Yes ; and I remind the Minister that the taxation raised in Washington from a population of over 100,000 does not realize more than 50 per cent. of the cost of the upkeep of that city, despite all the millions that have been spent there. Honorable members will findthat when the future residents of Canberra are taxed it will still be necessary to make a special grant, not only for the purpose of meeting the interest on the money expended, but also to provide for the actual upkeep of the Federal Capital.
– In Washington, the freehold of the land was sold.
– There the authorities have the power to tax the land; and if the Commonwealth docs not sell the land at Canberra, it will not possess the power of taxation.
– We shalldo better than that. We shall get the unearned inclement.
– I may be too pessimistic, and the Minister’s forecast may prove true; but I suggest that some of the surplus funds that have been accumulating forthelast few years should be devoted to public works that are likely to become revenueproducing. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) suggested that the surplus revenue of the Post and Telegraph Department should be credited to it, and I think that idea is well worthy of consideration, for it seems anomalous that a Department which is, toall intents and purposes, a trading concern shouldnot be permitted to apply its surplus revenue to the reduction of its capital expenditure. It would be infinitely better to do that than borrow money for the provision of postal services.
– We could not pay for those services if we had penny postage.
– I think the people are content with l½d. postage.
Loans should not be issued in Australia unless the interest derived from them is made liable to taxation,by both the States and the Commonwealth Tax-free loans have already involved Australia in considerable loss, and I am afraid that if the practice is continued it will occasion great difficulty to Treasurers of the Commonwealth in future. The sooner the raising of tax-free loans is stopped the better for Parliament and Australia generally.
.- The policy of this Government has been to secure the taxation of loans by both the Federal and State authorities. We went so far as to inform the States that, if they would agree amongst themselves to tax their own loans, we should be quite willing to allow them to tax Commonwealth loans, although they had no constitutional power to do so. We did our best at the Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers last year, and again at the Conference held at the beginning of this year, to induce the States to come to some definite agreement on. this matter, but the difficulty is that the States- do not have- uniform rates- of taxation, without which one State would be able to secure an advantage over another. The Commonwealth Bill introduced last year providing for the taxation of loans generally set- out that, as soon as the States passed similar legislation, the future Commonwealth loans would be proclaimed’ to be subject to State taxation. I notice that the Treasurer of an adjoining State occasionally remarks that the action of the Commonwealth was contrary to the convention. It will be seen, however, from the debates at the Conference last year that the Government did exactly what it said it would do, that is, it proposed first to tax its own loans and the State loans, and then to allow its own loans to be taxed by. the States, if the latter agreed also to tax State loans.
In reply to the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) deprecating the expenditure of loan money on developmental works in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department, I may point out that for many years, and especially during the war period, that Department was starved for funds, and a great deal of necessary developmental work had to remain in abeyance. In my own electorate people had been asking for telephones for six or seven years, and they were always told that their requests would receive favorable consideration, but that at the time no funds were available. Consequent upon the policy that has since been adopted, however, practically 80 per cent, of the telephone applications that have not been granted are not more than a year outstanding. I hope that during the next financial year the Postmaster-General will be in a position to supply a telephone to every applicant within three months of t-he date of his application. To ensure a continuation of our present policy, the Government has established a special internal sinking fund for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. Not only is 10s. per cent, paid into the general sinking fund to meet loans as they become due - which would automatically redeem a loan in 50 years - but an additional £1 per cent, is paid into a Postal Department sinking fund, so that when services which are installed by borrowed moneys become obsolete, or have fulfilled’ their, purpose,, money will be available either to- replacethem or to- repay the loan.
– Who has charge of that sinking fund ?
– The Treasurer. Honorable members will recollect that a special’ post-office ^account appeared in my Budget last year, which- gave- the exact financial, position of the. PostmasterGeneraL’s. Department. Although the system of. using the revenue from reproductive; Departments for the purposes of developing those’ Departments, is ideal, honorable members must recognize that for many years the expenditure, on our postal administration was a- big drain upon the general revenue, and heavy interest bills have still to be met- for money that was raised for post-office purposes.
– That is no justification for borrowing, more money for postal purposes on the security of the general revenue.
– I have already pointed cut that provision has been made for payments into two sinking funds to recoup these loans. It is satisfactory to me to know that certain telephone lines which have been installed only recently, but which were applied for ten years ago, are returning a profit of 20 per cent., whereas the money borrowed to install them cost only 5 per cent, or 6 per cent. That is very good business, and will help to recoup the Commonwealth for expenditure on unproductive works, such as some of our railways. The Leader of the Opposition made some remarks respecting the Advisory Board. That Board consisted of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), Mr. Swanton, and Mr. Brown. During the whole of Mr. Swanton’s association with it he gave his services entirely free, with the exception that when he was travelling - and he .visited the capital of every State in the Commonwealth, I believe - he was paid £2 2s. per day for travelling expenses. I presume that the expenditure on the Board mentioned by the Leader of . the Opposition was caused partly by the salary drawn by Mr. Brown and partly by incidental outgoings associated with the Board’s administration. The Board has now been disbanded, though Mr. Swanton occasionally gives the PostmasterGeneral the benefit of his intimate knowledge of post and telegraph affairs.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 (issue and application of £822,000).
.- Has the
Treasurer any answer to make to my inquiries respecting the lighthouse administration in “Western Australia.
– The money provided by this Bill for lighthouse purposes is required to pay for two boats, one of which will be used in the South Australian service, and the other in the Western Australian service. The reason why the Western Australian coast is being left in the extremely dangerous condition consequent upon lights going out, is that theKyogle, which was bought for the special purpose of looking after the lighthouses on that coast, is in Sydney, and cannot be manned because a Mr. Johnston is preventing a crew from being shipped by requesting conditions which cannot possibly be granted.
Mr.O’KEEFE (Denison) [3.32]. - I wish to impress upon the Treasurer that the administration of the PostmasterGeneral, in so far as it concerns the carriage of mails between the southern part of Tasmania and the mainland, is most unsatisfactory. I believe that certain shipping companies are being paid £30,000 a year to carry mails to and from Hobart, but many residents in southern Tasmania are suffering, not only serious inconvenience, but actual loss in consequence of the unconscionable delays which occur in the conveyance of mail matter. Can the Government do anything to improve the present state of affairs? Some better arrangement can surely be made. I would like the Treasurer to intimate that the Government will give consideration to my request, for the matter is urgent. In the summer months an extra boat is engaged on the run from Launceston to the mainland. At present that vessel is out of commission. I think it would be quite possible, without extra expense to the Postmaster-General’s Department, to arrange with the company owning that vessel to keep her in permanent commission. Hobart is the only port for practically half the population of Tasmania, and I hope that something will be done to improve not only the mail service, but also the general shipping facilities of southern Tasmania.
On more than one occasion I have brought under the notice of the Government the absolute necessity of providing better shipping facilities for the southern portion of Tasmania. I may, perhaps, be told that this is not a Commonwealth matter, but I suggest that the present is a favorable opportunity for the Treasurer to come to some arrangement with the company to put the Nairana on the run weekly between Melbourne and Hobart. This could be a temporary arrangement covering the period of the year during which, owing to the prevalence of fogs in the Tamar River, there is so much dislocation of the schedule drawn up for the delivery of mails at Launceston.
– Would fogs interfere with the shipping at Burnie?
– . -Very rarely; but I know of one occasion when a vessel was delayed at Burnie for two hours. There may be other isolated instances; but usually vessels arriving at Burnie are not delayed by fogs, although it is quite a common occurrence in the Tamar River. Only last week the Loongana, upon which several other members of this House besides myself were travelling, left Melbourne at 3.30 p.m. In ordinary circumstances we would have arrived in Launceston at 9 o’clock next morning, but it was after 2 p.m. when we got there. Upon reaching the north coast of Tasmania, although it was a beautiful morning, we saw a fog streak along the river course. As a result of this fog the vessel had to be hove to for several hours, and when we entered the Tamar we were unable to get up to Launceston because we had missed the high tide. These delays, as I have already said, occur very frequently during the winter months, so it would be a great convenience if the Treasurer could arrange, if only as a temporary measure, for the Nairana to be put on the run between Melbourne and Hobart. I am satisfied that it will not be long before the Commonwealth Government will realize their obligations to Tasmania as a part of the Federation, and arrange for an up-to-date passenger and cargo shipping service to Hobart, either by subsidizing a private company orby commissioning one of the Commonwealth Line vessels. I urge the Minister to take advantage of this opportunity to enter into an arrangement with the combine which has Tasmania absolutely in its power as regards shipping facilities, and without which it is impossible for Tasmania to develop. The company, I understand, is receiving a subsidy of £30,000 a year for the delivery of mails. No doubt the amount is adequate for the service, but owing to the circumstances I have mentioned the company is not carrying out the contract, because the mails are not being delivered regularly. The company might say, of course, that fog, being an act of God, relieved it of the obligation to deliver the mails according to the schedule. But the fact remains that the people of Tasmania are not getting the service they are entitled to expect under the contract. Therefore, if the Minister could arrange for a shipping service to Hobart, the situation would be eased as regards the prompt delivery of mails to at least one-half the population of the State. This is a question of very great importance to the people of Tasmania. No Treasurer of the Commonwealth will have any rest from the Tasmanian representatives in this Parliament until something is done to improve the situation. I am satisfied that, in his answer to my question the other day, the Prime Minister honestly meant what he said, and will make the necessary inquiries, but I now urge the Treasurer to see if something can be done at once.
– I did not quite follow the Treasurer in his statement as to the amount of money borrowed for public works authorized last year. I understood him to say that of the total amount authorized, £18,000,000, only about £7,000,000 had been spent. I presume therefore, that the loan now asked for will bring the amount up to about £7,500,000
– £7,900,000 altogether.
– In view of the fact that £18,000,000 worth of work was authorized last year, it is somewhat remarkable that honorable members should receive, from time to time, advice from the Postal Department that there are no funds available for certain urgent works.
– We have spent all the money authorized for the Post Office, and that is why we are asking for more in this Bill.
– This’ week I received a number of letters from the Post and Telegraph Department to say that certain works, which have been approved for a long time, cannot be gone on with until the next financial year. I assume that other honorable members have received similar letters, and it appears to me that unless some- effort is made to carry out urgent works, which have been approved for a long time, we will next year be in the same chaotic position. “
– If honorable members will give the Government the £500,000 asked for in this Bill, the works referred to will be gone on with.
– The Treasurer has referred to the colossal task with which the Government was faced. We know that during the war period work3 were held up; but before the present composite Government came into power this Parliament agreed to the raising of £10,000,000 to overtake the arrears of work for the Post and Telegraph Department. It is clear’ that whatever Government came into power those arrears had to be caught up. I do not think that these works are being expedited in the country districts as they should be.
– We are spending about £1,500,000 more this year than was spent last year.
– I - Is there any shortage of telephone instruments now?
– The supply is still short, but we expect that it will soon meet all requirements.
– The Treasurer recently visited my electorate, and he will know from what he saw that a new post-office at Wagga is urgently required. A very long time has elapsed since the necessary works there were authorized, but no start has yet been made with them. I should like to know whether the £500,000 that it is proposed to raise under the Bill for post and telegraph works will be spent. on some of the works which we have been told must be held over until the next financial year.
– It is being raised for all approved works.
– I am glad to hear that, and I trust that priority in the expenditure of the money will be given to works which have been approved for over six or twelve months. I agree with all that has been said about the urgency of these works in country districts. Telephone communication is of the greatest importance to people living in out-back districts. It places them in touch with the markets, and does much to make life worth living in remote places. When we are told that there is no money available for necessary telephone connexions and works in country districts, the first thing that occurs to our minds is the fact that the public accounts show that the Treasurer has an immense surplus. It is shameful that in a country like this the Government should heap up surplus revenue instead of giving necessary relief to taxpayers and providing postal and other facilities urgently required in country districts. If such relief is not to be given, who is to benefit from the piling up of our huge surplus of £12,000,000 or £13,000,000? It seems to me that only the very wealthy people in this country have benefited since the present Government came into power. Some of the privileges and concessions which are being extended to the Flinders-lane people, who must have benefited largely by the reduction of postage rates, might be extended to people living in the back country, whose conditions are known to the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Stewart).
– We have done more in the last twelve months in the direction desired than was done by any other Government in the history of this country.
– If the present Government had not done a little more than previous Governments to catch up with the arrears of works held up during the war period, it would not have done its duty. Before the Government to which the honorable gentleman belongs came into office this Parliament agreed to the raising of £10,000,000 to catch up with those arrears. In view of the huge surplus we have to-day, something might be done for the benefit of the poorer sections of the community living in the back districts. If it was right and proper to remit taxation to the extent of £1,500,000 owing by wealthy pastoralists of this country, I plead, in common with other honorable members on this side, that something shouldbe done for the little men who are neglected by the present Government. Knowing what took place yesterday, upstairs, when the Country party joined forces with Flinders-lane, I suppose that we can only expect greater neglect of the little men of this country in the future. I again urge the Treasurer to see that, in the expenditure of the money proposed to be raised by this Bill, priority shall be given to works which have been approved for over twelve months.
.- I would like an assurance from the Treasurer that provision will be made for additional lights on the north-west coast of Western Australia. The position is serious on that coast. For instance, a vessel passing between two lights in Mary Ann Passage, is, for a mile, out of sight of either light. At least ten new lights arc necessary on that coast.
Clause agreed to.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- Last week the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) declared that the recent alteration of the regulations by which apples affected by black spot were permitted to be exported had detrimentally affected the sale of Western Australian apples in London. The honorable member’s statement, as I shall show, was not in accordance with the facts, but before dealing with that aspect of the matter I should like to explain what has taken place in connexion with the Tasmanian fruit industry. During the last 40 years Tasmania has been so successful in building up an export trade in apples that the value of that trade is now £800,000 per annum. It has also established a most excellent interstate market for the same fruit. That trade, however, has not been gained, as the Melbourne Leader alleged last week, by sending away rubbish. A successful trade in apples is built up by exporting only the very best fruit. The remarks of the honorable memberfor Perth would lead many to believe that the apples to which he referred were 100 per cent, spotted, or were very nearly black. As a matter of fact, a sixpenny piece would cover the whole of the black spot on any apple. ‘The spot is simply a fungus disease on the surface of the fruit. If a pearson peeled two apples, one affected by black spot, and the other clean, he would not be able to tell the difference between the two. In any case tho regulations were altered by the ex-Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Austin Chapman) on the advice of the Fruit Council of Australia, and the action taken was quite correct, because black-spotted apples are a sound commercial fruit. The spot is no detriment to an apple. Tasmanians do not claim that all their growers are honest. There are some unscrupulous persons who would ship anything, but the Tasmanian Government have appointed inspectors to prevent the export of bad apples. As a matter of fact, the fruit-growers of the State welcome that inspection, because they realize tho advantage of the apple trade to Tasmania and to Australia generally, and are just as interested in maintaining it as are the people of any other State. But there are also unscrupulous growers in other States, as can easily bc seen, by inspecting the oranges and mandarins shipped each week from Sydney to Hobart. Some of those oranges and mandarins are so affected by the fruit fly that they are absolutely rotten with maggots. There is no regulation preventing this fruit from being sent away from New South Wales, and why should we have regulations to prevent black-spot apples, which are absolutely sound, from being exported ? I come now to the statement of the honorable member for Perth, that Tasmanian apples had affected the sale of Western Australian apples in London. The first two steamers to take away apples this season were the Esperance Bay and the Demosthenes, neither of which called at Hobart. They both took apples from Victoria and Western Australia, and I have an account of their arrival in a report dated the 7th April, which reads as follows : -
Apples by the s.s. Esperance Bay have arrived in good condition, but contained bitter pit from both States of Victoria and Western Australia1.. Western Australian Jonathans were black-spotted.
As there were no Tasmanian apples in England at that time, how could they have affected the sale of Western Australian apples there ? Further, the first three boats that left Tasmania did not have on board a single cast) of blemished apples; but the shippers of the fruit on its arrival in England suffered the same loss that fell to the lot of the shippers of the Western Australian apples. These consignments were sold at a ridiculously low price, not on account of black spot - as was stated by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) - but because of the arrival in England of American apples, which always affect all our early shipments. American apples were being sold in England at 3s. a barrel, and each barrel contains 3 bushels. How cun Australian growers expect high prices for their export apples when American apples are selling at the same time at ls. per bushel? Tasmania has done more for the apple industry than have all the other States put together. We have shipped apples to England for the last 40 years. The pioneer growers had to guarantee freights to induce oversea boats to call at Tasmanian ports .for their apples, and they had to experiment with the carriage of the apples in cool storage. The apples often arrived in England in very bad condition, and the growers received practically nothing for them. The apple industry was stabilized by tho efforts of the early Tasmanian growers, and now the other States come in and reap the benefit, and try to dictate to Tasmania what apples it shall or shall not export. This attitude is not in conformity with the spirit of Federation. The honorable member for Perth should obtain authentic information concerning the apple industry before making statements in this House. I am- reminded of the old adage - “People in glass houses should not throw stones.” If there is no law to stop the export of bitter-pit apples, which no one can eat, then there should be no law to stop the export of black-spot apples, which every one can eat.
– I wish to refer a very important .matter to the Attorney-General (Sir Littleton Groom) I have received a letter from the Austra- lasian Society of Engineers, Sydney, protesting against the delay in hearing their plaint before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, pointing out that the existing dissatisfaction, due to that delay, is likely to cause a strike, and denying tho answers given to a scries of questions asked by me last week respecting the delay. The letter points out that the joint plaint of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the Australasian Society of Engineers, and the Blacksmiths Union was referred into Court on the 14th September last, and that unnecessary delays and adjournments have caused dissatisfaction and stop-work meetings in New South “Wales and other States. Unless the Minister is able to bring pressure to bear upon the Court to list this case for hearing at a very early date, the Government will have to take the responsibility of any action that may follow. The AttorneyGeneral, the other day, gave a vague assurance that the case would very likely he heard some time in June, but the society point out in their letter to me that the Judge who is dealing with their case left for Port Darwin on the 24th May, and expected to be absent from Melbourne for about seven weeks, and that, therefore, nothing could be done by him until the beginning of August. It will allay a considerable amount of industrial unrest if the Attorney-General will bring under the notice of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court the urgent need to hear this case, and thus dispose- of the cauSe of the dissatisfaction.
-The honorable member will realize that it is quite impossible to interfere with the Arbitration Court Judges in the administration of justice. They must, of course, preserve an impartial demeanour towards all the cases before them, and list them in their proper. order. The honorable member must not talk about the Government being responsible for any action taken by the societies concerned, as we are in no sei.se responsible for the administration of justice in the Arbitration Court. The honorable member’s complaint will be noted in the proper way, and the neces sary representations will be made to the Department concerned.
Question resolved in the affirmative
House adjourned at 4.1.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 May 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1924/19240530_reps_9_106/>.