9th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 3 p.m., and road prayers.
– I askhe Prime Minister how much per sitting is paid to each member of the Deportation Board ?
– The amount is, I think, 25 guineas; but I shall confirm the statement for the honorable gentleman later.
Mr.CHARLTON.- I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of his decision to appeal to the country in connexion with the deportation of Australian citizens, he will suspend the sittings of the Deportation Board, and so prevent unnecessary expenditure, until the decision of the people is known?
– I have no intention of appealing to the people of this country in regard to the Deportation. Board. The Government is appealing to the country on the very much wider issue of the maintenance of the supremacy of Parliament and of law and order. The Government does not propose to interfere with the operation of any of the laws of the Commonwealth during the period in which the election campaign is being carried on.
– I ask the Minister for Defence whether the Government has yet reached a decision regarding the representations of one-eyed returned soldiers with regard to the increasing of their pensions?
-(By leave) - In reply to the honorable member’s question, I make the following statement : - During the past few months two deputations and a number of honorable members of theHouse have placed before me the claim for an increased pension of men who have lost the sight of one eye as a result of their service in the Australian Imperial Force. I have carefully discussed the matter with a number of. ophthalmic surgeons and others, and have formed the opinion that 50 per cent. disability assessment is inadequate. Ophthalmic surgeons inform me that it is inadvisable for one-eyed men to follow certain occupations. Soldiers who have lost the sight of one eye as the result of war service, but have no other war disability, have been receiving a permanent pension at 50 per cent. rate for this disability. More recently provision has been made to increase this rate of pension if the sight of the other eye should become defective, and with regard to the degree that it has done so. This means that, if there should be complete loss of sight in the other eye at any time, from any cause whatever, the ex-soldier will be granted a pension at the highest rate of £8 per fortnight. The Government has fully considered the representations made to it, and has decided to authorize the Repatriation Commission to grant an allowance not exceeding 7s. 6d. per week to any ex-soldier who has lost the sight of one eye as a result of war service, provided that such ex-soldier is not eligible for the amount of pension and allowance made available under the fifth schedule of the act, and provided that the amount of pension and allowance combined shall not exceed the full ordinary rate of pension, namely, £2 2s. per week. This arrangement is to be retrospective to the 1st July.
Mr. GREGORY, aschairman, presented reports, together with minutes of evidence, of the Public Works Committee on a building at Canberra to accommodate the National Library and for other purposes, and the construction of the Boys’ Naval Training Establishment at Geelong.
Ordered to be printed. .
– Is the Prime Minister aware that intense dissatisfaction exists in the Public Service, and particularly amongst telegraphists, in regard to the classification made by the Public Service Board. Canany steps be taken to give relief in the matter?
-I have evidence that very considerable dissatisfaction is felt with the classification which was recently published, and that classification is the subject of appeals. When those appeals have been dealt with, the classification will be submitted to the Government, with whom the determination rests as to whether it shall be confirmed.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral when the telephone trunk line, already authorized, between Southern Cross . and Kalgoorlie will be proceeded with?
– This work is looked upon as urgent, and will be expedited as much as possible.
– I ask the Treasurer if there is any truth in the oftrepeated statement made both in this House and elsewhere by certain honorable members of this Parliament that the profits of the Commonwealth Bank have declined since the appointment of the board. What were the profits of the bank for the last half year, and for the corresponding period of the previous year?
– There is no truth whatever in the statement so frequently made that the profits of the Commonwealth Bank have declined since the appointment of the board.
– I rise to a point of order. The question submitted by the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) conveyed the imputation that some members of this House had said something which was false. Such a statement is disorderly. The Treasurer whom some would expect to know better, though I do not, has replied that the statement of honorable members has no truth whatever in it. As I am one of those who made the statement and” believed it to be true, I object to the Treasurer’s reply, and I ask that it be withdrawn, especially as so many have made the statement which has been described as untrue. The Treasurer’s words are a reflection upon honorable members.
– If the question of the honorable member for Gippsland, or . the reply of the honorable the Treasurer, implied untruthfulness on the part of members of this House, it was out of order. I did not hear that implication in the question of the honorable member for Gippsland, and I, therefore, did not notice it in the reply of the honorable the Treasurer. In the circumstances I rely upon the good faith of both honorable members.
– In deference to yourruling, Mr. Speaker, and in view of the tender susceptibilities of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan), I will frame my question in a way that will meet with approval. I should like to ask the Treasurer if the oft-repeated statement, which has been made in this House and elsewhere, that the profits of the Commonwealth Bank have been declining since the appointment of the new board of directors, is correct? I also ask him to state the amount of the profits for the last half-year, and for the corresponding period of the previous year ?
– That question is in correct parliamentary form.
– There is no foundation in fact for the oft-repeated statement that there has been a decline in the profits of the Commonwealth Bank since the appointment of the new hoard. On the contrary, the profits increased from £127,339 for the half-year ended 30th June, 1924, to £200,943 for the corresponding period of 1925. As further evidence of the progress of the Sank, I may mention that during the last six months the deposits in the ordinary Bank increased by £6,250,000, and in the Savings Bank by £1,350,000.
Mr.FOSTER. - Is the Prime Minister aware that an English petroleum geologist has completed a three months’ survey of the south-western portion of Victoria, comprising the area recently inspected by Dr. Wade and the Victorian Government geologist, and has located the anticlinal structure in the parish of Longcoop ? Will the Government consider an application for the payment of a subsidy under its scheme if the money is spent under the supervision and with the approval of the Victorian Government geologist?
– I am not familiar with the details of the survey referred to by the honorable member, and in the absence of that information I cannot state whether the Government is prepared to pay a subsidy on a £1 for £1 basis. If the honorable member will supply me with the particulars his request will be considered and a decision reached as to whether the assistance requested can be granted.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Markets and Migration inform me -
– I cannot give offhand the correct answers to the honorable member’s questions, but if he will place them on the notice-paper I shall have the information supplied. If he cannot do so before the end of the session, I will see that the information is supplied to him.
– Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that if, as a result of reclassification, a lower salary is recommended for any position in the Commonwealth Public Service than is now being paid to the officer holding that position, no reduction will be made so long as the present occupant of an office continues to occupy it?
– When the amending Public Service Bill was before Parliament about twelve months ago, provision was made that reductions in salaries as a result of classification should not operate while the holders of the positions to which they applied remained in office.
Payment of Bounty
– As the cotton-growers of Queensland desire to know the basis upon which the guaranteed price for the 1925-6 cotton crop will be paid, will the Prime Minister give the desired information to the House, and indicate whether the Government is prepared to grant the request of the growers that a Commonwealth bounty of 2d. per lb. be paid on raw cotton instead of the present guarantee?
– The honorable member appears to have overlooked the statement which I made on the subject two or three weeks ago, when I stated definitely the basis for the guaranteed price to which the Commonwealth Government would agree, which had been submitted to the State Governments for approval. The completion of the scheme rests with the State Governments concerned, and particularly with the Government of Queensland.
Duties on Electrical Machinery.
– In view of the fact that this Parliament will not have an opportunity to discuss the tariff schedule tabled recently, will the Minister for Trade and Customs state whether the duties on electrical machinery set out in theschedule wild apply to machinery for big-power schemes?
– Unless electrical machinery that is being imported for bigpower schemes is not being commercially made in Australia, the existing tariff will apply.
– In view of the impending dissolution of Parliament, will the Prime Minister take steps to lay on the table of the House all the awards made by the Public Service Arbitrator, so that members of the Public Service will not be prevented from receiving any of the increases, or participating in any of the benefits, provided for in those awards ?
– I shall look into the matter, ascertain what awards have been made, and endeavour to meet the honorable member’s wishes.
– As voting will be compulsory at the forthcoming elections, will the Prime Minister confer with the Chief Electoral Officer with a view to bringing the change (more prominently under the notice of electors ? I find that a large number of people are totally ignorant of the fact that voting has been made compulsory.
– I shall confer with the Chief Electoral Officer, and endeavour to have steps taken to acquaint the electors with the law. It is now compulsory for all qualified electors to record their votes, and if they fail to do so they will be subject to penalties. It is therefore only equitable that the facts should be brought prominently under their notice.
– When does the PostmasterGeneral intend to answer a letter seat to him on the 14th June by the secretary of the Allowance Postmasters Associa tion in South Australia ? Does the Minister consider it fair to refuse to answer such a letter?
– I have no knowledge of the letter, but I shall inquire concerning it, and send a reply as soon as possible.
Advances to Settlers
– A sum of £500,000 has been placed on the Estimates to enable advances to be made to settlers for the purchase of wire-netting.In the absence of any legislation to authorize that grant, will the Government frame regulations under which the money can be made available during the coming year?
– The Commonwealth Government is already negotiating with the State Governments in regard to this matter, and, if practicable, the money will be made available to settlers at the earliest possible date. At the present moment I cannot say exactly what the Government can do in the absence of legislative authority.
– Has the Prime Minister yet received a subpoena to attendbefore the Deportation Board for the purpose of giving evidence? If he has, will he hasten to obey the summons in accordance with the principle that every mother should feed her own baby?
– So far I have not received a subpoena to attend before any tribunal, therefore there is no need to reply to the second part of the honorable member’s question.
– Can the Prime Minister state whether any arrangement has been completed for the construction of the north-south railway?
– An agreement has been made between the Governments of the Commonwealth and South Australia under which the Commonwealth undertakes to construct a railway to the Macdonnell Ranges by one of two alternative routes. The Government had hoped to embody the agreement in a bill to be submitted to this Parliament at an early date. Unfortunately circumstances have intervened which render that imprac ticable, but soon after the Government is returned to power steps will be taken to have the agreement ratifiedby Parliament.
– If it is the intention of the Treasurer to house the old-age pensions department with some other department in the new buildings now being erected in Adelaide, will he see that the pensions department is accommodated on the ground floor, so that it may be more accessible to the old people who have to do business with it?
– I do not know what rearrangements of office accommodation are being made, butI shall see that the old-age pensions department is so situated that it will be easy of access.
– This House having recently resolved that a royal commission should be appointed to inquire into the affairs of Norfolk Island, will the Prime Minister inform the House how the Government proposes to give effect to that resolution?
– The resolution is of very recent date and the Government has not yet had an opportunityto consider what action shall be taken on it.
– I ask the Minister for Works and Railways whether tenders have yet been called for the construction of the Katherine River to Daly Waters railway? If so, when will the tenders close? If they have closed, when will the Minister announce the name of the successful tenderer ?
– Tenders have not yet been invited.
– Having regard to the provision in the Constitution that no one State, or part of a State, shall receive from the Commonwealth preferential treatment over any other State or part of a State, will the Minister for Trade and Customs make some arrangement by which traders in every port of Australia, who are importing goods from overseas, will be placed on an equality in regard to the new schedule of duties recently tabled in this House? Failing such an arrangement, the earlier ports of call will enjoy a great advantage over the more distant ports.
– I have previously told the House that the duties current on a particular day must be paid on all goods cleared on that day for home consumption in any part of Australia, and it seems to me that the best way to honour both the spirit and letter of the Constitution is to continue that practice; otherwise, endless complications will ensue.
– This House recently approved of a grant of £750,000 for expenditure upon main roads throughout the Commonwealth. Will the Minister for Works and Railways say whether that money will be available immediately, and inform us of the steps that are being taken by his department to allocate the money to the States for distribution to the various local governing bodies?
– The State Governments must first submit their proposals to the Commonwealth. When those have been approved by the Minister for Works and Railways, the money will be available, and. the works can be proceeded with.
– Will the Minister for Trade and Customs, before introducing a bill to validate the new tariff schedule, consider the advisability of increasing the duty on wattle bark imported from South Africa? That bark, which is. the product of black labour remunerated at the rate of about1s. per day, competes with bark grown in the Commonwealth under Australian conditions of labour and wages.
– Apart from the inadvisability of attempting to deal with details of the tariff on the eve of a dissolution, I remind the honorable member that all proposed alterations of the tariff must first be referred to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report.
– Will the Prime Minister take steps to bring about a conference with a view to settling the industrial trouble in connexion with British overseas ships now in Australian ports?
– It is regrettably true that British seamen in Australian ports are on strike, but I remind the honorable member for South Sydney that all those seamen are members of a recognized and properly-constituted union in Great Britain. I am rather surprised that the honorable member, holding the views that he does, should urge me to interfere in the dispute for the purpose of assisting men who are revolting against and flagrantly defying their own union leaders.
Report on Wharf at Darwin.
– The House early in this year referred to the Public Works Committee for report the construction of a wharf at Darwin. The committee has not been able to make a report, and I wish to make a short statement explaining why the report is not ready for presentation. On behalf of the committee, I desire to inform the House that, owing to the inability of the committee to obtain all the evidence necessary, it has not been possible to present a report in regard to the proposed construction of a new wharf at Darwin. On the 16th March, 1925, the committee commenced its inquiry, and took a large amount of evidence in regard to the proposition submitted by the Government for the construction of a concrete wharf in accordance with designs prepared by J. F. Ramsbotham, M. Inst. C.E., M.A.M. Soc. C.E., Director of Lighthouses. During the course of the investigation, the committee learned of the arrival of Sir George Buchanan in Australia, and decided to ask him to give evidence in the matter. On approaching him, however, it was ascertained that he, also, had been asked by the Government to submit, inter aiia, a proposal for the provision of wharfage facilities at Darwin. He expressed his disinclination to give evidence on the proposal while at the same time formulating a scheme of. his own, and intimated that his ideas on the subject would not be available until embodied in a report which he intended to prepare on his return to England - which report might be expected to reach the
Government towards the end of this year. Under these circumstances, the committee feel that it would not be fair, either to the House or to itself, to submit its report until the views of Sir George Buchanan could be obtained. The evidence already taken by this committee will, of course, as provided in the act, be available for use by any subsequent committee dealing with this matter.
– Some two weeks ago I drew the attention of the Minister for Defence to an anomaly in the Defence Department whereunder second-class warrant officers were receiving biennial increments, while all other grades were receiving them annually. Has the Minister yet done anything to rectify that anomaly and injustice?
– I regret that that information is not to-day available to me in the House, but I believe that it was posted to the honorable member last night.
– Recently I drew the attention of the House to the fact that the Commissioner of Pensions, Mr. Collins, had by a minute directed that the invalid pension should not be paid to blind sellers of tobacco, cigarettes and matches in the streets. Will the Treasurer ascertain from the Commissioner his reason for that decision, and see if it is not possible to restore the pension to these blind persons?
– All occupations, such as match making, piano tuning and so forth, which ara regarded as ordinary occupations, the blind are allowed to carry on without deduction from their pension, but the Commissioner of Pensions has decided not to pay the pension to blind persons who follow occupations suggestive of mendicancy.
– In view of the oftrepeated requests for the extension of the north-west aerial mail service from Derby to Wyndham, and the oft-repeated promise that something would be done, will the Minister for Defence give his assurance that this matter will be dealt with at an early date so that on his early relinquishing of office his efforts as a Minister .will not have been entirely barren of result.
– I am obtaining certain information regarding that air service, but I assure the honorable member that until this matter has received the consideration of the Government, I can make no promise respecting it.
– What number of special peace officers have been appointed under the provisions of the Immigration Act applying to deportation, and what are the wages paid to them?
– I cannot carry such figures in my head, but if the honorable member will give notice of his question I shall obtain the information for him.
– Included in the amending tariff schedule are certain items which local manufacture cannot supply, in some cases it being rumored that the articles are not manufactured here at all. Will the Minister defer the duties’ on those items as was done in respect of steel and iron?
– I am unable to extend the legal power that has been given to me by Parliament. The analogy given by the honorable member is not quite in accord with his question, but the tariff, if validated by this House, will be collected until it has been dealt with by the new Parliament; and, of course, the will of Parliament will prevail.
– Will the Minister for Health ask the Institute of Science and Industry, or other suitable authority, to consider whether - (a) the strong glaring lights of motor cars are injurious to human eyes, and if so, can it suggest means of mitigating the evil; and (6) whether the use of hideous motor horns are not injurious to persons of advanced years and of weak nerves and weak hearts, and if so, can it suggest any means of alleviating such evil by using a standard bell similar to that used by the. cable trams or other adequate means?
– I shall make the necessary inquiry, and, if the House is not sitting, give the honorable member a reply by letter.
– Through you, Mr. Speaker, I ask the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) whether the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the manufacture of power alcohol in Australia is yet available to honorable members ?
– The Public Accounts Committee has its report under consideration, and will hand it over to the incoming committee for presentation to the House next session.
– As the construction of the Katherine River bridge is nearing completion, will the Minister for Works and Railways say when tenders will be called for the construction of the railway from Katherine River to Daly Waters?
– The Government has that matter under consideration.
– A long time ago the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), in the heyday of his Ministerial career, assured me that plans and specifications for the erection of a new post office at Northcote were complete. I should like to ask him now, in the evening of his political days, whether that work will be proceeded with immediately?
– That is one of the works that will be completed this year. More than nine months of the year have still to run, and the honorable member may rest assured that that post-office will be completed before it ends.
Application of Permanent Military Forces Veterans Association - Position of Temporary Postmistresses
– Is the Minister for Defence (Sir Neville Howse) in a position to make an announcement in regard to the request madeby a deputation which interviewed me yesterday morning? The matter refers to the repeated applications made to the Government by the Permanent MilitaryForces Veterans Association for provision tobe made for them to come within the scope of the Superannuation Act, or for special compensation in consequence of their omission from it.
– The matter has been considered by Cabinet, and will he considered again ata later date.
-Will the PostmasterGeneral give consideration to making provision for temporary postmistresses to come within the scope of the Superannuation Act? Many of these officers have been in charge of post offices for ten, fifteen, and twenty years, but they are still regarded as temporary, although they are doing all that permanent officers could do. It is not fair that they should be retired without a pension after many years of service.
– It is hardly possible to do as the honorable member suggests. There are about 7,000 temporary employees in the Postmaster-General’s Department. Some are engaged on work that will be completed in the near future. It is impossible to treat them as permanent employees.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral consider making the postmistresses permanent officers if they can pass the necessary examination; say, those who have had ten years’ service.
– I understand that an application for that to be done has been rejected by the Public Service Board.
– If the PostmasterGeneral should be fortunate enough to retain his office after the election, will he be good enough to give consideration to the matter of removing the Melbourne General Post Office, which has been an eyesore in this city for many years ? Does he consider thatSydney would have quietly accepted such a post office for so long a period?
– I shall give consideration to the matter, and let the honorable member have a reply at a later date.
-Has the PostmasterGeneral inquired into the matter I mentioned on the 17th September respecting the wages paid to certain returned soldiers in South Australia? Are the facts as I stated?
– I have made inquiries into the matter. The men are working under a State award. There is no Federal award governing the work.
– I have previously brought under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral the manner in which the Government is evading the payment of the rates prescribed by court and wages board awards. Does he intend to honour the awards that should govern the employment of men in his department of the Service?
– I am not aware of the awards the honorable member has in mind.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
How many stamp licences have been granted in the City of Adelaide -
What are the names and addresses of such licensees?
– This information is being obtained.
Prisoners : Cost of Maintenance
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– It is customary for the State administering the law to bear the expense of the trial, and, when necessary, the subsequent imprisonment of persons accused of breaches of the law. The men referred to by the honorable member were not imprisoned by the shipping companies, but by ordinary process of law.
– On the 20th August, 1925, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) asked me to ascertain the cause of the delay in issuing light metal artificial limbs to exsoldiers. I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that every effort is being made by the Repatriation Commission to utilize light metals in the manufacture of artificial limbs for exsoldiers. Duralumin, which is an aluminium alloy possessing the f actors of strength and lightness, is the most suitable metal. By its introduction into artificial leg making it will be possible to reduce the fatigue of the wearer as a result of decreasing the weight below the knee. The Repatriation Commission aims at issuing, in the first place, a duralumin limb with a wooden foot and socket (bucket) to men who have suffered an amputation above the knee, and this should be possible early in 1926. Regarding the idea of using a wooden socket in the metal limb, the Minister stated that this practice has proved to be completely satisfactory, and, as far as the Repatriation Commission is aware, no country issues an all-duralumin leg as a general rule. However, should duralumin prove satisfactory, the commission proposes to try out the procedure of issuing at a later stage a limb made completely of this metal, with the exception of the foot. As duralumin was not used commercially in the Commonwealth, it was found necessary to gain adequate knowledge bytests in chemical laboratories and elsewhere.In 1924, the commission brought to Australia, from New Zealand, a representative of an English firm of limb makers, who is an arm amputee. It was hoped that he might be able to assist with suggestions that might lead to an early solution of the difficulties relating to the working of duralumin and the issue of light metal limbs. However, this hope was not realized, and, as a matter of fact, this gentleman was surprised to find that the experiments of the commission’s tech nical officers were so far advanced in the working of duralumin. According to the advices received from the Director of Administration, Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment, Canada, dated the 24th July, 1925, that department had not then entered into the manufacture of metal limbs, but were still carrying out experiments and collecting information which would assist in arriving at a future policy. It was further understood that the policy of the South African authorities regarding the issue of metal limbs would be a very conservative one for some time. In the light of the experiments carried out by the Repatriation Department, certain essential tools and dies were manufactured, and machines and furnaces installed for the successful handling of this difficult metal. A special press has also been installed, together with lathes and milling machines, and complete sets of the necessary tools and dies are being manufactured for the commission at the Commonwealth Small-arms Factory at Lithgow, New South Wales, and at the Commonwealth Artificial Limb Factory in Melbourne. The Repatriation Commission is making every effort to expedite this work, and with this end in view has explored the possibility of facilitating the delivery of the tools by utilizing engineering firms. However, after inquiries, it was thought desirable that the tools and dies should be manufactured at the Commonwealth Small-arms Factory and the Commission’s Limb Factory. It may be pointed out that one tool is dependent upon others, and this demands a high degree of accuracy, which takes time. Until all the necessary plant and equipment are installed, it will not be possible to manufacture the components to complete in all detail the desired limb. Progress is therefore, necessarily slow, but there is no avoidable delay.
Larkin Aircraft Supply Company Limited - Miidura to Brokenhill Route
– On the 18th September the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) asked the following questions: -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies: -
– On the 18th September, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) asked the following questions : -
I am now in a position to furnish the. following replies : -
– On the 2nd September, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked the following questions : -
I am now in a position to give the following replies : -
– On the 17th September, the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) asked whether I would make inquiries to ascertain whether the markers at the Port Adelaide Rifle Range are being paid an adequate sum for the services they render on every afternoon on which the range is in use. I now desire to inform the honorable member that army units and rifle clubs are allowed to make their own arrangement for markers, and it is understood that the usual rate offered is 14s. per day, or7s. per half day. On special occasions, such as a prize meeting, 15s. per day is paid.
– On the 18th September, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following questions : -
What monthly rates of wages were paid to able seamen on -
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925?
What is the ration scale for able seamen -
I now desire to inform the honorable member that the replies to his questions are as follows: -
The monthly rate of wages for able seamen on (a) British ships trading from the United Kingdom, and (b) Australian ships, for the years mentioned were as follows: -
Note.-From the 7th October, 1918, to the 1st May, 1920, a war zone bonus of £3 per month was also paid to able seamen on British oversea ships.
*Note.- Since 24th March, 1922, wages of seamen in Australian ships have, in conformity with the seamen’s award, and, later, the agreement between the seamen and the ship-owners, been subject to adjustment quarterly, in accordance with variations in the cost ofliving.
The statutory minimum scales of provisions for seamen on British and Australian ships, respectively, are -
In each case, provision is made for the substitution, for the principal food substances mentioned, or others of. a. similar nature, and containing, on the whole, “the same or a greater amount of wholesome nutriment .
Motion (by Mr. Marr), by leave, agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-1921, it is expedient to carry out the following work: - Erection of a building at Canberra to accommodate the National Library and for other purposes - which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, and on which it has duly reported to this House the result of its investigations.
The f ollowing papers were presented : -
Western Australia - Report, together with Appendices, of the Royal Commission on the Finances of Western Australia, as affected by Federation.
Ordered to be printed.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 21 of 1925 - Amalgamated Postal Linemen,. Sorters and Letter Carriers’ Union of Australia.
No. 22 of 1925 - Line Inspectors’ Association.
No. 23 of 1925 - Commonwealth Storemen and Packers’ Union.
Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Report by the Auditor-General upon the Accounts of the Trustees of the Fund for the year 1924-25.
Inscribed Stock Act - Dealings and Transactions during the year ended 30th June, 1925.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act - Ordinance of 1925 - No. 16 - Licensing (No. 2) - Public Service Ordinance 1913- 1925 - Regulations.
Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1925. Nos. 128, 129, 143, 144, 153, 154, 160.
Public Service Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1925, Nos. 161, 162.
Motion (by Mr. Pratten) agreed to -
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to provide for the validation of collections of duties of Customs under tariff proposals.
Bill presented by Mr. Pratten, and read a first time.
Mr. PRATTEN (Martin- Minister for
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to validate the collection of duty under the tariff proposals contained in the motion submitted to this House on the second day of this month. At present Customs duties are being collected under the authority of the Customs Tariff 1921-1924, and of the recently proposed resolution. As honorable members are aware, it is the practice to collect duties immediately upon a proposed resolution being tabled. In view of- the impending dissolution, time will not permit of the tariff proposals being debated in the usual way and finally embodied in an act of Parliament. It is, therefore, necessary to take this action to continue the collection of the duties specified in the resolution until the new Parliament can proceed with the discussion and enactment of the proposals, or otherwise decide, as it may think fit. In the absence of a validating act, the proposals would lapse at the dissolution, and any amounts of duty paid in excess of the rates of the Customs Tariff 1921-1924 -would have to be refunded to the importers. A further effect would be to abolish the additional protection which the many industries concerned are receiving by reason of the proposals. Honorable members will clearly understand that the passing of this bill is intended to have no further effect than to continue the present position until the new House can proceed with the consideration. In vie.w of that object the duration of this measure is specifically limited to a period of twelve months. It will then cease to have effect unless action has been taken by Parliament in the meantime. The action now proposed, is identical with that taken in similar circumstances in 1917 and 1919. In 1917, the present AttorneyGeneral (Sir Littleton Groom), who was then Minister for Trade and Customs, asked the House to ratify a- certain resolution regarding the collection of Customs duties, and the House did so. Again, in 1919, similar action was taken at the request of Senator Massy Greene, the then Minister for Trade and Customs. In view of the peculiar circumstances associted with the introduction of this bill, I trust that it will be passed without undue delay.
.- In view of the impending dissolution of Parliament, .this measure is necessary. It is, therefore, not my intention to delay it. Unless the tariff proposals which were recently before us are validated, refunds of duty collected will have to be made in certain cases, as has been pointed out by the Minister. I want, however, to express my regret that the Government did not introduce its tariff proposals much earlier. For three years estimates have been presented to. this House of the amount of revenue expected from Customs duties, and on each occasion the amount received from that source has greatly exceeded the estimate. Treasurers have been made to look- like schoolboys. Both the right honorable the Prime Minister and the present Treasurer, in the capacity of Treasurer, have made estimates of the revenue expected from customs duties, but the amount actually received shows that such a flood of imports has entered the Commonwealth that Australian industries have, to a great extent,, been strangled…
– The present Government was returned on the promise that this matter would be attended to.
– The present Minister for Trade and Customs is recognized as a staunch protectionist, but it would appear, from the unsatisfactory schedule which has been placed before us, that he has got into bad company. Probably the influence, of the Country’ party in the Composite Ministry has been the cause of the injury done to Australian industries in this connexion. .Members on this side of the House believe that Australian industries should be protected against foreign competition, and that, so far as is possible, Australia should be made selfcontained. I hope that the new parliament will see that adequate protection is given to Australian industries. There are some things which Australia cannot produce, and it is not right that heavy duties should be imposed on such articles ; the effect would be merely to place an additional burden on the consumer. That aspect of- the tariff, should be taken into consideration when next it comes before us. Where both Customs and Excise duties are imposed on certain articles, it would be better to reduce the Excise duty than to increase the Customs duty. Whatever government is in power in the next Parliament should take this question into early “ and earnest consideration, in the interests of Australian industries and the ‘ development df this country.
.- I do not propose to discuss this question at any length. I realize that at a time like this it is impossible for us to give the questions arising out of the tariff schedule the attention and consideration which they deserve. It is essential that the tariff should be validated for the time being. When the next Parliament meets, I presume that the schedule now under consideration, or a new schedule, will be brought before us, and an opportunity will be afforded to discuss the merits of the duties proposed. The Leader of the Opposition, like a boa-constrictor, is apparently prepared to swallow everything, but, like the legendary boa-constrictor, he may find that he will have his tail in his own mouth, and swallow his policy or himself. That is indicative of what is likely to happen to the industries of Australia if the honorable gentleman and the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) have their own way, seeing that they are not satisfied with the enormous duties now imposed upon goods imported into this country. Are we to contend that only those who manufacture goods and those employed by them are to be considered? Are we not to consider at all the great primary producers of the country, and the difficulties placed in their way by these continued Customs exactions? ‘ In 1914, a Labour Government brought forward certain proposals for the protection of the industries of Australia. They gave rise to very little complaint, because it was felt that they did not propose undue protection for local industries, except in a few cases, such as those for the manufacture of hats and boots, which, by the way, have not progressed under the high protection duties imposed in their interests. Moreover, there is a limit to the amount. which the producer can afford to pay for his requirements, and we have already passed that limit. In 1920, however, a- Government proposed duties on iron and steel to the extent of over £1,500,000 annually, and, as a result, increased the cost pf almost every article manufactured in Australia. The Minister for Trade and Customs was not satisfied with the enormous duties that were imposed on iron and steel. He will not allow, without imposing a dumping duty, any British iron or steel to be imported into Australia at a lower price than the Australian wholesale price. This
Parliament fixes the duties to be collected under the tariff, and then the Minister for Trade and Customs, at the instigation of some private firm, the Tariff Board, or the Customs Department, may impose further duties upon certain articles. The position has become almost intolerable. However, I have said that I do not propose at this juncture to discuss the matter at any great length. I hope that the people of this country, and especially the workers in Australian industries, will begin to realize what these enormous exactions mean. The breadwinners of Australia must suffer from the huge increased cost of living which must follow from these imposts. I hope that there will be an opportunity for some propaganda to enable the workers especially to realize that by supporting a high protective tariff they are only helping to create a few millionaires, and .to build up industrial combines in this country. We should try to assist the Australian manufacturer and the Australian worker to become efficient. They should be made to realize that the people of the United States of America, although paying wages from 30 to 100 per cent, higher than the wages paid in Australia, can produce the same class of goods at half the price. While we desire to build up industries in the Commonwealth, we also desire that they should be efficiently conducted. I” see no reason why Australian manufacturers should not be able to compete with manufacturers in Great Britain and the United States of America, the countries from which we get most of our imports. I am not seeking favours from any person, and it is not my intention to hobble around and tell some manufacturer that I have tried to do something for him by giving him protection, paid for out of the pockets of the people of Australia. I shall not do that kind of thing, even to benefit the workmen engaged in a particular industry. I prefer to consider the interests of the people of Australia as a whole. I am prepared to give a moderate protection to the industries of the country, but we cannot afford the Customs duties which are at present being proposed.
.- I do not intend to say very much. The speech made by the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) would lead one to believe that the schedule under consideration represents really a high protectionist tariff. As a matter of fact, it is a most inadequate tariff from a protectionist point of view. I am inclined to suspect that the purpose of the honorable member is to convince the people that this is a protectionist tariff.
Mr.Mann. - He should have no difficulty in doing that.
– He would have considerable difficulty if he had the Australian outlook. It is because the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) has not the Australian outlook, and is more concerned with flooding this country with cheap importations from foreign countries than with building up the industrial life of Australia, that he talks as he does. This is but a half-baked apology for a protectionist tariff, and yet we have these protests from members of the Corner party, who pretend to be representing Australian interests in this Parliament. I wish we had an opportunity to discuss the tariff. Because of its inadequacy, quite a number of industries will be closed down before Parliament meets again. We have been waiting for a revision of thetariff for three years. Never was there a time in the history of this country when the industries of Australia were crying out more for protection than they have been in the last three years.
– Does thehonorable member not think that this job should be finished before we go to the country?
– The job is too big for the dying hours of this Parliament, and it should have been undertaken in its first session. That was the time when Australian industries were crying out for protection, when the flood of imports was greater than it had ever been before. I remember that, in 1922, the then leader of the honorable member for Swan was leading the Corner party, and told the Treasurer of the day (Mr. Bruce), when that gentleman took credit for the increased Customs revenue, that instead of doing so he should go into sack-cloth, and put ashes on his head.
– Who said that?
– The honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), who is now Treasurer of the Commonwealth. He was then criticizing the budget of his present leader. The revenue derived from Customs that year was £17,000,000, but the Customs revenue for the year just closed reached £26,000,000. What does this £26,000,000 represent? It does not represent flourishing Australian industries, but the flooding of this country with imports from other countries. In the last three years the Treasurer has received in Customs revenue £21,000,000 more than was received by his predecessor during a similar period. This is represented, not in the increased prosperity of Australia, but in languishing industries, factories partly closed down, and the biggest army of unemployed that we have had here for twenty years. Those engaged in the strawboard industry in my electorate were induced by the Federal Government to install newmachinery when, owing to the war, tin plates could not be imported, and strawboard was extensively used for containers. The Minister for Trade and Customs told these people that if they put in additional plant the Government would guarantee them protection. They put in one machine which alone cost £60,000, and it has hardly turned a wheel, and is standing idle to-day because the straw board which should be manufactured in this country is being imported from Holland. The industry for the production of aluminium ware is also in a struggling condition. It submitted an unanswerable case for a high protective duty to the Tariff Board, but its application was turned down, and that industry, as well as the straw board industry will be closed before Parliament, is called together again, and numbers of people will be thrown out of work. I have given two illustrations of the conditions prevailing in Australia as a result of inadequate tariff protection. People who call themselves protectionists say now that we could not expect to do anything in the dying hours of the Parliament. Why was this matter left to the dying hours of the Parliament % In some instances the tariff schedule proposed will do some measure of good to the industries of this country, but I condemn the Government for not having brought down the tariff two years ago, and for not including in the schedule duties for the assistance of deserving industries that require protection. Three years ago the imports to Australia .amounted in value to £100,000,000. Last year the value of the imports was £150,000,000.
– Many of our imports are from Germany.
– Yes, from a country with which honorable members opposite said they would never trade again. Our imports have assumed vast proportions, whilst armies of unemployed are walking our streets. I protest with the Leader of the Opposition that we have to close up this Parliament without the opportunity to frame a tariff that would give real protection to the industries of Australia.
.- -We are asked to pass this measure to validate the collection of Customs duties under the new schedule for twelve months to come. These duties will be collected without the Blouse having an opportunity to discuss the items, or to express an opinion on the rates of duty which the schedule proposes. We are about to face an election on a question on which I am prepared to follow my leader through thick and thin, but next to that question, and to my mind second only to it in importance to the electors of this country, is the tariff issue which is largely involved in this measure. At the coming election I intend to fight the present policy for the collection of Customs duties. I am prepared to discuss it with the electors, but I want here and now to protest against this schedule, its nature and its terms, against it being forced upon us in this way, and against the people being compelled, in the circumstances in which we are now placed, to pay these duties for the next twelve months. It is common knowledge that huge quantities of goods ordered months in advance, in accordance with the ordinary trade practice, to meet the forthcoming summer season in Australia, are being heavily burdened with duties under this tariff - duties which, I venture to say, have actually staggered the people of this country. The prices of some articles will thus be increased by from 800 per cent. to. 900 per cent. Some of the duties are not merely apparently, but confessedly, prohibitive. An immense burden will be laid on the people of this country by these new duties. I object to them, particularly at this juncture, for two reasons. I will fight second to none against the invasion of our body politic by socialism and communism, and I object to the policy embodied in the tariff, because it is socialistic. A tariff of this nature is pure socialism. The effect of these duties in increasing the cost of living to the people of Australia will be to cause hardships and to decrease still further the purchasing power of money. The reduced purchasing power pf money is at the bottom of much of the discontent and unrest that we hear of to-day, and it is a seedbed for the poisonous weeds of socialism and communism. I wish to make it perfectly clear that at the forthcoming election the main conflict will be with those forces which disrupt and destroy law and order in this country, but at the same time I purpose to fight this ruinous protective policy. I am sure that honorable members can hardly understand what some of these llew duties mean, or they would not. support them. The more one studies them the more far-reaching they appear to be, and the more difficult of justification they become. I was pleased to hear the speech just made by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), because, if he thinks that the duties imposed are not high enough, the people of Australia will be able to gather from his remarks what he and his party will be likely to do if ever they get into power. The treatment that the people may then expect will be that threatened to Jeroboam and Israel by Rehoboam. Instead of chastising the people with whips, they will chastise them with scorpions. It is just as well that the people should know this. The burden of some of the items in this schedule will, fall with almost crushing force on the working people of this country. Honorable members opposite, while they talk of improving the condition of lie work, ing people, lay upon them burdens which are grievous to be borne. What care they if the people are taxed, and taxed, and taxed, if by those taxes and the discontent which they create they can produce in the body politic a favorable harbourage for their social doctrines? Some of the duties in this schedule will increase to a staggering extent the prices of numberless articles of clothing purchased by the poorer classes of the community.
– That is not true.
– I ask the honorable the Minister towithdraw that statement.
– The honorable the Minister knows that he has used an unparliamentary expression.
– I withdraw the expression, and say instead that the honorable member’s information is incorrect.
– I suggest that the honorable the Minister should reserve his correction until later.
– Had an opportunity been provided for Parliament to discuss this tariff, I should have produced mathematical proof of the statements I am now making. This is not the proper occasion to do that, but I am quite prepared to stand by what I have said. The price of many articles of clothing will be increased to an enormous extent. Material which is not only not made in this country, but cannot possibly be made hereunder the most favorable circumstances for many months to come, is subjected to increased taxation. Australia imports materials from all parts of the world for making the cheaper classes of clothing; I refer particularly to cotton tweeds. Let honorable members oppositeinquire to what extent cotton tweeds are used in the making of clothing for those whom they claim to represent.
– What if the people of Australia are making cotton tweeds today?
– The people of Australia have not made them., are not making them, and cannot make them for months to come. The Minister has said that they are making them. They have made nothing more than some samples, which are inferior to the tweeds imported. On this subject I know what I am talking about. The burden which these duties will place on the people of this country will be very heavy, and it will fall on the working classes thathonorable members opposite claim to represent. Going farther afield, we find that additional special burdens are placed on the small producers in the country. There is a heavy duty on small power plants, whereby the users of uptodate oil-driven and electric power plants are heavily burdened. Everyfarmer who wants to install such a plant to carry on the operations of his farm will be charged an additional duty of from 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. Every windmill that a farmer uses will be taxed more heavily than before. Every attempt that is made in the country to generate and distribute electric energy will be handicapped by additional duties. The duties on spirits can have no other result than to increase to certain manufacturers profits which they are not justified in making, having regard to the estimation in which their goods are held by the public. Certain concessions have been made in regard to oils, but a duty has been placed on oils for making lubricants, and now, forsooth, a further announcement is made that the Minister intends to impose a dumping duty on lubricating oils This means that every farmer and every engineer in this country will have to pay an extra tax on oil for the lubricating of machinery.The more one looks into this new schedule, the more monstrous the duties appear. The new rate of duty by the piece or the yard on cloths and fabrics is simply staggering, and will fall with special severity upon the poorer classes of people.
Mir. Gregory. - The duties on silks are not similarly increased.
– This has been rightly called a rich man’s tariff. It is a tariff to oppress the poor, and I am surprised that honorable members opposite contend that it should be heavier.I am content to hear the statement of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), and to take it into the electorates, and explain to the people what it means. The people will be able to judge for themselves. I protest against these rates of duties being imposed, and I say that so that my position may be made perfectly clear. I so out to support a leader for whom I personally have the greatest admiration, respect, and enthusiasm ; but I believe that the responsibility for these duties must rest, not upon him, but upon the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten). We know what Cabinet control is, and what Cabinet organization must be. A Minister in charge of a department must have a certain amount of freedom, and must accept some individual responsibility. I affirm with the greatest seriousness that the Minister, in imposing these heavy duties, is doing something which is inimical to his leader and his party, and is not in accordance with the platform of that party.
– This is a new kind of criticism.
– And I am making it frankly, not only here, but also in the electorates. No matter what the result of the election may be on the main issues submitted to the people, if the Nationalist party returns to power with a big majority, as I believe it will, I shall insist that its re-election shall not be taken as a public endorsement of this high protectionist, prohibitionist policy.
.-. The speech of the honorable member for Perth (Mi-. Mann) should show the electors where the Government stands. At the last elections the definite promise was given that the secondary industries of this country would receive more adequate protection, and we now know why that promise was not honoured. We have had the witness in the box, and he has shown that the Government would have lost the support of honorable members in the corner if it had brought down a new tariff schedule when it should have brought it down - eighteen months ago. The honorable member, in his tirade just before going to the polls, would naturally like to throw all the onus of the misdeeds of the Government on the shoulders of honorable members on this side of the House. The tariff schedule was not criticized by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) » from the standpoint of the honorable member for Perth. The honorable member for Yarra said nothing about the relative size of the duties in the schedule; he merely complained that certain industries had not had their tariffs re-arranged. It is all very well for the honorable member for Perth to twist the statements made by the honorable member for Yarra. I stand for the full protection df Australian industries, but I am not satisfied that this new schedule is fully protective in its incidence. The new tariff should have been submitted earlier, so that the duties could have been arranged according to the will of Parliament. That right has been denied to honorable members because members of the Government could not agree among themselves. The Government, evidently, was afraid of displeasing its supporters in the corner. That has always been the trouble with this Government. Honorable members opposite will ask the people to return them again to Parliament on the pro mise that they will care for the secondary industries. The Government has waited till the eve of a dissolution before even considering the adequate protection of the manufacturing industries, and if it is returned to power it will be, as it is now, dependent upon the support of those honorable members on the ministerial cross benches who criticise the protectionist policy. Oil and water will not mix, and so long as there is in office a Government composed of two mutually antagonistic elements, so long will the secondary industries of the Commonwealth languish, with resultant unemployment.
– I agree with the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) in deploring the fact that duties should have been imposed without this House having had an opportunity for the ample discussion of them. That may well be the feeling of all honorable members. But the Government has, for reasons that it considers sufficient, decided to appeal to the people, and in the circumstances it must either deny the secondary industries the benefit of those higher duties which after long and sober reflection the Tariff Board has recommended or take immediate action, and the Minister has decided to ask the House to agree without debate to their imposition. The Government has, in the circumstances, I think, adopted the right course. An appeal to the country having been determined upon, it is essential that the tariff should be disposed of by a summary method, and only generalities can now be discussed. The schedule as a whole I accept, as we all must do, but I do not, and, I assume, the Minister does not, regard it as embodying all that is necessary for the adequate protection of our secondary indus-tries. In some respects it might be amended with advantage. One glaring omission, I am told, is due entirely to the laxity of those engaged in the iron and steel industry. Whether or not that is so, it is most unfortunate that the fundamental industry upon which the whole modern industrial edifice is based, should not have received that ample measure of consideration which its importance demands. However, we are promised that that omission shall be attended to later. I should not have risen had not the honorable members for Swan (Mr. Gregory) and Perth (Mr. Mann) made an attack upon the national policy of protection. Their words sounded to me as the cries of those in the swirling waters of the flood must have sounded to Noah safe in the Ark. I understand and sympathise with’ the attitude of those honorable gentlemen in so far as it is not colored by their environment, for it is a singular fact that all free traders in this House represent constituencies to which, from their very nature, no policy other than free trade is likely to be acceptable. I, too, have in days gone by spoken in a pathetic and reproachful way of what is now the national policy of Australia, but for me. as for Saul .of Tarsus, one revelation sufficed, and since then I have been amongst those who see things not “through a glass darkly,” but as they are. For many years protection has been the settled policy of thi? country, and those who are tilting at it are like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. They resemble people who would abandon the Copernican system of astronomy and revert to the Ptolemaic theory. For the last twenty years no one has been . able to successfully challenge the protectionist policy of Australia. I was amazed to hear the honorable member for Perth say that protection is a socialistic policy; that it imposes intolerable burdens on the people, and that these evils will be intensified if honorable members opposite attain to office, because they will impose more protection and still more protection. The honorable member for Perth surely does not understand that he could not have given to the cause of his opponents a more effective fillip than he has given by that statement. Look about this great city of Melbourne ! Consider the distribution of population throughout the Commonwealth ! Do not honorable members on the ministerial cross benches frequently complain that our population is so disproportionately settled in the cities that country interests are neglected ? Yet the honorable member for Perth says that the policy of the Opposition will cater more effectively for the needs of that vast population which finds its needs and opportunities in the cities and industrial centres. The contention of the honorable member is without foundation.
The answer to the statement that protection is socialism was supplied by the honorable member for Swan, who said that in ‘ America, notwithstanding the payment of higher wages than are paid in Australia secondary production is less costly. According to the honorable member for Perth, America is a socialistic country; but it is, as every honorable member knows, at once the most highly protected and the most individualistic country in the. world. Every shop is an open shop, and no person in America, except, perhaps, La Follette, has dared to challenge its individualistic policy. It is nonsense to say that protection is socialism; it is the negation of socialism. The statement that protective duties impose hardships and burdens on the people is nonsense. Compare the conditions of the masses in freetrade England with the conditions of the masses in Australia and America. On the one hand, the workers are thrust down by the absence of protective duties, and they starve and industries languish. On the other hand, in America, where the duties are higher than in any other country in the world, and in Australia, too, the proletariat live an incomparably better life than do the people of freetrade England. When America first imposed protective duties, she passed through the same stages as Australia is passing through now, but when at length she ‘was able to get her home markets for her own producers, she achieved those economies which are possible only by mass production. The national character of the American people and the protectionist policy have gone hand in hand, allowing the inventive’ genius and boundless energy of the people free scope. America is what she is by the grace of- God, the qualities she inherited from the Anglo-Saxon ‘ race, and by her protectionist policy. In essence, Americans and Australians are children of the same mother. Where America has led, Australia can follow. I do not accept the schedule as wholly sufficient; even the duties which it does impose are not satisfactory. Much remains to be done. Amongst -the anomalies in the schedule is the item relating to crude oil. But I am assured- that arrangements will be made whereby crude oil for fuel purposes will be made available on land as well as for marine engines. The honorable member for Perth spoke of the protectionist policy as if it had nothing to its credit. But its record is one of amazing achievements. One person out of every five in Australia finds a good living as a result of the national protectionist policy. Over 320,000 males and 120,000 females are employed in the manufacturing industries, and they handled last year £348,000,000 worth of material and, in the course of manufacture, added to it £141,000,000 in value. These figures will compare with the output of wheat and wool. We are dealing with great national industries, and were it not for the protection policy Australia would be in a very bad way. Our feet are now set upon the national road, despite the existence in the tariff of a number of things that are far from satisfactory. We are following in the wake of the greatest of all modern nations, which but yesterday was nothing and to-day fills the whole heavens with its material glory, inspiring us to further efforts; for what America is to-day Australia will be to-morrow.
.- Every calling has its troubles and compensations, and although in my political career I have had many troubles, yet one of my greatest compensations has been to listen to the speech just delivered by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) in favour of the effective protection of Australia. Strange to say, this honorable gentleman was at one time considered to be the holder of a blue ribbon among extreme freetrade advocates. This is mother striking example of the growth of Australian feeling. The subject before the House, which permits of a general discussion of the tariff, is a tempting one, but like other honorable members I am prepared to let the people of Australia settle the big. issues that will be placed before them at the next election. To me the tariff schedule is a thing of shreds and patches. It contains many anomalies and is not framed at all in the interests of Australian industries. The Commonwealth Constitution provides that this Parliament shall pass no legislation that has the effect of placing one State or any part of a State in a better position than another State. I was sorry to hear from the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) to-day, that an injustice which is being suffered by some persons in Aus tralia to-day cannot be remedied. Certain goods have been ordered from overseas by Australian traders. After the vessel carrying those goods has called at, say, Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne, the amending tariff schedule is laid on the table ofthis House and the duty on the goods is increased, say, 10 percent. The vessel arrives at a Tasmanian port a few days later, and some of the goods are landed under the increased tariff. This gives a decided advantage to the traders on the mainland as compared with those in Tasmanian or inother distant ports of Australia.
– Conversely, where reductions have been made in the duty, the traders in the more distant ports would have an advantage.
-I ask the honorable member to what extent have reductions been made? In this instance the traders in Tasmanian and other distant ports of Australia are placed at a serious disadvantage, with the result that the Melbourne traders are able to flood the Tasmanian market with goods for which the traders there have to charge a 10 per cent. increase in order to obtain the same profit. The Minister to-day said in effect that the difficulties in the way made it impossible to remedy this anomaly. This matter should engage the most serious attention of the Minister and the Tariff Board, and they should try to devise some means to carry out the spirit as well as the letter of the Constitution, and to place the traders in every part of Australia on the same basis so far as the imposition of duty upon certain classes of goods is concerned. I hope that the next government will bring in a really protectionist tariff.I asked in this House the other day a question concerning two very serious grievances which today exist in respect of Tasmania. I referred to the establishment of the paper pulp industry, which should be the key industry of Australia, and to the timber industry, which is being absolutely strangled by the absence of a proper protectionist policy. The Minister a few days ago, when tabling the Tariff Board’s report on timber, stated that the board was against imposing any increased duty on imported timber. If that is so, its recommendation is entirely against the evidence of experts in Australia. I hope that the Ministerwill do something to remedy the injustices that have been perpetrated because of the imposition of duties under the amending tariff schedule.[Quorum formed.]
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) blamed the Government for not introducing the amending tariff schedule earlier, but I blame the Government for bringing it in at all, except in respect of those items effecting reductions in the already overburdened tariff. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) seemed to think that honorable members representing Western Australia opposed the tariff schedule because of the particular wind that blew in that State. He said that in tilting at protection we were like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. The right honorable gentleman himself knows something about tilting at windmills. Formerly he was one of the greatest freetraders in the Commonwealth. He must be influenced considerably by the political and fiscal winds that periodically blow about his ears. Western Australian representatives have very good reasons for their attitude towards the Tariff. The people of that State are always paying, while other States are always receiving. I have no doubt that the report of the royal commission on Western Australian disabilities, which was tabled to-day, will provide substantial evidence to that effect. The right honorable member for North Sydney was Prime Minister of Australia at a time when the price of the commodities we were selling was falling and the price of the commodities that we were buying was rising. In reply to a deputation that waited on him during that period he saidwe ought to pray in two ways - first, that the price of the things that we had to sell would rise; and, secondly, that the price of the things which we had to buy would fall. His attitude is quite inconsistent. A higher tariff, such as it is intended to impose, must necessarily increase the cost of living. That will mean that the arbitration courts will be obliged to award higher rates of pay to our working people. The whole trend of things is to make Australia more insular than ever. I do not want a full-dress tariff debate this after noon, but I should certainly like to address myself at much greater length than I shall do to the matter. I should do so but for the reason that the Government has decided to go to the country. The heavy tariff burdens imposed upon our people cause harmful effects which are only second to those caused by bolshevism. I believe in law and order. A government like ours, elected upon an adult franchise, should certainly govern the country. It should exercise all the power that the people thought they were conferring upon it. Neither the tariff, nor anything else, is of more consequence than that the Government should really maintain control of our affairs. The tariff, however, is very important. The right honorable member for North Sydney referred to the number of persons employed in our secondary industries. But has the other aspect of the matter ever been considered? I asked the. Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten) this afternoon what effect this tariff schedule would have on imported electrical machinery. Western Australia has no chance of developing industrial power from flowing rivers or any other hydraulic source, but she has a coal deposit at Collie which the people in the south-western district hope to utilize for the development of electrical power, A capital of £200,000 is required to establish the scheme. The people have approached the Commonwealth Government and the State Government, and are now trying private sources to help them raise this money. The imposition of this tariff might mean that their machinery would cost an extra £80,000 or £90,000. If that should be the case they will probably have to abandon their scheme.
– Western Australia needs a hydro-electrical scheme such as Tasmania has.
– Tasmania would be in a much better position if the scheme had not been over-capitalized. Some honorable members in this chamber have a habit of talking about big Australians. Do they not believe that our own people should have preference over foreigners? I asked a member of the Ministry the other day whether he would sell me Australia’s surplus of sugar at the price he is prepared to sell it overseas. He replied “ No.” I then asked him whether he would sell me Australia’s surplus jam at the price he would sell it to New Zealand. He again replied in the negative. I next inquired whether he would sell wire netting made in Australia cheaper in New Zealand than in Australia. He said, “ Yes.” This is very strange, when we remember how necessary wire netting is to our farmers to enable them to combat the rabbits and the dingoes. Such a policy is not in the interests of our people. If we desire to provide work for our unemployed we must establish our industries on businesslike lines. The other day I inquired from a boot manufacturer in Collingwood whether the bootmaking industry was in a good position here. It has been protected in this State for more than 40 years. It has been spoonfed. It has, so to speak, been wearing a silver slipper, for it has had great assistance from the Government. The manufacturer replied, “ The industry is in a bad way.” I asked, “Do you want more protection?” He replied. “No, we do about 96 per cent. of Australia’s business now, and if we had twice as much protection we could not get the other 4 per cent.” I then asked, “Why do you not sell outside of Australia?” He replied, “We cannot do so, for our cost of production is too great.” That is a good illustration of the result of the protectionist policy. Our industries reach a certain stage, but can develop no further. They come to a dead end. The right honorable member for North Sydney quoted figures this afternoon to show the number of people employed in our secondary industries. I cannot help it if the right honorable member is not in the chamber; he comes in here when he has anything to say, catches Mr. Speaker’s eye, makes his speech, . and then disappears. In reply to his remarks this afternoon I wish to say that Australia depends upon her primary and not upon her secondary industries. Our wool, wheat, butter, timber, fruit, meat, and a few other products create 95 per cent. of our wealth. It is most unfortunate that our area under wheat crop was less last year than in any of the previous three years. Australia does not recognize who is her breadwinner. In our domestic life we are all aware that when a mother gives her child a pair of new shoes or stockings the child thinks they come from the mother, when, as a matter of fact, they are purchased out of the father’s earnings. The family breadwinner, who has to maintain a wife and, say, six children, may earn from £6 to £8 per week. Everything that comes into his household has to be paid for out of his earnings. Mary’s new socks are paid for out of father’s earnings, notwithstanding that mother presents them to her; and so is Johnny’s top. The statistical record presented to honorable members by our Statistical Department contains a table showing the relative values of our manufactured material. I wish to point out that in many cases the raw material used in those manufactures costs less in Australia than in any other country. Our primary industries that produce that raw material are really the backbone of the country, and not our secondary industries which use it. Our secondary industries do not bring a penny of new money here. In these circumstances, we should be doing everything possible to stabilize our primary industries. We are not doing that by paying bounties and building a high tariff wall. These simply keep up the price of goods. They also enable Australian wire netting manufacturers to sell their wire netting cheaper in New Zealand than in Australia. We cannot develop our country by these means. I am extremely sorry that this tariff will be plastered on the country for twelve months without our having had a reasonable opportunity to discuss it. The fiscal policy of Australia should not be, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, unalterable. Contingencies which arise from time to time, false policies that are adopted, inefficiency that is apparent in our industries, and other factors, ought surely to be sufficient to cause us to reconsider our position. We cannot develop our industries by this futile, hopeless, . and worthless policy of protection, nor can we, by it, provide employment for our people. The increased duties will not provide more employment. Our imports are increasing, as is also the cost of living. Mention has been made of the United States of America, but I point out that that country has set out to obtain efficiency in every sphere of activity. I have no objection to high wages so long as men are willing to work in order to produce wealth for the wages they receive. This tariff is an incentive to wealthy manufacturers to combine to fleece the people of Australia. It will further increase the cost of living, and hobble the bread-winner, the man who produces the real wealth of the country. In Melbourne there is a body called the New Settlers League; of which the Lord Mayor is a member. I have here a cartoon which, while not intended to be disrespectful, shows a man with a shovel in his hand, a dozen other men on his head, and some on his shoulders. The man with the shovel is told that he is a fine fellow, because he is about to go on the land to produce wealth so that the others may live. These people in Melbourne, in order to make it possible for Victorians to exist, support a high tariff, and are making it impossible for the man on the land in “Western Australia to compete in the world’s markets with his produce. The primary industries which produce the real wealth of Australia are declining, because of this hot-house treatment of our secondary industries. If the breadwinner of the house passes out, Johnny will have to do without his top. and Mary without her stockings. The primary producer has reached the breaking point. I warn the House against a continuance of this policy. As certainly as the sun will rise to-morrow, the present fiscal policy of Australia will not always be the accepted policy of the people of this country.
.- I take exception to the turn that this debate has taken, and particularly to the remarks of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) that a high tariff makes for communism. It would appear that during the forthcoming campaign many things will be said to tend towards communism. Not only will every act of the Labour party be said to be communistic, but we shall hear the advocates of free- trade thundering out the cry that even the high tariff proposals of this law-and-order Government make for communism. If that be so, I contend that not only the members of the Tariff Board, but also the Minister for Trade and Customs, should immediately be deported. There is, however, a good deal in some of the remarks made ‘ by honorable members from Western Australia, with regard to the effect of the tariff on that State. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) said that high protection is the negation of socialism; he pointed to the
United States of America as an example of a country which is extremely individualistic. While in my opinion a high protective tariff has nothing to do with communism or socialism, I agree with the right honorable member that the present fiscal policy of Australia has come to stay. Nevertheless, the representatives of Western Australia have a duty to perform in pointing out that not only does the high tariff not assist the secondary industries of the eastern State, but it is placing an unwarranted burden on the primary producers of Western Australia.
– Differential treatment in favour of one State is not permissible under the Constitution.
– I do not suggest that. The preponderance of members from the more thickly populated eastern States makes it difficult for the views of Western. Australian members to carry much weight in this chamber. In these matters we can only make a gesture, as on every occasion we are outvoted. Nevertheless, we should not be justified in keeping our lips closed, and failing to point out that under these proposals the gold-mining industry of Western Australia must inevitably succumb. The heavy imposts proposed in connexion with mining machinery will practically sound the death knell of that industry.
– Is that the opinion of the Leader of your party ?.
– I ask the honorable member if it is his opinion, and I repeat the question to the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory). On this question I speak for myself, and the honorable member should do the same. He would not assist me to obtain relief from these duties by crossing the chamber to support any amendment which I might move. I challenge him to follow me and the honorable members for Swan and Perth in trying to get the duties removed from mining machinery. The present duties oh mining machinery are 27£ per cent. British, and 40 per cent, general. Under the proposals now before us those duties will be increased to 40 per cent, and 55 per cent, respectively, but they will not assist the Australian manufacturer. For the gold-mining industry particularly, many machines of a highly technical nature are built in the United States of America and Great Britain. The mining companies of Australia, which have proved their worth over a number of years, will use no other. Yet under these proposals they will have to pay a much higher duty on any such machines which they import.
– They ask for a bounty on gold.
– The report of the royal commission on Western Australian disabilities indicates that the decision of the commissioners was not unanimous, and, therefore, it is doubtful whether the Government will provide for a bounty on gold. Seeing that these additional duties are to be imposed, it is the duty of the Prime Minister, before Parliament rises, to make some pronouncement of the Government’s attitude towards a gold bounty. Without a bounty the imposition of these increased duties will sound the death knell of the goldmining industry. In 1922, and again in 1924, the Tariff Board visited Western Australia, and on each occasion voluminous evidence, showing the necessity for the duties being decreased, was submitted by representatives of (he gold-mining industry. Nevertheless, an increase of the existing duties is now proposed. The members of the Tariff Board, recognizing the parlous condition of the gold-mining industry in Western Australia, stated that they would sympathetically consider the evidence placed before them : but the new tariff schedule does not indicate that they have done so. It is true that some sympathetic references to the industry are contained in the board’s report. In explaining its inability to remove the duty on certain specified mining machinery and parts, because of the necessity for protecting the interests of Australian manufacturers, the Tariff Board expressed sympathy with the gold-mining industry of Western Australia, and stated that it realized the many difficulties confronting that industry. The board added that it was not within the scope of the powers conferred on it to suggest any alternative form of relief to a bounty on gold production. It would appear that we are to have neither relief from heavier duties nor a bounty. The p-old-mining industry did much to make Victoria a prosperous State. Because of these excessive duties, the great auriferous bodies in Western Australia, which have lain dormant for so long, will not now be exploited. It is unscientific to place a duty on something which cannot be manufactured commercially in Australia. I repeat that, even if the duty is increased by 200 per cent., the gold-mining companies of Western Australia will still import certain types of machinery. I cannot see why any protectionist, whether in Victoria or elsewhere, should want to penalize the gold-mining industry of Western Australia. Mention has been made of the duty on steel wire winding ropes. This matter was placed before the Tariff Board, which decided to defer its consideration. The present proposal is practically the same as the old one, except that the words “ locked coil mining ropes “ have been deleted, and the words “ as pre-, scribed by departmental by-laws” inserted in lieu thereof. The lives of men depend on steel wire winding ropes, and mine managers cannot be expected to take risks with untried wire ropes. These ropes are not being manufactured in Australia, and yet the goldmining industry is being penalized by the excessively high duty imposed upon them. The same may be said with respect to dynamo electric machines. If I had time, I could quote voluminous evidence presented to the Tariff Board in connexion with these machines. They are not manufactured in Australia, and there is no chance that they will be manufactured here. In spite of this, the board proposes a duty of 45 per cent, on these machines when of British manufacture, and a duty of 60 per cent, in the general tariff. There is no home market for these goods created in Western Australia by eastern manufacturers, and it is not to be wondered at that honorable members representing country constituencies in Western Australia should protest against the imposition of duties which do not benefit manufacturers in the eastern States, and merely impose an unreasonable burden upon, primary production in Western Australia.
– The Minister says that manufacturers must make a profit, no’ matter what other industries suffer.
– I admit that one or two minor articles used in the mining, industry are admitted free of duty, but the decision to increase the duty on other’ articles, in spite of the representations! made by those interested in the industry,, can only cause great dissatisfaction in Western Australia,, not only with theGovernment, but with federation’ itself.
Crude oil used for power purposes by farmers and miners is to> be admitted free, and that is satisfactory. In gold mining in Western Australia, a new process is about to be adopted - a new treatment of refractory ores is being tried put at Wiluna, which is at present the greatest hope of Western Australia in connexion with mining. Ores found after reaching a certain depth when the miners get into the sulphides zone are found to be very refractory. Mining men have given their attention for some years past to the reduction of these ores, and many experiments have been made. Men wl 10 know a great deal about the mining industry claim that by the oil-flotation process it will be possible to open up a large field of operations at Wiluna that could not be attempted without it. If this is found to be practicable, it will give employment to 4,000 gold miners at the field. The crude oil required for this oil-flotation process will have to pay an increased duty, unless the Minister can see his way, as I hope he will, to assist me in this matter. I earnestly plead with the honorable gentleman to allow the crude oil required in treatment of ore in the mining industry to be admitted on the same terms as that used for ordinary power purposes. There is another article of import in which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews), along with other honorable members, is interested. I refer to lugger chains. These are not manufactured in Australia, and it is not proposed to manufacture them here.
– They were made free some time ago.
– That is not so. I might’ recapitulate shortly the ‘history of the matter. The duty originally imposed upon lugger chains was not paid because they came in under the heading of “machinery and appliances.” The Auditor-General, contrary to the wishes of the Customs Department, held that they were not covered by the vague description of “ machinery and appliances.” He submitted the matter to the SolicitorGeneral, who upheld his opinion. Since then the people engaged in the pearling industry who have been importing their lugger chains into Broome have had to pay duty upon them. I do not wish to sug gest any breach of faith on the part of the Customs Department, but I had an understanding with it that these chains should not be dutiable, but should continue to be imported free as appliances.
– -If Parliament made the item free, and the remission of duty retrospective.
– Yes, that is a matter we can deal with later. Until the tariff is actually passed those engaged in the pearling industry will have to pay the duty on these lugger chains, and that is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. There .are many other items of the schedule with which I should like to deal, but I shall not do so now, because the tariff items cannot be altered in the consideration of this validating bill. I could not,, however, permit the opportunity to pass without pointing out to the Minister, the House, . and the country certain anomalies arising out of the tariff schedule which should be remedied in order to assist the gold-mining industry. In view of the fact that the primary industries of Western Australia must give assistance to the manufacturing industries already established in Australia, or which can be successfully established here, I hope that an appeal for a gold bounty will not fall upon deaf ears when addressed to protectionists in this House. Before resuming my seat, I should like to direct the attention of the Minister to the matter of mine screenings. The honorable gentleman wrote me a letter on the 25 th February last, following up representations I had made, and I mention the. matter to refresh his memory. In this letter he said -
With reference to your calls in this office, and your personal representations in regardto the correspondence sent you by the South Kalgoorlie Consolidated Limited, asking that certain screenings may be put on the free list, I beg to inform you that full consideration has been given to this matter. Whilst agreeing with your suggestion that screenings which cannot be commercially manufactured in Australia should be exempt from classification under Tariff Item 208, I regret to inform you that recent advice by the Solicitor-General shows that these goods are’ not properly admissible under Tariff Item 174.. The department has, therefore, been compelled to remove screenings from Item 174, and they automatically fall under Item 208. There is no possible method by which this classification can be avoided.
– Does the honorable member refer to the screen of a battery?
– The duty is absurd.
– The letter continues : -
I am sensible, however, to the handicap imposed in such cases, to industries having to pay heavy duties on goods which cannot possibly be manufactured in Australia, and I am anxious to do anything possible to obviate this action having to be taken. I am, therefore, fully considering the whole position, and would suggest that you advise the South Kalgoorlie Consolidated Limited to temporarily place their screenings in bond, or if that is not possible, to pay duty under protest, with a request that consideration may be given to a refund should Parliament authorize same. The papers left by you are returned herewith.
That letter indicates the difficulties with which we have met in trying to make a case for federation in Western Australia. I want the Minister for Trade and Customs to stand out against representation made by people in the east, who profess to intend to establish industries which cannot be established here on a commercial basis, and because of which protective duties are sought which are an unfair tax upon primary industries in Western Australia and elsewhere.
. - I regret that this measure has had to be introduced at this juncture. I regret that the Government has decided to go to the country without completing the business of Parliament. This Parliament would not expire by effluxion of time until five months hence, and there are matters of vital importance affecting Tasmania which are not given due consideration. I refer, in particular, to the position of the timber industry. We have in this Parliament a Government with a solid following. There is concord and unity, and no discord amongst its followers. It has a majority in another place, and yet vital matters affecting Australia are not to receive attention. My warnings have been unheeded, and my country has been betrayed. In Tasmania we groan beneath Federal oppression, and stagger under numerous blows dealt by unsound administration, which brings dishonour on its Federal brow. The Prime Minister says, “I want more power.” What more power does the Government want than it has at present ? Is it losing the substance for the shadow? What result will be dis closed when the numbers go up? Will the Government be then in any better position to deal with Australian conditions than it is in now? Is the Government going to alter the Constitution by the political exploit which it has undertaken because it is suffering from “ partyitis “ ? I have not been consulted. I am not a party to what is being done. I am here to do the work of the people and the business of the country. I say it is lamentable that such weakness should be shown at this juncture. We cannot deal with the timber industry, or with the paper industry, in which people have been induced to invest money. The Government that made a certain promise may not be here after the elections. Can people be expected to put money into a venture on a promise the fulfilment of which depends on something that may never occur?
– Is the honorable member referring to Tasmania’?
– I am referring to Tasmania. The situation could have been met by prompt, statesman-like action. If I were Prime Minister there would be none of this nonsense. I would do my job first and go to the country afterwards. We have an Immigration Restriction Act. Any man who wishes to come here and create strife should be told to go back whence he came. We believe in upholding Australian conditions, in giving immigrants everything they deserve, and everything they can legally obtain, but those who are not prepared to apply themselves to the work of the country should be compelled to make way for others. Surely to God there are enough decent men in Australia to do the right thing !
– Will the honorable member address himself to the bill?
– I am addressing myself to the tariff. If we cannot get our imports here in ships, how can we levy duties on them? I am also addressing myself to the conditions operating in Australia to-day. It only needs a few decent strong men to do the right thing. The Government has fallen down on its job. Members of the Ministerial and Country parties agreed that the two parties should remain in coalition until the expiration of Parliament; but now its followers have been “ sold a pup.” I do not believe in being a mere automaton, or a cog in a wheel of the political machine, to be revolved by ministerial momentum. I never was, and never shall be; and I condemn the Government for treating me as such. Tasmania has been sacrificed, and the Government may, when the results of the elections are .known, learn the consequences to its sorrow.
.- My attitude on the fiscal question has been consistent. I have never cast a vote in this House, and will never do so, to place a heavy duty on something that is not manufactured in reasonable quantities in this country. I protest against the extraordinarily heavy duty of 2s. a yard on cotton tweed. I cannot be contradicted when I say that not twenty yards of it is made in Australia to-day. The. industry has only just been commenced. This duty will hit the working man particularly hard. The Minister said the other day that cotton tweeds were competing with cheap woollen goods. They are doing nothing of the sort. If the Minister will go to the back country any time during the summer and walk through a wheat field while wearing cheap woollens, he will know why cotton tweeds are in demand. They are necessary to tens of thousands of work ing men. I will vote for as high a duty as any member of this House would support on anything manufactured in this country in sufficient quantities to supply the home market; but in the matter of cotton tweeds, no attempt is made to supply the home market. The duty is imposed to favour a few people, but it will penalize the working man m the bush, and to a less extent the working man in the city. It is idle for the Minister to talk of tweeds competing with cheap woollen goods, because many working men cannot wear woollen goods. I am inclined to think that the view I am now .putting forward has not been considered. Some high protectionists may accuse me of advocating protection in one breath and freetrade in the next, but I protest that I am not doing so. To impose a revenue tariff, particularly when it is imposed on the working man’s clothes, is a most immoral way of raising revenue, and this duty will raise revenue at the expense of the working man. I also protest against the failure to protect the timber industry. The south coast district of New South Wales presents a spectacle like the decay of civilization. The timber mills there are all out of action, because the millers cannot compete with the importers of timber. The Minister places a duty of 2s. a yard on cotton tweeds, which are not manufactured in this country, but denies proper protection to the timber industry. A few weeks ago, I stated the case for increased protection tq the coke industry, and the member for the State electorate pf Wollondilly wrote to the Prime Minister on the same subject. Coke as good as any that can be produced elsewhere in the world is being made in Australia, but many men in the industry are now out of employment, and the coke works are closing down. Figures have been quoted which, although correct, are misleading. We have been informed .that 97£ per cent, of the coke used in this countr.y is manufactured here, and that only a very small quantity is imported. The person who compiled those figures took the output of huge works like those of the Broken Hill Proprietary, and Hoskins Limited, which manufacture coke for use in their own furnaces. I asked for protection for coke sold for manufacturing purposes. If the quantity of coke manufactured by the large firms for their own use is omitted from the figures, it will be found that the thousands of tons imported are a comparatively large amount. If the quantity of coke imported were manufactured here it would find work for a large number of men who are now unemployed, which would benefit both manufacturer’s and workers in the industry. Thousands of tons of coke are in stock to-day, and there is no market for it. Although the Minister refuses to increase the duty *on coke, he places an absurd and stupid duty of 2s. a yard on cotton tweeds, which are extensively used by Australian workmen, and are not manufactured in this country. The quantity of cotton tweed manufactured in Australia would not supply a small country store. If we are to have duties on things we do not manufacture, there is no argument for denying protection to a languishing industry. I was hoping that honorable members would have more opportunity to discuss this matter. I voice my protest, and assure the House that, when the tariff schedule comes before us, it will require something more than the bald statement that cotton tweeds are being manufactured in this country to secure my vote for the duty on them. I hope that the Tariff Board will consider the request for increased duties on coke and timber. Both those industries are languishing because of inaccurate protection.
– I rise to express my regret that the Minister has decided to push this bill through at this juncture. It is one of those bills which I thought could very well have waited for the new Parliament. The new tariff gives complete satisfaction, apparently, to -no one. It has many anomalies which several of us desire to discuss and remedy. As we cannot deal with the schedule to-day, I shall not discuss its various items, but I point out that a number of people in my electorate are very dissatisfied with items, the duty on which will seriously affect their business, without extending a benefit to any Australian industry,” and have asked me to make representations to the Minister with the object of obtaining relief in certain directions. A number of the duties, even from a protectionist viewpoint, must surely be very unsatisfactory. There is not the remotest possible chance of manufacturing in this country some of the articles that are subjected to a very high duty. I have brought under the notice of the Minister one or two matters regarding which representations have been made to me, and there are a number of other matters that I wanted to deal with when the schedule was in committee. Some of the articles on which duties are imposed are of a character which precludes their being manufactured here/ Their manufacture is the result, in some cases, of the handing down of secrets, in one family, from generation to generation. Although sometimes we are able to make colourable imitations of some of those articles, we cannot manufacture the real things. The imposition of high duties on such articles will increase their cost to a degree that must greatly hamper their sale, and in some cases prevent their continued importation. From the point of view of revenue, as well as protection, it is bad, and from the point of view of the consumer it is something like imbecility. An unnecessary burden, is placed upon the poorer sections of the community by the high duties imposed upon some articles. I hope the Minister will carefully study the schedule with a view to eliminating, if possible, some of those items, pending further investigation of them. I regret that this bill has been brought before the House, instead of deferring the tariff until a new Parliament, fresh from the country, could have an opportunity to deal with it in detail.
– The debate upon this bill has produced a most interesting conflict of opinion, and divisions even within party ranks. By some honorable members we have been told that the tariff should have been introduced two years ago; by others, that it should not have been submitted until next year. The duties imposed in the schedule are said by some to be not high enough, and by others to be too high. This simple validating measure does not provide opportunity for a profitable discussion upon the detailed items of the tariff. There are two precedents for a Government bringing in a bill on the eve of -a dissolution to validate the collections of Customs duties until the schedule can be discussed and approved or amended by the new Parliament. I feel, however, that I should’ take the opportunity to say a few words in regard to the extreme and exaggerated criticism, mostly by interested parties, of the Government’s proposals in relation to the textile industry. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) said that in some instances, the prices of textiles will be increased 800 per cent. He also said, and the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini) repeated the statement, that no cotton tweeds are made, or can be made, in Australia.
– Not that they cannot be made, but that they are not being made and will not be made for many months.
– I am sorry if I misunderstood the honorable member. As to the statement that cotton tweeds are not made in Australia, I shall, in fairness to the Government and to al] parties who are interested, give to the House the information at my disposal. I have not made any inquiries from interested manu- facturers, or attempted to take a plebiscite of the industry, but certain information has been voluntarily tendered to me during the last few days. At Collingwood a large firm is now making cotton tweeds, and it informs me that it can make sufficient for its retail trade and wholesale distribution in other. States. So far as this firm can estimate, if the market is assured to the local producers, the cost of the cotton tweeds it is making will not exceed, quality for quality, the prices charged under the previous schedule,
– If that is so, who do the local manufacturers require a duty?
– I deliberately used the words “if the market is assured to the local producers.” The crux of the protectionist argument is that prices do not increase if our manufacturers are given fair play and are assured of the local market. I have received this afternoon from the large firm of Vicars & Co., of Marrickville, the following telegram : -
We have pleasure in posting you to-day samples of cotton tweeds we are now making.
Last week the manager of a country woollen mill in New South Wales gave me, with much pride and pleasure, samples of cotton tweeds that his: mill is now producing, and he told me that he had received an order for 100,000 yards at a cost of 20 per cent, above the prices importers were previously charging. To my own knowledge, two other mills in Victoria are already making cotton tweeds. Before I leave office, I shall arrange for a plebiscite of the industry, in order to ascertain what is happening in connexion with the production of cotton tweeds, because I am convinced that, before many months have passed, Australian mills will be producing at a reasonable price sufficient of these goods to supply the whole of the Australian market. Then the importations of foreign shoddy will cease. We have been told that the prices of women’s cotton underwear will be enormously increased1 by the duties that the Government has proposed. I am not sure that the reference of the honorable member for Perth to an increase of 800 per cent, in price does not refer to these goods. The Victorian Chamber of Manufactures sent to me yesterday an imported American article which is sold wholesale at Ss. per dozen, aud retailed at ls. each, and a sample of a locally-produced article that is better in quality than the imported line, and is being sold wholesale at 12s. 6d. per dozen, and retailed at ls. 6d. each.
– Should not these details be reserved for the committee stage?
– I desire these facts to be broadcast /to the country. A Japanese brand of men’s underpants was being sold wholesale at 30s. per dozen, and retailed at 3s. 9d. each. A local product by Poy and Gibson, of much better quality, is being sold wholesale at 45s. per dozen, and retailed at 4s. 6d. to 5s. each. Within the last few days the newspapers have published certain representations that have been made to me in regard to the duties on textiles. Yesterday the firm of Bond and Company, a very large and reputable company in Sydney, telegraphed to me as follows: -
Evidence submitted ‘for your consideration on underwear absolutely incorrect. Prices underwear to consumer and retailers will not be increased. Australian manufacturers can cater for demand. Prices, if ‘anything, will decline. We sold 20,000 dozen vests August, average price to retailer 15s. per dozen, average price to consumer ls. lid. each. Next winter’s underwear already being offered by Australian manufacturers at prices quoted before tariff brought down. Those prices still operation, and. will continue. Wo resent your time being taken up by statements that are false.
The House will value this information of what is actually happening in Australia, and I am convinced that by the time the new Parliament is called upon to discuss these articles- Australian mills will be able to manufacture, at most reasonable prices, the whole of our requirements, owing to the local market being assured to them by the incidence of the duties recently imposed.
– What about mining machinery ?
– The hew schedule provides for the requirements which the honorable member for Kalgoorlie and others voiced in connexion with gold mining. If they will refer to item 174c they will see that machinery, appliances and articles, not commercially manufactured in Australia, and required for use in the development of primary and secondary industries and for use in public hospitals, or public educational institutions, will be admitted free from
Great Britain and at duties of 5 per cent. and 10 per cent. under the intermediate and general tariffs respectively.
– What does the Minister propose to do in regard to alummium ware ?
– I am sorry that the Tariff Board’s inquiry about aluminium ware was not completed in time to be dealt with by me before the schedule was tabled; but while I am Minister for Trade and Customs I shall consider it my duty to continue tariff investigations through the Tariff Board, so that next year the House may have the benefit of the further evidence and recommendations arising out of such investigations.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and -passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Motion (by Mr. Pratten), by leave, agreed to -
That he have leave to introduce a bill for an act to provide for the validation of collections of duties of Customs under tariff proposals.
Bill presented by Mr. Pratten, and read a first time.
Mr. PRATTEN (Martin- Minister for
Trade and Customs) [6.17]. - By leave, I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
There are really no duties to validate under the bill, which relates to a concession in connexion with alcohol for scientific purposes. The department desires to keep the matter alive, so that the next Parliament may be able to deal with it, possibly, with retrospective effect.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill, by leave, read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill returned from the Senate with amendments.
Ordered, by leave -
That the amendments be considered in committee forthwith.
In committee (Consideration of the Senate’s amendments):
– I move -
That the Senate’s amendments be agreed to.
It will be remembered that the House decided that the determination of the Minister regarding British preference should be notified in the Gazette. The chief amendment provides’ that formal notification shall be made in the Gazette by the Minister. The other amendments are consequential.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Sitting suspended from 6.23 to 8p.m.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or request : -
Entertainments Tax Bill.
Naval Construction Bill.
War Pensions Appropriation Bill.
War Service Homes Bill.
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Bill.
In Committee of Supply:
Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) agreed to-
That there be granted to His Majesty, for or towards defraying the services of the year 1925-26, a sum not exceeding £8,436,553.
Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.
Resolution of Ways and Means founded on resolution of Supply reported and adopted.
That Dr. Earle Page and Mr. Bruce do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.
Bill presented by Dr. Earle Page, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Supply has already been granted by Parliament to provide for the ordinary services of the Government up to the end of October,but, in view of the forthcoming dissolution, it is necessary to obtain additional Supply before the present Parliament expires. I am, therefore, submitting the third Supply Bill for the current financial year,which provides for the expenditure of £8,436,553. The total is made up as follows : -
This provision is intended to cover, approximately, five months’ expenditure, which, with the Supply already granted, will provide funds sufficient to carry on up to the 31st March, 1926. The Supply already granted totals £7,782,055, and covers a period of four months. The amount of £8,436,553, provided for in the present bill, will cover a period of five months. Omitting Treasurer’s Advance which was granted in previous Supply, and refunds of revenue, the Supply already granted and that now being asked for amount to £14,11S,60S. This will cover nine months’ expenditure. Three-fourths of the total estimated expenditure under votes in respect of which Supply is granted is £14,307,255. It will be seen, therefore, that the funds asked for are less than three-fourths of the total estimated expenditure for the year. Provision is made for the full cost of the general elections, which is set down at £98,930. No provision is made for services of which Parliament has not already approved. This provision is made for the convenience of the new Parliament, which would find it difficult to meet early in the year.
.- I shall not offer any opposition to the bill. It will be remembered that a few weeks ago, when we were discussing in this chamber that obnoxious measure by which the Government is seeking to deport Australian citizens, I challenged the Prime Minister to go to the country on the issue, and promised to facilitate the granting of Supply to enable that to be done. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to keep that promise. I await with confidence the verdict of the people.
– I should like to know whether provision is being made in this bill to defray the expenses that’ are being incurred by the sittings of the Deportation Board in Sydney. How long will that board sit? It may continue its work for twelve months. The Prime Minister informed us this afternoon that the board members were each receiving twenty-five guineas a day. I. should also like to know the fees being paid to counsel.
– No provision is being made in this bill to meet the expenses of the proceedings that are at present taking place in Sydney. Honorable members will recollect that the measure under which the board was constituted was before this House concurrently with or after the introduction of the Estimates. The cost of those proceedings will ultimately appear in the financial returns under the heading of “Unexpected expenditure,” for which Parliament will be asked subsequently to make provision. It is impossible to say how long the board’s proceedings will continue, and, therefore, no estimate of the total cost can be given. The information given to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) may now be taken as definite, that a fee of twentyfive guineas a day is being paid to each board member.
– I wish to bring under the notice of the Government the unsatisfactory administration of educational affairs in the Northern Territory. I direct particular attention to the unfair treatment being meted out to the lady school teacher at Alice Springs. Every Minister who has visited that town knows of the excellent work the lady is doing. The departmental records contain tributes that have been paid to her by different Ministers. She is teaching both the white and halfcaste children. Although she is more than 300 miles away from the nearest railway station, her salary is only £210 per annum. Year after year she has been denied any increment/ Other school teachers in the Northern Territory, who are within 100 miles of Darwin and on the railway line, are receiving £300 and more per annum. The teacher at Alice Springs is at her work night and day, for she not only attends to the elementary education of the children, but also ‘ has charge of the compound. I urge the
Government to deal more justly with her, and to grant her a salary compatible with her work and isolated position.
The conditions governing the Northern Territory scholarship, which was offered last year by the Government, are not satisfactory. The scholarship is open only to pupils of the Government schools. I understand that none of the candidates for it passed in the last examination that was held. The terms under which the scholarship is offered provide that students from China, who are not eligible to become citizens of Australia, may compete so long as they attend a State school, but Australianborn children who are not attending Government schools may not do so. A Chinese who could not become a citizen of Australia was allowed to compete in the examination. He was put to considerable trouble and expense in obtaining birth and other certificates from China. Ultimately he was informed that no one had passed the examination, and I am entitled to guess why. My point is that, although this Chinese student was allowed to sit for the examination, Australian-born white children, who were not pupils of government schools, were not permitted to do so. Not more than 50 per cent, of the children who attend the convent schools are adherents of the church to which the schools belong. I know that the Minister will say that he does not favour subsidies being paid to schools other than government schools, but that issue is not before us. This is a question of some Australianborn children being denied privileges which are granted to others. It is not a question of subsidising the school, but of subsidising the child; and therefore no distinction of this nature should be made. Some time ago I wrote to the Minister on this subject, and received a reply which contained the following paragraph : -
An exact analogy cannot be said to exist between the education system of the Territory and those of the States. The cost of the State systems is borne from the revenue of the States, but the cost of the Territory system is not borne from Territory revenue (i.e., revenue raised from sources within the Territory).
As the whole of the revenue of the Commonwealth is derived from the States, that reply will not stand analysis. I bring this matter up as evidence of the inconsistency of the Government in its administration of educational matters in the Northern Territory. When the great war was in progress, those who were then flag-flapping did not ask the individual soldier to what denomination he belonged, or what was his creed; but now, when it is a question of educating Australian children, the sectarian issue is raised. 1 ask the Minister to arrange that the next examination shall be open to all the children of the Northern Territory, irrespective of whether they attend State or convent schools, or receive their education from private tutors. To do so would merely be an act of justice to the people of the Northern Territory.
I desire now to refer to the need for road communication in the Northern Territory. All honorable members will agree that roads are necessary for the development of any country. In this connexion I wish to place on record some particulars showing the cost of transportation in the Northern Territory. One of the biggest cattle stations in the Northern Territory is at Wave Hill. It costs £29 9s. per ton to purchase and transport a ton of flour to Victoria River, and an additional £1 per ton to handle it at the river. The cartage costs for the remaining 180 miles to Wave Hill amount to £10, making a total of £46 9s. Od. for one ton of flour landed at the station. While these conditions exist it is unreasonable to expect the Northern Territory to develop. If the Government had the interests of the territory at heart it would see that roads suitable for motor transport were provided in order to reduce the cost of transportation. Although I have travelled extensively in the Northern Territory, I have seen no evidence of any road policy in operation there. Some time ago I received a petition signed by 60 or 70 miners and pastoralists in Central Australia. That petition is not drawn up in the usual form, but nevertheless it rings true, and contains the matured opinion of men who are doing the spade work of developing the territory. The petition reads -
We the undersigned, and residents of the Northern Territory, respectfully petition to the honorable the Minister for Home and Territories to provide -
The benefits are namely: - Opening up first well-known mineral country and good pastoral country, and providing necessary communication with civilization for those on the spot and the settlers who will come out when better conditions are offering them than is the case at the present time.
Further, another matter that requires urgent attention is by opening up Bitter Springs for the convenience of traffic.
And a well that has fallen in between Bitter Springs and Williams’s Well, that old hands say had a fair supply of water, if done up again would bo a groat convenience to all travellers. Information as to the direction -from Arltunga to Lake Nash can bc obtained from residents, and also as regards tlie surface water thereon. And we further .request Ms-. Nelson, our member for the Northern Territory, to present this petition upon our behalf.
Road-making in the Northern Territory is not a costly undertaking. It means blazing a track and providing water; macadamized roads are practically unknown. In various parts of the Northern Territory men have gone out in the search for gold, and in the Tanami district their efforts met with success. But on their way back, after having carried water for 400 miles on camels, one of the men perished of thirst These men make great sacrifices in order to develop the territory, yet the Government does nothing to assist them. The least that it could do would be to open up roads and provide water, with finger-posts indicating where it could be found. I know of instances of men having died of thirst in the Northern Territory although within a mile or two of water. Such a state of affairs is scandalous. To provide direction posts would not cost more than £8,000 or £3,000, which is a small sum compared with the value of the work that these men are doing in the development of the Northern Territory. They are doing their part; the Government should also do its share. These men do not want spoon feeding; they ask only that they may be enabled to keep in touch with civilization with a minimum of risk. The establishment of a number of mining fields in the Northern Territory would do more to populate that country than all the talk of advisory councils or commissions. Men who are prepared to take such risks should be encouraged, because their work tends to settlement. On their behalf I appeal to ;the Government. Any one who has travelled extensively in the Northern Territory knows that its great mineral resources are only waiting to be exploited. It is not a question of discovering them. The lodes have been located, and their worth is known, but the cost of transportation over a waterless tract of country is beyond the resources of the ordinary prospector. If the Government did its duty, a geologist would be appointed for the Northern Territory. It is false economy not bo make such an appointment.
The failure to honour the agreement with South Australia- for the construction of the north-south railway reminds one of the German attitude towards the treaty with Belgium, and the historic remark that it was merely a “ scrap of paper !” This is the second time the Government has dishonoured its agreement with the Government of South Australia, and incidentally with the people of Central Australia. It is useless for the Government to say that circumstances have made it impossible for it to honour this agreement, because, as the honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Whitsitt) has pointed out, it has the numbers in both Houses of this Parliament, and could pass such legislation as it desires. Again, the Northern Territory is side-tracked and left as it was 100 years ago. It is cruel that the construction of this railway should be further delayed in view of thehardships which settlers in the Northern Territory have to undergo. The ratification -of the agreement might have been carried at one sitting in both Houses, because I am satisfied that the members of the Opposition were prepared to let it go through. I do not know how honorable members coming from South Australia can justify the action of the Government in this ‘Connexion.
– We are just about sick of it.
– I should think the honorable member would be sick of it, because he has been an ardent advocate of the construction of the line. It must be galling to him to sit behind the Government and see agreement after agreement for its construction repudiated. In the meantime the mineral wealth of Centra] Australia is unexploited. I venture to say that if the Minister for Home and Territories will send a geologist to Central Australia he will be told that, in view of the possibilities of mining there, the construction of the railway is imperative. Knowing the facts, why does not the Government face the matter? I regret that I must go back to my electors and tell them that for the second time the Government has repudiated its agreement with the South Austraiian Government for the construction of this railway.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Rill read a second time.
.- I should like some ‘ information about an item in Division 9 of the Prime Ministor’s Department - “ Commercial agency, Paris, .£370.” I understood that the continental business of the Commonwealth was done in London through the High Commissioner’s Office. I was not awa re that we had a special commercial agent in Prance. I should like to know what he is doing. Does he purchase goods on behalf of Australia, or does he merely keep an office in which to entertain the members of the Government when visiting Paris? I consider that any officer conducting business for the Commonwealth in Paris should be under the control of the High Commissioner.
– The office of commercial agent for the Commonwealth in Paris has been in existence for very many years. It is filled by an Australian named Voss, a Queenslander by birth, and son of a wellknown Central Queensland family. He is a very capable man, and has been responsible for the placing of very many orders for Australian goods with French manufacturers. . I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) would bear me .out when I say that Mr. Voss displays great efficiency in carrying out the duties of his office.
.- I am personally acquainted with Mr. Voss, who is an Australian, and a very good man. He served in the Australian Imperial Force during the war. I have no doubt that he is rendering very good service to the Commonwealth.
– There are votes set down for the rent of buildings for the Royal Australian Air Force and civil aviation. It is admitted that the Air Force will play a very important part in the future defence of Australia. I want to suggest that there could be no better method of training our aviators than by utilizing their services in the establishment, of aerial mail routes in the Northern Territory. The adoption of this suggestion would have the twofold advantage of providing a school for the training of Australian aviators and reducing to some extent the isolation of centres iu the Northern Territory.
– I should like to say a word or two in reply to the remarks of the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson). The Post and Telegraph Department, in calling tenders for mail services for the wide areas of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, invites alternative tenders for the carriage of mails by camel teams, by motor cars, or bv aerial service. We are hoping that many of these mail services will be conducted with aeroplanes in the near future.
.- On this point, will the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Gibson) give me some information which I have been unable to obtain from the Minister for Defence (Sir Neville Howse) ? Will he promise the extension of the aerial mail service from Derby to Wyndham ? The matter has been under discussion for several months, but finality in connexion with it has not been reached. I see that the Minister for Defence is prompting the PostmasterGeneral, but I hope the latter will not be influenced in this matter by the goslow policy of his colleague.
– I wish to direct attention to the item, “Maintenance of internees in Mental Hospital- £90. ‘ The term “internee,” as applied to a returned soldier, is offensive to me. It was generally used to describe people who during the war were put behind wires because they were regarded as a menace to the Commonwealth and the Empire. The term applied to returned soldiers should be “inmates.” I hope that the amount of the vote, £90, indicates that a very small number are mentally afflicted. The smallness of the vote reminds one of the fact that a lot of sympathy and admiration was expressed by the people for the soldiers so long as it did not cost them anything. I make no plea on behalf of the healthy returned soldier, but I do plead on behalf of those who are bearing the burden of an injury received in the war, whether it be loss of health or loss of a limb. It should be remembered that the flower of Australian youth, who went abroad to take part in the war, could at least earn a minimum wage, and my contention is that at least the minimum wage should be paid to returned soldiers suffering as the result of their war service. I know that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson), who is usually very candid in the expression of his views, will not object to my recalling a conversation I had with him on this subject. The honorable member asked at what I would assess war injuries, and my reply was. “You have asked me a question, and I shall answer it by putting a question to you : For what will you let me cut your arm or your leg off, or take out one of your eyes?” He candidly admitted that he would not lose a leg, an arm, or an eye for anything, and I assess such injuries quite as high as he did.
– Hear, hear !
– I hope that “Hear, hear “ means that the Commonwealth Government should vote money for these soldiers, who should not be required to prove up to the hilt that as a result of their incapacitythey cannot meet their commitments. They received their injuries in the service of this country.
– What value would the honorable member put on an eye?
– I would say to a soldier who has lost an eye, “ If you have been injured in my service, I will pay for it.” It costs £90 for the comfort and succour of these “internees” - the word is used in the plural - whereas we ought to provide them with a well-furnished home and some one to look after them. I shall never be silent on this subject until the Government does the fair thing to these men. They are not receiving the pension that they should receive, and the Government is not fair and honest in the way it calculates its responsibility to them. There are tubercular returned soldiers who went away in the heydey of their strength, and are now condemned to death behind the walls of an asylum.
That is done so that they will not be a “ menace to the public.” They ought not to be required to prove that they breathed in the germ of their disease from a dying German. If a man went away from the Commonwealth fit and healthy, and fell with sickness afterwards - sickness which, in all probability, was occasioned by the ordeals through which soldiers in the Great War had to pass - we should say to him, “ You did the job for us while you were well ; we will look after you now that you are sick.” As long as I remain in this Parliament, even if I am here when I am old and grey, I shall still be banging away on behalf of the sick and indigent returned soldiers.
.- I should like the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson) to explain why he has not replied to a communication sent to him by the Allowance Postmasters’ Association of South Australia. I have privately spoken to him several times on that subject, and he has assured me that an answer would be sent. A letter from such an organization, the members of which are doing very fine work for, in most instances, very, poor pay, merits at least an answer by the department. I admit that the association states a- number of problems which, perhaps, the Government would rather not face, particularly when an election is near. I have a statement of the rates of payment to allowance postmasters, and it has been in my mind to place it on record, because the department, for some reason that I do not know, is not prepared to let every one see it. If I am in the next Parliament, I shall place the rates on record in ‘Hansard, and throw the onus on the department of proving that they are wrong. I do not know whether the department is ashamed of them. Although the Government finds it difficult to deal with allowance postmasters, it was able to cheapen postage for the benefit of the large vested interests of this country. It has played into the hands of the lawyers, the agents, the banks, and the newspapers, by reducing postage rates. I am informed that; owing to , the lower charges in telephone rates the allowance postmasters are penalized. By cutting out road bags in my electorate, the earnings of allowance postmasters have been reduced. An honorable member opposite said earlier in the day that the new tariff was a “wealthy man’s tariff.” That statement was true, and the action of the Government in framing the tariff is in keeping with its actions in other directions. Cheap postage was for the benefit, not of the ordinary man, but of the big. city institutions. If the Government can lose £1,100,000 of revenue in one year on be- . half of big concerns, it ought to be able to. do something to increase the earnings of allowance postmasters.
I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister a request for a telephone service along the new railway line from Wanbi to Moorook. The residents along that line are farmers, and there are applications for telephones for Caliph, Tuscan, Wunkar, and Myrla. As the Railway Department has erected poles, and has a telephone line, the Minister should agree to supply a telephone service before harvest time.
I admit that in many directions I have received a fair deal from the Postal Department, but I am very dissatisfied with the treatment meted out to Blackwood. I have tried to obtain the delivery of telegrams and letters at that place. The postmaster had to go down to the plains to find a house to live in. The tendency of the department is to regard Blackwood as a country town, whereas, although it is in the hills, it is practically a suburb of Adelaide. It is treated very differently from other suburbs. If it is big enough for an official office, it is big enough to have letters and telegrams delivered. Men living there have told me that instead of haying letters addressed to Blackwood, they have them addressed to their offices in Adelaide.
– I was glad to hear the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) say that he had had a fair deal from the Postal Department. This Government in the last three years has spent more money on postal and telephone services than was spent in. the previous 22 years. All honorable members, if they are fair, will endorse the statement of the honorable member. The Government has a wonderful record in this respect. The honorable member seems to think that country districts have not been treated as well as city districts, but, as a matter of fact, more telephone services have been connected in country than in city districts. He referred to allowance postmasters receiving smaller remuneration as a result of the department charging for direct instead of route mileage; but an allowance has been made to those postmasters to compensate them for the loss of revenue in that , way.
– Does the Minister say that their pay has increased in proportion to the increased business?
– I say that they have not been penalized by the reduction of ½d. in the postage rates, or by charging for direct mileage for telephone calls. I admit that allowance postmasters present a difficult problem. Only last week the department offered all the revenue of a post office to an allowance postmaster for conducting the office. It is costing the department £100 to bring the mail to that office, so that we ore losing not only £100 a year, but also the whole revenue of the office. Problems similar to that face us all over the country, and we are doing our best to solve then.
-Will the Minister make a similar offer to all allowance postmasters?
– Not to all of them. They receive at least 40 per cent. of the telephone revenue, and in some instances all the revenue of the office. It is impossible to pay on a definite scale. We have to make the best bargain we can. In some instances we are not able to find a man to take charge of an office.
– The department has a scale of rates.
– There is no definite scale of rates. The scale referred to by the honorable member does not apply in every case. I think that, generally, honorable members from country districts are satisfied with what the Government has done during the last three years.
.- I have endeavoured to knock a little common sense into the head of the Prime Minister and the members of his Cabinet. I asked that an opportunity should be given for a vote to be taken on motions of which notice has been given by honorable members. Those motions could be put to the vote without discussion, and in half an hour six or seven divisions could be taken to ascertain the opinions of honorable members. I know that many honorable members opposite would be afraid to vote against one of my motions relating to the unfortunate soldiers, their wives, and children, who, in my opinion, are being defrauded of their rights by the Repatriation Department. There are medical men under, the control of the Minister for Defence who are acting either the part of a prosecuting barrister, desirous of finding the unfortunate soldiers guilty, or of a mean, pettifogging detective, crawling along a trail to see if the soldier, who offered his life to fight for his country, had a diseased father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother. I was the only member of the recruiting committee of the State of Victoria who remained on that committee throughout its activities. Successive chairmen came and, after attending a few meetings and obtaining a little kudos, crawled away. The promises made on every platform to the brave fellows who offered their lives have not been kept as generously as the people of Australia intended they should be. Would any man have dared to say on a recruiting platform that the promises that were being made would not be fulfilled if the Government could trace a disease to the father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother of a soldier? Nine clever men gave sworn evidence in the awful Gunner Perry case that the man was a malingerer. As a result he was placed in an observation ward, where he could be watched through a hole hidden behind a picture, and for six months he was kept there. Let honorable members ask one of. God’s best men in the medical profession, Dr. Godfrey, who was then in charge, if that man was a malingerer. He said that the man would not have been there for seven days if he had been a malingerer. Yet those nine wonderful men in the pay of the Defence Department swore that he was a malingerer. I shall not let this proposal die with this Parliament. I shall ask every soldier throughout Australia to censure this Government for not having done justice to the men who offered their services in the war. What do I care for the opinion of scientists who, ascertaining that a soldier’s grandfather or grandmother had consumption or syphilis, urge that as a pre-war origin of post-war disability? If the Government were really humane it would declare that every soldier who offered his life for his country and submitted to examination by expert physicians and surgeons should be regarded as having, been at that time a healthy man, and if he returned from the war maimed or broken, he should be entitled to claim from his country maintenance for himself and his dependants. As a Labour man I promise that in the new Parliament I shall do my best, as I have done in this Parliament, to ensure that measure of justice to every Australian -who offered his life for his country, in accordance- with the promises that were made from every recruiting platform throughout the’ Commonwealth. Even little children are being robbed by a reduction of their pension. What was ibc end of Gunner Perry after his discbarge from the Defence Department ? . After being in the lunacy observation .ward for six months he became obsessed with the hallucination that he was a retired captain and with the phenomenal voice he had developed he was asking for recruits. Suddenly a suspicion regarding him arose in Brisbane and I was asked for information concerning him. God knows I was tired of the case, but I referred the inquirer to the Defence Department. Perry persuaded some poor foolish girl to marry him. Later she found in his pocket a letter from his first wife. She made a fuss and he gave her a hiding. She disappeared and has never since been heard of. He, too, has disappeared, and in the absence of proof that he is alive the department is mean enough to take away the pension from his wife and little children. So long as I have voice that accusation against the Government will ring throughout the Commonwealth. When I submitted my motion a few weeks ago I was not wedded to its verbiage; I would willingly have accepted any generous offer from the Government, but not the reply that came from my dear, big-hearted friend the Minister for Defence. It was all very, well for him with his greater learning to support the findings of the medical officers of the department, but I have mentioned an instance of the mistake made by nine of the highest men in the profession, including some of the greatest neurologists in Melbourne. When Perry gave his evidence in the court one could have heard a pin drop. Mr. Joseph Woolf said to one medical witness - “ Doctor, have I to congratulate you on taking money from both. sides?” I wish honorable members could have seen the face of that doctor when he heard the question and the amusement shown on the faces of the students from the Melbourne Hospital. Later when I met him at the
Government House ball-
– Oh, that spoils it all; doctor.
– I admit that I attend functions at Government House. When that doctor came to me and referred to the- case I told him that when he looked into the face of God Almighty he would feel a mighty mean man on account of what he did to Gunner Perry. He admitted to me that perhaps his evidence was wrongly . given in the court, and for that admission I honour him. I assure this Government that as soon as the new Parliament meets I shall restore to the business paper my motion regarding the injustice done to some soldiers on the ground that their ailments were of pre-war origin, and I shall endeavour to have a division taken upon it.
.- For many months I have been endeavouring to induce the Government to establish a wireless station on Lord Howe Island, which is situated about 450 miles off the mainland. In the Treasurer’s budget speech and in the report of the Postal Department credit is claimed for the policy of extending wireless communication along the Australian coast, but there is a peculiar omission of any reference to Lord Howe Island. That butlying possession of the Commonwealth is on the route of mail steamers running between Australia and New Zealand and America, and as it is in a very dangerous zone, many wrecks have occurred in the vicinity. The principal industry of the inhabitants is the cultivation of the Kentia palm, and the export of its seed. A peculiar feature of that palm is that it is not prolific after it leaves Lord Howe Island. When a vessel was wrecked there, communication with the mainland was impossible, and rats overran the island and injured the crops. The residents are almost entirely isolated from civilization, and they cannot afford to provide the amount of money that the Government requires them to con tribute towards the cost of a wireless station. I have suggested that the Government should establish a station, and, for the sake of economy, should train a couple of. youths on the island to operate it continuously. I am assured by the officers of the Meteorological Bureau that the weather reports which such a station could furnish would be of great value, particularly to shipping. The Premier of New South Wales appealed to ‘ the Prime Minister to erect a. wireless station on the island. Norfolk Island, which is a further 450 miles off the mainland, is less isolated because it can maintain constant communication with the mainland by cable, I have endeavored also to get an improved mail service for Lord Howe Island, but I have not been able to overcome the selfish influence of the shipping combine. Burns, Philp and Co. have a monopoly of the shipping services between the Commonwealth and the islands of the Pacific. I endeavoured to get another company to provide an intermediate service, but the influence of Burns, Philp and Co. with the department was great enough to prevent that. Before the. war two steamers maintained a service with the island, but now there is only one mail every five weeks, and the schedule in the mail contract is regularly ignored. Moreover, the company’s vessel leaves perishable goods on the wharf whenever it suits the convenience of the captain not to lift them. One traveller has stated that if there is one hell-hole in the Southern Hemisphere it is’ Burns, Philp and Co.’s boat running between Sydney and Lord Howe Island. Eight persons are crowded into accommodation that should hold only three, and four passengers are squeezed into a cabin that should hold only one. The department has informed me that for twelve months this company has promised to provide another steamer for the service, but “it never ke»-ps its word. It seems to wield a wonderful influence with the Commonwealth Government, and if the present Ministry remains in power, no improvement in the service can be expected. Lord Howe Island is .controlled by a New South Wales board, consisting of three members. The board wrote to me suggesting that something might be done for the island, because my influence was great and my advocacy strong, but despite .’the fact that the injustice in this case is so glaring, my strong advocacy is of no avail, and I am getting tired of approaching the Government for assistance. Storms sweep across that portion of the Pacific Ocean in which the island is situated, and it is possible that the installation of wireless apparatus there would prevent many ships from being wrecked on the coast of Australia. There shouldbe complete wireless communication around the coast of Australia, and this cannot be established without the inclusion of Lord Howe Island in the scheme. The islanders trade with Sydney, and those that are born there are just as much Australians as are my children, who were born in Sydney. Most of the inhabitants are as white as I am. In the interests not only of the islanders, but also of humanity, the Government should establish wireless communication between the island and the mainland, and then the system would be perfect. [Quorum formed.]
– I understand that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has already stated that he will be delighted to assist in granting supply to the Government, in orderthat no obstacle may interpose between us and our constituents. But I say to honorable members in the words of Othello, “Soft you: a word or two before you go,” and I propose to speak them on this bill. The Government has asked for £8,000,000 to carry on for the next four or five months. It is a very large sum, but we give it willingly. We know that in some cases it is better to give a payment in lieu of notice than to employ a servant for the time in question, and we are permitting the Government to have this £8,000,000 with the consciousness that, by so doing, and getting an early election, we shall choose the lesser of two evils. I should like to say a few words before we go, because, after all, even the most optimistic of us sometimes suffer accidents, and I can foresee at least the possibility that after the elections I may have to pay for my own printing. I quite accept the Government’s assurance that it’ can no longer govern this country. That declaration appears to me to be a very genuine and frank admission of what has-been obvious for some time to honorable members on this side. The Government has made a mistake in assuming that merely be cause it cannot govern this country in a constitutional manner, constitutional government is therefore impossible at present. That, I think, was an egregious mistake. The Government’s incapacity to govern the country is cheerfully admitted, but that it cannot be done by intelligent administrators is a question about which we must agree to disagree. I was much pained this afternoon to see some differences of opinion on the Ministerial side of the House. It was most regrettable that this should occur just at the very moment when the Government and the great organs supporting it had decided that the issue before the people was of the simplest character, namely, whether the electors stood on the one side for those who believed and acted up to the principle of the “ white flower of a blameless life,” and on the other side, for those who advocated bloody murder. I was pained to find that at the very moment when the parties opposite should be most united, when they should be abiding by the declaration that the issue before the people was a simple one, honorable members of the Country party, nay worse, two members of the Nationalist party also, and one Independent member soundly thrashed the Government in regard to its policy. The honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Whitsitt) prophesied that a dreadful judgment would befall the Government at. the next election for failing to carry on the business of this country. It was an outburst of veracity on his part such as could be expected only from an honorable member who had decided not to submit himself again for election, and I understan d that that is the intention of the honorable member for Darwin. It was most painful. On this last day of the session, at the very moment when perfect unity is being prescribed by the press, when the issue is so clear and undoubted, there uprises in his corner the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) to declare that not only the policy of the Government, but also the great national policy of Australia for the protection of primary industries, will lead to the destruction of this country, and possibly to the undoing of the Government itself. After the cook of the house-boat, the honorable member for Swan, had made that declaration, he was followed immediately by the head housemaid, the honorable member for
Forrest (Mr. Prowse), who declared that there could not possibly be sound government or a successful election while the Government persisted in standing for the great national policy of protection.
– The honorable member must not deal with the tariff.
– I shall leave that question with this single observation, that these disquieting differences between members of the Ministerial party on the very eve of the election must have been distressing, not only to the head of the Government, who is the housekeeper of the houseboat, but also to the great press organizations outside, which have decided the issues that are to be settled. In the course of my long and varied experience in places where the accused has not the privilege of formulating the precise terms of the charge to be laid against him, I have known persons charged with dreadful crimes -too dreadful to be named - who would gladly have reduced the charge against them” to the simple issue of say, ‘ two up,” or something of that kind, insteadof the much more serious one which the representatives of the nation and the preservers of our public order thought fit to level against them. But in this case the Government has decided what it will be charged with at the forthcoming election. It may be, however, that we, us an Opposition,, standing, as we believe, for the great majority of the people of this country- our belief being based upon the tangible evidence afforded us by the elections that have taken place in the various. States since the last Federal election - will consider it to be our not altogether unpleasant duty to formulate certain other charges against the Government. It may he, after all, that the issue will not be nearly so simple as honorable members on the ministerial side of the committee would wish that it might be, or would have it be. It may be that we shall rake over the dead ashes of history, and from the platforms of this country, and in the sections of the press that are not irrevocably committed to the simple issue, call to the mind of the people that this Government has been guilty of such acts as the spoliation of the public utilities of this country for the purpose of buttressing up its own particular interests and those of its friends. If may be that we shall recall such things as scandals in wireless contracts, about which we have heard nothing heretofore. We may have occasion also to recall certain scandals in connexion with taxation affairs, which have saved the rich squatter more money than would have sufficed to pay the extra 2s. 6d. a week in pensions which the Government has so long delayed to provide. It would have delayed much longer if theunanswerable logic of an immediate appeal to the people had not forced it to act. Some of these things may, in some way or other, yet be an issue at the forthcoming election. The great press organs may have to revise their views as to what really are the essential and important matters in this contest.
I had the distinguished honour last Sunday, on the principle of “the better the day the better the deed,” of being present at a gathering in Yarra Park, where some 30,000 or 35,000 strongly interested but quiet Australians displayed entirely sympathetic concern in the issues that were being discussed. The most popular sentiment that one could utter at that gathering was that, in the contests in mendacity that are apparently popular among certain classes in this country at present, and in which the Government is not easily beaten, it is still outdistanced by its press supporters. It was said in the press that at one of those gatherings not long ago several hundreds of people were present. I, and other experienced observers of public meetings, estimated that there were between 6,000 and 10,000 present. At the meeting on Sunday last it was said in a section of the press that about5,000 people were present. I, and other good judges of numbers, put the number down at between 30,000 and 35,000 people. It was a phenomenal and wonderful gathering of deeply interested Australians. It was said that there was uproar. There was none. On Sunday night another remarkable gathering assembled at the Bijou Theatre to hear an address by the Deputy Leader of the Labour party (Mr. Anstey). It was remarkable in that the doors of the theatre had to be closed long before the meeting was timed to commence, and crowds of people were denied admission. The galleries, the a mphi- theatre, the dress circle, the orchestra enclosure, and even the platform, were filled. The address that, was given was one of the most brilliant expositions of the Labour party’s cause that I have ever heard by one of the party’s most brilliant exponents. The .report that appeared in one section of the press on the following morning was of only the briefest character and obscurely set. out. It was palpably contemptuous and intentionally misleading. It consisted of half truths, which- are worse than whole lies. The reason for such a report is worth stating. At that meeting the Deputy Leader of the Labour party discussed among other matters_the great national question of protection, to which I referred earlier in my address. He pointed out that a certain great press organ of this community stood up solidly for this great national policy until there came, in an evil moment, a proposal to give certain persons in Tasmania. a concession in respect to the manufacture of paper pulp. Then the scene was changed. This organ then sent its emissaries to crawl about the lobbies and precincts of this House to persuade members that whatever they might do in regard to- giving a full measure of protection to peanuts, bananas and asparagus they must not, under any consideration, protect to any extent whatever, the. paper pulp industry. Because the distinguished Deputy Leader of tha Labour party wrung round after round of applause from his vast audience at the Bijou Theatre on Sunday night by Iris explanation of this despicable conduct, the report of his speech in that newspaper the next morning was as I have described it. One of my objects in addressing the Chamber this evening was to let honorable members know the simple facts in that connexion.
I desire also to let the people of this country know that on this occasion there will be no apology from and no hesitancy in the attitude of the Labour party to wards those sections of the press which do not know either lion om- or decency in conducting political contests. We will meet them not with their own weapons, but on the ground of their own choosing. That great organ which stood for the national policy- of protection so long as it did not touch its own pocket; and that other journal whose motto is -
I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the truth, and therefore the truth I speak, impugn it whoso list, will doubtless continue to belch forth from their envenomed maws ten times a hundred thousand samples of unscrupulous unveracity. But we will fight them not only before the election, we will fight them after it is over. It may be that we will cause them to again respect those canons of decency and propriety which ought to distinguish reputable journalism in the conduct of political or other controversies. That is all we ask from them.
My honoured leader (Mr. Charlton) delivered a speech not long ago at Dandenong. It was well reported in one section of the press. In another section it was meanly reported. The report in the Age newspaper was full of half truths. The speech was emasculated, and arguments which had been well stated were distorted. Connoisseurs, epicures, and experts in all those classes of mendacity, they practise them all in due season. The report of my Leader’s speech in the Age newspaper was intended, in point of length, to be a fair one; but in point of fact, it was a deliberate, clever, and expert distortion. The report deliberately stated only half the argument in each case. An attempt was made to convert an excellent fighting speech into a colourless one.
I thought it well, sir, that before I left this chamber on the eve of this general election, I should make these matters clear. The issue that has been selected for us will not be the only issue. There will be others. They will be stated from the platforms. We shall not be dependent on any section of the press - at least, not on any section of the press that is not prepared to give a faithful record of our speeches. We shall take the platforms of this country and meet the people face to face. They will come in their thousands to hear us, as they came last Sunday to the Yarra bank, and to the public halls of this. city. They will hear faithful expositions of the Labour party’s policy and true statements of the real issues that have to be settled. We hope and believe that they will come in their hundreds, and thousands to public meetings throughout Australia, as they did in 1910, and that they will, by their votes, defeat the reactionary forces that are operating. As in 1910 we fought reaction to its knees and brought Labour into power, not with the assistance of, but in spite of the press, and of everything for which the reactionaries stood, so we hope and believe that now again we shall bring the reactionary, the distorter, and the liar to his knees, in the contest into which we are entering. I am not unduly optimistic, but I am satisfied that the policy of this Government will not delude intelligent people. They will recognize that between the communists and the makers of the communists, there is a middle party - an Australian party - which is the Labour party, and they will return it to power. To them we shall make our appeal.If honorable members will look at last evening’s newspaper they will find a copy there of a manifesto issued by the communist party. Those who study the question know that the communists have been publishing their propaganda for years past. Ten years before the last election they published it so far as their means and influence permitted. In the past their propaganda was confined to a few thousand sheets but now their views are advertized free of cost in hundreds of thousands of copies of our highly respectable constitutional journals. How is it th at they get this free advertisement? They want it; they have asked for it; they are anxious to have their views placed before the people.Why this publicity in our respectable journals? Why do our newspapers give to communist propaganda space which they would not give to the views of the great Labour party ? It is done because they hope that by an unholy alliance with Communism they will be able to destroy the great Australian Labour party. They need not suppose that we are entering this contest with gloves on, or that we are entering it fearing that the newspaper in the morning may say something unpleasant about us, or may give us one inch when we hoped for two inches. Our message is that we will fight them, and they can go to hell.
.- The calm and dispassionate address of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) upon the subject of supply is indeed interesting. It was difficult to see what some of the speech was about, but I made a note of several of the subjects which he mentioned. In the first place he threatened in the coming election contest a campaign of scandal, and of sinister suggestion regarding the administration of the Government.
– He gave straight-out statements of facts.
– It is the right and duty, not only of every member of this House who is seeking re-election, but of every citizen of the country, to criticize the Government. Public administration must necessarily be open to criticism. The honorable member said something about wireless. Since I have had the honour of being a member of this House, I have attended assiduously to my duties, but I have nob heard anything, so far as I can recollect, about wireless during the life of this Parliament, although in the previous Parliament a good deal was said on the subject. I think that I remember something about a committee which inquired into the matter, and I think that I remember something about a report which was said to have been signed by all the members of that committee. I think that that report bore the signature of the honorable member for Batman, but for some reason which it is difficult tounderstand, he withdrew, or amended his signature.
– I give the honorable member my assurance that I never signed the document. My name was put to it by another person without my authority.
– I accept the honorable member’s assurance. Since that time there has been an election and during the life of this Parliament, as I have said, there has been no discussion on wireless. There has certainly been no scandal in connexion with wireless so far as this Government is concerned. In this connexion I am glad to say that the present Government is different from that which preceded it. I make no concealment of my opinion that the present Government is infinitely superior to that which preceded it.
The honorable member for Batman also condescended to say something about taxation. I presume that he referred to the much worked-up case of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), who has devoted a great deal of industry, and, if I may say so without being presumptuous, has displayed a very high degree of ability in this regard. But if there was one thing that fell flat as a charge against the Government, it was that charge, based on its administration of taxation matters. This matter was the subject of inquiry by a royal commission, whose report did not support the charges of the honorable member for Yarra. One thing which the report made clear was that what was done in relation to taxation and the arrears of certain taxation, whether good or bad, was not done by the Government or by any member of the Government, but by the Commissioner for Taxation. Accordingly, on the subject of taxation there is no charge against the Government, and no facts to support any charge if the position is truly placed before the people.
The honorable member complained of the reports given by the press to the speeches of honorable members of the Labour party, including, possibly, those made by himself. Probably we all occasionally have reason to complain of the reports of our speeches; we think that the importance of what we have said has not been sufficiently understood. I feel that I have suffered in this connexion, but I take it as being all in the day’s work. The honorable member, on the last day of the session, has sought to include in the records of the House some calculations of the attendances at meetings recently held on the Yarra bank. It was very interesting to hear him speak of a meeting attended by 35,000 people. I know where the meetings are held, as occasionally I attend them. The place must have been crowded if 35,000 people were present.
The honorable member has said in advance that the supporters of the Government intend to rely upon calculated mendacity. It may be that that is parliamentary language, although I should think that it is not. I suppose that, as the remark was not directed against any particular member, but against Government supporters as a whole, it was allowed to pass. I can only say that at election meetings at which I address the electors I always invite questions upon any subject with which I have dealt, and, so far as I am concerned, I am prepared to give facts in support of every statement I make. Probably that is the practice also of honorable members generally. It is, therefore, rather remarkable to hear one honorable member make a general accusation of intended mendacity- deliberate lying - against all honorable members opposed to him. I refuse to believe that the honorable member in his less exalted moments would seriously make that charge against any of the persons whom he meets day by day in this House.
The honorable member finished by saying something on the subject of communism. The issue which the electors will soon have to decide has been stated clearly by the Prime Minister, and it is very important that no false issue shall be raised. Because I have suffered from the false impression which incorrect reports of my speeches have made, I refer to this question. One honorable member opposite has referred to a report of one of my speeches, which credited me with having said that communism in Australia was a negligible factor. I did not say that, and I am glad to have this opportunity of denying it. J repeat now what I said on that occasion, and shall express my view of the issue which is soon to be determined by the people. At Surrey Hills, on the occasion referred to, I said that I did not stand before the people to suggest that all the members of the Labour parry were communists or anything of the kind. I do not believe that they are; to say so would be untrue. I know hundreds of members and supporters of the Labour party in different parts of Australia, and am certain that very few of them are themselves communists. The charge against the Labour party is not that they are communists. The position confronting Australia is that a very few men, with a deliberate wrecking policy, can do a great deal of harm to the country, and are doing it at the present time. How to deal with them is the real problem - a problem which the Labour party is not game to tackle. At this time, when an election is upon us, we hear, as we expect to hear, from Labour members, a disavowal of extremists; but it required the imminence of an election to bring out even the mild declaration that “ We have no time for Mr. Walsh.” Some time ago the Labour party passed a resolution excluding communists from its membership. I ask honorable members opposite how many communist’s were excluded from the party, and the names of those who were excluded ?
– The Labour party has expelled more communists from its ranks than the party to which the honorable member belongs has expelled profiteers.
– Have any communists been expelled ? This is a question, not of words, but of deeds. What action was taken to expel communists in pursuance of that famous resolution ? If action “was taken, where is the record of that action? We have had words, but not deeds. There has never been a greater example of pitiful and timid camouflage than the resolution expelling communists from the Labour party. The communists are few. As I have said, iii numbers they are negligible. No communist can secure his return to any parliament in Australia. But the Labour party has only mild condemnation of them at election time. It can point to no action following upon its words of condemnation. These people are doing a .great deal of harm in Australia. We do not know how far the injury they are doing may extend. The Government has a remedy; it is attempting to deal with the position. It seeks the support of the country for its policy. What is the policy of the Labour party for dealing with this social menace and danger to the community ? Is it a danger, and is it a real problem? If it is not a real problem, why did the Labour party pass the resolution to which I have referred? If it is a danger and a real problem what are the members of the Labour party going to do about it? We can ask that question, but we ‘Shall get no answer from Labour members.
– The very able and excellent speech of the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has drawn at least one badger, and has placed him on his defence straight away. When a lawyer on the other side is drawn into his defence, it can easily be imagined what ordinary members of the party opposite will be doing in a few weeks’ time. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) spoke very differently at the last election when he was seeking the suffrages of the people. The honorable member was then engaged in wooing the sympathies of the Labour party, to assist him to’ defeat Sir Robert Best.
– That is not so.
– The honorable member boasts of his wonderful truthfulness, but he has turned his back upon the professions of his election platform. At that time the honorable member ‘ denounced the Nationalist Government. He smote it, hip and thigh; but we now find him cringing and crawling to the Nationalist party. During the last day or two I have examined the figures connected with the honorable member’s election, and I find that of the 5,000 votes polled for Miss Jean Daly, the Labour candidate for Kooyong, the honorable member received nearly the whole as second preference votes, and they put him in for the electorate. At that time the honorable member knew how to bow and scrape to the Labour party in Kooyong, but now, when another election is in sight, he is afraid that if he assumes too much independence the Nationalists will bring out Sir Robert Best, or some other candidate, against him. He knows that if this were done he would be dead, politically. On this account the honorable member adopts all the tactics of the knowing lawyer to make, his political position safe. He talks of others levelling a general charge of mendacity, and of running away from election pledges. I am going to fix the charge upon the leader whom the honorable member is so slavishly following to-day; I refer to the Prime Minister, Mr. Stanley Melbourne Bruce. Honorable members opposite are following him only because he is a wealthy Flinderslane merchant. They are crawling to the biggest exploiters of the people that we have in Australia. When the Prime Minister was only a humble follower of the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) he said at several public gatherings, “I am going to stand or fall with W. M. Hughes.” How did the honorable member stand or fall with the right honorable member for North Sydney ?
– He fell on him.
– Yes, he entered into a league with one of the bitterest political enemies of the right honorable gentleman, and took the first opportunity to leave him in the lurch. The honorable member for Kooyong has talked about bolshevism, and in this connexion I should like to bring under his notice the following remarks made by a reverend gentleman recently in Brisbane: -
I am no bolshevik, nor am I a communist. I fear revolutionary methods, but 1 am afraid that unsympathetic, unjust, and unchristian treatment is making revolutionaries far more rapidly than any propaganda from Russia.
That is the opinion expressed by the Reverend Farnham Maynard, a reputable
Anglican clergyman in Brisbane, when he was speaking about the treatment meted out to the workers and, amongst others, to the British seamen. I can refer honorable members also to the views expressed by a gentleman of high Christian character who was appointed as representative of Australia at the Wembley exhibition. I have heard every one speak of this gentleman’s citizenship in the highest possible terms. This is what he said on his return from the Old Land: -
His visit to England had made him more sympathetic with the masses. They had a great deal of justification for their present world-wide attitude. While British seamen wore asked to give up fi a month, he knew of one shipbuilder who was to celebrate tlie construction of a new liner by taking the liner to Norway on a pleasure trip costing scores of thousands of pounds. Therefore, we should weigh well our attitude towards maintaining a reasonable adjustment of the things of life. In tlie past concessions had been granted only with reluctance. The fault today was not altogether with the mcn. He would urge employers to read the signs of tlie times, and (!iva way before they wore forced. If they were more liberal in giving of tlie fruits of industry to labour before they were demanded, the relationship between labour and capital would bc much better.
This gentleman spoke with the authority of a representative of one of the biggest commercial firms in Melbourne. I have quoted the opinions of men who are outside the political arena and who do not view the signs of the times through political glasses. The honorable member for Kooyong has been a member of- this House for about three years only, and I suggest that he should not be too susceptible to the pin-pricks he may be subjected to here and to the knocks he is likely to get outside. So far as I can see, the Prime Minister has set out on a campaign of mendacity and scurrility, and we may bet our bottom dollar that every Labour platform Wl 1, ring and resound with all those democratic views that have been stated by Labour men for many years. I believe that the public will respond magnificently, and will return ministerialists to that oblivion from which they never should have been dragged.
.- I feel that it is incumbent on me to reply to some of the statements [made by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), but before doing ‘that I wish to refer to a statement by the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham). He said that honorable members of the Labour party denounced communism only on the eve of the election.
– I was referring to the Federal Labour party.
– The Federal Conference of the Australian Labour party met in October of last year, when there were no signs of a general election. At that conference a resolution was passed which makes it impossible for an avowed communist to become a member of the Australian Labour party. That is the answer I give to the accusation of the honorable member for Kooyong that we are merely denouncing the communists because we are on the eve of an election.
The Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson) boasted about what this Government had done, during the last three years, in providing telephones. I have already given him credit for that, but I must go a little farther, and remind him and the House that this Government has had more loan money for such facilities than any other Government since federation. As it has had more loan money than previous Governments, it should be expected to provide better facilities than they provided. The Postmaster-General said that I stated that because of the reduction of the postage the pay of allowance postmasters had been reduced. I did not say that. What I did say v/as that if the Government could give a cheaper rate of postage to the big city interests - a concession which, in the first year of its operation; cost £1,100.000 - it could afford to give an increased allowance to many of the allowance postmasters and postmistresses who are being inadequately paid for the work they do. The issue is not between the Postmaster-General and me, but between him and the secretary of the Allowance Postmasters’ Association of South Australia. Seeing that I cannot obtain from the department a printed list of the rates of payment, I have to take the word of each side. I have in my possession a letter similar to that sent to the PostmasterGeneral in June last, and not yet answered by the department. I shall quote extracts from it -
It is the opinion of members of the South Australian Allowance Postmasters’ Association that they, like others of their position in the various States, are in want of a long-sought revision of the scale rates by which the remuneration of their allowances is made. Of recent years the discontinuance of road mail bags, reduced telephone charges, the nonpayment for incoming trunk line calls, nonpayment for the distribution of income tax returns, electoral roll claim cards, payments made to line parties, and other items of a small nature, all of which take up a postmaster’s time.
Later, the letter says -
The discontinuance of road mail bags, reduced telephone charges, &c, causing a reduction in personal allowance, also causes a reduction in the accommodation and lighting allowance.
The writer also says -
Through the reduction of telephone charges the allowance postmaster loses forty per cent. of the reduction. No recompense is at present paid by the department.
If the Postmaster-General can tell me that there has been an alteration since the letter was written in June last, I shall be pleased to hear of it. Then there is this further statement -
The discontinuance of road mail bags has the same amount of work attached to it as previously, with the exception that the mailman supplies the bag, and not the department, and there is no bag to be sealed; but mails have to be attended to as previously.
Here is something for the PostmasterGeneral to reply to -
Cutting out the road mail bag in 1920-21 brought my allowance down by £17 7s.
That man is a returned soldier, who has lost an arm, and the cheese-paring policy of the Postal Department in discontinuing road mail bags and saving sealing has taken from this one-armed returned soldier, in one year, £17 7s. Notwithstanding that, the Government can give 1½d. postage to the lawyers, banks, commission agents, newspapers, and big city interests. I repeat that in this matter, as in many others, the Government has proved itself to be a Government for big business men. The following quotation from the letter answers a statement by the Postmaster-General : -
I also notice that the Postmaster-General stated, according to Hansard, allowance postmasters will not suffer through reduced telephone charges. They must unless scale rate is altered.
Surely the department should let the allowance postmasters and postmistresses know the basis on. which they are paid, for they have a right to check the payments made to them. I have heard honorable members ask for particulars of these rates, and the reply of the Postmaster-General has been, “ The honorable member can see a list.” He has not offered to supply us with one. There must be some scale of rates in operation to-day. I have here a copy of the 1919 rates. The writer of the letter from which I have read informs me that allowance postmasters were paid on that scale up to the end of the last financial year. Here are some of the payments : -
How would any honorable member like to be compelled to give attendance once a week for 52 weeks between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for £2? Will any honorable member say that that is a magnificent payment ?
That is a very niggardly rate. It is well known that the average Savings Bank operation is not a very large one.
Over 10 lines - (2) Six shillings and eightpence for each subscriber to a party-line service. (3) Operating, 20 per cent. of revenue derived from local exchange calls. (4) Allowance for attendance at night when exchange subscribers” service is maintained between6 p.m. and8 p.m., £6 per annum.
When total revenue from all telephone sources reaches £150 per annum, special payment for attendance between6 and8 p.m., £20 per annum.
In spite of what the Postmaster-General has said, there must be some scale of rates on which payments are based. I would not have spoken at such length but for the fact that he said that there was not such a scale. I have placed one on record, and if it is wrong it rests with him to correct it. There are two classes of allowance postmasters. One class runs a business, such as a store. The other class - and it is for those who are in that class that I have repeatedly appealedhas in its ranks widows of ex-postmasters and returned soldiers. They occupy buildings that, in the old clays, under the South Australian Government, were official offices. The Commonwealth has not been so liberal, and many of these are no longer official offices. For those persons and others keeping an office in private dwellings, the scale of payment should be greater than for those who are engaged in businesses of their own, and are able to increase their earnings from that source because of the additional trade that the post office brings to them. Until this Government, or a succeeding Government, differentiates between the man who keeps a business and the one who is dependent solely on the post office, and increases the scale of rates for both, there will not be satisfaction amongst allowance postmasters.
.- This afternoon the Postmaster-General replied to a question I had based on a statement by him that all employees in the postal department were receiving the basic wage. Immediately his statement was seen by some of the temporary employees, most of whom are returned soldiers, they informed me that it was not correct, and that employees who had an average of eight years’ service were not receiving anything like the basic wage. In vulgar parlance, somebody is a liar, and I do not think the men concerned would deceive me by saying that the Postmaster-General has made an incorrect statement. I hope that the honorable gentleman has not merely accepted a telephone message or telegram from the departmental officers in South Australia without personally verifying it. If he does not ensure to the employees the payment which he admits they should receive he is causing discontent in the service, and a discontented employee cannot be thoroughly efficient. There is another complaint in regard to the child allowance. Some regulation operates whereby a temporary employee or a labourer does notreceive the child allowance that is paid to the higher, officers in the service. Every child must be fed and clothed, and so far as the necessaries of life are concerned there is no difference between the child of a labourer and the child of the highest official in the service. Some members of the service, however, are not receiving the child allowance, and the victims of such an anomaly cannot be expected to give their best to the department. They will always be discontented and seeking advice as to the best means of removing the injustices from which they suffer. I hope that the PostmasterGeneral will personally investigate these complaints. I believe that when the basic wage was instituted by the Hughes Government the intention was that it should be paid to every employee of the Commonwealth. I ask the Postmaster- General to see that that is done.
.- The item on page 15 “maintenance of internees in mental asylums,” concerning which the honorable member for Adelaide inquired, relates to a German national who was interned during the war and is still maintained in an asylum.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Message received that the Senate had agreed to the amendments made in the bill by the House of Representatives.
Message received that the Senate had agreed to the amendments made in the bill by the House of Representatives.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment or request : -
Income Tax Assessment Bill. .
Income Tax Bill.
Excise Tariff Validation Bill.
– This House has now practically completed its business, but as another place will be meeting to-morrow it will be necessary for us to meet again in order to receive messages. As some members, I understand, desire to attend the. Melbourne Royal Show to morrow, I suggest that the convenience of all parties will be served if the sitting is suspended until Friday morning at 11 o’clock.
Sitting suspended from 10.39 p.m. to 11 a. 7». (Friday).
Bill returned from the Senate, without requests.
Bill returned from the Senate, without requests.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by Arbitrator, &e. - No’. 24 of 1925 - Common Rule - (Leave of absence consequent on injuries received in the course of duty).
Papua Act - Infirm and Destitute Natives’ Account - Statement of Transactions of Trustees 1924-1925.
Stat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Ordinance of 1925 - No. 3 - Queanbeyan Water Supply;
Mr. GREGORY, as chairman, pre sented the report and minutes, of evidence of the Public Works Committee on proposed erection in Brisbane of offices for the accommodation of Commonwealth departments.
Ordered to be printed.
– (By leave.) - I wish to reply to questions that have been asked me on many occasions with regard to the proposed establishment in Australia of the newsprint industry. Endeavours have been made for some time to manufacture newsprint here, and the Government has been asked to give a measure of assistance. We are most sympathetic, for we realize the advantage of having the industry established here. It. would be of the greatest value to Australia, for it might almost be called a basic industry. It is three or four months since the first proposals were submitted, but the subject is one of great complexity. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to come to a definite decision on the matter prior to the rising, of the House. I wish to say, however, that the Government is prepared to extend to this industry, under our recognized policy of protection, a similar measure of assistance to that granted to other industries. Our investigation of the position has been long and difficult, but we hope that it will be complete in the next few days. An announcement will be made at an early date as to the measure of protection we are prepared to accord to the industry.
– Has the Tariff Board inquired into the matter?
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Thursday next.
Valedictory Speeches - Retirement of Mb. Bamford - -ELECTORAL Contest - Case of J. “Wilkinson - Mb. Percy Hunter - Wheat and Flour - Motor Lights and Horns - Referendum and Recall - Deportation Board’s Fees - Walsh and Johannsen - Mb. Mahony and the “ Age - New States’ Movement - Compulsory Voting - Blind Pensioners - Land Settlement Scheme.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
On behalf of all honorable members, I wish tq express to yon, Ma-. Speaker, our appreciation of the manner in which you have presided over the sittings of this House.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
– You have occupied Mr. Speaker’s chair throughout the whole of the Ninth Parliament, and I believe that every honorable member considers that you have done much to maintain the prestige of your high office, and that you have assisted in upholding the prestige of Parliament in the eyes of the people. We appreciate the impartial manner in which you have conducted our deliberations. We may disagree on many questions, but I am sure we are unanimous in assuring you that during your tenure of office you have inspired us’ with the utmost confidence in your fairness, impartiality, and desire to assist ns.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear!
– I also wish to express our appreciation of the services of the Chairman of Committees (Mr. Bamford), and of those of the honorable members who from time to time have discharged the duties of Temporary Chairman of Committees. To Mr. Bamford wo are, unfortunately, obliged to say f arewell. He has had a very long and distinguished career as a member of this Parliament. He is leaving us at his own desire, for he does not propose to seek re-election. I am sure that I can say that he will take away with him the best wishes of all honorable members, irrespective of party. It is a matter for deep regret that when we reassemble he will not be with us. Some one else will then take the position of “father of the House” that he has so worthily filled. To the officers who sit at the table we all wish to express our appreciation. On many occasions difficult points of procedure arise, and Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, and honorable members generally, are indebted to the officers for the whole-hearted assistance which they have always rendered in helping to elucidate those difficulties. To the Hansard staff we also express our appreciation of .their work. I think we should also express our sympathy to them, for they have had to sit during long and arduous hours listening to our debates. I do not think any honorable member will resent my saying that Ave realize that at times the discharge of their duties must be irksome, laborious, and difficult. We, too, thank the messengers, and attendants for all that they have done to assist us in carrying out our duties. I think that we are all agreed that they are always desirous to help us in every way, and show us every courtesy. I have been Leader of this House now for some two and a. half years, and I thank all honorable members for the way in which they have co-operated during that time in carrying on His Majesty’s ‘ government. We have our differences, and at times situations are a little difficult, but although I have heard many things said of rae - I have almost thought at times that some honorable gentlemen were trying to obstruct my efforts in this House - I have recognized that what has been said and done has been inspired by a stern sense of duty, and by a feeling of compulsion. I have endeavoured during the period that I have held the position of leader in this chamber to maintain the high standards of this- Parliament, and to enhance its prestige in the view of the people of Australia. In that attempt I think that every honorable member has sympathized, with me, and - within the limitations imposed by the heat of debate and other difficulties that have arisen - have endeavoured to assist me. On the eve of a dissolution I wish that I could express the hope of seeing all honorable members in the new Parliament, but unfortunately, I cannot hope for that. As at times honorable gentlemen have felt it necessary to oppose me through a stern sense of duty, so now my stern sense of duty and desire for the good government of this country make it necessary for me to say that it would be to the country’s advantage if we did not all come back. But, although we may hold contrary political opinions, that makes no difference to our personal regard for each other. I believe that throughout this Parliament we have managed to follow the best traditions of all British Parliaments. Although we may fight in this chamber, and fight bitterly for the . opinions that we hold, the irritation engendered by anything said here does not continue outside, and at no time have the debates interfered with the private friendships that have been formed between individual members of the various parties. I trust that all future Parliaments will be able to conduct their affairs in the same spirit and manner as we have conducted ours.
.- I do not intend to make a party speech, because the position is too serious for that. My words will be very few. I solemnly warn the National Federation, and the National press, that if they persist in their vile conspiracy to identify Labour with bolshevism and communism they will precipitate the very evils that they profess to fear. They are running the risk of making tens of thousands of bolsheviks and communists by this campaign of wholesale misrepresentation and calumny. Retribution must follow sooner or later, and if ever it comes, it will come in a form which will shake the foundations of society. I call the people of this country to witness that those whose responsibility it will be have received ample warning. Peace, order, and good government will follow only from just laws applicable to every section of the community, and that is what the Australian Labour party stands for. As the Prime Minister said,
Ave are on the eve of a dissolution. I join Avith him, therefore in conveying to you, sir, the very great appreciation of honorable members on this side of the House, and I think that I can say also of the other side of the House of the very able manner in which you have discharged the onerous and very important duties of your office. I do not think that there has ever been a Parliament in which so much feeling has been engendered as in this. In spite of that, you have displayed firmness and tact, and have been able to preside over the sittings of the House with decorum. I understand that Ave shall be losing your services as Speaker at the close of this Parliament, but no doubt, ive shall still have you among us on the floor of the House. Probably some of us would prefer that you continued in your present position. I feel that I am only stating what is in the hearts of every honorable member when I say that you, sir, have given entire satisfaction in the very important position that you occupy in this chamber. I regret very much the decision of the Chairman of the Committees and my very old friend, Mr. Bamford, to retire from politics. I have learned to love him. We may hold different political opinions, but I always” recognize a man when I meet one. I have a kind feeling for our veteran legislator. He has played a very prominent part in the politics of this country for many years, and I hope that the remainder of his life will be happy, and that he will enjoy the best of health and be long spared, although not Avith us, at least to take an active interest in the affairs of his country. I appreciate very much the kindness that the officials at the table have extended to myself and also to other members of the Labour party. I believe that that feeling is general. They recognize the duties that devolve upon them, and their endeavours to discharge them impartially and to the best of their ability have met with the entire satisfaction of this House. Often when sitting in this chamber I have thought what a difficult position they occupy. They have to be alert while the House is sitting, and, like yourself, Mr. Speaker, have to sit continuously in an atmosphere which is not always conducive to good health. “We ourselves may occasionally retire to obtain fresh air, but they ‘ are compelled to remain at their post. I do not wish to make any invidious distinction between them, because they are all good officers, but I hope that the Clerk of the House, Mr. Gale, may in future enjoy better health, and that he may be able to continue in his position for a long time to come. As the Prime Minister lias said, we owe a great deal to the Hansard staff. We cannot but appreciate the efforts of the members of that staff. I think that every honorable member will admit that when he picks up his proof in the morning, perhaps having made a difficult speech the previous day, he is astonished at the finish that has been given to his remarks by the official reporters. For that we owe a great debt to them. I think that I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that it would be impossible to get a better staff in Australia. Its members are capable, and I hope that they may be long spared to this Parliament. The officials and attendants of the House are a fine body of men. I do not know who was responsible for their selection, whether it was yourself, Mr. Speaker, or previous Speakers, but there is no doubt that they are ideal men for the positions they occupy. They carry, out their duties in a satisfactory manner, being absolutely impartial in their treatment of honorable members. On behalf of this side of the House, I wish to say that I appreciate very much the kindness and consideration shown to us by yourself, Mr. Speaker, by the officials of the Hansard staff, and by all those connected with the House. As the Prime Minister stated, some of us will not . return to this Parliament. That is an obvious truth. I think that the next parliament will show a greater change of personnel than any other since the inception of federation. I hope, however, that those honorable members who are privileged to return may have the benefit of the services of the present officers, or, if not. of officers of equal qualifications.
.- Both the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) have congratulated you, sir, on the manner in which you have carried out your duties as Speaker; but I think that on an occasion like this something more than mere congratulation should be offered for the impartial manner in which the functions of your high and honorable office have been discharged. Something should be done to ensure your safety in the coming contest. These are not ordinary circumstances. There is a critical issue before the people. There is to be a great contest between the forces of ‘ order and disorder ; between the forces . of respectability, as represented by honorable members on the Government side, and the forces of dislocation and disruption, as represented by the “ criminals “ that sit on the Oppo sition benches. Despite ‘ our political differences, sir, Ave have been old associates and opponents in many a contest in the past. For a longperiod you have occupied your position as the presiding genius of this chamber, while I have remained in the fighting forces. Therefore, I say to you, paraphrasing some lines from Byron’s Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice : - “ O my friend! Stir not forth, whatever the signs of strife. Crowds may roar, men groan, women scream, children shriek, drums roar, trumpets blare. Beware of bolshevism! Beware of this evil spirit that walks abroad seeking to rob men of their garments.”
Honorable members may have been listening recently to the monologues of Milton Hayes at the Tivoli Theatre, and if so they will remember the manner of his dissertations on various questions of the moment. The party opposite seems determined to copy his style in its at tempt to impress the people Avith the awfulness of bolshevism. They say, in effect : - “ Take the exports for the month of May and compare them Avith the imports for the following month and you will discover how malign are the influences, in the channels of trade, of the disruptive and growing forces of bolshevism. Compare the time of high tide at Liverpool with the mean time at Greenwich, and contrast the population of New York with the temperature at Geneva and what do you find? To what are these discrepancies and disparities due, if not to the malign and terrible effects of bolshevism?” If there is a falling off in the imports of pig iron into Cornwall, bolshevism must be the cause, and for whatever goes wrong with the affairs of this country it is equally to blame. God help them! What would become of this Government if they had not the aid of bolshevism in this contest?
The leader of the Government made a statement this morning about the paper pulp industry, and later, perhaps, he will say something more on the subject. At the present moment he does not know what stand he will take in regard to it. He has a report of the Tariff Board with respect to a duty on newsprint, but he does not think fit to disclose its contents. The honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Whitsitt) yesterday spread himself in a denunciation of this Government, and therefore the Prime Minister now considers it desirable to make some show of n declaration on this subject. Whom does he wish to placate? The daily press? No. The Amalgamated Zinc Corporation ? Yes. But what he is trying to do is to please both at one and the same time.
What has become of the nobility and magnanimity of the press about which the newspapers tell their readers so much? Only a few months ago one ofthe big newspapers declared that the political garments of the Prime Minister were in tatters. It denounced the Administration as a rich man’s Government which was unmindful of 70 per cent, of the interests of the country. The Melbourne Herald published a cartoon ridiculing the Prime Minister, which was so odious that the very dogs in the street sniffed at it, but now it has closed down on its cartoonist and does not allow Mr. Wells to direct his satire at the Government. This journal, which a few months ago said that Bruce and Page who were singing so much out of tune is now silent regarding their discords. It prophesied but recently that they would be swept from office by a blast of public condemnation, but now it fawns upon them. The press is venal and corrupt. It is selling itself to a Government which for two years it denounced, and that because of the promises of Ministers that tlie newsprint industry would not be established in this country. Amalgamated Zinc, on the -other hand, demands that the industry shall be established. The press, which until recently opposed the Government, is now supporting it, and pretending to oppose the forces of bolshevism merely to conserve its own in,terests. On the other hand, Amalgamated Zinc looks. to the Government for the establishment of an industry which is vital to the development and defence of this country, about which the present- Government and its supporters are so fond of talking.
We tell one another that personally there is no difference between us, and yet honorable members opposite will go on the public platforms of the country and malign us, saying that we are cowardly and skulking creatures. But no direct charges are made. Ministers opposite do not say of any one of us, “ Thou ait the mau.” They never nominate the criminal who, they say, ig sheltered, or tell us who is the man who is hiding him. They speak only in general terms. With vague charges they hope to sweep the country. But they will find that they have made their run too soon, and that we shall beat them up the straight. The press is to-day swamping the country with its denunciation of us, but within a few weeks the public will be sick of what they read in the daily papers, and the press will denounce ns in vain.
My last word is for Mr. Bamford, our Chairman of Committees, who is retiring from Parliament. No honorable member regrets his exit from this House more than I do. I have known him for a long period. He represents to my mind the most gentlemanly type of individual that enters the public life of this country. He is one of those men who, amid divergencies of opinion, and in a great crisis, could choose without venom between his own convictions and the party with which he had been associated for a lifetime. That fact entitles him to the respect of all who know him, including those with whom he was associated, hut who subsequently were his opponents. Whom can we respect more highly than a man who, when his conscience called him to separate from political friends, did it without showing hatred, hostility or recrimination? and said merely, “ Old comrades, this is the parting of the ways. We must separate. I can go no longer with you on this road.” Some cannot part from their associates without a display of venomous anger. Often they become apostates, reeking with bitter hostility and charging with crimes those with whom they were formerly associated. But such an offence cannot be laid at the door of the honorable member for Herbert. Not one word of recrimination against his old associates have I heard fall from his lips. So when now, in the evening of his days, we have to part with him, I extend to him ray heartfelt good wishes, and trust that for the remainder of his life he may enjoy the utmost happiness that can fall to any man.
In departing from this chamber for the struggle in the country we, on this side of the House, go forth clad in the armour of a righteous cause. No matter what red herrings, may be drawn across the trail; no matter -what spectres may be raised to horrify the vision of the electors, we shall tear aside the curtain and expose this Government in all its hideousness and corruptness.
– The leaders of the Government and the Opposition have adequately expressed the appreciation) of honorable members ‘of the services that have been rendered by Mr. Speaker and the officers of the House, but may I be permitted, as a colleague from Queensland of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), to express my sincere regret that he is relinquishing his seat in this House and leaving public life. Those who have worked with mim. have found him most conscientious in the performance of his duties, and whole-hearted in his belief in the potentialites of his State, - with, at the same time, a wide outlook on Australian affairs generally. The people of Queensland will sincerely regret that he has decided to retire from public life, but he will carry with him their very best wishes for a peaceful retirement, and a life full of happiness to the end of his days.
On the 18th September the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. H. G. Nelson) ‘and the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) brought under notice the case of a settler at Daly River, Northern Territory,named James Wilkinson, who was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for breaking and entering the Government Store at that place and stealing a bag of flour. It was suggested by the honorable members referred to that the punishment meted out to that settler was exceptionally harsh and should be mitigated. A report has now been obtained from the Administrator of the Northern Territory,” which states that seventeen days before the offence was committed Protector O’sullivan, of Daly River, supplied Wilkinson with 50 lb. of flour, 3 lb. of tea, and 10 lb. of sugar, and that at the time of the offence Wilkinson had on hand ample supplies of sweet potatoes, maize, pumpkins, water melons, cow peas, a. quantity of tea and sugar, and also had fowls, pigs, goats, and cows, in milk. The report goes on to- say that Wilkinson, with rifle in hand, demanded flour from the Protector, but was refused, as he was not entitled to it until the end of the month. He then used violent .language and threatened to break into the store. The Protector warned him. and retired. Wilkinson then broke open the locked door of the store and took away a bag of flour. In summing up all the facts the Judge stated that the circumstances looked like a deliberate hold-up with a rifle, and that he regarded the case as very serious, having regard to the effect of the example on numerous aboriginals in the neighbourhood. He considered that the matter might have been much worse but for the commendable forbearance of the Protector. A previous conviction against Wilkinson ten years ago iii New South Wales for perjury was adduced iu evidence. The Administrator states that, having read all the evidence, he can find no reasonable excuse for Wilkinson’s action.
Despite the remarks of the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Anstey) this Government is not ashamed of the record it will place before the people of Australia. I can speak from a long experience, and I claim that the present Government, and the Parliament which, is now coming to. a close, have as useful a record of legislation as has been placed on . the statute-book by any other Australian Parliament. We have worked quietly and definitely, with a distinct object in view.
– The Commonwealth Bank, for instance?
– We have improved the Commonwealth Bank and put it on a stronger footing than: ever. Despite the allegations made, there is a very clear issue, on which we are- not afraid to go to the country. Red ‘herrings will be drawn across the trail by others than honorable members supporting the Government. The issue is per- fectly clear. Yet I believe that in. their hearts honorable members on either side would not be sorry to see the new House constituted exactly as this is to-day.
– My conscience, which is the only master I know, impels me to speak. As honorable members may recall, at your election to the position which you, Mr. Speaker, have filled so splendidly, mine was the one discordant voice raised in this chamber. Some honorable members said that because my conscience impelled me to say what I did I would “ get it in the neck.” But I replied, “ No, the man who once gave me a pledge before ever there was a Federal Parliament and kept it religiously will act as justly to rae as to any other honorable member.” I am glad to testify that you have acted towards me, not only impartially, but also justly and generously, and for this I thank you heartily. I hope that in relinquishing the position which I did not wish you to occupy you will attain to a’ higher office, for there is an opening for you, even if this Government comes back, which I doubt.
Now I come to one of- the” most beloved men in this House, my friend Mr. Bamford. To me he epitomises what a French poet has put in the fewest of words - L’ ami He c’est V amour sans ailes. Friendship is love without its wings. He may have broken the link in the chain of comradeship, but his friendship has always remained. I do’ not know any honorable member who has not a kindly word and a kindly thought for him whom we know as “ dear Freddy Bamford.”
I recall to the memory of the Prime Minister the fact that a deputation consisting of Mr. Bamford, Mr. Chanter, Mr. Mathews, Senator de Largie, and myself was once sent by your predecessor, and later by yourself to an officer who seems to be a. jumpingjack, always coming out from England at election time. I refer to Mr. Percy Hunter. For mendacity I have never met his equal in public life, and I ask the Prime Minister to look into this matter, because in all my political career I have never seen a deputation so treated by a public servant as this one was treated. I suppose Mr. Hunter will be hopping back to England soon again, unless his tenure of office is terminated, which it will be if the people of Australia take a certain action within the next few months.
As for the officers at the table, I have a special regard for at least one of them. He does not look formidable, but if honorable members had seen him bundle me out of the House on one occasion they would have thought he was a Samson in disguise. However, he did it in such a gentlemanly way that the incident did not in any way interfere with our friendly relations. For Mr. Gale, who was the Agamemnon of our parliamentary party in South Africa, I have the most kindly regard. We all deeply regretted that, for reasons of ill-health, he had to leave the party in South Africa and return to Australia, and I am sure that we all hope that he will enjoy the best of health for the future, Of the members of the Hansard staff, who so often make our speeches better than they really are, I can only say that they are entitled to our highest esteem. I place great value upon stenography, and I suggest that this art be included in the curriculum of our schools, so as to reduce the drudgery attached to the learning of other subjects.
A few days ago I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Markets and Migration (Mr. Atkinson) a question appertaining to bread. I hope he will be good enough to furnish a reply through the columns of the press, so that the people of Australia may find out how they are being robbed at the present time.
I also directed the attention of the Minister for Health (Sir Neville Howse) to a question which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as a party matter. I hope, also that he will supply an answer as soon as possible through the press. As a distinguished member of the medical profession he will, I am sure, recognize the importance of the issue which I have raised.
We come now to the parting of the ways. I have fought many elections, and I enter the forthcoming contest with every confidence. Whatever may be the result, I hope that the incoming Government will, without delay, take steps to give effect to the unanimous opinion of this chamber by introducing legislation which has been endorsed by nearly every civilized country, including the 48 separate States of the great American Republic,’ by Switzerland, which is regarded as the schoolhouse of Europe, as well as by the greatest of English statesmen, including Gladstone, representing the pinnacle of Liberal thought, and Lord Salisbury, the recognized leader of the Conservative forces of his day. If Parliament adopts this law - I refer, of course, to the referendum, initiative and recall - it will be possible for the people to dominate Parliament and administer a corrective even to a powerful Ministry like the present, if it commits a wrong.
I have in mind the appointment of certain men to a board that is at present conducting an inquiry in New South Wales. Each member of that tribunal is drawing a salary of over £9,000 a year, or, if we eliminate Sundays from the calculation, over £8,000 a year. No other person holding an official position in the Commonwealth, excepting the GovernorGeneral, is in receipt of a salary surpassing that amount. The people have to find this money. If they had the right of recall, no Government would dare to enter into such. an extravagant arrangement. This expenditure was also unnecessary. The established courts of the country were strong enough to deal with the offenders. I have no time for Walsh and Johannsen - or Johnson, as lie is called - who have referred to men belonging to my party as thieves and parasites, but I protest against the course adopted by this Government to deal with them. If I know anything of opinion in the Mother Country, I believe that if an attempt is made to send Walsh back to England, the British Government will intimate in no unmistakable terms- that, .since Walsh has been a citizen of the Commonwealth for 30 years, it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to deal with him in this country, or, if the Government is not iii a position to rule, its members should make room for others who will. Recent events recall a meeting of citizens of Melbourne, held very many years ago in the shadow of the walls of the Melbourne gaol, to protest against the landing of convicts in Australia. On that occasion a resolution was agreed to that if any more convicts were landed in Melbourne the citizens would hang the captain and all the officers of the ship that brought them here. As the result of that protest, a number of convicts waiting to be landed were sent back.
.- I shall not delay the House for more than a few minutes. I wish to take this opportunity to direct attention to the unscrupulous tactics of the Melbourne Age in its comments upon proceedings in this Parliament. In an editorial yesterday it made certain comments upon honorable members of this chamber. I take strong exception to its references to me, and had it not been that we are on the eve of dissolution, I would have taken certain action to bring the Age to its bearings. After referring to other honorable members of my party in a most disparaging manner, the Age stated -
Mr. Mahony sang in a voice that harrowed his very soul - sang a song which said, “Though” Bruce protest, and diggers sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here.”
You, Mr. Speaker, and other honorable members, know that there is not a particle of truth in that statement. The article is written in a- most crafty manner. It is not directly stated, but it is cunningly insinuated, that I sang that song in this chamber. It is a low-down, scoundrelly, and filthy type of journalism that can descend to such depths as that, and its representatives should not be permitted in this chamber. The only way to deal with them is to exclude them. I hope that every decent-minded man and woman throughout Victoria will drop the Age. I warn that journal that the Labour movement is a very powerful organization. If the Age persists in its lying, dirty, and filthy tactics, the Labour movement will put into operation some of its machinery to deal with it. Members of the various unions will consider seriously whether they will print that kind of filth in the future. I do not mind receiving hard knocks in politics; I give them, and am prepared to take them. Honorable members can hit me as hard as they like politically, and they will never hear me squeak, but when a newspaper prints filthy, lying insinuations such as I have mentioned, it is time for a vigorous protest to be made. If it were not that a dissolution is imminent, I should have moved a certain resolution in order to give the House an opportunity to deal with this matter as it should be dealt with.
.- As the only Queensland member of the Labour party in the chamber, I desire to 3ay a few words regarding the departure from active political life of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford). Before entering this Parliament it was not my pleasure to know the honorable member very well personally, but since coming here I have had opportunities of meeting him and of knowing his sterling qualities. I feel that I am speaking for the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. C. McDonald) and other Queensland members, when I say that we all deeply regret that Mi-. Bamfordhas decided to retire from politics. The honorable members for Kennedy and Herbert for many years were associated as members of the same party. I feel sure that it is because of his personal popularity that Mr. Bamford has been able to win the Herbert seat so. many times as a member of different parties. Many of his old friends who knew him in his early political days still vote for him, but I feel sure that at the forthcoming election their support will be given to the Labour candidate, and that in tile next Parliament the Herbert constituency will be represented by the Hon. E. G. Theodore. The honorable member for Herbert is one of those men who evidently has gone through life endeavouring to act kindly towards every one. Probably he has had in his mind the words -
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, - that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellowcreature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
I feel free to say these things, because Mr. Bamford will not be contesting the next election. A politician is most highly esteemed after he has left the political stage or is dead. While he is in. the political arena very few of his political opponents will admit that he has any virtues.
The Attorney-General (Sir Littleton Groom) in the course of his remarks, said that, as a Queenslander, he felt absolutely confident that the appeal to the country would result in a win for the Government. I, as a Queenslander also, feel certain that the
Government will not be allowed to select the issue upon which it will appeal to the people. There are many issues which the Labour party will place before the electors for their decision. These hysterical efforts on the part of the Government and its supporters to build up this great communistic bogy, and to give publicity to communistic doctrines, will not find favour with the people of Queensland or of the other States.
– Why does the honorable member not keep his electioneering speeches for the Capricornia electorate?
– I am rather .surprised at the interjection of the honorable member, because he entered this Parliament, as did the Treasurer, stating that hi3 only reason for doing so was to bring about the creation of new States.
– What did the honorable member himself say at Armidale?
– All this talk about new States has now vanished, as far as the Country party is concerned. The Leader of the Country party after the election found himself occupying the position of Deputy Leader of the Government; in fact, he was Acting Prime Minister for several months. But although he had the power to do so, he did absolutely nothing to bring about the creation of new States. He could have submitted the question to a referendum of the people of Australia. I have absolutely no fear as to the result of this appeal to the people. I feel certain that the electors of Queensland will indorse the policy of the Labour party. They will judge honorable members opposite by the maladministration of the present Government during the last three years; it has been a disgrace to the federal legislature. There are many big questions on which tlie election will be decided. We shall not allow the pitch to be queered. The Labour party has right on its side, and it will win.
– It is not my intention to make an electioneering speech. The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr, Forde) has selected an inappropriate occasion to deliver what appears to be his electioneering speech for the forthcoming campaign. I should not have risen had not the honorable member thrown a gibe at me for the part that I have played in connexion with the new States movemeat. It is a fact that one of the principal issues on which I and some other honorable members in northern New South “Wales were elected was the creation of new States. One of the first things that I did after Parliament assembled was to place on the businesspaper a motion dealing with this matter. Subsequently, I moved that motion, and in connexion with it the honorable member for Capricornia also spoke. Unfortunately, a vote was not ‘ taken on it. This session also a similar motion was placed on the business-paper in my name, but together with many others, it failed to reach finality. It ill-becomes the honorable member to throw this gibe at me, considering that he also for a number of years has played a prominent part in the new States movement in Central Queensland, and has given the people there to understand that he will take every step possible to obtain a decision on this important question. The honorable member has attended various new States functions, not only in Queensland, but also in New South Wales, and has informed the people of Rockhampton that whenever this question comes up he will be one of its most stalwart champions.
– The honorable member is a supporter of a Government which has done nothing in this connexion.
– I admit that the question has not been brought to a head.
– As the Government which the honorable member supports has failed, he should give the Labour party an opportunity to bring about his desire.
– Honorable members opposite profess to believe in unification, but what have they done during the life of this Parliament to bring it about? Whenever the now States movement, is mentioned, the honorable member for Capricornia and other honorable members opposite say that they have a better solution of the problem, find suggest unification as a means of attaining the same end. Yet during this Parliament not one word has been said about unification. The honorable member for Capricornia, who has sought the limelight on this question, now has the audacity to gibe at me, although I have honestly attempted to bring this question before the people of Australia. Honorable members generally will bear me out when I say that not one honorable member has during the life of this Parliament attempted to bring the question of unification before the House. The honorable member has made several speeches concerning the attitude he has adopted, and his action this morning displays exceedingly bad taste. During the campaign I am prepared to justify my attitude before the people of northern New South Wales, but I am sure the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) will not be willing to appear before the electors at Rockhampton and repeat to them the statements that he has made on many occasions in the past.
I wish to refer briefly to the subject of compulsory voting. A private bill under which voting for Federal elections is now compulsory was rushed through both Houses of the Parliament last session at such a rate that many honorable members did not have an opportunity to discuss it. After it had passed, a number of honorable members on both sides of the chamber were somewhat dubious as to whether it was wise to pass such a measure. It has been stated that in consequence of its passage an 85 per cent, poll may be expected at the forthcoming election. I spent a good deal of time in the outlying portion of my electorate last week and in conversation with electors - and I spoke to many - not only in the towns, but also in the outlying districts, I discovered that not a single person was aware that compulsory voting would be enforced at the forthcoming election. If drastic steps are not taken to notify the people of the fact that voting is compulsory and that those who do not vote will be fined, it will be found that the poll will be from 10 per cent, to 15 per cent, lower than some anticipate. Honorable members on both sides of the House will agree that although it is rather late to move in the matter it would be wise to incur ,some expenditure, in order to inform electors that all those who are able will be expected to vote on 14th November. It is only fair that the Government should spend some money in this direction even if it means sending a notice through the post to every elector on the roll. I trust the Prime Minister will see that this is done.
Motion (by Mr. Bay ley) negatived -
That the honorable member for New England be not further heard.
– I desire to bring under the notice of honorable members a matter which I am sure they will regard as of sufficient importance to be mentioned at this juncture. I referred recently to the unfortunate position of blind sellers of cigarettes, tobaccco and matches who are not entitled to receive the invalid pension. The matter is of no political importance to me, as I do not think I have one blind seller of the articles I have mentioned in my electorate. I promised the New South Wales Blind Association that I would take definite steps to again bring this matter before Parliament. I shall now read the following letter I have received from the Commissioner of Pensions -
The Deputy Commissioner of Pensions, Sydney, recently forwarded to me a report of the deputation from the Association for the Advancement of the Blind, introduced by you, which waited upon him on 23rd June last in connection with the invalid pension claim of the above-named. On receipt of the papers I directed the Deputy Commissioner to make certain inquiries, and his report has now come to hand.
This claim has been considered by me on several occasions. Claimant is engaged in the sale of tobacco and cigarettes in the street and when his claim was previously under consideration he was informed that if he relinquished his street occupation the question of granting him a pension would be considered. He refused to do so and the recent inquiries referred to show that he is still engaged in street employment and apparently has no intention of relinquishing it.
For many years it has been the policy of the Pensions administration in dealing with invalid pension claims from blind persons to discourage the claimants from engaging in street employment, and pensions have not been granted to persons who continue to follow such occupations. As Mr. Scott is not prepared to discontinue his present occupation, regret to say that it is not possible for me to authorize the payment of an invalid pension.
As a large number of those engaged in selling matches and cigarettes are young, able-bodied persons they cannot be expected to maintain themselves on the miserable pension pittance of 20s. per week. It is unreasonable to suggest that merely because they are endeavouring to earn a living they should be denied the invalid pension. These persons are not regarded as mendicants, and I therefore take this opportunity of asking the Prime Minister to confer with the Commissioner of Pensions to see if the present unsatisfactory position cannot be remedied.
– The Prime Minister could instruct the Commissioner in the matter.
– Yes. The Commissioner of Pensions informed me that Parliament was supreme. In submitting this matter I am fulfilling a promise given to the Blind Association of New South Wales, and I ask honorable members if they would oppose the blind sellers of tobacco, cigarettes and matches receiving the invalid pension. I appeal to the Prime Minister to ask the Commissioner of Pensions why these deserving people are being so ungenerously and unkindly treated.
.- As this is the last occasion on which I shall be able to address the House, perhaps I may be pardoned for occupying the time of honorable members for a few moments. I thank the right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and others who have spoken so kindly concerning myself. It is perhaps just as well that I am withdrawing from public life, because it would be difficult for me to live up to the good reputation given me.
It has been my intention for some time to bring under the notice of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) a suggestion made some time ago by Mr. David Lindsay, the explorer, before the Public Works Committee in Sydney. Mr. Lindsay told the committee that about 160 or 170 miles from the terminus of the railway at Dajarra, across the Queensland border there is a large tract of fine country well grassed, watered and timbered. Fully believing that the Prime Minister will be in a position to give effect to my wishes later, I suggest that he arrange for a survey of that country to be made. If the land is of the quality indicated . by Mr. Lindsay perhaps it could be offered to some organization, such as the Salvation Army, on a long lease, on the condition that it was settled. Theycould make a settlement for. themselves there. A large area could be given to them in fee simple, and another area could be leased on a peppercorn rental. I do not know whether it would be considered proper for me to cite what has been done by other organizations on similar lines. The Mormons, for example, went out from Kentucky to Utah. They undertook that journey under the greatest possible difficulties. They had no horses, and had to transport their belongings across the prairies in handcarts and over the rivers in rafts.
– They had tremendous virility.
– And it was their virility that enabled them to do these things. Then, again, there were the Pilgrim Fathers, who went to New England and made that part of the world a country to be proud of. I’ submit this matter for the consideration of the Government, and suggest that, in the first place, a survey should be made to Ascertain whether the country is as Mr. David Lindsay pictured it.
– Before submitting the motion I may be permitted to say how sincerely I appreciate the generous sentiments expressed regarding me by the right honorable the leader of the House (Mr. Bruce) and the honorable the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton). I do not hide from myself, and I do not wish to hide from honorable members, the fact that I came to the chair indifferently equipped . for the discharge of the duties of that important office; but I was controlled by a strong desire to preside impartially without distinction of person or party. That honorable members on both sides of the House appear to consider that I have not failed in that, is to me a very natural and genuine source of pleasure. There is another thing that I ought not to hide, and, on the present occasion, I wish to be quite frank about it. To a man of my political habits - and, I may perhaps add, temperament - ihe task which the choice of wis House cast upon me was not easy, and it was made possible only by the hearty goodwill and cheerful co-operation of honorable members. That made it not only possible, but also agreeable, and for that I render my warm acknowledgments to honorable members, irrespective of party.
I thank the right honorable the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for their references to the officers of parliament. I am personally under a deep debt to the Clerk (Mr. Gale) and his colleagues’ at the table; to the chief of the Hansard staff (Mr. Robinson), und his very efficient staff; and to all the officers and attendants, both inside and outside the chamber. My experience of nearly three years in the chair has convinced me that the House is singularly fortunate in its officers. They are men of wide experience, ripe judgment, and unfailing courtesy, and they have made this quaint old parliamentary machine move very smoothly for us. I acknowledge my obligation to the officers of the House. The Prime Minister has referred to the attachments that have been made between us, and as this is my last speech before my retirement from the chair, I may be ‘ permitted to say a word or two on that subject. Last night His Excellency the Governor-General struck n similar note. Honorable members are now going to what appears likely to be a keen electoral fight. Whoever is sent to the new Parliament by the constituencies, or whoever falls by the way - and my experience teaches me that some may foll, and some must - I hope we shall all cherish those personal friendships that have grown up amongst us, despite the adverse conditions of contest and antagonism in which we seem obliged to spend our legislative lives. I have had nearly 30 yeears of political life, and to me the most gratifying feature of it is the fact that these attachments can arise and. flourish in such unfavorable conditions. Let me take, as ono example, the references by honorable members on both sides of the chamber to the services, character, and career of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford). I have known him since he came from the northern State to the Federal Parliament at the inauguration of federation, and I have been drawn into closer association with him during the last three years. To know him intimately is not merely to admire him, but also to love him. He is like most of the Queenslanders who have passed through the early pioneering stage. He is, too, the “ father of the House.” We all deeply regret his renunciation of public life. The House will have to find another “ father,” but will never have a better nor a more loved one. He can be sure that he carries into his voluntary retirement the enduring esteem of all who have been associated with him in political life for a quarter of a century. I hope that the illustration which his character and career afford will stimulate other honorable members to cultivate those associations which tend to reduce the asperities of party contest, and to ameliorate public life.
I desire, finally, to thank honorable members warmly and gratefully for this further expression of their kindness and cordiality.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.18 p.m. until Thursday, 1st October.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 September 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1925/19250923_reps_9_111/>.