1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers. papers.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table the following papers : -
Torpedo. Boats, retention of : Report of Board of Officers.
Ordered to be printed.
Commissions in Royal Australian Artillery : Alterations of Regulations.
Sugar and Drawback Regulations.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
Referring to his reply to Senator Lt.-Col. Neild on the 27th August, will the Minister explain why officers of the partially-paid and volunteer forceR in New South Wales are boing compulsorily retired by the authority of the Regulations of the-Bth May, 1902, which are said bynim to have been framed under the ‘Military and Naval Forces Regulation Act, 1871 ?
Is it not a fact that the said Act relates- exclusively to the fully-paid or professional forces, and hfis no connexion whatever with the partiallypaid mid volunteer forces ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions, which will cover also the other question of which he has given notice, ore as follows : - in the original Order in Council the authority conferred by the Volunteer Force Regulation Act. of New South Wales 1867, to make such regula-‘ tions regarding the volunteer and partially-paid forces in New South Wales, was not cited. Since the reply given to Senator Lt. -Col. Neild on the 27th August, this omission has been rectified ; but the failure to quote the Act would not affect the legality of the . Regulation.
SenatorHIGGS asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice : -
Is there any provision in the contracts for the supply of small arms ammunition stipulating that the said ammunition shall be manufactured within the Commonwealth ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Yes. To be mode from cordite supplied by the Government as for as the capacity of the output by the Colonial Ammunition Company is concerned. Ammunition in excess of this output is ordered through the War Office.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The subject came under the consideration of the Premiers’ Conference in London, but the Government is not yet in a position to state the result of the negotiations.
Ordered (on the motion of Senator Pkaece) -
That a return of the attendances of members of the Senate be compiled, showiugthe number of sittings since the opening of the session up tu20th August, and the attendances thereat.
Debate resumed from 29th August (vide page 15601), on motion by Senator O’Connor : -
That an expenditure upon Government Houses of £5,500 a year, as submitted in the statement laid upon the tuble of the Senate on . 20th August, 1002, is approved, during the term of office of feho next Governor-General.
Upon which Senator Dawson had moved -
That the following words be added to the motion : - “ but this House deprecates the maintenance of two Government Houses, and suggests that the expenditure on Sydney Government House be limited to the term of three years.’
– It is such a long time -since the session -was opened that I think some honorable senators are losing sight of the position of things at that time, and of events -which occurred before or about the time of the inauguration of the Commonwealth. We find that suggestions arebeing made very freely that New South Wales is straining every effort to get advantages, terms, . money, or something or other to which she is not entitled. I think nothing is further than that -from the mind of every member of the New South Wales delegation, and certainly Iknow nothing in the -public utterances of men in . New -South Wales to warrant any such supposition. It k worth while to note that with regard to the reception and entertainment of the Governor-General, New South Wales -went to enormous expense. Since we adjourned last week -I -have looked up . the . figures in regard . to Government House. I find that prior to the arrival of Lord Hopetoun - in 1697-8-9 - about £10,000 was spent in putting in an electric installation and effecting various repairs. Immediately prior to the inauguration of the Federation Government House was in good order. But, notwithstanding that fact, the Government of . that State spent in the -year ending 30th June, 1901, a further sum of £22,000, chiefly in making additions and providing further furniture and new stabling, and so on. . Not only did New South Wales spend £22,000 in that year, but this valuable property - which, with its expensive grounds and water frontages, is believed to represent fully £500,000 - has been put under the care of the federal Government for the use of the Governor-General and to maintain the dignity of the ‘Commonwealth. The State has parted, ‘for the time being at any rate, with its Government House, and as a consequence of ‘that act, it has had to rent a property “for its own Governor, and to lay out a large sum - I think it is £7,700 - in furnishing the new place, which is called Cranbrook. As a consequence of the changes that have been made, I find that New South “Wales has paid altogether £30,000, and now we are told, when a small amount of about £2,000 is suggested to be spent, that she is trying to get the better of the Commonwealth. Surely that is a statement which would not be made were all the facts known. I find objections taken to this proposal by honorable senators who are so desirous of being fair in all their dealings, that 1 can only think that their apprehensions arise from an incomplete knowledge of the facts surrounding the business. Out of this vote of £5,500, the sum of £500 would come’back to the various services, because it includes some hundreds of pounds for postage, and a considerable amount for telephones. If anything were wanting to show the ludicrousness of that statement in regard to New South Wales, I might point out that towards this. vote of £5,500 she will have to contribute the solid sum of £2,000. So that, while she has acted very generously in the past with regard to the GovernorGeneral and the Commonwealth at large, she has no chance at present of obtaining anything. The small amount of £2,000 will all be expended. on a valuable property which, representing a capital value of halfamillion, has been lent to the Commonwealth free of rent and other charges. This matter has, to -some extent, been mixed up with ‘the- question of the capital, and statements have been made in some quarters which indicate a willingness to dispute the rights of New South Wales, or, at any rate, to unduly defer the execution of the requirements of the Constitution with regard to the capital. Certainly an New South Wales there is a suspicion which, perhaps, has been considerably increased by the dispute that has arisen with regard to this small amount. Last year, I believe, the Governor-General
44 1 2
did reside in Government House, Sydney, from the time of the inauguration of the Commonwealth, on the 1st January, until some six months afterwards. ‘He used the place ‘on various occasions subsequently. Therefore, I cannot see for the life of me how it is possible to raise any objections from the point of view of the ‘Commonwealth to the small demand which is now made. If I thought for one moment that the sum in question savoured of undue expenditure - if I thought it would commit the Commonwealth ‘to a waste of public money - I should be one of the first to oppose it. But 1 do not take ‘that view of the matter. As was stated last week, if the amount that is proposed for the Sydney establishment were omitted, probably by nearly as much would the expenditure upon the other establishment have to be increased. As the total amount is only £5,500, and compares “for economy so markedly with what has been spent since the inauguration of federation, I do not think that any just grounds can be found for complaint in this direction when we notice that the amount before us is ‘made ‘to apply only during the term of the next Governor-General, and that it is desirable that the terms under which the new Governor-General comes to Australia shall be fully known. I indulge the hope, not only that the motion will be carried by a substantial majority if it goes to a vote, but that Senator Dawson will see his way under all the circumstances to withdraw his amendment, and that the proposal of the Government will be carried unanimously on the voices.
– I wish to enter ray protest against the proposal to keep up a separate establishment for the Governor’-General in Sydney just as I should enter a protest if it were proposed to keep up a separate establishment in Adelaide. In fact, if there is any justification for a second establishment of the kind, Adelaide has a prior claim in the present instance over Sydney, because the Acting ‘Governor-General is also the State’ Governor of South Australia. There might, therefore, have been some justification for South Australia saying that- in view of the ‘peculiar circumstances in which her State Governor has been promoted to the higher position of Governor-General, she considered that Adelaide should have his presence, and that a separate residence should be provided for him by the Commonwealth in the State which has been deprived of his services on account of the sudden emergency that lias arisen. But I am against the up-keep of two separate Governmenthouses in two separate States, because it seems to me that if” we adopt that plan, we must have a residence for the GovernorGeneral in every State. I could understand the proposition being put forward that there should be two residences for the Governor-General on the ground of health - a summer residence and a winter residence. That might be reasonable, but I cannot understand the plea that there should be a residence for the Governor-General in New South Wales and another in Victoria. There is nothing in the Constitution which seems to provide any reasonable ground for that plea which is not put forward for reasons of health or convenience. In fact, everyone admits that it would be very inconvenient to the Governor-General to keep up two establishments, one in Sydney, and one in Melbourne, and lam sure that if the Governor-General himself were consulted he would be perfectly satisfied to have the one residence, and to remain in Melbourne, with occasional visits to the other States. The New South Wales senators are taking up a position which is opposed to the interests of their own State, in advocating -what is now proposed. That position militates against giving New South Wales what the Constitution lays down that she should get as a matter of right, namely, the settlement in her favour of the federal capital question. If they were to advocate an early settlement of that question, and if the site were chosen, they would have some excuse for maintaining that the GovernorGeneral should have a separate residence in Sydney, because they could then point out that the capital, for some years to come, would practically be a bush town, and that there was need to have a residence for the Governor-General in a central city like Sydney. But that argument cannot be put forward now. Melbourne is just as civilized and as far advanced in the social scale as is Sydney, and, if the Governor-General is looked upon as the head of our social order, as Senator Dobson so lovingly puts it, he can just as well carry out his duties in Melbourne as in Sydney, although there might be many good arguments against asking him to reside in a back-country town like Yass or Wagga Wagga. I was very much surprised to hear the pessimistic remarks of Senator Dobson regarding the selection of the capital site. He said that he hoped the matter would be postponed for twenty years. I remember the honorable and learned senator making an enthusiastic speech at Bombala which led the people there to believe that he would move heaven and earth to have Bombala chosen as the capital site at the earliest opportunity.
– Do not misquote me, please.
– I very distinctly object to the view taken by Senator Dobson that lavish expenditure on the GovernorGeneral’s establishment is necessary, because His Excellency is the head of our social order - the order of aristocracy, as he puts it. He has pointed out that there is an aristocracy of labour and an aristocracy in other branches of life. Which particular part of labour Senator Dobson designates the aristocracy of labour I do not know.
– It is not my phrase.
– It certainly is not a phrase that has originated amongst working people. I object to Senator Dobson’s assumption that the class of people amongst whom the Governor-General moves, and whom he entertains, are the aristocracy of intellect, which is practically what he says. Nor do I assent to his proposition that by voting this sum of money we are encouraging intellect and merit. Every one knows that the aristocracy referred to is an aristocracy of wealth, and not of intellect ; and that by encouraging a lavish expenditure on one or two Government Houses, we are merely voting money for the entertainment of a wealthy aristocracy, and not for the encouragement of an aristocracy of intellect or of merit. Looking at the question from that point of view, it is merely a matter of whether the aristocracy of Toorak shall have this .money spent amongst them, or whether it shall be divided amongst the aristocracy of Toorak and the aristocracy of Potts’ Point. I should not have touched upon this phase of the question had not the honorable and learned senator alluded to it, and contended that by voting this money we shall encourage intellect and merit, which reign supreme in the assumed higher orders of our social scale. Senator Gould brought forward an astonishing contention. I am sorry that he did not explain more fully to us the theory according to which he urges that by permitting this expenditure of money in Sydney we shall be benefiting the people of Sydney, and consequently benefiting the whole Commonwealth. Why does not the honorable and learned senator follow out that argument to its logical conclusion 1 If it is right, on the same ground it might be proper to propose to pay every member qf the Federal Parliament £10,000 a year, because undoubtedly the members of the Parliament could spend that money just as well as could the Governor-General. According to Senator Gould’s argument such an expenditure would be a benefit to the. community. The argument only needs to be carried to its logical conclusion for its absurdity to be seen, and for one to realize the folly of voting money to be expended in this manner in the belief that, by so doing, we are conferring a benefit on the whole Commonwealth. I do not think that any reasonable advocate of this expenditure would put it upon those grounds ; and if those are the best reasons for supporting the up-keep of a second establishment in Sydney, they are very shallow and hollow indeed. Senator Pulsford’s plea is that because New South Wales has spent something like halfamillion of money upon the establishment of Government House, Sydney, and upon its up-keep, the Commonwealth Parliament should bear the burden ; because she has built a white elephant in Sydney, the Commonwealth Government should come to her rescue, pay the interest on the money, and keep up the establishment. If we are to bear the burden of State extravagance the principle should be applied all round. We have had some lavish expenditure in Western Australia. On the same grounds, therefore, that State should come to the Federal Parliament and say - “Here is a department upon which we have wasted money; we admit that we have been extravagant, but the interest has to be met and the up-keep of the establishment has to be paid. We therefore ask you to take it over because it is an extravagance, and we find that it is a burden upon the community.” It is very significant that Senator Dobson and others who are so very enthusiastic in regard to any vote for the up-keep of vice- regal magnificence, and to whom nothing is too preposterous and extravagant, but everything is right, when it is proposed to vote moneys in such’ directions, are the same honorable senators who wailed about the burden sought to be imposed upon the people of the Commonwealth when we were voting in favour of £2 2s. a week as a minimum being paid to the public servants under the Public Service Bill. That action was estimated to involve an expenditure of £40,000 to the whole Commonwealth - not much more than the vice-regal establishment cost for the past year. The honorable senators to whom I allude are- perfectly willing to vote for a GovernerGeneral’s establishment, even if it costs £40,000, but they deprecate a similar expenditurewhen it is for the benefit of those who actually earn the money we pay to them, and who in many cases - in the State SenatorDobson represents, for instance - were underpaid. It is a pity that these honorable senators, before they cast a vote designed to benefit those who do not need it, do not remember the votes they cast against theinterests of those who had need of the money it was proposed to spend upon them. Strange to say, the opposition to the proposal for a living wage to the civil service came from the very honorable senators who are now prepared to support extravagance in other quarters for officials who generally have large private incomes in addition tothe salaries provided by the Commonwealth… I believe that the people of the Commonwealth are indifferent as to whether theGovernorGeneral entertains or does not entertain. They are indifferent as to whether he is the leader of social life or whether he is unknown in social circles. All they are concerned about is that the GovernorGeneral shall carry out efficiently the duties of his official position. It is no part of the duty of Parliament to vote public moneys for the ostensible purpose of creating a social caste in our community, and of providing social entertainments limited to that caste. I believe that there is a spirit of reasonableness taking possession of the public mind in regard tothis question, and that it is that which hascaused the trouble during the last year ortwo. The public are beginning to say - “Why should we vote money for the purpose of keeping up a social standard ? Why should public money be voted for the purpose of inculcating ideas of social caste amongst the people.” If there are a number of people who consider that intellectually, or from a monetary point of view, they are superior to the rest of the community, they have a right to pay for that opinion. They should not ask the public to pay for these little social frivolities. I must express my disappointment that, following on. the establishment of the Commonwealth, the plan laid down by the leaders of; the various conventions has not been observed - that the States Parliaments- have not followed up the inauguration of the Commonwealth by placing, the appointment of the States Governors and the maintenance of their establishments upon a reasonable and economical basis. The States Governments could have mitigated much of the dissatisfaction which has been caused during the last year if; upon the accomplishment of federation and the appointment of a Governor-General to represent the Imperial Government here, they had requested the Home authorities to give them permission to nominate some wellknown resident for the position of Governor in each State. That would have resulted in a great saving.
– Does the honorable senator think that would have been desirable?
– I think so. It would have resulted in considerable savings throughout the States, and we should then have been able to reasonably ask the people to sanction a larger expenditure upon the establishment of the Governor-General. In view of the fact that the establishments of the States- Governors ate costing, as much as they did prior to federation, we must see that we are actually placing an additional burden upon the shoulders of the people. The leaders o£ the federal movement told us that upon the establishment of the Commonwealth we should be able to reduce the scale of the upkeep of’the States vice-regal establishments; They told us that we should have one GovernorGeneral to represent the Imperial Govern*ment in Australia, and that the positions of States Governors could be filled by the Chief Justice, or some other prominent person in each State. In Canada, they do not import all their State Governors from Eng.land, and the occupants of those- offices are not expected to keep up style on the scale of magnitude demanded of them here:
– But their Constitution is very different from ours.
– The Federal Constitution does not affect the position of States Governors. That is a matter with which States Parliaments- have to deal, and the States- Parliaments could have assisted the Federal Government by effecting, savings in regard to the appointment of their Governors.
– They have done so.
– I cannot see any indication of it. In Western Australia, at 1 all events, they have not done so. There the Governor is receiving- the- same salary as- before federation, andi he is still provided with two residences-.
– The other States have effected: savings.
– We know that ambi- tion brings to the- front the best, men in public life. If the-position of a State Governor were within the- reach of our public men, it would be an additional inducement for the best men in the community to enter, upon a public career. It would, be known that after a man had served his country well and faithfully foc at certain, time, the position of State Governor would be within his reach. lam not urging that we should ha.ve- elective States Governors, although personally I consider they ought to be elective. The names o£ persons fitted for the position, should be submitted- to the Imperial Government, either.- by the Federal or the State Ministry, audi the’ office would then be placed within the reach of public men of- proved probity: Why. should such men; be shut out from it when any party leader in England is eligible for the position^ no matter how incompetent he may be? K he-happens to be iti the confidence ofl his party, and; has. friends able and willing, to pull, the strings foil him,, he can secure an appointment. The States Parliaments might very well take notice of this difficulty, and assist the Federal Legislature by effecting savings- in their, expenditure upon the States Government-houses, and placing, the appointment of- States Governors upon, a different basis. Let the Imperial. Government be- represented by one Governor-General. The GovernorGeneral’s office should also’ be placed upon merely an official! basis, and those who wish to make the Governer-General the head of their social- order, should dip their hands into their pockets- and-, pav for. it.
-Coll NEILD (-New South Wales). - Senator. Pearce points-out that the State from which, he. comes provides two official residences for ,its Governor, but he objects to the Governor-General - whom he recognises to be an official occupying, a higher plane than that of a, State Governor - being: provided for in a similar way. According, to. the honorable senator, it Ls all very well for the States- Governors to. have two. places of- abode, but the GovernorGeneral must be restricted, to one. This seems to be his view, because in a lengthy, speech, in which he scarcely touched the question before the- Chair, but dealt with a number of side issues such as elective State Governors- and other matters, the honorable senator, whilst advocating, a reduction, of the expenditure in connexion with the appointment of State Governers, did not point out that he entertained the slightest objection to each of the States Governors having two residences. I do note suppose there is a State in the Commonwealth the Governor of which, has not ai second. abode.
– The State Parliament have to deal with that matter.
.- I think that the remarks- I have made are perfectly justified by the speech made by the honorable senator. Senator Pearce- also bases his opposition to the Government proposal upon a question of social distinction and social expenditure; I do not care a snap of the fingers for either of those reasons. I do not stand here either to support or to oppose the proposition from any such stand-point. In passing, however, I may point out to the honorable senator that entertainments of an official character, such as those given hy Governors and Governor- Generals, provide a large amount of employment, and. put many an honestlyearned pound into the pockets- of the drivers of licensed, vehicles,, who make a harvest in connexion with them. This is, therefore, not a question alone of public expenditure, but also of private expenditure. I do not suppose that in either Melbourne or Sydney a viceregal entertainment is- given without tile cabmen of: the city earning. £2.00 or £300: Perhaps they earn a great deal more. I know that the hansom cabs of; Sydney number something, over 1,000, and- that when an entertainment is given at Government House, it is almost impossible to hire a cab for love or money. Such entertainments involve useful expenditure for the benefit of people whose hard earnings are of the greatest consequence to them. I am alluding to these matters only because Senator Pearce expressed regret that Senator Gould had not supported his- arguments with illustrations; I am supplying what occur to me as illustrations. For- instance, has the honorable senator considered, the amount of; money which the florists earn in connexion with vice-regal entertainments, and that they are of great value to the classes who are busily engaged from week to -week ? I shall not pursue this- line of argument further than to say that in) decorations,, clothing, and artificial adornment both of- persons and buildings) there is every opportunity for expenditure, in connexion with these entertainments,- that benefits those who earn their daily bread by the nimbleness of their fingers or the sweat of their brow. I support this motion, however, upon entirely, different grounds. I support it upon the grounds of public good faith, and that being so, I think that the vote which I shall give will stand upon a much more substantial basis than the vote which may be given because of any reason connected with either vice-regal expenditure or vice-regal entertainment. I do not attach importance to the proposition that’ these gatherings or entertainments tend- to any intellectual advancement. The honorable senator who made use of that expression no doubt had his reasons for doing s<5, but they do not appeal to me, and T am not going to support the Go,vernment on that ground. T support them upon the ground that to refuse the GovernorGeneral a residence in Sydney would be an absolute and positive breach of the spirit of’ the Constitution.
– The Constitution, if it makes any reference to the’ matter at all. says that the Governor-General shall not reside iia Sydney.
.- The place of residence of the Governor-General is to a large extent bound up with, the question of the position of the capital. I admit that the Governor-General can live where the capital is not, but I do say- that it is an undoubted obligation that the GovernorGeneral shall have a permanent residence in the State which is designed by the Constitution, to supply the federal capital. It seems to me that I need not rely upon any arguments of my own. Certainly I am not going to rely upon my own personal assertions. I prefer to call as a witness a high legal authority. I’ propose to quote from the records a question and answer relating to this subject which embodied at the time the opinions of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, then as now Counsel for the Crown, and one. of the framers of the Constitution. I propose to quote the honorable and learned senator’s opinion given to the Government of New South Wales, and upon which that Government acted in providing a separate House for the State Governor, in order to leave what is known as Government House, Sydney, for the use of the Governor-General. The giving of that opinion induced many thousands of people to vote for the adoption of the Constitution who had previously voted in the opposite way.
– The Constitution says that the seat of government shall be anywhere in New South Wales, except within 100 miles radius of Sydney.
– I know all about that, but I am going to quote the opinion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council-
– Does the honorable senator know that that opinion has been questioned 1
– It happens to be the only opinion that I have before me, and I intend to give it for what it is worth. I think there is no member of the* Senate who, if he were entering into expensive litigation, would not feel his position very highly fortified if the favorable opinion of the learned gentleman whom I am about to quote were given in his behalf. This is what the honorable and learned gentleman said with reference to section 125 of the Commonwealth -Constitution.
That section, which takes effect the moment the Constitution comes into force, enacts, in mandatory terms, that the seat of government of the Commonwealth shall be in New South Wales. From that moment it becomes impossible that the seat of government cun legally be anywhere outside of New South Wales.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that it shall be in Sydney 1
– If the honorable senator will repress his transports a little I will try to go through with this quotation. The last paragraph of the opinion to which I refer runs thus -
For these reasons I am clearly of opinion that, under no circumstances can the Federal Executive or any other authority, legally fix the Seat of f government of the Commonwealth out of New South Wales.
Upon that I wish to base this argument. Though I admit that Sydney itself is barred as the seat of the capital, still it is more in consonance with the Constitution and the ideas which actuated the people in the adoption of the Constitution that the seat of government should be in New South Wales than that it should be in Victoria, even temporarily. Of necessity there is, I submit, a greater right to expect that the Governor-General shall reside somewhere iri. New South Wales than in Victoria. I am raising no objection to his residence in Victoria. I have not a word to suggest in opposition to that. By all means, for so long as the Federal Parliament meets in Victoria the Governor-General should have a residence in that State, and I shall always be found voting for it. No member of the Senate, therefore, and no person outside can have the slightest reason for supposing that I am narrow-minded in this matter. But I think that, on the ground of public good faith, there should be no objection to the Governor-General having a residence, not as the seat of government, but at least a residence in that State which is tinder the Commonwealth Constitution the proper State for the capital of the Commonwealth. Some portion of New South Wales is designated as the site of the capital, and surely in that State, selected by the Constitution as the proper State in which to establish the capital for all time, it must be right that the Governor-General should have, not a suite of rooms in an hotel or a boarding-house, but an official residence that he can visit and reside in at such times as are convenient to himself and to the public service. While I am not going to discuss seriously a proposal that is not before us, and which could not be put before us except by means of an amendment which nobody would support, I think I am justified in submitting for the consideration of honorable senators that there is a great deal of difference between a proposal to provide an official residence for the Governor-General in every State, and a proposal that he should be provided with an official residence first of ailwhere the Federal Parliament meets, and, secondly, in the State designated by the Constitution as the proper place for the permanent capital of the Commonwealth. The difference between the two propositions is, in my opinion, so vast that, as the lawyers say, it is hardly arguable. . May I also say something, not only on behalf of the maintenance of the Constitution, but on behalf of good faith being kept with the people of New South Wales. I do not know how much of the proposed expenditure of £5,500 a year is to be allocated to Government House, Sydney, and how much in respect of Government House, Melbourne.
– £2,077 for Sydney Government House.’
– I find that, according to the Customs duties now being paid by the different States, New South Wales will pay fully one-third of the whole, or £1,800 out of the £5,500 as their proportion.
– And they will also have to pay their proportion of the expense of maintaining the Government House, Melbourne.
– Exactly. The people of New South Wales will have to pay one-third of that. One-third of the amount of £5,500 is something over £1,800, leaving £3,700 to be divided amongst the other five States. When the brunt of the expenditure will fall upon New South Wales surely the people of that State are entitled to have some little consideration shown them. Though I do not desire to enter upon matters which may possibly raise ill-feeling, I am surely entitled to point out that in some respects this debate has given very little evidence of the great and beneficent federal spirit of which we heard so much while the votes of the people were being asked in support of federation. I would ask where are the evidences’ of that spirit in some of the speeches which we have heard, not from any class or party in the Chamber, but from individual senators for the objection to what is proposed has come as much from my own bench as from any other part of the Chamber 1 New South Wales has given up more in connexion with the adoption of the Federal Constitution than any other State. It is the only State of the whole group that abandoned a national policy, confirmed by every general election which had taken place from the time the colony enjoyed the blessings, or otherwise, of responsible government. The people of New South Wales, according to the latest returns, have to bear to-day, for the purposes of federation, a taxation through the customs amounting to something between £1,000,000 and £1,200,000, or in round figures £100,000 a month of additional taxation for the benefits of federation. We know that when that taxation has reached the home and the housekeeper, - it has been increased in various ways, until instead of being £100,000 per month, it is not less than £150,000 per month. That is the price the people of New South Wales are paying for federation. If we take the £1,81)0,000 a year of additional expenditure and divide it- amongst the 400,000 male wage-earners of New South Wales - because it is of no use distributing taxation of this kind over every person in the community - if we place it upon the backs of those who have to pay the piper and keep the house going, it means that every one of the 400,000 male wage - earners in New South Wales has to bear an additional tax of £4 10s. per annum placed upon him. If this is one of the burdens we have undertaken in the interests of federation and with the distinct provision in the Constitution that the capital of the Commonwealth shall be located within the boundaries of New South Wales, what kind of federal spirit is that which induces honorable senators to say - “ We will not permit the Governor-General to live within the borders of New South Wales except at an hotel or lodging-house “ - because that is. what it comes to ? The Governor-General cannot be the guest of the States Governors except to a very limited extent ; the position would not be tenable, and the issues involved would not be tolerable for either the Governor-General or the States Governors. Unless he is provided with an official residence in New South Wales the GovernorGeneral cannot live, except for very brief periods, away from Melbourne. He may pay occasional visits to New South Wales, but if there is to be anything like a lengthy residence in that State we must have an official house provided for him. I do not go into the question dealt with by Senator Pulsford in connexion with the outlay upon Government House, Sydney, but the honorable senator was misunderstood by Senator Pearce. Senator Pearce was under the impression that Senator Pulsford had said that £500,000 had been spent upon Government House, Sydney, for the purpose of making it fit for residence by the Governor General. That was a misapprehension. What Senator Pulsford said was that the property was valued at about £500,000’, and the larger part of that value attachesto the land and water frontage and not to the building. How much i was spent in goodfaith’ to prepare Government House, Sydney as a suitable residence for the’ GovernerGeneral - because it must be remembered that the Governor-General came first of all to Sydney,, and announcedthat he was going, to live at Sydney - I am nob in a position to say: But. it was not a question, as- Senator Pearce has said, of State extravagance in providing for his residence at Government House, Sydney. It was rather, a necessity of the position brought about by federation that he should be provided with a residence there. Possibly-a few- thousands of pounds were spent, but it would not. require to. have been a very large sum, because Government House, Sydney, was not a ruin. There may, have been a few extra rooms built, but ?5,000 or ?1.0,000 would, much more nearly, represent the expenditure than the ?500,000 which Senator Pearce so inaccurately understood Senator Pulsford to say.
Senator Charleston..The vote, for repairs and maintenance, last year was ?2,500.
:- That would, not include all. that was spent, because I am referring, to tha expenditure which took place in trie previous year, in order that the building might be ready upon the arrival of the Governor-General on, the- 1st January:
Senator Glassey,. And that expenditure was incurred by New South Wales;
– Exactly; and under, the circumstances- that the Gover,noi> General, was sent, from England to Sydney, to reside there.
– To proclaim the Com? monwealth ; not necessarily to reside there.
– He stayed there for over four months until he- came over to Melbourne- for the- opening, of the Federal Parliament and the reception of. the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York-. It is- rather -late in. the day to cavil at ex.penditure incurred by. New South. Wales to meet circumstances- arising, from the necessities of the situation. It was an- abso-lute obligation,, and to call.it State extravagance is altogether wide of: the question. If Parliament refuses to pass the.- motion - and I am speaking, of a proposal- by a Government which in New South Wales we do not look upon as one at all disposed to favour its interests ; quite the contrary - it will add, not to the pin-pricks, but to the many grievances which, rightly or wrongly - I think. lightly - the people of New South Wales consider-they have against the Federation. Three years ago nobody could be reviled, more enthusiastically in the streets- of Sydney and-its- press than a man who uttered an opinion adverse to the adoption. of the Federal Constitution. To-day you can walk the streets of Sydney and you will run no risk in offering a reward of ?5 to any one who will’ own that he voted for the adoption of the Constitution. You can not find such a man.
– My honorable friend has only just come back from a trip, and he is- not quite so closely- in touch with local feeling as- he will be-after- he has-been at home for- a week.
– Offer the ?5, and we will see- whether we can- find a- man.
– It would be carrying coals- to Newcastle to offer it to the honorable’ senator-. I should be quite safe in making an offer to my honorable colleague, because, no matter what his views were- and how -willing he might be to own up to having voted for the acceptance of’ the Constitution, he would not accept so paltry a. sum. He was one of those who could not deny the fact now. His- one swallow does not make a summer, and his enthusiasm for the past as well’’ as- for the present does not alter the fact that V have met people by the score in the course of the day and found no- one who had not an anathema at the end of his tongue for federation as it exists from the New South Wales stand-point.
– It is unpopular everywhere just now.
– I. do not suppose that New South, Wales-is the only State in which.it is unpopular. A Judge, in Queensland,. has stated his opinion that not 10 per cent, of - the persons- who voted for the acceptance of the Consititution would vote in that way. now. I feel, absolutely certain that in. New. South Wales you could not get 10,000 voters in favour, of its adoption, unless it was just on the border, where they have got rid of. the stock tax. And it was. only, the border vote which carried federation in that State.
– Does the honorable senator think that his remarks are relevant to the motion.
-Gol. NEILD. - I think, they are as- relevant as some of the speeches I have listened to,-, but. I shall, not pursue- the subject any. further,. What I ha»ve sought to show, is that New. South Wales- considers that under the Constitution she is- entitled to certain; things. One of1 these is to have within her bonders, at times at least, the presence of- the Governor-General; I desire to be understood, as haying, offered reasonsfor showing, that, if- this were denied by the Senate - and I cannot believe that it will1 be - it. would lead to an even greater feeling of hardship,, annoyance; and. wrong, thanis felt by tens of: thousands in that State to-day in connexion with the failure of: the. Federation to convey to the State some of. the advantages which we looked: forward to with hope, if not with assurance. Instead of promoting, that high federal spirit that we all desire shall be cultivated and. extended throughout the- Commonwealth, we shall have a, sense -of1 outraged feeling.
-.: - The people ofl New South Wales do not care- two straws where the Governor-General resides.
.- Mie honorable senator, perhaps-,. does not know. as- much. as I do upon, that point.
– I do not know as much as the honorable senator does upon anything.
-Col. NEILD; - I would, not question my- honorable friends knowledge of the- state of feeling in, Victoria, because I do not live-here sufficiently to be able to speak; but he need, not profess- to know, more of the feeling, in, the State from.which I come than I do, because ‘he does- not live there, and can only Have his knowledge at seconds-hand, or; perhaps, even. more remotely, than that. I have said that I cannot believe that the Senate- will undo, or attempt to undo, that which has been done by the House of Representatives who practically sent this- proposal. here,. because it was submitted in. that. Chamber first. I, trust that the motion will, be carried by a sufficient majority to show that there- is amongst the- representatives- of the different States here a feeling, of loyalty, to the provisions expressed, and implied in theConstitution.
– 1 hope that I shall be able to discuss this question in a federal spirit. But if. the federal spirit means that we are to accept the motion as it was- moved, then- 1 am afraid that I am about to’do that which may be considered unfriendly from- the federal, point of view. Senator Neild’ has given us.good advice with regard, to- fostering: the- federal’ spirit, and told, us- of the critical position in which we -stand.. II do not believe that the unfederal spirit attributed to people exists. I believe that throughout Australia as ai whole the people- are.1 as keen for federation: to-day, as they were- when they voted for. the acceptance- of the Constitution Bill.; and, certainly, I am not going to be- scared by any statements of. that character, into voting; for, the motion. There are one or two points. which, It think, ought to,be cleared- up. To me there had always been, a mystery about: the whole of this business, until I heard; the speech of1 Senator Matheson, who traced, its- history from the time when. Sir William Lyne entered into negotiations- with the Home authorities down to. the present’ stage: “It seems- to me that the representatives- of’ New South Wales were determined, from the very first, to have the Governor-General located in Sydney and,, therefore,-, from time to time,, they took certain., steps in order to secure an official residence for him there. Senator- Neild has- just told us that the fact, that the Earl of Hopetoun came to Sydney is- an evidence - or, at any rate, a reason - why we should: vote for thismotion.
-Col. Neild. - The honorable senator, misunderstood, me. I pointed out that it was a reason for the expenditure.
– I am” very, sorry if I misunderstood, the honorable senator, but he appeared to me to argue that because His Excellency arrived in Sydney to inaugurate the Federation, the ug-keep of Government House must go on for ever. That is a proposition to- which I take strong-exception. If there has been a mistake made - and. I think there -has - we should hare. the courage to retrace our steps and say, that it shall not be -continued. The position! has been simplified to a very great, extent by the amendment of. Senator, Dawson, that the expenditure on Government House, Sydney, shall be continued for the term of only three years.
– From when?
– I suppose from the time when, the undertaking, was- entered into by the Commonwealth Government. I have been, troubled throughout the discussion by the fact that there was an understanding between the Federal Government and the New South Wales State Ministry with regard to the up-keep of Government House, although, so far as I can judge from the knowledge I have gained in the debate, and from the despatches from the Colonial-office, there was no justification in the first place for its being made. I shall not go to the length of punishing the Government because they have done an unwise act, and consequently I am prepared to vote for the amendment. I am quite willing to admit all that the mother State has done in this connexion. The burden of Senator Pulsford’s contention was that the Government of New South Wales had. expended £30,000 upon additions to their Government House. Certainly they were extremely lavish in their expenditure. All honour to the Government for doing that. But the fact that they incurred that expenditure on a residence for the GovernorGeneral does not justify the maintenance of an establishment in Sydney for a second residence for His Excellency for all time. I should like to allay, if I can, any suspicion which the representatives of New South Wales may have with regard to disputing its right to the capital. I move about a good deal, and meet with a good many persons, but I have not heard one so far who has denied its right to the capital. There has been a bargain made in that regard, and so far as I know there is no one who desires to get away from that bargain, although, let me say here, that it was nob authorized by the people of Australia.
– It was indorsed by the electors.
– Sir George Turner had no authority from the people of Victoria to say that the capital of the Commonwealth should be in New South Wales.
– They indorsed that by accepting it afterwards.
– I know that the people of Victoria indorsed it by their votes, but it was not merely that provision that the people of this State and other States voted upon. There were a good many other questions submitted, and many clauses of the original Bill had been modified. The desire for federation was so strong in all the States that the people were prepared to accept even the provision in question which the Premiers had put in the Bill. But that does not alter the fact that the Premiers of the States had not authority for what they did, and I, for one, am sorry that the provision relating to the federal .capital was not left to be determined by the Federal Parliament, in order that the whole of Australia might have a voice in connexion with the settlement. Senator Neild has made a good deal out of the legal opinion given by Senator O’Connor. The New South Wales senators work themselves up into a kind of frenzy when they talk about the federal capital. For instance, last Friday afternoon Senator Millen, who is usually calm and collected, was almost beside himself when he commenced to discuss this question ; but he said that he was as an iceberg to a volcano, comparing his feeling with the feeling in New South Wales. I interjected that if that were the case the feeling there must be bad indeed. I wish to allay the feelings of the New South Wales senators. This compact has been entered into by the people of Australia, and, as far as we in Victoria are concerned - I am not speaking for myself, but as one who at present holds one-sixth of the voting power of the State in the Senate - I have no intention of robbing the New South Wales people of their rights. Therefore it cannot be said that I entertain the feelings that seem to be attributed to the Victorians. As to the legal opinion given by Senator O’Connor, I do not suppose that any view that’ I may have with regard to the Constitution would have much weight as compared with the view expressed by the legal members, but as far as I can see, no one disputes Senator O’Connor’s opinion. As far as I can gather from the records of the Senate, Senator O’Connor lays it down that the federal capital cannot be in any other place than in New South Wales, and must not be within 100 miles from Sydney. But we have not yet decided where the federal capital shall be located, and there is a provision implied in the Constitution, that until a certain event takes place, Melbourne shall be the place where Parliament shall meet. In my opinion, it must follow that where Parliament meets, the seat of government must be located. Therefore, we are simply carrying out the compact by determining that until we have decided on the other question of where the capital shall be located, Melbourne shall be the seat of government for the time being. There is another point which I want to emphasize before sitting down. There is no necessity at present to have two residences for the GovernorGeneral. I may re-echo the sentiment expressed by Senator- Pearce, and say that it would be better for the representatives of New South Wales if they were to press for the early settlement of the federal capital question. If that were settled, it might to a very large extent influence the settlement of the question we are now discussing. But under present circumstances, I cannot see what necessity there is for a second Government House. I very much appreciate the arguments that have been advanced, that if Sydney is to have a second Government House for the Governor-General, the same privilege can be claimed for any other State. If it is- to be successfully claimed that the GovernorGeneral shall reside in Sydney,, an equally good claim could be made with regard to any other capital city in the union. If the honorable senators from the various States urged that view, it would, of course, seem ridiculous. Consequently, I think that at present it is only necessary to have only one establishment for the Governor-General, and I intend to vote for the amendment proposed by Senator Dawson.
– As I had not the privilege of being present last week and did not hear the -speeches then made, I cannot refer to them, but dealing with the arguments advanced today, I would say, in reply to the last speaker, that his allusions to the alterations made in the Constitution by the Premiers remind me of the fact that had those alterations not been made in the Constitution New South Wales would not have been a member of the ‘Federation to-day.
– Was it the alteration made in regard to the capital that induced New South Wales to enter the Federation?
-. - It was largely the alteration with respect to the capital being located in New South Wales. I can speak with some authority on this point, because I was one of those who through thick and thin endeavoured to induce New South Wales to come into the Federation.
– Did that particular alteration affect the votes at the second referendum ?
– I think that undoubtedly it did. Even then not a few objected to the provision necessitating the capital being 100 miles from Sydney. I wish to state first of all why I intend to vote against the amendment. It mentions three years. I understand that the GovernorGeneral, whoever he may be, will be appointed for five years, so that by the amendment it is practically said that for three years His Excellency is to have two residences, whilst for the other two years he is only to have one. Had it been proposed that the Government House, Sydney, should be occupied for five years, or for the term of appointment of the next GovernorGeneral, I could have understood it.
– The proposal of the Government is to limit it to a term of five years.
– I am now speaking against the amendment. Even after the federal capital is established in New South Wales, I see strong reasons why we should still have an- official residence for the GovernorGeneral in Melbourne; and the same reasons which operate in favour of the present proposal of the Government would then, it seems to me, necessitate there being a second residence in Melbourne. Sydney and Melbourne are unique. They represent the most populous States of the group. Sydney is the head naval station of Australasia. Melbourne is at present the head station of the military forces of the Commonwealth. There need be no jealousy between the two places. New South Wales has. shown her liberality in this matter in a very marked manner. The New South Wales Parliament agreed without a division to vote the sum of £3,000 per annum towards the Governor-General’s salary, if the money were required for the purpose. Therefore, it is not fair to represent this matter as being one of pounds shillings and pence so far as New South Wales is concerned. Sydney is the. old historic capita] of Australia, and we cannot disguise from ourselves the fact that the inhabitants of New South Wales have made unusual sacrifices in regard to the Federation. They did their duty nobly in connexion with the inaugural ceremonies, and they submitted with a tolerably good grace to sink their own fiscal views for the benefit of the Federation.
– But they secured InterState free-trade thereby, and that had something to do with it.
– Some people think that i we have not quite got Inter-State free-trade yet, but we hope to have it soon.
Senator Neild has referred to the fact that our State Governors are at liberty, in ‘the larger States of Victoria and New South Wales, to occupy country residences. Why should not Sydney be ‘the residence for the Governor-General in the winter months, whilst Melbourne - is his -residence in the summer months 1 Sydney in winter enjoys the most delightful climate in Australia. Having recently returned ‘from the old country, I .can say this - -“that one of the few .grievances which Ireland possesses is that she has no residence for the Sovereign within her borders. I -should like to see one established ‘there. In a similar manner, I should like to see each of the larger States of Australia .have a Governor-General’s residence; and, if I have the honour of occupying a seat in the Senate when the site for the federal capital is determined, I shall not :be one of those who will oppose .giving this right to Melbourne. In one of the leading newspapers-this morning - one of ‘the leading papers in Australia - it is said that Melbourne is to be practically the:federal capital of Australia for the next ten years. If that is not a challenge to “She people of New South Wales to take every opportunity to have the:federal territory .proclaimed as soon as possible, I do not know what is. But until that territory is proclaimed, I trust that the Senate will see ‘its way clear “to allow the motion to pass, and I hope that at w.ill be passed unanimously. Senator .Neild has somewhat exaggerated the .’feeling in Sydney at present, but still it .is a very prevalent feeling. When I told some of my friends : in Sydney that I ‘was coming to Melbourne ‘to-day “to vote in favour of this motion, they said - “ Ob ! we know what that ‘means ; it means that Melbourne is to be the great place.” The anti-federalists in Sydney have a very strong “feeling on this subject. Personally I have always been a federalist, and have never -spoken a word against Melbourne in my life. .1 /respect the inhabitants of Victoria. I am a thorough federalist, and although .it is unpopular to say so in “Sydney, I shall be prepared to say so .everywhere.! .go. J hope the motion will be carried.
– The amount, of money involved in the proposed vote is, comparatively speaking, unimportant. But there evidently is involved in it a rather important ‘.principle, as may clearly be seen ‘from the ‘way in which the matter has been discussed by the -senators .’from the mother State. I certainly was astonished last week to see the large amount of energy thrown -into “the discussion by certain honorable senators, because it appeared to me that this -was not a matter which required or justified any loss of temper. ‘The matter, after all, is a very simple one, namely - shall the Governor”General have two residences, or shall he :have one t ‘Unhesitatingly I say that if he desires to have two, he ought ‘to have two; but I do.not think that the decision as to the second residence should .remain with a State, whether -it be New ‘South Wales or any other State. We must bear in mind that the possession of two residences would entail a very heavy total expenditure by the Governor-General. As we are now limiting the amount which he is to receive, I think ;it is reasonable that we should consult his wishes before finally deciding that there should be a -second residence. What is ‘the position at the ‘present time? The Parliament is meeting, and must, “for some years at all events, continue to meet .in Melbourne. Therefore, the ‘GovernorGeneral ‘must necessarily reside here in order to be close at hand to receive the advice of his Ministers, and for the purpose of consultation. The consequence is that the second residence can be’ occupied by him only, during the -summer months, and no one with .any sense would dream of living in Sydney ‘during “that part “Of the year. Therefore, whatever .may ‘be the ultimate result, I cannot see how Government House, ‘Sydney, can possibly be used by ‘the “Governor-General as long as the Parliament meets in .Melbourne. I am not one of those who desire to retain the Federal ‘Parliament in this city one day “longer than is absolutely necessary. On the other ‘hand, however, I should deprecate the rash expenditure at the present time of a large sum of money in building anew federal city. .The seat of government must ultimately - and at:no very distant date - be in New South ‘Wales. It cannot be within less than 100 :miles of Sydney, but -I think we may safely .say that it will be within easy reach of “that capital. When Sydney will undoubtedly be the .head-quarters of theGovernorGeneral. The-federal capital will not be far away from that city.
– 1 am not so sure of that.
– I think we may safely say that it will be within a few hours by rail of Sydney, and that there will not be anything to prevent the Governor - General from occupying Government House in that city from the time of the establishment of the federal capital in New South Wales. But he will never think of -stopping there during the hot weather. Be may have a -second residence in New South Wales, or he may prefer to have one in Tasmania. ‘ J. would remind the Senate ‘that it is -stated in today’s newspapers that the Acting GovernorGeneral .has decided ‘to .go to Tasmania during the summer months, notwithstanding that Government House, Sydney, is available to him. 1 do mot ‘wish :it “to be thought -for one moment that ‘there is any desire on the part of Victoria to .retain the Federal .Parliament here longer than is necessary. I have known -Victoria for more than half-a-century, and I. am satisfied that there is no such desire. We shall be quite willing to assist our honorable .’friends from New South Wales to -select a site for the federal capital in that State, and to build it within a reasonable time. In the meantime, I urge the -Senate not to tie the hands of a future GovernorGeneral during “the whole df “His ‘term of office to what must necessarily be a white elephant as long as Parliament meets here. I do not want to go into the constitutional question, because I think it is perfectly clear that if it be a “fact ‘that we have no “right to demand that the Governor-General shall remain here, because ‘this “is not the ‘federal capital, then Sydney can have no claim “to his residence there, because “Sydney is not, and never will be, the federal capital, lt is, after all, merely a matter of convenience. I would urge the ‘Senate to allow the question to be left as it stands. -Et was not unnatural that the Minister for >Home Affairs, who was Premier of “Now ‘South Wales at the time, should have -sought to make Sydney the ‘head-quarters of the GovernorGeneral. The federal Government have indorsed his action by taking ‘Government “House for “three .years, and whether we like it or not we ought to “indorse that action and legislate to carry out the agreement. But do not let’us go ‘beyond the agreement until the Governor-General has been appointed-and arrives in Australia. We shall “then be able “to consult his wishes. and I shall be very -much mistaken if the Commonwealth is not -prepared to do anything within reason to carry out his desires.
It may be said that the course I propose would place the present Government in a rather awkward position when dealing with the Governor-General to be appointed, and that we should be able to tell him definitely that during his sojourn here he will have the absolute use of the Government Houses at Sydney and Melbourne. I do not think that ‘there ‘is any ground for such a contention. It will be sufficient for the Governor-General to know that’ he will have -Government House, Melbourne, during .his ‘term of office, and that Government (House, -“Sydney, will also be available if or his use during a term of three years. I think we must also bear in mind that the Governor-General will be expected ‘to visit the other -States, and that ‘the possession of a second (residence in ‘Sydney would very considerably hamper his movements by entailing increased expense upon him. The only way in. which we can enable him to meet the -desire of ‘the people of the other States that he should visit those parts of the Commonwealth, is to pass a vote to cover his travelling expenses, instead of providing a second permanent residence for him. ‘I do not imagine that Western Australia, “South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, would be content “never to see :the ‘Governor-General, and that he should always ‘reside in New “South Wales or Victoria.
– When he comes to -Queensland he will be the guest of the State.
-FREDERICK “SARGOOD. - For these reasons I find ‘that I cannot support the amendment as it stands, because ‘I <am not prepared ‘to say that under no circumstances should the GovernorGeneral have a second residence. Circumstances might -arise ‘that -would -warrant us in meeting his wishes in this direction, and I do not think “the Commonwealth would be backward in complying, to a reasonable extent, with his desires. In my opinion we should absolutely indorse the action of “the Government in accepting Government House, Sydney, “for three years, leaving the future to take care of itself. If ‘Senator (Dawson will -.withdraw his amendment, I propose ‘to move to amend the motion by omitting the words “during the term df office of the next Governor-General,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “but this House suggests that the expenditure on Sydney Government House be limited to the term of three years from 1st January, 1901.”
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Sir Frederick Sargood) proposed -
That the words “ during the term of office of the next Governor-General “ be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ but this House suggests that the expenditure on Sydney Government House be limited to the term of three years, from 1st Jan nary, 1901.”
– I somewhat regret that I shall have to support the amendment, and I may say, that if Senator Higgs had persisted in his proposal, I should certainly have voted for it. Senator Sargood, in a very well-thought-out speech, following another well-thought-out one made by Senator Barrett, has made some of the principal points which I wished to put before the Senate. I think the Senate is indebted to Senator Matheson for the trouble he has taken to place before us so much information relating to this question. I cannot say that I approve of all the remarks made by Senator Higgs - although his speech as ‘ a whole meets with my acceptance - and I regret that so broad-minded a man should have seen fit to direct attention to the fact that honorable members from New South Wales did not join in visiting all the proposed sites for the federal capital on the occasion of the senatorial inspection. I can readily understand that they did not find it necessary to make the complete tour. No doubt most of them knew every place which ‘ it was proposed to visit, and I am satisfied that, upon reflection, Senator Higgs will regret that ‘ he should have referred to the action taken by them. I know very well that if a site had to be selected in Victoria it would not be necessary for me or for any other honorable senator representing this State to make a complete inspection. Most of the sites would be known to us, and therefore I can very well understand the absence of several honorable senators from New South Wales from the trip. No doubt some of them thought that if they visited only a few of the sites it might be considered that they favoured some particular site at the expense of others, and naturally they would not like such an impression to get abroad. We have heard two or three references to the amount of money which was expended upon the lastoccupant of the Governor-General’s office.
I am not complaining of that expenditure, but I desire to state that, so far as I have been able to ascertain, something like £46,150 was expended in connexion with the office during the eighteen months in which the Earl of Hopetoun was here. I should like the Home papers to “please copy.” The figures I have quoted show that the Earl of Hopetoun received £30,000 in round numbers in addition to his salary. Surely if that be so, the people of the old country should not through the press accuse the people of the Commonwealth of meanness in the treatment of the first Governor-General? Entrenchment is now the cry throughout the Commonwealth. Rightly or wrongly this Parliament is retrenching the defence forces very largely, yet we are proposing now to increase to an unlimited extent, so far as1 we know, the expenditure upon the Governor-General. I take some exception to the amendment of the motion made in the first instance by the leader of the Senate. As originally put forward the motion was to this effect -
That an expenditure upon the GovernorGeneral’s establishment of ±’5,500, and upon the Federal Council of £1,025 a year, as submitted in the statement laid on the table of the Senate on the 20th August is approved.
Certain words were struck out of the motion, and others inserted, so that it now reads -
That the expenditure upon Government Houses of £5,500 . . . be approved.
It appears to me that it is not an amendment in the strict sense of the word. The word “establishment” was used in the original motion, but the words “Government Houses “ have been substituted for it. We are asked to vote £5,500 a year upon Government Houses. I apprehend that there is a great deal of difference between Government House and the Governor-General’s establishment, and I should like to know what additional sum we shall be asked to vote when we have voted this amount. There is no indication given of the amount by which we shall be asked to supplement this vote for the Governor-General’s establishment. This vote is only for the maintenance of two Government Houses, two vice-regal palaces. I should like to get some statement from the Vice-President of the Executive Council as to whether the sum of £5,500 is intended to cover all expenses, apart from travelling expenses, for which I see a sum of £1,000 on the
Estimates. Do the Government intend to come down with another proposal to supplement this sum?
– Then this 5,500 is intended to cover all expenses.
– It is intended to cover all expenses, with the exception, it may be, of some travelling expenses.
– I see that a vote of £1,000. a year appears on the Estimates to provide for travelling expenses. I have looked through the Constitution Act as well as other honorable senators, and I can see no provision in it . for the payment of any moneys to. the Governor-General beyond his salary of £10,000 a year.
– There is nothing to prevent it.
– The Federal Parliament, I know, is all-powerful in that matter, and there is nothing to prevent our spending £100,000 a year, but there is no provision in the Constitution for any expenditure for the Governor-General beyond the £10,000 which is fixed as his salary. If it was intended that there should be other expenditure provided for, it could easily have been stated in the Constitution by the Imperial Parliament. No such provision was made by the Imperial Parliament, though there was no reason why it should not have been made. Had it appeared in the Commonwealth Bill, as placed before the people of the States, that there would probably be an expenditure of £10,000 in addition to the £10,000 fixed as the salary of the Governor-General, ‘there is a strong probability that the people would never have accepted the Bill. They would have said that the expense proposed was too great.
– Many objected that the £10,000 was too much:
– Some honorable senator following me may say that it is not customary to refer to any- expenditure in the Constitution Act, but that is not so. In the Victorian Constitution Act, which came into operation on the 3rd November,1855, the Governor’s salary is stated in schedule D as £10,000. “ “Salaries of staff, repairs to Government House, travelling and other expenses, £5,000.” That is what appears in the Victorian Constitution Act, and if it had been the intention of the Imperial Parliament that we shouldpay. in addition to the salary of £10,000, such sums as are now proposed, why was it not stated in the Constitution ? The Imperial Parliament could have done as it liked in the matter while the Constitution was before it. The people of Victoria thought that the expense provided for in their Constitution was too much, and that Act was amended, as honorable senators will find, in the Consolidated Statutes, compiled by the late Chief Justice Higinbotham, under date 1st July, 1S90. I refer to this as showing honorable senators what the people of Victoria thought ought to be done after paying the sum provided for in the Victorian Constitution Act after so many years. They struck out absolutely the reference to the £5,000, and allowed the salary to stand at £10,000. This is the section of the amended Act : -
The Governor shall not receive in any year for the salaries of the staff, or for travelling expenses, or for any other allowances or contingencies whatsoever, any sum beyond the sum of £10.000 for the Governor’s salary, named in the first part of the schedule annexed to the Constitution Act, and marked D ; and shall defray the salaries of his staff, his travelling and all other expenses, except repairs to Government House out of such salary.
There is a precedent to show that provision for this expenditure could have been inserted in the Constitution if it was intended that we should pay these large sums of money. A later amendment was made in the Victorian Constitution in 1895 by the Governor’s Salaiy Reduction Act, when the salary was reduced from £10,000 to £7,000 ; but the Governor had still to pay all expenses, except repairs to Government House. Senator Sargood referred to summer and winter residences. I would suggest that if we are going to dictate to the GovernorGeneral where he shall reside, we should require him to spend the summer at Hobart, and to spend his winter on the Darling Downs in Queensland, where I was for many years, and where I know there is the finest climate in Australia. Are we going to dictate to the Governor-General where he shall live ? As has been pointed out by Senator Sargood, when the Federal Parliament is in session in the winter he will require to be here. If he desires to go away in the summer time when Parliament is not in session, he will hardly select Sydney as a summer residence. Supposing Lord Tennyson, who is now Acting Governor-General, were appointed Governor-General of Australia - and we might make a worse selection - I do not see why we should desire to go further. We may go further and fare worse, from what I have read about his Lordship - supposing, the Home Government saw fit to appoint him as Governor-General of the Commonwealth. After the session is over he might say - “ I do not care about going to Sydney. I have been in South Australia for some years, myself and family have formed friendships there, and if you permit * me to go to some other State and provide funds for the purpose I should prefer to go to Marble Hill to spend my time there amongst people I know.”
– I hear that Marble Hill is not going to be kept up.
- His Lordship might make that selection, and, as Senator Sargood has pointed out, it would not be the properthing to dictate to the Governor-General as to where he should live. We must give him a voice in the selection of his residence. Then when we have the federal capital fixed upon - and I am so weary of the constant nagging about the federal capital, and of the stale old platitudes about the envy and jealousy of one State towards another, that I should not be sorry if it were fixed upon to-morrow - how many Government Houses shall we have? We must have one at the federal capital. Senator Sargood said that the federal capital must be 100 miles from Sydney, but I should not blame the Sydney people for doing their best, as they probably will, to have it fixed at Sydney. If, however, it were established at Bombala - half-way between Melbourne and Sydney - it would be something like 350 miles- from Sydney. We could not expect the Governor-General to run backwards and forwards between those places every week. We would require to provide him with a residence there. I hope we shall all go there to reside for four months in the year. Are we them going to provide a residence for the Governor-General at Melbourne, Sydney, and Marble Hill ? It seems to me that by-and-by we shall have a great number of Federal Government Houses. I can understand that during the inauguration ceremonies it was necessary to provide a residence for the GovernorGeneral in Sydney, but if an unwise bargain .were made by the then Premier of New South Wales before he became a member of the Federal Ministry, it- does not follow that this Parliament should relieve him of the consequences of that unwise bargain. I do not see why we 1 should step in and pay something that Sir William Lyne and his Government as State Ministers of New South Wales undertook to pay. I do not feel that, as one of the representatives of Victoria, I am called upon to take over what I regard as an un- wise bargain made by the then Premier of’ New South Wales, and if Senator Higgs had not withdrawn his amendment I should have voted for it in order that not one shilling should be paid on account of that arrangement. Supposing that arrangement had involved an expenditure of £10,000 a year, would the Federal Parliament have then taken it over *! Upon the same principle, it certainly would have had to do it. The question is whether the people of the Com- ‘ monwealth ought to pay this money or not, and the amount, whether it be £2,000, £3,000, or £20,000, should not affect the principle. I feel sure that the people of the other States would have’ entered a very strong protest against paying this money if the sum involved had been a large sum. As it happens to be only a bagatelle, there is not much said about it, but I remind honorable senators that the principle is exactly the same. We were told the other day by Senator Gould that the voting of a lot of money for the GovernorGeneral was not such a bad thing as if looked at first, because it meant the circulation of money amongst the people. He told us also that a private person might spend £20,000 a year, and it would be the means of giving employment to people. The honorable and learned senator, in using such an argument, overlooked the fact that a private person would be spending his own money, and he would be entitled to spend it in any way he chose, but the money we are voting in this case is the taxpayers’ money. It does not belong to us, and in dealing with it we are merely the agents of the taxpayer.
– The money asked for at the present time would be no portion of’ the money which would be so spent. This is simply for the maintenance of grounds and buildings.
– It is for -the maintenance of Government Houses, and that is the point I raised some time ago. We may be called upon to spend large sums of money in .addition to this vote, in Melbourne as ‘ well as in Sydney. Senator Gould twitted Senator Drake- with being, a party to this ‘ arrangement though he represents Queensland, and represents that State very well. We can quite agree with that, but I should like to know from the honorable and learned senator how Senator Drake could remain a member of the Government who brought down this proposal, without agreeing to it?
– - I said that the whole of the States were represented in the arrangement made -in the first instance.
– Naturally. It has been stated two or three times that the large population of New South Wales entitles Sydney to have a share of the GovernorGenerals time. Since the States are all equally represented in the Senate, Tasmania has just as much right to expect the presence of His Excellency as New South Wales has. I do not believe that the people of New South Wales care two straws where he lives. But there is a place called Potts’ Point, where, I am told, the aristocracy live, and a select few want His Excellency to be the head of society. Toorak wants the Governor-General in Melbourne, not because he ought to be where Parliament is sitting-
– Not they.
– I am sure that the honorable senator does not care two straws, but he is not a typical Toorakian. Like myself, he is an ex-contractor, and contractors as a rule do not belong to Toorak. Senator Gould also told us that the President of the United States has an allowance of £20,000 a year, and that we will not vote an allowance of £5,500 a year to our Governor-General. The President of the United States is not the nominal, but the actual ruler of 76,000,000 persons. In Europe there are not more than two or three crowned heads, of any magnitude, who have as much power as he possesses: He rules over 44 States, but he has only one White House; According to Senator Gould’s argument, if there are two vice-regal palaces here, in proportion to the population there should be 40 white- houses in the United States.
– They have a federal capital, and we have not.
– The honorable senator will not tell the Senate that if he were here at the time, he would refuse to vote a sufficient sum to keep up a Government House at Melbourne when the federal capital was established in New South Wales. 44 k 2
– I would be prepared to do so.
– Ruling over -an area a great deal larger than that of Australia, the President of the United States has one official residence, and has an annual allowance of £20,000 for its up-keep and, I presume, for other expenses. If we were to pay our Governor-General in proportion; we should pay him £1,000 a year. To put the converse position : If £5,500 is a proper amount for a population of 3, SOO, 000, to pay for the up-keep of two Government Houses, then an annual sum of £110,000 should be handed over to the President of the United States for the up-keep of the White House. These are no arguments which we have heard. I am. only showing how hard-up are my honorable friends for arguments in favour of this expenditure, when they bring for ward, such reasons in support of their contention. Senator Walker has repeated what Senator Millen stated very emphatically the other day - that it was owing to the provision inserted in the Commonwealth Bill by the Premiers’ Confer.ence in January, 1899, that the federal capital should be in New South Wales, that such a big affirmative vote was polled in- that State at the second referendum. That seems to be a reasonable thing, at first sight. But I think a great deal more highly of the people of that State than to believe that one in a thousand electors was influenced by such a paltry consideration. Like many thousands in all the States, they were led by their public men, who accepted the second Bill mainly because of the amendment in the third paragraph of clause 57. No doubt Queensland and Western Australia, which had stood out, were influenced by the insertion of clause 96 by the Premiers’ Conference. But to say that the people of New South Wales, who come from the same stock as we do, were influenced by such a paltry consideration when such a big question as the acceptance of a Federal Constitution was submitted, is to sum them up as a paltry-minded people. I do not believe they are, and I shall prove that that consideration had no weight with them. The people of Victoria are no better than the people of New South Wales. They do not pretend to be, for they are practically the same people: If that were so then the people of Victoria ought to have voted against the acceptance of the second Bill. If they were not a much better people than the people of
New South Wales, they would have done so if it be true that the latter were influenced by the insertion of the provision referring to the seat of government. I decline to believe that one elector in a thousand was so influenced. There might be a few hundred families round Potts Point who were influenced by that consideration, but the great bulk of the electors were led by their public men, who threw in their lot with the Bill at the second referendum. The opinion of Senator O’Connor as to where the seat of government should be from the outset has been dealt with by Senators Barrett and Sargood. My opinion coincides exactly with theirs - that wherever the Parliament is sitting, the Executive Council must, for the sake of convenience, meet in its neighbourhood. and wherever the Executive Government is to meet, the Governor-General, who is a member of that body, should reside. Whatever the Constitution Act may convey, so far as the letter is concerned, there is no doubt in my mind, and I think there is no doubt in the mind of any layman, that the common-sense construction of the provision is that the official home of the Governor-General is wherever the Parliament is sitting. I find that the people of New South Wales recorded 35,S25 more votes for the second Bill than for the first. If it were a fact that the location of the capital in New South Wales influenced that number to vote for the Bill, it ought to have decreased the vote in Victoria, unless we are a very much better people than are the people over the Murray.
– There were several other amendments made in the Bill.
– The principal amendment, and the one which caused me to vote for the second Bill - I voted against the first Bill - was paragraph 3 in clause 57, which absolutely prevents the four small States from finally deciding any dispute between the two Houses. In the first Bill it was provided that at a joint sitting a three-fifths majority should decide the fate of a Bill. The Premiers’ Conference provided for the decision to be given by an absolute majority of the two Houses. No doubt it was seen by the Premier of New South Wales, and the Premier of Victoria, that that alteration would prevent the four small States from imposing upon the Commonwealth taxation of which two-thirds would be paid by the two big States and the balance by the four small States. In the two Houses, the four small States are represented by 51 members, but to command an absolute majority of both Houses at a joint sitting, they would require to be represented by 56 members. That is the reason why so many thousands of persons who voted against the first Bill voted for the second one. In Victoria, notwithstanding the fact ‘ that it was definitely settled that the capital was to be in New South Wales, the increase in the affirmative vote was 52,133. In South Australia, the affirmative votes numbered 35,800 at the first referendum and 65,990 at the second one. It seems to me that if the location of the capital in New South Wales affected the voting, both Victoria and South Australia ought to have voted against the Bill on the second occasion. On the contrary, the affirmative vote was increased to a very much greater exent in those States than in New South Wales. In Victoria, the negative vote numbered 22,000 on the first occasion, and less than 10,000 on the second occasion. Every public speaker explained about the capital being located in New South Wales, but the people of Victoria did not care two straws about that, nor did the people of New South Wales. The real reason why the second Bill was accepted in New South Wales was because other amendments had ‘been made by the Premiers’ Conference. We were asked a little while ago to state why we agreed to all these things. Senator Barrett said that the Premier of Victoria had no authority from Parliament, let alone from the people, to make the amendments in the Bill. That is quite true. Senator Smith asked why did we accept the Bill, but he knows that we had to accept or to reject the Bill as a whole. There was not one elector in a thousand who would have rejected the Bill on account of the location of the capital in New South Wales. That provision had nothing to do with its acceptance by the States. Therefore, no claim can be advanced by New South Wales on that account. We voted for the Bill on the second occasion, notwithstanding the provision had been inserted at the Premiers’ Conference that the federal capital was to be in New South Wales. I regret that the Government has taken up this matter at all, but as they have taken it up, I, as a Government supporter, may, perhaps, be expected to vote for it. But I shall do nothing of the sort for this or any other Government. If Senator Higgs had not withdrawn his amendment I should have voted for it. I do not know what this kind of expenditure will lead to. The next demand will be, I suppose, that when the Governor-General is residing in New South Wales the ‘Executive Council shall sit there. Members of the Executive Council will have to go from all parts of Australia to Sydney, although Melbourne is the more central spot. It has been stated that; the amount asked for will cover all the expenditure, but, in my belief, it will do nothing of the kind. . I am convinced that another large demand will have to be made upon the Commonwealth taxpayers later on in connexion with the matter.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland)’. - -I do not know that this question is sufficiently important to warrant the long debate that has taken place upon it; but as we are not particularly busy, and the work in hand is not very great, I suppose we may just as well occupy our time in discussing this matter as do anything else. Moreover, it is just possible that by giving a silent vote one might run the risk of having one’s position misunderstood. The question is not of very great importance, and if the carrying of this motion will alleviate any little feeling that may exist in New South Wales, it may reasonably be adopted. I am not in the habit of going to Government House. I do not suppose that I am any worse than those who do go there, nor do I think that I am any the better for staying away. But I am not fond of attending big social functions, or of mixing in what is called society. Therefore, the vote I shall give cannot be considered as given from a selfish point of view. I shall support the motion - not Senator Dawson’s amendment, nor Senator Sargood’s - because, though the matter boiled down is not very important, New South Wales attaches considerable weight to it. It has been argued that if there are to be two official residences for the Governor-General, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, the other capital cities have an equal claim to an official residence for His Excellency being maintained in each of them. I do not think that the claim thus made is one to which the other States attach any importance. When the federal movement was being agitated New South Wales asked for some concessions to which she thought she was entitled. Had not those concessions been granted there would have been no federation. If New South Wales had decided to stand out - and she did stand out until her public men were assured that these- . concessions would be granted - the federal movement would have been a failure. On&: of the concessions was that the federal capital should be within the territory of NewSouth Wales, but not within 100 miles of” Sydney. That being the history of the matter, it is not fair to say that Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia have an equal claim to have a residence for the Governor-General, maintained by the Commonwealth, in each of their capital cities. It must be remembered’, that the great bulk of the population-, of Australia resides in New South Walesand Victoria. If it were necessary todefend the Commonwealth against foreignaggression - and I trust that none of uswill live to see the day when that will benecessary - New South Wales and Victoria would have to bear the brunt in supplying both men and money to maintain our position. These two States contain about 2,600,000 people between them out of an aggregate of about 4,000,000. I am* just as alive to the interests of my own State as any one can be ; but I cannot put forward the claim that we have an equal right with New South Wales, and that a residence for the Governor-General should be maintained in Brisbane. I have noticed that, there is a good deal of jealousy between. Victoria and New South Wales. I ‘am* bound to confess that during my fifteen months’ residence in Victoria - and I have* mixed a good deal with all sections and all ranks - I have not noticed any feeling of jealousy against” New South Wales. I am bound to say, on the other hand, that a good deal of feeling exists in New South Wales with regard to the claims of Victoria. Why should these jealous feelings exist ? Surely representative men ought to take higher ground than to watch with jealousy what Victoria is doing, for fear that she gets some advantage from the Federation which New South Wales does not also secure. Unless the little concession which is now asked for is granted, there is a danger that the feeling to which I have alluded will “ be perpetuated and increased. I am extremely anxious that such feelings should be removed ; and, if the granting of this small concession will tend in any way to bring about that end, it will be a good thing to grant it. I have always opposed unnecessary expenditure, but there is no ground for supposing that if the £2,000 set down for the maintenance of Government House, Sydney, is omitted,- and if one residence only be maintained, that sum will be saved. It seems to be clear that if only one residence is maintained for the Governor-General it will cost £5,000, which is the cost now proposed for both Houses : and, therefore, we cannot effect any saving by not passing the motion, whereas by passing it we shall allay the feelings to which I have alluded. The money will, therefore, be well spent. It is alleged that what is proposed is in the direction of extravagance. But it must be remembered that New South -Wales has behaved in a very liberal manner. Those who took part in the inauguration of the Federation in Sydney are aware that the people of New South Wales then behaved admirably. They treated the people of the Commonwealth with a spirit of liberality, generosity, good feeling, kindness, and hospitality, which was worthy of all praise. We were all delighted to share in the hospitality. Surely, in return for that, we might do what we can to bring about a better understanding, and to promote the smoother working of Federal Government, so as to lead to greater harmony between all the States. 13ut let us see where the extravagance which is complained of will come in? First of all, for the Melbourne Government House the cost of maintenance is £500 per annum ; the expenditure on the up-keep of the grounds amounts to £900. An expenditure of £550 is proposed in connexion with caretakers, charwomen, &c, £126 upon insurance, £125 upon fittings and furniture, £150 to cover breakages of and additions to china and glass, £100 upon flags, £240 in connexion with postal charges, £110 on telephones, and £.300 for lighting upon public occasions and for offices,fee, making a total of £3,101. In Sydney the State Government have provided free of rent a magnificent house for the use of the Governor-General. As we have been told, it has been put into firstclass order, at a cost to the State of New South Wales of something like £5,000, and certainly the provision proposed . to be made for its maintenance is not upon extravagant- lines. A sum of £740 is provided to pay the caretakers and other servants of the household who have to -take care of the premises. Those engaged in . maintaining the house will receive £250, whilst £750 is to be set apart for the maintenance of grounds, and the payment of those engaged in looking after them. It can not be said that there is any extravagance in providing £100 for the insurance of the building, and a sum of £87 for telephones for the use of the Governor-General. As a public man who is obliged to/ keep up an extensive correspondence, it seems to me that the sum of £50,. proposed to be set apart to meet the postal charges, is exceptionally small. Then £50 is to be set apart for china and glass, and a like sum for flags, making a total expenditure on Sydney Government House of £2,077 per annum. Is it really worth while to do anythingto causeany misunderstandingin regard to this matter, and to. give rise to the illfeeling, which was so clearly manifested on Friday by some honorable senators from New South Wales 1 Is it worth while for us to perpetuate this ill-feeling, and to give occasion for inflammatory and unnecessary comments upon our . action ? . If we oppose this proposal . we shall only: strengthen the position of some persons who have been from the first hostile to federation, and who are extremely anxious to clutch at amy straw in thecurrent of events which may help to maintain that feeling of hostility. Should -we help- these people to say to those who voted for the union- We told you so.Even a paltry sum of £2,077 for the- maintenance of -Sydney Government Housewillnot be provided by the Federal Parliament. “ I accept the statement made by honorable senators from New South Wales, who should be the best judges of public opinion in their own State, that there are many thousands there- who- will feel, aggrieved if this proposal is not carried out. I am satisfied that if the statement had. not been correct Senator -Millen and other honorable senators from that State would not have shown so much ‘anxiety and warmth in dealing with this matter. Therefore I shall vote against the . amendment proposed by Senator Sargood. I think the Government proposition is exceedingly -reasonable, especially in view of the feeling manifested in New South Wales. If this small concession will help to create a better understanding, the Senate will act wisely and prudently in voting for the expenditure.
– I think, Mr. President-
– Has not the honorable senator spoken already upon this motion 1
– I have spoken to the original question, but, under Standing Order 126, I have a right to speak to any question, and I propose now to address myself to the. amendment.
– Standing Order 126 provides that -
A member may speak to any question before the House or upon a question or amendment to be proposed by himself.
The honorable senator has not proposed this amendment, and therefore he cannot speak again.
– I took it that the question before the Chair was the amendment moved by Senator Sargood.
– Under our new standing orders the practice will be altered, but until then we must stand by these which provide that upon a question an honorable senator can make only one speech.
- Although this debate has extended over a considerable time, and covered a very wide field, there is really not very much which calls for any reply, for the simple reason that the series of amendments which have been proposed have really narrowed down the question to very small limits. I would ask the attention of the Senate to what is the real object of the Government in making this proposal. Of course, the Government might very well have treated this as an ordinary matter of administration. They might have taken upon themselves the responsibility of informing the Colonial-office that they would be prepared to ask the Parliament to grant a certain expenditure, and to provide for certain maintenance of residences, in connexion with future Governors- General. But they thought that, considering first of all the uncertainty there was in regard to the actual amount of expenditure required, and considering also the events of the last three or four months in relation to the office of the Governor-General, it would- be very much better to put themselves in the posi- tion of having a decision by Parliament upon the matter, and being able to inform” the Imperial Government that they would be prepared to make a certain offer to any person who was to be appointed to the office of Governor-General. I think that honorable senators will see that the reason which actuated us in putting this motion before the Senate as well as before the House of Representatives, was that we desired to obtain the sanction of Parliament to this offer before it was made, so that although the offer is not to be put in the form of an Act of Parliament, and although there is nothing binding in it, Parliament will be honorably bound not to interfere with the terms of the proposal after the motion has been carried. That is the object of the motion, and unless that object is carried out, it will be of no value. I mention this for the purpose of showing that all the amendments which have been proposed - the one last proposed as well as the one first put before the Senate - would detract from the completeness - and, if I may say so, from the firmness - of the offer which it is necessary we should make to the Imperial Government. A great deal was said at the outset of the debate as to the want of any necessity for the establishment of both these Government Houses ; but long ago.it has been admitted, by the withdrawal of the amendment by-Senator Higgs, and the substitution of that proposed by Senator Dawson, that the Government are honorably bound to the State of New South “Wales to carry out the existing arrangements for a certain period. That has been admitted by the amendment moved by Senator Dawson and that substituted for it by Senator Sargood. It is unnecessary to discuss the history of this matter and the reason why this particular arrangement was brought about. It is admitted that the arrangement must be sanctioned, and that effect must be given to it. Are we simply to give effect to the bare arrangement, and to go no step beyond it when making this offer to the Imperial authorities 1 It seems to me that Senator Glassey was quite right when he said that the opposition shown to the Government proposal was really a paltry way of regarding a question of this kind. What is really between us ? It is admitted that this proposal must be carried out at all events for three years beyond the year 1901 - that is to say that it must subsist until 1904. It is contended, however, that it should not subsist beyond that time. The Government proposal is that the arrangement should continue during the term of office of the Governor-General. We know that the term of office of the States Governors is something like five years, and probably the Governor-General’s term will not be more than that. Therefore, the whole question between us is whether we should make this offer for the term of office of the GovernorGeneral so that it would apply only to a period of five years, or whether we should say to the gentleman to be appointed, “ You are going to have Government House, Melbourne, and Government House, Sydney, until 1904, but we shall not make any guarantee in’ regard to the use of Sydney Government House after that time.” That would place us in this position : that assumimg a Governor-General is appointed to take office at the beginning of next year - and I hardly think that he would be ready to assume office before then - an establishment will be provided for him for one year in Sydney, and for the rest of his term of office he will only have one Government House, in Melbourne. If he accepts office on those terms, is it likely that he will take any steps to furnish Government . House, Sydney, or towards making it habitable for him for a period of only a year ? He might very well say - “ Why should I enter into arrangements to keep Government House, Sydney, going for a year when at the end of that time my occupation of it will come to an end ? “ He would probably say that he would have nothing to do with it. In that event we should be obliged to maintain Government House, Sydney, under the existing arrangement, and obtain absolutely no benefit from it. If what we wish to do is to avoid friction over these small matters in the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth, surely we are going the wrong way about it. Is there any way in which we could more emphasize the narrow and, perhaps, I might say, the rather niggardly view of the obligations of the Commonwealth to the Governor-General than by putting the GovernorGeneral in the position of preparing to either reside in Sydney Government House for one year, or portion of the year or leaving the place empty - the maintenance of it still being paid - as a standing monument to the sectional jealously of different portions of the Commonwealth, and as a standing monument to what I could not help describing as a most illiberal failure to recognise the magnificent generosity of the people of New South Wales when the Commonwealth was first established ?
– But a second house is not wanted.
– That is a matter for the Governor-General to determine. We want to be in a position to make an offer. If we are to make an offer at all, surely it should be a reasonable offer extending over the whole period of his service. Honorable senators ought not to put upon the Government of the Commonwealth the necessity of having to approach the Imperial Government with an offer that we will give His Excellency the up-keep of Govern.ment House, Melbourne, for the whole term of his office, but with regard to the up-keep of Government House, Sydney, although he may be obliged to go there upon official business, and although he may feel it necessary to reside for some time in that very important part of the Commonwealth, he shall have his own house there only for the period of a year and no more. I say that would not be worthy of the Commonwealth, or of the position we assume to take in the Empire. It would not be in consonance with the boast which we make of the importance and magnitude of the Commonwealth as a pai-t of the Empire. It would not be worthy of the Senate, or of the spirit in which this subject ought to be approached. I can quite understand honorable senators on certain grounds taking exception to any but one residence for the Governor-General, but I. say that when we recognise what the position is, and how it has been brought about, and when we recognise the real feeling of interest there is in this question, however small it may appear from a monetary point of view, in the city of Sydney itself, it is not a very great stretch of the federal spirit in which these things ought to be regarded, for us to ask that we shall be put into a position in which we can make an offer to the .GovernorGeneral that his residence shall be secured to him for the whole term of the office, if he cares to accept the offer. I should like to refer shortly to what the position really is as regards the amount of expenditure involved. Supposing my honorable friend’s amendment were carried, what we should save would be something like £2,000 for two years at the outside.
– It is a very small matter.
– It is a very small matter indeed compared with the irritating effect the amendment would have, and compared with the position in which it would put the Governor-General and the Government in regard to the whole business. I think it is fair on this occasion to make some reference to what the Government have already done in the matter of cutting down this expenditure. I can assure honorable senators that the matter has given my honorable colleague, Sir George Turner, a great deal of anxiety and consideration. His object has been to bring this expenditure down to the lowest possible limit, and at the same time be fair and reasonable in the treatment extended to the holder of this very high office. The result is that, whereas in regard to these two* items there were appropriated in 1901 £13,030, the Federal Parliament is now asked to sanction a vote of only £5,500, the up-keep and different expenditure incurred in connexion with the Governor-General’s establishment as to Melbourne Government House, amounting in 1901 to £9,392, and as to Sydney Government House to £3,630. We now ask, se far as Melbourne Government House is concerned, £3,101, and in regard to Sydney Government House, £2,077.
– The Royal visit and inauguration ceremonies increased the expenditure last year.
– There is included in the vote for Melbourne last year, in connexion with the expenses of the GovernorGeneral, a sum of £5,000, a portion of which, of course, will probably not be a recurring expenditure ; but, in regard to the ordinary expenditure, honorable senators will see that we are proposing to cut it down to the very lowest possible amount. Senator Styles asked a very pertinent question as to whether this was to be the end of it, and whether this was to cover all expenses. I tell the honorable senator at once that, in regard to future expenditure, this vote provides for everything except the sum which may be required for travelling expenses for the Governor-General. I think it is admitted that the GovernorGeneral must visit the different States, and in visiting them we hope that he will be treated in the same way as Members of Parliament have been treated, and that he will have the use of the railways free. If he does not have the use of the railways free as has hitherto been the case, it may be necessary to pay his travelling expenses in the same way as the travelling expenses of members of the Federal Parliament are paid.
– Will members of the Federal Parliament get £1,000 a year for travelling expenses ?
– Fortunately for the honorable senator and for myself we do not require to travel with the same number of adherents and attendants as the GovernorGeneral. If we did, I think that £1,000 a year would go but a very small way to meet our travelling expenses. This expenditure may not, and I hope will not, be incurred. I hope the States will see the necessity of making the same concession to the Governor-General of Australia that they have made in the past to members of the States Parliaments. That is, surely, not very much to ask of them. I hope it will be done, but if it is not done, it seems to me that the Commonwealth cannot ask the Governor-General to meet this expenditure out of his own pocket.
– What is the meaning of the £1,000 on the Estimates - “ Travelling, telegrams, and other incidental expenses” 1
– I cannot tell the honorable senator any tiling more than what appears here. He will see at once that there must be some expenditure upon official services which the Governor-General cannot be expected to defray. For instance, in the case of official telegrams and cablegrams sent by the Governor-General, not for his own private benefit but as GovernorGeneral of the Commonwealth, it is clear that the Commonwealth must pay for them.
– They will be franked.
– They will not be franked. The honorable senator must recognise that even Government telegrams are not franked. Cablegrams sent over the lines of the cable companies have to be paid for under some arrangement or upon a certain scale. I do not think it necessary to deal with other matters. But I am glad to be able to answer the pertinent question put by Senator Styles by saying that this vote represents all the expenditure beyond salary, except such expenses as may be incurred in carrying out the official work of the Governor-General, whether in the matter of telegrams, stationery, or matters of that sort, or as travelling expenses. Beyond such expenses, this vote represents what will be charged in addition to the GovernorGeneral’s salary. I hope, therefore, that honorable senators will see that this motionwill fail of its effect if the amendment is carried; and as the opinion of the Senate seems so general, that this arrangement should be adhered to, at all events, up to the beginning of 1904, I hope they will see the necessity for continuing it to the end of the term of office of the next Governor-General. After that, it will be open to us to make fresh arrangements.Ihope that by that time the federal capital site will not only be fixed, but that we shall be a long way towards having arrangements completed for the reception of the Governor-General there. With regard to what has been said about this, though I have no wish to wander from the question, I must say that it has always seemed to me that one of the most important matters which we have to consider, and one of the most important duties cast upon the Commonwealth Parliament, . is that of providing at the earliest possible moment a Parliament House of our own in our own territory, as contemplated in the Constitution, in which we may canyon our business.
Question - That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … …8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
– I have the honour to bring up a report from the Printing Committee. I move -
That the document beread by the Clerk.
After it has been read, I shall move that it be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Report read by the Clerk, as follows : -
Scope ofinquiry- The immediate occasion of this action was certain misleadingstatements respecting the cost of federal printing which had been persistently published to the effect -
Your committee find that in the departments taken over from the States there has been, during the first year tinder federation, an expenditure in printing slightly in excess of what will be the ordinary annual cost of the same. The Government Printer explains that that excess has not been owing to any extravagant or unnecessary outlay, but because “everything is new,” such as new regulations, new forms, and new documents required to be printed in conformity with new Federal laws. This special expenditure for the first year will not be a continuous expense, recurring from ‘ year to year, like the new and original expenditure, but will only be of temporary duration. Even under the separate colony regime these saint Departments were from time to time subject to the cost of printing new laws, new regulations, and new forms, as on the occasion of every consolidation which, on an average, may be assumed to take place every ten years. Such general consolidations by the several colonies would involve no less in printing in the aggregate than has had to be spent on the occasion of the establishment of the Federal system; indeed, there has been less under the latter, seeing that there has been only one consolidation of laws, regulations, and forms, whilst under the separate colony system there would have been six separate consolidations and six separate printing bills.
At the commencement of the Session the Government Printer was ordered to provide for each sitting -
In addition to those numbers which were delivered at Parliament-house for distribution and
Stock purposes, he was ordered to print and hold in reserve for binding at the end of the session 1,000 copies of Journals, Votes and Proceedings, Papers, and Acts. The number printed for the purpose of being bound was afterwards reduced to 500.
Among other printing not necessarily recurring from sitting to sitting, but done as occasion arises, is - Bills introduced, divisions in committee, and other parliamentary papers, amounting when printed to 1,050 of each for the Senate and 1,150 of each for the House.
Comparing the average cost of this class of work clone for the Federal Parliament during the current session, 1901-2, with the average cost of the same class ofwork done for the Victorian Parliament for the sessions of 1899, 1900, and 1901, your committeefind that the Federal expenditure has been less than that of the State.
The cost of printing Bills relating to subjects of exclusively federal jurisdiction, newly-organized and newly-projected federal departments - such as the Judiciary Bill, the Inter-State Commission Bill, the Service and Execution of Process Bill, the Audit Bill, the Property Acquisition Bill, the Public Service Bill, and the Electoral Bill - has, of course, involved new federal expenditure of an amount much greater than will ever be again required in any future session, even if amending Bills become necessary.
MENTS. - On an examination of the list of persons and public bodies among whom parliamentary printed matter has been circulated, your committee are of opinion that the list could with reason and propriety be considerably reduced, and a substantial saving thus effected. If, in a session of four months, the number of copies of each of the parliamentary documents referred to in paragraph5 of thisreport were reduced by 300 per sitting, it is estimated that it would result in a saving of£.1,16911s. 6d. during that period.
The cost of printing the Debates from 9th May to30th September, 1901. was £6,531 15s. ; from 1st October, 1901, to 28th Febraary, 1902, embracing about the same number of sittings as in the first period, the cost was £5,634 13s., being a reduction of about £900, or involving an average expenditure of about £300 per week. This reductionwas effected by a condensation of the reports of the Debates in committee. Assuming that an ordinary session extended over a term of. four mouths orseventeen weeks, the cost for each session would, on the present basis, amount to a little over £5,000.
This, in. the opinion of your committee, is not a very heavy expenditure for the printing and publication of the Debates of two Federal ‘ Houses, one of which has usually sat four days per week, and the other three days per week. Your committee find that it is much below the average cost per sitting of printing the Debates of the Victorian Parliament, and also -less than the cost per sitting of printing the Debates of the Canadian Parliament.
Your committee consider that the result of the comparison of the three Hansards is particularly satisfactory to that of the Commonwealth, especially in view of the fact that the compositors employed by the Commonwealth have been paid at the rate of Is. 3d. per thousand as against Is. per thousand, the ordinary rate ; this increased rate having been allowed as a compensation for frequent waitings for copy, and for the long hours during which the men had been kept working or ready for work.
Your committee cannot recommend any further contraction of the official reports of speeches. At the beginning of the session the proceedings of the Federal Parliament were fairly well reported in the metropolitan newspapers. There has been of late a distinct falling-off in the character and value of those reports, and a tendency on the part of some of the leading newspapers to condense their reports into mere skeleton summaries, whilst in some cases even the pretence of reports is dispensed with, and sketches of an amusing description, but sometimes inaccurate and unjust, have been substituted. For the information of those of the Australian people desirous of obtaining full accounts of the proceedings of the national Parliament, as well as for the protection of honorable members against inaccuracies contained in imperfect newspaper versions, your committee recommend that the Federal Ilansard be maintained in u n i m pa i red efficiency .
It has been suggested that the sale and circulation of Hansard would be promoted by authorizing the officers in charge of the principal postoffices throughout Australia to sell copies and to take the names of those who wish to subscribe.
Your committee suggest that a common titlepage be adopted in the case of all papers presented to both Houses. One set of papers would then suffice for the two Houses, each House receiving a certain number of copies, the balance being retained by the Government Printer for general stock.
Your committee beg to recommend -
Papers, Journals, Votes and Proceedings, and Papers issued as described in paragraph a of our Report be reduced .by at least 300.
Ordered to be printed.
– I propose to move that the consideration of the report be made an order of the day for Friday next.
– That is too soon, because the report will not be circulated by then. Fix its consideration for this day month.
– The only part of the report which has been ordered to be printed is that which has been read. The evidence on which the report has been founded has not been ordered to be printed.
– As . the other House will have printed more copies of the proceedings and evidence than are required for the use of its members, it is not necessary for the Senate to order that they be printed as well as the report. An ample number of copies to supply the members of both Houses will be printed to the order of the other House. It is simply the report as it has been read which will be printed for the Senate.
– - We ought to have sufficient time in which to consider the report before it is discussed.
– I understand, sir,, that the report has been ordered to be printed 1
– Yes, but not the minutes of proceedings and the evidence. If the Senate relies on its own motion, it will not get a printed copy of the minutes of proceedings and the evidence.
– May I ask, sir, whether it was not- arranged some time ago, by yourself and the Speaker, that all papers which were laid upon the table of either House should be supplied to all members of the Parliament ?
– That arrangement has been -in force for some time- For a great many months duplicate printing has been abolished. Every paper which is laid before one House is laid before the other as a matter of course, and every member gets a copy of every paper which is printed.
– As I understand that the minutes of proceedings and the evidence are to be printed to the order of the other House, and that as a matter of course every honorable senator will be supplied with a copy of the document, there is no need to do more here than to move “for the printing of the report.
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator did not catch my point. Do I understand that the wish of the Senate is that, in addition to any document the other House may order to he printed, the Senate desires to order the report only to be printed as a separate document? I do not see the object of that.
– I understand that the other House is having everything printed 1
– Except our report.
– When we have our report printed, we shall also have the evidence, quite apart from what the House of Representatives may do.
– Then I take it that the Senate only wishes me to have One document printed, containing the minutes of evidence, as well as the report.
– Do not honorable senators think that it would be more in consonance with the dignity of the Senate if we ordered the printing, and did not place ourselves at the mercy of the other House ? I do not want any extra printing to be done, but if we passed a motion, our officers would see that there was no duplicate printing. We certainly ought not to be at the mercy of the other House.
– I will take it that what I have said is the wish of the Senate.
– As far as concerns fixing the date, perhaps next Wednes-day will be the most convenient day for the discussion. I move -
That the report be considered on Wednesday next.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I rise to mention a matter of privilege, arising out of the division which was taken on the motion with regard to the allowances of the Governor-General. In that division I understand that you, sir, did not record a vote, although you were within the precincts of the chamber. I wish to bring the matter before the Senate in order to determine whether it is in order, and in conformity with the provisions of ‘the Constitution, for any member of the Senate, or for the President, to remain within the chamber during a division and not to record a vote for or against a question. Of course I understand that we are governed first of all by the Constitution, and secondly by the standing orders which we have adopted temporarily, in so far as they do not contravene the provisions of the Constitution. Section 23 of the Constitution provides that -
Questions arising in the Senate shall be determined by a majority of votes, and each senator shall have one vote. The President shall in all eases be entitled to a vote, and when the votes are equal the question shall pass in the negative.
– I rise to a point of order. I want to know whether this is a matter which can now be brought up, other business having intervened ?
– I do not think it can, nor do I think that this is a matter of privilege, but I did not want to stop the proceedings. I did not wish the objection to ‘come from me, but ray ruling, now that the point has been raised, is that, the subject cannot be brought up at this stage.
– On the point of order, I should like to draw your attention, sir, to Standing Order No. 147.
– Our standing orders are founded on the supposition that the President does not vote. The point raised by Senator Pearce cannot be discussed now. It can be raised at some other time. A point of this kind must be taken when the occasion arises, and not after any other business has intervened.
– Surely I am in order in discussing the point of order raised by Senator Millen ?
– Not after the President has ruled.
– My ruling is that, a point of order must be brought up when the occasion arises. If the honorable senator had wished to bring before the Senate the question of whether I was obliged to vote he should have done it when the division list was declared, and should not have allowed other business to intervene.
– It was not known that the President had not voted when the numbers were declared.
– During the whole of the session I have exercised my right to abstain from voting when I thought fit, and no one has objected. Any other honorable senator who does not want to vote can leave the chamber, but I cannot leave the chair.
– No one dreamed that you would break the standingorders.
– I am not breaking the standing orders. I now call on the next business.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
As honorable senators are no doubt aware, the Executive Council of the Commonwealth has power to appoint Royalcommissions, or rather the Governor-General has vested in him that power as one of the functions of the King: That prerogative power is assigned to the Governor-General under section 2 of the Constitution constituting the office of Governor-General. But though the power of issuing letters patent is vested in the Governor-General, he cannot give any authority to examine witnesses upon oath, or to compel the attendance of witnesses, or to compel the production of documents. It is quite evident that the power to appoint Royal commissions is of no value whatever unless you can give power to examine witnesses on oath, and to compel the attendance of witnesses, and the production of documents. This very short measure is introduced for the purpose of giving.such powerto
Royal commissions appointed by the GovernorGeneral. It follows the lines of Acts in force now in all the different States. It simply gives the necessary power to examine witnesses on oath, or take affirmations in lieu of the oath.. It attaches to affirmations and oaths so taken the penalties of false swearing before a court.. It compels attendance under a summons, and compels the production of documents, books or writings, subject to a penalty on summary conviction for non-compliance not exceeding £50. It gives the commissioners the same protection as is given to a High Court of Justice, and it also gives protection to witnesses. It further permits the making of regulations prescribing a scale of allowances to be paid to witnesses, the claim to such allowances having to be certified by the president or chairman of the commission, and to be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament for the purpose of the commission. In fact, the Bill confers all the necessary powers for making Royal commissions a reality.
– I merely rise to say that I do not like one clause in the Bill, which providespractically that a witness may decline to give evidence on the payment of £50. That is not a wise provision, because there may be occasions when a Royal commission may deal with a very important matter affecting the Commonwealth and its citizens. Certain witnesses may be able to give very important evidence, and the Royal commission ought to have all the powers of a Supreme Court, so that if any witness refused to answer questions that the commission was legally entitled to put tohim, he might be dealt with in the same way as he would be dealt with by a Supreme Court. I trust that Senator O’Connor will see his way clear to agree to some amendment to alter that provision.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).So far as I understand the situation with which this Bill attempts to deal, there is a commission now in existence which is sitting without any legal warrant.
– No ; but the commission is without the power of summoning witnesses, and of examining them on oath. It has nearly concluded its work now:
– I understand that the oath has been administered by the commission. If that beso it might be well to put another clause in the Bill validating their actions.
– I do not know that that commission has administered oaths.
– If Senator O’Connor is perfectly satisfied as to the position, I have nothing more to say. But it appears to me that there is a possibility of some trouble arising, and that it might be possible, by means of a simple clause, to validate what the commission has done.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to S agreed to.
– With regard to the question asked by Senator Millen before we went into committee, as to whether the evidence taken by the Royal commission which has recently been sitting was taken on oath, I wish to say that I do not think it has been. But as the question has been raised I have sent to ascertain definitely whether the evidence was taken on oath or not. Should there be any necessity to validate what has been done by the commission, the matter can be reconsidered on the motion for the third reading.
Bill reported without amendment report adopted.
In Committee (Consideration of amendments of the House of Representatives resumed from 22nd August, vide page 15310)>
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That the committee agree to new clause -140a, as amended, viz. : -
Any elector may vote at the polling place for which ho is enrolled, or if he is absent, from, the polling place for which he is enrolled may vote at any other polling place for the same division at any election whether for the Senate or the House of Representatives, if he makes and signs before the presiding officer a declaration in the form R 1 in the schedule.
– When this amendment was last before us, I made some very warm comments upon the system of pairing followed upon’ that occasion. As. some of my remarks may have been construed as a reflection upon the Government whip, Senator Keating, . I wish to say that I had no intention of insinuating that he had interfered in any way with the system of pairing. I relieve him altogether of any responsiblity- for the pairs which were arranged if there was anything wrong in regard to them. ‘I understand that the clause is to- be postponed.
– It was pointed out when . the matter was last before us that as the new clause had been amended, it could not be postponed.
– I had not the pleasure of being present when this proposed new clause was discussed last week, but I must say that I have very grave apprehensions as to the danger to the purity of elections that may result from it. It will most undoubtedly give great scope for personation. Unless I am mistaken as to the wording of the clause, it appears to me that under it any handful of unscrupulous men - and there is no State; unfortunately, which does not possess them - could go from polling place to polling place and vote again and again. I have had, in New South Wales, in bygone years, a very considerable experience of the possibilities in this direction, and I have no hesitation in saying that a clause -which opens the door as this appears to do, will lead to very gross and extensive personation. I do not -see how it is to be- checked. I know of many cases of” personation which were proved in New South Wales, and for which men were sent ‘ to gaol. But ‘ we know very well that for one man who was punished, there were scores, if” not hundreds, who escaped. Every one who was acquainted with the old electoral laws of New South Wales knew that thoroughly well, and the Legislature found it necessary to take steps to check, if not to stop, the practice altogether. With that object, changes- were made in the electoral laws. For example, instead of having some 40 different’ electorates for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, the State was divided into 125 single electorates-. Every one could see that the- smaller the area of the electorates the less was the chance of personation. Provision, was also made for voters’ certificates, so that no man could possibly vote more than once on the same certificate. A man might purloin the certificate of some absent voter and vote on it, but the possibility of anything of the sort was infinitesimal, and was hardly worth considering. The average division in New South Wales for the House of Representatives embraces five of- the State House electorates, and under this provision, which does not require . the production of any certificate, a voter could go to ever so many polling’ places in one division, and vote over and over again. I understand that the clause “’ gives any voter for the Senate a right to go from division to division. . The metropolitan divisions for the House of Representatives, so far as Melbourne and Sydney are concerned, are about ten in number, and in each division there are a number of polling places. What is to prevent an unknown man, who has just got his name on the rolls, from going from one polling place to another and personating some other voter, or repeating his own vote 1 The matter is one of very great importance, and I earnestly hope that the committee will object to the clause. I am prepared to vote for its excision.
– I also am prepared to vote for the excision of the clause. I think it is a very great mistake. In the first place, we allow a man who cannot attend the polling place for which he is enrolled to vote by post. We also allow a man who cannot be at the polling place for which he is enrolled on the day of election to have his vote transferred to another polling booth. Now it is proposed to give him a right which, so far as divisions are concerned, does away with the necessity for the two provisions I have named, and which we have made for his convenience. If we allow a voter to vote in any polling place within the division, so far as the House of Representatives is concerned, then we should certainly allow a voter for the Senate to record his vote in any part of a State, as each State is polled as one electorate. Some of the divisions for the House of Representatives comprise enormous areas, with distances ranging up to something like 1,000 miles. I should imagine that there are some divisions in Queensland - there are certainly some in South Australia - which are larger than the whole of Tasmania.
– In Queensland we have a division which is larger than Victoria.
– That being so, I am against this clause. There is no necessity for it. It is an absurdity and an excrescence on the Bill. It appears to have been inserted simply because another place struck out the provision which we had made for voters’ certificates. We have had made all the provision that is necessary to meet the case of the absent voter. We have done it in the two ways I have named, and now we are asked to give him a privilege which can be abused to a very considerable extent. It will be possible to abuse it to a still greater extent than would otherwise be the case, owing to the absence of the provision for voters’ certificates. It wouldbe much better for the Government to drop this clause. I understood that the Government were prepared to move the reconsideration of this clause in some way. I wish only to indicate the way in which I shall vote.
– As we propose to reconsider the clause almost immediately, I think we should formally agree to it, in order that that may be done.
Question - That the amendment, as amended, be agreed to - put. The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment in clause 141 agreed to.
Clause 142 (Questions to be put if voter challenged).
– The amendments in this clause are almost entirely drafting ones. The other House has omitted the words, “ if the right of any person claiming to vote is challenged,” so that the clause now provides that the presiding officer may, and at the request of a scrutineer, shall put to any person claiming to vote all or any of the questions which follow. There is no necessity for any form of challenge. I move -
That the committee agree to the amendments omitting the words “ if the right of any person claiming to vote is challenged,” and substituting for the word “him” the words “any person claiming to vote.”
Motion agreed to.
– I move -
That the committee agree to the amendment omitting paragraph II., and inserting in lieu thereof the following new paragraph : - “ II. Are you of the full age of 21 years? “
This amendment is necessary in consequence of the voter’s certificate having been done away with. It will be observed that the second question was -
Are you the person to whom this voter’s certificate was issued ?
It has been altered by the other House to read -
Are you of the full age of 21 years ?
There is no voter’s certificate provided, but it may be necessary in certain cases to ask a voter if he is of the full age of 21 years.
– I do not know that this is of very much importance;but, in view of the alteration to which Senator Drake has referred, is the second question necessary? Before a person can get his name placed on the roll he must have answered that question, and therefore, when in the polling booth, he has answered the first question, namely, that he is the person whose name appears on the roll for the division, he has answered the second question. It seems to me that under these circumstances the second question is not necessary. It proceeds to open up his right to be on the roll. There is nonecessity to challenge his qualification to be on the roll after he is enrolled.
– But supposing that he is only seventeen years of age ?
– That question ought to have been inquired into before his name was put on the roll. Having once got his name put on the roll, and passed by the revision court, there ought to be no authority in the presiding officer on polling day to question his qualifications. His qualifications have or should have been inquired into before his name was put on the roll.
– They never are, and never can be.
– They ought not to be inquired into at a later stage. Having once got his name put on the roll, for the purpose of the clause the only thing for him to do is to satisfy the presiding officer that he is the person whose name appears on the roll for the division. Whether he got there legally or illegally is not the business of the presiding officer. Itis turning the pollingbooth into another revision court. We need only one revision court, and that is the one which finally determines the roll, and until the next revision court sits no one ought to challenge the qualifications by virtue of which a person got his name placed on the roll.
– The object of the question is to insure that the person who claims to vote is entitled to do so. In the first place, a person puts in a written application to get his name placed upon the roll without ever being seen by the revision court. Supposing that a person offers tovote who is manifestly a minor or who is. apparently under the age of 21 years, why should not the presiding officer beallowed to ask him the question - “Are youof the full age of 21 years?” If he is the person whose name is on the roll, and he is. properly enrolled, he is over 21 years of’ age, and he need have no objection to answering that question in the affirmative.
– The Minister admits that it is making another revision court of the polling booth ?
– It is not another revision court. The applicant does not appear personally before any one when he applies to have his name put on the roll. He sends in a written application. The position may not have been properly explained to him, and he may have been an innocent party to a wrong statement. Hemay have been under 21 years of age when he filled in the form and got his name enrolled, but when he comes to record his vote he appears to be below that age. This clause simply authorizes the presiding officer, if required to do so by a scrutineer, to put. the question to him. If he is properly on the roll he says “yes,” and there is an end to the matter ; but if he cannot say “yes,’’ he has no right to vote.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - The contention of the Postmaster-General is that it is desirable in the polling booth to open up the question of an elector’s qualifications. Why does the clause stop at asking thequestion as to a man’s age? Why are not inquiries made as to his other qualifications ?
– He is asked - “Are you disqualified from voting ? “
– He is not asked whether he has lived in the electorate for the prescribed time. What is the real reason why the second question was altered? When the voters’ certificate was abolished the second question became unnecessary, with and without much thought its form was altered. If the polling booth is to1 be made a revision court, the work ought to be done properly. I do not think it ought to be a revision court. An answer to the second clause should be sufficient, namely, that the person who claims to vote is the person whose name appears on the roll. If his right to be on the roll is to be inquired into in the polling booth, he should be asked the other questions which would enable the presiding officer to determine whether he had been within the electorate for the prescribed time before he claimed to have his name put on the roll.
– Look at form B.
– That form furnishes a direct answer to the contention of Senator Drake, that a person who is under the age of 21 years may have innocently sent in a written application to have his name put on thi? roll. In the form of application he is required to say - “lam of the age of 21 years.”
– He does not apply personally.
– The revision court has to revise the list and to be satisfied that he is entitled to vote.
– The revision court do not see the person, and the presiding officer does.
– If the whole of the -persons qualifications are to be inquired into, why should he not be asked all the questions which are set down in form B, and not merely one of them ? For instance, why should he not be asked whether he is a natural born or naturalized subject of the King, or whether he is an inhabitant of Australia.
– Senator Millen seems to ignore my point. To a certain extent the age may be indicated by a man’s appearance, and that is not tested until Ite applies to vote. There is no reason why he should be asked whether he has been living in the electorate for the prescribed time or the other questions because his personal appearance will not assist the presiding officer in deciding whether he is speaking the truth or not. The applicant may have stated in writing that he was of the age of 21 years, and it is only when he asks for a voting-paper that an opportunity is afforded of testing the truth of his statement. If he appears to be a mere boy, what is the harm of asking him whether he is of the full age of 21 years? No lady could object to being asked that question. The fact of her being allowed to vote is an admission that she is of the full age of 2 1 years. It would be a different thing if she were required to state her age.
– It does not- seem to me that this question is arguable for a minute, and I am astonished at Senator Drake so strenuously supporting what has evidently got into the . clause by an inadvertence. It will be seen that the definition of an elector is “any person whose name appears upon the roll as an elector.” An elector is any person entitled to vote. He goes up to the polling booth, and asks for a ballot-paper. He says - “ I am John Jones, and I am entitled to vote.” If there is a doubt about it the returning officer may, and on the request of the scrutineers must, ask three questions. The first is - “ Are you the person whose name appears upon the roll ?” That implies that the person is 21 years of age. If the elector satisfactorily answers that question it is enough. No man or woman should be asked a question as to whether his or her age is over 21. The second question which the Bill formerly ordered- to be put was - “ Are you the person whose name appears upon the voter’s certificate t” The third question was - “Have you already voted?” Then, on the assumption that the person’s name appears on the roll, the fourth question was put - “ Are you disqualified from voting ?” When the question was before the House of Representatives, having done away with voters’ certificates, they struck out the question - “ Are you the person to whom the voters’ certificate was issued?” Then, in order not to offend the. Senate, they put in something else. But if this question is allowed to stand, and the scrutineers dispute the age of a voter, what is to be done? The thing is an absurdity. The doubt that is to be solved by putting the questions is as to the identity of the person claiming to be upon the roll, and the question as to the age is not necessary.
– The honorable and learned senator’s view of the question topples over as soon as the facts of the case are known. When he says that the House of Representatives inserted the question referred to out of consideration for the Senate he overlooks the fact that the reference to voters’ certificates was necessarily struck out because they are not provided for, and that it was a private member of another place, who was desirous that the question in regard to age should be put. It was inserted probably for the reason I have given - so that when an elector with a particularly youthful appearance came to vote, evidence should be given that he was over the age of 21.
– I think I can give a reason why this question should be allowed to stand. If honorable senators turn to clause 57, they will find that names can get upon the roll not only upon the claims of the electors, and not only by following out the method of form B, but also from information supplied by the police and by the statistical and electoral officers in any State or municipality. A municipal officer supplying this information would necessarily take the municipal roll, which does not contain the ages of voters. In Western Australia, owing to the practice of taking information from municipal officers, we have had upon the roll persons who were not of the age of 21 years, and who never said they were 21. These names have been supplied by the municipal authorities, and when they came to vote at parliamentary elections,and were asked “Are you. of the age of 21?” they would reply in the negative, and would not be allowed to vote. I know of a voter who made a claim to vote simply because his name was on an electoral roll, although he was not a naturalized subject of the King. It therefore seems to me that the question is a necessary one, and should be allowed to stand.
– Senator Pearce has given a correct explanation, as I find from the records of another place that it was there pointed out that the municipal rolls are frequently made up from the names of persons who hold land. According to the laws of Victoria and of New South Wales, persons may select land and become occupiers before the age of 21. In New South Wales the age is sixteen : it is eighteen in Western Australia, and eighteen in Victoria. Therefore the persons who make up the municipal rolls, and who supply information to the Commonwealth electoral officers, may supply the names of such persons, although they are not entitled to vote according to the Commonwealth law. There is no good reason for leaving out this question.
-I do not think the question can do much harm, though I quite agree that it is altogether wrong to put such a question to a man or woman whose name is on the roll when he or she comes to vote. The time for the age to be ascertained is when an application is made to have the name put on the roll. The municipal officer who supplies the information referred to should know the age of the applicant before supplying the name to the Commonwealth electoral officer. It will be a simple matter for a person desiring to get his name upon the roll to obtain a note from a magistrate, or some other responsible person, saying that he or she is of the age of 21. But it will be an unpleasant thing to put such a question on the day of the election. Some women may look 19 when they are 24 or 25. We are prone to make ourselves look younger than we are. The day of the election is not the time for putting this question. Once on the roll, a person should be allowed to vote.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clause 145 agreed to.
Amendment in clause 146 postponed.
Amendments in clauses 148 and 149, agreed to.
Clause 151 - ln elections for the Senate, the voter shall mark his ballot paper by making a cross in the square opposite the name of each candidate for whom he votes. The voter shall vote for the full number of candidates to be elected.
– I move -
That the amendment of the House of Representatives omitting all the words after the word “ votes,” line 4, be agreed to.
This is a provision that has already been the subject of a great deal of discussion. It involves the question of plumping for Senate elections. It will be remembered that when the Bill was before us first it provided for preferential voting, and, of course, for no plumping. Then an amendment was proposed by which, after the provision relating to preferential voting had been defeated, it was proposed to allow plumping. After considerable discussion that was defeated by a very large majority. The Bill originally prohibited plumping. In the House of Representatives the matter was discussed again, and the last sentence of the clause was struck out. By striking out those words plumping was again restored, and in that form it comes down to the Senate. I am quite prepared to admit that there are arguments which may be used on both sides. One very strong argument used in favour of plumping is that it is not right to force a man to vote for candidates for whom he does not desire to vote. At present a man can refuse absolutely to vote for any one for whom he does not wish to vote. But the provision prohibiting plumping says that though he may, if he likes, refuse to vote for any candidate, yet if he votes for one, or two, or three, he must vote for six if six be the full number to be elected. That I know is strongly’ objected to by a great number of voters who claim that they should be allowed to vote for two, three or four candidates if they think those candidates should be elected, and to refuse to vote for any to whom they object. I have moved that the amendment of the House of Representatives be agreed to, but, no doubt, the Senate will have a great deal to say with regard to the method of election for this House.
– Did not the members of the Government in the House of Representatives vote against the amendment ?
– The Ministers in this Chamber are occupying the same position as they have occupied all along in proposing that the amendment of the House ef Representatives be agreed to.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I think we should do better to accept the dictates of Senator Drake’s heart rather than the sound of his voice on this question. Those of us who object to plumping have behind us a majority of twenty to eight. In this case I think that the House of Representatives ought to allow the Senate to have its way as to the mode by which its own elections should be conducted. We were particularly careful not to interfere in any way with any machinery dealing with the elections for the House of Representatives. But the House of Representatives have dealt with our method of election. My honorable and learned friend said that there was something to be said in favour of plumping. There is infinitely more to be said against it when we consider the Constitution on the basis of equal representation in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, with equal electorates, it is practicable to insist on every voter voting, if he votes at all, for his one man. Where there were three to be chosen for the Senate, as it will be, unless there is a penal dissolution, which is not likely in the immediate future, the position, I think, would not be consistent with that which the Senate occupies under the Constitution, if a voter did not exercise his franchise as to the whole number to be elected. That is a matter which mainly concerns the Senate. After full discussion, the Senate decided by a large majority that an elector should be compelled to vote for the full number to be returned ; and members of the Government in another place, acting on the principle which actuated the Senate in abstaining from interfering with the machinery of the House of Representatives, supported the view of the Senate. I shall be very glad - if this is to be a precedent - if the Government will always stick to what the Senate does, and I think that in this particular instance they might very fairly accept the situation and disagree with the amendment.
– I should like to correct my honorable and learned friend on one point. He is probably not aware that the amendments in clauses 22, 23, and 24, which were sent to us, were disagreed with, the committee claiming to retain a voice with regard to the election of members of the House of Representatives.
– Of course we had a right to do that. We were seeking to prevent jerrymandering.
– In the same way the House of Representatives has clearly a right to express an opinion in regard to this Chamber. We are seeking to bring the two Chambers into accord upon this matter.
– The leader of the Opposition, I suppose, in the absence of any argument which he could possibly bring forward in support of his contention, has endeavoured to play upon the little jealousy which no doubt exists between the two Houses. He asked, in a burst of virtuous indignation, why we should tolerate any interference on the part of the House of Representatives with the way in which elections for the Senate are to be conducted. In the next breath, the honorable senator invoked the Constitution. He said it would be most unconstitutional if the electors were not compelled to vote foi’ the full number of candidates required.
– Those arc not the words I used, but they are near enough.
– At one moment the honorable and learned senator is prepared to throw the Constitution into the fire, metaphorically to have it burnt by the common hangman. What else could be adduced from the honorable and learned senator’s statement that the House- of Representatives has no right to interfere with the way in which the elections for the Senate are to be conducted? Although I do not pretend to be a constitutional authority, it appears to me that every Commonwealth Act must be passed by the Parliament of the Commonwealth. The Senate is a portion of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, the House of Representatives is a portion of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, and every Act must be passed by both Houses. To advance as a reason against this amendment that the House of Representatives has no right to interfere with the way in which we conduct our elections for the- Senate seems to me to be one of the weakest arguments that could be adduced. The honorable and learned senator said that no reasons had been given why electors should not be compelled to vote for the full number of candidates required. I think that if the honorable and learned senator had kept his ears open he would have heard reasons sufficient to convince any ordinary man of the justice of the amendment now before us. Senator Symon, and those connected with him, desire to compel electors either to disfranchise themselves or to vote for a man whom they do not wish to see in Parliament. There might be four free-traders and* three protectionists presenting themselves for election. I might desire to see three protectionists returned, but if the Bill were passed as the honorable and learned senator wishes it to be passed, I should be compelled to either abandon my vote for the three protectionists or to vote for them and “neutralize that vote by also voting for three free-traders.
– As a rule there will be only three elected.
– It does not matter whether the number is three or more. Of course, in ordinary circumstances, unless the Opposition forces a dissolution, there will be only three members elected at an election, but we are not discussing that matter just now. We are discussing a great principle - the principle that no man should be compelled to vote for a candidate to whom he objects.- If any honorable senator laid down the proposition that he should, would the leader of the Opposition consent to it ? Not for one moment. He would agree with me that it would be tyranny of the grossest description to drag a man to the polling booth, and compel him to vote for a candidate to whom he objected.
– He need not vote at all.
– He must either vote for a man to whom he objects, for a man whose policy is utterly opposed to his own, for a man whom he does not desire to see in Parliament, or lose his vote for the man whom he desires to see elected. The honorable and learned senator claims to be an advocate of liberty and freedom, and yet this is the position in which he would place the electors. It would be worse than tlie old system in England, where landlords used to drive their tenants like slaves in gangs to the polling booths, and make them vote as they desired. This is the most serious blemish upon the electoral laws of the Commonwealth. We know why a number of honorable senators are so strongly in favour of the block vote. They are not governed by principle ; there is no principle in the matter. Honorable senators from New South Wales are opposed to plumping, because plumping would seriously endanger the vote of a particular section of the population. They are opposed to it because they could not return five free-traders if plumping were permitted - because it would break the solid free-trade phalanx in New South Wales.
– We should still return the five.
-The Victorians are opposed to the system for the same reason - because it would burst up the protectionist party.
– Nothing could do that.
– Either party is prepared to sacrifice principle on the altar of political expediency.
– Then the honorable senator admits that under plumping a State would be misrepresented.
– No. With plumping minorities would have an opportunity to be represented. Does the honorable senator 15666 Electoral
Bill. wish that a minority should have no representation, in the councils of the country? Does he know anything of the history of Parliament ? Does he not know that in the beginning every adult in the community was represented in Parliament 1 Parliament was then a meeting of the people, and our Parliament to-day ought to be as representative of the people as if all the people were gathered together in one meeting.
– That is the Hare-Spence system.
– I have no particular objection to the Hare-Spence system.
– The majority would rule in a mass meeting.
– But ‘ all would be heard. I have no objection to the majority ruling.
– All sections are represented now.
– They would not all be represented under the block system of voting. If there were 100,000 freetraders and 99,000 protectionists in New South Wales, the 100,000 freetraders would have aU the representation in the Senate. Does the honorable senator desire a condition of affairs such as that ? If it appeals to him it certainly does not appeal to me. Every interest ought to be represented here; every cause should have an opportunity of being heard here. It is only by having the fullest representation of every interest, every class, and every movement, so to speak, that we can have legislation in the best interests of the country. I would ask my honorable friends to forget political expediency for once, and to set their feet upon the rock of principle. If they do they will be found voting against an iniquitous provision, which would compel a man to either disfranchise himself or probably to vote for some person to whom he was utterly opposed, and who would not represent him in the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator who has just resumed his seat, has been at very great pains to explain the original principles under which persons were represented and able to vote to determine any question. He has also pointed out in reply to an interjection that 100,000 voters could outweigh 99,000 voters in any election. We know that. He claims, however, that the99,000 would have no representation. To carry that argument further he must know that if 35 honorable senators divide on any question, the votes of eighteen neutralize the votes of the remaining seventeen, so that to bring the matter down to bed-rock, the majority must rule in some form »r other, and the minority has simply to put up with the result. The minority represented in this Chamber, can explain their views here but they can be voted down-. There is nothing in that particular argument. The honorable senator also claims that it is a hardship to compel a man to vote for three individuals when he thinks that there is only one of them fit to enter Parliament.
– An elector is not compelled - he is only asked to exercise his franchise.
– Exactly. The honorable senator says that a man who wants to vote for only one, will have to vote for two others whom he does not think should be in Parliament. If there are three to be elected, and if the elector can see only one man whom he considers to be really fit for the position, and for whom he feels impelled to vote, he must take the two least objectionable out of the other candidates, and so assist in preventing the worst from being returned.
– Do all the electors vote for the three successful candidates 1
– No. But all vote for the three they desire to be returned. That is the position which we occupy now. There must be some candidate that an elector dislikes more than others, just as there are candidates whom he likes more than others. Senator Drake has claimed that the committee has already exercised the right to dictate to the other House as to the way in which elections for the House of Representatives shall be conducted.
– Not to dictate, but to retain a voice.
– The honorable and learned senator has referred to clauses 22 and 23. Those clauses relate to the manner in which a State has to be parcelled out for the election of members of the House of Representatives, and that is a matter which is distinctly placed in the hands of Parliament. They do not affect the machinery for carrying out the elections.
– It is the way in which the Government originally introduced it.
– That is so. What the Government say is that Parliament is to approve of the cutting up of a State into divisions ; that there shall be no jerrymandering, and no cutting out of electorates for special individuals by the House of Representatives. In this House the smaller States are represented, because we want to protect the interests of the smaller States against anything of that kind, just as we desire’ to protect their interests in other respects. We have equal representation here in order to deal with a matter of of that kind. . Therefore, the PostmasterGeneral is quite wrong when he assumes that we are attempting in any way to interfere with the rights of the other Chamber. We are not deciding how their elections shall be conducted ; we are dealing only with the way in which the States shall be cut up. If we insisted upon clause 152 being passed as it left ‘this Chamber there might be some ground for saying that we were interfering with the way in which the machinery of the elections for the House of Representatives was to operate. In claiming to deal with clause 151, we are acting within our own rights, and acting within those rights, it will be our duty when we come to clause 152 to leave the amendment as made by the House of Representatives in regard to contingent voting in the position it now occupies. I hope that the committee will adhere to its original proposal. I am sorry to find that both the members of the Government in this Chamber contemplate going the other way, especially when I recollect that their four colleagues, who voted on the question in another place, voted to retain the clause as sent down by the Senate, showing they recognised that the Senate had a right to deal with it according to their desire. I am sorry that ‘ Ministers in this Chamber, because of a kind of loyalty which they think they ought to show to the majority in another place, deem it incumbent upon them to vote in a wa)- directly contrary to that ‘ adopted by their colleagues in the House of Representatives.
– And against the majority in the Senate.
– Yes; it is unfortunate to find a Government divided against themselves. I submit that the whole merits are in favour of the clause as it left this Chamber, and that this is a matter for the
Senate to determine, and to carry out in the way which we consider best.
– I do not concur with the honorable and learned senator’s view of what Ministers in the Senate ought to do in the circumstances in. which we find ourselves. As honorable senators will remember, the Government introduced in this House, as an important portion of the electoral policy, the system of proportional voting, and did their best to carry it. As honorable senators are aware, it was fought to the bitter end, and we gave way only when we found that we were voted down. ‘ We say that the next best way of achieving proportional representation is by the system which was proposed in the clause originally. I advocated the adoption of the clause on the ground that it was the nearest approach we could get to proportional representation, and on that ground and others which I shall mention, it ought to be adopted as the method of electing the senators. Thecommittee defeated the proposal by a large majority, and when the Bill was sent to the other House the Ministry, whatever their personal views were, felt themselves bound to do what was possible to carry it into law. Of course, they might have thrown over the Bill because of the existence of that provision, but they thought that it contained so many important provisions which required to be enacted that they were not justified in taking that step. They adopted the Bill as it left the Senate,., because their object was to endeavour asfar as possible to bring both Houses into agreement on the matter. The duty of a Government is as far as possible to try to bring about practical legislation, and so long as they can achieve that object with- out sacrificing any material principle in a Bill - so material that it is necessary for the actual carrying out of their legislation - they are perfectly justified in dropping oneclause, or taking a view of the clausewhich does not accord with their personal opinions.
– We do not complain of Ministers in the other House voting against it.
- Senator Gould complained.
– No ; he eulogized them for doing it. His complaint is that the honorable and learned member does not follow their example.
– Our ideas of “eulogy differ. I take leave to look behind the honorable senator’s eulogy in order to ascertain his real meaning. The other House, by a considerable majority, took the opposite view to the Senate, and- when the Bill comes back, what position are we to take up ? Is it to be said that my honorable and learned colleague and I are to ask the committee to dissent from what the other House has done ? Although the other House has carried out the view of the Government, we are supposed to ask the committee to disapprove of what has been done. That would be a most ridiculous position for us to take up. I should have liked to hear Senator Gould expatiate upon that view if it had been adopted. The fact of the matter is that some honorable senators who sit opposite find fault with whatever the Government may do. In the first place, the provision should be considered on its merits, because it is essential for the carrying out of any proper and fair system of representation. In the second place, as it is desirable that the two Houses should come to an agreement, and that the Bill, should become law, the provision should be adopted as it left the other House. Senator Gould seems to forget that in the union there are other States beside New South Wales, and other electoral systems besides hers. The blockvoting system exists in all the States, but in. Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia the block vote is exercised with the right of plumping. In those three States an elector is not obliged to vote for men of whom he may disapprove, but he is entitled to vote for the three or six candidates, or to give all his votes to one candidate. In Tasmania the senators were elected on a more scientific system of proportional representation. The HareClark system was in force at the time of the elections j but there has been a change in the law which I believe has affected the right of voting. I rely on the example which is furnished by the States of Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia. Surely, in framing for the first time a uniform electoral law we must pay some consideration to the circumstance that there is a system of voting in three of . the States which undoubtedly gives to a man the right which is claimed here - the right to exercise his vote as he likes, and not to be forced to vote for persons whom he disapproves of, and who may hold views which are absolutely abhorrent to him. . What can he do now ? His only alternative now is either to refuse to voce, or to include in his vote, and be the means of returning, a man who holds principles which are absolutely discordant with his own.
– They will be returned whether he votes for them or not.
– That is not so. It enables a man to throw the whole of his electoral power on to one candidate, or on to two or three, as he thinks fit, and if he thinks it is necessary, in order to secure the representation of his views, that he should give the whole of his electoral power to one candidate instead of distributing it over three candidates, on what principle should he not do so ?
– It is a political betrayal . of his rights - of his trust.
– The honorable and learned senator carries his case no further by speaking of a man’s betrayal of rights, or a betrayal of his trust. His right is to have his opinions represented in Parliament, and he is entitled to exercise the whole of his electoral power in order to secure the attainment of that end.
– My honorable and learned friend admits that he wants to get in by plumping this so-called minority representation.
– It is not so-called minority representation, but proportional representation. It is the representation of opinions. It is the representation which has been enjoyed in three States, out of five, and my honorable and learned friend has to answer that condition of things, and to explain, in some way, why it should be taken away. What has been the result of the working of the block vote system in New South Wales 1 At the Senate elections the electors were compelled to vote for six candidates. But that did not prevent the carrying out indirectly of the very plumping which lias been complained of here. We know that at all these elections there are a number of candidates who have no chance of being returned. In what manner was the end attained of securing the representation of those who did not care to vote the whole party ticket? They voted for two candidates whom they wished to be elected, and for four “ wasters “ who, in their opinion, had no chance of being returned. Indirectly, and by a misuse of the electoral system, it was sought to bring about the result which we wish to have brought about here in an open and direct way by carrying out this principle of allowing a man to vote as he thinks proper.
– And the result was that no minorities were represented.
– How is that any answer to me?
– The honorable and learned gentleman says that indirectly the system is in operation and does not succeed.
– That is no answer to what I have been pointing out - that men will have their opinions represented, and that you cannot secure that object by any electoral devices’ to compel them to vote against their opinions. They will adopt every kind of indirect means to bring about the result of having their opinions represented. In New South Wales a number of persons had votes cast in their favour who were utterly unworthy of being voted for, and whom the voters did not wish to have elected. All this farce had to be gone through, because the electors would not be dragooned by any system into giving votes which they did not wish to give, and that always will be so.
– And still the dominant majority carried the day in spite of this indirect plumping system.
– How does that answer me?
– It shows that the results were the best possible.
– It does not.
– The honorable and learned gentleman was returned.
– That was a good result, certainly. I should have liked two trusty comrades to be returned with me, and they would have been returned if there had been anything like a reasonable system of recording the opinions of the electors. I have cited the experience of New South Wales as an illustration of the impossibility of carrying out the system of block voting. This indirect use of the electoral system for that purpose will be avoided if you adopt the reasonable expedient, not of compelling men to brigade themselves under particular party flags whether they like it or not, but of giving them the liberty of voting in accordance with their opinions. We never will get a Parliament which properly represents the people unless the opinions which exist outside are fairly represented therein in accordance with their proportions. I feel very earnestly about this matter. I should be very sorry indeed to see the Senate fall into the mistake of depriving the electors in three States of the right which they now possess to have their opinions represented, and of forcing upon them and upon the whole of Australia a system which reserves the antiquated method of endeavouring to ascertain the opinions of the people by compelling them, whether they like it or not, to vote in accordance with certain party lines. I hope that the clause as it stands now will be agreed to.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - The proposals which are advocated by Senator O’Connor mean the destruction of a great national policy. We cannot have representation in the Senate, or even in the other House, of every odd and end of political thought, and it is not desirable that we should. There are only six senators for each State, and are there only six parties who can be got together in the State ? If an election were held under a system of plumping we might have a man returned in the interests of the civil service, a man returned in the interests of the military, a man returned in the interests of temperance, a man returned in the interests of the single tax, a man returned in the interests of protection, and a man returned in the interests of free-trade. Yet the six senators, who were each returned ‘in the interests of a special class, might represent only six out of thirty or forty different ideas floating about in the public mind. Unless I am very much mistaken, the whole basis of the public life of a country is that the public mind must be got to focus round some great principle. Are not the free-trade party and the protectionist party, being the two main parties in the State, eager to absorb into their ranks the smaller parties ? Are they not always on the look-out for support? Is there any new idea that can be brought forward which the dominant parties will not be eager to absorb and to support, in order that they themselves may be sustained? That is the way in which, it appears to me, we ought to strive to maintain the political life of the country. Australia is becoming a nation, and we hope that in the future it will be a very great nation. We may be brought face to face with a very serious question, involving international complications, and are we, then, to focus the whole strength of the voting power of the country around that question, or to divide ourselves on every paltry issue that can be thought of ? Do not let us do it. It is very noteworthy that on a previous occasion the representatives of the Government in the Senate supported one policy, and that their colleagues in the other House reversed that policy. What does that mean? That when we carry a motion to-night rejecting the principle of plumping, and the Bill goes back to the other House, the representatives of the Ministry there will accept it. I trust that the committee will put the representatives of the Ministry in that House in the position of supporting this amendment.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I wish to congratulate the members of the Opposition upon their splendid majority, and the very apparent joy which that fact is causing in their ranks. I do not think that since the opening of the session we have seen so much hilarity in their ranks as we have witnessed to-night. Their majority, which on this occasion may be termed a brutal majority, seems to be the cause of merriment even to such a serious gentleman as Senator Pulsford. But I trust ‘ that, in all their merriment, they will not lose sight of the justice of the claim of chose whose numerical strength in the country justifies their representation in the Senate. In support of that view I propose to quote some of those whose voices only a few months ago were lifted in defence of the principle they were fighting for, but who to-night are prepared to sacrifice their views in the interests of their party. Senator Charleston, whose excitement this evening is so great that he cannot retain his seat, advocated proportional representation.
– He voted against plumping.
– Yes. The honorable senator advocated proportional representation, and voted against the second reading of a Bill which contained that principle.
– No ; because it provided for single electorates, with the contingent vote.
– The acrobatic feats of my honorable friend on this Bill cannot be paralleled in the history of this world. I am not going to advance any arguments, but merely to cite the arguments of those who will vote against us to-night. For instance, on the 6th February Senator Ewing said -
It cannot be representation of that State, and the block system, properly organized and properly worked, must always inevitably result in class domination.
Yet to-night he intends to vote for class domination. Senator Best, who, I understand, has been paired against us on this question, also condemned the block vote unsparingly. He said -
The other system that we are accustomed to is the block system, and I think honorable senators will coincide with me when I say that it is full ot danger, doubt and uncertainty. The will of the majority at times is absolutely thwarted by the block vote.
The position which was taken up to-night by Senator O’Connor is borne out by the statement of Senator Best, who, it may be remarked, was returned by a block vote. But the statements of Senator Charleston far outvie those which I have quoted. He is unreservedly committed to the principle of minority representation.” On the 5th March he said -
Surely my honorable friends do not think that democracy means simply the block vote of the majority, and that the thoughts of the people who are in a minority cannot be represented.
Yet to-night he is going to vote for block voting as against permissive plumping, which, at any rate, is a step in the direction of proportional representation. On that occasion he laid down these propositions : -
It is the elector’s duty to cast his vote, first according to what he or she thinks to be the best proposition suggested for the good of the Commonwealth and its government ; “secondly, for what will best conserve the interests of the citizens in their individual capacity as distinguished from their communal relationship; and, thirdly, upon his or her preference respecting the candidates most suitable for legislative work.
He goes on to say -
It is our duty to enable the electors to record their votes according to their thoughts.
I will show directly how impossible he is going to make it for the electors to do that. He also says -
That is how the system has failed in the United States by leading up to such an organization that the individual is completely lost, and controlled b3’ the “boss” of the political machine.
That shows how the system in the United States has led to the founding of such organizations, that the individual is absolutely controlled by the “boss” of the political machine.
Who is going to control the elections of Australia if we pass the block vote ? As far as Victoria is concerned, it is the proprietor of the Age who is going to “ boss “ the elector. As far as New South Wales is concerned, the “boss” will be the proprietors of the Daily Telegraph. I say that the party leaders here to-night who are going to snatch a victory on this question are doing so in the interest of their party, and against the interests of their country. This thing is wrong. It is wrong to compel any person to vote for any candidate in whom he does not believe, Or whose principles are in antagonism to his own.
– Let them put up persons in whom they do believe.
– Let me put the Western Australian position at the last election. We had sixteen candidates, of whom fourteen were free-traders and two protectionists. I am not specifically mentioning the labour candidates, because there was one for each fiscal party. Imagine a protectionist voter going to the poll. What is his position when he wants to cast his vote for the principle he believes in and is compelled to cast four votes for the principle he does not believe in? You can compel that voter by the adoption of the block vote not to vote in the direction he believes in, but against the principle in which he believes.
– Let them put up four other men.
– How can the individual elector put up four candidates ?
– The party can.
– We have to take actual facts into consideration, and the facts are that every elector is not a member of a party. The party organizations do not include the whole of the electorates.
– The whole field of political thought cannot be marshalled under free-trade or protection.
– Of course it cannot. Honorable senators are looking at this question as if only three organizations were involved - the free-trade, the protectionist, and the labour organizations. But who is to say that those are the only organizations to be considered ? Should not attention also be paid to giving tlie voters the opportunity of casting their votes in any manner they like for the representatives of any other shade of opinion ?
– The labour party say they will only consider the members of their own party.
– If any other party had the same numbers as the labour party possess they would have the same right to representation in Parliament. Senator Pulsford spoke in a sneering manner with regard to the temperance party, although I do not believe that he intended to sneer at them. He included them amongst the number of new-fangled parties. I contend that it should be the wish of every democrat that the majority should rule, but not that the minority should never be heard. The true democrat is not a man who believes that because you have 1,001 persons in favour of a certain principle, and 1,000 who are against that principle, the views of the 1,000 should never be heard. Democrats believe that all shades of opinion should have a voice in the shaping of the laws of the country. We claim that it is the voice of the people which should be heard in Parliament, and if you have only the voice of the majority represented you do not have the voice of the whole people. We say that while the majority should rule minorities are entitled to representation here in proportion to their numbers.
– Then why did not. the honorable senator support effective voting ?
– I did.
– But the honorable senator’s party did not.
– Let us look at the results of this system in the various States. We have the permissive system in vogue in South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland, whilst in Tasmania we have a more scientific system.
– It has been abandoned it was so scientific that the people could not understand it.
– I take those States where we had the system of permissive plumping, and I place the results for those States in comparison with the representation of New South Wales and Victoria, and say that the representation of Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania, is a direct expression of the opinions and the various shades of political thought in those States to a greater degree than is tlie representation of Victoria and New South Wales in the Senate. Look at New South Wales.
Look at the reflex of political opinion in the State Legislative Assembly. There, up to the time of federation, there was a powerful free-trade party, and a protectionist party almost equal to it, whilst between them there was the labour- party, which had such power as to be able to command twenty seats, or thereabouts, in a House of about 100 members. But look at how that public opinion was expressed by the block vote at the Senate election. What was the result? Had it not been for the powerful personal influence of Senator O’Connor the free-trade party would have secured the whole of the representation in the Senate. It was not because Senator O’Connor was a protectionist that he found his way to the Senate, but because of his personal power and popularity. Otherwise the result would have been that notwithstanding that the protectionist vote in New South Wales is a powerful one, and that you have there a third party which stands aloof from both fiscal parties, the protectionist and labour parties .would have been entirely unrepresented in this Chamber. If we turn to “Victoria we find the same sort of thing, except that the position of parties was reversed. Here we had a powerful protectionist majority, who were able to send practically the whole of their representatives into the Senate - because Senator Sargood only gained the support of a considerable number of protectionists on account of his personal character and his long connexion with Victorian politics.
– And because he promised to support the protectionist Government.
– There is the position - that although you have in Victoria’ a powerful, organized labour vote which runs into 20,000 or 30,000 electors in the metropolitan district alone, the labour party out of three candidates whom it put forward was only able to secure the election of oneto the Senate, and the return of that one was largely accounted for by the fact that he was put upon the protectionist ticket. In South Australia, however, from what I know of that State the fiscal question is not so vital as in Victoria and New South Wales. Consequently there were returned to the Senate almost an equal number of free-traders and protectionists from that State. In South Australia the organization of the labour party is less effective than in New South Wales and Victoria, and it was only able to send one labour representative to the Senate.
– There is not a better organized party anywhere than the labour party of South Australia.
– I judge from the results of the State elections ; and the very fact of Senator Charleston’s presence here is a proof of their want of organization. In Western Australia, where there was a powerfully predominant free-trade vote, and, at the same time, a large labour vote, if we had run the election exclusively in the interest of the free-trade vote, labour would have been denied any representation whatever in the Senate. I ask any one who looks at this question from the point of view of justice, and who does not set up party considerations as being first and foremost, whether it would have been just that a party in Western Australia, which is able to send such a large representation into the House of Representatives, for which there is a single district system,, and such a large representation into the State Assembly, should have been denied any representation in the Senate ? If we turn to the case of Queensland we find exactly the same state of affairs.’ There is in Queensland a labour party which is so powerful as to form His Majesty’s Opposition in the State Assembly. If that State was to be properly represented in the Senate it would send here a large labour representation. And it did so. But if there had been the block vote in Queensland the result would have been that the party represented by the Government in the State Assembly would have secured nearly the whole of the representation in the Senate. When we see these facts staring us in the face, we are forced to the conclusion that though the actual proof is that this system of permissive plumping allows parties to be represented according to their numerical strength in the country, on the other hand those who are going to vote for the block vote are going to support a system which will conserve the ends of their parties, and prove to the detriment of the party which sits in this corner,, while it is opposed to the interests of justice and true representation. Then again I ask that seeing that the permissive system obtains in South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania, what authority have, those States to vote in such a way as to alter that system 1 There are four States in which parties to all intents and purposes were satisfied with proportional representation.
– What authority have New South Wales and Victorian senators for departing from the’ block vote 1
– I can well understand .a Victorian, saying, “ I am right in voting for what the Bill proposes ;” but I cannot understand the representatives of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, or Tasmania taking up the same stand, because they have absolutely no authority from the people of their States to make this alteration. The people of those States passed the present system into law, and there has been no outcry from the public against it. No dissatisfaction has been expressed with the results under it. No honorable senator has said that the results in those States were bad either for the States or for the Commonwealth. Have we any authority from the people to assert that they are dissatisfied with the representation of South Australia in the Senate ; that they are dissatisfied with the representation of Western Australia ; or that of Queensland? If the result of the system is that the States are properly represented here, how can they justify their action in supporting block voting ? I contend that the facts prove that honorable senators are content to sink every idea of justice. They are content to throw aside the fact that their States have not expressed any dissatisfaction either with this system, or with its results, and, for the purpose of snatching a party victory at the cost of the labour party, they are prepared to vote for the block system. It is no secret that this is aimed at the labour party. Mr. Wilks, one of the free-trade members of another place, was honest enough to admit that the clause as it was sent down would be to the detriment of the labour party, but said he would vote for it because it would be to the advantage of his own party ; and the jubilation depicted upon the faces of those who have been opposed to the labour party from the first tells me that the same principle is actuating those who oppose this amendment. Perhaps their plans will not work out as they think they will. Whereas, in the past, the labour party has been content to secure only a share in the representation of the Commonwealth, we shall be compelled to ask for the whole of that representation.
– If the labour party can return three men they are entitled to do so.
– The honorable and learned senator gives us something for which we do not thank him. If we can return the three, of course we are welcome to do so. In the past the labour party have recognised that their supporters are in the minority, but they are in such numbers as to warrant the demand for direct representation. We have always asked for minority representation, and nothing more. In connexion with the Senate elections all over Australia, we never asked for -more than that which our power in the community warranted. In Western Australia, for example, we urged that two out of .the six to be returned should be representatives of labour, and the same contention was put forward in the other States. The public said - “These men are asking only for a fair share of representation,” and in consequence thousands, voted for labour candidates, not merely upon labour principles, but because they considered we were asking only for a fair representation, which should be conceded to us.
– And so it will be with the block vote.
– No. With the block vote we shall be compelled either to adopt the underhand motives, which Senator O’Connor pointed out were resorted to in New South Wales - to put one man forward, and ask the electors to vote for that man, and throw their other votes away on wasters - or else we shall have to send three candidates forward, and ask for the whole representation. Even from the party stand-point of those who oppose us, is it wise to place our part)7 in that position ? I frankly admit, that I am optimistic enough to believe that the time is not fur distant when, if we are forced into that position, and ask for the whole of the representation of Queensland and Western Australia, we shall get it.
– The labour party would get it now, if they could.
– As long as we have not to go to our organizations and say that we have to ask for the whole of the representation or obtain none, they may be - and I believe they will be - content with the present position. The evidence is that they are. Those who support the block vote system are compelling us to take a step which there is nothing to warrant- us in believing we should otherwise have taken at any time, because we shall always be the advance guard in politics, and therefore always in the minority. It may be that the plans of those who are compelling us to take this step will not turn out as they think - namely, that none of us will get back. Three of us may be returned for each State, and they may be left behind. That is not wise, if we look at the matter from the point of view that we wish to make Parliament an’ expression of the people’s will. If the amendment is not agreed to, we shall merely make it an expression of the will of the majority, although that majority may happen to be one of only half-a-dozen. We, who represent labour interests, are in the minority. We cannot shape the legislation of the Commonwealth, but we are able to voice the opinions of the workers on the legislation which comes before Parliament, and, to a certain extent, to influence that legislation. If the block vote system is passed we shall have this position of affairs : That if free-trade is the dominant factor in New South Wales, six freetraders from New South Wales will be returned to the Senate.
– They will be balanced by six protectionists from Victoria.
– Yes ; and we shall have only two parties in the Senate. It will be simply a matter of free-trade versus protection, to the detriment of every other question, until those other questions can command an absolute majority. That is not wise. It would be far better to allow a minority, which is sufficiently large to justify its representation here, to be heard. It is not always wise to sit on the safety valve, and that is what we are asked to do.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - I am very much astonished at the conclusion arrived at by Senator Pearce that this proposal is aimed at the labour party. So far as I am concerned, it is not, because ever since I have been in Parliament I have voted against plumping, and it was only by the merest chance that that system was not abolished long ago in South Australia. To imagine for a moment that any party which is in a majority will not do all they possibly can to return all the representatives to be elected is simply absurd. The honor-able senator seems to think that the ultimate result of passing a law to prevent plumping will be that the labour party will become dominant in the Commonwealth. Directly they are in the majority they will become the dominant power, and no one will ever blame them. Plumping does not mean what Senator O’Connor has suggested.’ It does not necessarily mean that the minority occasionally secure representation, but it very often means that the majority does not obtain its fair representation. It does not mean that the man who honestly thinks that there is only one out of the three or six candidates fit to be elected will be led astray. It is not the honest elector who is led astray by the plumping system. It is because the agents of certain parties and candidates go round to the electors and point out how necessary it is for them to plump for certain individuals that the system is largely practised. It destroys, to a very considerable extent, the fair representation of the people. I shall give the committee one illustration of the way it can be worked. If plumping were for the protection of the man who honestly believes that he should vote for only one out of three candidates who happen to be put forward, and that by abstaining from voting he can prevent the other two from being returned - which he can not - I could understand it. Where there are five or six candidates, surely every elector should exercise his judgment and say - “There is one which I place first ; there are two others which, I think, would be better than the rest.” He is always able to choose the best men that he can obtain to represent him. We must remember that what we place in the hands of the electors is a right and a privilege. An elector knows that there are a certain number of candidates to be returned, and it is -his duty to the State to select the three best men, so that the State may be represented fairly and honestly instead of by a mere minority. We should not have agents for candidates and special organizations exercising an unfair influence over electors. The first time that I was defeated in a contest for a seat in the South Australian Legislature, in which plumping was allowed, was when I was one of three candidates who stood for a three-cornered constituency returning two members. I was the favorite candidate. All through the district it was ‘said - “Playford is sure to get in.” The only question was who of the other two would be returned. One of the candidates was Mr. Bundey, now Mr. Justice Bundey, and the other was a very old friend of mine,a German. The result was, that because I was the favorite candidate, I was the defeated one. Bundey’s people plumped for -him. The German!- plumped for their candidate. My supporters felt so satisfied that I would be returned that they did not plump for me, ‘ but honestly divided their votes, and Mr. Playford quietly fell between the two. I was beaten by only a few votes ; the electors dropped me and were very sorry for it. They were led- away by the false representations of electioneering agents who were working for their special candidates, with the result that the favorite - who if running against either of the others would have been easily elected - lost. That was a very sad affair. I will show the committee the falsehoods associated at times with elections when plumping is allowed. It is known only to those who have been behind the scenes. The minority say to the majority - “ You give one vote to our man, and we will give one to yours.” The other side do so, and to their utter astonishment it is found in the end that the people who suggested splitting, the votes plumped for their own candidate. Plumping absolutely demoralizes the. people just as much as does the totalizator or gambling generally. I will give the committee my experience at the first election for -which I stood. That was in 1868, and I was then a young man. An old friend of mine having retired from the representation of a certain district in which I resided, and in which 1 was pretty well known, having been mixed up with local politics for some time, I thought I would have a flutter. It was one of those wretched three-cornered electorates returning two - candidates. Three of us stood. One of the candidates was a gentleman very well known in South Australia, another was my old German friend, and the third was your humble servant. We put our heads together, and determined that we would do all that we could to prevent plumping. .The election took place, and to the utter astonishment of my German friend and myself, the other candidate was at the head of the poll, with an immense majority of plumpers. I spoke to him about the matter, and he swore by all that was holy that he never instigated the plumping movement in the slightest degree. I will tell the committee what occurred. At a place called Callington, there was a big mining population, and a committee was formed to secure tlie return of the gentleman referred to and myself.
They did not care about the German, because they were nearly all Cornishmen. I should have mentioned, by the way, that I was returned, being second on the poll ; and after the election the secretary to the committee was instructed to write a’ letter to that gentleman and myself, congratulating us upon our return. There were a few additional words in his letter which did not appear in mine, and, unfortunately for the secretary, he put the letter into an envelope addressed to me, and the letter intended for me into an envelope addressed- to him. What did I read on opening the letter ? Something to this effect :- -
Dear Sir, - We bes to congratulate you upon your return at the head of the poll. We can assure you that we did everything that we possibly could to secure your return, and trust you are satisfied at the result. We only got your wire asking for plumpers at 11 o’clock- in the morning, and therefore we did not get as many as we might otherwise hare done.
Of course I opened the letter because it was addressed to me, and that is what I read before I saw that it was intended for the other candidate. I sent it to him with a note that he hod got my letter and that I hod received his, and I said to him - “ You infernal scoundrel,- I knew you- went in for plumping.” Do not honorable senators think that we ought to save the people from such temptations 1 I have given the committee only two instances for the absolute accuracy of which I can ‘ vouch, but I have heard from others of the scandalous conduct of agents and associations who know their supporters are in a minority, and who seek to’ obtain the split votes of the larger section, of the community by false representations. Anything we can do to put a stop to such a system should willingly be done. Having opposed from the first the system of plumping because of its evil effects, it cannot be said that I am opposing it now in order to aim a blow at the labour party. In South Australia, where the labour party put up two candidates-far the Senate, it was fully recognised that they deserved to have one, at all events, out of the two, returned, and they obtained their fair proportion of split votes. That they plumped .pretty freely for their own candidates there can be.no doubt ; but I never heard any complaint that they deceived the people, and they obtained a large number ‘of votes from non-members of the labour party. We have always considered in South Australia that the labour party deserve a certain degree of representation, as they are a very important section of the community, and they will find that, without having resort to the practice of voting for wasters, they will be dealt with fairly by the people throughout - the Commonwealth. If we can do anything to stop the lying which goes on in connexion with elections, and to prevent the people from being led into false statements because of the plumping system, we shall do a good work on the score of morality.
Senate adjourned at 10.2 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 September 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020903_senate_1_12/>.