9th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following bills reported : -
Loan Bill (No. 2).
Commonwealth Bank (Rural Credits) Bill.
Main Roads Development Bill.
– I have received from Mrs: Russell a letter thanking the House for its resolution of sympathy in’ connexion with the death of her husband, the late Senator E. J. Russell.
The following papers were presented : -
Commonwealth Bank Act - Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Aggregate Balancesheet at 30th June, 1925, and Statement of the Liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department at 30th June, 1925; together with the Auditor-General’s Reports thereon.
Papuan Oilfields - Report for July, 1925, of the Commonwealth Representative.
Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1925, Nos. 148, 149, 150, 151 (Junior Cadet).
Public Service Act -
Appointments. of A. Beech, G.L. Cockrell, J. P. Whyte, E.W. H. Solly, J. N. Deeble, X. R. Weidner, W. T. Haslam, W. G. Lawrie, A. Maclachlan, C. C Boye, S. J. Young, A. L. Richmond, J. D. O’Brien, L. S. Bradshaw, H. T. Wisdom, G. Franklyn, and W. S. flocking, Department of Works and Railways.
Reflations Amended - Statutory Rules 1925, No. 152.
Tariff Board Act - Further Schedule of Recommendations by the Tariff Board (supplementary to the Report laid on the table on 4th instant) in regard to the following : - Fellmongery, hats, fur felt and wool felt; bolts and nuts, black; copper rivets and washers; alternating current house service meters; wrought iron and malleable case iron pipe fittings; putty; glass - plate and sheet; carbonate of copper; bentwood chairs; carillons and bells in peals; white spirit.
That the recommendations with regard to fellmongery; hats, fur felt, and wool felt; be printed.
– Has the PostmasterGeneral yet read the classification of postal officers proposed by the Board of Commissioners? If so, is it a fact that seniority and merit have in some cases been overlooked, and that in some branches junior officers have received far more favorable consideration than senior officers in other branches? What does the Minister propose to do about this?
– The Public Service Board is under the Prime Minister’s Department; but the Commissioners have been asked for a report on the classification of postal officers, and this will be discussed with the Prime Minister at a very early date.
– Last week I asked the Prime Minister whether he would look into the grievances voiced by a number of telegraphists in connexion with the new classification scheme. The right honorable gentleman promised that he would interview the Chairman of the Public Service Board in connexion with the matter. Has he had an opportunity of doing so since I put my question? I ask for information on the subject, in view of the fact that since I put my previous question I have received several communications on the subject.
– Since the honorable gentleman drew my attention to this matter, I have been obtaining all the information I can get about it, and I hope to be in a position to reply to his question later.
– Has the Prime Minister received the report of the Western. Australian Disabilities Commission?
If so, when will he be prepared to lay it on the table?
– The report of the royal commission was transmitted to me by His Excellency the Governor-General on Monday evening. It is now under consideration by the Government. I hope to be able to make it available to honorable members in the course of a few days.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories if he will make available the report of Mr. McLaren, Secretary to the department, on the Public Service in the Northern Territory?
– I shall bring the honorable member’s request under the notice of the Minister, and shall reply to his question later.
– I ask the Prime Minister if it is a fact that yesterday the Secretary to his department wired to the Commonwealth Service Inspectors at Brisbane, Hobart, and Perth, as follows . -
Am wiring later to-day speech to be delivered by Prime Minister to-night.
– Was that the speech delivered at the meeting to which admission was by ticket only?
– I believe so. I further desire to ask were wires sent later in the day to those Public Service Inspectors giving a lengthy report of the speech, with instructions to distribute it to the press in the cities mentioned? Was this lengthy speech also wired to the principal newspapers in other cities? What was the cost of these lengthy telegrams, and were they charged to the general taxpayers? Seeing that the Prime Minister’s speech was wholly electioneering propaganda-
– Does the right honorable gentleman consider it fair to charge the cost of these wires to the general public? Why were the wires sent yesterday signed by the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, whilst the speech delivered by the right honorable gentleman at Dandenong was distributed throughout Australia over the name of Mr. Edwards, Publicity Officer to the Prime Minister’s Department? I further ask the right honorable gentleman, does he not, as a fair-minded man, think it reasonable that he should extend the same facilities to the Leader of the Opposition ?
– I have no knowledge of what telegrams were sent, or what publicity was given to the speech which I delivered last night. As the honorable member and the House are aware, it is customary, when the Prime Minister makes any speech of general interest to the people of Australia, to distribute it through the Publicity Branch of the Prime Minister’s Department. But I think the honorable member’s question raises a very much more serious issue. He’ has read a telegram which was dispatched, and I ask him what facilities he has for obtaining copies of such telegrams?. May I point out in further reply to his questions, that it is the proud tradition of the Public Service of this country, and of every other British community, that in no circumstances do public officers make available information which they have obtained in the performance of their public duties. The honorable member is very much demeaning himself if he is encouraging any officer of the Commonwealth Public Service to depart from that great tradition.
– What about the stealing of the people’s money to pay for your propaganda.
Other honorable members interjecting,
– Order ! I tell honorable members in all parts of the chamber that the rule under which, in the ordinary course of debate, speakers must be heard in silence, applies when Ministers are answering questions ; and. unless it is observed, I shall take it upon myself to prevent the asking of further questions.
– The House will have something to say about that. You are not boss of the show.
– Order.! Unless honorable members are prepared to listen to the answers given to questions, it will be impossible to conduct our proceedings in an orderly way. I ask the assistance of honorable members in my efforts to see that they are so conducted.
– I ask the Minister for Defence whether he has noticed a criticism in the Sydney newspapers of the seaplanes which the department is purchasing under its new orders? The newspapers have stated that they are of an obsolete type which has been rejected by the British authorities. If so, is the order being persisted in, or is any change being made?
– I do not know to what criticism the honorable member refers; but if he speaks of an article which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph criticizing the amphibian, my reply is that I have read that article, and its author showed such a lack of qualification to criticize that no notice has been taken of it.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that Victorian potato-growers cannot secure space on the steamers trading, between Victoria and Western Australia, and that, as a consequence, potatoes which are required in Western Australia are left to rot here ? As the shipping companies’ have gone on strike, and are interfering with the flow of commerce between Victoria and Western Australia, will the right honorable gentleman see that . shipping space is provided for the quantity of potatoes that has been ordered for Western Australia ?
– I shall look into the matter.
– Honorable members have received to-day from the Minister for Works and Railways a list of works approved under the Main Roads Development Act, which passed through this House a few days ago, and I should like to know whether the works included in the list are merely a continuation of works approved last year, whether they are works for which approval was held over pending the passing of the act, or whether they are works for which fresh applications have been received ?
– The list referred to by the honorable member is made up mostly of applications forwarded by the various States for the continuation of works commenced two years ago.
– Are we to understand that the money voted last week is already ear-marked for expenditure, and that it is useless to submit a new proposal ?
– The grant of £500,000 for this year is mostly for the continuation of works already in progress. The department has not yet been furnished by the States with the whole of their proposals. South Australia has applied for £28,000 for expenditure on the reconditioning and strengthening of main roads.
– Can the Minister for Defence yet give a reply to the representations made by me during the discussion on Supply last week with regard to the increments of second-class warrant officers ?
– The information is not yet available.
– Last week I asked the Prime Minister what communications had passed between the Commonwealth Go- . vernment and interests abroad concerning the present dislocation of the overseas shipping services. The right honorable gentleman said that he was under the impression that everything that could be made available had been made available. Nowthat he has had an opportunity of further reviewing the situation, I ask him whether he will lay on the table of the House or of the Library all the correspondence that has passed between his Government and interests abroad concerning the present shipping dispute?
– I have not gone into the matter further, but I am perfectly clear that the position is as I stated it last week. I shall have the papers brought together, and placed on the table of the Library.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The information desired by the honorable member is as follows : -
Information has been supplied by all States as to the benefits that have accrued as a result of the Federal roads grant, and these I would be pleased to furnish to the honorable member, should he so desire.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Public Service Arbitrator in Determinations 24 of 1922, 9 of 1924, and 20 of 1925?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
– On the 9th September the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following questions : -
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -
– On the 9th September the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following questions : -
What was the number and value of hats imported last year from (a) Great Britain,
I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information: - 1.(a) Felt hats, number, 467.448; value. £178,030; other hats, not recorded, value. £95,280.
The total importation of hats was as follows: - Felt hats, number, 765,048; value, £386,087: other hats, not recorded, value, £167,949.
In committee (Consideration resumed from 27th August, vide page 1820).
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Power to prescribe conditions of production).
– I move -
That clause 2 be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following: - “ 2. After section one hundred and. fifty-one of the Principal Act the following section is inserted: - 151a. - (1.) Where in or under any Customs Tariff, whether passed before or after the commencement of this section, duties of Customs are imposed upon goods the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom, the following goods shall, subject to this section, be deemed to be the produce or manufacture of that country: -
Goods which are wholly produced or wholly manufactured in the United Kingdom:
Provided that goods shall not be deemed to be wholly manufactured in the United Kingdom if, in the raw material used or in the finished goods, any manufacturing process has been performed in any country outside the United Kingdom (other than Australia) which is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom;
Goods which are not in accordance with the last preceding paragraph wholly produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom, in the manufacture or production of which not less than seventy-five per centum of their factory or works cost consists of United Kingdom labour or material;
Goods to which neither of the last two preceding paragraphs applies, which are of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in Australia and in the manufacture of which not less than twenty-five per centum of their factory or works cost consists of United Kingdom labour or material. (2.) No goods shall be deemed to be the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom, unless the final process of their production or manufacture was performed in the United Kingdom. (3.) The provisions of this section shall apply mutatis mutandis in relation to goods imported from any country with which the Commonwealth has a preferential Tariff Agreement in like manner as they apply in relation to goods imported from the United Kingdom. (4.) For the purposes of the last three preceding sub-sections the Minister may, from time to time, determine -
what shall be deemed to be raw ma terials and in any such determination may include materials partially manufactured in Australia;
the method of determining factory and works cost and the value of labour and material; and
whether any manufacturing process. is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom and whether any goods are of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in Australia. (5.) Statutory Rule 1925, No. 29, shallbe deemed to have been valid and effectual from the time of its making to the commencement of this section ‘.”
There was no objection in the debate on the second reading to the general principles of the bill, but attention . was directed to the powers of the Minister, and some doubt was expressed whether, in its original form, clause 2 changedthe principle of regulation No. 29, made in April last. The proposed new clause is designed to overcome the objections then raised. It provides, in the first place, for British preference in the case of all goods wholly produced or wholly manufactured in Great Britain, and in the second place, for British preference to goods if 75 per cent. of the labour and/or raw material is . British. There is a further provision that if the concession does not interfere with established industries in Australia, preference j-hall be given if 25 per cent, of the labour or material is British. This principle was accepted almost unanimously during the second-reading debate. It has also been accepted by all reputable and bona fide British manufacturers, by the Associated Chambers of Commerce, as well as by the Associated ‘ Chambers of Manufacturers. The only issue was the power of the Minister to determine the amount of preference. The proposed new clause does not give the Minister, or any Minister, authority to determine the conditions governing British preference, but the Minister must have authority to administer the act, and this is what the amendment provides for. In addition, it asks Parliament to validate the new conditions of preference that came into operation on the 1st April’ last, otherwise there would be a possibility of legal conflict concerning collections made since that date..
.- I should be prepared to accept the amendment if my mind were quite clear as to its effect, but it was only placed in my hands a few minutes ago, and I am not sure that it will do all that the Minister expects of it.
– It is extraordinary to bring down an important amendment of this nature, and practically throw it at honorable members.
– I had to read it while the Minister was speaking in order to gather its import. During the second reading debate exception was taken to the power ‘of the Minister to prescribe the conditions under which preference would be given, and it was urged that Parliament should be consulted with regard to any change. I question whether the new bill, for that is what the amending clause really amounts to, will meet the wishes of honorable members. The proposed new, sub-section 4 provides that -
The Minister may from time to time determine what shall be deemed to be raw materials, and in any such determination may include materials partially manufactured in Australia.
Apparently the Minister will still have power to decide the percentage of raw materials to be included in any manufactured article imported. No Minister should have . power, to interfere with the provisions of an act without consulting Parliament. If the Minister can show clearly that the proposed new clause will overcome the objections raised by several honorable members I shall be prepared to accept it, because those were the only objections taken to the bill. As the debate on this measure was adjourned some weeks ago, honorable members should not be expected to accept this new clause, which is really longer than the original bill, without careful consideration. The Minister has stated ‘that he has been assured by his officers that the proposed new clause will effect a certain . purpose. We should be quite certain that it will do so before we adopt it.
.- I should like to assure the committee that the amendment is, in substance, an exact copy of the regulation, but it does not include the sometimes varying regulations that have to be made, such as those which affect factory costs, shipping and other details of the Customs administration. Factory or works costs, and the cost of the containers and outside packages, must be considered in calculating the value of the United Kingdom labour and material used in the process of manufacture. The clause does not provide that all the goods must ‘ be shipped from Great Britain, but that will be provided for in the regulations framed under this measure.
– Does not the bill still give the Minister power to determine the percentage of raw material used?
– No; but the Minister has from time to time to settle many intricate points, and I shall give the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) particulars of a few cases which have recently arisen. I had to decide a few weeks ago whether lime fruit pulp imported into Liverpool was “ raw material “ in the manufacture of lime juice. Obviously it is a raw material, but some labour process such as the spooning out of the pulp from the fruit, and the placing of it into casks, must have been undergone in the West Indies before it was shipped. T had also to determine whether some process of manufac’ are had been undergone on the cotton in velveteen imported into England as a raw material. According to the strict interpretation, “ raw material “ is material upon which no process of manufacture had been employed beyond the effort necessary to get it from mother earth. A determination had also to be made in the case of copper ingots. Copper ingots are not manufactured in Great Britain, but it would be unfair to British trade not to classify them as raw material. Gold and silver bars had also to be dealt with. Obviously these are . raw material, but possibly, under a strict legal interpretation of the term, they might be classified as substances upon which some process of manufacture had been undertaken. As to proposed new sub-section 4, giving the Minister power to determine the method of determining factory and labour costs, to which reference was made by the Leader of the Opposition, this is a power which it is necessary for him to have for the administration of paragraph b of proposed new sub-section 1. Regulations will have to be framed under which the cost of. British labour and material used in manufacture will be determined, and in ascertaining the works costs the value of containers and minor charges in connexion with manufacturing costs will have to be taken into consideration.
– Does that mean that the percentage will be based on the cost of the containers as well as on the cost of . the manufactured articles?
– The percentage will be based on the value of British labour and material used in the completed article.
– There will be nothing on containers.
– The whole cost of the article f.o.b. has to be taken into consideration in connexion with the administration of this provision. It must also be obvious that the Minister must be entrusted by Parliament with the power to determine whether any manufacturing process is being commercially undertaken in the United Kingdom, and whether any goods of the same class or kind as are being imported are being commercially manufactured in Australia. Under these regulations, sheet glass, for instance, will be imported, for a time at all events, under the British preference rate, if it contains only 25 per cent. of British labour and material, but when sheet glass is being manufactured in Australia, it must automatically come under paragraph b. It is necessary to provide for elasticity in the administration of the regulations. Unless the Minister has some discretionary . power, considerable hardship must necessarily be inflicted.
.- I trust that the Minister (Mr. Pratten) does not intend to ask the committee to dispose of the bill until honorable members have had time to give its provisions very careful consideration. The Minister’s statement has shown that the measure is complicated, and that there are many points requiring careful consideration. As I mentioned during the second-reading debate, the bill practically amounts to a new tariff schedule. I admit that the amendment is a distinct improvement on the clause of the bill for which . it is to be substituted, and I give the Minister credit for having considered the objections previously raised by some honorable members. There are, however, some, provisions in the amendment which Ido. not now understand, and which I think need very careful consideration. For instance, I cannot see the necessity for the following proviso, which seems to be redundant : -
Provided that goods shall not be deemed to be wholly manufactured in the United Kingdom if. in the raw material used or in the finished goods, any manufacturing process has been performed in any country outside the United Kingdom (other than Australia) which is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom.
Surely paragraph a is sufficient. Para-; graph b introduces a new principle. It reads -
– Not so far as the department is concerned.
– That may be, but I think that it was not included in statutory rule No. 29.
– This paragraph follows the verbiage of the statutory rule.
– So far as I understand the position it was provided under the statutory rule that 75 per cent, of the value of the goods was to represent British labour and material, but under this paragraph the preference is to be given if 75 per cent, of the factory or works cost of the article represents British labour and material. I think that I am correct in saying that this bill introduces an entirely new principle.
– The regulation under statutory rule 29 stipulated that- the preference applied to goods not wholly produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom, provided they contained at least “ 75 per cent of United Kingdom labour and/or material in their factory or works cost.”
– I had always understood that it was ‘ to be 75 per cent, of their value. The invoiced value of goods is entirely distinct from their works cost. I have not had an opportunity to consider what the effect of this alteration will be. Sub-section 4, to which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has referred, sets out that “ for the purposes of the last three preceding sub-sections the Minister may, from time to time, determine “ - &c. I admit that it is necessary for administrative purposes for certain matters to be determined by the Minister, but I see no reason why the percentage of British labour and material should not be determined by way of a regulation which would need to be submitted for the approval of this Parliament.
– That is done now.
– Rulings of the department are not submitted to Parliament. If the Minister, makes a departmental ruling it is not possible, so far as I am aware, for Parliament to alter it. There, are thousands of departmental rulings relating to the Customs tariff, and none has ever come before this House. I know that the Minister must have power to1 determine certain matters, but the exercise of a power, such as this clause, confers, should be subject to parliamentary criticism. . I suggest that, after the Minister has made his determination, it should be put in the form of a regulation, so- that it must ultimately be submitted to Parliament. Objection could then be taken to it if Parliament thought fit. I have an earnest desire to. make the mea sure workable. On the general principle of Ministerial control the Minister has gone a long way, but I think that it would be well, in view of the suggestions now made, to consider whether, after all, the bill cannot be further improved. I submit that the proposed new clause is in reality a new bill, and the committee ought to have more time to consider it. Consideration of it might well be postponed until tomorrow.
– I admit that the Minister should have power to determine certain matters, but it seems to me that the bill confers too much power upon him. Paragraph 6 states -
Goods which are not in accordance with the last preceding paragraph wholly produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom, in the manufacture or production of which not less than -75 per centum of their factory or works costs consists of United Kingdom labour or material.
Until recently the proportion was, I think, only 25 per cent. Sub-section 4 provides that, for the purposes of the last three preceding sub-sections, the Minister may from time to time determine certain matters relating to the composition of goods to which the preference is extended. I admit that certain administrative powers are necessary, but I doubt whether the Minister should be permitted to decide whether the proportion of British labour and material should be 25 per cent., 50 per cent., or 75 per cent, when this Parliament has already determined that it should be 75 per cent. Under this sub-section the Minister may alter that percentage.
– No. He may only determine the matters set out in the sub-section, such as what shall be deemed to be raw materials and the method of determining the factory and works cost i
– If the Minister can clear up this point I shall be satisfied; but, it seems to me that the determination of what are raw materials involves the percentage question. The bill should state that the 75 per cent, basis cannot be altered except by the decision of Parliament.
– If a regulation had to be brought down, parliamentary approval - would be assured.
– That is so. If this clause involves no alteration in re- gard to the 75 per cent, basis my objection disappears; but I have no desire to see the preference extended to goods on which labour other than British is largely employed.
. - The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) deliberately laid on the table statutory rule No. 29 of 1925, and during the whole of the discussion we had last week with reference to the subject-matter of this bill, that regula-tion was before the House. It will be remembered that the objection was raised that the Minister should not be allowed to determine by regulation whether the percentage should be 75, 50, 25, or any other figure. There was some difference of opinion. Some honorable members thought that it would be best to leave the whole matter ‘ open, but the House indicated that, subject as far as possible to parliamentary . determination, it was pre- pared to leave a reasonable margin of discretion to the Minister. Several points were raised. First, honorable members contended that the percentage should be mentioned in the act, so that,, if an alteration were required, Parliament would have to make it. It was pointed out that there were certain facts regarding importation which could not be decided by regulation, but must be left to the determination of the Minister. It was agreed, however, that as far as possible the matter should be dealt with by regulation. What cannot be defined by act of Parliament or by regulation must be left to the discretion of the Minister.. Honorable members are anxious to give preference to goods wholly produced or manufactured in Great Britain. That was the first principle laid down, and it was accordingly embodied in the regulations. Honorable members are agreed on the principle, but there is a dfficulty in applying it. Goods which purport to be wholly manufactured in Great Britain sometimes pass through some small process of manufacture outside Great Britain, and manufactured articles often pass through many processes and several factories. Is it intended to deny preference to an article because a small process of manufacture was performed upon it outside Great Britain, although substantially the article was manufactured in that country? The. proviso to paragraph a of the proposed amendment provides
Provided that goods shall not be deemed to be wholly manufactured in the United Kingdom, if in the raw material used or in the finished goods, any .manufacturing .process has been performed in any country outside the United Kingdom (other than Australia) which is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom.
If certain processes cannot be performed in Great Britain, the performance of them abroad ought not to penalize British manufacturers; but it is not desired to give a preference to goods from Great Britain if the manufacturers ofthem are ignoring, in favour of foreigners, local firms that could do part of the manufacture. The amendment makes a liberal concession to Great Britain, without giving any advantage to the foreigner. The next thing that had to be determined was the percentage that must be manufactured in Great Britain, and that is. definitely laid down in the amendment as 75 pei1 cent.,, which is what honorable members desire. Paragraph b of the amendment says that preference shall be given to -
Goods which are not in accordance with the last preceding . paragraph wholly produced or manufactured in the United Kingdom, in the manufacture or production of which not less than 75 per centum of their factory or works cost consists of United Kingdom labour or material.
The amendment further provides, in paragraph c -
Goods to which neither of- the last two pre- ceding paragraphs applies, which are of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in Australia and in the manufacture of which not less than 25 per ‘centum of their factory or works cost consists of United Kingdom labour or material.
That is what the House agreed was fair, and in each case the definition which was favoured by honorable members is in the bill.. The next question was whether the Minister should have power to alter those provisions. He cannot alter them. The power he has under this bill is contained in- sub-section 4 of proposed new section 151a-
For the purposes of the last three preceding sub-sections, the Minister may, from time to time, determine -
what shall he deemed to be raw materials, and in any such determination, may include materials partially manufactured in Australia ;
the method of determining factory and works cost, and the value of labour and material; and
whether any manufacturing process is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom, and whether any goods are of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in. Australia.
Mr.Fenton. - How will the Minister determine what shall he deemed to be raw materials?
– By examination of the goods and invoices, and overseas investigations and reports.
– A family history of every article imported will be required.
– Some one has to determine these things, and the determination certainly could not be set out in a regulation. The Customs Department has an investigation staff in London, the United States of America, and other countries, and officers are sometimes sent to Europe to make investigations.
– If the Minister determines these things, why cannot he prescribe them by regulation after he has determined them?
– The matter is too complex for that to be done. One day the Minister may be dealing with textiles, the next day with electrical appliances, and the next day with machinery. He could not provide for everything by regulation. The Minister has treated the committee fairly. His view was that the method of ascertaining the proportions of British and foreign manufacture in an article should be left to him ; but he has endeavoured to meet fairly the views of Honorable members. There must be some authority to determine questions of fact, and that authority should be the Minister.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) should be congratulated on the amendment, which is far more satisfactory than the clause as originally drafted. I do not wish to delay the passage of the bill, but I must support the suggestion of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann”) that honorable members should have at least an opportunity of considering the provisions of the proposed new clause, which I did not see until I came into the chamber to day. It is both long and involved. I suggest that the Minister would be well advised to give honorable members until to-morrow to consider the amendment. If any flaw is discovered in the law after it is put into operation, honorable members will be held responsible for it. Sub-section 2 of the proposed new section 151a provides -
No goods shall be deemed to be the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom unless the final process of their production or manufacture was performed in the United Kingdom.
There is nothing in the statutory rule to agree with that. So far as I can see, this is a new condition which will operate for the first time.
– I cannot find it in the statutory rule.
– It is copied from the statutory rule.
– It is conceivable that although an article may be 95 per cent. of British manufacture, the 5 per cent, to complete it may be performed abroad. Such an article would not be considered to be of British manufacture. In connexion with paragraph b of sub-section 4 of the proposed new section 151a, I should like to know whether, in determining factory and works costs, the department will have discretionary power with regard to exchange. If we have an article which is produced partly in Great Britain and partly abroad, will the Minister have to decide on what basis the exchange between the two countries is to be determined?
– I. remind the honorable member that the price is f.o.b., England.
– I am speaking of the adjustment of exchange between the two countries. If the Minister is to be given a discretionary power in relation to exchange a great deal will depend in calculating the percentage on whether his estimate is a conservative or a liberal one. I desire to know whether in determining the factory and works costs, and the value of labour and material, the fluctuating rates of exchange will be considered.
.- I protest against an amendment of this character being introduced at this stage. The original clause either reflects on the drafting of the Crown Law officers or it shows the desire of the Minister to obtain greater powers. It provided for extraordinary powers being vested in the Minister in that he was to be given the power to prescribe conditions in relation to the manufacture of the produce of any country. I do not say that the present Minister desires to have those powers vested in him, but if granted they would enable a Minister to prescribe the rates of wages and the hours of labour in Great Britain. One is justified in asking for time to study a measure of this kind. * The proposal before us is an improvement on the original clause, under which one Minister might say that 25 per cent. British manufacture was sufficient, and a fortnight later another Minister might prescribe 50 per cent., with the result that trade would be disorganized. In the interests of trade and commerce it is essential that these conditions should be as fixed as possible. Both the manufacturer in the Old Country and the Australian importer should know what Parliament has determined. It should, therefore, be clearly set out. The Minister gave us to understand that 75 per cent, was generally accepted. I join issue with him here. There are some British manufacturers who are agree-‘ able to 75 per cent., but that percentage * was not accepted by the British manufacturers generally. They are only accepting it now because it will be dearly and_ definitely set out in an act of Parliament, and not in a regulation. I propose to move that the percentage of British materials or manufacture shall be 50 per cent. That should be sufficient for all practical purposes. If, in respect to some of the industries of Great Britain, such as pottery making, w.e stipulated that the articles were to be 100 per cent. British manufacture, no difficulty would be experienced, but that does not apply generally, and 75 per cent, is too high a standard for general acceptance. I question the feasibility of any Minister properly determining the .factory and works costs and the value of labour or material in an article imported from Great Britain. My experience of the Customs Department in connexion with the importation of wire netting leads me to say that it regards the British manufacturer as a liar; frequently it acts as if the statements in the declarations of manufacturers in the bills of lading are wholly untrue. I know that in many instances . the Department has refused to accept the manufacturers’ figures as to the price at which wire nesting has been sold for home consumption in the country of manufacture. . We should not give any Minister the power to override the figures of the British manufacturer. Except in the United States of America, this kind of thing is not done. I am opposed to this power being given to the Minister ; it is not justified. The Attorney-General said that there was no need for honorable members to worry about the provisions of paragraph c of sub-section 4 of the proposed new section 151a, which reads -
Whether any manufacturing process is being commercially performed in the United Kingdom, and whether any goods are of a class or kind not commercially manufactured in Australia.
The paragraph ends there. The words “and notified in the Government Gazette “ should be added. The moment that the Minister decides that certain goods are manufactured in Great Britain which cannot be commercially manufactured in Australia, that information should be given to the public. I am entirely opposed to the clause. We would be quite satisfied if, after investigation, it was found necessary to specify that the proportion of British manufacture should be 50 per cent. Australia is giving a very fair measure of preference to Great Britain. To a very great extent that will be destroyed by the new tariff schedule. On the other hand, Australia is receiving an enormous preference from Great Britain in connexion with her foodstuffs. If the percentage were made 50 instead of 75, the British manufacturer would be satisfied, and no injury would be done to the Australian manufacturer. That would tend to engender a better trade feeling between the two countries. I, therefore, move -
That the amendment be amended by omitting in proposed new section 151a, sub-clause (1), paragraph b, the words “seventy-five” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ fifty ‘*.
– The honorable member cannot move that amendment at this stage.
Clause 2 negatived.
– I trust that the feeling of the’ committee is opposed to the proposition of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory).’ The Minister (Mr. Pratten) has given only a few of the many illustrations that could be given of the frauds that were perpetrated under, the previous preferences. He has stated that there are in Great Britain Anglo-Continental manufacturers whose policy it is to have carried out in other countries as much of the manufacture as possible, the operations in Great Britain being practically confined to the finishing-off process. Any honest British manufacturer would favour the 75 per cent, proposal. Every Minister .who has presided at the Department of Trade and Customs would, I feel sure, testify to the fact that numerous cases of attempted fraud have had to be investigated. I well remember the sending to England of trained Customs officers, who were able to speak and write three or four different languages, to investigate the manufacture of some of the articles that were being sent to Australia. Those officers sought from British manufacturers permission to examine their books. At first that request was flatly refused, and they were practically ordered off the premises, but when the manufacturers were told that unless this privilege was accorded it was quite likely that the Commonwealth would prevent the entry of their goods into Australia, the required permission was given, and subsequently it was found necessary in certain cases to frame regulations to prevent frauds upon the department. That has been the history of our imports. We endeavoured ‘..o get over the difficulty by giving preference to Great Britain. Let us, then, see that that preference is a British, not a German, a French, or a Dutch, preference. The best way to ensure that is to make as high as possible the percentage of British manufacture. When it is necessary for a British manufacturer to obtain his raw materials outside Great Britain a close watch will have to be kept on his manufactures. I know that there is a staff in Great Britain which is responsible for that duty, but it is limited in number and cannot possibly keep an eye on all the processes of manufacture. Unless those officers are able to exercise an adequate supervision, how can they testify as to the percentage of British manufacture? The Minister should be able to obtain from his own officials the assurance that British manufacturers are complying with the conditions laid down. It would be of little use to ask him to determine the matter from an examination of the manufactured article after its arrival in Australia.
– Consider the case of copper goods.
– It would be safe *.o say that from 60 per cent, to 70 per cent, of a copper dish is raw material ; probably all that the British manufacturer has to do is to shape and polish it. The honorable member for Swan mentioned the pottery, industry. There is no necessity to import into Great Britain any of the raw material for that industry, because a fine lot of clays are available locally. The honorable member knows that scores of iron furnaces were closed .in England and Scotland because the British manufacturers obtained their iron supplies from Germany, Sweden, and other countries.
– Those factories would have had to close had the supplies not been obtained abroad.
– The honorable member is quite wrong.
– I am quite right. It is the honorable member himself who is wrong.
– If that doctrine were practised, factories would be compelled to close in every country in which decent wages were paid. The honorable member’s proposal means that we should go to the cheapest country to obtain our goods. Honorable members who hold those views should openly advocate that we should go to the cheapest countries in the world for the goods we require, and they would be goods manufactured by slave labour.
– Let the honorable member compare the wages paid in Great Britain with those paid in Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and France, and he will see that my statement is not nonsense. We know that at the present time British industries are languishing, whilst Continental industries are flourishing.
– There were more bankruptcies in Germany in the last two years than there were in the previous generation.
– That may be so. I saw a list of the bankruptcies in Germany recently, but they do not indicate that manufacturing industries in that country are languishing. It is a well-known fact that immediately after- the armistice was signed numbers of industries were started by people in a small way, and it was known that they could not possibly hope to succeed in competition with the great industrial combinations of the country. In his speech on the second reading of the bill, the Minister referred to brushware practically manufactured in France, which, after a few finishing touches had been put to it in Great Britain, was exported to Australia as the production of British manufacturers. To polish, in Great Britain, the handle of a French-made -brush, and then send it to Australia, claiming preference upon it as an article of British manufacture, is very unfair, and I am surprised that any honorable member should be willing to countenance that kind of thing. I stand, as I have always done, for the Australian manufacturer first. I am here as a mem-‘ ber of an Australian legislature, and I desire to legislate for Australians .first, and next for other portions of the Empire. I am not prepared to countenance the practice adopted by Anglo-Continental manufacturers, who claim preference for their goods, although they have for the most part been manufactured in other countries. “Mr. Prowse. - Why do not Australian wire netting manufacturers sell their netting as cheaply to Australians as to the people of New Zealand?
– I know that I always ask for Australian wire netting, and I get it, and cheaply too.
– New Zealanders are able to obtain the same netting more cheaply than Australians,
– New Zealanders do not obtain agricultural implements as cheaply as we do. I have no doubt that if an appeal is not made to the electors immediately, we shall have some field days in discussing the tariff, and then the honorable member for Swan .(Mr. Gregory), the honorable member for’ Forrest (Mr. Prowse), and the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) will have their opportunity to go into these matters in detail. I arn a little suspicious of the present proposal when I find the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) expressing the opinion that it is a very great improvement on the original proposal.
– Of course it is.
– Then I am with the honorable member when he says that we require a little more time to consider it. The proposed new clause vests considerable power in the Minister. I cannot conceive of Customs officers holding up an article while they determine here the percentage of British manufacture in it. That would be too silly. Surely there will be a report on the subject from Great. Britain. , (
– There will be a declaration by an expert in London.
– I presume that the expert will be responsible for the truth of this declaration. I do not say that, in this matter, British manufacturers are more likely to act dishonestly than are manufacturers in other parts of . the world.
– I approved to-day of the prosecution of an American importer on a false invoice.
– Does the prosecution take place in America ?
– No, here.
– If false declarations are made by American importers it is right that prosecutions should take place. What I desire is that our preferential tariff should give a preference to truly British production. I am not concerned about the German manufacturer. When the Minister was speaking and referring to the work done in German factories for British manufacturers, I asked whether it was any wonder that there should be so many unemployed in Great Britain. The honorable member admitted that, in the circumstances, it was not to be wondered at that there should be 1,500,000 factory operatives out of work in Great Britain. I hope the Minister will be able to resist any pressure put upon him by honorable members in the Country party corner to reduce to 50 per cent, the percentage of British manufacture required to secure preference.
.- The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) has told us that there is a great deal of unemployment in Great Britain, as the result of imports of partially manufactured goods from the Continent. I should like to suggest to the honorable member that the more objections we raise here to receiving goods made by British manufacturers, the more unemployment in Great Britain will result.
– We must look after our own people first.
– The honorable member was not thinking of our own people just befor he resumed his seat, but was speaking of the amount of unemployment in Great Britain. If he is so concerned about unemployment in Great Britain let him consider the effectof the doctrines he has been enunciating. I support the proposal to reduce the percentage of British manufacture required to secure preference from 75 per cent. to 50 per cent. The Minister in his second-reading speech on the bill made a lengthy statement with regard to the attitude of British manufacturers in this connexion. He suggested that we should accept the bill because it is accepted by the British manufacturers. That has been used as an argument against any objection to what is proposed. The truth is that British manufacturers have by force majeure had to accept it. They have done so because they could not get anything . better. The objections put forward by the British manufacturers convinced the Minister that the original regulation was wrong, and he therefore modified it. Even as it stands to-day itis accepted, not willingly, but very unwillingly, by the British manufacturers, and therefore their acceptance of it should not be taken as an argument for adopting the rule as now proposed. I refer the House, and the Minister, again to what took place in connexion with the original proposal. I brought certain figures under the notice of honorable members at about 2 o’clock in the morning, when most of them were asleep, and possibly they have been forgotten.
– Perhaps the honorable member was not very wide awake himself.
– The course of events seems to show that I was very much awake, because what I had to say evidently led to action being takento modify the original rule. When this matter was previously discussed British manufacturers went very fully into it, and made many inquiries to discover how the regulation would affect British trade. I quoted from a letter, which has already been referred to, written by the secretary to an association representing
British manufacturers. From that let-‘ ter it appears that a questionnaire was sent out to a large number of British manufacturers, and the secretary gives in tabulated form the result of the inquiries made. He gives the percentage of replies advocating the regulation as it exists to-day, and advocating the adoption of a standard of 25 per cent., 33 per cent., 35 per cent., 50 per cent., 66 per cent., 75 per cent., 95 per cent., or 100 per cent. Out of all the replies received from those concerned in all kinds of industries, 66.54 per cent. advocated the adoption of the 50 per cent. standard. The effort was made to ascertain’ from the manufacturers exactly what did represent the percentage of British labour and material in the goods they manufactured. Only 14 per cent. of the replies advocated the 75 per cent. standard, and 13 per cent. or 14 per cent. advocated lower standards.
– Would not the adoption of the higher standard be an inducement to manufacturers to employ more British labour?
– No. Honorable members do not seem to be able to grasp what this means to the manufacturer. A manufacturer turning . out a definite article has established his works on the basis of a certain proportion of labour being required for certain processes. The percentage of the value of the labour employed depends on the class of goods produced. One manufacturer may be obliged to buy his raw material in a semimanufactured condition. ‘ For instance, the man who is making copper goods could not be expected to increase his works to take copper ore instead of copper ingots as his raw material. It would not be a legitimate expansion of his manufacturing process to do so. Each manufacturing process must be taken as it stands. The manufacturer of pottery who finds all his raw material and labour in Great Britain is willing to agree to the requirement of a very high percentage of British manufacture in order to get the advantage of the Australian preferential tariff. But it is impossible for others to be in the same position. Everything depends on the nature of the process of manufacture. Each manufacturer can comply only with that percentage which suits his own line of business. By fixing a high percentage we are not forcing the British manufacturer to employ a greater proportion of British labour in the production of the article on which he desires to secure the Australian preference; we are simply preventing him from manufacturing goods which we require in Australia.
– I quite admit that the nature of the - process determines the amount of labour to be employed.
– Unquestionably. No matter what regulation we may enforce, it will not alter the distribution of the raw material and labour costs in the British factory. Its sole effect will be to diminish the trade we can do with British manufacturers.
– It may gradually have the effect of increasing the proportion of British raw materials and labour used in British factories.
– The honorable member should get that idea out of his head. In one or two instances it may have that result, but statistics show that the percentage likely to be affected in that way, in goods which come into the Australian market from any of the large British industries, is so small that it would not be worth while for the British manufacturers to consider any proposal to increase the proportion of British labour or raw material in order to take advantage of the 75 per cent, margin which the Minister now proposes to adopt. The disadvantage of this condition will fall, not on the British manufacturers, but on purchasers in Australia. As a result of this questionnaire the secretary says -
From these figures you will see that should the percentage be raised above 50 per cent, it will act prejudicially to about 82 per cent, of the British manufacturers.
Thus 82 per cent, of the British manufacturers with whom we trade will be prejudicially affected if the limit is put above 50 per cent. That sums up the result of inquiries made in a most careful and legitimate manner on behalf of the Minister. When I say that 75 per cent. . is not a fair limit I am speaking in the interests of our own people, and not on behalf of the British manufacturers as some seem to think.
– Some would say that the honorable member was speaking on behalf of the importers.
– The honorable member seems to think that importers have some interests of their own apart altogether from the interests of the people whom they supply. Nothing could be more erroneous. It is quite possible for importers, as for manufacturers, to fleece the public; but the part they play in supplying goods to the consumers is just as important as that of the manufacturers. If it were not for the competition in the supply of goods which is thus created, the consumer would be in a very bad way. To speak of importers as if they were a body quite apart from the general community, and doing no service to the community, is not only ridiculous, but also wrong. However, I am speaking now for the consumers. The importers simply provide articles for which the consumers have to pay. I have already shown that the majority of the British manufacturers are willing to accept 50 per cent, as a fair margin. I have always held that some such limitation should be adopted, my objection being only to the way in which it was proposed to be done. If a greater proportion than 50 per cent, be fixed, we shall cut off from ourselves supplies of goods which every consumer in Australia ought to be able to obtain. I wish honorable members would sometimes get away from some of those narrow views which seem to prevail among them. These issues are discussed time and time again solely from the point of view of the seller, whether he be an importer or a manufacturer, but, to my mind, that is the wrong point of view to take. The main person to be considered is the man who buys. I think it was Mr. Deakin who once said, “ The seller is the courtier, but the buyer is the prince.” It is the buyer who ultimately determines the whole business. Prices may be. put up, but the buyer cannot be forced to buy.
– That is a fundamental principle.
– But it does not seem to be so regarded here, where the main consideration always seems to be to regard prices of goods, and control commerce in the interest of the seller. I approach the question from the view-point of the buyer, and that is the fundamental difference between some honorable members and myself.
– The honorable member will admit that the buyer would not have anything to buy with if we had not. some industries in Australia.
– I do not admit anything of the sort. That fallacious argument is very often employed, but it has been shown again and again that employment in any country is not diminished because goods are imported. No more misleading statement has ever been made to the public of this country to induce them to bolster up exotic industries than the assertion that the importation of goods diminishes employment. The very reverse isthe truth. “We have in Australia the extraordinary spectacle of a steady growth in unemployment as we have increased our protection and imposed greater restrictions on trade. Why has not this panacea of honorable members operated to increase employment?
– Because it has not been applied.
– The honorable’ member says that it has not been applied, despite the fact that Australia has the highest tariff in the world. The more duties imposed, the more unemployment there is.
– And the more demands are made for increases in the tariff.
– We cannot discuss this question from the stand-point of whether what we do will affect, deleteriously or otherwise, the British manufacturer. I am more deeply interested to learn how consumers in Australia will be affected. I contend that they will be placed at a great disadvantage if we impose a higher percentage, and place more difficulties in the way of British manufacturers getting the benefit of the preferential rate in our tariff’. I have always been opposed to statutory rule 29, because it sought to diminish, and not increase, the preference given to Great Britain. We arepleased to call our preference to Great Britain a great imperial gesture, and to declare that it is something Australia has done for the benefit of imperial trade. On the contrary, it. simply means piling up obstacles in the way of that trade. Until we get the general tariff proposals before us, wo shall not understand the enormity of the attack weare making on British preference. We talk of having enlarged the preference given to British manfacturers, butwe have done nothing of the kind. We have raised the duty on British goods, and placed a higher general duty on similar goods imported from other countries. I can think of only one- illustration that aptly describes the situation. If a man schools a horse over jumps he gets him to a limit which is the highest he can manage. Does it make it easier for the horse if the height of the wings at either side of the hurdle is increased ? Yet that is exactly what we are doing in regard to British preference. We are raising the height of the hurdle all the time, and deluding ourselves into the belief that by increasing the height of the wings at the side we are making the jump easier. No amount of sophistry can conceal the real facts. Our preference to-day, just as when it was first introduced, gives nothing. Self-sacrifice is alsolutely lacking in the whole business. There is a lot’ of hypocritical utterance about it. The truth is that we are simply increasing obstacles to trade. This bill will probably go through, and as this is the last opportunity I shall have of speaking on it, I cannot conclude without again protesting most emphatically against this restrictive provision which has been introduced into the preference this Parliament extended to Great Britain. The time willcome when we shall have to admit that there is a great deal of sophistry talked, that our attitude is neither genuine nor sincere, and that, instead of encouraging British trade, we are putting difficulti es in the way of it. We talk about the Empire being bound together by sentiment, but it is not sentiment for one part of the Empire to be greedy and seek to make a profit at, the expense of another part. If there is one thing that will break up this grand- Empire of ours, it will be the allowing of greedy, nibbling self-interests to creep in andweaken the bonds of sentiment which alone ought to keep it together.
.- I move -
That the proposed new clause be amended by omitting from proposed new section 151a, sub-clause 1, paragraph 6, the words “ seventy- five,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “fifty.”
I have no intention of going over the whole of the ground again. I agree entirely with what the honorable memberfor Perth (Mr. Mann) has said in his criticism of the Minister’s proposal. I agree with him that unmitigated hypocrisy is displayed by many people who talk about giving a preference to Great Britain. It is hyprocrisy to say that we wish to help the Mother Country through the troubles that have come upon her as a result of the war, and then to bring forward a proposal of this character. I am not speaking now from the point of view of one who believes in freetrade. Had the Minister said that the evidence placed before him showed that there were manufacturers in Britain who merely finished off articles, the greater proportion of which were produced in other countries, and that the margin of 25 per cent, was not sufficient, and should be increased to 50 per cent, every one would have been satisfied. Instead of fixing upon a fair margin we have before us a proposal to make it 75 per cent. As a result of a very exhaustive examination made in Great Britain, we’ know that not more than 14 per cent, of the manufacturers there were agreable to the margin being fixed at 75 per cent. I have already pointed out that there are some British manufacturers who could employ 90 per cent, of British raw material and labour in the manufacture of their products. Others, by the importation of articles or goods from other countries, were able to retain trade which otherwise would have been lost. I remember reading a short time ago of the experience of a manufacturer in the’ north of England. For many years he had been in the habit of buying his yarn from a Belfast firm. Eventually a Belgian firm came into the market with a magnificent linen yarn at a lower price, so he was compelled to get his raw material from Belgium or his own trade would have suffered. Naturally the Belfast firm were indignant at losing business; but instead of rushing to the Minister for an increased duty, as would have been done in Australia, they set out to discover why they were losing it. Representatives of the firm proceeded to Belgium, and, after making careful inquiries, ascertained that their Belgian rivals were using a special British machine. Accordingly they rushed backto Great Britain, bought a number of the same machines, and, by producing a better yarn even than that turned outby the Belgian firm, they recaptured their trade. I mention . this incident of increased efficiency , to show that in many cases it may be advisable for British firms to purchase manufactured or partly manufactured articles in France, Germany, or some other country in order to get the best resultsfrom their own process of manufacture. I submit that if the proportion of British labour or material be fixed at 50 per cent, we shall be doing the fair thing by British manufacturers. Let us have done with hypocrisy. Let us appreciate the benefit conferred on Australia by preferencein British markets and give British manufacturers a reasonable chance to do trade with Australia.
Question - That the words “seventyfive” proposed to be omitted stand part of the proposed new clause (Mr. Gregory’s amendment) - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . : . 41
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
.-I move -
That the following words be added to paragraph (c), sub-section (4) of proposed new sub-section 151a: - “and shall be notified in the Commonwealth Gazette.”
The effect of this will he to notify the trading community of the Minister’s determination. The act does not provide for notification, but I think that the Minister promised that it would be done.
– I accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Proposed new clause, as amended, agreed to.
.- I move -
That the following new clause be inserted: - “ 3. Notwithstanding anything containedin this or the principal act, or in the Australian Industries Preservation Act, no duty shall be imposed on any goods which the Parliament has decided shall be admitted free of duty.”
My object is to ensure that no duty shall be levied on wire or wire netting, which Parliament has decided shall be free from Great Britain. Some time ago the Minister stated that, in order to assist the Australian industry, the manufacturers of wire and wire netting would receive a bounty that would be equal to the duty which previously had been imposed. We have paid £350,000 in the form of bounties to manufacturers of wire and wire netting during the last two and a half years. Under the Australian Industries Preservation Act the Customs Department has at times imposed most extraordinary duties upon these commodities which Parliament decided should be admitted free of duty. I now wish to know whether Parliament desiresto adhere to its previous decision under which wire netting and wire was to be admitted free, or whether we are to allow our actions to be wholly nullified and importations practically stopped by the imposition of high duties. Considerable loss has occurred in many parts of the Commonwealth owing to the ravages of rabbits and other pests, and during a recent visit to Western Australia I saw thousands of acres of wheat crops absolutely destroyed by rabbits. In one instance, from 1,700 to 1,800 acres of wheat crops had been destroyed on one farm, and other farmers had lost from 50 to 200 acres of growing crop. I admit that the Government has given considerable assistance to settlers in the matter of wire netting; but it is greatly needed in the development of this country, and nothing should be allowed to prevent it from being supplied at a reasonable price. Parliament should assert its right, and as we have already agreed that wire and wire netting shall be admitted free of duty, the amendment I have submitted is one which should have the support of the committee.
– I rise to order. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) has submitted an amendment in which the Australian Industries Preservation Act is mentioned, and I desire your ruling, sir, as to whether such an amendment can be accepted.
– As I have grave doubt that the amendment is in order, I rule it out of order.
– Surely if you are in doubt you will not rule the amendment out of order.
– My doubt has now been removed.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing Orders suspended.
Motion (by Mr. Pratten) proposed -
That the report he adopted.
.- When the bill was before the committee I moved the insertion of a new clause which the Chairman of Committees ruled out of order. As I doubt the correctness of the decision of the Chairman, I should like to take this further opportunity of having the matter considered I therefore move -
That the bill be recommitted with a view to the consideration of a proposed new clause.
– I rise to order. In committee the honorable member moved to insert a new clause, and the amendment was ruled out of order. If the honorable member disagreed with the ruling, he should have challenged it then in the ordinary way. I should like your opinion, Mr. Speaker, as to whether the honorable member for Swan is in order in moving for the recommittal of the bill for the purpose of considering an amendment which has already been ruled out of order.
– I am in doubt as to whether the honorable member for Swan desires the bill to be recommitted to decide a question of order, or to have the merits of the amendment which he submitted again con- sidered. It would not be in order to move to recommit the bill to discuss the ruling of the Chairman of Committees; but it would be quite in order for the honorable member to move, and competent for the House to order, the recommittal of the bill so that the merits of the proposal of the honorable member for Swan might be further considered.
– Is not an honorable member in order, sir, in moving for the recommittal of the bill to consider proposals which may be brought forward. I wish to introduce a new clause.
– It would be out of order to move for the recommittal of the bill to consider any new proposal, but to do so to reconsider a matter which the honorable member considers has not been properly dealt with by the committee would be in order.
– In this instance, it is being moved to consider a question which has already been dealt with by the committee.
– That course is sometimes followed. It is competent for the House to order the recommittal of a bill for the further consideration of certain questions, but such action is usually taken by Ministers.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The subject of lands acquisition was first dealt with by this Parliament in 1901, when the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act was passed. In 1906 a Lands Acquisition Act, which repealed the Property for Public Purposes Acquisition Act, came into force, and in 1912 and in 1916 some slight amendments of the law as it then stood were made. As there has been no amending legislation since then, honorable members will realize that in consequence of difficulties which have arisen in connexion with land transactions, it is now necessary to submit an amending measure. Those administering theact have found that there are many directions in which improvements could be made in order to avoid hardship or the necessity of imposing harassing conditions upon persons from whom the Commonwealth is acquiring land. The amending bill is to simplify the procedure, to protect the Commonwealth, and to avoid legal and interest charges. I now propose to refer to some of the more important amendments embodied in the bill. Section 8, which clause 4 amends, gave owners of land power to “sell or convey “ their land to the Commonwealth, but in the case of Bex v. Registrar of Titles, Victoria, ex parte Commonwealth (20 C.L.R.. 379),the High Court held that those words did not give persons power to lease land to the Commonwealth. This decision has led to considerable inconvenience, and the bill proposes to rectify the anomaly. Another matter to which I wish to direct attention is that of titles to. land. As the law stands at the present time, the person who isin receipt of the profits from land is deemed to be the owner unless evidence to the contrary can be adduced. Where land is not held under the Torrens system it is now . proposed to regard a title extending over a period of not less than 40 years as evidence of ownership.
Mr.Foster. -For what reason?
– For a number of reasons, one being to bring the Commonwealth law into conformity with the laws that prevail in the States. In New South Wales, for instance, an act of 1919, and in Victoria an act of 1915, make provision in this direction. It is now considered by the Home and Territories Department that uniformity in legislation of this nature is desirable. When the bill reaches the committee stage there will be no difficulty in satisfying honorable members that the amendment is necessary. I come now to the important matter of the compulsory acquisition of land. If the Commonwealth were to acquire land compulsorily, and there were leases in connexion with the property, under the present act the leases would terminate immediately, and claims for compensation would arise. This has proved most disadvantageous to the Commonwealth on numerous occasions. If the Commonwealth could take over the building or land and allow the tenants for a certain time at least to remain in possession as tenants, it would be far better than having to pay compensation. When the proposed alteration is effected, I think that the Commonwealth will be saved considerable expense, such as has been incurred in the past. Under clauses 9 and 10 of the bill, it is proposed to amend sections 14 and 15 of the act in such a way that power will bc taken to allow tenants to continue in undisturbed occupation of premises, and pay rent ho the Commonwealth, either until their leases expire or until the property is required by the Commonwealth. I shall next refer to parks land; but T hope that honorable members will not imagine that the Commonwealth wishes to deprive the public of any of their valuable recreation grounds or breathing spaces. The Commonwealth has no power at the present time to lease any park lands. Sometimes it is necessary to have the use of them as landing grounds for aeroplanes, and this bill proposes to authorize the taking of a lease, by agreement, for a period not exceeding seven years.
– But there is to be no alienation for any period?
– No. There is to be merely a lease for a limited period. Frequently the Commonwealth has been put to considerable expense in connexion with the acquisition of properties through undisclosed interests being suddenly discovered, and valid claims made. A case in point is that in which the Caledonian Collieries Limited - Howard Smith and Company - made ‘ a claim for £10,000 damages against the War Service Homes Commission after it had acquired the property, known as the King’s-road Estate,*in New South Wales. The claim was for the loss of certain coal, and the loss of access, as the acquisition acquired, besides the surface of the land the land below the surface, practically to the earth’s centre, and all interests in connexion therewith. The company produced evidence that it held a registered transfer, of all the coal under the subject land from the Waratah Coal Company, which fact was not disclosed by a search against the title.
– I could have told the Government that. Everybody knew it without making a search.
– This case, shows that an amendment of the law is required. Another instance of the neCessity for an alteration is afforded by the acquisition of the Fairy Meadows estate, in New South Wales, on which lime deposits were discovered after the land had been acquired. The owners made a claim against the Commonwealth, and the matter was only recently finalized. The bill gives power, when a notification of acquisition is gazetted, to revoke the acquisition either with respect to the whole or any part of the land. This power has been provided in the Lands Acquisition Act as modified by regulation for war service homes purposes, and has been found in practice to be of great assistance. No hardship will be suffered by anybody, because where any damage is actually and unavoidably suffered by reason of the notification in the Gazette the person suffering such damage will be compensated. There is another class of cases, to which the attention of honorable members should be drawn. Sometimes a property is acquired which is subject to a lease, and the lessee- has sublet it to a number of sub-lessees, some of whom have mortgaged their interests. ‘ It will be realized that considerable difficulty must ‘ be experienced in arriving at the amount of compensation to be paid to each person on the acquisition of such a. property. Under clause 23 the Minister will have power to make one offer of compensation to one or all the persons interested, leaving the parties to allocate the amounts due to each among themselves. A case of that kind occurred when land for the Commonwealth Bank was being acquired in Adelaide.
– If the money paid in a lump sum was not sufficient to cover the lessees and sub-lessees, and if there happened to be first and second mortgagees, what would happen?
– Those interested would have to allocate the money among themselves. The way in which the act has operated in the past has made the department regard this alteration as necessary. Another matter dealt with in the bill is that of legal costs. The present law leaves the allocation, of costs to the discretion of the court, but sub-clause 7 of clause 24 of the bill stipulates when the claimant and when the Commonwealth, shall be liable for costs. That clause will operate unless the court, for special rea- sons, orders otherwise. This provision may seem at first sight to be an inroad on the general practice of the courts, but it’ has become necessary because a number of excessive claims have been made. When there has been a dispute as to values the Government has selected three or four expert land valuers, and has relied on their evidence, but in many cases swarms of witnesses have been subpoenaed by the other side, which, by sheer weight of evidence, ha3 secured a verdict for an amount slightly in excess of the offer made by the Government. The result of that has been that the Commonwealth has been mulcted in heavy costs. The Government thinks that it is time the Commonwealth was protected in this matter. The facts in connexion with the acquisition of the Castlefield estate may be cited as an example. The claim was for £31,816, the Government offered £17,000, and judgment was given for £19,000, with costs against the Commonwealth. The proposal in the bill is not new. Similar provision for the allocation of costs is made in section 30 of the Victorian Lands Compensation Act 1915. I should also like to call attention to the method of dealing with mortgages. In many cases the amount of compensation has been very difficult to determine, and if honorable members will compare the bill with, the act, they will see that amendments, which at first sight appear to be serious, have been made, but closer investigation will show that no drastic alterations in the law are proposed. Sections have been redrafted with a view to making them more explicit, and a few alterations, which, I think, honorable members will agree are justified, have been made. When land has been compulsorily acquired, and a claim is made for compensation, the mortgagee under the existing law may join with the mortgagor and make a claim for compensation, may make an independent claim, or may waive his right to compensation. Clause 32 of the bill proposes to repeal that section, and to confine the mortgagee to making a claim for compensation or relying on his rights under the mortgage. That alteration will make the working of the act very much easier. Section 50 of the existing act requires compensation to be settled by agreement between the mortgagor, the mortgagee, and the Minister; but if no such agreement is reached the matter is treated as a disputed claim. Clause 33 of the bill will repeal these provisions, and will enable the Minister to call on the mortgagor for particulars of his claim, and, if there is no reply, to settle the amount in 30 days with the person who claims to be the mortgagee. There are other slight alterations, but all the existing rights of mortgagors and mortgagees are preserved. People from whom land is acquired will not be in a” worse position than they are in now, and the bill will make for the very much smoother working of the act, and will permit of the. rapid and satisfactory settlement of claims. As a matter of business these disputes should be settled oh a fair and equitable basis, and as quickly as possible. The bill aims at doing that without injuring any one in the process. As it will protect the interests of the Commonwealth I hope that honorable members will give it a speedy passage.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Charlton) adjourned.
– :I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The duty of moving the second reading of this bill falls to me, as the Minister, representing in this House, the Minister foi- Home and Territories (Senator Pearce).- It is a duty which is a privilege and an honour to me as a returned soldier, and as a member of the committee which has been in charge of the War Memorial for some time past. The objects of the bill are threefold first, to provide for the establishment of an Australian War Memorial; secondly, to constitute a body with permanent and legal status to advise the Minister in connexion with the establishment of the memorial; and, thirdly, to vest and place under the control of that body certain funds which are pledged to war memorial purposes, and are now temporarily in the custody of the Treasurer.
– Another board!
– On the 22nd August, 1923, the Minister for Home and Territories announced that the Government of the day intended to create this Australian National War Memorial. As honorable members know, the subject has been discussed in this House, and a site for the permanent memorial has been chosen at Canberra, at the foot of Mount Ainslie. There war relics, war pictures, and other mementoes of the war will be housed. The outstanding feature of the memorial will be the “ Hall of Memory,” on the walls of which will be displayed the names of all the Australian soldiers who fell in the great war. the object of the Hall of Memory is a very worthy one - to perpetuate for all time the names of the men who fell. Soldiers’, relatives and friends, when they visit it, will be able to read the names of the men who served their country so well and faithfully. The War Museum was in Melbourne for a considerable time, and in April last was transferred to Sydney. During the three years that it was in the Exhibition Building, Melbourne, approximately 660,000 persons visited it. It was a source of great interest, and created much enthusiasm among returned soldiers and others. Since its transfer to Sydney approximately 450,000 persons have visited it, or three times as many as visited it during a similar period in Melbourne. Every one who has visited the exhibition will agree that it is of great value and interest to the people of Australia. The second object of the bill is that the fund which has been created shall be controlled by a board of management. An honorable member interjected a few minutes ago that this bill meant the creation of another board. That is not so. The exhibition has always been under the control of a committee, which consists now of the following members: - The Minister for Home aid Territories, the Minister for Defence, the Admiral of the Fleet, the Inspector-General of the Military Forces, Sir Brudenell White, Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow, Mr. Justice Ferguson, Messrs. Bean and Gullett, war correspondents, and myself. A sub-committee, consisting of Senator Sir Thomas Glasgow, Sir Brudenell White, and myself, has been appointed to act in connexion with matters of finance.
– There are no privates on the committee.
– No; but when the board to be appointed under this bill is being constituted other interests will be represented. Various organizations of re turned soldiers have asked for representation on the board of management, and it is the intention of the Government to give effect to their request. The fund, which it is proposed to place under the control of the board, consists of moneys received by the Australian War Museum Committee to bo used for memorial purposes.
– Has the committee received money from private citizens?
– Up to the present the sum of £18,500 has been received by the committee, that sum representing donations from Australian Imperial Force organizations, and from individuals, as well as the proceeds of the sale of war photographs, the screening of war films, and similar activities. The committee, while controlling the funds and administering the work of the exhibition, has not had any legal standing. The bill will remedy that defect. The accounts of the board will be subject to audit by the Auditor-General in the same way that the accounts of other departments are dealt with, and reports showing the sources from which the money has been received, and the manner in which it has been expended, will be submitted to Parliament from time to time. This fund does not include any moneys appropriated by Parliament. The future sources of revenue of the memorial will be similar to those of the past. As the objects of the fund- will doubtless appeal to Australians, provision has been made for the receipt of donations and bequests. The establishment of an Australian war memorial will receive the commendation, not only of legislators, but also of the people of Australia generally. The Government has accepted the responsibility of providing for this form of memorial, and Lt believes that Canberra, the future capital of Australia, is the right place for it to be situated. It will be one of many buildings which in years to come will adorn that city.
– The building will be constructed out of revenue?
– Yes. Australia owes a debt to her fallen soldiers. Instead of erecting an obelisk, or something of a similar character, the Government has decided that the best form of memorial will be a building to house the relics, curios, and photographs which soldiers and others have been pleased to donate. The chief interest will always centre in the Hall of Memory.
– Did the Minister say that the names of all the men who fell in the Great War will be engraved in the Hall of Memory?
– Yes. That is the least that we can do to perpetuate their memory.
– Will the members of the board act in an honorary capacity?
– The members of the present committee have received no remuneration for their services, nor is it proposed that the members of the board to be appointed under this bill shall be paid. All the returned soldiers who are members of the present committee - and no doubt the same is true of the other members - would be only too pleased to accept appointment to the new board, and to render gratuitously any service of which they are capable. There are many other things which one could say concerning this measure; but I have no desire to weary the House. The bill is essentially one for consideration in committee, and when it reaches that stage, I shall be pleased to explain more fully any matter which is not clear to honorable members. I am sure that it will receive support from all sections of the House, as its object is to perpetuate the achievements of the Australian soldiers, and to honour those who fell. No part of the British Empire has such a splendid collection, of relics, curios, and pictures as is contained in the Australian War Memorial. The interest which has been taken in the exhibits, both in Melbourne and Sydney, is evidence of the public interest. To examine thoroughly the whole of the exhibits would probably take a month. The Acting Director of. the Museum, after its transfer to Svdney, personally checked the cards placed on the exhibits to see that they were correctly labelled - that work took him five days. The exhibition, which depicts various phases of the war on the several fronts, is not intended to stimulate war lust; the relics, curios, and pictures have been assembled to give future generations some idea of the part played by Australia in the defence of liberty. I hope that the hill will have a speedy passage.
.- Prom the statement ‘ of the Minister, it is apparent that’ the people of Australia have evinced a lively interest in the War Museum. Personally, I have not visited it; but I have conversed with many who have done so, and their statements are in . agreement with those of the Minister. While I abhor war, I believe that the Government is doing the right thing in establishing this memorial at Canberra. The least that Australia can do is to perpetuate the memory of those who fell.
This memorial will be one of the most important museums in any part of Australia, and will enable future generations to know something of what occurred during the Great War of 1914-18. Let us hope that it will be a lesson to them, so that in their time they will not have a repetition of the horrors of war. I do not advocate the establishment of this museum for the purpose of popularizing war; quite the reverse.
– The museum will not be an encouragement to war.
– It is to be hoped that the exhibits will train the young minds of the future in the paths of peace. To house these exhibits is the leastthat we can do. No other expense will be incurred, as substantial donations, showing the interest displayed by the people in it. have been made to the museum. I think that all sections of the House will agree with the proposal embodied in this measure.
.- I am glad that the Government has introduced this measure. The years of war were the most momentous in the history of Australia, and marked her entry into the international arena. In the greatest conflict in History, Australia played a worthy part. The services and sacrifices of her men and women were on an heroic scale, and won for this country the esteem of the world. In those four years of war they also secured for the Commonwealth a position which, in other circumstances, it would have taken generations to attain. There is no likelihood that the services and the sacrifices of the 60,000 Australians who have been left at rest in far-off lands will be forgotten. This bill is welcome evidence that they will not remain unmarked. I congratulate the Government on the form of memorial that it has chosen, as I can conceive of no more- effective way of perpetuating the memory of the Australian Forces than the permanent preservation, in a suitable building at the Federal Capital, of those collections which were created by the men and women with whose achievements they are so intimately connected. The Australian War Museum is essentially the work of the men of the Australian Imperial Force, and one can recall many incidents which illustrate the enthusiasm with which they collected exhibits. Honorable members who have visited the museum will probably remember that one of the most interesting exhibits is an enemy observation post which takes the form of a shell-shattered tree trunk, about 30 feet in height. This “ tree “ is constructed of bullet-proof steel, and its removal across the waterlogged Flanders battlefield was no light task; yet it was undertaken willingly by a party of men belonging to a New South Wales infantry battalion in order that it might be included in the War Museum as a relic of their unit’s achievement. There is now at Canberra an 11-in. railway gun which for a few ‘ hours remained between the opposing lines in France. While it was in No Man’s Land a party of two or three men from the nearest Australian unit went out in daylight, and labelled it as having been captured by their battalion. The diggers made great use of these trophy labels, and I remember that in Palestine they attached them to nearly everything they passed, including buildings and locomotives. I understand that in France they were occasionally attached to prisoners. I have visited the War Museum on several occasions, and have found that the collection possesses a wealth of interest. The exhibits which have always appealed to me most are those which possess what may be termed the human touch. There is, for example, in one of the cases, a tricoloured scarf - the insignia of office of the Mayor of Behencourt, in France. This village was brought within the danger zone by the German advance in the spring of 1918. The villagers fled to safer parts, the mayor alone remaining at his post. In the defence of that village the Australians were heavily engaged, and after the action one of the batteries sent its dead back to be buried in the village cemetery. The mayor was present at the interment, and, after the simple service, he removed his insignia and, with sincere feeling, asked the officer in. charge of the burial party to accept it as an expression of his esteem for the gallant defenders of his village; and his respect for their dead. Among the exhibits is a Victoria Cross that was presented by a mother to perpetuate the memory of her very gallant son. There is also a shelltorn bugle which, after the war, was found far out upon Pine Ridge at Anzac. It belonged to a bugler who was one of the party that, at the end of the day on which the Australians landed, was cut off by the Turks, and when last seen was fighting gallantly on, but hopelessly surrounded. Equally valuable and inspiring are the models and pictures, which form an important feature of the collection. A picture that particularly appealed to me depicts the death of Lieutenant Tumour at Polygon Wood. He was quite a boy, from, I think, Ballarat. His platoon was beaten back by a German machinegun which was fired from a pill-box. The remainder of the line continued to advance, and in order to safeguard it the capture of the pill-box was imperative. Tumour divided his platoon into two parties, sending one to the left and the other to the right, whilst he went on alone in the centre, and thus drew the enemy’s fire. He was mortally wounded, but the pill-box was taken by his men, and the line continued its advance to its objective. That picture will for ever be a reminder of a very gallant deed. I have selected these few examples from the several thousands of exhibits because I think that they will help to indicate the interest and inspiration - these collections will have for future generations. The Minister (Mr. Marr) referred to the attendances at the museum, and the readiness with which the towns in every part of Australia accepted the relics that were offered to them. That is convincing evidence of the appreciation and interest of the people of Australia in the achievements of their men at the war. That appreciation is growing, and it will become stronger as the memory of the war recedes. Sentiment and tradition are the soul of a nation. Without national sentiment there can be no national life. Symbolism of one kind or another has been the form in which sentiment has always expressed itself: These collections are symbols of the courage, self-sacrifice, and fortitude displayed during the war by the’ men and women of the Australian forces. They will be to us a constant reminder of our responsibility for completing the task which they began,, that of making Australia the greatest and the happiest country in the world. _ I have very great pleasure in supporting the bill, and I congratulate the Government on its introduction.
.- I am pleased that the Government has brought forward this measure. Australia became a nation through the agency of the late war. The birth of that nation took place in circumstances, that we hope will never be repeated. It was born in travail, and baptised in blood. Future generations will realize more and more as the years go on the exact meaning of the war to Australia, and the part that her sons took in it. They will also have a greater appreciation of the sacrifices of the mothers, wives, and sisters, who from the beginning to the end followed the achievements of the young men of Australia, and the high ideals by which everybody during that period was inspired. These are not relics of war, as such ; they are mementoes of a very stirring time in the history of Australia. It is, therefore, gratifying to find the Government proposing to make proper provision for their housing. I hope that a slight amendment which I shall propose in committee will prove acceptable to the Government. Clause 2 provides, inter alia, that “ the war “ means “ the war which commenced on the 4th day of August, 1914.” Australia took a part in warlike operations prior to that date. She sent troops to the Soudan, to South Africa, and to China. The Government would be well advised if it allowed provision to be made for inclusion in the museum of anything relating to the deeds of Australians officially overseas. Some of the men who served in the South African war with the highest patriotic motives, were unable to take part in the last war. Many magnificent’ mementoes were brought back to Australia from that war, and they should find a place in any war museum. The Soudan contingent left Australia at a time when many honorable members were too young to take an in telligent interest in world happenings. Those troops were, in reality, the pioneers of the Australian spirit. If my proposal were accepted, it would not destroy the intention of the bill.
.- I support . the bill because I regard the proposed museum not only as an illustration of the sacrifices of those who went to the war, but also as a perpetual reminder of the naked horror arid innate savagery of modern warfare. Located at the Federal Capital, it will be a constant reminder to this and succeeding Parliaments of their duty to humanity in working for international peace. I realize - I think we all do - that war memorials are quite unnecessary to widowed mothers, bereaved wives, and orphaned children, to whom this museum will always have a sorrowful significance. I admit that it is filled with interesting historical relics, but amongst them also are devilish examples of mechanical ingenuity, containing nothing that appeals to the christian instincts of mankind. I agree, to some extent, with the suggestion of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green). Why should we not have at our Capital a great national museum containing the historical records of this young Commonwealth? I’ admit that that is a step ahead of the suggestion of the honorable member for Richmond, but I think that it is advisable. One portion of such a museum could, be devoted to relics of the late war and previous campaigns, and another portion to historical records and interesting relics associated with the discovery and de’velopment of Australia. I hope that the honorable member for Richmond will be in agreement with that broader suggestion. If we visualize the future development of the Federal Capital, we must recognize that, with an increased population, in a few years’ time it will be necessary to .have art galleries and museums; at least this building should be so designed that it will form part of a great national museum. I strongly urge the Minister to give that matter his earnest consideration. It is a pity, too, that the Commonwealth Government cannot ‘ exercise, jointly with the Governments of the States, control over the erection of war memorials. I cordially approve of the utilitarian character of this proposal, but I believe that it can also be made artistic. Many thousands of pounds have been wasted in the different States in the erection of architectural monstrosities of no use or beauty. Indeed, the ugly stuccoes and ill-proportioned statues for which artistic myopia is responsible, are almost an insult to the memory ofour fallen.
– The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. A. Green) has suggested that we might house in the proposed memorial building relics and records of the deeds of Australian soldiers who fell in previous wars; but I would remind the honorable member that the last war was the first undertaken by the Commonwealth, and the purpose of the bill is to provide for a memorial particularly relating to that war.
– The South African war was in progress after federation.
– For a little while only, and it commenced before the Australian States became federated. I do not doubt that those who fell in the South African war were as brave as those who fell in thelast great war; but the proposed memorial is intended to commemorate the deeds only of those who took part in the last war. The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) has said that some of the war memorials erected in local centres in the different States are monstrosities. That may be so; but we must concede to the people of the States, and of particular localities, the right to decide for themselves the nature and design of their memorials. Canberra is the only place in which a Commonwealth memorial can be erected. The Government recommends to the House that the Australian war memorial shall take the form of a Hall of Memory, in which relics and records of the great war shall be preserved. I would not recommend - nor do I think that, after due consideration, the honorable member for Reid would do so - making the . soldiers’ memorial a museum. What is proposed is not a museum in any shape or form, although it has been so described. . I do notshare the view ‘of the honorable member that the memorial may remind our people of the tragic side of war only. One cannot view the collection of records and relics that has been made without being reminded of the great deeds of’ Australians. Prominent amongst the exhibits is the aeroplane in which Sir Ross Smith performed the great feat of flying from England to Australia. The exhibition contains also some magnificent pictures depicting the wonderful work done by Australian nurses in the war. It is fitting that the war memorial should contain something to remind us of their great sacrifices. If I thought for a moment that the memorial would cultivate in the minds of young Australians a desire for war I should be among the first to oppose it. Those who took part in the war hope that this country will never again experience the curse of war. Theproposed memorial will keep green in the memories, not only of this generation, but of future generations, the part that Australian soldiers played in the great war. I hope that the House will pass the bill in the form in which it has been introduced, and so give effect to the desire of the Government that the memorial shall be a reminder of the soldiers who fell in the great war. Honorable members who have seen the plan of the Federal Capital at Canberra will know that sites have been suggested upon which buildings may be erected for museums, art galleries, and other institutions of the kind. The memorial provided for in the bill is intended to have relation only to the great catastrophe which overtook the’ world in 1914, and in which Australian soldiers played so important a part. I hope that such a catastrophe will not occur again in our time or at any time in the future. I am with the honorable member for Reid in trusting that the Australian people will join with other nations of the world in every effort to preserve peace, at least in our time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.28 to 8 p.m.
Clause 2 -
In this act, unless the contrary intention appears- “ the war “ means the war which commenced on the fourth day of August One thousand nine hundred and fourteen.
.- I move -
That the definition of “ the war “ be omitted, and the following inserted in lieu thereof: - “ ‘ War ‘ means any war in which Australian sailors or soldiers have been engaged officially as a unit.”
When speaking to the second reading of the bill, I gave notice of my intention to move this amendment. Its object, is to enable the board to purchase or otherwise . acquire relics of any war in which Australian sailors or soldiers have been engaged officially overseas, and to inscribe on the walls of a portion of the museum, the names of those who died in those wars. Prior to the Great European War there were only three wars in which Australian sailors and soldiers took part as units - the Soudan War and the South African War, in which Australian soldiers fought, and the Boxer troubles in China, in which Australia was represented by a naval contingent. The spirit of the bill will not be . affected by the amendment, and only two clauses would need to be altered as the result of its acceptance. Although Australia sent but a small body of men to the Soudan, and they did not see much fighting, I do not think that we, at the present time, realize what that gesture meant. It was only a small beginning of what afterwards came to be regarded as Australia’s bounden duty to take part in wars overseas in which the Empire was engaged.
– It was historically significant.
– Historically it was a most significant act. In years to come it will be pointed out that the few men who went to the Soudan set an example which was followed later in South Africa and China, and subsequently in the great world war which has just terminated. The roll of Australians who fell in those earlier conflicts would not be very large, but those who offered their services in those three campaigns . were just as patriotic as those who offered their services during the Great European War. The sentiment which urged them to volunteer was on just as high a plane as thatwhich urged men to volunteer in the last war. They were just as likely to be mutilated, and, indeed, they were exposed to a greater danger from disease than was faced by men during the last war, because in the earlier campaigns the medical profession had not made those strides which enabled it to play such an important part in the last war.
– The inclusion of the names of those men would make Australia’s story complete.
– I agree with the honorable member that it would do so. The bill gives the board discretion to acquire or reject souvenirs as it pleases, and I think it could with advantage set aside a small section of the memorial for a collection of souvenirs of these earlier campaigns. In that section could be enshrined the names of those who lost their lives in a patriotic duty.
– What is the objection to doing so?
– The objection raised by the Honorary Minister (Mr. Marr) is that the European war was the first war in which Australia had engaged since the establishment of the Commonwealth, but that objection does not hold good, because the Commonwealth came into existence during the progress of the Boer war, and all the defence establishments ‘ of the colonies had passed over to the Commonwealth before its conclusion.
– On each occasion they were known as Australians.
– That is so. We are still Australians. We have no intention of keeping up the intercolonial spirit that existed prior to the foundation of the Commonwealth.
– We might as well not put up a memorial to Captain Cook because the Commonwealth was not in existence in his day.
– Exactly. I am sorry the Minister will not accept the amendment. He is looking at the matter in a very niggardly way. I hope he will look at it in a broad national way.
.- Honorable members appreciate the spirit prompting the - honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) in moving his amendment, but it seems to me that at the present time it would be very difficult to collect sufficient’ information concerning those who took part in the Soudan and South African wars, or to make a proper collection of souvenirs of those campaigns. Ample discretion is to be given to the board. For instance the Honorary Minister speaking on the second reading, said that one of the most interesting souvenirs’ in the war museum to-day is the biplane in which the late Sir Ross Smith and his brother flew to Australia.
– Under the provisions of the bill it will not be possible to include that machine in the war museum.
– It is true that the flight of Sir Ross Smith to Australia had no relation to the great war, but the board in its discretionary power has seen fit to include it in the existing museum, and there is no reason why it should not include in the memorial proposed to be established such mementoes as it mav deem to be in keeping with the general ideal of the memorial. Although as a matter of fact it would be no intrusion on that general ideal to include mementoes of prior wars, I think that the end we have in view, and for which the bill has been introduced, will be better attained by confining the memorial to the great war as we know it.
.- I support the amendment by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green). What he proposes is in some respects not more than tardy justice, particularly to the men who fought in South Africa. The South African veterans in Western Australia are one of the finest bodies of men in the State. They did a, tremendous amount of work during the last war. Whenever there was any patriotic work to be done their services were available. They were a wonderful nucleus for helping every effort. They realized that they were in a sense in historic succession of the men who were then offering to serve the Empire. Their experience and training helped us greatly to get our forces together for the great European conflict. In Perth to-day every memorial service held in memory of those who fell in the last war takes place in Kings Park at the foot of the South African war memorial. There a tribute is paid to the memory of those who fell not only in Europe, but also in South Africa. The honorable member for ‘Richmond is perfectly correct in seeking to have the bill amended in the way he desires. We ought to regard the Soudan, China, and the South African campaigns as the preceding stages, or the pattern, as it were, of the spirit of self-sacrifice for country, which was such a distinguishing characteristic of Australians in the Great War. I dislike to use the term, and I hope that I shall not be misunderstood, when I say that this proposal to regard the Hall of Memory as specially reserved for the men who took part in the last war looks something like campaign priggishness. The men who engaged in the earlier campaigns had less encouragement, and, as the honorable member for Richmond has pointed out, they faced greater dangers. We are apt to forget the great toll taken by the fell hand of disease in the South African war. The fearful ravages of enteric, so prominent in the South African campaign, were practically unknown in the last Great War. The amendment is very reasonable. Surely itshould! be possible to have some little niche to commemorate deeds of Australians who took part in the earlier campaigns? The honorable member for Oxley has suggested that it might be difficult to obtain souvenirs of the South African campaign. I guarantee that if the amendment is carried, the South African veterans’ associations all over Australia will immediately be able to produce souvenirs which they are now holding in such reverence and veneration in their homes, and will be very glad to hand them, over to the Commonwealth for safe-keeping in the proposed memorial hall at Canberra.. I hope that the Minister will immediately withdraw his objection to the amendment.
– While I am very much in sympathy with the proposal made by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), I am afraid it would be difficult to collect appropriate mementoes of the South African war. However, the Minister might very well agree to a proposal to include in the roll of honour the names of those who lost their lives in South Africa and the Boxer Rebellion, as well as the names of those members of the Soudan Contingent who may have been killed. If this were done, perhaps the honorable member for Richmond would be satisfied.
.- The Minister should take cognizance of the amendment. This is a measure to provide a suitable memorial of the deeds of Australians in war, and we should not belittle the efforts of Australians who took part in previous campaigns. Our men who went to the South African war were none the less valorous than were those who fought in the Great
European War, and since we are providing for a national war memorial the records of the South African contingent should be included. It should be quite a simple matter, not involving heavy expenditure. A separate room or wing of the building might be set aside for mementoes of the South African war. Some honorable members of this House, as well as members of another Chamber, fought in both wars, and it is only right that their names should be inscribed in the Hall of Memory. Parents of men who lost their lives in the South African campaign would like to have their names included in this honour roll. I know of no reason why the amendment should not be agreed to. Only recently the Commonwealth Government gladly secured records of the great navigator, Captain Cook. The Commonwealth was not in existence when he discovered Australia, but it was thought, advisable to purchase those valuable books and documents. I trust that the Minister will not even press the amendment to a. division, but will accept it.
.- I hope that the Minister (Mr. Marr) will not accept the amendment. The object is to have a complete official record of wars in which Australia has been engaged since the .inauguration of the Commonwealth.
– A Commonwealth contingent was sent to South Africa.
– The Commonwealth was” in existence whilst the South African was in progress.
– For only part of the time. The Australian contingents that took part in that campaign were sent bv the various States. That war lasted for about three years. This is a proposal to establish a Commonwealth war memorial at the Seat, of Government, where will be kept for all time the war records of our people since the establishment of the Commonwealth. We are not justified in obtaining records or collecting souvenirs of earlier campaigns. It will be sufficient if we perpetuate the memory of those who fell in the last Great War, and I hope we shall never have another. I trust that the last war will be a lesson to the rising generation.
.- I support the Minister in introducing the bill, but I think he should furnish a better reason than he has done for his refusal to accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green). The Hall of Memory is a beautiful conception. The amendment would not involve the recording of a great number of names, and it would be a pity to miss this opportunity to secure a complete record of the part played by Australians in all the campaigns where equal sacrifice has been made. I am sure that it is not a question of expense with the Minister. I hope, therefore, that he will advance a sound reason why the proposal is not acceptable to him; otherwise, 1 shall support the amendment.
– I rise to support the amendment. Those Australians who fell in the South African war were just as brave as the men who fell in France, Gallipoli, and elsewhere in the last Great War. They lived, they loved, and they fell on the field of battle, and now they reign in glory. The portals of Paradise are wide open to receive them. They fought for the truth, and they were never clouded by doubt as to the result of the fray when the sun went down. They left it to Him to whom victory is but a thought of His dominant will, who sayeth, “Be finished,” and it is instantly done. With God the Most High to protect them both in attack and defence, the Australian spirit shall never be conquered by any pretence. So please include them.
.- During the last war special efforts were made by Australian troops to collect souvenirs and relics which were earmarked for inclusion in the National War Museum. In my opinion, it would be unjust to the memory of those Australian soldiers who lost their lives in South Africa, or in the Soudan, if any attempt were made to compare the records and relics of those campaigns with those collected in the last Great War. The period of time that has elapsed makes the collection of a comprehensive and worthy collection of relics impossible. I have the greatest admiration for those men who set the present generation such a high standard of bravery during our earliest campaigns, and agree with the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. D. Cameron) that the names of Australians who died in earlier wars should be recorded in the Hall of Memory. I hope - the Minister will accept the suggestion.
– I cannot accept the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) for the reason that the proposal is to commemorate the deeds of Australians in the last Great War. Various reasons have been advanced by honorable members supporting the amendment why we should include the names of men who fell in previous wars. No one disputes their bravery or belittles their heroism, but it was not until the last war that our troops went as from the Commonwealth. It has been stated that the Commonwealth was represented at the South African War. The South African campaign was nearing its close when the Commonwealth was inaugurated. After the South African war, the State Governments, which sent contingents, erected memorials to perpetuate the memory of the men who fell. There would be just as much reason to suggest that, in places where memorials are not erected at present, the names of those who fell in the Great War should be engraved on the South African war memorials. The committee which has had charge of this proposal was requested by the Government to consider the best way in which the memory of those who fell in the Great War could be honoured and suggested the erection of a Commonwealth War Memorial.
– Is not this a slight on those who fell in other wars ?
– No. As I previously stated, those who gave their lives in the South African and other wars, were just as patriotic and as brave .as those who fought in the Great War. I cannot accept the amendment moved by the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. E. Green), but I shall recommend to the Government, and to the Board of Management, that when the construction of a permanent memorial at Canberra is being considered, the names of the men who fell in previous wars be taken into account. The bill gives the board discretionary powers. Succeeding Governments may take a different view from that of the present Administration, and decide to enlarge the memorial. s It has even been suggested that a museum, instead of a memorial, should be erected to perpetuate the memory of those who fell. As I have given my assurance that I shall bring the matter be fore Cabinet perhaps the honorable member for Richmond will withdraw his amendment.
– It will then be too late.
– No. The board will have discretionary power to deal with the names of those who fell in other wars, just as it has in respect to the acquisition of relics. There have been as many relics rejected as accepted in connexion with the late war ; and some of those which I submitted were rejected because they were not considered as valuable as others. As the board will have discretionary power I trust the committee will allow the clause to pass in its present form.
.- The reply of the Honorary Minister (Mr. Marr) is the most futile I have ever heard submitted against any amendment. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked the Minister to give some sound reason for opposing the amendment, and now that he has spoken I am at a loss to understand his objection to it. The Minister has said that if we allow the clause to pass in its present form, he will suggest that the board have the power to do certain things, but the Minister, who is responsible for the form in which the measure has been drafted, knows that the board will not have any discretion in this matter. I am sorry the Minister did not comply with the request of the honorable member for Lilley, who apparently wished to receive some information upon which to justify his vote before the electors. My amendment extends the definition of the word “ war.” The suggestion of the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. D. Cameron) overcomes a difficulty, but if effect were given to it the powers of the committee would be limited, whereas, under my amendment, it would have discretionary power, not only in regard to the erection of an honour roll to perpetuate the memory of those who fell in previous wars, but also to acquire certain souvenirs associated with other campaigns in which Australia fought. Some relics available may not be considered of sufficient national importance, but there should be no difficulty in obtaining a valuable and representative collection from various associations of men who fought in the South African campaign. Under my amendment that discretionary power would not be taken from the board, which could collect what relics it considered necessary.
Question - That the amendment be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 -
There shall be aCommonwealth Memorial of the Australians who died in the war.
.- I move -
That the word “the” last occurring be left out.
This amendment, if adopted, will meet the suggestion of the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. D. Cameron), and of the Minister, that the names of those who died on active service in previous wars shall be inscribed on the Commonwealth war memorial.
.- The deletion of the word “ the “ would not alter the position. If honorable members refer to the defini tion clause they will see that the word “ war,” occurring in any part of the bill, means the recent war.
– On a point of order, I ask whether the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) can submit such an amendment in view of the fact that the committee has already decided thematter ?
– No. The previous clause to which the committee has just agreed, states that “ the war “ means “ the war which commenced on the fourth day of August, One thousand nine hundred andfourteen.” Therefore,” I rule that the amendment is out of order.
– I point out that the clause under consideration refers to “ the war,” whereas my amendment would provide for a memorial of the Australians who died in any war.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 15 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Marr), by leave, proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
.- Before the bill passes its final stage I desire to place on record an expression of regret that certain honorable members of this House, by their vote to-night, have declared that the services of gentlemen who, from the high motive of patriotism, gave their lives on behalf of Australia overseas, should not receive due recognition in the memorial halls of this country, even to the extent of having the names of the fallen inscribed in perpetual remembrance. I cannot help noticing the fact that thirteen - the unlucky number - voted for my amendment. The effect of the decision, of the committee is to regard the relatives of’ those who lost their lives overseas on behalf of Australia in a war in which Australia took part officially as having no right to- have the names of their beloved dead inscribed in the memorial hall at Canberra, simply because those men happened to be patriotic before the inception of federation. Should we say that they were any the less Australians because they happened to participate in a war that took place before the establishment of. the Commonwealth?
– I think that the honorable member for Richmond is hardly fair to the House. I stated in reply to the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. D. Cameron) that everybody recognized that those soldiers who fell in the South African campaign were just as brave as those who sacrificed their lives in the Tecent war. I promised the honorable member that I would bring before the Government and the War Memorial Board the advisability of engraving their names in the memorial hall at Canberra. I repeat that promise now. The matter will be brought under the notice of the Government and the board. I do not think that any slight is intended against those . soldiers who fell in the South African War. No honorable member who spoke cast any reflection whatever upon them.
– Actions speak louder than words.
– The promise I gave to the committee’ will be fulfilled.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
. -I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The measure is intended to ratify an agreement made between the Governments of New South Wales and the Commonwealth as far back as 1915. It has reference to the transfer to the Commonwealth of Cockatoo and Schnapper Islands, and ground adjacent thereto covered by water, and the re-transfer to New South Wales of part. of Goat Island. The two former islands were acquired by the Commonwealth for the purposes of a dock and a naval depot. The agreement made with the State was that they should be transferred to the Commonwealth, the price being fixed at £867,716 9s. It was decided that these properties should be treated as part of the transferred properties of the Commonwealth under subsection 1 of section 85 of the Constitution, and the Commonwealth accordingly agreed to pay interest on the capital sum. In addition, certain stores and other articles were taken over by the Commonwealth, for which it paid in cash the sum of £66,085 15s.11d. After the agreement had been made the war broke out, and, owing to the conditions then prevailing, the agreement stood over. Later certain suggestions were made with regard to the transfer of part of Goat Island. Difficulties arose, but ultimately an adjustment was made with the Government of New South Wales. The matter was not finally settled until as late as 1924. The agreement was executed on the 26th October, 1915, but the supplementary agreement, which completed the contract, was dated the 12th September, 1924. This bill therefore merely seeks to ‘ ratify an agreement made some years ago. The terms were settled, the transfer took place, the Commonwealth entered into possession, the agreement was concluded, and all the interest has been, paid in accordance with the arrangement made, but owing to certain subsequent negotiations the absolute completion of the contract could not take place until last year.
– What about the position of the employees of the State. of New South Wales, who transferred to the Commonwealth when the properties were taken over?
– That matter does not arise under the bill, which is merely for the purpose of ratifying the agreement for the transfer of the properties. A question was raised as to whether the Commonwealth should not retain Goat Island for the purpose of an ammunition magazine, but other arrangements were made.
.- I have no- objection to the ratification of the agreement so far as the transfer of the property and material is concerned : but I draw attention to the fact that a large number of employees on both these islands, particularly Cockatoo, were in the service of the New South Wales Government at the time of the transfer. These men were then entitled to certain retiring allowances, annual holidays, and long-service leave. They were given to understand at the time by the then State Minister for Works (Mr. Griffiths) that their rights and privileges as State servants would be preserved to them, provided they accepted the transfer and passed under Commonwealth jurisdiction. Quite a large number of them accepted that assurance, and transferred to the Commonwealth. In proof of that I quote the following paragraph from the first schedule of the bill : -
The Commonwealth Government will also take over all liability in connexion with any agreements entered into by the State Government with any employees at the said dockyards for the retention of their services for specific terms.
That is a clear and definite undertaking that their rights and privileges would be preserved to them if they transferred from State to Commonwealth control.’ Many of them were experts in their particular occupation, and it would have cost the Commonwealth many thousands of pounds to replace them had they decided to remain in the service of the State. That agreement is to-day being repudiated by the Commonwealth authorities. By act of Parliament the control of Cockatoo Island has been transferred to the Commonwealth Shipping Board, which, upon taking charge, issued a notice that on and after a certain date it would not accept responsibility for long-service ‘leave or any of the privileges previously enjoyed by the men.” The only intimation of that decision received by the workmen was a typewritten notice posted on the noticeboard in the workshops. I have already raised the question in this House, and have received from the Prime Minister a reply to the effect that as the matter is now one purely for the determination of the board, it is outside the control of the Government. The Government is depriving these old State servants of their rights. I should like some of the legal members of the House to say whether the Government can, in the face of the agreement, deny these men their rights and privileges. I mention the matter now not for the purpose of blocking the bill, but to ascertain whether the Government is prepared to carry out an agreement honorably entered into by the men. If it has been decided that the Commonwealth Shipping Board must conduct its affairs as a private business concern would, without the burden of these overhead charges, one can understand it, but it is nevertheless the bounden duty of the Government to discharge this obligation. While the board may’ say that it is not responsible, the Government has a responsibility that it cannot evade. Ever since the board took charge these men have been deprived of retiring allowances, long-service leave, annual holidays, and other privileges. Their position is in striking contrast to that of the dockyard employees who refused to transfer to the Commonwealth Service, and continued their employment with the State. A large number of them are to-day employed in the State yards at Walsh Island, and they are still enjoying these rights and privileges. No one will gainsay that the work of the Common wealth employees during the war was of great value ; it was of a value that cannot be stated in terms of money. The promise of the Minister for Works in New South Wales is on record. He said that the whole of the rights and privileges of the men would be preserved to them, and the agreement now made public proves that his words were correct. The Commonwealth Government is side-stepping’ its legal responsibility. It ill becomes a great Commonwealth like that of Australia to run away from its legal obligations by the subterfuge of appointing a board, and saying, “ We have absolved ourselves from our legal responsibilities.” I hope that the Government will take steps to remove the injustice. The complaint also applies to the men at Garden Island. They are directly under the control of the Navy Department, which, although it has deprived them of long-service leave, has preserved most of their rights and privileges. I ask the Government to seriously consider this matter, and to see that the justice to which these men are entitled, and which is theirs in the terms of the agreement, is done to them.
– All that the bill asks the House to do is to ratify the agreement.
– But the Government is not carrying out the agreement.
– That is another matter. We are asking the House to validate the agreement, and whatever case the honorable member may have will not be weakened thereby
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
.- I endorse the remarks of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony). The Government is seeking Parliamentary approval of an agreement that it is not carrying out. Paragraph 8 of the first schedule of the bill says -
The Commonwealth Government will also take over all liability in connexion with any agreements entered into by the State Government with any employees at the said dockyards for the retention of their services for specific terms.
When the dockyard was taken over by the Commonwealth Government in 1913 the old State employees had certain rights m the matter of long-service leave. The regulations provided that employees who had completed 20 years’ service should be entitled to six months’ leave on full pay. The establishment was taken over by the -Navy Board, and the same regulations practically prevailed during its administration, but when the Commonwealth Shipping Board took control it dispensed with the services of all the employees and refused to recognize that they had any accrued rights. I recognize that it is. not an obligation of the board to carry the burden of paying for long-service leave to these faithful employees, who have become entitled to it by services rendered under the management of the State, the Naval authorities, and the Shipping Board. The burden, however, should be carried by the Commonwealth Government. I can cite the case of a member of the clerical staff of the dockyards who has made repeated attempts to secure justice. In a letter written in regard to his case on the 23rd January last, Mr. P. E. Deane, secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, stated that: -
The Commonwealth Solicitor-General has advised to the effect that upon the transfer of the dockyard to the Commonwealth Shipping Board on the 1st September, 1923, Mr. Macqueen and a number of other employees undoubtedly lost whatever permanent status they may have possessed.
The rights and privileges of these men should be protected by the Commonwealth Government. Mr. Deane further stated that “ the Commonwealth Shipping Board is free from all political control.” No one desires that political control should be exercised, but that has nothing to do with preserving the rights of these employees. The board dismissed them and re-engaged them on the following day, the object being to break the continuity of their employment and deprive them of long-service leave and other rights. Mr. Deane also said -
The Shipping Board dismissed all the employees of Cockatoo Island a duy or so after taking possession of the establishment. The Solicitor-General has advised in effect that the board had power to do this.
Mr. C. Riley.
I do not dispute that statement of the power of the board, but the Government should protect these men, who have given so many years of faithful service. Such an evasion of legal obligations should not be tolerated. Members of the clerical staff which, at one time, numbered well over 100, were entitled to similar longservice leave, and when the Commonwealth Line took over the management of the dockyard many of them had sixteen, eighteen and nineteen years’ service to their credit. As. they were not allowed to complete their 20 years’ service under the old administration, under the Navy office, and under the Prime Minister’s Department, they are denied the longservice pay that is their due. Considerable correspondence has passed between the clerical association and the Government regarding the rights of these men. They ask that the men be paid pro rata for the number of years that they served prior to the dockyard being taken over by the Commonwealth Shipping Board. That is a very reasonable request. Some of these men had eighteen or nineteen years of service under the State- and Commonwealth Governments, and it is not right that their claim to long-service pay should be denied them merely because the dockyard was transferred to the control of the board. I do not suggest that the Shipping Board should carry the burden I contend that the responsibility rests with the Government to see that the claims of these men are fully and fairly met. There are other cases still requiring attention, such as those of workmen who have been injured while on duty.
– Does the honorable member refer to men who have met with accidents - compensation cases?
– Yes. In some cases men who have claimed, say, £750, have been offered £300, £400 ..or £500 by the department. As the transfer of the dockyard to the Shipping Board took place some time ago, these matters should be settled. Had there been no change in the management of the dockyard, these men would have been entitled to their long-service leave. Many of them, apart from the technical break of continuity, have completed twenty years’ service at the dockyard. I urge that this agreement, which was entered into between the Commonwealth and New South Wales, and which provided that the Commonwealth should take over this liability, should be honoured. I hope that the Minister will give us some assurance that the just claims of these men will be met.
– I am surprised at the statements of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) and the honorable member for Cook (Mr. O. Riley). Had the House known, when we were dealing with the bill to create a shipping board, that certain obligations devolved upon the Government in consequence of this agreement which we are now asked to ratify, we should have provided, either that the Government should compensate the men according to the length of their service and their agreement with the State Government, or that the board should grant to its employees the same conditions as those to which they would have been entitled had they remained in the employ of the State. I consider that these men have a just el abn. No honorable member will deny that the Commonwealth is responsible. While we have not yet ratified the agreement, we have passed legislation constituting the Commonwealth Shipping Board. Can we, as employers of labour, escape our responsibility? If we attempt to do so, we shall set a bad example to private employers, concerning whom the complaint is frequently made that they treat their employees unjustly. Some of these men had nineteen years, others fifteen, sixteen, seventeen or eighteen years’ service to their credit, when the board assumed the control of the dockyard. Had they completed twenty years’ service, they would have been entitled to long-service pay. If we reject the just claim of these men, we shall contribute to the industrial unrest in the community. If we, as a national Parliament, believe in justice, we must frame our legislation accordingly. In view of the legislation which we have passed, I admit that we cannot expect the Shipping Board to accept this responsibility. That responsibility rests with the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth entered into the agreement, and Parliament passed legislation handing over the control of Cockatoo Island to the Shipping Board. But if we find subsequently that an injustice has been done to the employees of the dockyard, they should be compensated. It is not right for any government, simply because it has handed over to a board, which is free from political control, the industry in which these men are engaged, to refuse to accept responsibility in respect of men who have rendered faithful service for seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen years, and who, moreover, stood by their country in time of war. 1 am sure that all honorable members will recognize that if an agreement exists, providing for certain things being done, we are in duty bound to carry out that agreement. It does not matter what may have happened since, or what legislation Parliament has enacted in the meantime, the fact remains that the agreement existed. How many of us knew that it was in existence when we passed the legislation constituting the board ?
– The agreement was kept dark. I tried to get a copy of it, but failed.
– I certainly did not know the effect upon these men of the transfer of the control of the dockyard to the Shipping Board.. If wo have made a mistake, we should do our best before it is too late to remedy the injury we have inflicted on these men. I hope that the Minister will say that the Government will give favorable consideration to their claim. Even if it costs us £10,000 or £20,000, we should do our duty by them. If we fail to treat them justly, we cannot expect them to render faithful service; men suffering from a sense of injustice cannot give of their best. We cannot take away an accrued right. These men are now engaged in the same occupation as before the Shipping Board took control, and to deprive them of their long service leave is an act of injustice. They will have to start again, and wait another twenty years before they will obtain similar privileges.
– They will not get them even then under the present system.
– If we had not passed the control of Cockatoo Island over to the Shipping Board, the men concerned would have received their increments from the State Government. We promised faithfully to preserve the rights of employees under an agreement which is now before us for ratification. Although we have not yet ratified it, we are in honour bound to carry out the contract entered into with the State Government. Until the honorable member for Dalley raised this question I had no knowledge of it, but it is a matter which we cannot afford to treat lightly. I agree with the Minister that the question raised has nothing to do with the ratification of the agreement, but this is the only opportunity we ‘ shall have to refer to it. I ask the Minister to give us some encouragement regarding the claim of these men. If they are men with good records, and have done their duty, we in turn should do our duty to them and treat them fairly. I believe that if the Minister will state that the Government is prepared to carry out the agreement with regard to these men he will have the House behind him.
.- I have a somewhat close knowledge of this matter, and I would ask the AttorneyGeneral to give it very careful consideration. These men are skilled in their work, and if they have been deprived of any of the rights which were conserved to them under this agreement, I ask the Attorney-General to see that their case is fully considered.
. - As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has stated, this bill is merely to ratify an agreement already made. Instead of weakening the case put forward to-night, it strengthens it, as the ratification of the agreement can deprive no person of his rights under it. We are merely asking Parliament to confirm a contract entered into between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales. I have no acquaintance with the details of the matters referred to, as I did not anticipate a discussion of this nature. It is, in fact, irrelevant to the measure before us. I promise the committee that the case of these men will be looked into carefully, but I can make no pronouncement as to its merits until the facts are known. I shall make representations to the departments concerned to have the matter fully inquired into, and, later, will let honorable members know the position.
– We have been told that the claims of the men have been repudiated bv the Government.
– I do not know that. It. may be that some cases have been dealt with and rejected, but the honorable member will understand that at this stage I cannot do more than promise that the matter will be thoroughly investigated. If there is any agreement with the men, it will be considered; this Government is not in the habit of repudiating agreements.
.- While we probably cannot do a great deal to-night to ensure to these men their legal rights, I point out that certain regulations, called naval regulations, were accepted by the Commonwealth Government at the time that the dockyard was taken over by the Commonwealth. When Cockatoo Island and Garden Island yards were taken over by the Commonwealth, they were placed under the control of the Navy Department, which issued certain regulations that embodied the privileges to which the men would have been entitled had they continued as State servants, and certain additional privileges that the naval authorities were prepared to grant to their employees. Those privileges were enjoyed until control was vested in the Commonwealth Shipping Board, which immediately repudiated the regulations, and deprived these men of reasonable retiring allowances and furlough for long service. The Board disclaimed any responsibility in the matter. I hope that the Government will see that justice is done to these men.
– It is unfortunate that these injustices should occur in Government or semiGovernment concerns. Private employers who employ a large number of men make much more liberal provision in the way of retiring and other allowances for their employees. Some of my constituents are employed by a company that, in some respects, does not enjoy too good a reputation, whilst in other respects it has an excellent reputation. I refer to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. Men who worked in the refinery, and fell into ill health, are to-day enjoying pensions provided by the company. Private employers do not seek to deprive their employees of rights and privileges. At Cockatoo Island and Garden Island some men who were approaching the twenty-year period of service that would have entitled them to certain privileges were dismissed for a day, and reemployed on the following day. That action was taken with a view to breaking the continuity of their service, and thus depriving them of their rights. If the Government countenances such a policy, it is not acting fairly. Clause 10 of the first schedule provides -
If. after the - execution of this agreement, and after the transfer of the said situ . any matters requiring adjustment . . . arise, such matters . . . shall l>e referred to Colonel David Miller, C.M.G., I.S.O., V.D., or to the Secretary to the Department of Home Affairs. …
Colonel Miller is. not now in the service, and there is no Department of Home Affairs. Will the Commonwealth be in a legally sound position if the agreement is ratified in that form?
– I have not the slightest doubt of it. It will be easy to identify the corresponding officer.
.- . The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) and the honorable member for Cook (Mr. 0. Riley) have quoted definite cases of hardship and injustice to a number of workers, and the Attorney-General (Sir Littleton Groom) has. promised to give the matter serious consideration. Surely he could go a little further, and give a guarantee that the injustice will be rectified. I should not like to think that the Government would associate itself with the action that is said to have been taken by the Commonwealth Shipping Board. No private concern would be allowed to treat its employees in such a way, and the Government should be pre- . vented from doing so. The individual who earns a livelihood by manipulating three cards, or a thimble and a pea, is a gentleman compared with one who would play such a trick as this upon men who have rendered faithful service over a lengthy period. I understand that the board has declined to accept the responsibility, and, if necessary, the Government should take it over.
First schedule, together with annexures, agreed to.
Second schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill, by leave, read a third time.
Debate resumed from 30th July, 1924 (vide page 2626, Vol. 107), on motion by Mr. Atkinson -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– There is nothing very contentious in the amendments that are included in this measure. On the contrary they bring Northern Territory electors a step nearer their goal of full representation. It is proposed that in future any objection to an election may be wired instead of being sent by letter. That has been found necessary because of the peculiar circumstances that exist in the Northern Territory, and its comparative isolation. Such a provision deserves commendation. Another amendment proposes to place Northern Territory electors on the same footing as those in other parts of the Commonwealth. There are certain matters affecting the Northern Territory that I commend to the earnest consideration of the Minister. There are in .the Territory between 20,000 and 30,000 aborigines, and a number of half-castes. When the electoral acts were framed the intention was that all persons who exercised the franchise should at least be capable of understanding its value, and the manner in which it operated. On the broad principle I have no objection to a half-caste being given the right to vote, but some discrimination should be exercised where a half-caste is to all intents and purposes a Myall black incapable of understanding the procedure. That, would not create a precedent amongst the nations of the world. I have here an article token from the New York Times of the 4th January, 1925. The article is headed, “ Literacy test of voters is pronounced a, success - Other States will adopt New York plan of examination by teachers, says Superintendent O’Shea - Many fail to pass simple test.” The article is a lengthy one, and I propose to read portions of it that they may be recorded in support of the suggestion I have made -
The eyes of the nation were turned towards New York State on 4th of last November, for at least one reason which had very little to do with the Democratic or Republican capture of her 45 votes in the Electoral College. Educators, legislators, and civic and political leaders were critically attentive to see how the only State in the Union with a test for voters, prepared unci administered by its educational authorities, would fare during the first presidential elections in the history of its experiment. Other States had so-called literacy tests for voters. We have had such a provision in our’ own State constitution since 1921. But not until the legislation of January, 1922, in New York State, had any of these State tests been other than a vague requirement to be able to read and write, or to understand a section of the Constitution in such a fashion as to satisfy the boards nf electors. By giving the State Department of Education power to prepare actual educational tests and hold examinations based on them, the legislature of New York State enacted a literacy test law with teeth in it.
The article sets out the procedure adopted and the results, which are said to have been very gratifying. It suggests that similar procedure should be adopted throughout the United States of America. The article concludes as follows: -
This year will see the schools even better prepared to administer this law. Careful statistics and records of our experience this year have been kept by the Director of Evening Schools. A corps of examiners with this year’s actual experience behind them will be available. The candidates, the public, the press, and co-operating agencies will be better informed about the law. But the result this year has demonstrated beyond question its value and feasibility, while to the devotion and willingness of the evening school principals and teachers, who assumed responsibility for the examination itself, must go the credit for an exceedingly gratifying achievement.
I quote that to show that in an advanced country like the United States of America it is believed to be necessary to have some sort of electoral test. I do not advocate the adoption of such a test as a general principle, but as a” procedure which might be adopted in the peculiar circum-‘ stances and conditions of the Northern Territory. The different States of the Commonwealth have not a numerous aboriginal and half-caste population living the life of the aborigines and incapable of speaking English. Half-castes in the Northern Territory are allowed to record their votes, and this opens the door to abuses of the franchise. I ask the Minister to consider whether a scheme cannot be evolved under which the Chief Electoral Officer, or those responsible for compiling the roll for the Northern Territory, may be satisfied that a half-caste applying for enrolment is at least able to understand the procedure of an election and what an election is for. If the
Minister can evolve such a scheme a measure of justice will be done to the people of the Northern Territory.
– As the honorable member is aware, I only represent the Minister for Home and Territories in this House, and I am unable to say what view he will take of the proposal. I have listened to what the honorable member has said, and I undertake to bring his observations under the notice of the Minister for Home and Territories.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Lodging and hearing of petition) .
Amendments (by Mr. Atkinson) agreed to -
That the word “Registrar,” wherever occuring, be left out with a view to insert in lien thereof the word “Clerk”.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted . to follow clause 1 : -
Ia. Section four of the principal act is amended by omitting therefrom the words “the member representing the Northern Territory,” and inserting in their stead the words “members of the House of Representatives”.
The effect of this amendment of the principal act would be to extend the choice of electors for the Northern Territory by permitting any persons eligible to vote for members of the House of Representatives, no matter in what part of the Commonwealth they may reside, to stand as candidates for the Northern Territory. The act at present provides that a candidate for the representation of the- Northern Territory must be a resident or elector of the Territory. If the electors of the Territory do not desire as their representative a person who is not a resident or an elector of the Territory, the matter will be in their own hands. There has been some demand for this provision. After considering the matter carefully the Government came to the conclusion that there was no objection to it. and that, if adopted, it would make the act a more democratic measure.
– .-I call attention to the want of a quorum. [Quorum formed.)
– If a member of the House of Representatives were required for a Tasmanian constituency, would a resident of the Northern Territory be eligible as a candidate?
– That would have to be provided for by an amendment of the Electoral Act. This bill deals only with the representation of the Northern Territory.
– I understood that the proposed new clause would place electors of the Northern Territory on an equal footing with electors of the different States of the Commonwealth - that if a resident of one of the States wished to contest the Northern Territory seat he would be at liberty to do so, and if a resident of the Northern Territory wished to contest a seat as a State representative in the House of Representatives, the same privilege would be extended to him. If that is so, I have no fault to find with the amendment, but if it is not, I think the Government should make it so.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause he inserted to follow new clause 1a: - “ 1b. Section eight of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words “ a member representing the Northern Territory shall ‘be elected at” and inserting in their stead the words “ an election of a member representing the Northern Territory shall be held as nearly as practicable at the same time as “.
Section 8 of the principal act provides that a member representing the Northern Territory shall be elected at each general election of the members of the House of Representatives, and at any other occasion on which the place of the member representing the Northern Territory becomes vacant. The new clause is proposed in order that the authorities shall not be bound to hold an election for the Northern Territory at exactly the same time as a general election for the House of Representatives. The reason for this is the great difficulty of transport in the Northern Territory due to floods and climatic conditions over which we have no control. If there should be nothing to prevent it the electoral authorities will, no doubt, hold an election for the Northern Territory on the same day as the general election for the House of Repre sentatives takes place, bat if the climatic conditions are unsatisfactory, the new clause will permit the election for a mem- . ber for the Northern Territory to be held “ as nearly as practicable “ at the same time as the general election for the House of Representatives.
– I understand the new clause to mean that if, owing to climatic conditions, the difficulty of getting mails through in the wet season, and so on, it is impracticable to hold an election for the Northern Territory on the same day as the general election for the House ofRepresentatives, it may be postponed to a later day which the Minister may consider suitable for taking a poll. In such an event I should like to know whether the election would be the same as if it took place under ordinary conditions. For instance, at the last election for the Northern Territory a vote was taken, but owing to climatic conditions, and the difficulty of getting ballot papers through to certain distant places, although the poll was actually declared - and I was present at the declaration, and was declared elected - the poll was subsequently re-opened, and the electors in only one portion of the Territory were given the right to vote after the poll was reopened. Electors on the western side of the Territory were not then given the opportunity to record their votes. I take it that if there is an extension it will apply to the whole of the Territory, and not to a section of it, and that the person who is elected will be deemed to have been elected as from the date on which the election would have taken place if it had not been postponed, for climatic reasons.
.’ - The object of the amendment is to enable the election in the Northern Territory to be held on a date other than the date of the general election for this Parliament, but, of course, the intention is to hold the election in the Territory on the date of the general election, if possible, but if that is not possible, then it will be held, on a date as near as practicable to that date. The reason for the amendment is that there is sometimes an interval of six weeks between mail services in the Territory. The usual practice is to fix the date of the general election as close as possible to the date of the issue of the writ. If the date of the general election for the Commonwealth were made to conform to a date that would suit the geographical conditions of the Northern Territory it would possibly make too wide an interval between the date of the issue of the writ and the date of the election. The proposal, therefore, is to fix for the Northern Territory, if necessary, a special date to suit the conditions there, and to have it as near as possible to the date fixed for the other portions of the Commonwealth. The difficulty referred to by the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) will probably not arise, because the whole of the Territory will vote on the day fixed to suit its peculiar conditions, and it will no longer be necessary to have one portion voting on one day and another portion voting on a later day.
– If the date of the election is postponed, will the person who is elected be deemed to have been elected as from the date of the general election?
– A member of this Parliament is deemed to be elected from the date on which his election actually takes place - that is, the polling day - but I shall refer that aspect of the matter to the Minister, and ask him to look into it.
– Under this proposal a member for the Northern Territory could be kept out of this Parliament for six months.
– I do not think that that would ever be done. The date for the election would always be near to that of the general election.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing Orders suspended ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill contains several amendments. The first is the most important, because it relates to the enfranchisement of British-Indians. The second amendment refers to a point raised recently in the House, and very frequently in communications forwarded by honorable members to the Chief Electoral Officer in regard to the possibility of honorable members residing at Canberra being rendered ineligible to nominate as candidates for this Parliament. Unfortunately, this second amendment has not yet been circulated, but as it isproposed to adjourn the debate, honorable members will have ample opportunity to peruse it to-morrow. At present aboriginal natives of Asia are disqualified from enrolment on the Commonwealth rolls, on racial grounds, by sub-section 5 of section 9 of the Electoral Act, but exceptions are made to meet the provisions of section 41 of the Constitution in the case of Asiatics who were enrolled for the House of Assembly of a State prior to the 12th June, 1902- the date on which the first Commonwealth Franchise Actwas assented to - and who have continuously retained the right to such State enrolment. British nationality, whether inherent as natural born, or acquired as naturalized subjects, does not overcome the racial disqualification. Up to the time of the passing of the Commonwealth Naturalization Act 1903, letters or certificates of naturalization were granted by States or the Colonies which later became States. These letters or certificates were recognized by the Commonwealth law as conferring Commonwealth naturalization upon the holders of them. The Commonwealth Naturalization Act of 1903 remained in operation until 1920, when itwas repealed and superseded by the Nationality Act 1920. During the period from 1903 to 1920, Asiatics were precluded from obtaining naturalization, but under the act of 1920 there is no prohibition against their naturalization, the granting of certificates of naturalization being left to the absolute discretion of the Commonwealth Government. No figures are available from which information can be obtained as to the number of persons now residing in Australia- who were naturalized under the laws of the States, but are not entitled to Commonwealth enrolment, but in the opinion of the department the number cannot be large. Naturalized Asiatics who under the present- law are disqualified from Commonwealth enrolment are - those naturalized prior to the 12th June, 1902, who neglected to obtain State enrolment or have not since then continuously retained the right to such enrolment, those naturalized between the 12th June, 1902, and the 1st January, 1904, the date upon which the Commonwealth Naturalization Act 1903 came into operation, and those naturalized since the coming into operation of the Nationality Act 1920, namely four Armenians, 238 Syrians and 24 Palestinians, totalling 266. The British Indians resident in the Commonwealth who will benefit by this amendment number approximately, 2,300. I think every one will concede the justice of this proposal. In this connexion I may
Bay that at the Imperial Conference of 1921, the following resolution was adopted -
The conference, while reconfirming the resolution of the Imperial War Conference of 1918, that each community of the British Commonwealth should enjoy complete control of the composition of its own population by means of restriction on immigration from any of the other communities, recognizes that there is on incongruity between the position of India as an equal member of the British Empire and the existence of disabilities upon British Indians lawfully domiciled in some other parts of the Empire. The conference accordingly is of the opinion that in the interests of the solidarity of the British Commonwealth it is desirable that the rights of such Indians to citizenship should be recognized.
– Is this not the result of Or. Sastri’s visit to Australia ?
– No; the matter had been dealt with at the Imperial Conference before he came here.
– It was considered at the Imperial Conference in 1921, and was again before the conference in 1923. Dr. Sastri came here after the first and before the second conference.
– Another amendment will affect the position of members of this Parliament who decide to live in Canberra, and who, because of their residence there, might thus become disqualified for nomination as candidates at any election. The amendment will remove that disqualification. I submit the bill for the sympathetic consideration of honorable members, and trust that it will receive their hearty support.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Charlton) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.-] desire to direct the attention of the Honorary Minister (Mr. Marr) to a telegram which I received to-day concerning an advertisement that ap peared in the Sydney newspapers on Saturday last, inviting tenders for the supply of carpets and linoleums for Parliament House, Canberra. There is no intimation in the advertisement that preference will be given to Australian manufactures, and I take this opportunity to inform the Minister that a firm at Auburn, New South Wales, is engaged in the manufacture of linoleum, and also that, if adequate preference is given, Australian manufacturers are. prepared to supply carpets. As Parliament House, Canberra, will be essentially Australian, preference should be given to Australian manufactures in connexion with tenders for furnishings.
, - It is the policy of the Government to give preference to Australian manufactures. I have not seen the advertisement referred to, but I shall immediately get in touch with the Federal Capital Commission and ascertain the position.
– I have never before detained the House on the motion for the adjournment, but I have just received from a medical man in my electorate a letter which, in ray judgment, brooks of no delay. Dr. C. H. Molloy, of Meeniyan, has written to me as follows : -
Meeniyan, 15th September, 1925.
You will remember an infantile paralysis scare in New Zealand. A committee was appointed to deal with it. Next a wonderful cure was broadcasted all over Victoria by the use of serum. Getting a case here (now in Infectious Diseases Hospital), and expecting a second, I wrote to the Commonwealth Serum Director re serum - “ Could it be procured at once,” &c. Getting no reply, I had them tele- p honed to, and was referred to Dr. Sinclair, C ity Health Officer (his reply attached) . Later Dr.Penfold, Director, replied (letter attached). I then got a, paragraph put in Age, and Dr. Sinclair replied (both attached). ‘You will then see Melbourne is the only place considered. The country is ‘practically left out, although the serum is a Commonwealth product.
My complaint is that this committee should have at once notified the people of- the country of these conditions. To this Dr. Sinclair gives no reply. I had the same difficulty at first with insulin in the treatment of diabetes. I thought this should be brought under your notice, as a country member, so that you could see if committees are appointed, the country should be represented, and that the Government should let everybody know when special preparations of -the Commonwealth Laboratory areavailable, and if any conditions are attached.
The disease is a bane to all doctors. Naturally, the parents of our patients read of wonderful cures, and expect better results from us. hampered as we are.
The following is a copy of the letter which Dr. Molloy received from Dr. T. W. Sinclair, city health officer, under date 7th September, 1925: -
I am in receipt of yours of 3rd inst., re scrum for poliomyelitis cases. The organization formed in connexion therewith was established for the metropolis only.
Concerning country cases, however, it was decided that it would be necessary, except in very special circumstances, for Dr. Jean Macnamara to visit such if serum was to be em-ployed in their treatment. Experience and reports show that if serum is to be of any value, it must be used quite early in the case before, or as soon as possible after, paresis has become evident, and thatlumbar puncture for examination of carebro-spinal fluid is necessary to confirm diagnosis.
Under the circumstances it is not possible to send scrum. However, if a case occurred, it would be possible to obtain help in diagnosis andserum treatment, but Dr. Jean Macnamara’s services would have to be paid for. On the other hand, you could of course send the patient promptly to Melbourne.
The reply which Dr. Molloy received from Dr. W. J. Penfold, director of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, is as follows: -
We are not in a position to supply serum to the general practitioner for cases of infantile paralysis. The stocks that we hold of the scrum have been obtained from convalescents, and the serum is held here at the disposal of a committee dealing with infantile paralysis. The committee has instructed us to supply the seruni to the Children’s Hospital whenevertheyrequire it, and to other cases as requested by Dr. Macnamara, the medical officer of the committee. Her address is: Dr. Jean Macnamara, 12 Collins-street, Melbourne.If you desire supplies of serum,I think you shouldget into touch with her.
The cutting which Dr. Molloy includes in his letter is taken from the Argus, and reads as follows: -
Leongatha. - Doctors here are much concerned that the serum for infantile paralysis is only for use in the city, and that country doctors are debarred from securing a supply. In order to obtain the serum for use in the country, a Collins-street doctor must be engaged toclinch the diagnosis and direct the treatment. Of course, he must be paid, which means very heavy costs for persons concerned for medical fees. The alternative is to send the patient to Melbourne, which is also a costly proceeding, and, by such delay, may mean the death of the patient. Local doctors consider that when a successful result from the use of the serum was broadcast over Victoria, the health authorities should at the same time have announced the conditions govern ing its uses to residents in the country, and not have raised false hopes, apart from the reflection cast upon country practitioners. The same procedure was at first adopted with insulin in the treatment of diabetes. It is considered that pressure should be brought to bear upon the health authorities to compel them to supply country doctors with serum for infantile paralysis, as speedy application may save life.
I have brought this matter under the notice of the Government, and of . the Minister . for Health in particular, in the hope that the present state of affairs will be altered. Whether that can best be done by making arrangements for serum to be supplied to medical practitioners indiscriminately, I am not in a positionto say, but the suggestion that medical men should be made aware of the conditions under which they can promptly obtain serum, and how the services of a specialist who understands its administration may be made available without delay, isone which should be considered by the Minister.
.- Concerning the treatment of poliomyelitis in its experimental stage, 1 may explain the serum treatment of this disease which is believed to be efficacious is the result of very excellent work carried on at the Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. At present there is not a sufficient supply available in Australia for either townor country use. The same conditions do not apply in regard to insulin, and I. cannot understand why any medical officer in Australia should experience difficulty in obtaining a supply. I shall look into the question of the supply of serum and inform the honorable member if country practitioners can be assisted in any way.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.23 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 September 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1925/19250916_reps_9_111/>.