9th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether the difficulty arising out of varying rates of exchange has been settled in order that the usual methods of payment may apply to this season’s wool passing through Australian sale rooms. If not, is it nob possible to adopt the practice in vogue in Egypt for the last ten years of issuing notes against securities held in Britain?
– The Australian Notes Board recently made available certain additional facilities to the banks. I understand that there is no difficulty in financing wool bills for the current season’s clip. The basis upon which exchange has been stabilized in Egypt for some years past has received the very full consideration of the Government. It was considered at the Economic Conference. Every aspect of it has been taken into account, and it is quite possible that the Commonwealth Bank Board, when constituted, may consider action on the lines of the Egyptian practice.
Status of Australia-
– I ask the Prime Minister whether Australia will bo represented at the Allies Conference, and if so, whether the status of our delegates will be at least equal to that of our representatives at the Versailles Conference.
– Last week, in reply to the Leader of the Opposition, I indicated that arrangements had been made for the representation of the dominions at the Allies Conference in Britain on the basis of the panel system, under which a representative of each dominion, in turn, sits at the main conference.. In addition, to representation at the main conference, the British Empire delegation, which existed at’ the time of the Versailles negotiations, has been reconstituted, . and the representative of the Commonwealth is present at each sitting of that Empire delegation. The whole of the negotiations taking place at the main conference are considered by the British Empire delegation, and further, the Prime Ministers of the self-governing parts of the Empire are being kept fully informed of everything that transpires.
– Has the Prime Minister protested against the lowering of the status of Australia’s representative at the conference, and similar conferences arising out of the war? At the Versailles Conference Australia was allowed full representation as a nation, but apparently . the Commonwealth has not now that status.
Mir. BRUCE. - Australia retains full status, and is represented at the InterAllies Conference as one. of the nations concerned in the negotiations. There has been no reduction of the status of the Commonwealth .
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has read in the Argus, dated 21st instant, the comment made by the Honorable E. G. Theodore, Premier of Queensland, on Br. Spahlinger’s tuberculosis, serum, in which he states that the. doctor has voluntarily offered to supply the Queensland Government with some of his serum? 2. Has he read extracts from letters from Drs. Spahlinger and Watts, quoted by Mr. Theodore, to the effect that Sir Nevillo Howse did not make a thorough investigation of the benefits arising from treatment with the serum? 3. What comment has he to make on Mr. Theodore’s statements and the letters from the above-mentioned doctors ?
– As to the honorable member’s first two questions, I have not read the statements referred to. With respect to his third question I have no comment to make.
Distribution in New South Wales.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs if arrangements have yet been finalized with the New South Wales Government for the distribution of Commonwealth wire netting in that State?
– I am pleased to be able to answerthe honorable member’s question in the affirmative. On the 19th July I sent a letter to Mr. Wearne making certain suggestions for the distribution of the netting through the Pastures Protection Boards provided that certain safeguards were given in the interests of the Commonwealth. This morning I received a telegram from Mr. Wearne stating that the conditions suggested are acceptable, and ho is putting in hand straight away the distribution of Commonwealth wire netting for New South Wales.
Reciprocal Agreement with Canada.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs whether there has been any new development in connexion with Canadian proposals for a reciprocal tariff agreement with Australia?
– The matter is receiving the consideration of the Government.
Mr. BRUCE__ I desire to state for the information of honorable members that during the absence of the Attorneygeneral (Sir Littleton Groom), Ishall act in his place and attend to the administration of the Attorney-General’s Department.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer, in view of the statement he made recently, that he would stand or fall by a certain pact, whether he is standing up or falling down on the job?
Question not answered.
– It has been reported in the press that the Commission of Civil Re-establishment in Canada has recommended to the Canadian Government that legislation be introduced to make it compulsory upon employers to employ a certain percentage of maimed soldiers. ‘ In view of this fact, and the fact that similar legislation is in force in most European countries, is the Prime Minister prepared to take the necessary steps to enact such legislation in Australia?
– The suggestion of the honorable member will receive the full consideration of the Government.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
In view of the fact that the reclassification scheme for the Public Service, so far as it concerns the Post and Telegraph Service in Tasmania, is considered by officers there to be so. unfair that numerous appeals will be lodged, will he arrange for a reclassification officer to proceed to Tasmania at once to investigate, in accordance with the promise made some weeks ago by the Postmaster-General?
– The promise made by the Postmaster-General had no special relation to the Mail Branch Classification, “but was of general application (see Hansard page 476). It is not proposed that appeals against the classification of the Hobart Mail Branch shall be investigatedby a reclassification officer. The course laid down by the Public Service Act (section 27) is that appeals shall be considered by an Appeal Conference of which the appellant or his representative or agent shall be a member.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral,upon notice -
Will he send a responsible officer, of the department from head-quarters to Sydney to investigate the position of the sorters and others affected by the new classification of the mail branch of the Public Service Board, which is stated to be causing a great deal of dissatisfaction in the Service, and promises to be prolific in appeals from those alleged to be adversely affected ?
– It is not proposed to send a departmental officer to Sydney. The course laid down by the Public Service Act (section 27) is that appeals shall.be considered by an appeal conference, of which the appellant or his representative or agent shall be a mem- ber.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories,upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s question are as follow : -
The Administrator was thereupon instructed to personally investigate the matter.
Before the Administrator had completed his inquiries, Judge Herbert, of Papua, who was on a visit to the Northern Territory, was approached and asked to make the investigation, but he was unwilling to do so.
In expressing his unwillingness, Judge Herbert suggested the advisableness of leaving the parties to their legal remedies. That course was concurred in as it is considered to be the most effective means of dealing with the reciprocal allegations.
The decision to retire two members of the hospital staff involves no finding or expression of opinion as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations referred to.
Officers of Permanent Defence Forces - Report of Actuaries
asked the Treasurer,upon notice -
What pension on retirement would be paid under the Superannuation Act at the present rates in the following cases of an officer of the Permanent Military Forces, in each case born on 1st July, 1902, and appointed an officer in those Forces on 1st January, 1924, who -
What would be the pension on retirement at 65 years of age of a public servant contributing under the Superannuation Act for the following units of pension : - (a) ten units; (b) thirteen units; and (c) fifteen units? ‘ Dr. EARLE PAGE.- The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: - 1. (a) £78 2s.; (b) £137 5s.; (c) £153 13s. 2. (a) £260; (6) £338; (c) £390.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - >
Has the Government power under the Quarantine Act to provide for the isolation, segregation,’ and remedial and preventative treatment of people suffering from an infectious disease, such as venereal disease?
– No. The powers of the Commonwealth under the Quarantine Act with , respect to infectious disease, such as venereal disease, are. limited to the application of measures of quarantine to cases on any vessel. The control and treatment of such cases on land are the functions of the states.
Imposition of Fines
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice-
Mir. BRUCE. - Inquiries- are being made, and. I shall advise the honorable member of the result as early as possible.
– On the 16th July I promised the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins) to look into the matter of laying on the table of the House a copy of the judgment in connexion with the expropriated estate of Mrs. Kaumann, of New Guinea. I have now examined this document, and desire to inform the honorable member that I have to-day laid on the table of the Library a copy of the report in question.
– On the 26th June the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) asked the following question: -
Will the Minister for Trade and Customs submit a statement to the House showing the various classes of goods which have been brought under the anti-dumping provisions of the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act, and, if possible, the reasons why those provisions were applied to the goods?
A statement, which. I now lay on the table as promised, has been prepared and arranged under the particular sections of the Act which have been applied. The Act lays down in the different sections certain varying conditions, and when these respective conditions occur, dumping duty may be imposed. The reasons, briefly, for imposing the duties were that after inquiry and report by the Tariff Board, the Minister .was satisfied that these conditions prevailed with respect to the goods gazetted.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 27 of 1924- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.
No. 28 of 1924 - Australian Letter Carriers’ Association.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at Cressy, Victoria - For Postal purposes.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1924, Nos. 68, 76.
Public Service Act - Appointment of T. K. Burns, Department of Trade and Customs.
Wireless Telegraphy Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 101.
Debate resumed from 18th July (vide page 2299), on motion by Mr. Bruce -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Anstey had moved by way of amendment -
That after the word “ That “ the following words be inserted : - “ as efforts are being made by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain to convene another conference to deal with the question of further disarmament, and in view of the early sitting of the League of Nations, it is the opinion of this House that expenditure on naval construction should be deferred for the present.”
– I desire to emphasize one or two points upon which I touched on Friday last. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey) pointed out in his speech that Australia could provide for her defence in a better way than is possible tinder this measure, by thoroughly equipping her factories, not only for defence purposes, but to carry out certain work which is now done by private enterprise. I have before me the report of the Public Accounts Committee upon munitions supply. Over a period of about nine months that committee made exhaustive inquiries into Australia’s resources of raw materials for the manufacture of munitions. It inspected various factories in operation, and in course of construction, and also, under expert guidance, a considerable portion of the machinery lor the manufacture of munitions - machinery either purchased at the end of the war at a very low cost from the British Government, or handed over by that Government as a gift to the Commonwealth. The re commendations of the Public Accounts Committee support the opinions of the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) as to the best way in which money can be spent for the defence of Australia. One of the Committee’s recommendations is as follows: -
Whilst the committee is generally in accord with the decision to place on a nucleus basis those factories which can be used solely for the manufacture of munitions, some of the factories are equipped with machinery and plant capable of being put to productive use, and the committee is of opinion that it is false economy to have valuable machines lying idle and stall’s ofskilled workmen employed on merely skeleton production, and considers that the principle of utilizing the existing factories to produce goods required for Governmental use shouldbe further extended provided, of course, that the functions of the factories as munitions plants arc not unduly interfered with.
Evidently the members of the Public Accounts Committee and the honorable member for Bourke are in agreement. As proof of the fact that the defence factories have already done valuable service in meeting not only the requirements of the Defence Department, but also those of the public, I can mention quite a long list of articles manufactured in the Lithgow Small Arms Factory for federal and state departments, and also for private individuals. On a green baizecovered board on one of the walls of the factory the visitor will notice quite a number of articles which have been made in the establishment, demonstrating that defence factories can also be utilized for the manufacture of the peace requirements of Government departments, federal and state, and also of the public. As a matter of fact, a little socialism has already been carried out in the Small Arms Factory even under the Composite Government. During the war this factory was unable to import many of the machines it required for turning out rifles, but the difficulty was overcome by making the requisite machines, to the number of 150, in the factory itself. The machinery in the factory could similarly be employed for the manufacture of other machinery required by the public. The list to which I have referred contains, among others, the following articles: -
Clutch plates, cold chisels, cutting pliers, spanners, leather punches, taps, wool-combing (textile) machinery, cutters for engineering trade (high speed and carbon steels), sprocket wheels gauges, &c.
I suppose there are at least 200 different articles in this list, proving, if proof is necessary, that the Small Arms Factory has already been utilized for the manufacture of many articles outside the immediate needs of defence. I am well aware that certain machinery in the factory has been solely designed to turn out defence requirements, but there are other machines lying idle because it is the policy of the Government not to compete with private enterprise. The honorable member for Bourke is proposing that instead of these machines lying idle, and instead of technical artisans having to be discharged from the factory, the machines and the artisans should be employed during peace time upon the manufacture of quite a number of articles such as I have shown can be turned out by the factory. The testimony before the Public Accounts Committee of quite a number of the managers of the defence factories was that it was a disastrous policy to employ a number of men simply to look after munition making machines, instead of using them for the production of the requirements of the various state departments. The honorable member for Bourke views the position in the same light. He thinks that it is better for Australia to so organize its governmental and private institutions that when the disaster of war overtakes the country .they can immediately be converted to the manufacture of munitions of war.
– The Government have 110 objection to these factories meeting the requirements of other departments.
– If the Minister would examine the evidence given by the factory managers, he would find that so many limitations are imposed in the orders from the departments, even in those from the Defence Department, that they are discouraged, and we all know that these men will not attempt to fly in the face of the policy of the Government of the day. Articles have been manufactured in the Small Arms Factory not only for private clients, but also for the New South Wales Railways Department, the Postmaster-General’s Department, the ‘Munitions Supply Branch, the Air Board, the Artificial Limbs Factory, and repatriation trades schools.’ The articles turned out have been of splendid quality. There are several other recommendations in the report of the .Public Accounts
Committee which the Minister for Defence ought to read. The Committee itself comprises representatives of all parties in this Parliament. Some of its members do not agree with every recommendation, but I, as one of the members of the committee, agree with quite a number of them. I agree with ‘ the recommendation that the Acetate of Lime Factory should manufacture more power alcohol than it is producing at present. Power alcohol is essential for defence requirements, and if its manufacture, not only from molasses, but also from other raw materials, were more extensively undertaken it would be in Australia’s best interests. If war broke out we should not be dependent on outside supplies, from which we might be cut off. We know what a, great part motor transport played in the recent war in bringing success to the Allies. We should develop on these lines instead of spending money on fast cruisers. The honorable member for Lang (Sir Elliot Johnson), showed how useless these cruisers would be if we were at war with another nation that sent capital ships to attack our trade routes. He quoted authorities who hold that cruisers, however fast, have no hope of escape if pursued by capital ships with long-range guns. Even if the Government constructed ten cruisers, I believe that other nations would laugh at them, because one capital ship could frighten them away from any trade route. The honorable member for Calare (Sir Neville Howse) will support my view of the impossibility of protecting our trade routes with two cruisers. No doubt much will be made on public platforms of the claim that the cruisers will protect our trade routes ; -“but I should like to ask the primary producer, the secondary producer, or any. other man, whether he would like his life or his trade routes to be protected first. The answer would always be, “Protect my life first.” Every man’s life is more precious to him. than the produce he markets. Before taking steps to protect our trade routes we should protect the lives of the people. The Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) knows that cruisers will be of little or no use if our trade routes are attacked by capital ships.
– Capital ships are not used for raiding purposes.
– If we built ten cruisers to protect our trade routes in the Indian Ocean, one or two capital ships could drive them away.
– That argument means that we should oppose capital ships with capital ships.
– The competition in the building of capital ships has been stopped by the Washington Treaty.
– In time of war our principal trade route would be, not through the Indian Ocean, but round the Cape of Good Hope.
– An enemy’s vessels would operate on our principal trade routes, wherever they might be. The argument advanced by supporters of the. bill is that the cruisers must be built to protect our trade routes. We are endeavouring in Australia, and people in other countries are endeavouring, to cultivate what may be termed the sentiment of peace. In that connexion, I was very much impressed by a leading article that appeared in the Age of the 26th January last. I do not often quote that newspaper in support of my views. The article dealt with the training of youth. We believe in so educating the young people of this country as to qualify them for citizenship, but a large number of people would have our boys drilled until they become efficient in the use of arms. In the teaching of history we adopt wrong methods, and inculcate wrong principles - if, indeed, we can call them principles. A new reading of history is now being suggested. The Age, in the article to which I have referred, said that history in the past had been largely “names of battles and lists of dates.” Those of us who have perused history books know that they deal largely with bloodshed and battles, as if those were the principal events in the past. The Age quoted from a book entitled History and, its Place in Education, by Professor J. J. Findlay, of Manchester, who pointed out that the kind of history taught in our schools, not only in this, but also in other parts of the world, is keeping civilization in constant peril. Reformers, therefore, are seeking to cultivate a new sentiment, based on a new interpretation of history, “which will keep patriotism within bounds, checked by a devotion to internationalism, an all-em bracing social sense, such as will unite thenations in one brotherhood.” I know that some people will take exception to that view, and I confess that I was quite surprised to find that the Age was willing to* support the sentiments in Professor Findlay’s book, and to urge that it was time we reformed our method of teaching history by inculcating ideas that would promote peace and brotherhood. The Australian Labour party is accused of belonging to the International Peace Society,, but even a paper like the Age, owned and controlled by capitalists, is prepared, atany rate once in a while, to publish an article on this subject that meets with my hearty .approval. If we can teach theyoung people of Australia in the way recommended by Professor Findlay, we shall be doing much to abolish war. The article went on to say that “ History iri the past has been a mere travesty on history.”
– (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) - The honorable member’s remarks are but distantly related to the motion or the amendment. He is discussing an educational problem.
– The article deals with the relationship of nations, and allegesthat the educational system of the past has been used to foster hatred and antagonism, instead of a spirit of brotherhood. If we could foster and maintain an international spirit of brotherhood, war would certainly never trouble the nations. That article says that history has beenused to foster the basest elements in human nature, and keep the nations alienated from one another. It adds that Australia should be increasingly devoted to the cause of international peace, and that our children should be increasingly instructed upon those lines. I join in that advocacy because I believe that such instruction will lead to international peace. The policy of being prepared for war led, in 1914, to the most awful slaughter the world has ever known.
– Germany was the best prepared nation, and what was her fate?
– Germany had been preparing assiduously for years, and the war for which she had been looking came, and caused her defeat and humiliation.
– Does the Age usually back, up the Labour party’s policy?
– No. It publishes about one good article a month, and that is why I quoted that one with particular appreciation. I urge the honorable member to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest its contents.
I have previously quoted from the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) when, as a private member, he was our delegate to the meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations, in 1921. All of them show that he was at that time a man of peace. I make one more quotation from his speeches -
With regard to the primary objective of rendering war more difficult, it seems to me that little has been done. My criticism is that it would be better to concentrate more upon our primary objective and wait for a time when we can, with advantage, take up with enthusiasm the subsidiary matters that we have to deal with. The greatest question with regard to our primary objective is, of course, the question of disarmament.
Over and over again, at Geneva, the right honorable gentleman stressed the necessity for disarmament. While the assembly was sitting, the message from the then President of the United States of America, the late Mr. Warren G. Harding, convening a disarmament conference at Washington, was received, and the assembly expressed its approval of the efforts of the American President, and wished them God-speed. I suggest that the sentiments expressed by the Australian delegates on that occasion correctly represent the views of the Australian people, and I wish that the Prime Minister were uttering the same sentiments to-day. He apparently spoke then with conviction in favour of peace, and I cannot understand why he now submits to Parliament a measure which, instead of forwarding the cause of disarmament, proposes the construction of the biggest war vessels which the Washington Treaty permits Australia to build. I hope this Parliament will seriously consider the proposal by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, that the construction of these vessels shall be postponed. That is a very modest request. Travellers bring to us contradictory tales of war preparations by other nations. We are told that Russia is preparing for war which I do not believe and that Germany is again arming to the teeth. In my modest way, I claim to voice the sentiments of Aus tralian democracy, and I know that those who speak for the democracies of other countries speak a language different from that used by the war-mongers. This is pre-eminently . the time when we should be preaching the gospel of peace, and setting a splendid example to other nations by refraining, for the present, from the building of further armaments. By such restraint Australia would be giving an object-lesson to the world, and making a notable gesture in favour of peace. I hope honorable members will realize that, instead of constructing cruisers which will be useless, it would be better to adopt the policy, suggested by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey), of paying more attention to the building up of our factories, and establishing an organization which would be useful in peace as well as in war. By that process Australia would become strong in manufacture, and if trouble did come it would be better able to defend itself than it would be if its energies and finances were dissipated upon the construction of vessels that will be more or less impotent.
– The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I shall not attempt to deal with the general problem of Australian defence, hut shall confine my remarks to the amendment moved by my acting leader, who asks the House to affirm-
That, as efforts are being made by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain to convene another conference to deal with the question of further disarmament, and in view of. the early sitting of the League of Nations, it is the opinion of this House that expenditure on naval construction should be deferred for the present.
It seems to be customary for a proposal that emanates from the Opposition to meet with the hostility of members on the ministerial side, but I ask Government supporters to deal with the amendment on its merits, and analyse its meaning. Another conference is proposed, at which the cause of disarmament may he advanced a further stage. The Labour party is consistent in its advocacy of international peace, and our leader (Mr. Charlton) has just departed for Europe to attend the next meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva.
We hope that that meeting will be successful, and contribute something towards the peace of the world. Pending the . holding of the proposed disarmament conference, and the meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations, we merely ask that the construction of cruisers shall be postponed. But I am afraid that the two parties sitting on the ministerial side are influenced by the political situation, -and their weakening hold upon the reins of government, and are taking advantage of our attitude on this bill to endeavour to make the Australian people believe that the Labour party is not in favour of providing for the defence of the Commonwealth. The opponents of Labour live very largely as political “ bodies because of their misrepresentation of the intentions of the Labour party, and in this debate they still further misrepresent us. I say definitely that honorable members on this side of the House, and the Labour party generally, are prepared to provide for Australian defence. Every opportunity has been taken by the Leader and other members of the Labour party, when the question of defence has been debated in this House, to place their opinions before the people of Australia. There is every prospect of a further disarmament conference being held in the near future, and, as a result of its deliberations, just as we sunk the Australia, because of the decision of the Washington Conference, so it may be necessary for us to sink any new cruisers constructed by this Government. Members opposite have stated that Japan is the potential enemy of Australia. I noticed the other day, in one of the Melbourne newspapers, an article by Mr. Gullett, respecting Japan and our fear of her. Japan carried out her obligations under the Washington Treaty, and will certainly conform with any decision that may be arrived at by the conference of the League of Nations, shortly to be held at Geneva. We have nothing to fear from that country. This is the paragraph that recently appeared in the Melbourne press : -
Mr. H. S. Gullett who has spent four months in Japan, as special commissioner from the Melbourne Herald, returned to Australia. He lias had unique opportunities for studying Japanese problems and conditions from the
Australian point of view. His conclusions must prove of the greatest interest and importance to the people of this country. .
Mr. Gullett set out twelve definite conclusions, the first three reading -
The conference of the League of Nations will certainly deal with defence, and for that reason we should stay our hands and not construct these cruisers until Australia knows the decision of the conference. The defence proposals ;of the Labour party are of a practical nature, designed mainly to protect Australia from invasion, and they will be placed before the people at a suitable time. We have no right to expend ?2,000,000 of the people’s money for the building of cruisers whilst a conference is being held to bring about the peace of the world. This money should rather be spent on the development of Australia. There is urgent need for the construction of roads and railways, and, as a representative of South Australia, I contend that ?2,000,000 could be better spent on the construction of the North-South line, thus honouring the Commonwealth Government’s pact with the South Australian Government. The Acting Leader of the Opposition, in moving his amendment, does not aim at inadequate provision for the general defence of Australia. He merely proposes to defer the -construction of the two cruisers until such time as a conference of the League of Nations is held to bring about further disarmament among the nations concerned. I shall vote for the amendment.
.- I desire to place on record my attitude towards the amendment moved by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey). The present position regarding defence: seems to coincide -with that which existed just prior to the Labour party assuming office in 1910. In that regard I wish to reply to the statement made by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), that we do not get down to tin tacks.
– The honorable member, when speaking, . did not so qualify his remarks. Teh years ago, the Conservative Government of the day did not get down to tin tacks for the defence of Australia. The proposal at that time was to borrow a certain sum of money for defence purposes. The honorable member for Richmond also said that on this question there were two outstanding features - finance and defence. The Conservative Government of a decade ago mixed up these features well. It decided to borrow £3,000,000 to buy a dreadnought, to be put iu the North Sea. The Labour party disapproved of that decision, in the same way as it disapproves of the proposals of the present Government. When the time came for the Labour party to act, it laid down for Australia a system of defence second to none in the world. Nothing was left unprovided for. Today, Government supporters” criticize the Labour party for its attitude on defence, yet I well recollect, although I was not a member of this House at the time, the pseudo-admiral of the day, a member of the Conservative Government, saying “ What is the use of river- destroyers ? We have no rivers for them to go up.” That statement is on record. The same man when he became Minister for the Navy later on, used to speak of the navy we established as a “tin-pot fleet.” The same thing is being said to-day, in different words. The Labour party established the so-called “ tin-pot fleet,” which included the capital ship Australia. It has been left to the Conservative party, not only to sink tie Australia, but to sink valuable material with her, without any regard for the financial side of ‘‘the defence problem. Although the Australia is now at the bottom of the ocean, her memory will remain a monument to the sagacity of the Labour party in preparing for the defence of their native laud.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that we should have repudiated the Washington Treaty 1
– As the honorable member advised me, I am getting down to tintacks. If the points prick him, the fault is not mine. I did not ask him to sit on them. We also made provision for proper equipment for the defence of Aus- tralia. We realized that clothing equipment was necessary, and we established the Commonwealth Woollen Mills. We did not desire that the cormorants of private enterprise should be in a position tosecure a .” rake-off “ on military contracts. We established one of the finest: and most up-to-date woollen mills. Weestablished also a harness factory, because, as every one knows, harness is a big factor in the equipment of a land! force. That factory supplied harness of the highest quality. I have been informed that the farmers of Victoria would have been only too pleased to buy the harness they required from the Commonwealth Harness Factory. What ha* < become of those factories. Like the Australia, the woollen mills and the harnessfactory have been sunk by the partyopposite. The Labour party also* established a Small Arms Factory to meet the necessities of thenation for defence. In accordancewith the psychology of the time, we- ‘ established a system for the training of the manhood of Australia in disciplineand the use of arms. For that purpose we adopted a policy of practical conscription. While the party on this sidehas gone back upon that, because we believe that in the opinion of the electorsof Australia the system is no longer necessary, I am prepared to continue that system along somewhat different lines.We neglect now some essentials in theeducation of youth, and I think that weshould adopt some such system for the physical development of our people. Noone can estimate the advantages which, would follow from such a policy. Wecould carry it out without making thetrainees part of the military machine. If we spent the amount proposed for defence in giving effect to such a policy,, we could provide a gymnasium and a. bath in every school. I have been called a dreamer for expressing such’ views, but I think the day will comewhen action will be taken .along thoselines. I have explained the past attitude of the Labour party to defence ; the amendment submitted by the Acting: Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey) connotes our present attitude. If we- are sincere when we profess to desire peace, we should give organizations established to promote peace an opportunity to produce the fruits of peace. Instead of doing so, the Government proposes to lay down two cruisers. It says, “All right, I shall talk with you; but I have a waddy behind me, and, if you win the argument, down you go.” We say that this expenditure should he deferred. Let the international conferences have an opportunity to deliberate, and consider whether it is not possible to bring about contentment in the world, instead of increasing armaments, raising disputes, and appealing to the arbitrament of the sword. The amendment is a reasonable and logical one, and no one who supports it will lose prestige. I am prepared to support an adequate defence system for Australia. I made a similar statement when the Prime Minister, before going to the Old Country, desired an expression of opinion from this House as to what his attitude should be on the question of the defence of Australia. I hold different views from those of some other honorable members as to what is necessary for the defence of Australia. It might be necessary that we should have cruisers to protect our trade routes, and that is the only reason given for the Government proposal. As the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) pointed out, if our trade routes were menaced by a capital ship, the proposed cruisers would be of no use, but I am urable to believe that capital ships will menace our traderoutes. Honorable members opposite cannot say from what nation we may expect war. I hope that the Labour party, whenit occupies the treasury bench, will keep its finger on the pulse of the world, and be in a position to say whence any attack upon Australia is likely to come.
– Does the honorable member think that possible?
– I do. I hope that the Prime Minister, if he replies to the debate, will, to use the words of the honorable member for Richmond, “ get down to tin tacks,” and give the reasons for hurry in the construction of the proposed cruisers. He should be in a position to say that, for instance, the naval and defence programme of Japan is such that she may at any time fall out with Great
Britain, and we shall be menaced. I point out that Mr. Gullett, as mentioned by the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Lacey) has been in Japan recently. As a journalist, he was in touch with people who would not be interviewed by ordinary individuals, and he said that we are immune from any menace from Japan for the next 25 years. So far as naval and military equipment is concerned, Japan is a first class nation; but if we are immune for the next 25 years from any attack by J a pan, where is the anticipated attack coming from ? Germany cannot take the offensive again for many years to come. It is the business of Great Britain, through the League of Nations, to keep Germany in her place.
– Germany should be admitted to the League of Nations.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. “We might very well say to Germany, “We had a fight; we defeated you, and we will now listen to reason.”
– Were we not told right up to the declaration of the great war that we had nothing to fear from Germany ?
– I believe the honorable member is right, but he should bear in mind that those were the days of secret diplomacy, when war might be declared over a pen-wiper or a tooth-pick. The day of secret diplomacy and the dragging of a nation into war at the heels of an individual has gone by.
– I hope so.
– I am not sure that it has gone by.
– The democracies of today have, I think, settled that question. I need only refer honorable members to what was done by the workers of Great Britain in connexion with the little war that was about to be begun for the benefit of the war-mongers in Europe only a little while ago. The workers of Great Britain said that they would take no part in it. Whenthe workers, in their might, determine to do anything, it will be accomplished . This is why I say that the time has gone by for a nation, to be dragged into war at the heels of any individual. I am trying to discover a justification for the building of the cruisers. Honorable members opposite will not tell us who they think will attack Australia.
– Japan is the country from which we may expect attack. There is no doubt about that.
– If wo had a debate upon Japan we might be more likely to secure peace than by discussing this proposal for the building of cruisers. We are told that they are necessary, and honorable members opposite half say, or dare not say, that the expected attack is from Japan. We know the holocaust that occurred some few months ago in Japan through a devastating earthquake. If such a thing had occurred in Australia we should have been down and out for the next 50 years. I believe, with Mr. N Gullett, that that catastrophe has prevented Japan even from thinking of making war against any nation for the next 25 years. The honorable member for Richmond shakes his head, but I do not know whether he has recently visited Japan. Mr. Gulletthas visited Japan, and he writes with some authority and knowledge of world’s affairs, -because he followed the Great War. Though he did not fight in it, perhaps he had an opportunity of seeing more of the game than those who actually took part in it. He says that there is no menace from Japan, “and I am not prepared to say that there is.
– I should not like to think that the earthquake is our insurance in the matter.
– I should not like to think so either. From what I have read, I believe that Japan is becoming more democratized, and once the democracy is in charge, there will be no killing merely for the sake of killing. Unless the Government is in a position to prove that our menace is from Japan, it has no right to set up that menace as a justification for its proposal.
– I gave the honorable member reasons for believing that the menace is from Japan.
– The honorable member told us that Japan is negotiating for a pact with Germany, and is carrying out the biggest naval programme in her history. I can hardly conceive that to be right in view of Mr. Gullett’s statement that Japan is observing every detail of the Washington Treaty. Those who are in favour of the construction of two cruisers should tell us by whom we are menaced. I remember that in the eighties there was some difficulty with Russia, and at that time a lamp was fixed on top of the Adelaide Post Office, and the people were told that when it was lit war would have been declared with Russia. It was never lit, and I am inclined to think that the present Japanese scare is likely to end in the same way. When we prepare for defence, it is to defend ourselves against somebody. Do we anticipate war with America, or t/hat the Russian Soviet Government will become so powerful as to make a bid for world’s supremacy? Do honorable members expect war with the new Poland or with Czecho-Slovakia? If honorable members cannot get down to tin tacks and tell us by whom we are menaced, they cannot justify this proposal. The House is therefore justified in asking the Ministry to stay its hand, as is suggested in the amendment. I suggest to the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) that, if he is still satisfied that the situation justifies his intention to leave his own party to support the Government, he should give this House his reasons for so doing. He knows well that the Labour party is not averse to protecting Australia, and I believe that he would rather place the protection of his house and its inmates in the hands of the party to which he belongs than with any other party in this House. He seems to see in this question something outside the platform of his party. I hope that he will reconsider his position, and look at this matter from the point of view which I am endeavouring to outline. If he cannot then agree with me, I shall not blame him for doing what he thinks to be right. So far as I am personally concerned, I am prepared at all times to do what is necessary for the defence of this country, but, when defence measures are necessary, I hope that there will be a party in power which will deal with them in a complete manner. Let me now refer to the statement that expenditure for defence is in the nature of an insurance premium. When a man insures his house or his life, he must be satisfied that there is a reasonable chance .of his losing something. So far no honorable member has shown the necessity for the payment of this insurance premium at the present time. Many a young man, 25 years of age, when approached by a life insurance agent to insure his life, does not do so, because he considers that he has a reasonable chance of living for a number of years. But, if he is approached when he is 40 years of age, he will probably take out a policy, and he will be quite prepared to pay t!he necessary premium. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) used the simile of the old man who said to his three sons, “ Surely you do not want to ‘ loaf on dad.’ “ I am a “ pommy,” having arrived in Australia from Great Britain in 1878, and I say that, ever since that time, “ dad has been loafing on Australia.” I am proud of the Old Country, from which I came, but, if there is any insurance premium to be paid in connexion with the protection of our trade routes, let Great Britain pay it. We are not “ loafing on dad.” Australia ia Great Britain’s second-best customer. In 1922 we obtained from Great Britain goods to the value of £60,000,000, and each year we pay in interest to that country the sum of £20,000,000. Would Great Britain, in the event of war, not take steps to protect her own interests?
– The interest bill is greater than £20,000,000, if we consider municipal and other loans obtained from Great Britain.
– I am speaking of money borrowed by the Commonwealth as a whole. If a private individual were in Australia’s present position, ho would refuse to pay an insurance premium of this nature. He would require the other party to pay it. While I am not unprepared to do my share, I will not be stampeded into agreeing to protect other people’s interests by adopting a naval and military scheme which will burden our own people. Do honorable members think that Great Britain would let India go without a struggle? No. Should a hostile nation attack India, the British Navy would be despatched to her protection without delay. Similarly, if any of the British possessions in South Africa were in danger, the British navy would be immediately on the spot. Honorable members know that that is so. In order to protect Britain’s financial interests, her navy would be despatched to any point where danger threatened. As the Age said, the trade struggle must end in a war of blood. So long as Australia shows herself sane, and while not prepared, through war hysteria, to go in for the building of ships, only to sink them later, prepares against the possibility of attack, she need not fear that she will become involved in another war such as that through which she recently passed. The honorable member for Richmond said that the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) was the only member to make a definite statement in this House. The speech of the honorable member for Ballarat was at least a common-sense one. It is true that he is a pacifist, and has stated that he is hot prepared to incur any expenditure whatever for defence purposes; but he is only one member of the Labour party. A time may yet come when his views will be subscribed to by a majority of the people of Australia. The honorable member spoke of the beneficial results which would accrue if the money proposed to be spent in the building1 of two cruisers were expended in the development of Australia. I ask any honorable member on the other side to work out what could be done with the money.
– I worked out what the surplus would provide in the way of roads.
– The remarks of the honorable member apply equally to the money lost by strikes.
– I thank the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell) for his interjection. Men have never gone on strike to leave other men maimed as the late war maimed them. If men have struck, they have done so to obtain for themselves a little more of that which they have produced, a little more opportunity to enjoy God’s sunshine and the life he has given them, and to make possible a better standard of living. The Australian soldiers were the finest body of men that ever went to war. Every man was classed Al, and not C3, both as regards courage and physique. The spirit shown by them was the same spirit as that exhibited by those who preceded them when they went on strike to obtain for themselves and their families a higher standard of living. No strike yet has proved a loss. We should look beyond the immediate loss to the results. If the effect has been to confer benefits on the people generally, we should look at that rather than at the initial loss. It is all very well for honorable members to reckon and calculate the losses caused by
– Order ! The honorable member is now on a wide excursion into an industrial question. i
– I should not, perhaps, have replied to the disorderly interjections. The honorable member for Fawkner referred to the losses caused by strikes, and I was quoting parallel cases.
– Will the honorable member forget the parallels, and deal with the subject before the House?
– I thought, Mr. Speaker, that my remarks were rather apropos, but I do not wish to proceed further along those lines if to do so would be disorderly. The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) said that he had worked out what the surplus would do in the way of providing roads for the development of Australia. I ask him, also, to work out what other useful work could be accomplished if the money proposed to be spent on these two cruisers were similarly applied. How many farms, costing £2,000 each, could! ,be bought with the money, and how many men could be kept employed for twelve months clearing those farms ? We have heard grandiloquent speeches about “ a million farms for a million people,” but where are those farms to come from ? The money to provide them will be loan money. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) justifies his action regarding this bill because he considers that the £2,000,000 will be obtained by direct taxation, but I want to disabuse his mind of that idea. The money will come from general revenue, the greater portion of which is provided by the workers in customs duties. The platform of the Labour party provides that money for defence shall come out of a tax on wealth. This bill does not provide for that, and therefore it does not fit in with that platform. I listened with attention to the remarks of ‘ the honorable member for Richmond because he was a soldier in the late war. He said that railways were necessary to transport our troops. Notwithstanding the difficulties caused by breaks of gauge, we could get troops to Western Australia twice as quickly by rail .as- by steamer. When the members of the Australian Imperial
Force embarked at Alexandria for Italy, they were detained in the port of embarkation from 8 a.m. one day to 5 p.m. the next day, and although they were cautioned to observe strict secrecy concerning their future movements, next morning the local papers were circulated, and every one knew that we had embarked. The argument that these two cruisers could be used to transport troops does not carry conviction. In time of war our railways would be in the hands of the military authorities. When I was entrained, the troops were marched along the platform in files of four. We entered the carriages without confusion, and the train got away without delay. When we reached Havre, in France, we were placed in cattle trucks, and the train moved off without any loss of time. It took longer for the troops to embark at Port Melbourne and at Alexandria than it did to entrain them. It would be better if this Parliament considered the question of a uniform railway gauge than that its time should, be occupied in discussing the building of two cruisers. A uniform railway gauge is absolutely necessary, not only for defence, but also for developmental purposes, and I suggest to the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) that he should submit an amendment to hold up the building of cruisers, and spend the money on the unification of the railway gauges. If he did so it would give this Parliament an apportunity to show its sincerity in the matter. Parliament has decided upon having a 4-f t. 8^-in. gauge throughout Australia, but, so far, has done nothing to bring it about, although on every hand the argument is advanced that a uniform railway gauge is necessary for defence purposes. At any rate, the existence of breaks of gauge is no justification for the building of cruisers. On the general need for defence, the honorable member for Richmond has spoken very volubly from his point of view, and I donot propose to ridicule his arguments, because I suppose he thought his opinion was the correct one, but I think he was wrong when he spoke of plane carriers, and of ships that would carry anti-aircraft guns. To my mind we can protect our big littoral only by having an adequate supply of aeroplanes, and ample provision for aerodromes. In time of peace these- planes could be used to carry mails and passengers, and in time of trouble they could be used for defence purposes. An’ adequate fleet of aeroplanes would easily sink .all enemy ships that might come. here. As the honorable member for Richmond spoke of having vessels with anti-aircraft guns on them, let me give him an illustration of what I think we both saw in France. On occasions when “Fritz” came over the line, I have tried to count, until I could count no longer, the bursts of the shells fired without success by the anti-aircraft guns. The shells burst like big balls of white cotton, and I have seen “ Fritz “ floating about quite unconcernedly amidst them. One would imagine that with the anti-aircraft guns on a firm base, where the gunners could adjust their range and their fuses as they pleased, they would occasionally score a hit, but it was my experience in France that not one enemy machine was brought down by the anti-aircraft gunners. If, from a very suitable location, where the proper elevation can be secured, an aeroplane cannot be hit by an aircraft gun, how will it be possible to hit them with anti-aircraft guns on vessels, where the least movement of the base would serve to throw out the elevation?
– My suggestion was that every vessel built for the Australian Navy should have accommodation on it for carrying aircraft.
– I am sorry if I misunderstood the honorable member. I have seen aeroplanes flying very low without being hit. I saw one blow up four observation balloons in a quarter of an hour without being hit. If these machines cannot be hit from the ground they will not be brought down by guns fired from the deck of a vessel. In my opinion they will be able to fly so low as to enable them to bomb Vessels with success. The bombs are released at the point of banking just when there is no great velocity on the plane, so that they can thus be dropped with a fair amount of surety upon a warship, and the latter will not be in a position to retaliate. As the Minister (Mr. Bowden) has informed the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) that an aeroplane will be in a position to fly 200 miles to sea and return,
I feel that aeroplanes will be our safest arm of defence, and I cannot see what reason the Government has for proposing to build cruisers. Possibly some arrangement has been made with the British Government to buy cruisers already on the stocks in Great Britain, and so assist to relieve the unemployed in that country. If that is the case, the object is a laudable one, provided we can afford the money; but it is time Great Britain adjusted her own economic conditions without allowing Australia to buy cruisers to enable her to do so. “We should build our own cruisers even if it costs us more to do so. By building them locally we shall be developing an industry in which we hope to excel. Australia has not entered the lists in other enterprises without sooner or later excelling. If any one had said prior to the war that vessels could be built in South Australia, he would have been ridiculed, but the war brought about the development of the .initiative and resources ‘ of the people of Australia, and two steamers have been built at Port Adelaide for the Commonwealth Government. The least we can do is to develop the facilities in the ports and harbors of Australia, so that in time to come we may be able to build the biggest of ships required for the defence of Australia. But if we do not make a start we shall never know how to build such vessels. If we never tackle the job, it will always remain too big for us. The Ministry should reconsider their proposal to build two cruisers at the present time, and allow the matter to stand over until our peace plenipotentiaries have an opportunity to bring their wisdom to. bear upon the altered pyschology of Europe. Ministers know very well that the British Government of to-day represents a different train of thought from that which existed in Great Britain a few years ago. There has also been a change of thought in France and in South Africa. We are two years older since the Washington Conference was held, and there is no reason whatever for opposing a proposal to delay the building of cruisers until our further endeavours in the direction of securing peace are given a trial. I hope that those who vote for the building of cruisers will do so for logical reasons, .and not merely from a spirit of flag flapping or war hysteria, or from fear of bogies that do not exist. An honorable member is only justified in voting for the building of these cruisers if his attitude is based upon sound argument. So far, no outstanding argument has been advanced in favour of the Government’s proposal. I read the speech delivered by the Minister. It was that of a man who surveyed matters from his own point of view. It was with him a matter of keeping in line with other countries, and of being prepared for eventualities. But the times when such arguments held good are gone. If we cast our votes on the facts as they have been placed before us during this debate, the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) will have more supporters than were originally expected when it was first submitted.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted (Mr. ANSTEY’S amendment) - put. The House divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Mr. MAHONY (Dalley) [4.48].- I move -
That after the word “That” the following words be inserted:’ - “any sum spent in naval’ construction should be expended in Australia, thus relieving the distress caused by unemployment, and helping to develop Australian industries.”
In approaching this subject this afternoon .1 adopt, as a touch-stone, the sentiment, “ Australia a nation.” It is very remarkable that for a considerable time past certain people in Australia have been deliberately following the policy of attempting to discredit everything done in this country. It is time the people awoke to a realization of the fact that if they are ever to make a nation of Australia they must establish industries here, and make this country self contained. It is singular that in Australia, of all countries in the world, the anti-Australian sentiment should be rampant. Labour stands for an Australian policy for the Australian people, and it is bitterly opposed to the anti-Australian propaganda that has been so prevalent lately.
– The honorable member is appealing to a protectionist government.
– That is so. Having in view the desirability of making Australia a self-contained nation, the Labour party believes, as it has always believed, in providing for its proper and adequate defence. It was the Labour party that established a truly Australian defence system, and while other people may support a different kind of defence, it stands for a truly Australian defence policy. It stands for a policy that says that Australia can defend itself, that we can manufacture all things necessary for our defence, and that we are not going to be dependent upon any other nation. It is remarkable that in the Navy Office there is a distinctly antiAustralian policy. Whether it is unconscious or deliberate I cannot say, but it runs right through the Navy administration. It is a policy that says we must go to Great Britain for everything we need, because it is not possible to make anything in Australia. Whenever the people of Australia have attempted to do anything in the direction of naval construction or shipbuilding, every conceivable obstacle has been placed in the way of their making a success of the undertaking, but they have generally been able to rise above all difficulties. Australia, like all other countries, must make a start some time. Germany, within my recollection, had to send to Great Britain, not only for merchant ships, but also for vessels of war, but the people of Germany realized that if they were to become a nation they, must cease to be dependent upon others. They adopted the sensible policy of first sending some of their young men to be trained in the big shipbuilding yards of Great Britain, after which the German Government started the shipbuilding industry in Germany. The young men who had received technical training in British yards were placed in charge, and were supplemented by a number of workmen imported from Great Britain. As a result of that policy, Germany in twenty years progressed in the shipbuilding industry from a nation that had to depend upon Great Britain for everything she needed to one that, before the war, was a most formidable maritime nation. Can we not remember the huge palatial liners, built, manned and equipped in Germany, that came out to Australia before the war? Twenty years before that Germany, like Australia, obtained all her ships from Great Britain, but the Germans were more f arsighted than the present Government. The Germans said, “Here is our chance to get tuition; we will take advantage of it to build up the shipbuilding industry in our own country. “ We should take an example from Germany, and adopt the German policy of establishing our own shipbuilding industry. I believe that the Australian people would support that policy, notwithstanding the actions of our Government. There is the further example of Japan. All honorable members know that only within recent years has Japan become a naval power or a shipconstructing nation. That result was brought about in exactly the same way there as in Germany. Young Japanese students were sent to Great Britain, were taken in hand by the British Admiralty, and given facilities for gaining technical knowledge in the great ship-constructing yards of Great Britain. Japan, to-day, can construct all her naval vessels. A similar policy has been adopted in the United States of America. It is Only a very few years since America was unable to build a boat of any size, but the American people stood steadfast to the principle of “ America first.” They adopted much the same policy as that of Germany and Japan, but went farther, by stipulating that no ship should engage in the American interstate trade unless it had been built in America and was owned and controlled by American citizens.
– What was the population of the United States when that policy was inaugurated?
– The population of the United States of America, when she declared, her independence, was less than the population of Australia to-day. The Prime Minister, in his second-reading speech, Bald we could not hope to build the cruisers in Australia, because it would cost more than they could be constructed for in Great Britain, and would take very much longer. He stated that to construct a cruiser in Great Britain would cost from £1,900,000 to £2,000,000, but to build it in Australia would cost more than £3,000,000; and that the time required to build it would be two years in Great Britain, and over three years in Australia. I take leave to challenge those figures, and I ask the Prime Minister to make available to honorable members any information he may have in support of them. If the figures came from Great Britain, they must have been supplied by some one there? Who is that some one? I question his figures, because I have gone to the trouble of cabling to Great Britain, and have obtained first-hand information that is quite different from that given by the Prime Minister.
– The honorable member’s action shows that he is deeply interested in the matter.
– Indeed, and I believe that all people who desire .to do something to make this country great, are deeply interested in it.
-Httg-h.es. - Who, is the honorable member’s authority?
– I am prepared to give that information to the honorable member privately. I challenge the Prime Minister to lay upon the table of the House the information he has received from the British Admiralty. I take it that he must have received information from that source; he surely did not dream the figures he quoted to the House ! ‘ He surely did not make his statement in a rash and careless fashion! I challenge him, therefore, to produce the information upon which he bases his estimate. The intelligence I have from Great Britain is that delivery of a 10,000-ton cruiser cannot be guaranteed inside three and a half years, and the price will be not less than £2,250,000. I further invite the Prime Minister to lay on the table the information he has received regarding the cost of construction in Australia. Judging from our past experience of what Australian workmen are capable of doing, I am satisfied that a 10,000-ton cruiser could be constructed at Cockatoo Island in two and a half years, provided - and this is essential - that the Navy Office will see that prompt deliveries of. material to the Shipbuilding Branch are maintained. If that is done, the workmen will guarantee to turn out the cruiser in two and a half years for, approximately, £2,750,000, and the workmanship will be such as could not be equalled in any yard outside Australia. Corroboration, of my statement is supplied by the rate of construction of the Ferndale. Her keel was laid on the 21st June, 1923, and the vessel was launched on the 21st June, 1924. Deducting holidays, the actual working time was about ten and a half months. The vessel will be completed about the end of October, «r about one year and four months from the date of laying down the keel. The vessel will be of about 12,800 tons dead weight. The average British shipbuilding yard could not improve upon that rate of construction. The 10,000-ton cruiser will not, at the time of launching, have nearly the same weight as the Ferndale. I admit, however, that the work upon a cruiser is more intricate, and allowing, on that account, about eighteen months to advance the vessel to the launching stage, the body could be completed within two and a half years.
– What is the need for hurry, in any case?
– The Prime Minister said that time was of the essence of the contract. It will certainly cost a little more to build a cruiser in Australia,. but that extra cost will be counterbalanced by the fact that the whole of the money will be spent in Australia, and work will be provided for our people. That will mean prosperity, not only for the men directly engaged in construction, but also for all business people, with whom the money will circulate. If there is one class in the community which should be more interested than another in the carrying out of this work locally, it is the primary producers, for whose products an improved local market will be provided. If cheapness is the principal consideration actuating the Government, if honorable members of the Country party are opposed to Australian construction on the ground that it will cost more, may I suggest that they might have the ships built still more cheaply by letting a contract for their construction in Japan or China by sweated coloured labour? I readily admit that we cannot construct cruisers in Australia at exactly the same cost as in Great Britain, and the reason is that we have won in this country certain wages and standards of living which we are not prepared to surrender. For the information of the House and the country, I place upon record the following comparative table of the weekly wages paid in the shipbuilding industry in Great Britain and Australia respectively : -
That table shows that decent working conditions have been established in Australia, and the only way in which ship building can be done more cheaply here than in Great Britain is by reducing the Australian wages and conditions to the level of those in the Mother Country. Is it the intention of the Government to do that? I see behind the proposal of the Government a deliberate attempt to break down the working conditions and standard of living which the workmen of Australia have built up. Here is an interesting fact concerning the cost of ship building in Great Britain to-day. Some time ago, the British Government, being confronted with a vast army of unemployed, decided, as one solution of the problem, to lend money without interest to various firms, including the big shipbuilders. To them was lent millions of pounds for the construction of ships and docks, so that avenues of employment could be opened up, and, in addition, the Government decided to build ten cruisers, each of 10,000 tons. That policy was deliberately adopted for the purpose of relieving unemployment. I have mentioned to the House the probable cost of constructing one cruiser in Australia; but, if an order were placed locally for two cruisers, the cost would be considerably reduced; in fact, the two could be built for a very little more than £5,000,000. This figure compares very favorably indeed with’ that quoted by British shipbuilding firms. The price of the cruiser in the British yard does not actually represent the final cost to Australia, as there must be added thereto the cost of supervision during construction, boat fares for officers and men to Britain to man the vessel, maintenance of crew, wages, victualling, and provision of bunkers.
– What would be the approximate extra cost?
– Not less than £100,000, which is a very low estimate indeed. In all naval construction alterations are continually taking place. A new discovery may be made necessitating the alteration of a vessel under construction, so that when leaving the yard it may carry all modern appliances. All these alterations entail additional expense. I read in the press a week or so “ago an account of a conference between the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) and Sir William Clarkson and ‘ Mr. Farquhar.
– Although the Minister for Defence is in the chamber, it is evident, by the absence of Government’ supporters, that they are not much interested in Australian affairs.
– The Government is not interested in anything directed at the maintenance and establishment of industries in, Australia. Honorable members who support the Government in absenting themselves from this chamber, are acting in accord with their general policy of anti-Australianism. They are not prepared to listen .to the case of the Labour party on behalf of the industries of this country. The people will soon receive the message that Labour stands for the establishment of the shipbuilding industry in Australia, and places Australia first in everything. I presume that the paragraph which appeared in the press is correct, because the Minister has not contradicted the statement that a conference was held between himself, Sir William Clarkson - representing the Commonwealth Shipping Board- and Mr. Farquhar - one of the directory of the Commonwealth Shipping Board, and directly in charge of the Cockatoo Island Shipbuilding Yard. The Minister received from those two gentlemen certain estimates of cost, and I ask him to disclose them to the House. It is of no use supplying honorable members with the estimates given by the Navy Office. We want figures from practical men, who are on the! job and who know something about defence. If there is any difference between the two estimates, they should be placed side by side before honorable members, so that we may judge them on their merits. I doubt very much the capability of the gentlemen controlling the Navy Office to prepare proper estimates of the cost of constructing cruisers. The House should know the nature of the estimates submitted by practical men, and the time that they think would be occupied in construction. These two cruisers can, if the orders for both are given simulataneously and prompt delivery of materials is assured, be built in Australia within four years. Replying to the question asked in this House a few weeks ago by the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Marks), whether there was a shipping yard in Australia adapted for submarine construction, the Minister said that there was no such yard in Australia. That reply is on record in Hansard. Does the Minister know what has been done, and what can -be done, at the Cockatoo Island yard? Is the Minister not aware that a previous government sent to Great Britain a number of bright young Australian mechanics to receive tuition in ship construction, more especially submarine construction, and that they visited every shipbuilding yard of note, including Vickers’ yard, in which the whole of the up-to-date submarines were constructed ? These men went through the shipbuilding industry from start to finish, and received highly technical training. Their services are available in Australia to-day; but the Minister, to foster the Government’s policy of anti-Australianism, glibly tells us that submarine construction cannot be undertaken in Australia. I ask honorable members to note the different policy adopted by other countries. America, Germany, and Japan all sent their young and intelligent mechanics to Great Britain for tuition in the shipbuilding industry, and, on their return, placed them ii« control in their own country to build up that industry. Here there is no time for Australians ; our bright youths have no chance to exercise their capabilities while an anti-Australian Government remains in power. The Minister for Defence has stated that in Australia there is no yard adapted to submarine construction.
– I did not make such a statement.
– I ask the Minister to look it up in Hansard. At the completion of the war the British Government made a gift to Australia of a number of J class submarines. After a long and trying voyage they arrived here in an unseaworthy condition, their machinery almost falling to pieces. Some of them were even on the verge of collapse. They were repaired at a shipyard which, according to the Minister, is hot suitable for submarine construction.
– That statement may sound all right, but I did not make use cf it.
– I ask the Minister to look up the report. These vessels had to be almost rebuilt. The men who worked on them are quite capable of constructing submarines. The most effective way to defend Australia from attack is to use submarines, and the establishment of a submarine-building industry would be one of the finest ‘ things ever undertaken in Australia. The cost of a submarine is a, mere bagatelle compared with that of a cruiser or battleship. The latest type of submarine: - K type - carries 6-inch guns, and has a speed on the surface of 30 knots per hour, and, when submerged, of 18 knots per hour. This vessel is a firstclass fighting machine, and has a steaming range of 12,000 miles.
– Without returning to its base?
– That is its range. This type of submarine can be constructed in Australia, and at least six of them built for the cost of one cruiser. A fleet of six such submarines would provide a much better defence for Australia than two cruisers. Providing that the orders are given simultaneously and that the vessels can be laid down in such a way that work upon them will follow rapidly on, we can build in Australian yards two cruisers and two submarines and deliver them complete in five years. That compares favorably with anything that can be done in any other part of the world. But it is essential - and I stress this - that there should be prompt deliveries of material. What I have said cannot be done if the policy adopted is that which was adopted in the building of the Adelaide, a policy of ordering first the material required last and ordering last the material required first; of ordering material required for turrets and tops of masts first and ordering last the material required for the keel of the ship. By tho adoption of such a policy we must expect that a very long time will be taken in the construction of a ship.
– Has the honorable member any proof that in connexion with the building of the Adelaide orders were placed as he has said?
– Yes, I have the proof here. I can inform honorable members that the first delays in the con- struction of H.M.A.S. Adelaide were ex perienced during the construction of the hull, when important items of structural material were not delivered as required. In many cases still greater delay would have been experienced if the dockyard had not been able to supply suitable structural material from stock. Many important drawings were not received from the Admiralty in proper time, and had to be prepared at the dockyard. After launching, delays in progress were primarily caused by the non-delivery of forgings for turbine rotators. The probable result of these delays was foreseen by the general manager as early as October, 1916, when he communicated with the Navy Board in Melbourne and told it of them. Completion of the delivery of the forgings referred to was promised for August, 1917, but final delivery did not take place until the 19th December, 1919. As a consequence, the turbines were not completed and ready for installation in the ship until the 7th August, 1920, in the case of the port turbine, and the 16th September, 1920, in the case of the starboard turbine. In addition to delays caused by non-delivery of turbine parts, serious inconvenience was caused by the non-receipt of important items of hull and electrical equipment.
Mr.lister. - Where does the honorable member get that information?
– The matter was referred to in 1916, and yet as late as the 31st March, 1920, the following important items of hull equipment were still outstanding: - Fans for engine-room ventilation, fans for ship ventilation, torpedo runways and trolleys, brass plates for bridge structure and chart-house, magazine coolers, bakery oven and gear, bunker ventilation pipes, piping for oil fuel filling system, and director tower. Four years after the order was given for the building of the vessel, the dockyard was still waiting for that essential material. What I have said can be confirmed by reference to an official communication sent by the then general manager of the dockyard, Mr. King Salter, to the Wavy Board in Melbourne. That communication is recorded in Hansard.
– The fact that it is on record in Hansard does not prove it to he true.
– “ A Daniel come to judgment!” I tell the honorable member that the then manager of the dockyard wrote an official letter to the Navy Board, pointing out that the work on the construction of the ship was being tied up because of these delays in the delivery of essential material, and. pressing the Navy Board to expedite deliveries. The information was supplied to this House in answer to questions put to the Minister for the Navy at the time. Mr. King Salter’s official letter is my authority for what I have said, and it cannot he refuted.
– From what we know of the way in which a government conducts its business, we certainly believe it.
– -The honorable member implies by his interjection that it would be useless to give the construction of these cruisers to a government dockyard, because red tape would result in delays.
– I do not say that.
– Let me inform the honorable member that the Cockatoo Dockyard is not now a government institution in the ordinary acceptation of the term. It has been handed over to a board.
– It had notbeen handed over to a board at the time to which the honorable member has referred.
– I am speaking now of the conditions and control of the yard to-day.,
– The honorable member was speaking of what happened at the yard years ago.
– That is so,because I wished to show that the delays that occurred in connexion with the building of the Adelaide were due to the action of the Navy Board, and not to the action of the workmen at Cockatoo dockyard, who are amongst the finest in the world. I have given honorable members opposite the facts in connexion with this matter, but they seem not to be pleased with them. They seem to be pleased only when they are heaping odium on the heads of Australian workmen.
– Nothing of the kind.
– ‘When one gives utterance to any Australian sentiment, or stands up for Australia, these antiAustralians try to howl him down. I have had a similar experience before. But we know that we can appeal to the people of Australia, who will stand by the Labour party in their advocacy of establishing the shipbuilding industry here. The estimated cost, and the time required for the construction of the vessels I have mentioned, are based upon an important condition, and that is the signing of a contract for building to definite plans and specifications, similar to a contract which a private shipbuilder in Great Britain .would be given. We must’ not tell the manager of the dockyard that he must build the vessels at the price I have suggested, even though the naval experts may decide that certain extras should be put into the vessels. That, of course, could not be done. The dockyard should be put in the same position exactly as private shipbuilding yards in Great Britain. The manager should sign a contract to build a vessel to definite plans and specifications, and if they are departed from he should be paid for the extras as a private builder would be. If that course is adopted, and the Cockatoo Island Dockyard is given a chance, it will show what can be done in Australia. In the few moments left of my time I want to quote briefly from the report of the royal commission appointed to investigate affairs at Cockatoo Island Dockyard. This report was presented and ordered to be printed on the ,12th July, 1921. The Commission was composed of a majority of Government supporters - anti-Australians, not Labour men.
– The honorable member means anti-Socialists. ‘ Mr. ‘ MAHONY.- No ; I mean antiAustralians. I make this quotation from the report of the commission -
Cockatoo as a National Undertaking. - It is. thought desirable that the importance of Cockatoo Dockyard as a national undertaking should be pointed out to the - people of the Commonwealth. It is unfortunate that am idea seems to be prevalent in the public mind that the dockyard at Cockatoo is ah unnecessary establishment; and consequently we think it proper to draw attention to the fact that the dockyard is an important undertaking and a necessary factor to the naval defence of Australia. What more is needed to dispel mC/ a,n idea than the utility of the dockyard demonstrated during the years of the war? If there had not been in existence such establishments as those at Cockatoo Island, Garden. Island, and Williamstown, it would not havebeen possible for Australia; to have placed her troops with such remarkable expedition at the various theatres of the war; and, -whatever credit has been given to Australia in this respect should, in part, be attributed to thehearty response of the management and employees at these- establishments.
That royal commission pointed out the importance of maintaining the Cockatoo Island Dockyard as a necessary part of the defence policy of Australia; the importance and high class of its work, and the efficiency .of the workmen. To show the kind of work which can be done in Australia when our workmen are given a fair chance, I shall make a short quotation from the Journal of Commerce of the 10th May of this year. The reference is to the Fordsdale. There is a heading, “Australian-built Liner Fordsdale Arrives in London,” and a subheading, “ Shock for Scotch Shipbuilders.” The quotation reads -
Interviewed by a London representative ‘ of the Journal of Commerce, the captain of the Fordsdale said, ‘* This is the first voyage I have ever made in an Australian-built ship. She is splendid in every detail. In a few days we shall be at Glasgow, and when some of the Scotch ship-builders come on board they will get a shock.”
When the ship was in the Manchester ship canal she was inspected by representatives of leading shipbuilding firms of Great Britain, and they were lavish in their praise of her. To use the words of the manager of one of the largest shipbuilding firms in Great Britain, “the Fordsdale is the last word in ship construction.” This vessel was built in Australia by Australian workmen under Australian conditions. The Fordsdale is back in Australian waters now after making a record, voyage. She made the round trip with a full cargo each way, which meant - loading and discharging in both countries, and completed the journey in the record time of three months and nine days. That was done by an Australian-built boat, manned by Australian seamen. Surely that is answer enough to the Minister’s statement ! Let me place on record some of the “achievements of Australia in relation to shipbuilding. The following table shows: -
That shows what Australia has done “in the past in shipbuilding. I appeal to the people of Australia to have confidence in their own country. Probably an. appeal to them is not necessary, as I believe that they already have that confidence; and if given the chance, they will make Australia a nation of which to be proud. Australia’s progress hag been retarded by the men in high positions who have stood for every oountry but their own. When we on this side say “ Australia first “ we say to those men and women who come to make their home among us ‘ ‘ Help us to make Australia a fit place in which to ‘ rear your families ‘ and make ‘them sturdy young Australians.” But what chance -is there for them, and what hope for the young men and women of Australia, if our industries are to be neglected? If every country except Australia is to be given a chance to develop its industries, if cheapness is to be the only consideration, China should be the greatest nation in the world. We on this1 side hope for something better for this great land; we believe in building up a nation worthy of the name. I ask the people . of Australia to rally round us in this appeal. The work can, and must be done here. We appeal also to those associations of Australian manufacturers who ask us to stand between them and the products of cheap labour in other countries. To them we now call, “ Come to our aid. If we give you protection in your industries, you should help us to give protection to the shipbuilding industry.” If a duty of 40 per cent., similar to that imposed on motor car bodies imported into Australia, were made to apply in this connexion also, we could hold our own against the British shipbuilder. The workers of Australia should not be put aside lightly by the- statements which have been made by members on the other side. We say to them that if they will have confidence in Australia, the work can be done here, and that in time Australia will become a nation which will attract from other countries the best class of workmen, without our having to spend huge sums of money in establishing elaborate offices in London. By establishing industries, thus opening up avenues of employment for our own” people, we shall attract the best. No nation is great that neglects its industries. Especially is that true of the great ship-building industry. I hope that every honorable member who professes to stand for’ Australian industries will support my amendment.
– I have pleasure in seconding the amendment moved . by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony), inasmuch as it provides that, if war vessels are to be built in Australia, they shall” be built under Australian conditions, by Austra-Hans, and the huge sum of money involved will remain in Australia instead of going to some other country. ‘ Personally, I am not, under existing conditions, in favour of building the cruisers, and in the last division I voted for postponing this work until certain events have taken place on the other side of the world. A meeting of the League of Nations is about to be held, the Prime Minister of the British Government has already made an announcement of a further conference to discuss disarmament, and the President of the United States of America contemplates acting in unison with the British Government in bringing it about. A few months only, have elapsed sine© an anti-Australian Government sunk the Australia. Many of us regretted the sinking of that vessel. With the Australia were sunk a number of new guns which were not pub aboard until she was about to be sunk. If another disarmament conference should decide on additional sinkings, Australia will again be asked to sink some of her war vessels. When the time came to give effect to the decisions of the Washington Conference, the British Navy had not a vessel sufficiently obsolete to warrant its being sunk, and, therefore, Australia was asked to sacrifice one of her warships.
– The British Government had the vessels, but they asked us to sink ours.
– Their vessels were not, in their opinion, sufficiently obsolete to be sunk. But a pliable government in Australia was willing to carry out the wishes of the British Government, and so the Australia was sunk. From the speeches of the Minister in relation to the sinking of the Australia, one might have thought that the Commonwealth would save much money by the sinking of that vessel. We were informed ‘ that we should save at least a quarter of a million pounds per annum, and that, generally speaking, we would be well rid of her. The same thing may, in the future, be said of some of the vessels which we now have, or even of those which it is now proposed to build. Should the present Government, or one as willing to save the people huge sums of money, and as desirous of pleasing the British Government, be in power, and a similar proposal be placed before it, the two cruisers, the construction of which is to-day so enthusiastically advocated by honorable members on the other side, would also be sunk in deep water. In view of the period of change through which we are now passing, and of the world-wide trend towards disarmament and peace, the building of these cruisers is not only ridiculous, but wasteful. In view of the statement of one of the most “ jingoistic members on the other side, that even if we spent £50,000,000- per annum, we could not defend Australia, the proposal for the construction of these vessels is even more absurd. When men with long war experience make statements of that character in .this House, one feel3 inclined to go to other than to the military experts for information in matters of this nature. The different views expressed by men occupying high positions in the naval and military forces of this country cause one to wonder whether those high officials are merely keeping together a system to provide themselves and their friends with good positions. When peace was declared, and our men returned in thousands from the fields of war, every possible effort was made to get the private soldiers off the pay-roll as quickly as possible, but, when it came to the officers, there were many delays before they were paid off. Many of those now occupying high positions in the Commonwealth defence forces are merely “ seat-warming.” This Government, and that which preceded it, have truckled to these people, and, whenever the position of a high military official has been in jeopardy, the present Minister for Defence, as well as his predecessor, has been ready to protect him. Speakers on the other side have said that the building of these cruisers is absolutely necessary for the defence of Australia, but the announcement that the vessels are to be built outside Australia is a serious blow to Australia’s industrial welfare. The defence of Australia cannot depend . solely upon boats that will float above the water, or boats that will work under water or upon flying machines or fortifications. It depends not exclusively but inherently, upon the capacity of Australia to look after itself, to make its own guns and munitions, to repair its vessels and war material, to make its own uniforms, to provide rolling-stock for use on its railways, and to maintain its roads and bridges in good order. Without good roads and bridges, material for making munitions, munition factories or mobilization depots, the defence of Australia cannot possibly be carried out succesfully. But above all is the need for population. Unless we are prepared to do something practical for the people of Australia such as can be done by having these cruisers built in Australia, we cannot make that provision which is necessary to develop our man power. For a number of years, a semi-protectionist policy has been in force. In regard to onions, potatoes, and other such produce of the soil, the Government’s policy is, of course, protection, but so far as our iron and steel industries and other important secondary industries are concerned, we are a protectionist country. Even in the matter of building merchant ships we are protectionists, as witness the Ferndale and Fordsdale recently built by Australian workmen. The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) has already given evidence of the excellent reception those vessels have received from people who understand ship-building. The building of two large cruisers in Australia would afford a great deal of employment, and, what is probably equally important, would continue the very fine training that our mechanics have already been able to get in building cruisers and merchant vessels. It is a training that should be continued, because what would our position be if we had not trained mechanics who could be called upon to build ships when the occasion required it? I voted for the postponement of the building of these cruisers, but if they are to be built I am absolutely opposed to the work being done outside the Commonwealth. Various estimates have been given as to what these vessels will cost. The figure has gone up to nearly £4,000,000. The more anti-Australian the expert, the higher becomes his estimate of the probable cost of the cruisers. It is sad to think that the knowledge of these so-called experts always runs in a certain groove. It is always their declaration that nothing good can come out of Australia, and the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence, and others on the ministerial side slavishly adopt that creed as if there were no room for independent thought, and most certainly none of an Australian outlook. Honorable members opposite simply follow like so many sheep the lead of an ti- Australian experts, who are probably more than superficially in terested in the question of where these cruisers shall be built. The mere statement that the cruiser Adelaide cost a lot more than it should have cost, without any word of explanation as to how the added cost was brought about, does not justify any Commonwealth Government in having cruisers built outside Australia; The work of building cruisers or any other vessels required by the Commonwealth Government should .be done in Australia if for no other reason than to keep together a trained staff of shipbuilders. I am sufficiently Australian in my outlook to subscribe to the doctrine that it is better to spend £4,000,000 in Australia than to spend £2,500,000 out of Australia; but one looks in vain among the anti-Labour parties of Australia for subscription to such a doctrine. The ministry in power to-day is not the only anti-Australian anti-Labour GovernmentAustralia has had during the last few years. Prior to the great sweeping movement which has recently put Labour Governments into power in the different states, one anti-Australian ministry after another would call for tenders for, say, 40 engines, or a quantity of steel rails, or of structural steel, and with hardly an exception, in pursuance of their anti-Australian policy, the order was sent out of Australia.
– Even when the Australian tender happened to be lower than the outside tender.
– During the last twelve months of their period of office, the South Australian anti-Australian anti-Labour Government placed out of Australia £1,500,000 worth of work. The present anti-Australian Commonwealth Government is not guiltless in this regard. It was only because of the strenuous efforts of the Labour party, and the propaganda we spread throughout Australia on behalf of the workers and industries of the Commonwealth, that we were able to prevent this Government from sending out of Australia for locomotives. But evidently there is a difference between a contract for the building of locomotives and one for building cruisers. If private individuals had in Australia yards and facilities for the building of cruisers, the Government would not have dared to bring down a bill to have cruisers built outside Australia. In the case of the locomotives, it was with the Government a question of whether private enterprise should have a fine contract taken from it, . and, notwithstanding the great pressure exercised by the Country party, who are the quintessence of anti-Australians, it. was willing to allow that contract to go to a private organization. But as private enterprise is not likely to be directly affected by the building of cruisers, the Government proposes to allow .the work to be done outside Australia. As a matter of fact, private enterprise will be indirectly affected, and I therefore join with the honorable member for Dalley in calling upon those institutions which used all the pressure at their command upon members of the Government and the antiAustralian members of this Parliament to get them to agree that the contract for locomotives should be let inside Australia, to bring exactly the same pressure to bear upon their representatives in this House and upon the Government to see that these cruisers are built inside Australia. If it be right and in the best interests of the Commonwealth to have these cruisers built outside of Australia, why stop at that point ? There are many things which can be made more cheaply - I will not say better - outside Australia. Our iron and steel industry is almost exclusively dependent upon the protection which this Parliament has afforded to it.
– Might not the Aus-‘ Mahan article be cheaper because it isbetter than the article made outside?
– The quality of Australian goods is undoubted. From material supplied by the Newcastle Steel Works and Hoskings, of Lithgow, W alsh Island and Cockatoo Island are turning out a manufactured article equal to the best in the world. I quite agree with the honorable member for Newcastle, who mentions that it might be cheaper in the long run to pay more for an article made in Australia. I have vivid recollections of inspecting a fleet of boats which was bought by the Commonwealth Government during the war, and of seeing what shoddy, ill-built boats they were. With the exception, perhaps, of the work of Kidman and Mayoh, who really could not be called a reputable shipbuilding firm, seeing that it sprang up in the night, and had no inten tion of building boats, but were merely indulging in a boodling scheme, the work of Australian ship-builders is of the highest quality and standard. After inspecting the quality of the material used in such boats as the Adelaide, the Ferndale, the Fordsdale, the Eudunda, and many others, one feels that we could safely leave the building of the proposed cruisers to Australian workmen. A large sum of money is to be spent outside Australia upon replacements for the Australian Navy, because the present Government are incapable of imbibing Australian spirit, sentiment, or ideals. Further incapacity on their part is evidenced by their failure to bring down an economic and sound system of defence. It is some months since the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) declared that he would shortly propound the Government’s defence policy, and that the people would, as it were, be riven asunder into two camp3 by the momentous declaration he was to make. On other occasions direct hints and mysterious warnings have been given by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government. When he made his speech, the people of Australia were waiting expectantly for him to put forward a statesmanlike policy of defence, but, after six months pondering, deliberation, and consultation in Cabinet and party meetings, all he did was to propose to replace certain units of the Navy created by the Labour party. The Minister should cause an investigation to be made of the defence system of Australia, and should come down to this House with a comprehensive policy for cleaning up the augean stable, which has been in a very questionable state since peace was declared. Large sums of money are being squandered and wasted ; equipment and munitions are rotting; the military districts have been allowed to go their own way, with practically no supervision; and, generally speaking, the defence of Australia has become a farce. Before setting out to build new cruisers, the Government should cause a strict inquiry to be made into the naval and military arms of defence, with a view to introducing some co-ordination, or at least some small measure of efficiency. . From time to time I have .dealt with one section of our defence scheme, namely, the training of officers.
The amount of maladministration, inefficiency, and waste that is taking place at Duntroon and Jervis Bay Colleges is a scandal and a disgrace, not only to the Minister in charge, but also to the Government. From time to time I have obtained information on the subject from the Minister, but it has been given with the greatest possible reluctance. On one occasion I wrote to the Minister asking for certain information, and although it was promised to me, I did not get it until after the House had met.
– The honorable” member asked for two different kinds of information, and we had to prepare two different schedules.
– There was reluctance, either by the Minister or his officials, in supplying the information. If I am blaming the Minister wrongly, I am sorry; but, occupying the responsible position that he does, he should not allow technicalities to deter him from giving all possible information to any honorable member who desires it. That courtesy I have not received from him.
– –The honorable member received everything he asked for.
– If officers of his department are responsible for the secretiveness and low-down cunning indulged in with the object of preventing information being given to honorable members, he should discipline them. I had exactly the same trouble with the last Government and the previous Minister. The information that was supplied to me calls for serious consideration by the Government and the Minister. I desire to place on record the cost to Australia of the training of students at Duntroon and Jervis Bay. If my figures are not correct, it is because it is impossible to extract correct information from the Minister or the department. It is quite likely that the Minister’ will find in his department an officer who will give him figures to suit the case, and to show that mine are wrong. We have come to a pretty pass when officers holding high positions in this country lend themselves to faking and deception. As far as I have been able to ascertain, during the year 1921-22 there were 81 students at Duntroon, and the cost was £743 per student. In 1922-23 the number of students was reduced to 44, and the cost increased to £933 per student.. In 1923-24 there were 41 . students,, and the estimated t cost per student was £993. That institution cost the people, from 1921 to 1924, something like £200,000, and, if the three previousyears are added, the cost for a period of six years is over £500,000.
– What for ?
– Perhaps the Minister will explain what for.” I have been told that several students, upon each of whom the Government had spent many hundreds of pounds, left the college and went into private employment.
– They were paid off and compensated at the rate of £150 each.
– Private enterprise had the benefit of employing these highly skilled men, who had been trained at the expense of the people of Australia. Jervis Bay College is even a worse scandal. In 1921-22, there were in that college, 84 students, who cost £814 each; in 1922-23 there were 58 students, and the cost was £1,064 each ; and in 1923-24 there were 41 students^ while the cost increased to £1,463 per student. That institution has also been responsible for squandering about £500,000 in six years, and the two colleges between them have spent £1,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money. An investigation should be held into the working of both those institutions. If the Minister for Defence consults the experts - at Duntroon or Jervis Bay, as he no doubt has done, he will be informed quite solemnly that it is impossible to decrease the cost per student or to make a saving in any way. I have no doubt that that view is supported by highly placed naval and military officers. I am not prepared to accept the opinion of those people, because they are biased. If we were to take less notice of military experts on questions of efficiency and commonsense, we should be far better off. I believe that Australia can defend herself. I believe she could make her defence arms efficient, and could so co-ordinate them that she would be able to do the job very much more cheaply than it is done under the chaotic and obsolete systems now prevailing. I have not yet determined whether the word “ obsolete “ is applicable only to materials, or whether it can properly be applied to some of the officers in the forces. When we hear such antiAustralian sentiments as have been uttered by members on the Government side, we cannot forget that it is not long since the Government brought down two bills that were anti-Australian in sentiment and viewpoint. Not satisfied with Australian legislation for the Defence Force, the Government looked overseas, and sought to apply the British Army Act in the Defence Bill, and the British Air Force Act in the Air Force Bill. The Defence Bill is still on the notice-paper. Members of the Labour party have been taunted on their attitude to the question of defence. The Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey) has effectively answered those taunts, but may I add that, if anything important has been done for the defence of Australia - if any valuable system has been inaugurated, if any desirable departure has been made tending towards efficiency - it has’ been done exclusively by the Labour party.
Sitting suspended from 6.S0 to 8 p.m.
– The declaration made in behalf of the Federal Labour party by our leader (Mr. Charlton) on the 27th July, 1923, when dealing with the Imperial and Economic conferences, was -
The Labour party’s policy is to promote world peace, and, consistently with Australia’s good-will to her kindred overseas, declares its readiness to take full responsibility for Australia’s defence, but is opposed to the raising of forces for service outside the Commonwealth, or promise of participation in any future overseas wars, except by a decision of the people.
That declaration was primarily brought about by the jingoism of two prominent Prime Ministers in the British Empire, Lloyd George and W. M. Hughes. The war drum was beaten by Mr. Lloyd George when Prime Minister of Great Britain, who, without consulting the Imperial Parliament, or even his Cabinet, sent cablegrams to the Dominions asking whether, in the event of the Imperial Government determining to send an expedition to the Near East, they would participate. Just as that irresponsible gentleman, without consulting his colleagues or his Parliament, asked Australia to participate in a buccaneering expedition, so did an equally irresponsible Prime Minister of Australia (Mr. Hughes) - probably an even greater jingo than Mr. Lloyd George - imme diately cable a reply in which he promised participation, without having consulted the Australian people, this Parliament, or even his own Cabinet. Five irresponsible men in Great Britain and four irresponsible men in Australia, holding high position but nevertheless unfitted to discharge the trust reposed in them by the people, were committing their countries to war.
– Surely a Prime Minister is responsible to Parliament.
– No Prime Minister, and .no ten men, or even twenty men, should have the right of declaring war, and Mr. Lloyd George’s action, supported by Mr. Hughes, was a practically a declaration of war. It was fortunate for the British Empire that the statesmen of both South Africa and Canada had sufficient sense of responsibility to refuse to give the same enthusiastic affirmative as was cabled by the then Prime Minister of Australia. Should the proposed cruisers be built, whether in or outside Australia, their use will be controlled by the irresponsible men who from time to time may occupy the treasury bench in this House. To-day there is much unemployment throughout Australia, caused principally by anti-Australian and antiLabour Governments. In this land, which has been blessed by nature and produces more food than five times as great a population could consume, that yields, also, abundance of material for clothing and housing, and everything necessary for the comfort and happiness of a community, many thousands of people are without sufficient food and. proper clothing, and are unable to getwork. In New South Wales about 7,000 men are vainly seeking work in order that they may live as human beings are entitled to live. A large number of men in Sydney rely entirely upon the charitable instincts of the people for a sufficiency of food and clothing to keep them alive. In the Domain hundreds of homeless men are to be seen nightly. Those of us who are well fed and clothed, and have homes, may not be able to appreciate the plight of those thousands of workless men throughout Australia, and the expenditure of some millions of pounds outside the Commonwealth, as proposed by the Government, will nave a tendency to make the existing conditions worse, whereas the expenditure of the money within Australia would undoubtedly improve them. I will not say that the men who would be employed upon the construction of the cruisers would be engaged in reproductive work - I personally consider that the money would be wasted - but if the Government is determined, as it apparently is, that these ships shall be built it should take into consideration the grave unemployment in this country, and the huge sum of money which will be sent out of Australia never to return if orders are placed abroad. In these circumstances, I hope that Ministers will determine, however tardily and reluctantly, to have the vessels built in Australia. The greatest evidence of a nation’s preparedness is the stout-heartedness of its people, the stability of its manufactures, its wages, its living conditions,’ and the health and numbers of its population. The anti-Australian policy of decrying our own products will operate against the proper defence of Australia. As an Australian, I am prepared to protect, through the Tariff, not only Australia’s existing industries, but also the making of every article- and commodity which could be manufactured in Australia, and in my opinion those who vote to send any work out of the Commonwealth, especially work which is to be paid for with the money raised by taxation from the people, will be guilty of a scandalous and disgraceful action. The passage of this bill will not, of course, decide the question, but I appeal to the people of Australia, especially those who believe in the greatness of their country, and have faith in the skill and efficiency of Australian workmen, to do everything possible to prevent these contracts from being let overseas.
– The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) asked for certain information which, I think, the House should have. I remind honorable members that the Government has never said that both of the cruisers will be built outside Australia. The Prime Minister said that one cruiser will be built abroad, and that the Government will make very careful inquiries before deciding where the contract for the second vessel shall be placed. I agree with the honorable member for Dalley that the Adelaide does not provide a fair comparison with ships that were built in England. It was constructed during the war, and war-time prices were paid for all materials used in it, of which delivery could be obtained only with great difficulty. Many alterations in design took place during the progress of construction, and at the conclusion of the war the completion of the vessel was more or less a stand-by job. The cost of the Adelaide was £1,271,780. The respective costs of the Sydney and Brisbane provide a better comparison. The construction of the Sydney in England occupied two and a third years, and the cost was £385,000. Four years were occupied in building the Brisbane at Cockatoo Island, at a cost of £746,624. I am fully conscious of the necessity for maintaining in Australia a first-class engineering yard, capable of effecting major repairs to ships in time of war, and the Government is anxious to ensure the maintenance of such an establishment. One of the strongest arguments for the building of the second cruiser in Australia is that it will maintain at Cockatoo Island an efficient ship-building and repairing yard. I have made no suggestion that the work could not be well done at Cockatoo. The workmanship in the Adelaide compares most favorably with that in any ship of the same class in the British Navy. We have nothing to fear respecting the quality of the materials or the accuracy of the Australian workmanship. ‘ We must remember, however, that the proposed cruisers, if they are to replace the Sydney and the Melbourne, will be required in very much less time than it would take Cockatoo Island to build* them. It is also a matter for very grave” consideration whether the Government could at this juncture maintain two dockyards to build cruisers or to carry out other naval work. If the construction of these two vessels were commenced at two establishments, or if one establishment was duplicated to build them simultaneously, it would be only postponing the evil day. Work could not be continued on the scale of building two cruisers concurrently. To conform with a sound policy, the Government should not in any event attempt to build the two vessels in Australia at the one time. The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins) will, of course, suggest that one may be built at “Walsh Island and the other at Cockatoo Island.
– Is the Government’ calling tenders for two cruisers to be built in the Old Country?
– Tenders are being called for only one cruiser?
– The Government is not calling tenders for any vessels at the present moment. The position at Walsh Island is that the shops are deficient in certain plant for the building of 10,000- ton cruisers; for example, there is no crane there capable of lifting more than 30 tons into the vessel.
– That is not correct. There are three large cranes there ready to stand right over the vessels.
– I am advised that there are no cranes at Walsh Island that v/ill lift more than 30 tons. Many more machines’ would also be required there. It is estimated that something like- £100,000 would need to be expended before Walsh Island could commence to build a cruiser. I repeat that it is a matter for very grave consideration whether in any event two shipbuilding yards should be established. The honorable member for Dalley asked who supplied the estimate of £1,900,000. That figure was given by the British Admiralty to the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), when at the Imperial Conference, as the cost for which the Admiralty would, if required, deliver one of these vessels to Australia. Of course, any alteration of the plans of the vessel would increase the cost. The offer was made at that figure.
– It is not an offer, but an estimate only.
– That was the price for which the British Admiralty could then supply a vessel. I agree with the honorable member for Dalley that if the plans were altered the estimate would have to be reconsidered. There would be extras.
– Has the Minister the plans of this vessel?
– Then how could an estimate be made?
– The estimates supplied by the Shipping Board and by the naval authorities were based on the British cost. If the British cost were increased, of course, the estimate of Australian costs would also increase, even to a greater extent. I asked the Shipping Board whether it could supply the approximate cost of a vessel built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, what proportion of the cost would be labour, and what proportion material; also what proportion of the material would have to be imported and assembled here, and how much actual Australian material would be used in the construction of the vessel. The Shipping Board, in its reply, dated the 9th July, gave an estimate of the cost of building a 10,000-ton cruiser at Cockatoo Island dockyard. A letter written on behalf of the board reads -
– Who is responsible for that estimate?
– This letter is signed by the secretary to the Shipping Board. The signature looks like W. Lewis.
– That officer did not make the estimate. ‘ Who is the responsible officer ?
– The letter is endorsed by Mr. Farquhar and Sir William Clarkson. Honorable members may be interested to know that the estimate was arrived at, more or less, by rule of thumb, as had to be the case without plans and specifications. It could be only a rough estimate. It was based on a calculation of the English cost, plus the expense of bringing the cruiser to Australia, and plus 50 per cent, on tie total cost. Before obtaining this estimate from the Shipping Board I asked the naval authorities to estimate what it would cost to build such a vessel in Australia. The Naval Board’s estimate of the cost of construction is £3,400,000, the time to be occupied in the work being three and a quarter years. This estimate is based not only upon data and information supplied by the Government Statistician and large employers of labour, but also upon Australia’s previous experience of shipbuilding, as ascertained from the Defence Department’s records.
– How does that estimate compare with the English estimate of cost and time of constructing a cruiser ?
– The English estimate of cost was £1,900,000, the time to be occupied in construction being two years.
Mir. Anstey. - What is the estimate now?
– Those figures still stand.
– Can the Minister supply the present British estimates of time and cost?.
– The Government has no further estimates of time and cost. I have cabled for them, but have received no reply. I have no other information than the original statement which was made to the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) when in England six or seven months ago.
– How much of the £2,500,000 .provided in the bill is it intended to expend in the construction of the cruisers?
– Two million pounds, as shown by the last clause of the bill. The Shipping Board’s estimate of the value of the material is 34 per cent, of the total estimated cost of a completed vessel, and the approximate relative expenditure on labour and material will be - labour 55 per cent., and material 45 per cent. Of the estimated cost of £2,898,000, the amount of £1,304,100 will be spent in material, of which £985,320 worth will have to be imported, and £318,000 worth made locally. The last-mentioned figure would, of course, include turbines, which could be made at Cockatoo Island. After obtaining the Shipping Board’s figures I referred them to the expert advisers in the Naval Board. Captain Sydenham has since forwarded the following communication : -
It will be noticed that the cost as estimated by the Shipping ‘Board, namely, £2,8!)S,000, is appreciably less than the .estimate of the Naval Board, £3,400,000. The time for building is given as two and a half years as against that of the Naval Board’s estimate of three and a quarter years. I am directed by the Naval Board to state that no amendment can be made of the estimate of cost or time of building submitted by them, as it is based upon data and information supplied, by the Government Statistician, and large employers of labour, together with that already in the Defence Department records. The estimate also conforms with considerations based on previous experience of shipbuilding in Australia.
– How does the honorable gentleman explain the disparity between the estimate of the Shipping Board and that of the Naval Board ?
– Who is there on the Naval Board competent to give an estimate?
-=-The naval authorities base their estimate on the material they have in hand, the figures they receive from the Government Statistician, and on past experience. Captain Sydenham is a first-class engineer.
– He is not a naval constructor.
– He has had the supervision of the construction of vessels as large as the Hood. He certainly knows something about shipbuilding. At the best, the figures given are estimates and nothing more. The English price given was the fixed price at the time.’
– What is it fixed at now?
– Cost £1,900,000, and time to build two years. The Cockatoo Dockyard’s estimate of cost is over £1,000,000 higher than the estimated English cost. The Naval Board assumes responsibility for the estimate it has given. It was asked to reconsider the matter in the light of the Cockatoo estimate, and it has been unable to reduce its estimate. It stands by the estimate it has given. I thought it only right that honorable members should have the estimates which have been asked for, and so I have given them to the House. .Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle) [8.33].- We have heard a very interesting statement from the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden), and I propose to deal with it first. He has said that the possibility of building the second cruiser in Australia depends on whether it could bo built here for anything like what it would cost to build in England. Honorable members on this side have stated their position in regard to the whole question of defence, and I need not go over the ground again. But I think I have a right to ask why the Government, which was returned at the last elections a3 a protectionist government, should decide that even the first of the cruisers shall be built outside this country. The Minister has given estimates of the cost of building a cruiser in Australia and in England. He admits that there are no plans of these cruisers here or in England. We know that since the Washington Conference was held England has been restricted as to capital ships ; but we know, also, that in the Old Country they are endeavouring to put into the cruisei-3 that are being built as much of the equipment ‘of a modern battleship as they possibly can. How can any one tell what these ships will cost, whether in England or here? If the Minister will look, I think it is in the Naval Gazette, Brassey’s publication, he will find, that the estimate he has given of the cost of building a cruiser in England does not refer to the class of cruiser proposed by the Government at all. If he will look where I have told him to look he will find that in England to-day they are building a cruiser to be named Effingham, which was put on the slips in 1918.
– She is a 9,000-ton cruiser.
– She is one of the old Raleigh class, and she has not yet done her trial trips.
– That class has been wiped out.
– But the British Government is going on with the construction of the Effingham. The money spent on her to date is over £3,000,000, and she is not yet completed. So much for the honorable gentleman’s estimate of £1,900,000 to build a 10,000-ton cruiser in England. The time has come when we must tell the people of this country very plainly whether or not we intend to carry out the policy which they sent us here to give effect to, and that is the local manufacture of our own requirements.
– We were told to do it in war time, and why should we not do it now ?
– In war time we had to do these things. We built ships, and turned them out in record time, and the work put into them was superior to that put into any vessels we had built overseas. I do not say that it was only as good, because engineers who have worked on Australian-built boats have said that they are the best boats they have ever been in. We are told that these cruisers cannot be built in Australian dockyards because we have not the necessary machinery, and, amongst other things, that we have not suitable cranes. At Walsh Island there are three or four cranes which could be used on each side of a ship. It is time that we decided that money spent in the way proposed by the Government shall be spent in this country. Cockatoo Island and Walsh Island are not very far apart, and the establishment at one place could assist that at the other, as was done in connexion with a previous shipbuilding programme. When the Government initiated its shipbuilding scheme it collected artisans from all over the world, and told them that it intended to pursue a policy of shipbuilding in this country. Some of the men were induced to give up their previous employment, and learn the business of shipbuilding. When they reached the centres at which the industry was being carried on, they made arrangements for the purchase of homes which have been partially paid for. Now they are to be left stranded because the present Government will not pursue a policy that will keep them in employ- ment. It hag come down with the cool proposal to spend a huge sum of money on the construction of cruisers outside of Australia, even though artisans in the Commonwealth are unemployed. Assuming, if honorable members please, that one of these cruisers would cost more to build here than in England, I ask them whether they realize that in connexion with all this class of work in England today they are using German steel and German material. Have we lost our patriotism to such an extent as to support that kind of thing? Are ‘honorable members aware that the preference given to Britain under the tariff does not benefit British steel manufacturers, because the rollers get their blooms and billets from Germany, and only 25 per cent, of British manufacture is put into the materials before they are sent out here? If we spend £1,900,000 on the building of a cruiser in England, the money will be lost to us for ever; but if we spend £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 on the building of a cruiser in this country every one in Australia will participate to a. certain extent in that expenditure, and through the channels of taxation the Government will have returned to it the difference between the cost of building here and in England, probably before the job is finished. On the score of cost, the Government has already decided that one of these vessels shall be built in Great Britain. It is a protectionist Government, but it has adopted a freetrade policy in deciding upon the construction of a cruiser in England without giving any one in Australia an opportunity to compete for the work. Whilst the Government has taken this course, it professes to desire that people shall patronize Australian products and manufactures. If the proposal depends upon -cost alone, I have supplied the answer to it. If the reason for the action taken by the Government is that it is suggested that our workmen are not as skilled as shipbuilders in other parts of the world, I must again remind honorable members opposite that one of the biggest employers of labour in Australia, who is not an Australian, but who came here to manage a big concern in the Commonwealth, has testified that Australian workmen are the best he has ever handled. I refer to Mr. Baker, the general manager of the steel works at Newcastle. He is no fool. In his time he has man aged thousands of men. Yet he was fair enough to say that the Australian working man stood supreme among the men he had managed during his career.
Me. Yates. - Australians are good enough when it comes to fighting.
– The Minister was told to-night of the men who were sent to England to be trained in the art of shipbuilding. He, therefore, cannot plead ignorance of that fact. Does he not know that the man at the head of affairs at Walsh Island had twelve years’ experience at Chatham? The men at Cockatoo Island are experts also. As an Australian, I am tired of hearing men in high places decry Australian artisans and Australians generally. Is the Minister aware that an Australian was at the head of the Science Board in Britain during the whole of the war period? Yet, in face of these facts, he says that we have not men in Australia qualified to build these cruisers. The naval advisers who come out ‘here do not want to see us in a position to do these things ourselves. I am contending only that Australia in this matter should be given a fair deal. Owing to our isolated position, and the fact that we have the destinies of a continent in our keeping, it is time that we attempted to do things ourselves, so that in time of trouble we shall not be found lacking. For the defence of Australia it is necessary that we should undertake these works ourselves. Are we always to be in the position that we cannot make an aeroplane, a big gun, or shells for big guns? Must we always send 16,000 miles for these things?
– We are making aeroplanes at Geelong.
– I approve of that work being done there. Are we always to be anti-Australians, and are men in this House always to decry the Australianmade article? The Minister himself admits that the Adelaide is a well-built boat, and that the workmanship in that vessel is equal to anything to be found in any pf the vessels of the British navy. Notwithstanding that, however, he is prepared to allow the order for the construction of one cruiser, which is to be but very little bigger than the Adelaide, to be sent 16,000 miles. In one breath the Minister admits the high quality of the work of the Australian artisan, and in the next; he admits the probability of the order for one vessel being sent overseas. It appears that the Government has asked for estimates of the cost of constructing these cruisers without submitting plans or specifications. That is not fair.
– Has the Minister admitted that?
– Yes. When the manager for Walsh Island interviewed the Prime Minister, he said that he could not give an estimate without seeing the specifications. In the face of the figures which I have given, the Minister coolly tells us that they are taking £1,900,000 as the cost of constructing the vessel in Great Britain. I make bold to say that the price will be upwards of £3,000,000. The Government should withhold action, and not place an order overseas for even one vessel until the exact position is ascertained. I have referred to a boat of the Raleigh type, which has been on the stocks in England since 1918, but has not yet run her trial trip. The cost of that vessel will probably be nearer £4,000,000 than £1,900,000..
– Have they been working on her all that time?
– I do not know, nor do I know the actual time taken in the construction of the Adelaide. The British Government dockyards are full at the present time, and if these vessels are to be constructed in England, they will have to be built by private firms.
– Even they cannot build them without specifications.
– That is so. If the Government is determined that one cruiser shall be built in’ England, this House should be informed of the reason. Honorable members should know whether the tender has yet been let, and, if so, to whom, and also the date of the signing of the contract. All we are told is that it is the policy of the Government to build one in England.
– How would the honorable member define that policy?
– It is a policy of darkness, of keeping things back, of doing things behind the back of Parliament. It is an anti -Australian policy of the worst possible kind.
– That is nothing new for this Government.
– Although this Government has done some awful things in relation to defence matters, such as the selling to private enterprise of the Commonwealth Woollen Mills, where military uniforms were made, this action is the worst it has taken since assuming office. In these days of heavy taxation, and of distress among the engineering trades, for a Commonwea’lth Government to lead the way in ordering from outside Australia two vessels, to cost at least £5,000,000, is, to say the least, antiAustralian. If a Government which calls itself Australian, and professes interest in our primary and secondary industries, is prepared to allow the artisans of Australia to be unemployed, and our shipyards to be idle, causing a slump in other directions, when next it faces the electors it will meet its just reward.
.- I desire to congratulate the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) upon the excellent and unanswerable case he has made out. He has expressed the sentiments of the great majority of true Australians who believe in the development of the secondary industries of this country. The weak, vague, and indefinite reply of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) convinced me more than ever that the cruisers,, if built at all, should be built in Australia. The Minister clearly showed that the Government was not in possession of sufficient information to justify it in placing this order abroad. Even if the figures are as stated by the Minister, on his own showing more than one-half of the cost of constructing the vessels in Australia, according to the estimates supplied by the authorities at Cockatoo Island, represents wages to Australian workmen and the purchase of Australianmade materials. Those considerations alone should convince the Government of the wisdom of constructing the cruisers in Australia. Even the fact that a proportion of the material would have to be imported may be due to the lack of continuity in the Government’s ship-building programme. If the Government had a continuous ship-building programme providing for the construction of more “Bay” boats, as well as for additions to am fleet, the cost of construction in Aus- tralia would be materially reduced, and our steel and engineering industry, which is languishing through lack of adequate orders, would progress to a very much greater- extent than has been the case in the past. The relative costs, after all, are governed mainly by the wages paid in Australia and those paid in Great Britain.. We should not lose sight of the fact that the figures quoted by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) with regard to construction in England were not based on the latest information; therefore, the cost of having a cruiser built in Great Britain will probably exceed £1,900,000. Despite the fact that it may cost more to build the cruisers in Australia than to purchase them in Great Britain, I say, as an Australianborn citizen and an uncompromising protectionist, that there is no justification for strangling young industries such as the steel industry and shipbuilding, which are both essential to the defence of this great continent, and depend largely on Government support. In time of war - which we trust will never come upon us again - we should need, for the construction and repairing of vessels, shipbuilding yards and an efficient staff such as can only be secured by placing orders for the construction of vessels in Australia. The cost of construction in Great Britain may be lower, not only because the wages paid there are lower than those paid in Australia, but also because Britain has a continuous shipbuilding programme, and has passed a Trade Facilities Act, under the provisions of which £65,000,000 has been set aside to provide loans, free of interest in some cases and at low rates in others, to languishing industries, to enable them to compete for overseas orders, and also to provide for home requirements. That 55 per cent, of the amount proposed to be spent on building a cruiser represents the expenditure upon wages is a most important fact, and means much to the skilled artisans, engineers, boilermakers, fitters, and others whose services are invaluable to Australia, and who are now out of work. The arguments advanced for - building these cruisers abroad should apply to almost every article required in Australia. We have a protectionist tariff, with duties ranging as high as 33^ per cent., 40 per cent., and even 50 per cent. If a duty of 40 per cent, were placed upon cruiser construction, as a fair appraisement of the relative economic conditions of Australia and Great Britain, Australia could build these vessels in competition with Great Britain on fair terms. As a protectionist, I recognise that our high tariff has been largely responsible for the high standard of living in Australia, and for the high wages paid here, which naturally increase the cost of building cruisers in Australia ; but honorable members who claim; that these vessels should be built abroad should, if they are logical, also declare that, for the sake of cheapness, our secondary industries should be sacrificed by completely abolishing the tariff protection afforded to them. I am afraid that any honorable member who advocated a policy of that sort would find it utterly opposed to the sentiments of the people of Australia> The people want their secondary industries developed to the fullest possible extent. The secret of the success of America has been the fostering of her secondary industries. According to statistics given in the special report of Mr. Davis. the Secretary for Labour in the United States Government, the population of the United States has increased by immigration from 1901 until the present time by 17,000,000 . persons, the total increase of population by immigration since 1820 being 35,000,000. That increase is the direct result of the protective policy of America, and of that country’s attempts to promote her secondary industries, into which the great majority of the immi-grants have been absorbed. Every year Australia pays large sums of money in bounties. What would be wrong in our paying a few hundred thousand pounds extra, in connexion with the enormous economic waste involved in building cruisers? The money spent in building vessels of war is absolutely unproductive, except that, if the order for building them were placed in Australia, it would assist the steel industry, and would afford employment to thousands of operatives, with a consequent better economic balance throughout the community, and general prosperity. The speech of the Minister for Defence was in itself an indictment of the Government. It was a confession of absolute neglect on .the part of Ministers. I am surprised that on an important matter such as this, which is a fundamental of government - because defence is a function for which the Commonwealth Parliament was established - the Minister should admit that he is not in possession of complete information which would enable Parliament to come to a definite conclusion. If the Government are not prepared to accept the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony), they should certainly agree to a postponement of the construction of the cruisers. My vote on the amendment submitted by the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Anstey), to have the construction of the cruisers postponed, was amply justified in view of the fact that the Government are not equipped with definite information as to costs which would enable us to form a proper opinion. Honorable members on the Government side have charged Ministers with neglect. The honorable member for Calare (Sir Neville Howse) has shown that the Government have given no attention to health matters. He has quoted appalling statistics as to the low standard of physical efficiency in Australia. Other honorable members opposite have pointed to the neglect of the Government in the equipping of factories for the manufacture of implements of war. On our part we have submitted an amendment which was quite justified, and have made our position clear. If Ministers will not agree to postpone the construction of the cruisers until they are supplied with proper information to enable, not only themselves, but also honorable members generally to come to a conclusion in an intelligent and business-like way, that is another reason for the course we are taking. As a party, we on this side have faith in the League of Nations, and we look to the delegation which left Melbourne yesterday to further world peace. As there will be, for the first time in the history of the league, Labour Prime Ministers from England and France in attendance, we feel that there is every possibility of an arrangement being arrived at for further disarmament; and, rather than see a proposal like that which is now before us bludgeoned through the House to provide for the expenditure of millions of our money among British workmen, while our own workmen are unemployed, we again urge postponement. There is no need to rush this bill through the House on the meagre information supplied. There has already been twelve months’ delay in the construction of these cruisers; because the sum mentioned in this bill was voted on last year’s Estimates. What, therefore, is the urgency for this bill? The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) admits that there is no possibility of an invasion, and that, in any case, an invasion would be impracticable. He says that war is not imminent, so far as Australia is concerned, that there is a revulsion against war, and that the peoples of the world are now seeking for a better means than the arbitrament of war for settling their international differences. I admit that the right honorable gentleman afterwards contradicted himself, but I am prepared to accept his view that there is no immediate danger to Australia, in which case there is no need to place this order for the construction of cruisers abroad. However, as the Government have intimated their determination to proceed with their policy of having cruisers built, we have put forward an amendment to provide that, if any money is spent upon building cruisers, it shall provide work for Australians. I protest against the pessimistic utterances of honorable members on the Government benches. If Japan wanted a casus belli, it would find it in the utterances of those honorable members who have pointed to her as a potential enemy and a menace to Australia. Utterances such as these are not only likely to arouse racial antagonism and involve Australia in international complications; they are also disloyal. Some honorable members speak about the doctrines of communists in Australia. But I noticed recently in one communistic journal that the communists are prepared to adopt a defence policy for Australia, and at the same time propagate the ideals of peace. Honorable members on the Government side, with their warlike utterances and their expressions of fear of Japan, are a worse enemy of Australia than the most allegedly disloyal elements in this community, because statements such as theirs are likely not only to cause international trouble, but also to damage our credit abroad, and unnecessarily alarm the people of Australia. I therefore, as one who believes in Australia, who believes in the British Empire, and who hopes that it may long exist and work for the peace of the world, desire to take this opportunity of protesting against the short-sighted and apparently stupid utterances made in this debate by supporters of the Government. I have read every speech made in the debate, but I have not seen a tangible argument to support the theory that Japan is about to attack us. The statements are mostly assumptions, expressions of vague fears, and nebulous ideas that have been put forward as a result, it seems to me, of a diseased imagination.- No facts have been submitted, and after reading the reports of the speeches I felt that it was my bounden duty to give some attention to the matter. I have accordingly investigated it, and have gathered together a number of statistics.
– Did any one suggest that Japan was about to attack us?
– The honorable member for Warringah (Sir Granville Ryrie) said that Japan was a potential enemy, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) made insulting remarks about that nation, and other honorable members have inferred that there is a possibility of attack by Japan. I refer those honorable members who dispute my statement to the reports in Hansard. The honorable member for Calare (Sir Neville Howse) suggested that we should have to hoist the white flag in the event of invasion. What a terrible and tragic “ confession to make ! It was a confession that should make every decent Australian blush with shame. I have a great deal of respect for the eminent and gallant gentleman who represents Calare, but I am ashamed to hear him, after his brilliant record of active service, make such a regrettable confession. Utterances of that character are a reflection upon our Australian manhood; the men who say such things seem to forget the awful sacrifices made by Australia during the war, the unparalleled record of valour established by our soldiers, and the world fame achieved by them. I submit that there is no possibility of the successful invasion of Australia by any country while we possess the prowess, the gallantry, .and the patriotism for which Australians are renowned. During the debate well-worn phrases, beloved by conservatives, have been used. The Prime Minister said that “ human nature has not yet changed,,” and that sentiment undoubtedly appealed to the honorable member for Warringah, for he repeated it. I suggest that to say that human nature has not yet changed is antisocial, it is cruel, it is godless, it is the assertion of a veritable anti-Christ, for any man with Christian principles and beliefs must recognize that human nature has improved during the centuries, and that to-day we- have reached a higher stage of humanity, civilization, and intelligence than ever we occupied before.
– Will the honorable member go to Belgium for a certificate?
– The honorable member is, referring to incidents of that world war, which was the direct result of the brutal, capitalist imperialism - exemplified by Germany that honorable members on the other side desire to buttress. The general level of human nature throughout the world has changed, and that for the better. The working classes of the world are imbued with a desire for peace; and if the honorable member seeks for an expression of this spirit he will find it in the world-wide rise to power of Socialistic and Labour Governments. The people who paid the cost and suffered the anguish of the last war are turning to the Labour movement for relief from, the burdens of war and armaments of the capitalist system.
– Members of the Labour movement sometimes fight.
– About internal matters they fight peacefully and without bloodshed. We have been accused of standing still in the matter of defence. The truth is that we have progressed, while members on the Government side have stood still. We have seen the revulsion of feeling throughout the world against war, with all its waste and bloodshed, and we have interpreted the world-wide desire for peace. Honorable members on the Government side rely upon threadbare phrases, such as “ Human nature has not yet changed,” and they say that our attitude represents the view that “ The time is not yet ripe.” In our view, the time is ripe, and rotten-ripe, for change; then let it come. We have no dread of what is called for by the instinct of mankind. In support of my statement that Japan is not likely to attack us, I. direct attention to. the fact that Japan’s first objective, in the view of eminent international authorities, is to secure those economic necessities .of which she is now starved. One of the principal things she needs for carrying on her great industries and developing her country is oil ; and if we seek causes for a Japanese war, we shall notice that. Holland has large oil wells in Borneo and .Java, and has other possessions that are potential fields for development which lie between Australia and Japan. Those possessions contain extensive tin deposits, and of tin Japan has very little. It is clear that Japan’s first attack would be upon those possessions that lie adjacent to her, and that possess the much-needed mineral wealth, desired by her. Japan is interested in China, because China has enormous coal deposits. The root cause of the international friction between Japan and America is American resistance to Japan’s expansion and development in China. Japan’s immediate enemy is the United States of America. There is a possibility of hostilities between those two countries ; and were such a struggle to take place, the result would not be in question. Because of her enormous population, her man power, her great wealth, her scientific efficiency, everything would be in favour of the United States of America. Much has been made of the fact that Japan is engaged in cruiser construction. I would point out to honorable members that the Japanese entered into the Washington five-power pact with as much eagerness as any other nation, because America., with her greater wealth, was outbidding her in the development of her fleet. Under that pact, the United States of America made the greatest sacrifices; it scrapped 30 ships, including 15 new battleships and battlecruisers, on which it had spent £81,000,000. The total tonnage of those vessels was 845,000. Great Britain scrapped 20 vessels, of a total tonnage of 400,000; and Japan scrapped 18 vessels totalling 400,000 tons. These figures show conclusively that America substantially had the advantage in the mad rivalry and race for armaments. I find, on referring to page 627 of the official Y ear-Book, that Britain heads the list of countries” in regard to expenditure on defence. For the year 1922-23 Great Britain spent 56s. lOd. per head of the population, France spent 44s. 9d., the United States of America spent 27s. 10d., Australia, spent 17s. 3d.., and Japan 13s. 4d. The following table, the figures in which are taken from the Commonwealth Year-Book for 1923, gives the fullest information on this subject: -
Those figures do not support the statement about the feverish expenditure upon which Japan is said to have embarked for the construction of a huge fleet. She is the eleventh lowest of the eighteen nations on. the list, and is spending considerably less per head of population than Australia is spending.
– Japan has eight times the population of Australia.
– I am speaking of the expenditure per head of the population.
– Doss the honorable member take into, consideration the purchasing power of money ?
– Even allowing for the lower purchasing power of money in Japan, there is still great disparity between an expenditure, of 13s. 4d. per head in Japan and 56s. lOd. in Great Britain. The only fact that emerges from the debate is that Great Britain is unable to carry the heavy burden of defending her trade routes, and has had to appeal to the Dominions for help. The Prime Minister placed that on record as the excuse for constructing two cruisers; but honorable members on the other side, while they have made all kinds of statements, do not seem to have given much attention to it. Whilst I admit that we must maintain a naval defence unit, I differ from honorable members opposite, in that I favour postponement of construction. Moreover, I think that the question of what is a suitable naval unit for Australia should be carefully investigated by competent naval authorities, who would study the matter from the Australian view-point. I feel sure that, having regard to the weight of opinion that has been generally expressed, and which is borne out by statistics, experts would favour the policy propounded by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, namely, the building of arsenals and munition factories, the construction of forts to guard our important seaports, and the creation of submarine and aerial fleets. The following figures indicate the importance attached by other countries to submarines and destroyers : - Of destroyers Britain has 201, the United States of America 316, and Japan 173 ; and of submarines, Britain has 69, and the United States of America 128. Japan is keeping her submarine construction secret, but it is generally believed that she has at least 70 or 80 of those vessels. The utterances of honorable members on the Ministerial side would suggest that Australia is comparatively defenceless on the seas, and that we can hope for very little help from Great Britain in the future. Indeed, the Prime Minister said that possibly the day would come when Great Britain would not come to Australia’s assistance. I draw the attention of honorable members to the view expressed by Vice Admiral Ballard, for some time director of operations on the British Admiralty Staff, that for success against Japan, Britain would require a Beet three times as strong as the Japanese fleet. According to that expert, we cannot hope for effective naval aid from Great Britain, and that brings me to the point that the future of Australia depends upon an entente with our cousin and friendly ally, the United States oi America. I regret that a section of the press is frequently sneering at America. Having spent a little time in that couuntry, I resent that attitude vary strongly. The Americans have a tremendous interest in the welfare of Australia, and a great, admiration for the valour of our soldiers and the prowess of our athletes and sportsmen, and it behoves us to cultivate friendship with the American people, because, in the unlikely event of trouble with Japan, American sympathy and support would be our first line of defence.
– The American people might be “ too proud “ to show it.
– That is the sort of cheap sneer that does more than anythingelse to anger the American people-. Every nation is entitled to determine its own international obligations, and the Americans were quite within their rights in deciding when and how .they should enter the war. The fact should not be forgotten that American- intervention materially shortened the war, and determined the issue in favour of the allies. American feeling was never more friendly towards Australia and the British Empire than it is to-day, and I regret that the honorable member for Swan should have made such a short-sighted interjection. Some honorable members on the Government side would lead us to believe that Australia is not doing her fair share in defence, and they quote the enormous burden of debt that. Great Britain is carrying. I freely admit’ that Great Britain is bearing a tremendous burden. Her annual expenditure on account of the last war is £300,000,000; upon incidentals, such as war * pensions and other charges, £86,000,000; upon the maintenance of armed, forces, £123,000,000; and upon the maintenance of the Middle East force, that is, the armies in Persia and Iraq, £9,000,000, making a total of £518,000,000 spent on warlike purposes, as compared with only £169,000,000 spent upon the ordinary services of civil government. That is an appalling state of affairs, and nobody can blame the party with which I am associated for desiring to bring to an end this mad policy^ which will -ultimately lead to the complete destruction of civilization.
Surely no one will condemn us for advocating a further limitation of armaments. Relatively, Australia is already carrying a bigger burden than Great Britain. The state and federal debt of Australia totals almost £1,000,000,000, which Has to be borne by 6,000,000 people. Great Britain’s debt is £7,000,000,000, borne by 43,000,000. Honorable members will see that Australia’s burden of debt per head of population is, if anything, heavier than that of Great Britain. .
– The comparison should be between the war debts, and not between the general war debts.
– I claim that in order to determine the ability to maintain defence forces and discharge the obligations of government, a comparison between the total deadweight debts of the two countries is fair. In any case a large proportion of Britain’s war expenditure is represented by loans to her allies, which are recoverable. Canada, with 9,000,000 people, is, according to Mr. Hurd, a member of the House of Commons and an eminent financial authority, complaining because she is carrying a “ grievous burden” of war debt amounting to £340,000,000. Her provincial debt is only £70,000,000. She considers that her debts are a serious problem, although they are, in proportion to population, much smaller than the debts of Australia. Do those honorable members opposite who say that Australia is neglecting to carry its fair share of the burden of defence forget that interest on our war debt and current expenditure upon defence are costing Australia £44,000,000 per annum - equal to two-thirds of our revenue from taxation? Do they forget that we are continuing the mad policy of borrow, borrow, borrow, and that unless there is a limitation of loans, and economy in some forms of expenditure, the country will ultimately be bankrupt? The facts support our advocacy of economy and postponement, and it is clear that we should think twice before we embark upon an extravagant policy of armaments which will involve us in still further debt. The Government, whilst ready to gag us on other measures, is giving us ample opportunity to discuss this bill, in the “hope that we may commit ourselves, and by our utter ances provide them with political capital for use on the public platform. In order that my attitude may not be misinterpreted, I place on record my belief that Australia should maintain defence forces. The party with which I am associated believes in the defence of Australia. It maintains that Australia can depend upon itself. We have profound faith in our own country. We advocate internal defence by the construction of arsenals and munition factories.
– Why does the honorable member advocate internal defence? Whom does he fear ?
– We should work for peace, but we must maintain a nucleus defence force. No good purpose is served by trying to make the people of Australia panicstricken by telling them that there is imminent danger from Japan or some other neighbouring country that is at present friendly towards us. There is no justification for precipitating expenditure, which experts may later declare to have been upon wrong lines. I invite the attention of honorable members to the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, which indicts the Government on account of its past neglect -
The committee is of opinion that the production of munitions to be manufactured in Australia should be based on raw materials, and it urges the fullest utilization of the resources of the Commonwealth in this direction.
The committee points out that the progress made in the manufacture of munitions has been very slow, and that the Small Arms Factory could be utilized for the manufacture of telephone parts and other requirements of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department which are at present imported. There is nothing to prevent the Government from ascertaining Australia’s economic resources for war, finding out what factories could be readily converted from peace production to the manufacture of munitions, and organizing the engineering industries in such a way that they would serve the purposes of both peace and war. We have before us the splendid example of the United States of America. Owing to the tremendous development of her manufactures and the magnitude of the steel industry, she was able to supply the Allies with enormous quantities of munitions, and after the termination of the war, the factories speedily reverted to the building of motor cars and other engineering products. Australia is asked to share
Britain’s imperial burden of defence by helping to protect not only our trade routes, but also Britain’s trade routes. Our task would be made much lighter if Great Britain would help the Commonwealth in certain directions. As an Australian, I am proud of our comparative political independence and industrial progress, and I remind honorable members that the Commonwealth is helping Great Britain by trade preferences which amount to £8,500,000 per annum. We are helping the Mother Country in various other ways. We are providing fields for the profitable investment of her capital, and let me not forget this point - for I am anxious to enter my protest against the attitude of helplessness and futility adopted by honorable members opposite - that the Commonwealth is paying 6 per cent, interest upon the £92,500,000 that Great Britain loaned to us during the war, more than half of which was for the maintenance of our troops while they were in Europe. The interest bill on that amount totals £5,550,000 per annum, and as the British debt to the United States of America has been funded at 3 per cent., it would not be too much to ask Great Britain to allow us to fund our debt to her at a similar interest, and expend the annual saving upon the manufacture of munitions and the maintenance of defence forces. Honorable members must admit that it is monstrously unfair that we should pay 6 per cent, interest on that debt when we have already paid an enormous interest in the lives, blood, and valour of the 60,000 young Australian heroes who sleep beneath various battlefields abroad. Surely Australia is entitled to as much consideration as is America. If our debt to Great Britain were funded at 3 per cent., the Commonwealth would have nearly £3,000,000 per annum, which it is at present paying to the Mother Country, to expend upon defence and developmental purposes. That point has been missed by previous speakers, but it has a most important bearing upon the problem of Imperial relationships and obligations.
– And Great Britain has done very well out of Australian wool and wheat.
– That is so. I object to honorable members opposite sneering at that statement. Their’s is the attitude of  political hypocrites. Surely it is only right and proper that we should maintain our self-respect, and hold our heads high in the conviction of having done our task. There ‘ is no justification for a sneer when we ask for equity and justice in our relations with the Imperial Government. I have entered my protest against the Government’s proposal and have made my own position clear. I feel sure that at the next general election the people will endorse our policy. Let us abandon the weakly sentiment that we are not able to defend our-‘ selves, and are unable to produce defence requirements. The Minister for Defence said that Australia cannot produce munitions.
– We cannot produce the whole of our requirements at the present time.
– Honorable members on the Government side are continually saying that Australia cannot do this and cannot do that. Their policy is negative; the policy of the Labour party is affirmative and constructive. I say that Australia can be self-reliant and produce its own requirements, and I conclude with Kipling’s noble sentiment -
Pray God our greatness may not fail, Through craven fear of being great. j&r. PATERSON (Gippsland) [VA9]. - The last speaker has told us that human nature is improving, and I believe it is slowly changing for the better, but my one regret is that, if charity towards political opponents is any indication of the rate of progress, there is no evidence of undue acceleration upwards in the speeches of honorable members opposite. Last week honorable members of this side of the- House were described as noncomhatant militarists by that particularly militant pacifist, the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan). To-night we have been described as political- hypocrites and and- Australians.
Mir. Mahony. - That is very true.
– That gibe is directed more particularly, perhaps, at members sitting in this corner, but no members could be more truly national in their outlook than those of a party whose roots may be said to be deep in the very soil of this country. We have been described as anti-Australians because, for one reason, the Government intends to obtain one cruiser from Great Britain. Personally, I should be very glad if it were possible to obtain within Australia a cruiser at a price which could compare at all favorably with that at which such a vessel could be built in the Old Country. But when we contrast the prices, we find that the comparison is impossible. The difference between £1,900,000 paid for a cruiser built in Great Britain, after satisfactory trials, nothing being paid until delivery, and over £3,000,000 paid for one built in. Australia, to which must be added interest during the four years’ period of construction, is something like £1,500,000. The interest bill alone on the Australian construction would amount to something like £360,000, taking 6 per cent, on half the amount over four years, assuming the cruiser to be built at an even rate of speed. There is, roughly speaking, a difference of £1,500,000 between the cost of a cruiser obtained in Great Britain and that of a cruiser built in Australia. What could be done with that amount? How many miles of road would it provide? Honorable members opposite, or at least some of them, only last week were pressing the Government for greater expenditure on roads. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Jackson) recently appealed to- the Government to construct the Northern Territory railway. If my memory serves me aright, he told us that it was estimated that that railway would cost about £1,600,000. The saving in cost on one cruiser would practically provide the North-South railway on the estimate submitted by th& honorable member for Bass. Then, again, £1,500,000 would go a long way towards providing Australia with a dock capable o”f accommodating one of the largest capital ships afloat. The necessity for such a dock must be obvious to all. We were told this afternoon by the, honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates), much to my surprise, that while our trade routes needed protection, Great Britain should alone bear this responsibility. Any one who has studied the figures of the relative war burdens borne by different countries of the world, must have come to the conclusion that Great Britain has to bear more than her fair share of expense. While it was quite reasonable that Great Britain should provide for the? defence of Australia when it was a young, and comparatively unimportant colony,, surely, now that we have reached man’sestate, it is only fair that we should at least do our share to protect our traderoutes. . The honorable member for Reid this evening spoke about theenormous war debt under which weare staggering, and yet, in the samebreath he suggested that we should spend on one item of defence doublethe amount that was really needed.. He wants Australia to buy cruisersin the most expensive market, despite our enormous war burden. That honorable member and one or two otherswho preceded him stated that they regarded the proposal to build cruisers as an unproductive expense, and nothing else than sheer waste of money.’ If that be so, would it not be worse to waste- £3,500,000 than to waste £2,000,000? Surely, if this money is to be wasted we should waste as little as possibleThe wit of man has never yet devised’, any satisfactory method of paying for exports except with imports of either goods or gold. If, as an exporting country, we must import, is it not better to> import something which we cannot ourselves make to advantage, and concentrate on those things which we canmake to advantage? We have beentold that if a cruiser is built in Great Britain, a great many men here will be thrown out of employment, but I would point out that whilecertain men may lose employment, othermen who provide those commodities, from the export of which we shall be able topay for a cruiser, will obtain additional employment. Then we have been told that it is quite useless to provide fewer than, ten cruisers to safeguard our trade routes. Even ten cruisers, we were told byone honorable member, would be inadequate for that purpose. In any case half a loaf is better than ne bread. It is better that a man should insurehis house at one-quarter or even onetenth of its value rather than -not insure it at all. Two fast modern cruisers would at least be a very grave menace toraiders, and we know what effect raiding vessels had on Australian shipping, in the early days of the war. We havebeen told that Australia should bo en- tirely self-contained in the matter of defence. I am glad that in many respects we are endeavouring to become .self-contained, especially in those particular services which will be urgently needed, regardless of cost, in the event of war. As a member of the Public Accounts Committee I have had the ^privilege of inspecting various Commonwealth factories connected with our defence. I inspected the Acetate of Lime .Factory at Brisbane, whence that product is sent to Maribyrnong for conversion into .acetone for the making of gun cotton. .Acetate of lime is made from molasses, and the factory at Brisbane is now obtaining from the same source power alcohol which is used “ for motor vehicles in the Postmaster-General’s Department. I have also inspected the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow, in which rifles and machine guns are made. The work there is done so accurately that the staff think nothing of working to a quarter of a thousandth part of an inch. I have further seen the Maribyrnong and Footscray Cordite and Small Arms Munition Factories. It cannot be said that in this country the Government is doing nothing to make Australia self-contained by the provision of those things that we must have, regardless of cost, in time of war, It has also been my privilege, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, to visit the Flying Station at Point Cook, the Flinders Naval Base, the Jervis Bay Naval College, and the Duntroon Military College. To-night we had some criticism by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) of the high cost of training cadets at the Jervis Bay and Duntroon Colleges. Honorable members opposite seem to be willing to spend unnecessarily great sums on the inanimate factors of our defence represented by cruisers, but they would appear to grudge -spending what is necessary to turn young Australians into capable naval- officers and staff officers for our army of defence. I went to the Jervis Bay Naval College with an absolutely open mind regarding that institution, and I must say that I was more than favorably impressed by what I saw. The physical and moral atmosphere of the place are all that could be desired. The institution is conducted -on a truly democratic basis, and that .should be pleasing to honorable members opposite. Every young Australian who is physically and mentally fit has an equal opportunity to enter that establishment. There are no social barriers to entrance. Indeed, I was informed that those who are qualified physically and have passed the educational examinations for entrance to the college, are subjected to a final verbal examination, and at this examination the sons of one oil two highly-placed gentlemen in this country have been turned down. The cadets appear at this final examination with a number and without a name. They are unknown to the examiners, so that I am right in saying that every man’s son has an equal chance of being accepted for the Jervis Bay or Duntroon Colleges. With regard to the cost of training youths at these colleges, I may point out that there are only about 40 cadets in each of the institutions. If we had four times as many attending each institution the overhead expense per cadet would, of course, be greatly cut down, and the cost of training would then appear very much less than it does now. Even with the figures as they are, these institutions compare quite favorably with West Point, in the United States of America, upon which I believe Duntroon has been modelled. At West Point, although there are something like 1,400 cadets in training, the cost of training an officer has been calculated to be from $12,000 to §15,000, or, in round figures, from £2,790 to £3,488. I believe ‘that the training there extends over four years, and assuming that it does, the cost amounts to something between £700 and £900 per cadet per annum. When we remember that the cost of training in Australia is about £1,200 per cadet per annum with only 40 cadets in each institution, we realize that the comparison with West Point is not unfavorable to our colleges. If the number of cadets in training at Jervis Bay College were increased ‘ to 160, a number which the college is capable of providing for, the cost of training would be cut down to £730 per cadet per annum. If there were 160 cadets in training at Duntroon the annual cost per cadet would be cut down to £600 per annum, which would be below the cost at West Point.. I should like to say a word with regard to the calibre of the young men turned out at these establishments.
The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. “Watkins) this evening waxed eloquent upon the quality of the ships that can be built in Australia. It would be very easy for any honorable member to become eloquent on tile calibre of the young men who leave Duntroon and Jervis Bay colleges. When lads leave the Jervis Bay College at the age of seventeen, after completing a. four years’ course, they go to the Old Country to complete their training, and have to undergo certain examinations there. In one year, of seven cadets who went in this way from Australia to the Old Country, five took the highest places in the examination against cadets from all England. That is a wonderful achievement, and says much for the efficiency of the instruction which they were given at the Jervis Bay Naval College. With regard to Duntroon College, I should like to quote what has been said by LieutenantGeneral Sir H. G. Chauvel, in his report as Inspector-General of the Australian Military Forces. I may say that a Duntroon officer who leaves that establishment at the age of about 21 years would be very quickly snapped up by the Brijtish military authorities if he cared to; accept a commission in Great Britain. An Australian officer leaving Duntroon receives one year’s seniority if he joins the British Army. That shows what a high opinion the British military authorities have of the men turned out at Duntroon. Lieutenant-General Sir H. G. Chauvel says -
That the Duntroon establishment has already justified its existence there can be no shadow of doubt. To say that the 158 graduates who served in the late war had any bearing upon the 300,000 men who comprised the Australian Imperial Force would seem ridiculous, yet most, if not all, divisional, brigade, or regimental commanders will bear out my statement that this was so. The high ideals established at the college by the late General Bridges were a potent influence, which made itself felt throughout. In peace the same influence is being gradually spread throughout the Citizen Forces to-day.
In giving the opinion of Sir John Monash, I remind honorable members that he is not a professional soldier, but an eminent civilian, who made a great reputation for himself as a soldier at the Front. He says -
As a soldier I regard the naval and military colleges as the sheet-anchor of the whole of our .organization. In the 4th Brigade I had a considerable number of Duntroon graduates under my command; I took the whole of the second-class from Duntroon with me, and they comprised a great portion of my officer class and acquitted themselves gloriously. Many of them reached senior rank. I know the supreme importance of maintaining educational establishments such as that of Duntroon in order to provide the nucleus of trained leaders without which no defence organization is possible.
He further said -
It is the most essential thing; it is more essential than our military head-quarters. If one of these two had to be sacrificed, I would sooner sacrifice military head-quarters. I say, emphatically, that if the college is destroyed ive destroy also what hope Australia now has of defending herself.
Major-General Sir. Brudenell White says of the Duntroon. graduates -
The opinion I formed of them, and one that was confirmed by many of the senior officers, was that they were invaluable, and in most cases the backbone of their units. I look upon Duntroon so much as a foundation that I should place its expenditure almost before anything else
Lest it should be said by honorable members that these are the opinions of soldiers, I should like to give a short extract from some remarks made by Professor Sir Edgeworth David, who is famous not only as an educationalist, but also for the part he took in an antarctic expedition and in the war. He said -
From the point of view of national defenceand insurance, the sum expended on these two institutions is money well spent. It costs us something like £110,000 a year- £50,000 for Duntroon, and about £60,000 for Jervis Bay. In my judgment, it is by no means an excessive amount for the training of men for the defence of this country supposing we were seriously menaced at any time.
I should like to say, in conclusion, that the amount spent on these two colleges, the expenditure of which is said by these eminent authorities to be so very necessary, represents less than 3 per cent, of our total defence expenditure. I shall vote for the second reading of the bill. I consider the disparity between cost of construction in Great Britain and here is so great that the Government have come to a reasonable decision in deciding to obtain the first cruiser from Great Britain. I only hope that the vessel will never be required for active service.
.- I have listened with a great deal of interest to the various speechesthat have been delivered during this debate. I regret very much, indeed, the hopeless, helpless attitude adopted by men who in the platforms they put before the electors definitely stated that they believed in encouraging Australian industries, that Australians should be self-reliant, and that this should be a self-contained nation. The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) submitted an amendment on the motion for the second, reading of the bill, proposing that this expenditure should be deferred because we are sending delegates to a meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva, which is expected to deal with questions of armaments and defence, and the President of the United States of America has stated that he is prepared to call another conference for the purpose of discussing further limitation of armaments. I ask leave to continue my speech on the resumption of the debate.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the’ Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Mann) read a first time.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn. In . submitting the motion, I wish to state that we were rather alarmed this evening upon receiving a wireless message from the Commodore commanding the Australian Fleet at Port Moresby.
Regret to report that H.M.A.S. Brisbane is ashore east side of Padananalma. She is making no water. Sea calm. Collier Biloela will attempt tow. Further report will be made.
I am glad to report that at 9.30 this morning I received a further telegram : -
Brisbane was refloated 4.45 this afternoon, without any apparent damage.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
.- Some two or three weeks ago I made a request to the Treasurer for a grant to the Potato By-products Company of Ballarat. As honorable members know, the price of potatoes is now very low, and, as a consequence, many -potato-growers are threatened with ruin. This is a matter of serious importance to the potato-growers of. Australia. This company has been formed at Ballarat to treat potatoes, so that both in years of plenty and when disease attacks the potatoes, there shall be no waste. A mistake, however, was made by the company in erecting its plant on railway land. Had freehold, land been selected, it could have obtained financial assistance from the State Government. Its members, chiefly potatogrowers, have themselves put £10,000 or £.12,000 into the company. They have ordered the plant, but are now snort to the extent of about £10,000. If they can get from this Government immediately a loan of from £8,000 to £10,000, they will be in a position soon to treat 500 tons of potatoes a week, and obtain therefrom starch, glucose, and other byproducts. _ In Germany, 500 factories are engaged in dealing with potatoes in . a similar manner. Starch is now being made in the Ballarat district, hut, because of the tightness of the moneymarket, there is a chance of this company not being able to carry on. A request has been made to the Treasurer for assistance, and I understand it has since been submitted to the Minister for Customs. Those engaged in the flotation of the company are anxious to’ know the Minister’s intention. This matter does not concern only the growers in the Ballarat and Bungaree districts, but is of importance to , the whole of the potatogrowers of: Australia. I ask the Minister to give it his urgent and sympathetic consideration.
.– This matter came before me. a day or two ago, and is now being inquired into. I promise the honorable member that I shall give it fair and close consideration, and let him know the result in due course.
– And sympathetic consideration also?
– I am not quite sure that the word “ sympathetic “ does not convey a little more thn is intended in this case. I promise the honorable member the closest, fairest, and most business-like consideration of the application for a loan.
Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.18 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 July 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1924/19240723_reps_9_107/>.