1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator DRAKE presented a petition from the Hope of Peace Lodge, Independent Order of Good Templars, North Bundaberg, praying the Senate to prohibit the introduction, sale, and manufacture of intoxicating liquors into British New Guinea.
Senator HIGGS presented two similar petitions from the Light of the West Lodge, Independent Order of Good Templars, South Brisbane, aud the Hope of Haven Lodge, Independent Order of Good Templars, Maryborough.
Senator DAWSON presented a Similar petition from the Star of Bethlehem Lodge, I.O.G.T., South Brisbane.
– In view of the fears lurking in the minds of Victorian politicians as to.the danger in travelling on the Victorian Railways, I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, what steps the Government will take for the protection of members of this Parliament travelling in that State to and from their homes ?
-I desire to ask the Minister for Defence, without notice, if, in addition to the representations referred to in the motion which was passed by the Senate on Friday last regarding the expenditure on the Tasmanian Defence Force, the Department has any other proposals from the commanding officers of that force; and, if so, will they be included with the others in the return 1
– Up to the present time I have not been able to discover any correspondence between the Department and the Government of Tasmania with regard to the subject; but I have here the Departmental correspondence which was prepared to an order made by the other House, and which I shall lay on the table as portion of the correspondence relating to the military forces in Tasmania.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table
Correspondence relating to Military Forces, in Tasmania.
Ordered to be printed.
– I desire to ask you, sir, is it not a breach of privilege for editors of newspapers and reporters to accuse honorable senators of breaking their pledges and to. request them to resign, and, if so, should not the editor of the Age be summoned to the Bar to answer for his remarks in reference to Senator Fraser?
-I do not think I should answer that question. It is the duty of the President to answer questions as they arise, and not to answer hypothetical questions concerning matters which have not arisen.
– I will take care’ of myself.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked tho VicePresident of the Executive .Council, upon notice -
Can the Government inform the Senate of the probable date when the report of the Iron Bonus Bill Commission will be printed ?
– The Chairman of the Commission has informed the Government that the report will be printed within the next fortnight.
Debate resumed from 21st August (vide page 4040), on motion by Senator O’Connor -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– If the measure of value of tho arguments against the Naval Agreement were to be determined by the length of the speeches in which they have been developed, I confess that I should rise with a considerable amountof misgiving, because I should feel that the combat was quite unequal, and that the conditions were so harsh that I could not subscribe to them. We have no reason to complain of any want of diversity of argument on the part of the opponents of the Bill. We have heard arguments, for instance, from two senators whose opinions on the question of loyalty to the home country, or on the broader question of Imperalism, are no doubt as wide asunder as I suppose the opinions of any two senators could be. We heard Senator Symon declare, as we all knew he would, that his chief reason for offering opposition to the Bill was that, from his point of view,’ the Commonwealth could render greater service to the home country, could be more useful in the sort of alliance which exists between us, if we developed our own naval power. With that argument I suppose that I, and many supporters of the Bill, are to a certain extent in sympathy. On the other hand, Senator Stewart, in that most frank and fearless way which characterizes most of his remarks, said outright that one of the objects he hoped to attain by resisting and defeating this proposal’ was the severance of Australia from the mother country. I’ instance those two senators because they are as wide apart in their real feelings on this matter as any two persons could be. We have also heard a somewhat long speech from Senator Matheson, who, I suppose, may properly be said to have taken a practical interest in all the details of this agreement, and who might, I think, have been expected to propose an alternative scheme. The opponents of the Bill seem to me to place themselves in a most unenviable position. They are full of criticism, from every quarter and in every way, but, though I listened with that amount of attention which may fairly be expected in so long a debate, I have not yet gathered from any opponent of the Bill that ho is prepared to suggest any improvement on this proposal.
– I said outright that we could not afford the money.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator that ‘we cannot afford a large naval expenditure, but when he says that we cannot afford the money, I submit that he does not give any good reason why we should oppose the Bill.
– He admits that the ships supplied under the present agreement are obsolete.
– Precisely. W© have more than one choice before us. First of all, before we assent to the Bill, we may fairly institute a comparison ‘ between the benefits which would accrue to the Commonwealth under the provisions of this agreement and those which we have been enjoying under the existing agreement. It will not be gainsaid for a moment that the proposed agreement is a vast improvement on the old one. Therefore, to a certain extent, we start off with a predilec-tion in favour of the proposed agreement. I recognise that it is- a, distinct improvement, and to that extent it will meet with ray hearty support. I also recognise that the whole of the argument is not confined to a comparison between the agreements. The main argument has, of course, been directed to the principles involved, to the questions of whether we should enter into an agreement at all, or whether we should enter upon a sphere of naval activity and originate and develop our own Navy. When we are dealing with the question of an army, I suppose the first condition is men. When we are considering the question of .a navy, the first condition in these modern times is capital. I could understand such rounded phrases as “ this Naval Agreement striking at the -foundation of our national life,” and “it involves. the surrender of the right of the people to protect their shores” if we were dealing with matters affecting the army, if we were asked’ to pay for men to come here and protect us.. But what we are. asked to subscribe to is uri agreement providing for annual payment which will dispense with the necessity of the Commonwealth indulging in a very large capital expenditure - that is the difference. I should sympathize at once with Senator Cameron if we were dealingwith the army. I should recognise then, and I am sure every one would recognise, that it would be desirable to institute a form of national defence ; in other words, that we should be prepared to find our own men, and should not hire men to fight for us, At the- same time, I should like- to criticise some of the phrases which have been used, and which have commanded a certain amount of attention ; for instance, the phrase - “ the agreement will strike at. the foundation of our national life.” While I confess that it is a well-rounded phrase, I am utterly unable to see its applicability to present circumstances. I cannot see where the agreement -strikes at the foundation of our -national life. I cannot see that we are in danger of losing our self-respect as a nation. Nor can I see any justification for- the sentence - “.By adopting the agreement we are adopting a course which involves the surrender of the right of the people to protect their shores.” If I read the agreement with any degree of accuracy, the first thing
I notice is that, it specially reserves to us the fullest right to protect our own shores. It certainly offers us co-operation in defence. It, leaves us- the power to indulge in coastal and harbor defence to the fullest extent of our will and means.
– The main object of the agreement is local defence.
– One of the points about the agreement, which I admit at once pleases me very much, is that it gives us that right. Practically stress .is laid on the fact that we are at full liberty to do what we like in that regard. If I had the opportunity I should certainly be most willing to very largely reduce the expenditure on our land forces, and to apply a considerably larger sum to coast and’ harbor defence. I think it would be a very sound thing for the Commonwealth to do. Roughly speaking, we are asked to vote £850,000 for- defence, which includes £200 000 for this naval subsidy. The balance of £650,000 is-, I understand, to be so expended that only £43,000 will be devoted to coast and harbor defence. I am not going to quarrel now with that decision, but I again affirm my great desire to increase the expenditure -on coast and harbor defence. Another phrase which arrested my attention, and which I thought singularly discordant and ill applied, was used by Sena tor Cameron when be said that by adopting this agreement we should make our own men alien in sympathy with us. He- urged that the men would be subject to the command of Imperial officers, and he regarded it apparently as an absolute corollary that they would, therefore, necessarily become alien in sympathy with the Commonwealth. The words seemed to me to be singularly inapt as coming ‘ from the honorable senator. We all admire him for the work that he did in South Africa. We all know that the Australian forces in South Africa practically served under Imperial officers, and I cannot find that because they went to that country to help. England in a war they returned to Australia with sympathies alienated ‘ from us, and from our ideals of national life. The thing seems to me a palpable absurdity. And if that did not happen in South Africa why should it happen here f I was totally unable to follow Senator Cameron in his argument. Apparently no one in the Senate quarrels with the amount of the contribution. On all hands it is acknowledged that the £200,000 is an insignificant item - is indeed really inadequate as part payment for what we are getting. Ifc is admitted that England’s generosity is magnificent, and that for this £200,t.00 a year we shall get infinitely more than we could possibly get by an expenditure of a similar sum in any other way.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator did not hear Senator Matheson read the figures as to the different contributions of the various parts of the Empire 1
– If I did not hear all Senator Matheson’s figures, possibly I sholl have the indulgence of the Senate. I tried to listen to them as attentively as T could ; but there were moments when nature asserted herself, a*nd it is possible that I missed something which I ought to have heard.
– The most striking contrasts were that Australia contributes 10 3/4 d. per head to naval defence, whilst India contributes -d. per head.
– It would almost appear - if one were to follow closely the arguments of some honorable senators - , that if we were asked to make a fair and proper contribution for what we were going to get - say, £500,000 a year - this agreement would not have so many opponents. I cannot share the view of those, who think that the Commonwealth is going to be humiliated because England has been generous. If Great Britain says to us : “ We will give you this defence for £200,000,” I do not think we should regard ourselves as being placed in a tributary and dependent position. But that is the argument which seems to lie in the mouth of more than one honorable senator. They think that the roots of our national life are being endangered because we are being made tributaries, and that we are being humiliated by having so much thrown upon us which we are not properly paying for. Al] these arguments appear to me to be absolutely fallacious. There is a further argument that has found its way into the debate, and that is that this contribution represents, to a certain extent, taxation without representation.
– What representation have wet
– What do we mean by “ taxation without representation 1” We mean that the people are going to be taxed without having their representatives in
Parliament. But what are we t Are we not the people’s representatives t ls it going to be argued that because we are here as representatives of the people and are going to vote for this subsidy we are therefore taxing the people without giving them representation t The argument is self -condemned, [t is foolish and absurd.
– Who else could represent the people t.
– Precisely. If the representatives of the people in this Parliament decide to pay this subsidy the people are represented in regard to its payment.
– The people of Australia have no voice in time of war.
– That is not the question. If Senator McGregor’s argument were sound it might be applied to every subsidy which this Parliament was asked tovote. It might be applied to the subsidy for the purposes of a Pacific mail service.
– That is a service for the people.
– But we represent the people in voting for it.
– We could not have entered into the Pacific Cable agreement according to that argument.
– We could not. If we reduce the argument to its extreme it will be seen that it reduces government to a. farce. Following upon that argument, we have heard the contention raised that this is a question which ought to be postponed ;. that seeing that this is the last session of an expiring Parliament the people ought- to be consulted with a view of eliciting what their opinion is. I entirely dissent. So long as I remain in Parliament I shall never allow myself to be a mere delegate. I shall reserve to myself the right of originating a line of thought ; I am not going to wait until the people have told me in detail exactly what I am to do after I come into Parliament. It would be absurd to come into Parliament with one’s hands so tightly tied as that. For obvious reasons it would be improper to say that no question could arise for our solution that had not been previously debated by the people, and upon which the people had not made a definite pronouncement to bind their representatives. Such a contention is ridiculous. Those who say that no question should come before Parliament until the people have had an opportunity of expressing a de- cided opinion upon it, adduce an argument which, if carried to its fullest extent, would have the effect that practically speaking no question that had not been set out in the Government manifesto, or which had not been laid under similar conditions before the people, could be decided by Parliament without a referen-dum. Is any one of us prepared to subscribe to such a principle as that f
– I think that a Government have no right to go beyond the Governor-General’s speech in their programme for a session.
– I entirely “dissent from that view. I think that a Government are abundantly justified in departing from their manifesto. When a Government issues its manifesto it naturally includes in it many things which are likely to attract the attention of the people, and upon which the Ministry would like to have an expression of popular opinion. But such a programme is by no means exhaustive or exclusive. Other questions may be made the subject of consideration in Parliament.
– Would the honorable and learned senator put everything in the Governor-General’s speech except what the Government was going to do ?
– No ; but I would never be a mere delegate as the honorable senator is. Seeing that so much time has been taken up. with regard to this agreement, and that, as I have said, I am not going to enter into an unequal Competition with other senators, I do not in tend to speak at greater length. But I should like briefly to analyze what are the advantages which the agreement confers upon us, and why it meets with my approval. First of all, one of the advantages of the agreement is that by the conjunction and co-operation of such a naval force as -we are going to have, with other branches of the navy in the China and India seas, we shall be put in a position of more complete defence than we. could put ourselves in for the next hundred years if we endeavoured to build a navy of our own. That is one of the chief reasons why I approve of the agreement. I approve of it also because it gives us splendid opportunities for having our own seamen trained. One of the distinctive features of the new agreement, as compared with the old one, is in the facilities it offers - and indeed the inducements, if we like to use that word - for the training of a body of Australian seamen. The third reason is that which I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, that full power is reserved to us to do what we like in regard to coastal and harbor defence. When we have an agreement giving us these three facilities it would be absurdly foolish and quixotic for us to refuse to accept it. We should recognise in accepting it that we are doing nothing to sap our national life, but everything we can do to protect our country and to strengthen the Empire, while we are also conferring advantages upon ourselves by being enabled to train up a body of seamen of our own. For these reasons, quite apart from the financial considerations which I leave untouched, I intend to give this Bill my support.
– I have heard Senator Clemons on many occasions, but I do not remember having heard him to less advantage than this afternoon. I do not recall any occasion upon which he has spoken in the Senate when his speech has been marked with less conviction and earnestness. I feel convinced that, although the honorable and learned senator has used some arguments in. favour of the Bill, he is opposed to it at heart.
– No, I am not.
– This is a verv important proposal, and it involves the expenditure of something like £2,000,000. I hope that there will be no attempt on the part of any honorable senator to curtail discussion in any way. The Government should not attempt to carry out what was their evident intention on Thursday last, to close the discussion by applying the cloture. The fullest debate should be permitted. I know that the members of the Government were running about, last week with copies of the standing orders in their possession, endeavouring to find some method of rushing the Bill through the Chamber. That conduct is not characteristic of a Government that is willing to submit its proposals to the freest possible criticism. I come now to the point touched upon by Senator Clemons, as to the authority of the Government to bring forward legislation of this kind. It is the well-known parliamentary practice that a Government should always have a mandate for the legislation which it puts before Parliament. I remember having read discussions which have taken place in the House of Commons, when the members of the Opposition have charged the leader of the House with having no authority from the people to introduce ‘certain legislation at that juncture.
– If a war broke out, would not the honorable senator allow the Government to take ‘extraordinary action to meet the position 1
– That is quite a different matter, because in all probability a wise Government always has in hand proper schemes for the defence of .the country. .No authority was given for this legislation .at the last Federal elections. I have carefully read Sir Edmund .Barton’s speech -at Maitland, and have an extract here ?rom an address which he delivered in the Town Hall,Adelaide, on 14th February, J 901, in which he said -
They were proud of the deeds of Australians, but they must not forget thai* their policy was defence - not attack. But the point at which defence might be necessary might be a considerable distance away. He ‘did not mean that they were to become a roving attacking party ; but if it was worth while belonging to that Empire, it would be worth while defending it.
In the light of what has followed, that was a very disingenuous speech. There were very few candidates who stood for election in 1901 who, in speaking of defence, did > not refer to the necessity for a small permanent staff and a citizen soldiery. There was no question of a naval subsidy at the time. I do not think that the question received much consideration .from candidates, except on the lines that we must have a naval defence based upon the principle that our own citizens should be the defenders. Honorable senators will see how very ‘disingenuous Sir Edmund Barton was ; when he said -
The point at which defence might be -necessary ; might be a considerable distance away.
In his Maitland speech Sir Edmund Barton referred to the contribution which Aus- j tralia could make ito defence. The right j honorable gentleman must .’have had in his mind some proposal on behalf -of the Imperial authorities that Australia ^should make a further contribution to Imperial naval defence. Why did not Sir Edmund Barton mention the proposed subsidy^ What was the reason for concealment 1 .1 venture to think that .the reason was .that Sir Edmund Barton knew very well that the public of Australia -would not ‘tolerate a renewal of the subsidy to the Imperial Government even as embodied in the .old ‘ agreement. His conduct amounts to nothing short of a breach of faith. When the Prime Minister was about to go to .the Conference in London there was considerable anxiety on the part of Members of Parliament as to what he was likely to do. Various attempts were made to induceSir Edmund Barton to tell us what his intentions were. .For example, Senator Stewart, on the 11th April, 1902, asked the Vice-President of bh? Executive Council -
Will he ‘(the Prime Minister) engage “not tocommit the Commonwealth to any act or policy in- connexion with Imperial matters till theFederal Parliament has had an opportunity of considering the same .?
Senator O’Connor replied
The Prime Minister is fully alive to his responsibility to Parliament, and does not intend topledge the Commonwealth so as <to deprive Parliament of its perfect freedom of action.
– Hear, hear.
– That appeared to bevery satisfactory. No one saw anything wrong in that statement of Sir Edmund Barton’s intention. Their fears were absolutely dissipated when, at a later date, in the House of Representatives, Mr. Glynn, on 30th April, .1902, said-
Those who go to England at this juncture should be particularly careful when we -are asked, us members of the Imperial Parliament are asking us, and as the Times on more than one occasion in the last twelve months lias asked us to do, ‘to make a more equitable contribution towards the cost of the J&W3. *1 am -not speaking against the morality .of the Imperial position, but I am impressing upon honorable members the reali ty of the Australian position ; and we ought to give a caution to some of - the bellicose gentlemen whoure .going home to be careful that no arrangement is entered into which will bind the Commonwealth.
And Sir John .Forrest replied -
The Prime Minister has undertaken not to bind the Commonwealth.
I ask whether the Prime Minister did not to all intents and purposes “bind the Commonwealth or try to bind the Parliament, of the Commonwealth when lie signed’ this agreement1!
– Certainly not. He expressly left it to .be subject to the approval of Parliament. He expressly reserved the right of Parliament.
– We shall .see how fiar that was in the right honorable gentleman’s mind. In the daily press ‘of Melbourne there appear two paragraphs in- reference to this Bill. In the Age of 14th July I find the following : -
The Prime Minister was asked yesterday to indicate the coarse which would be foollwed by the Federal Government if an amendment were made in the Naval Subsidy Agreement by the House of Representatives. Whilst declining to state what course would betaken in such circumstances, the Prime Minister pointed out that Parliament could not alter an agreement made between two parties, though it could make suggestions as to another agreement. He did not think, however, that any amendment would be made. The Prime Minister’s optimism does not find an echo in the opinions of some of his most influential supporters.
A majority of the members of the House of Representatives were undoubtedly against this agreement,’ and some of them voted for it only because they thought that any change made might endanger the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill. In the Argus of 14th July, I find this paragraph -
Judging by some remarks made by the Prime Minister lost evening, the House of Representatives cannot actually amend the Naval Agreement, even if it desires to do so. But it will be able to Accomplish the same purpose by suggesting that terms should be varied. It would then be necessary for Sir Edmund Barton to re-open negotiations with the Admiralty upon the subject.
Sir Edmund Barton allowed these paragraphs to appear in the newspapers without* any contradiction, and Isay that they unduly influenced the minds of members of the Federal Parliament, and led them to think that if they agreed to pass the second reading of the Bill they would be permitted to make some suggestions for the alteration of the terms of the agreement. What happened 1 The second reading was carried, with the assistance of that great political seal, who is equally at home on political land or water, thatchampion political high diver, andground and lofty tumbler, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid. When the second reading was carried with that right honorable gentleman’s assistance, an attempt was made to vary the terms of . the agreement, but Sir Edmund Barton, having counted heads, said, “ If any alteration is made in this agreement, the Government can take only one course.” I remember being present in the House of Representatives when the right honorable gentleman said this, and I am able to congratulate the leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives upon having availed himself of an opportunity to offer a few observations on the stand taken by the Prime Minister. The latter, when he knew that heads had been counted, became very courageous, and he said - “I will resign if any alteration is made; I will resign if you reject this agreement.” I ask whether that was not an attempt, at any rate, to bind the Commonwealth Parliament to the agreement? If it was not theoretically, had it not practically the effect of inducing a number of members ofthe House of Representatives, who were desirous that the present Government should retain office in order that certain legislation might be passed, to refrain from attempting to alter the terms of the agreement, because Sir Edmund Barton had stated that if they did so he would resign ? I ask honorable senators to contrast Sir Edmund Barton’s conduct with that of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Prime Minister of Canada. The same anxiety was expressed in . the Canadian Parliament when Sir Wilfrid Laurier was about to go to the Imperial Conference. I suppose that the Members of Parliament in Canada had observed the effect of London hospitality on certain statesmen who had gone to England from Australia.
– They knew Mr. Chamberlain.
– They knew Mr. Chamberlain, and knew how hospitable the right honorable gentleman and his set are. They feared that something might happen to the Canadian policy as a consequence, and the question was asked by Mr. R. L. Borden, representing Halifax -
We want -to know whether the Government, while retaining for Canada the full control of her public moneys and her system of defence, is prepared to discuss with the Imperial authorities a system of Imperial defence. We desire to be informed as to the course the Prime Minister proposes to take with regard to these great and important subjects.
After expressing his disdain that such a question should be asked, Sir Wilfrid Laurier said -
It will be open to all the members of this Confer- ‘ence to bring to its consideration any subject he may please. We all know that the First Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Seddon, proposes to bring to its attention the subject of Imperial defence ; and, if we are to credit the newspaper reports which have appeared recently, the Premier of Australia, Mr. Bunton, has rather taken the same course we* have, and deprecated the introduction of any such subject. At all events, we shall be there at the invitation of the Imperial Government to discuss all the subjects mentioned in the despatch I have a read, and we propose to discuss them in the spirit of the reply we have given. That is to say, while we are prepared to discuss this question of Imperial defence, neither my colleagues nor myself believe that any useful purpose can be served by such discussion. It is of no use whatever at this stage of the proceedings, on tlie floor of this Canadian Parliament, to try to deceive ourselves’ as to what is intended by this subject of Imperial defence. If it be intended simply to discuss what part Canada is prepared to take in her defence, or what share of the burden must fall upon us as being responsible for the safety of the land in which we were born, to which we owe our allegiance, and in which all our hopes and fears are centred, certainly we shall always be prepared to discuss that subject Nor do I believe that we need any prompting on that subject, or . that our attention should be specially called to it. Even this session the Government has given its pledge to the House that it is prepared, and to the full extent, to carry out its duty upon that score, and to that declaration, the Government received the support of both sides. But there is a school abroad, a school in England and in Canada, a school which is perhaps represented on the’ floor of this Parliament, which wants to briqg Canada into the vortex of militarism that is now the curse and blight of Europe. I am not prepared to indorse any such policy. .
– And he did not, either ; he kept his word.
– Sir Wilfrid Laurier did not betray, as Sir Edmund Barton did, the land of his birth.
– I do not think the honorable senator ought to make that observation.
– I do not think he was betraying it.
– Honorable senators are, of course, at liberty to hold that opinion.
- Senator Higgs may hold his opinion, but I do not think it is a parliamentary expression to use as . applied to the Prime Minister.
– I will withdraw it.
– Hear, hear.
– But when Senator O’Connor cheers the withdrawal, let me say that if the honorable and learned senator were in his proper place he would not be in this Chamber. Everybody knows that he is going to the High Court Bench.
– Does Senator Higgs think that that has anything to do with the naval defence of Australia ?
– I believe it has this to do with it : that there is in this Chamber an honorable and learned -senator who knows that he will not be responsible to the general public for the legislation which he is taking a hand in passing.
– That is absolutely untrue.
– If the honorable and learned senator does not know it, everybody else seems to know it, and it is published in the press. The other afternoon Senator O’Connor used language and terms such as “dastardly” and “cowardly,” and I therefoi’e did not see anything unparliamentary in the use of the word “betrayed.” However, I withdraw it. I wish to say that the memorandum of the Minister for Defence in Canada is quite different from the memorandum on defence prepared by Sir John Forrest, and presented to the Imperial authorities, in what I consider to be a most irregular way. I refer to the memorandum in which the right honorable gentleman said that the proper contribution of Australia to Imperial defence would be something like £5,000,000 a year. The memorandum presented by the Canadian Minister of Defence reads as follows : -
The Canadian Ministers regret that they have been unable to assent to the suggestions made ‘ by Lord Selborne respecting the navy, and by Mr. St. John Brodrick respecting the army.
Let me say that I am very glad to have noticed that the suggestions made by Mr. St. John Brodrick respecting the armyhave been put in the waste-paper basket by honorable members in another place. That is just where this agreement respecting the navy ought to be. The Canadian’ memorandum goes on to say -
The Ministers desire to point out that their objections arise not so much from the expense involved as from the belief that the acceptance of the proposals would entail an important departure from the principles of colonial selfgovernment. Canada values highly the measure of local independence which has been granted it from time to time by the Imperial authorities, and which has been so productive of beneficial results, both as respects the material progress of the country and the strengthening of the ties that bind it to the Motherland. But while for these reasons the Canadian Ministers are obliged to withhold their assent to the propositions of the Admiralty and the War Office, they fully appreciate the duty of the Dominion as it advances in population and wealth to make more liberal outlay for those necessary preparations of selfdefence which every conntry has to assume and bear.
They proceed then to refer to the work which Canada does in the way of land defence, and they continue -
The work done by the Militia Department in sending contingents to South Africa may be fairly cited as a proof of reasonable efficiency.
By-the-way, Major-General Hutton,. I believe, criticised the efficiency of the Canadian troops in very much the same way that he has recently criticised the efficiency of some Australian troops.
Without referring tq anything done outside purely Canadian contingents, it is worthy of mention that the first contingent under Colonel Otter, composed of 1,000 men, drawn from every section of Canada, embraced within 4,000 miles of territory lying between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, was organized, fully equipped, and embarked within a pei ied of fourteen days ; and that a second contingentof 1 ,200 men, composed of field artillery and mounted rifles, was fully organized, equipped and embarked within the space of three weeks…….. In conclusion, the Ministers repeat that while the Canadian Government are obliged to dissent from the measures proposed, they fully appreciate the obligation of the Dominion to make expenditures for the purpose of defence in proportion to the increasing population and wealth of the country. They are willing that those expenditures should be so directed as to relieve the taxpayer of the Mother country from some of the burdens which he now bears, and they have the strongest desire to carry out their defence schemes in cooperation with the Imperial authorities and under the advice of experienced Imperial officers, so far as this is consistent with the principle of local selF-government, which has proved so great a factor in the promotion of Imperial unity.
That is the memorandum of defence put before the Conference by the Canadian Ministers, and it indicates the tone of the memorandum which should have come from the Minister for Defence of Australia. I am sure that honorable senators will not for a moment say that Canada is any less loyal than is Australia. Here I desire to ask honorable senators who have been charging those who oppose this proposal with being anti-Brisish, whether they describe the Canadians as anti-British because they have opposed this proposal ? I remember that Senator Fraser, who is one of those who have been guilty of making these charges against us, is himself a Canadian. The Canadians proved their loyalty during the Boer war by sending no less than 8,400 men to South Africa, at a cost of £620,000. In the face of that, surely they are not to be accused of disloyalty because they refuse to fall in with the terms of the naval agreement which has been proposed.
– Sir Wilfrid Laurier refers to a few Canadians who differ from that policy, and I suppose Senator Fraser is one of them. ‘
– I have no doubt that Senator Fraser is of the type of those who are criticised by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in his speech. The Colonies of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand sent between them no less than 30,863 men to the Boer war, at a. cost of £1,859,218. In passing, let mesay that when honorable senators are soanxious to overload the naval and military estimates in this way, they should remember that Canada, with her population of 5,000,000, expends only 2s. per head on defence, although she is so near the theatreof a possible war. Some honorable senators may say that Canada is perfectly safein having the United States next door, butthe United States are not always on the best of terms with Canada. Mr. J. S.. Larke stated some time ago -
We frequently hear, nowadays, beautiful statements about the coming great Anglo-Saxon Federation. None have reason to desire that that prophecy should be realized so much us Canadians, but to-day the United States is not with us - is not a part of us.
If there is any reason or force in the contention of honorable senators that we should pay large sums of money to the Imperial Navy - and the proposed subsidy is a large sum for us to pay - I say those reasons must apply with equal force to the position of Canada, and yet we know that as a matter of fact they do not apply at all. Another objection I have to the agreement is that Ministers are making no provision whatever for the naval force which we already own and control in the Commonwealth. When they tell members of the Commonwealth Parliament that there is nothing in the agreement to prevent ourestablishing the nucleus of an Australian Navy they are but acting in a misleading and deceptive way, which is quite in keeping with- their whole course of conduct throughout these negotiations. Senator O’Connor said there was nothing in the agreement to prevent the establishment of an Australian Navy, but I do not think the honorable and learned senator can have read the agreement. When he was discussing the question the other evening, I referred him to the preamble. The honorable and learned senator did what is usually done by the lawyers in the Senate. When asked a ticklish question they answer - “ I shall come to that later on,” and the later on is in the sweet by-and-by. The preamble to the agreement reads -
The Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c, and the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand, having recognised the importance of sea power in the control which it gives over-sea communications, the necessity of a single navy under one authority, by which alone concei’ted action can be assured, and the advantages which will be derived from developing the sea power of Australia and New Zealand, have resolved to conclude for this purpose an agreement as follows :
If that means anything, it means what it says - that there must be a single navy, under the sole control of one person, and to carry out the terms of that agreement, the Prime Minister and his colleagues must do away with the vessels we own and control, and dismiss the naval men, or secure them positions in the vessels of the Royal Navy. The other day I asked what were the names and classes of the Federal vessels, what it was proposed, to do with them if the agreement were ratified, and what was to become of the officers and men. Senator Drake made this reply -
From whom will they obtain advice t From the gentlemen whom they have entered into an agreement with ? They have recognised the necessity of having a, single navy under one authority, and, naturally enough, when those gentlemen are consulted they will point out that the Commonwealth authorities have already agreed that there must be a single navy under one authority, and that therefore the vessels which are not obsolete will have to come under the control of the Imperial authorities. As regards what was to be done with the men, the reply to- my question! was -
The Government intend to- protect the officers una men to the utmost extent,! and will’ be in. at better position to do so when it has been ascertained to what extent their services will be utilized under the new arrangement.
What becomes of the statement of the Prime Minister and Senator O’Connor that there is nothing in this agreement to prevent us from establishing the nucleus of a navy. Sir John Forrest is the only Minister who* has been courageous enough to tell us what he means. It will be seen from page 1996’ of Hansard, that he said on 19 th July -
IE Parliament in its wisdom thinks -
– Is the honorable senator alluding to a debate of this session in the other House ?
– The honorable senator cannot do that.
– May X draw your attention, sir, to the fact that you have permitted that course to be adopted, on several occasions 1
– I have allowed a general reference to be made to a debate, but I do not think that I have ever permitted a quotation to be made from a speech, delivered in the other House in. the same session. The honorable senator will see that the 136611 Standing Order is very stringent, though I admit that it has not been very stringently applied’ -
No member shall1 allude to any debate in the other House of Parliament or to any measure pending therein.
I have permitted, the honorable senator to allude in general terms to the. attitude taken by the Government- in another place - I ‘do dr* not wish to’ curtail debate - but that is quite different from quoting the words used in debate in the: other House. I do not think I have ever permitted that to be done.
– I may be mistaken, sir, but, my impression is that I have seen several honorable senators, take Mansard and quote speeches referring to the subject under discussion.
– I do not think so.
– I may be mistaken, sir, but I do remember that oni one occasion I challenged am- honorable senator, and the Chairman of Committees said the practice was to- allow the quotations to be made. However Sir John Forrest said! - “T am opposed to such. a. scheme.” Why do not the Ministry tell’, the Parliament, and: the public generally that they aire opposed! to the establishment of thenucleus ofan Australian Navy ? What is their reasonfor keeping back that information, unless it is that they wish to mislead honorable senators until the agreement is adopted ? They know very well that when itis adopted, and the Commonwealth has to pay £200,000 a year into the Imperial Treasury, all attempts on the part of those who believe in forming the nucleus of an Australian Navy will be futile, because the public will say - “We cannot afford to spend any more money.” I should like to have a few -more senators present, sir, and therefore, I direct yourattentiontothe stateofthe Senate.
– There is : a . quorum present.
– I beg your pardon, sir. As regards the statement that there is nothing in the agreement to prevent the establishment of an Australian Navy, that is its whole object, and . flhis change has been brought about by the experience which Imperial officers had . of Australians during the Boer war. They discovered that the individuality of the Australian is superior to that -of the average soldier whom we llsuow as Tommy Aitkins. They iknoiw -what Australia is, and nmderstaaid the character ‘of Australians, so . far as it could be learned from the members of the Contingents in South Africa. They see the (possibilities . ahead of us, and wish to prevent us developingiour power. What is the usual . attitude of , a section of the British public . towards this question, . as expressed in thewaiting of an English publicist -
Great Britain cannot tolerate the existence of an Australian Navy., . as that would be a step towartls. separation.
– Who said that?
– An English publicist whom . the Sydney Bulletin . quoted in an article headed the “Naval . Subsidy,” to which the honorable and learned senator’ canrefer.
SenatorSir John Downer. - And then he will not find out.
– There is -no sympathy between officers in the Imperial Army and Navy and Australians. Whatis the sample wehave-had out here lately, in . the person . of Sir Edvward Hutton ? What does he say about Australians? “The presumption of you Australians,” he said. It is . considered by these people, if mot a step towards a separation firom the old [country, a piece of , presumption. In an (article written by a naval officer in the Adelaide Mevald of October, 1902., I find these statements -
It is well known that . the Boyal Naval authorities did all in their power . to block tihe.acceptance of the (Federal cruiser Protector “by the British Government for use during the late Chinese rebellion.
They didinot want Australians. There have been many reflections jnade on the capacity of Australians by honorable senators,, for instance, by Senator Zeal. It as interesting to find that . the conduct of the . Australians during their visit to China, when the legations were being ^attacked, was beyond all praise. The writer in the Adelaide Herald said -
Admiral Beaumont himself inspected the Protector in Port Lincoln Harbor last year, and expressed his satisfaction with its condition and appearance - and this . the work of Naval Eeserve men.
The : obher day Senator Zeal asked where we should get the men. Does he k-now -that one of the recommendations of the Imperial Reserves Committee was that they should endeavour to attract large classes, such as yachtsmen -and . others, who ‘had formerly held aloof ? And where will he find hardier or more courageous men anywhere than the yachtsmen to be found in Hobsom’s Bay, Sydney Harbor, amd.Moreton Bay?
– I quite agrea with the honorable senator.
– Where could the honorable senator find a more suitable body of men to draw upon for the purpose of naval defence than those Australians? I now come to the question - “Who are interested in creating the alarms which are bringing about in . the old country , an increased naval expenditure.? . ‘In the first place, they -are politicians, and in the second place . they are the (army ‘aind aiavy . contractors of all lands, ship-builders and (gun-makers - “ frozen meat jpatriots,” as they have been described. If honorable (senators will j;e£er ito the Defence papers put before the Colonial Confluence they will . see a list <oi Australian firms who (Obtained contracts for salt pork, salted beef, . preserved mutton, . corned beef, and preserved beef - the Australian Meat Co., the Sydney Meat Preserving Co., the Queensland Meat . Export Col, and the Clarence TownCuring Co. If we could only see the names of the shareholders ; of those companies . and the names of the various contracting companies in the old -country, and the names of the various interested parties, we should be able to get to 4he bottom of this conspiracy.
– The honorable senator can get the names on paying a shilling at the Registry office.
– Yes, except in the case of those companies which are registered in the old country. I know the names of two shareholders and directors who occupy high positions in the land. When the Federal Parliament hesitated to send contingents away they were up inarms und said “Why send 2,000 men? Send 5,000 men.” Undoubtedly their object was to try to send many men away for the purpose of getting rid of their surplus beef and i nutton. There is another aspect of this question, and it was suggested to me the other day by the report in a Melbourne newspaper of a discussion in a shire council on a fever which was infecting ‘some of the animals -
Councillor Dartingale said it would soon lie harder to pet rid of the veterinary surgeons than the disease. Councillor Hemphile said it was a case of “billet fever,” and not of swine fever. A number of veterinary surgeons wanted employment, and he traced the scare to them.
I can well believe that we can partly trace this war scare to a number of good people in the old country who want positions. It oan be traced to parents who wish their sons to be officers and gentlemen at the public expense.
– Is not that
Against the argument for a -single navy?
-Not at all. There is no comparison between our proposal for . forming the nucleus of an Australian Navy and the proposal that there shall be spent on the British Navy £35,000,000 for the current year. It was stated here quite recently by one of the emissaries sent out by the Colonial Office to persuade this country to go in for an increased naval subsidy, that one of the reasons why the United Kingdom was undertaking such a large naval expenditure was that other nations were competitors with them in building war vessels and in piling up their military and naval expenditure. Let us see how far that is true. The nations that the speaker had in mind were Russia, France and Germany. Let us find out the reason why the Germans have been increasing their navy lately. As stated ia the London Daily Telegraph -
In 1 89G the German fleet for all practical purposes was neither born nor thought of.
In the French magazine, the Revue des Deux Mondes, as translated in the Review of Reviews, the more modern history of the German fleet is mentioned as follows : -
The more modern history of the German fleet is well known. Admiral Tirpitz, exhibited marvellous boldness, combined with tad, in dealing with the Reichstag, always unwilling to vote the necessary supplies. It is interesting to note that M. Lockroy attaches great importance to the amazing blunder committed by the British Government during the South African war in seizing the German merchant ships, Bundesrath and Herzog, on suspicion of carrying munitions of war to the Boers. The incident was utilized to the full by the German Government to bring home to the German nation the absolute necessity for a strong fleet ; and, in M. Lockroy’s opinion, it enabled Admiral Tirpitz to obtain the sanction of the Reichstag for his programme.
We thus see how the military and naval alarmists in any country are able to gain their points. The inefficient War authorities in the old country commit what has been described as ‘” an amazing blunder “ in seizing two German vessels on suspicion. The German alarmists adduce this incident as a reason for increasing German military and naval expenditure, and when the German Parliament votes the sum necessary for the increase, the alarmists in England point to the fact as a reason why Great Britain should increase her naval and military expenditure. England’s greatest hour of trial was during the Boer War, when somethinglike 250,000 men were underarms in South Africa, and every civilized nation was against her policy. That was the time when she was most exposed to attack on the part of foreign nations. If there was any nation on the face of the globe that would be so foolish as to adopt so suicidal a policy, that was the time, when England’s hands were occupied in other parts of the globe, for them to make their attack. Even the United States, with which country we are told by one gentleman that a war would be an unpardonable crime, was against the policy of England.
– How does the honorable senator know that ?
– We certainly did not learn it from the press. We got very little information through the cables as to what was going on in the United States and Great Britain. There was a conspiracy of silence on the part of the newspapers, and all the news that came through was mutilated and tainted in the vilest manner. I get my information from a lecture given by Mr. j. S. Larke, the Commissioner from Canada to Australia. The title of his ‘ lecture was “Lessons from Canada,” and he referred to the state of feeling against Great Britain in the United States. He said -
A Canadian of distinction visited the New York Legislature, and was invited by the Speaker to a seat on the floor of the House. He was a steadfast friend of the United States, but loy’al to Britain. When it became known to some members that lie was a British subject, who had publicly manifested great loyalty to his country, lie wiis compelled to leave. Three months ago (December, J900- one year after the commencement of Boer war) there was a function at Washington (the Federal city of the United States), and the walls of the House’ of Representatives were hung with the flags of the nations, among which was one of Great Britain. This particular flag was objected to by some leaders of public opinion. The Speaker said it could not very well be taken down under the circumstances, hut he would have a huge marine flag of the States hung over it, effectually concealing it.
Does not that show that the state of feeling in the United States was against England on account of her policy towards the Boers in South Africa 1 From these facts it must surely be recognised that, if ever there was a time in the history of England when that country was in danger, it was during the South African War.
– What did England do during the Philippine War, and when America was in danger ?
– A most friendly feeling was exhibited by England towards the United States.
– And that feeling exists to-day. Look at the remarks of Mr. Choate, the United States Ambassador to Great Britain.
– I am coming to that point. I want to show honorable senators that this is panic legislation, and that there is no ground for the alarming idea in the minds of some people that both England and Australia are liable to attack. The feeling towards England . has changed, if we may judge from the signs of the times. Quite recently we find the President of the French Republic visiting England and being received very cordially. We find 100 Frenchmen visiting London with the view of trying to arrange for some treaty of arbitration between the two countries. Since the JBoer war Great Britain has entered into an alliance with Germany, though, of course, that alliance did not find much favour with the British people. But it shows that there is a better feeling on the part of those who govern England towards Germany.
– Was not that alliance the cause of the ill-feeling in the United States 1
SenatorHIGGS. - No; the honorable senator forgets that the Venezuelanaflair and the Anglo-German alliance was long after the period I have referred to. I have spoken of the feeling in the United States in 1900, just a year after the Boer war started. One of the emissaries sent out to this country to induce people to forget the land that gave them birth referred to the wars which ended in the year I815 as -
The mighty contests which gave Australia undisputed a’nd secure possession of the fine resources of this great Continent, at a cost of thousands and thousands of gallant lives and an addition of £ 000,000,000 to the debt of the mother country.
The speaker tried to make out that it was due to the wars which ended in 1815 that England was able to secure Australia for us, and that we ought for this reason to contribute £200,000 a year to the navy. But the fact is that we owe the undisputed possession of Australia to-day to the work of England’s free colonists. In 1770 Great Britain wanted to tax her American subjects. She had remitted all the duties except the tax on tea, which it was desired to retain in order to show the American colonists that England reserved the light to tax them.
– Does the honorable senator think there is any connexion between that and the subject under discussion? If he thinks so I shall not intervene.
– I do think so for this reason. It has been urged as a reason why we should contribute towards the navy that we have inherited a country over which we have undisputed possession in consequence of the success of the British Army and Navy in certain directions. We are told that the British national debt was accumulated in consequence of . certain wars from which we have benefited. I want to show that we were not considered at all in reference to those wars, and that the debt has not been accumulated in any way owing to the need for defending Australia.
– We were not born at the time.
– I . should jjmdge from the-untdquaited ideas of the honorablesenator that he was born long before that. First of all, . England went to war with America, and Framce . acknowledged fche independence of the American Colonies in 1778. Great Britain then went to war with France.
– No; France -went to war with Great Britain.
– If the . honorablesenator will read Milner’s history, he will see that it is so. I give my authority.
– And my authority is Leeky’s History of England in the Eighteenth Century.
– Spain also acknowledged the independence of . the American Colonies, and Great Britain went to “war with her.
– I am not sure that Spain did notmake war upon England.
– I want to show that “when the English national debt of £620,000,000 was built . up, Australia Tvas not considered in any way.
– Quite -right.
SenatorHIG GS. - The expenditure was built “up because, in the first place,Great Britain -went to war with America, and then, afterwards, because France, Spain, and Holland chose to recognise the independence of the United States, England went to war with them. Peace was declared im 1784. After ten years of peace the people who were governing England saw that the people of France were (following the historical example of the people of England, and were cutting off the head of Louis . XVI. Recognising that France was about to substitute a republic for a monarchy, Great Britain went, to war with her. Prussia, Spain,’ and other nations united with -Gireat . Britain to crush . France. Because Great Britain chose to build up a huge public debt amounting to many millions of money in that way, oertain people give that as a reason why . Australia . should contribute £200,000 : a year to the navy. I take the view that we icaonot afford . this expenditure, land I propose ; to : show why. J purpose to ask honorable senators to-eomsider what Australia was at about the particular timewhen . the national debt of Great Britain was built up. It was discovered in li606. It was the last continent ito be discovered. It was yisited by several people at intervals of fifty years - by Tomes, De Quiros, and Dampier; and in 1770 it was visited by
Captain Cook. Let us see what one of the Australian historians has to say about the condition of Australia . at that time, and what was thought of us by the rulers of England.
– Before Australia was colonized.
– When it was a penal settlement.
– Does the honorable senator refer to 1770 ?
– I refer to 1788, when the first settlement took place in Australia. My argument that Australia owes . nothingwhatever to the Government of England,, but owes everything to ‘her own free-colonists. I propose to show later on that we are doing every thing for the United Kingdom that any reasonable people : co.uld ask us to do.
– We are taking her money.
– The historian to whom I refer, says -
The reports brought home by Captain Cook completely changed the beliefs.current in those days in . regard to Australia.From the time of Dampier it had been supposed that the whole of this continent must be the same flat and miserable desert as he part he described. ‘Cook’s, account, on the other hand, represented the eastern coast . as a country full of beauty and promise. . Now it so happened that shortly after Cook returned, tihe English nation had to deaL with a great difficulty in regard to its criminal. population. In 1776 the United States declared their independence and the English -then found that they could no longer send their convicts over to Virginia, as . they had formerly done. In a. short time “the gaols of England were crowded wifli felons; it (became necessary to select a new place . for transportation, and. just as this (difficulty arose Captain Cook’s voyages called attention to a land in every way suited for such . a purpose, both by Teason of its fertility and of : itsgreat distance. Viscount . Sydney therefore determined to -send out a party to Botany Bay in order tojoondtv convict settlement there ; and in May, . 1787, a fleet was ready to sail. It consisted of the *Sirius warship, its tender the Supply, together with six transports for . the ‘convicts, and ithreeshijps for carrying ihe stores. . Of the convicts, 600 were men and 250 were women To . guard these there were on board 200 sailors. Captain Philip was appointed Governor of the Colony, Captain Hunter was secondin command, and Mr. Collins went out.as judge-iadvocate, to preside in the military courts it was intended to establish for the administration of justice. [Senate counted.] For a period of fifty years after that time, Australia was used as a convict settlement by . the rulers of England.
-Part -of Australia, to becorrect.
– Part of Australia. They used New South Wales until the people rose in revolt against it. They used Victoria until the people of Melbourne refused to allow the convicts to land. They used Tasmania, until the people of Tasmania refused to allow the convicts to land. I desire to show that it was not until the free colonists established themselves in Australia that this country was thought of at all by the rulers of the old country. The rulers of England fifty years ago or less looked upon the Australian Colonies as a millstone round the neck of England.
– Does the honorable member propose to give us a well-considered argument for separation ?
– I do not care how the honorable and learned senator takes it. What I am arguing is that we owe nothing to the rulers of England, and owe everything to our own colonists, to ourselves, and to the people who pioneered, the country and preceded us.
– They were & part of the people of the old country.
– I know they were.
– That is the link, and the honorable senator cannot get over that link.
– I do not wish to get over that link. We cannot get over the fact that the people who colonized South Australia and all the other States of the Commonwealth, came very largely from the United Kingdom ; but I say that, as a rule, they came to Australia only because there was such poverty and misery existing in England as the result of misgovernment, that they thought they could make a better living out here. The pioneers of this continent were men like Burke and Wills, Oxley, Allan Cunninghame, Leichardt, and the other explorers.
– And Sir John Forrest.
– They left their bones on the land in endeavoring to explore this continent. Sir John Forrest certainly did some exploration in Western Australia, and I saw some of the country over which he passed. [Senate counted.]
– The English Government rendered a lot of assistance to South Australia by advancing money and in other ways.
– I propose to answer Senator Playford’s interjection later on. I say that the people who built up South Australia and all the Australian States were the pioneers of this land, the explorers in the first place, and afterwards those who had the courage to follow them. It was only when the free colonists, forced to come Australia through the poverty and misery of the old country, settled here and made the country a field for the investment of money, that it’ came to have some importance in the eyes of the people who are now endeavouring to make, us pay this subsidy. To show what Australia is doing for England at the present time, the vast amount of money that we have to contribute every year, and that we cannot afford to pay any more, I ask honorable senators to listen to this from Coghlan’ 8 statistics -
Australasia ranks amongst the debtor nations. At the close of 1901 its people owed to persons outside its boundaries, or, more correctly speaking, there was invested in it by non-residents, and owing by its various Governments, a sum approximating to £387,772,000, or £84 per inhabitant. Of this large sum £1 40,420.000 represents the private investments, and £241,352,000 the outstanding liabilities of. the States and local governing bodies. More important in some respects than the corpus of the debt are the annual payments made in respect thereof. These can be stated with some exactitude. The yearly interest paid on account of the State debts to other than Australasian creditors amounts to £7,991,000, and on account of local government debts to £642,000, while the income from private investments may be stated at £7,228,000, and the absentee incomes and return on shares held in London, £400,000. These various sums make up a total of £16,261,000, which is the tribute paid yearly by Australasia to London.
– Is there anything wonderful in that 1
– Surely the honorable senator can see that, when we pay that vast sum of money to money lenders in the old country, a sum of money which goes to make up the revenue of England, we are doing a great deal for the old country.
– They are doing a great deal for us, too.
– They are not doing anything of the kind. They are lending us money at 4 per cent, because the)’ can only obtain 2^- per cent, for it in London.
– It is not nonsense at all. These are the figures given by Coghlan.
– They could get more On the Continent.
– They could not get more on the Continent, otherwise they would go there. The honorable and learned senator’s objection answers itself. Who ever heard of a capitalist who would invest his money in Australia when he could get a better return for it nearer home t
– They could get a larger interest in commerce, but, perhaps, not so much security
– They might get a larger interest in some of the South American Republics, but not on the Continent of Europe. Coghlan proceeds -
It has been stated above that the gross amount of investments by non-residents is ±”387,772,000. This sum may be divided into what was received prior to 1871, and what was received subsequent to that date, for 1S7.1 may be conveniently taken ils the opening year of the latter-day Australasian finance.
Then the statistician proceeds to give the proportions of the various loans. He says -
In considering the question of the annual payment made by Australasia to Great Britain, which is its sole creditor, it is important to have distinctly in view the fact that part of this income is payable irrespective of production, and part only arises where there has been antecedent production. In the first of these categories is the charge on State and municipal borrowing to the amount already stated (£8,633,000), and from two-fifths to a half of the income from private investments, or, in round figures, £2,890,000 - the two taken together making a sum of £11,523,000, or £2 10s. 4d. per inhabitant, which must be exported entirely irrespective of the condition of productive industry. It may here be remarked that there is another source of drainage from these States to be considered in estimating the tributary stream flowing from Australasia to England - that is the income of absentee colonists, which, in 1901. probably reached £400,000, a figure very greatly below that of previous years. The total payments to outside creditors or investors during 1901 may be summarized as follow : - Payments on account of interest in respect of State or municipal borrowing, £1.1 ,523,00<” return dependent on antecedent production, £4,338,000 ; absentee incomes, £400,000- a total of £16,261,000. Of the sum just given, £.13,039,000 is paid by the States of the Commonwealth, and £3,220,000 by New Zealand. Under the condition of equilibrium between the introduction and withdrawal of capital, as already demonstrated, Australasia would show an excess of exports, representing the interest on State and other public loans and the tribute due to private investors. This export for .1901 was about £.16,261,000, and it is therefore plain that Australasia might increase its indebtedness to over £.15,000,000 in any one year, and at the same time show an equality between its exports and imports. With this explanation in mind, it will not be difficult to understand how, in spite of the fact that during the last thirty-one years the indebtedness of Australasia was increased by £314,816,000, the money or money’s worth actually received, as represented b)’ the excess of imports, was less than that sent away by £4,910,000. Such is the operation of interest as affecting a debtor country. In further explanation of this view of the matter, the following figures are given. It will be seen that out of loans aggregating £206,990,000, a sum of only £25,211,000 reached Australasia, the balance of £181,779,000 being retained in London to meet interest charges, as a set-off against a similar sum which otherwise it would have been necessary to remit from Australasia.
I think honorable senators can glean from that quotation an idea of the enormous amount of wealth that goes from these shores to people resident in England, and it should convince them that we already pay enough without burdening the taxpayers of the Commonwealth in another £200,000 per annum. We have been charged with meanness because we say that in any case GreatBritain must keep up her navy. Honorable senators say that we are very mean to propose to avail ourselves of the protection 1 of that navy without paying for it. But I say ive are paying for it. When we send away £16,000,000 in the shape of interest every year, we are paying for the protection that is afforded by that navy. This view was held by Earl Grey, who said -
The naval expenditure which is frequently charged against the colonies cannot, in my opinion, be so with any justice, since, if we had no colonies, I believe the demands upon our naval force would be rather increased than diminished from the necessity of protecting our commerce.
The annual value of the trade of Great Britain with foreign countries is £665,895,000; the total trade of the United Kingdom being £877,000,000. As stated in the report of the Conference, the British trade in the North Atlantic, between the United Kingdom and North Amenca, amounts to upwards of £200,000,000 per annum, of which five-sixths is with the United States. I want to know from Senator Zeal and other honorable senators who support the proposal for an increased contribution, whether England has not a similar interest in that £665,000,000 worth of trade with foreign countries to that which she has in her trade with Australia. If of the £50,000,000 of trade with Australia £16,000,000 represents interest, how much of the£665,000,000 represents interest due from foreign countries on loans raised in England ? That is a fair argument which supports the contention that if the Commonwealth of Australia and the. Colonies were wiped out of existence tomorrow, the United Kingdom would probably have to maintain a navy. I do not say that there would have to be such an enormous navy as there is at present, because I am satisfied there is another method of settling matters, a method which would entail nothing like the expenditure caused by the maintenance of the navy. A better method could be arranged at once if Britain and Germany would fall into line with othercountries, and adopt a system of international arbitration. I am glad to find that my viewasto what we in Australia do for the old country is supported by Lord Hampden, who was at one time Governor of New South Wales. Interviewed by a daily press representative, and asked about Imperial defence, Lord Hampden said -
I think Australia has done as much as can fairly be asked. At the Admiralty a programme of ship-building is never discussed with any reference to Australia’s needs, but from an Imperial point of view. Australia is a new country not very rich, and needs all its resources to deal with its own development.
Lord Napier, in the London Times, wrote -
VVith reference to irritating, almost insulting, suggestions that the colonies should give direct financial contribution towards the Imperial Navy and Army, may I ask for space to point out that, if indirectly, yet in fact, the colonies already contribute at least their fair share.
Tlie figures would with difficulty be arrived at, but it is certain that a very considerable portion of the Imperial revenue is drawn from colonial capital sunk from time to time in this country, and from colonists who have returned to the old home.
In the absence of any direct subsidy, we should be paying towards the support of the Imperial Navy when we transmitted the in: terest on the public debt.
– For which we have got full value.
– I do not know that we have got full value. Have we not done better since we began to borrow locally, and since we Have not been called upon to pay certain deductions and commissions demanded in London?
– These are demanded here.
– The other day I was charged with being anti-British, because I reminded honorable senators of the historical fact that England had turned her guns on her own sons and daughters in America. But when I am discussing England I wish to differentiate between the rulers and the people of that country. T am heart and soul with the people of England, but I am opposed to the rulers and their policy.
– All of them?
– So far as I know. I do not know that the present Government in England is any better than the last. I am not sure that the removal of Lord Salisbury has liberalized the policy of the British Government in any way ; on the contrary, I am inclined to think that it is the same old conservative Government.
– The vast majority of the people of England sided with George III. in the war with America.
– How does the honor- , able senator arrive at that conclusion 1
– Historians say so. The honorable senator ought to read Leaky.
– At that time the House of Commons and the House of Lords did not represent the people of England, because the pocket borough system was in force.
– That is not the question. The feeling of the people was unmistakably as I say.
– How can we ascertain the feeling of any people unless the parliamentary representatives be elected on adult suffrage
– The public feeling outside Parliament can be ascertained.
– Public feeling is generally represented by the press, but in Australia to-day the press of Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane does not voice public opinion. And in England, at the time to which I am referring, public opinion could not have been ascertained without a referendum. I am reminded of the fact that ten or fifteen years after the war of American independence the idea was that the people of England were about to follow the . example of the people of France, and that was one of the reasons why the Governments of England were so ready to go to war when the latter country proclaimed a republic.
– Does the honorable senator really think that that has anything to do with the question before the Senate ?
– I think my remarks have eveiything to do with the question. Senator Zeal
– The honorable senator should not be led away by interjections.
– My desire ‘ is to differentiate between the people and the rulers of England when I criticise adversely the British Government, I hope I shall not be accused of any desire to be unfair or disloyal. I honour the people of England because my people came from the old country, but I must always be permitted to express any adverse opinion I may hold as to the Government of England. The people of England have no chance of giving full expression to their views, because millions of them are not allowed a voice in the selection of legislators. Senator Eraser suggested that it would be most dreadful if the commerce of Australia were stopped. I do not see that such an occurrence would be so dreadful. In 1901 we exported some 33,000,000- lbs. weight of butter to enable people in London to buy it at lOd. per lb., while people in Australia were charged ls. 4d., with the result that a good many people in the States of the Commonwealth had to give their children dripping and cheap jam. In the same year we exported 24,000,000 bushels of breadstuff’s to enable the people of England to buy wheat and other grain at 3s. 9d. a bushel, while we in Australia were charged 5s. and 6s. a bushel. We exported 1,000,000 cwt. of beef and 2,000,000 cwt. of mutton in order that people in London and South Africa might buy meat at a price fifty per cent, below that which we were called upon to pay in Australia. We exported £17,000,000 worth of wool and £12,000,000 worth of gold. Under these circumstances would it be such a dire calamity, after all, if Australian commerce were stopped? I do not suppose for one moment that our commerce ever will be stopped, but those who support the Bill are drawing all kinds of dreadful pictures.
– What should we do with our wool if our commerce were stopped ?
– Wool could be made up here just as well as elsewhere ; and as to the other commodities, I know that very many families throughout the Commonwealth would like to be able to buy them a little more cheaply than they at present do* It is true that we must have those exports in order to pay the interest on our debts; and I am merely reminding honorable senators that there is another side to the dreadful picture which has been painted by those who support the .subsidy. There are in England some supporters of Australian ideas who would make far better Australians than some of the politicians who pretend to represent the Commonwealth. Admiral
Hopkins, writing in the Spectator of the 28th March, said that the demand for more money from the colonies was undignified, and that England did not want miserable contributions in money, while, as I have already pointed out, Lord Napier said that it was an irritating and almost insulting suggestion that the colonies should, give direct financial assistance. The true patriot is he who does not demand money, but who suggests that if ever the occasion arises, we should give a contribution in men. Admiral Tryon says -
It is not a mere subsidized force that will do what is wanted. It is not only money that is required to produce effective forces, but it is the personal service of our countrymen all over the world. It is blood rather than gold that is the basis of every true force ; and to awaken the true spirit, the Government of each colony, the people of each colony, should manage, as far as possible, their local forces during time of peace. Unless they do so, the barden of cost will be irksome, and the interest of the people in their maintenance - which is a first factor for success - will not be evoked.
That is very true. If we have to pay this £200,000 per annum, and if we dispose of even the few vessels we have at the present time, we shall certainly take away a lot of the interest which Australians feel in the navy. Our contribution should be in men, and we should train our men so that they may be available if the necessity for their services arises. The contributions which the colonies made at the time of the South African war are an earnest of what may be expected in the future, in the case of a just was, though I do not think that it matters much to Australians whether the war be just or unjust, because, if called upon, I believe they will go. Canada sent 8,400 men to South Africa at a cost of £620,000 ; New South Wales sent 6,208 men at a cost of £391,620 ;’ Victoria sent 3,897 men at a cost of £138,327 ; Queensland sent 2,903 men at a cost of £203,164; South Aus- tralia sent 1,494 men at a cost of £82,068 ; Western Australia sent 1,165 men at a cost of £51,646 ; Tasmania sent 796 men at a cost of £38,000 ; and New Zealand sent 6,000 men at a cost of £334,000- a total of 30,863 men at a cost of £1,859,218. From Australia we sent 30,863 men, or a number equal to half of those engaged on the Boer side.
– But that 30,000 men includes the contingents from Canada, and some of the latter belonged to the Imperial Garrison.
– What I mean is that the British dominions beyond the sea sent over -30,000 men to South Africa, and if we did that in the years 1899 to 1901, weshall be able to do it in the future if ever necessity should unfortunately arise. But we cannot give such assistance if we are not to have our own training ships. I should like to -refer to the Indian contribution to the Imperial naval expenditure, a contribution which I should say would .afford interesting study to Senator Dobson. The proposed contribution from India is £100,000, although the population there is 2 16,000,000, or 50 times the population of Australia, and the British trade with India represents £66,124,000, or £15,000,000 more than the British trade with Australia. Does .Senator Dobson think nhat £100,000 per annum is a fair contribution .on the part of their fellow British subjects in India?
– i think the ;honorable senator is using ‘about the .most unfair argument I ever listened to.
– Mr. Chamberlain, in asking the Commonwealth to pay the increased subsidy, suggested that we .should have regard to the military and naval expenditure in the South American Republics. But -a glance at the map of South America will show the nature of the territories under the control of the Argentine, Chili, and Brazil Republics. That .territory is not .so large as Australia, and Child occupies a narrow -strip along the western coast. Some six months ago I had a conversation with Lieutenant Sarbarido of the Argentine Navy, and he told me that the ;South American Republics must keep up a large defence expenditure, because there -are constant disputes over border questions. If we in Australia were as divided in race and sentiment as the people of the South American ‘Republics, our military and naval ‘expenditure would no doubt be large. ‘One can conceive that it would -not tee very long before .a border trouble might arise between New South Wales and Victoria, or between .South A ustralia and Victoria, over some. such -question as- .that of the riparian rights in the River Murray. If there were the same racial and sentimental differences between the people of Queensland and New South Wales as there ‘ave between the Chilians and the people of Argentine, war might very easily -arise over Queensland possibly taking the view that ‘the Tweed -and the Richmond districts naturally belong to that State, -and were unfairly cut off when the boundary was fixed. When Mr. Chamberlain draws our attention to the navy and military expenditure of South American republics, we can reply that if a similar state of affairs existed in Australia, we should not be able to pay the 4 per ‘cent, interest on the £4-00,000,000 which the English capitalists have lent to States Goveernments and private citizens. I now come to the point that Australia is to be left defenceless when -the old country is engaged in a war. I find that £he fourth article of the old agreement does not .find a place in the new .agreement. Senator Clemons described -the letter as being better than the former. How he arrived at that conclusion I do not know, inasmuch as it does not contain these paragraphs -
That these vessels shall be under the sole control and orders of the Naval Commander-in-Chief for the time being appointed to command Her Majesty’s ships and vessels on the Australian station.
That these vessels shall he retained within the limits of the Australian station, as defined in the standing orders of the !Naval ‘CommanderinChief, and in times of peace or war shall be employed within such limits in the same way as are Her Majesty’s ships of war.
Honorable senators will notice the difference between the two articles. The stipulation that in time of peace or war the vessels were to be ‘Confined to the Australian station has been left out of the new agreement, and in time of trouble the Australian Squadron may ‘be sent to the ‘China Sea or the Japan Sea or to the west coast of Africa. As a writer in the Melbourne Age, of 16th September, said -
While the Australian “offensive-defensive” army was fighting somewhere in the interior of China01 South America the naval contributions of Australia for many years might be represented -by two or three battle-ships, executing manoeuvres somewhere on the other side of the Pacific. In the meantime a flying squadron ‘Of hostile cruisers might be raiding the defenceless shores of Australia at its -leisure. Nothing, we believe, -could be further -from the thoughts of the vast majority of Australians than any Bombastes-like scheme of offensive military preparation. Their motto is “Defence, not defiance.” They desire to be let alone, .-and to let others alone.
Gar trade with the United Kingdom amounts to £’50,582,000 per annum, and our Inter-State trade to j£27,Q00,’000 per annum. What will become of our £27,000,000 worth ‘of Inter-State sea-borne traffic in case this agreement is ratified and the Imperial authorities can take our squadron away whenever they choose ? We have heard that schemes of naval defence are prepared by the Admiralty and War-office without any consideration of Australia’s needs. I hold that in the case of a big war the first consideration will.be the United Kingdom, and Australia will be nowhere. As pointing out the principal nature of the attacks to be made on Australia, Sir William Jervois wrote in 1887 -
The enemy might, no doubt, despatch one or more cruisers to operate against our maritime commerce, or make a descent upon any of our colonial possessions….. A squadron intended for such an operation might consist of some three or four vessels. Eluding our cruisers and appearing suddenly before Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, or in Moreton Bay, it might capture the merchant vessels lying in the harbors, intercept any of the numerous vessels conveying valuable shipments of gold, or, under threat of bombardment, or after actually firing into one of the large towns, demand and obtain a payment of many millions of money.
Sir Peter Scratchley wrote
The Australian Colonies were exposed to attacks from one or more cruisers - as a maximum, a squadron of four - which, eluding the British cruisers, might capture- merchant ships in harbor, demand from our capitals payment of many millions of money under threat of bombardment.
Major-General Edwards wrote -
If we are found without a decided naval superiority, we shall again see attacks made upon our stations and bases in all parts of the world. If we had this undoubted superiority, the Australian Colonies need only be prepared to resist the attacks of stray cruisers who would make a raid upon stations where coal is to be had, or to extract a ransom from some of the towns on the coast by threat of bombardment.
Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who seems to be very anxious that we should pay this subsidy, said, in 1896, at the Colonial Institute -
Small expeditions directed, not to effect territorial conquests, but to destroy national resources, may, nevertheless, as in the past, evade a superior navy. Such expeditions are of the nature of raids. Wherever national resources, necessary for the purpose of war, are accumulated, local means of resistance against a raid are needed.
It is very probable that in a war between the United Kingdom and another country, we shall have a naval De Wet, who will be a kind of maritime will-o’-the-wisp, and we shall be absolutely defenceless if the Admiralty are to be allowed to have their way. It is very fortunate for us that modern history furnishes instances to support the view of those of us who favour a system of local defence. During the war between the confederated States and the United States, in 1862, a Captain Semmes was authorized to command the Sumter, a merchant screw steamer of 501 tons, which was extemporized into a man-of-war, and which carried about a dozen officers and 72 seamen. She captured no less than. IS vessels, burnt 7, with all the cargo, and released 2 on heavy ransom bonds, effecting a loss, of 1,000,000 dollars to the United States.’ She was then laid up, and Captain Semmes was appointed to the command of a vessel built expressly for the confederated navy, and called the Alabama. In The Grime of the Alabama and the Sumter she is described as a small, fast screw steam sloop of 1,040 tons register, built entirely of wood ; length over all, about 220 feet ; length of keel, 210 feet ; breadth of beam, 32 feet ; and 18 feet from deck to keel. Her armament consisted of one 7-inch Blakely rifle gun, one 8-inch smooth bore pivot gun, six 32-pounders, smooth bore, in broadside ; while her crew numbered not more than 120. Will it be believed that before the Alabama had to succumb to a vessel of superior force and calibre - the Kearsage - she captured no less than sixtythree vessels, burning fifty- three of them ? She burned the Alert, valued at 20,000 dols.; the Altamaha, valued at 3,000 dols.; the Amanda, valued at 104,442 dols.; the Amazonian, valued at 97,665 dols.; the An/na F Schmidt, valued at 350,000 dols.; the Benjamin Tucker, valued at 18,000 dols.; the Brilliant, valued at 164,000 dols.; the Charles Hill, valued at 28,450 dols.; the Chastelaine, valued at 10,000 dols.; the Contest, valued at 122,815 dols.; the Courser, valued at 7,000 dols.; the Crenshaw, valued at 33,869 dols.; the Dorcas Prince, valued at 44,108 dols.; the Dunkirk, valued at 25,000 dols.; the Elisha Dunbar, valued at 25,000 dols.; the Emma Jane, valued at 40,000 dols.; the Express, valued at 121,300 dols.; the Gildersliene, valued at 62,783 dols.; the Golden Eagle, valued at 61,000 dols.; the Golden Rule, valued at 112,000 dols.; she released on bond the Ariel, valued at 261,000 dols.; the Baron de Gasline, valued at 6,000 dols.; the Bethia Thayer, valued at 40,000 dols.; and the Emily Farnum, which with a neutral cargo was made a Cartel ; and she sank the Hatteras, valued at 160,000 dols.
– This is what we may expect.
– What a small vessel ‘ built on fast lines and manned by only 1 20 men was able to do before she had to surrender to a vessel of superior force is described in Captain Semme’s address to the men in these terras -
Yon have at length another opportunity ‘of meeting the enemy’ - the first that has been presented to you since you sank the JTatteras. In the meantime you have been all over the world, and. it is not too much to say that you have destroyed and driven for protection under neutral flags, one-half of the enemy’s commerce, which at the beginning of the war, covered every sea.
– We have heard all tha t before.
– Yes; but how is it that the honorable and learned senator, when he is urging that we shall adopt the new agreement, does not tell us that there is a danger, if we allow the Admiralty to take the Australian Squadron out of our waters, of our Australian commerce being attacked by a vessel similar to the Alabama. How is it that the gentlemen who come here as emissaries from the old country, and who deliver eloquent speeches, do not tell us this side of the question ?
– I wish I could see what the honorable senator’s argument has to do with the question.
– I am sorry that the honorable and learned senator, who is on all occasions so cou rteous to us, cannot see that the instances which I am relating have a bearing upon naval defence. I quote from modern history the fact that a vessel of 1,000 tons register, manned by 120 men, was able to capture and burn sixty-three vessels, and destroy half the commerce of the United States, although that country had then thirty armed vessels afloat.
– That is why I say there is a necessity for this agreement.
– The system of naval defence proposed is a wrong one. The right plan is to establish the nucleus of an Australian Navy, however small it may be, in which we can have our own men. If we want a more ancient instance, we have to go back to the year 1667, when the Dutch Squadron sailed up the Thames, and when, as Milner says -
The unprotected shores were ravaged with impunity ; the fortifications of Sheerness fell; the dockyard of Chatham was fired ; and several of the finest vessels laid up in the ordinary were burned.
Honorable senators have asked us to pay attention to the teachings of history, but I do not remember that any one has drawn attention to this historical parallel ; nor do they allude to the modern instance when a naval De Wet was able to inflict the greatest damage upon the commerce of the country against which he was fighting. Now I come to the experts, as referred to by Senator O’Connor. He said that all the experts are agreed. Let us consider who the experts are. One of them is Sir George Sydenham Clarke, a gentleman who is said to have been a member of the Colonial Defence Committee, which recommended that the States of the Commonwealth should buy a lot of obsolete arms. These weapons were afterwards given to our South African contingents, and had to be abandoned by them the moment they reached the Cape. The experts, of whom Sir George Sydenham Clarke is evidently one, thought at the time of the . Boer war, that the struggle could be settled by a force of 50,000 men, although 375,000 were required. These experts were referred to some time ago by Lord Charles Beresford in an anecdote concerning critics who sometimes do not know. He said -
A case of that sort came to my knowledge some time ago, in which an Admiral on the China station carried away his foreyard, and he wrote to the Admiralty asking that a new foreyard might be sent out. In reply he was informed that a new foreyard would be sent out, but before it was despatched, the authorities would like to know who had carried away the foreyard, what he had done with it, and where he had put it.
This same Admiralty has, as one of its traditions, the fact that it objected to the use of steam on the ground that the smoke from the engines would blacken the sails of the vessels. This is the same authority, says the Brisbane Coivrier, of the 9th January, 1903- which in more recent times has preferred paint and gilt to efficiency in gunnery.
I wish I had here this afternoon Sir A. Conan Doyle’s book on the Boer war, so that I might give honorable senators the benefit of a passage in which he points out that when the British got to work in South Africa they found that their guns would not carry as far, and were not as effective, as the gun’s employed by the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
– Every one knows that.
– Every one knows it; yet the honorable senator is one of those who say that we should pay attention to and be guided by the views of the Admiralty and the Defence experts in England.
– Zeal. - It is the Government who are asking us to consent to this agreement.
– lb is the Admiralty who are moving the Government.
– We are free agents.
– The honorable senator is in a most perplexed state of mind.
– I hope the honorable senator will enlighten me.
– I am trying to do so. I -am trying to show that the Admiralty and. the War Office are not the experts they profess to be. They are not an improveincnt upon the times of Sir Joseph Porter.
– In what year did he live?
– I will refer to him a little later. As Mr. Arnold White says. -
In a certain dockyard in a British colony in the Southern Hemisphere a . telegram from the British Admiralty is framed and hangs on the wall of the office. In this telegram the button statesmen express their inability to Understand ‘ why more coal was burnt in the dockyard in July, August, and September than in November, December, and January.”
That is a most extraordinary thing. The Admiralty cannot understand how it is that more coal is burnt in winter than in summer 1 It was the War Office that, at the time of the Boer war, sent a cable to Australia accepting the services of contingents; but telling the various Governments that they would prefer foot soldiers to mounted men. That gives an idea of the capacity of’ these naval and military experts in England.
SenatorFraser. - The War Office is being re-organized no w.
– It is not being reorganized, as I. will show from the evidence of Mi’. Arnold White.. I find from Brassey’s Annual - and this extract will give an idea of how up-to-date and efficient the War Office is, and to what extent re-organization has taken place there - that -
In the year 1887 a new series of heavy gun designs were produced in France of avery remarkable character as regards their length. Up to that time the standard length of guns was some 30 cals. , but the new French designs showed’ a length of 2 cals. to 45 cals. The practical effect of the improvement of guns is to give to the present day weapon as nearly as possible twice the energy of its 30 cal. predecessor.
The substitution of the modern gun would, in some cases, double, and in others treble or even quadruple the value of the gun armament, whilst the weight would be reduced.
Will it be believed that the first British ship was. not commissioned with the improved gun until 1901. - that is, fourteen years after it had been adopted by France ? Not even yet,, according to Brassey’s Annual, has the most improved gun been adopted by the Admiralty.
– Yet the British Navy wins every battle.
– They win; but why? They win because of the resources of the British, people..
– Because of British pluck.
– The power of the British people would be just the same if they only spent half as much on military and naval defence. It would be there if we did not pay this contribution. I have said that there has, been no improvement in the British Admiralty since the time of Sir Joseph Porter.
– What time was that?
– The honorable senator wants to be too exact. Let me quote to him these lines -
When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to on attorney’s firm ;
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up the handle so caref ullee
That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee.
– Does the honorable senator really think that that is in. order?
– Surely I am permitted to give- an illustration.
– But the honorable senator is quoting from a comic opera.
– I am showing what is the capacity. of the Admiralty. Although this appears in one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best operas, it certainly hits off some of the officers who are placed at the head of the Admiralty. In that sense I think it is in order..
– I do not think it is. I have not stopped the honorable senator in his remarks as to the. alleged incapacity of the Admiralty, and as to any serious illustrations he has given, but this is only an illustration from a comic opeia.
– I wish the honorable senator would remember that he is in the Senate, and that he owes a duty to Australia, and also to his own country, Canada. I come now to the most damning indictment against the British Admiralty that could be furnished.
If honorable senators will vote another £200,000 to the British War Office after hearing Mr. Arnold White’s criticism of the Admiralty, they must have lost their reason. Speaking at the eigth annual general meeting of the Navy League, held on Wednesday, 13th May, 190’3, at the Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall, S.W., Mr. Arnold White criticised the Admiralty methods in these words -
There are four points of policy on which the Admiralty deserve criticism, and should ‘have been criticised, and criticised severely, by the civilians on the Executive. Committee. I name those four points, not in order of their importance, but in the reverse order. The first point upon which the Admiralty deserves censure is its absence of economy. Any man who has made anything like an intellectual study of the idea that lies behind the word “efficiency” knows that not only are efficiency and economy interdependent, hut that you cannot have efficiency without economy. They are inseparable. I have no time, in the few minutes at my disposal, to five you any details as to the absence of economy, ut I noticed the other day that a circular issued to the dockyards seriously warning the workmen that if they idled, or were in thehabit of idling, that they would be suspended for a fortnight. But only a few months before, Sir K. Anclry, Accountant-General to the Navy, had the audacity to tell the Select Committee of the House of Commons that the checks in force in the dockyards wereabsolutelysatisfactory. I have recently paid eleven visits to the different dockyards, and while I am prepared to say that the dockyards could not be in better hands than the respective Admiralty Superintendents, who are brilliant administrators, I say there is no system that would satisfy a business man for a moment, and that the dockyards are in fact, the sink of John Bull’s gold. [Senate comiled.] So long as they are in that state of disorganization where there is no responsibility - for the Admiralty is not responsible, the-dockyurds are not responsible, and the service afloat is not responsible - sofar from the watch-dog wagging his tail or purring, as the “Executive Committee seem inclined to do, you ought to tell the Admiralty they have no right to waste the substance of the British taxpayer. I will only give you three instances of this. The first is the SjMrtiale, the Original estimate for which was £518,000 ; it cost £633,000 and was five years and a half building. My second case is that of the Heccate, upon which the Admiralty have recently spent £9,000, and then put her up for sale. My third case is that of the Hercules. A few 3’enrs ago £80,000 was spent on this ship’s machinery. The £80,000 thrown away on the Hercules would have given the bluejackets in the navy their rations six months ago. My last case is the Warrior, which was turned into a depot for torpedoes and has “been a sink of money. I could occupy you for an hour on the waste of money in the dockyards, but those are the only instances I have time to give. My second point is on the administration of the dockyards. We talk a great deal in the Navy League, and have done for ten years past, on the importance of construction of new ships. It is surely unnecessary to remind you that in the event of a war the dockyards are as necessary for the success of the British arms at sea as the ships. What is the position of the dockyards ? Machinery and appliances to save labour have been gradually neglected, because the supply of new and necessary machinery creates no particular demand on any particular day, and the result is that if you went to war tomorrow notwithstanding the efforts which have now been made by the Admiralty, you would inevitably have a state of confusion, which is. very serious. I have received in the course of my visits a good deal of confidential information, but I am as certain of this as I am of standing here, that the want of efficiency in the dockyards reflects the greatest discredit upon the administration and upon successive Boardsof Admiralty. When you reflect that one Government has heen practically in office since the year 1886, I say that not criticism but punishment is wanted for that purpose. My third point on which the Admiralty require criticism is the question of food, and the treatment of the lower deck generally.
By the way, I hope that when this Bill gets, into Committee, honorable senators will endeavour to carry a clause which will provide that the men employed on the vessels, of the Australian Squadron shall be treated as human beings. Mr. Arnold White proceeds further to say -
No one of the 127,000 of the lower deck ratingsare represented on the Navy League ; they may not write to the newspapers, there is no naval representative in Parliament, and they are inarticulate. I will not repeat what I said hist year, but I then described what the food of the bluejackets was. Since then I have hud the opportunity, owing tothe kindness of the German Emperor, of SMKtying the food iu the German Navy on board a German battleship, and I have ascertained from personal investigation that the food in the German Navy, and also in the French and United States Navies is better than our own.
Just here I should like to say that I went to Western Australia some months ago on one of the German subsidized vessels, and I am able to , testify that all the hands emploj’ed on that boat were treated in the kindest way. I never heard an order impolitely given on board the ship. Inever sawa German officer with blood-vessels swollen in his neck to bursting point, swearing at the sailors ; and that kind of thing may sometimes be seen even on the Later-State boats connected with our merchant service.
– I never, saw it once in all my life.
– I have seen it. I have seen an officer shouting at the top of his voice to some unfortunate sailor trying to do something with ropes. I am pointing out that what Mr. Arnold White says as to sailors employed on German men-of-war being better treated than those in the British Navy is supported by my own personal observation. I did not see a single employe on the German boat to which I refer - and they are liable to be called upon in case of war - who was not well cared for and well-nourished.
– Did the honorable senator* see any coloured men in the crew 1
– No ; there “was not a single Iascar on board the boat. I may refer, in passing, to what appears to me to be the system adopted by the German Naval authorities, and which I think is a most excellent one. There were on board the vessel to which I refer some 90 or 100 naval recruits bound for German New Guinea. They w ere being trained by officers in squads of nine. Each officer was apparently most particular in the instruction given, and each recruit was called upon to give his own explanation of every order, and his own idea and description of the gun which he was handling. The greatest pains appear to have been taken; and it seems to me that the people who are inclined to disparage the- capacity of the Germans-
– Has this anything to do with the question 1 I really must nsk the honorable senator to try to keep to the point.
– I am very sorry if the President cannot see that the efficiency of the German Navy has something to do with the matter under discussion. The whole argument in connexion with this Bill is founded upon the preparations being made by Germany, Russia, and France as the reason for the increase of naval expenditure in Great Britain. I submit that these interruptions are not calculated to facilitate the progress of the debate. I am pointing out that honorable senators cannot afford to disparage what is going on in the German Navy. 1 am referring to the system they adopt in the training of their men, and. I say that we in Australia ought to adopt the same system. I. intend later on to propose as an alternative that we . subsidize our merchant ships and train our men in the same way as do the Germans. Mr. Arnold White goes on to say -
Why, with all these enormous sums being spent on the navy, has the food of the blue-jacket, who is inarticulate and cannot complain, either through Parliament or through the press, been neglected ? We have probably all had a good luncheon before we came here, and anticipate a good dinner to-night ; but is it right that the blue-jackets, many of whom are required to know quadratic equations, should be compelled to sit down without a knife and fork and eat with a clasp knife V If only a few blue-jackets were articulate, or able to bring parliamentary or political or social pressure to bear, this would not happen. I will also remind 3’ou how the Admiralty acted in reference to the treatment of the blue - jackets when the Terrible was paid off. She was paid off the day before the King’s procession went through: London, and the men were prevented from coming up to London. But a friend of mine, Mr. Arthur Pearson, proprietor of the Daily Express, paid the whole ex [lenses, and 640 of these men, without their officers, with the temptations of drink, and the temptations of a great town, after a long campaign, and with plenty of money in their pockets, came up to London, but not one of the men was tipsy - not one of them disgraced himself. I say the testimony to the character of the British blue-jacket on the occasion of the Terrible’s crew coming to London was such that the)’ have deserved a consideration from Parliament and the public, which they have not hitherto received. My fourth point is gunnery. I admit that Lord Selborne has used the words “gunnery, gunnery, gunnery” to a credulous Senate. I admit that Mr. Arnold Forster’s replies are verbally all that can be desired, but are they accurate ? I will not answer in my own words, and in everything I say here I am not speaking my own thoughts ; I represent the views of many officers in the navy, including flag officers, and also of the. lower deck. I will read you only two statements. Here is a letter I had from Malta from a naval officer - “ On April 29th, 1903, the eight battleships of this fleet - namely, the Vengeance, London, Bulwark, Russell, Venerable, Implacable, Formidable, Irresistible - left Naples for this place. In the afternoon we expended our quarter’s allowance of practice ammunition, and a more disgraceful waste could never have been seen. We commenced at 2 o’clock. By 3.30 it had all gone, the total number of rounds being about 10,000. I do not know what the value of it is, but I should .think about £4,000. The way it was done was as follows : - Each ship towed a target and the other ships fired at it, altogether four different sorts of guns were firing at the same time, and the distance of the target was so great that you could not see where your shot went. It would have been far better to have thrown the ammunition overboard. Our gunnery lieutenant nearly cried. He has taken a lot of trouble in instructing the men. and this ammunition was to have been used for teaching the men to shoot. He had arranged with the captain to have two whole days for firing it. Instead of that it all had to go overboard in one and a half hours. The flagship, out of ohe 10,000, got rid of 80 rounds of 12-pr., 26 rounds of 3-pr., 1,310 rounds of ]-in., 1,000 rounds of “45; total 2,416 rounds in one and a half hours. It is very hard lines to have our practice ammunition thrown overboard like this. We have a class of acting-captains of guns, who are only waiting for their firing-test to get twopence a day extra pay. The gunnery lieutenant says he cannot give it to them on the last firing, as it was no test at all, the target being outside the distance at which .aiming practice should be carried out, and it was impossible to mark the shots. “
The point of that letter is this : the British Navy miss the target twice out of three times, because they do not practice enough. There is no reason whatever why the British Navy should not hit the target at least once out of every two rounds, or even twice out of three, and until we can do that, we cannot say that we have good shooting. The only way to get good shooting is the way in which Lord Walter Kerr obtained good coaling, and that was obtained by publicity. If you have publicity, ammunition will not be blown overboard. Publicity produces emulation, and with emulation you will get from the British Navy all it can do. Now for the other fact about gunnery. I want to read a verv short statement recently made to me, not on oath, because I had no justice of the peace in the room, but with a witness - “I, , lately Chief Petty Officer, gunnery instructor, captain of a turret, with three good conduct budges, of H.M.S. , am now prepared to make oath and say that I have myself ditched thousands of rounds of practice ammunition. They sent me out to the Nore in an old gunboat - with more work to do in one day than one man can manage, and if I could not get through that work and go back, and have not done it (by work I mean firing more rounds than can be got through, or haze, weather or fog prevents the ammunition being fired off), returning to the gunnery school without having fired ofl the proper number of rounds of ammunition, nothing may be said the first time, but if it occurs several times you get removed as an unsatisfactory instructor. Consequently the ammunition, having to be expended, it is expended by being hove overboard. As regards gunnery, the prize money is not enough to interest a pun’s crew.”
I have only read two of those, but I have any quantity of evidence to the same effect.
Will honorable senators vote for this increased subsidy when they know that it will go to further fill up the sink of gold which ‘Mr. Arnold White describes? This money is not to be regarded in the light of a contribution. When we place this £200,000 beside the £35,000,000 in the British Naval Estimates, we can see that this flea-bite of a contribution is .to be used for political purposes, just as the Australian Contingents %vere used by certain British statesmen during the Boer war. Politicians in the old country wish to use this subsidy us an argument to induce the British taxpayer to consent to enormous sums of money being raised for naval expenditure, which has risen from £25,000,000 some five years ago to £35,000,000 at the present time-
– The proposed expenditure this year is £39,000,000. .
– Various estimates are given, but £35,000,000 is about the sum mentioned in the Conference papers. Some argument is deemed to be necessary by those politicians to satisfy the British taxpayer, and this subsidy will be used to that end. British politicians will say to the British taxpayer - “Look at what the colonists are doing for us ; not only in the £16,000,000 they pay in 4’ per cent, interest, but in the extra subsidy, in order to maintain the British Navy and keep up the traditions of the British Empire.” Honorable senators will recollect that the name of the Colonies was used with striking effect in an endeavour to silence the people of England during 1900-1 ; and so the name of the Colonies will be used in the present instance. If Australia and New Zealand had stood out with Canada, and refused to vote this money, politicians in the old country would, undoubtedly, have had very great difficulty in satisfying the British taxpayer that £35,000,000 is necessary for the navy. I oppose the subsidy, on the ground also that our refusal would no doubt make the British taxpayer think when he casts his vote at the next elections - would cause him to consider whether it is a wise policy to consent to the expenditure of this huge sum of money on the navy, and to realize that that expenditure is the more likely to bring about the very war he would like to see avoided. If we expend £35,000,000 on war ships, and man them with officers who have more combativeness than good sense, we may get into trouble at any time. I oppose this Bill, because I do not agree with the foreign policy of the British Government. Who believes in that foreign policy?
– I dp.
– Does the honorable senator approve of what is going on at the present time in Somaliland?
– That is only an incident after all.
– It is one of those petty wars carried on by interested people, in order that the British taxpayer shall continue to pay uncomplainingly. . We see large head lines appearing iri the press about a reverse in Somaliland - how thirty British and about 1,000 black troops have been overcome by the “ Mad Mullah “ and his “ fanatics,” as they are called. It is very interesting to observe the habit of the Britisher. If the enemy .happen to be composed of aboriginal natives of Asia or Africa, and they show great courage, they are described as “ mad fanatics.” If, on the other hand, one of our own side shows great courage, he is decorated with the Victoria Cross. [Senate counted.] I ask honorable senators who are prepared to vote for this subsidy whether they see no danger in the policy which the British Government is pursuing with regard to China ? “Without a doubt, the scheme for the disposition of the Australian Squadron has been prepared with aview to what may happen in China. The foreign policy of the British Government - a policy which is participated in to some considerable extent by Russia, Germany, and others - is calculated to bring us into the direst trouble. Any one who has read any works about China must know that there is a considerable body of enlightened public opinion in that country, no matter what people may say as to the incapacity and general decadence of the Chinese. If we decide to pay a subsidy to the British Government, we shall only foe bringing the danger nearer to ourselves. By holding aloof, as the Canadians have done, “we might induce some British statesmen to pause and consider whether it is wise to take up the attitude which is adopted with regard to China. We all know what the powers who are manoeuvring in the China seas contemplate. We know that they are going to force their trade upon China, and if it attempt to resist sooner or later there will be -war. To my mind, the naval policy is framed primarily with the object of keeping up the BritishNavy to such a pitch that it will be able with other powers to step in and try to inflict disgrace and ruin upon the people in China.
– Is it not for the defence of the British nation?
-No ; it is what they describe as an “ offensive-defensive “ policy, but it is peculiarly offensive. It isa wrong-headed policy, which may bring about disaster. I cannot believe that theChinese youths being educated in their own schools and in those of Europe and elsewhere will tolerate the interference of outside powers. Just as, on this floor, I, as an Australian, advocate the policy -of ; Australia for the Australians, so if I were in China I should stand up and 1 advocate the policyof China for the , Chinese, and . . resent the action ofthe
French, Germans, Russians, English, and Americans in goingthere and endeavouring to interfere.
– I am afraid that the honorable senator would go under if he did.
– If the honorable senator means by that remark that the Chinese would go under, that is a misapprehension. The Chinese number many more millions than do the Britishers. Their arsenals have been in full work ever sincethe war with Japan ; they have been manufacturing the most up-to-date weapons.
SenatorSir William Zeal. - The aggressors are the Russians, not the British-.
– There is a great deal to be said on behalf of the Russians.
– Oh yes t The honorable senator cannot say a word for his own countrymen, but is always blackguarding them.
– Here am I standing up and speaking for my own country.
SenatorSir William Zeal. - No.
– The only thing I am objecting to is the policy of the British Government, who, unsought by the British people, are forcing on them a heavy naval expenditure. The risks I contendare dangerous. ‘ I am not like “the honorable senator who thinks that because he is a Britisher he is equal to four men of any other nationality. The conceit which finds a place in the mindsof some Britishers and some Australians is insufferable. Anybody who reads about the educated and intelligent French nation, and learns -of the reforms which come to us through their Legislature, ought to recognise that they are equal to us in every respect. It is only national conceit thatmakes us assume that we are better than those people.
– Then there is all themore reason for keeping our navy up to thestandard. ,
– The honorable senator is quite wrong, as I hope to prove later on. Honorable senators are urging as one reason why we should pay this money that Russia, is making great war preparations. There is a. great deal to be said on behalf of thatcountry, because until very recently herpeoplecould only send out commodities atthe good will and through the territory . of some other nation. Russia has. been fighting for a port, and all her efforts have been mode in that direction-
TheRussians will make the same mistake is other nations appear to be making, if they have in. their mind the idea that the moment that China resists their aggression. they have only to enter amd partition her territory. My belief is that they will find, a force which they never anticipated.. In assenting- toi the measure which has been put before as in such an underhand way by the Federal Government - and to which they agreed in such an. unconstitutional way - we shall be preparing the way for- what may be an awful war:. If we restrain, our hand we shall make these gentlemen turn to saner methods, which I may refer to later- on. According, to certain books I have read very great preparations are being made in China to resist foreign aggression. We have the authority of General Gordon that the Chinaman, will moke a very good soldier. The books, which have been written on the doings ofthe Allies in China give most extraordinary examples of bravery on the part of the men, youth, and children- of China, who, . actually armed with, spades- and similar primitive weapons, tried to block the- trains carrying the soldiers of. the Allies, and did not give way until many of them had been wounded and. struck down. There is the best material in China for resisting foreign aggression. We have no right to vote any money which may be used by, I should not say panic-strickeni men, but. designing men, who are not satisfied with their own coumtry, but who wish to conquer China, indeed the whole world. Like Napoleon, they de«ire to bring every nation into subjection if they can. On these grounds we ought not to support the Bill. If we refuse to accept the- Bill we shall take one step towards prompting Great Britain to withdraw her objection; to international abitrartion… I was glad to see quite recently that England had agreed with Japan: to refer to abitration. a dispute as: to the rights of British residents to property in Japan. It; was very comforting to me to see that theUnited States had been successful in its demand that Germany and Great Britain should submit the differences- between, themselves and Venezuela to the Hague, Arbitration Tribunal
– That is part of our foreign policy.
– I was pleased1 to notice the occurrences in connexion with France ; but if, as Senator Walker says,, it is part of Great, Britain’s- foreign policy, it is only of. quite recent adoption.Apparently it is only a small part of her- foreign policy. In. the case of Japan, she was agreeable to go to arbitration. Why ? Because she has a treaty of neutrality with Japan. It provides that if England is at war with any country, Japan, shall not interfere, and that, if they ace both attacked, they shall join forces.
– How about the Ala bama.* award.? Was. that not settled by arbitration?
– Let us remember that the aarbitration adopted by Great Britain and Germany in. regard to1 Venezuela was not agreed to without, stronig resistance. The honorable senator knows that negotiations were proceeding for some- time before the. two nations- agreed to allow the dispute to be- settled by arbitration. They only agreed because the United! States remained firm, and there was an unmistakable wish on. the part of. the people of that country that the matter- should be referred to arbitration. That is why arbitration was, agreed to by the two, powers concerned.
– Is, the honorable senator in their confidence ?
– Does not Senator Zeal read, the newspapers 1 This measure is really a part of the foreign policy of the British Government. I say “ of the British Government,” because I differentiate, between the people and the Government. The policy of the people of Great Britain is the same as ours, though- many of them have- not votes with which to give expression to their wisnes. In the case of Venezuela the United States put its foot down and would not allow Great Britain and Germany to act against the wishes of the American people, and to- interfere with the Monroe doctrine. The British; Government were ‘wise in refraining from going to- war with a nation embracing 80,000,000 people and. commanding almost unlimited, wealth and resources-. I am sorry the policy ol the British. Government in regard to arbitration, is; such as. it is. Great Britain and Germany were the only two powers that refused to sign the proposals of the Hague Conference to refer international disputes to arbitration, although the United States, Italy, Russia and other powers were willing, to sign. For th» various reasons which I have given we ought to reject the Bill.. Senator Cameron disagrees with the policy of the measure, but says that rather than break his word, and because Sir Edmund Barton assented to the agreement, lie will vote for it. It is to be deplored that the honorable senator should allow personal considerations to intervene when such large interests are involved. I regret the fact that any honorable senator should not look at the matter from a broader stand-point. It is not in the interests of any people, whether in Australia, China, or elsewhere, that there should be war. What has been the result of the war in South Africa 1 Great Britain is saddled with £216,000,000 of debt, and there is a condition of seething discontent in South Africa. No fewer than 20,000 of the flower of the British nation are under the sod, and their relatives are left sorrowing for them. War may be in the interests of army contractors and people who make money out of it, but it is certainly not in the interests of the general community. The great national issue should be considered rather than the personal aspect of the case. The mere paltry fact that Sir Edmund Barton would be offended if we refused to ratify the agreement should have no weight. My own view is that backing up Sir Edmund Barton and the British Government, by passing this agreement, may lead to disastrous results ; whereas the refusal to ratify it may conduce to the most beneficial consequences. Tam hoping for the time when there will be a general reduction of the military and naval estimates of the civilized nations, and when the great powers will agree to settle their disputes by the means suggested by the Hague Tribunal. The peace of the world will then be assured. We have no right to agree to proposals which will delay that benefit accruing by a single hour. I also affirm that in my opinion the proposals of the Government are not constitutional. Section 68 of the Constitution says that the commandinchief of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth shall be vested in the Governor-General. The Governor-General is the mouthpiece of the Executive Council of the Commonwealth. He is responsible to Parliament. But this Bill proposes, without repealing section 68, to hand over the control of the naval forces of Australia to some outside authority. On that ground this Bill should be rejected. If the Government want to alter the terms of the Constitution in that direction, it would be courageous to come forward in a manly way with a proposal to that effect’. But the Government know perfectly well that if they were to adopt a statesman-like attitude, and ask the people of the Commonwealth to agree to the alteration of the Constitution so as to take out of the hands of the Executive Council the control of the naval .forces, they could not expect that a thousand votes would be cast in favour of such a proposal. That is the reason why the Ministry are endeavouring to rush the measure through Parliament. Within six weeks or two months, if the Government do their duty, there will be a general election. Within four months the general election must take place. This question could be submitted to the electors. Where is the necessity for hurry % The old agreement remains in force. Why do Sir Edmund Barton and his colleagues desire to place this Bill upon the* statutebook before the voters can express their views 1
– They know that the country would not look at it.
– They know that the ‘ country would not tolerate the agreement for a moment. Let the Government go to Queensland and ask the people there whether they are in favour of this scheme of the Colonial Office. Every Queensland newspaper which I have read objects to the Naval Agreement. I could quote several columns against it from the Brisbane. Courier and in favour of the creation of an Australian Navy. My opinion is that the majority of the people of the other States are also against it. While the Federal campaign was being conducted not a single speaker uttered a word in favour of the naval subsidy. Those who spoke about naval matters said that they were in favour of creating the nucleus of an Australian Navy. The Government are afraid to submit the matter to the electors. Otherwise they would not show such concern about the fate of the measure. At a later stage I trust that some one will move that the Bill be considered this day six months. Another reason why I am opposed to the measure is that Australia is in no danger of foreign aggression. It has been said that if Great Britain were at war Australia would be at war also. That does not necessarrily f olio w . As the late Chief Justice Higinbotham, of Victoria, said, when the old Naval Agreement was being considered in the local Legislative Assembly, any danger that is- likely to accrue to Australia will be owing to its connexion with England. I say there is absolutely no reason why Australia should not be at peace with the whole of the nations of the earth. We have been given an idea of what is likely to happen from Australasian interference at the time of the Boer war. The Boers did not object to Tommy Atkins fighting them so much as they did to the Australians. They said they could not understand why Australians should go to war with them, when they were colonists like themselves. I say that if we keep to our own territory ; if we avoid interfering with foreign nations ; if, as Sir AVilfred Laurier has said, we refuse to be drawn into the vortex of militarism, we shall be perfectly safe in Australia. During Senator O’Connor’s remarks, I made a reference to the distance we were away fromthe territories of other nations, and said that we had no borders to defend, and that we were a self-contained people. The honorable and learned senator in reply said that the very fact that we were surrounded by the sea showed that we were liable to aggression by foreign powers.
– Hear, hear.
– Is it not a fact that a war vessel of any dimensions, any vessel that would be likely to do any damage to Australian commerce, will have to burn from 100 to 150 tons of coal per day? Is it not a fact that most of the vessels which come to these shores do not carry enough coal to take them back again, and require to get coal at our ports at Newcastle, Brisbane, and other places ?
– That settles the honorable senator’s argument about hostile cruisers.
– It does not do anything of the kind. If Australia were not a self-contained continent the position would be quite different. But here we are some eight or ten days’ sail from the nearest Russian coaling station ; and Russia is, in the panic-stricken minds of some honorable senators, deemed to be the nation likely to attack us first. Russian vessels would not find it to their advantage to come here at all. What could they get when they did come? Is any nation on the face of the earth so insane and suicidal in its policy that it is going to come to a continent like this for the purpose of loot - a country which has only riches when its population is working it; a country from which we only get riches through the hard work of producers? I say that our policy is not at all a policy of an offensive-defensive character. Our policy should be the policy which Canada is adopting. Canada is spending some £500,000 on her local defences. She is training her men ; and will very shortly, so her Prime Minister says, make an effort to establish the nucleus of a navy. That should be our policy ; we should let the whole world, including . the British Government, know that we . do not countenance any naval and military policy which has for its object interference with foreign people. We should say - “ We are desirous of living at peace with the world, and if we have any surplus products which you would like to buy we should be only too glad to sell them to you ; but so far from interfering with you in any way, we are desirous of keeping aloof.” For honorable senators to carry this Bill in the face of the arguments which those opposed to it have been able to bring before them, appears to me to be entirely contrary to their usual practice. Honorable senators who are favoring this proposal have certainly at times disclosed a gleam or two of lucidity, but on this occasion I must say that . their proposals are characterized by the greatest inanity.. We have had some arguments advanced by Australian statesmen, if I may. be permitted to call some of my fellow honorable senators statesmen - of course I know that a statesman does not appear to be a statesman until he is dead. He is but a politician up till that time. The statesmen in this Chamber have brought forward arguments in favour of an Australian Navy, and against this Bill ; and I am satisfied that if Sir Edmund Barton had not signed this agreement those arguments would have had full force and effect. I need refer only to the arguments used by Senator Sir Josiah Symon, and adduced in the splendid speech delivered by Senator Matheson. I wish to reiterate my opinion that now is the time when the Imperial Government should propose a reduction and not an increase of the naval expenditure. I suppose there never was a time when a better international feeling existed, notwithstanding the differences which prevail in certain quarters; and instead of swelling the British Naval Estimates to £35,000,000, which is the war footing, they ought to be brought down to £25,000,000.
– Instead of’ “shaking the mailed fist “ in the face of Europe.
– Instead of “shaking the mailed fist,” as the honorable senator suggests, there ought to be a disposition shown to return to the peace footing, which represents, of course, many millions less than the amount which now appears on the Imperial Naval Estimates. We, in Australia, are not alone in the view that the proposed increased expenditure is condemned by several prominent people in the United Kingdom To that interesting publication, The Naval Annual, which gives statistics concerning the naval expenditure of all the nations of the world, there is an introduction in which the following occurs -
The British Navy Estimatesfor 1903-4 amount to ?34,457.000, us” against ?31,225,000 for -the previous year. Heavy increases of expenditure for warlike preparations are a strange sequel to the conclusion of pence. The policy on which we have entered is not the policy on which the great statesmen of the past - Lord Beaconsfield not less earnestly than Mr. Gladstone - insisted. During the Russo-Turkish War-, navy estimates had been considerably increased. At the close of the war our expenditure was cut down to the greatly reduced figures which Lord Northbrook’s Board inherited from their predecessors. Lord Beaconsfield’s method of dealing with the navy seems wiser in its application to the present time than it appeared to those at the Admiralty u quarter of a century ago, when an increase of the navy was needed and the funds were scanty. Our present expenditure is increasing beyond all precedent. The severe and costly struggle in South Africa hns been brought at last to a successful issue. All the great powers of Europe are solicitous for peace, and are feeling the financial strain of costly armaments. Is our proposed expenditure necessary ? Can our present charges be borne without detriment to the national progress and prosperity ?
The writer of that introduction goes on to express great doubt as to whether the people of England subscribe to the policy as outlined by the British Admiralty. After every war there is a period of peace. There was a peace of twenty-five years after the Crimean war, for which, by the way, the War Office was in no better state of preparation than it was for the Boer war. All the preparations had to made after the Crimean war had started, just as was found to be the fact in the case of the Boer war. My conclusion is that, if ever it unfortunately occurs that the United Kingdom is at war with some foreign nation, there will be sufficient resource within the nation, no matter how inadequate the preparations may be, to enable it to rise to the responsibilities of the occasion. It is not only proper that the British Naval Estimates should be reduced from ?35,000,000 to something like ?25,000,000, or even less, but it is an egregious blunder to propose to extract the former sum of money from the pockets of the English people. We must bear in mind that there has been no opportunity for the British elector to express an opinion about the present naval and military policy of the British Government: and common sense indicates that there ought to be a reduction. I have already said that if we pass this Bill it will, to some extent, assist the British Government in maintaining this excessive naval expenditure. One other point I have to deal with is that raised by Senator Downer, who contended that the old agreement of 1887 was carried out by the British Government. On referring to the report of the Colonial Conference proceedings of that year, I find the following : -
Mr. Deakin. If, as I apprehend, your remark is a closing remark, Sir James Lorimer would like to say one word before Lord George Hamilton retires.
Sir James Lorimer. There is just one sentence that I wish to say, not with reference to the agreement, but with reference to one point in the agreement, and that is, the normal strength ot the Imperial Squadron. I do not quite like that term. What I was going to suggest is this : That I hope that, as the old Imperial vessels are withdrawn from the station, we may reasonably look for their being replaced by vessels of a more modern type and more modern armament, because it is desirable to have a force of the most efficient type and description.
Lord Georgehamilton. - That, I think, is a very reasonable wish. Of course, as the vessels become obsolete, they will be replaced by more efficient vessels. It is quite admitted that there are one or two vessels on the Australasian station which are rather behind dates -
– At that date.
– That was in 1887, and the vessels are still in use. The report of the Conference continues - and as soon us they are put out of commission, we shall send out newer, or, to modern ideas, more powerful vessels.
Sir James Lorimer. That is quite satisfactory.
– They undertook, in fact, to keep the British squadron uptodate.
– And they gave another undertaking, as Senator Downer will see if he refers to volume 2, page 242, of the proceedings of the Conference of 1S87. Ifc is there stated -
Note. - Tt is understood that the Archer is a vessel of 1630 tons displacement, will steam 17 knots, and be armed with 6-inch B.L.R. guns, and would also carry torpedoes. The recentlydesigned fast torpedo boats have a displacement of 430 tons, steam 19 knots, and would be armed with three tubes for Whitehead torpedoes, with one 4-inch B.L.R. gun, four three-pounder quickfiring, and two machine guns.
That was the plan as agreed to by the Colonial Premiers. Not a word was said about 4.7 guns. The guns agreed upon were 6-inch guns, but 4.7 were substituted. We thus see how far the agreement was carried out, and to what extent the British Admiralty took into consideration their part of the agreement as it affected Australia. In the first place the Admiralty were to keep the vessels up-to-date, as shown in the words of Lord George Hamilton -
As the vessels become obsolete, they will be replaced by more efficient vessels.
What has happened during the fourteen years that the old agreement has been in force ? Have the Admiralty taken away the obsolete vessels aud replaced them with more up-to-date vessels? Is it not a fact that we are now told by naval and military experts in Australia that any idea we may have had as to the effectiveness of the Australian Squadron is a simple illusion - that the vessels are obsolete and have been obsolete for years ? Have we any reason to believe that there will be a change during the ten years of the new agreement ? Have we not the word of Lord Charles Beresford, Mr. Arnold White, and other critics, that the British Navy at present contains a great number of obsolete vessels - that there is a great lack of administration, and such a waste of money that the navy is described iis a sink into which the money of the English taxpayers is thrown? We have no reason to anticipate any change of policy. Senator Clemons endeavoured to deal . with the argument, which is based on the principle that there shall be no taxation without representation. Senator Clemons said that, because we represent the people in this Parliament, and vote the subsidy of £200,000, the people of Australia have representation. The fact is that we should have no control over the expenditure of the subsidy once it was paid. We should not be able, like Mr. Arnold White, to make eleven visits to the I 9 e 2 docks and see how the money was used. I think that it would be thrown away. When we speak of taxation without representation, we mean that if we subscribe a subsidy of £.200,000 a year we should be acquainted with the details of the expenditure. Of course, some one may say that the time will come when we shall have, as suggested by Mr. Haldane or some other British statesman, a representative in the Councils of Great Britain. In view of what has happened over the Federation of these States, that time seems to me to be very remote. When we find very influential Australians saying that Federation is a mistake because the seat of government is so far removed from the people, is it likely that the Australian public will consent to or ask for representation on the Board of Admiralty or any other Department of the Imperial Government ? To sum up my views, I think that the whole business is a huge mistake, and that we shall regret the agreement for as many years as it may be in force. . I hope that if the second reading of the Bill is carried we shall in Committee be able to make an amendment terminating the agreement at the end of ten years.
– At the end of five years.
– If we cannot reject the Bill on its second reading we shall try in Committee to minimize the evil as far as possible. If we fail to terminate the agreement at the end of five years we shall try to limit its operation to ten years. Do not let it be an open agreement, but let a limit of time be fixed. If a limit of ten years is prescribed, those who want the subsidy can fight the battle over again. If, however, no limit is fixed, it will be thrown upon us to fight for the abolition of the subsidy, aud that will be very much more difficult than to fight against a renewal of the agreement.
– I feel satisfied that honorable senators are weary of the discussion, but I wish to express my opinions as shortly as possible, and to state some of the reasons why I shall vote against the Bill. It is almost a pity that the Prime Minister and Sir John Forrest did not discuss the matter with the Parliament in some form before they went to England. It is quite evident now that there was then a very strong opinion that he should not in any way bind the Parliament to any agreement during the. discussions with the Colonial Secretary. Of course we are told that we are under no compulsion to accept the agreement which lie entered into, but it is quite evident from their remarks that honorable senators do feel themselves in honour bound to support the Prime Minister. They all seem to feel that if the agreement is rejected he will take the vote as an expression of want of confidence in himself. That obliges those who are extremely anxious to support the Government, and not to give a vote which would be taken as one of censure, to support the agreement, even against their convictions. 1 am afraid that it will have a great tendency to destroy the national feeling which we hoped would result from Federation. The question has been asked whether we can support a navy of our own. With a very little addition to this sum of £200,000 a year, I think- we could at least maintain a navy sufficient to enable us to train a great many of our seamen for naval warfare, should we, unfortunately, be called upon to fight. Since 1889 we have been subscribing £106,000 a year to the Imperial Government for the use of their ships in our waters, and spending about £67,000 a year on our local naval defences, making in all an annual expenditure of nearly £180,000. When we are anxious, as I think most Australians are, to inculcate a spit-it of independence and nationality, it is a pity that the Prime Minister should have entered into this agreement, even conditionally. We are anxious that our people should be taught the art of naval warfare. . Australia is an island continent, and I believe that the old sea-faring spirit which animated our fathers in the older land animates the Australians. If we had a navy of our own, poor as it might be in the first instance, we should be free from many of the traditions which surround the Admiralty. In South Australia, perhaps unconsciously, we followed the line of policy adopted by the United States in IS 12, when they were brought into naval conflict with the mother country. They discarded the old method of fighting ships, and went in for vessels with more powerful guns and the best armament they could secure. British naval officers found, to their great dismay, that the little boats built by the Americans under new conditions were even more powerful than their own and able to give them a great deal of trouble. When South Australia thought it advisable to procure a boat for the naval training of our seamen, fishermen and others, what was done? We brought out a boat which was fairly well armoured, and fitted with very powerful guns, and which could do a great deal more mischief than the Wallaroo, a type of the boats which were brought out .under the agreement of 1887. The Protector measured only 906 tons, and carried one 8-inch gun and five 6-inch guns, whereas the Wallaroo measured 2,500 tons, and carried eight 4-7-inch guns. It is quite evident that the Protector could throw a great deal more weight by each discharge than the Wallaroo could. But how was that done? The Protector was intended mainly for coastal defence. A cruiser which has to sail all over the world has to sacrifice armour and armament to space for coal and stores. We should not be under the necessity of making that sacrifice. For our coastal defence we could start with two or three ships fairly well armoured and carrying very powerful guns, which would enable us to reach the most powerful cruiser that could come near our shore.
– Do not believe that.
– I am relying on the opinion of the naval experts as expressed in the reports which have been presented to us. That statement is made very clearly by Captain Creswell in his report. It is very desirable, I think, that we should, as far as possible, cultivate the spirit of independence in this matter. I cannot understand why the Admiralty have pressed for a cash contribution as they have done. A subsidy of £200,000 is a small sum compared with the enormous amount which the British taxpayers have to provide for naval defence. It appears to me, and to various experts and newspaper writers in Great Britain, that it would be far better if the Admiralty encouraged us to go in for a navy, and so add materially to the British naval force.
– With three ships 1
– We should be a terror to the nations.
– No ; but we should never despise the day of small things. England had not always the great and mighty navy that she has to-day. If we had only three ships we should add three vessels to the British Navy, but the £200,000 which we subscribe towards British naval defence will scarcely lessen the taxation of the British taxpayer one iota. Great Britain would be compelled to employ as many ships to protect her commerce as she does now. But if we started a navy of our own, with the expenditure of probably £300,000 a year, we should have ships, should train our men, and at any time when England was launched in warfare we should be able to place such vessels as we had, manned by our own sailors, at her disposal. It is not to be expected that in a new country such as ours, where wages are so high, we could keep a large number of men as non-producers. We should not be able to keep a full complement of men on the boats. But we desire to have a sufficient number of boats, so that they may pass from one port to the other, our men being taken on board and given a month’s training per annum. We should then have all over the Commonwealth a number of men who would take their places on board the vessels when emergency required.
– They would get sea-sick if they went outside the Heads.
– They would not be sea-sick, because they would be men already engaged in the mercantile marine, and more or Jess accustomed to a seafaring life. That is the course adopted by our naval officers in South Australia. This very day the Protector is out with her crew giving them a month’s training, which qualifies them for the work they may be called upon to do. I should like to say with regard to the Protector that when Australia was anxious to assist in naval warfare, in China, as she had assisted in military operations in South Africa, the one ship that was applied for by the Admiralty was the Protector, owned by South Australia. She left these shores at a few days’notice, fully equipped, and entered into the China seas admired by all the experts who were engaged in naval operations there. What is more, her engines and all her equipment were ready for going into battle when required.
– They use guns in battle, not engines.
– Let me tell the honorable senator that engines are as essential in modernwarfare as are guns. Very little can be done with guns if the engines are not movable’. The Protector was the only boat that went into Hong Kong ready to go into, action without considerable repairs in her engine-room. That was because she carried on board first-class mechanics, who got her through the journey in a proper condition.
– She must be the terror of the seas !
– She is the terror of the seas. Whereas the Wallaroo could only discharge about 340 lbs. of metal against the enemy, the guns of the Protector could discharge 580 lbs. of metal, or about 70 per cent. more. Instead of being fettered to the traditions of the Imperial authorities we should in building up a navy of our own probably follow the instincts which have led the United States to do what has been found to be so effective, by having armour and armaments very much stronger than usual. The exMinister for Defence based the opinions which he laid before the Colonial Conference upon a report by Rear- Admiral Beaumont. I do not think that RearAdmiral Beaumont fully understood the aspirations of the Australian people.When journals like the Spectator and the Speaker strongly urge Australia to qualify herself so that she may be able to offer men and not cash to the British authorities when required, we may reasonably conclude that that would be a wise policy to adopt. Seeing that the discussion has dragged itself along so wearily I shall refrain from saying any more, leaving my further views to be expressed in Committee. I shall vote against the Bill at this stage.
– I do not admit that the debate has dragged itself wearily along. From the beginning it has been of a very interesting character. A number of honorable senators are taking a lively interest in the passage of the measure, and the interest has been kept up in a very creditable manner. There is a feeling, not only in Victoria, but in the other States, that the Federal Parliament has to some extent been guilty of lavish expenditure. I have endeavoured to refute statements of that description, but when the proposed expenditure of £200,000 upon the naval subsidy is brought up,I cannot defend it under any circumstance. It will be very difficult for any honorable senator to attempt to justify a vote in favour of this Bill. I have told the electors on several occasions that we have been paying about £106,000 to the British Government for the last fourteen years. The only reply that I could elicit was - “ More shame to the Governments that were guilty of such extravagance.” I had to convince the people that it happened so long ago that the federal Government could not be accused of this extravagance. The argument used by those to whom I was talking was that in fourteen years we have spent over £1,500,000 ; and what have we to show for itl I certainly have had to aduiic that we have nothing of a valuable character to show for the expenditure. I have been told by those all over the Commonwealth who are anxious for economy that if the money had been saved we could by this time have had a better fleet than the present Auxiliary Squadron. I defy Senator Downer or Senator O’Connor to deny such an evident fact. I am not going to be a party to an agreement that will involve the expenditure of £2,000,000 in ten years. That will make £3,500,000 that will have been spent since we first entered into an arrangement of the kind with the British Government. When we are going to do anything we ought always to have a good reason for doing it, but not a solitary advocate of this Bill has shown one good reason for the ratification of the agreement. In the first place, what have we to protect? We hear much extravagant sentiment about the hearths and homes of the people.
– We have to protect what we owe.
– That was what I was coming to. Almost everything we have is security for money which has been borrowed, either publicly or privately. A large amount of foreign capital is invested in Australia. There is great anxiety in the minds of some people that it is going to be removed. There is no fear that it will be removed by cruisers. The people who own this capital will take good care that it is protected. If the people who reap large profits from Australia wish their property to be protected, those people should pay for that protection. That is one reason why I do not consider that we should be justified in paying one cent or one dollar to anybody else for the protection of somebody else’s capital. Again, supposing that we had anything in Australia to protect ; supposing that everything we have was not pawned to the extent it is, and that we really owned it ourselves and had a right to protect it, I should like to ask, what danger we should be in ?” A blackfellow will not put up a breakwind until the wind begins to blow, and I think he is very wise, . for the wind is of such a shifty character in Australia that hewould have to be continually moving his breakwind. There is a certain amount of” analogy in that with respect to naval armament at the present time, because, within the last twenty years, it has been so continually changing that on every occasion when any nation has been compelled togo to war it has found that almost everything it had in the shape of ships and armament were out of date, and it had toset to work to produce new ships and armament.
– The submarine boat will knock out the turret ship.
– And we do not. know what may knock out the submarineboat.
– What would be theworth of the Australian Navy then?
-We have not got an Australian Navy, and the honorable and learned senator has not yet heard me advocating an Australian Navy. It will betime enough when I begin to advocate an Australian Navy to ask me what will becomeof it. Whenever I do begin to advocate it, I shall endeavour to instruct honorablesenators in my views as to how we should treat it. If we take Australia as it really is and compare it with other partsof the world, we shall see where thenecessity for protection comes in. Australia is, with the exception of New Zealand, almost at the ends of the earth, as the Scripturewould say. We are furthest away from any source of danger, and as has already been, stated, vessels of war at the present time - those powerful cruisers which some honorable senators seem to be in such dread of - would have to come from somewhere.. Where would they come from ? I am saying this, only to show the absolute foolishness of the fears entertained by some honorable senators.
– The Shenandoah came down here, and was in Hobson’s Bay for a fortnight.
– She did not hurt anybody when she was here. The honorable senator knows that she came here only in a friendly way, and that is the way in which we expect them all to come. I was saying that a hostile cruiser would have to come from somewhere. We have already been told that such a vessel would require to have ammunition, provisions, and coal. Suppose it was Russia we were afraid of. I have heard a good many honorable senators talk of the danger to Australia if Great Britain was at war with Russia. Where would a Russian cruiser have to come from to get to Australia ? She would have to come from the Black Sea.
– From Port Arthur.
– I shall deal with Port Arthur by-and-by. If she came from the Black Sea, she would have to come through the Mediterranean, and out by the Straits of Gibraltar. What would the people in the forts of Gibraltar be thinking about, assuming that Great Britain was at war with Russia, if they allowed a Russian cruiser to get past Gibraltar ? And that is only assuming that the cruiser, or the Black Sea fleet, were fortunate enough to escape the British fleet in the Mediterranean. If she did not come in that direction from the Black Sea, she would have to come through the Suez Canal, through the Red Sea, and out into the Indian Ocean at Aden. The absurdity of the thing ought to be self-evident to almost anybody who considers the impossibility of any danger arising, so far as Russia is concerned, from ships coming from the Black Sea. If the Russian cruiser did not come from the Black Sea, it would have to come from the Baltic. I am sure that the Channel fleet would be hovering around that quarter, if it expected that any of the Russian fleet would emerge from the Baltic, and a Russian cruiser from the Baltic would have but a very poor chance of ever getting as far as Australia, even if there were any possibility of its getting provisions or coal on the way. If it did not come from the Baltic, it would have to come from the White Sea, and for over half the year it is impossible for a ship to get away from there. Senator Zeal has said that it would come from Port Arthur. But the Russians have not started to build ships of war at Port Arthur yet, and there are not so many of the Russian fleet in the North Pacific at the present time that the British Squadron on the China station would, not he able to look after them. Even if a
Russian cruiser did escape the squadron on the China station, she would have to come all the way from Port Arthur to Australia and in order to do so, would require a con siderable amount of coal and provisions. If she ran short of coal on her way from Port Arthur to Australia, where would she replenish her bunkers? Do honorable senators suppose that Japan, which is the ally of Great Britain at the present time, is so fond of Russia as to be ready to give a Russian cruiser very much coal? Then she might come down to Hong Kong ; and do honorable senators suppose that she would get any coal there ? It must be remembered, also, that this Russian cruiser is coming down to take our paper money, the notes of the banks in Australia, because they might be trusted to take precious good care, if there were any danger of that kind to be feared, to shift all their gold to a safe distance into the country, where the Russian cruiser or any one else would have but a very poor chance of getting it.
– They would take it up into the Blue Mountains.
– To the Snowy River.
– There are thousands of places which honorable senators might suggest to which the gold might be taken and kept in safe hiding from any Russian cruiser coming from any place. But I think I have shown the impossibility of any danger arising from a Russian cruiser coming to Australian waters. Then suppose we were at war with Germany, and there was the danger of a German cruiser coming here. Where would she come from ? The only coast line of any consequence that Germany is possessed of is in the Baltic, and I have little doubt that Great Britain would be able to find two or three ship’s of the bulldog type to post at the mouth of the Baltic to prevent her coming out. There is, therefore, no possible chance, so far as either Russia or Germany is concerned, of any danger arising in Australia from a hostile visit of a cruiser owned by one of those powers. Then I come to deal with France, and to my mind she is the only power that can harass Great Britain, so far as her naval forces are concerned, with the exception of America, and I hope it will be agreed that there will be no possible chance of America ever attempting anything of the kind. I hope that such friendly relationship will spring up between Great Britain and
America that for many years to come there will be no clanger in that direction, so far as the Commonwealth -of Australia is concerned. But I leave the possibilities of either Russia, Germany, or even Italy, attacking Australia. I have not spoken of Italy, because, as we know, she is entirely confined to the Mediterranean, and can be well watched by the British fleet in those waters - the fleet of the people that we owe all the money to, and who may be trusted to look after their debtors.
– On the principle that the man you owe money to is always anxious about your health.
– The man you owe money to never desires that you should meet with an accident or should die, in case either might prove worse than repudiation, as far as he is concerned. But supposing these cruisers did get away, and were coming here to injure our commerce - what com7merce would they injure ? Honorable senators will notice that the whole thing is supposition from beginning to end. We have been supposing for the last fourteen years that we were going to be at war every other day, and we have been keeping the Auxiliary Squadron in “ the beautiful harbor “ for the greater portion of that time. Yet during those fourteen years there has not been the least danger of any attack upon Australia. There have been dozens of Russian scares, and scares of all sorts. I can remember very well when the people in South Australia were almost going mad, and were contemplating what portion of the hills they would go to; but it was all a newspaper war, and there was never anything in it. There never was the sound of a gun ; the battles, and supposed battles, were all made up in the newspaper offices for the purpose of alarming the people, and in the different States thousands of pounds were actually spent in consequence of these alarms.
– Did Senator Playford, as Premier, put a boom across the Port Adelaide river?
– I did nothing of the sort.
– I know that in South Australia the people were in a great state, and talked about putting submarine mines in Investigator Straits and the Backstairs Passage.
– No, no.
– That was suggested in both the Advertiser and the Register.
– But the South Australian Government “kept their heads.”
– I was proud of the attitude of the Government of South. Australia on that occasion, and that is more than I can say of all the Governments in Australia. Some of the Australian Governments spent thousands of pounds, or, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of pounds, because of the war scares, ‘ which were created very probably, as Senator Playford knows, for the purpose of causing an agitation in the money market of Great Britain, so that those animals called the “ Bulls “ and “ Bears “ could attack one another, and make their own fortunes while destroying the fortunes of others. But suppose that a war was in actual progress, and. the cruisers of the enemy did find their way out of the Baltic, the Mediterranean, or the Black Sea, whose commerce would be injured ? Would they injure the commerce of Australia ? Do not honorable senators know that the greater portion of the cargoes which go from Australia to the old country are for the purpose of paying interest on the money we owe to British creditors ?
– Prices go down, but the interest remains the same ; they take norisks.
– That is so; and the very vessels which carry the cargoes do not belong to Australia, so that an enemy’s cruisers would not do- much damage to the commerce of this country.. As to all these matters I must only suppose, because I have no facts. I never saw the ensign of a hostile ship or the smoke of a hostile gun in Australian waters, and I have been here twenty-six or twenty seven years. I am sure that this is not 01* account of the strength of the Auxiliary’ Squadron, or on account of the mighty fleets owned by the Australian States. It is simply because it is not in the interests of the powers of Europe to interfere in any way with the commerce of Australia. A very’ subtle suggestion occurs to me, as I dare say it has occurred to other honorable senators, namely, that the great risk we run, is not for the protection of our own property or commerce, but for the protection of the property and commerce of somebody else. According to the arguments which have been used, the great risk can only arise because of our attachment to the British Empire. No one has ever suggested that any of the powers- of Europe or Asia, or, for that matter, America, are going to war with Australia ; I do not believe that any one has entertained such an idea. The cry is, “ If the British Empire gets into trouble; if England goes to war, or any of the powers go to war with Great Britain, certain things may happen.”
Has the idea nob suggested itself to “ loyal “ members like Senator Zeal that it would be better for us to have nothing to do with the British Empire, if we are to incur this danger on her account1?
– That is not my opinion.
– I have no fear that any power is going to war with Australia, or that any one is going to war with Great Britain, for a long time to come, if if ever. Probably, before the danger of war with Great Britain arises, the whole human race will have become so sensible that they will abide by the laws of arbitration, even though it be made compulsory.
– It will be compulsory some day.
– I hope that there will be compulsory arbitration, even in connexion with national warfare. But I have no fear on account of our connexion with the British Empire. I am as loyal a subject as Senator Zeal or anyone else could be, and I should do as much as they to maintain the honour and dignity of the British Empire. But I ‘do not want to encourage the British Empire to get into trouble; I do not want to “sool’ the British Empire on, as the shepherd would say to his dog. I do not intend, if I can help it, to indicate to the Empire that we are prepared to encourage war and desolation in the way in which it has been encouraged by some of the so-called “ loyalists “ and “ patriots “ of Australia. I am not that kind of patriot. I am one of those patriots who would have more regard for the prosperity of the people and less for the prestige of the Empire as a fighting machine -against the rest of the world ; and I should like very much if some of our “ loyal “ friends would entertain opinions in the same direction. But suppose - I do not know what other word to use - that an enemy’s cruiser did get as far as Australia, what would she do when she got here ? It would not matter, for the purposes of the argument, whether that cruiser belonged to Russia, Germany, or Prance.
– She could not touch Adelaide atoll events.
– It would take me too long to go round Australia and deal with each port, and I shall first take the case of Melbourne. I know that if Senator Playford were at the head of the Government at such a time, his first suggestion would be to place a submarine raine at the Heads, and then let the cruiser come in if it dared. Any wise man - and I merely mention Senator Playford because I regard him as a sensible man - would suggest that the best way to protect Melbourne would be to place two or three torpedoes or a submarine mine at the Heads. But even supposing these precautions were neglected, it must not be forgotten that we have some very smart little cutters, -and that all they need do would be to go down the South Passage and cut away the buoys. The enemy’s cruiser would find herself aground fifteen times in Port Phillip Bay before she could reach Melbourne. So far as regards the West Channel, it would be a very poor cruiser indeed which could navigate that.
– Then there is the Cerberus.
– If the cruiser did get in and she ran aground in Port Phillip Bay, she would have to remain there and become a wreck for all the assistance we should give her. The Heads are fifty or sixty miles away from Melbourne.
– Thirty-five miles.
– T am calculating the distance by the West Channel, which is much greater than thirty-five miles. Anyhow, guns have not yet been invented which could successfully bombard Melbourne from a distance of thirty-five miles ; and as the enemy’s vessel would Have to stand well off the Heads, that would add a few more miles to the range. Honorable senators must see the absurdity of talking about any great necessity for a fleet to defend the city of Melbourne. As Senator Playford knows, Adelaide is almost in a better position than Melbourne, seeing that Kangaroo Island stands right in the way, with Investigator Straits on one side, and Backstairs Passage on the other.
– Then there is the Troubridge Shoal in the big passage.
– I am only suggesting what ought to be done, and what sensible people would do, if we had an enemy’s cruisers hopping around. It would be quite easy to protect St.Vincent’s Gulf with mines in either of the passages to which I have referred. Although Investigator Straits may be of considerable width, there is no navigable water in all the distance, and the portions to be protected are so limited that very little difficulty in this connexion would be experienced. Even if this mighty cruiser did get through, she would have to encounter large forts before she could do any practical damage to Adelaide. So where is the necessity to have a fleet cruising round, and what will the ships have to protect ? Then, going to Fremantle, I am sure that all the great works which the late Minister for Defence has carried out-
– None up to the present.
– We shall soon carry out the works if there is any necessity for them.
– We have fortified King George’s Sound only.
– Yes ; but that is a long way off.
– It is our coaling, station.
– I was not going to refer to Albany at all, because it is well protected, and there is nothing to be t got there.
– Coal, which is a very important thing indeed.
– Where would they get coal?
– There is always a stock of coal kept there for our own fleet.
-I feel sure that honorable senators expect that if a hostile fleet or a number of cruisers were in our waters’, and there was any likelihood of coal being got there the townspeople would have sense enough to set the coal on fire. Surely they are sufficiently familiar with the tory of Napoleon’s famous campaign to know what to do in a case of that kind. Again, Perth is a considerable distance from Fremantle. I am sure chat the Commonwealth will be able to take steps for the protection of Premantle, so that it would be impossible for a hostile cruiser, or even a hostile fleet, to do any damage to Perth. Honorable senators will see that I am gradually making a pretty good hedgehog” of Australia, so far as an enemy is concerned. Going along the eastern coast we come to “the beautiful harbor.” It hasoften puzzled me to understand why there is such unanimity amongst the representatives of New South Wales concerning thisNaval Agreement. There are not many of” them here - there never are.
– There are three of them present.
– It is a wonder that there are three representatives of New South Wales present. We must recognisethat one of them always sticks to his guns manfully, and that is the VicePresident of the Executive Council. It has puzzled me to discover why the’ representatives of New South Wales are all so unanimous in this matter. One reason that suggests itself to my mind is thatSydney is nearer the sea coast than any of the other capitals, and is in more danger of being bombarded. If it were bombarded and rebuilt it would not hurt Australia, becauseSydney would then get rid of the plague and many other inconveniences. I was wonderingwhether, in view of adult suffrage, some representatives of New South Wales have not been influenced by a desire to please the ladies, who, no doubt, will welcome thegallant officers of the proposed squadron. We all know that the greater portion of theAuxiliary Squadron spends most of its timein the waters of “ the beautiful harbor.” I believe that very often the ships get disabled for the purpose of being able to hitch up at Garden Island, and give the officers a chance to go ashore.
– Does not the honorablesenator think that Australian officers would look just as handsome t
– I believe that Australian officers would look much more handsome, but they have not much chance yet. There are two or three things in connexion with the maintenance of a fleet in Australia which induce the representatives of New South Wales to be such ardent supporters of an agreement of this description. They are always prepared to spend money. It has been stated that the greater proportion of this subsidy would be spent in - they do not even say Australia - Sydney.
– And £100,000 more.
– Yes. Where does, the patriotism of these honorable senators- come in 1 Their regard for the crimson thread and the silken bonds disappear in the midst of the selfishness which surrounds them. Their patriotism is reduced to a consideration for the sale of ship biscuits and bully beef. It agitates me when I consider how the money is to be spent in Sydney. It is to be spent on ship’s stores, and, I suppose, coal - all products of New South Wales. The cry of these Australian patriots is - “Give nobody else a chance ; let the citizens of the Commonwealth pay their £200,000 gladly so that we in Sydney may get the whole lot and a little more spent among us.” These men are prepared to do all they can to violate the Constitution for their own selfish ends. When the Commonwealth was inaugurated some members of the Senate said in Victoria that they expected to witness scenes of gaiety and splendour. Do’ they support the expenditure of this sum of £200,000 for the sake of the balls and festivities which may be given in honour of the officers - I was going to say and crews, but they will get very little pleasure. They are not supplied with even a knife and fork. They are worse off than the Chinamen, because they have to eat with their fingers. They are not supplied with napkins to wipe their fingers after they have eaten pork and treacle. Honorable senators come here and pretend that they are so stirred by patriot feeling that they are prepared to pay away the whole revenue of Australia for the purpose of getting a fleet, or entering into an agreement which will bring a number of warships hovering round Garden Island. There is another inducement for them to support the agreement. I do not know whether it has influenced the Customs revenue, but it appears that if they can keep the Auxiliary Squadron in “the beautiful harbor” there will be a chance of getting cheap cigars. It was 011I3’ the other day that some officers of these vessels were fined for smuggling cigars and tobacco. Do the patriots of New South Wales wish to- have a British fleet in Sydney Harbor, so that they can go about the Domain, or any of the other fashionable places, and smoke shilling cigars, which they have got for a penny ? If that is the kind of patriotism for which the Commonwealth will have to- suffer in the future, I am very sorry indeed. I think I have said almost enough about Sydney and New South Wales.. The selfishness which has been exhibited by its representatives is scarcely worth the notice which they have got. But I think that when the people of Australia realize that six representatives of a .State are prepared to go baldheaded, or otherwise, for an agreement of this description, with the avowed expectation that the subsidy and £100,000 more will be spent in Sydney, they will be more suspicious of the machinations of the politicians in New South Wales, who are endeavouring by all means to get every concession for that State, and particularly for Sydney, that is within the gift of the Commonwealth. I hope that the people of Australia will take warning from the past and be cautious as regards all dealings with New South Wales. Proceeding up the coast, between Sydney Heads and Moreton Bay there may be a few small ports and harbors.
– Newcastle, for instance.
– Newcastle can be easily protected, but as it is not a capital, as most of its hotels are falling to pieces, and as it has been in a dilapidated condition for ten or twelve years, I do not think that the hostile cruisers or hostile fleet that we hear so much about would trouble their heads to go near that port if it were not for the purpose of getting supplies of coal. In order to defeat that object, all we would need to do would be to cause a strike, unless, of course, honorable senators passed a Compulsory Arbitration Bill before that time. Going on to the capital of Queensland, I know that Senator Higgs will tell me that it would be almost impossible for a hostile cruiser to get up the Brisbane River.
– The enemy would have to wait until the tide came in.
– Yes ; and I am sure that if they did not know their way very well about Moreton Bay they would get stranded a dozen times before they reached the mouth of the river. There is every possibility that they might be wrecked on Stradbrook Island and find themselves in the lazarette, when they would be quarantined and could- not go ashore! I do not know that honorable senators have any idea of the difficulties attending a successful attack upon the city of Brisbane. There are two- very effective little gun-boats there,, which I believe would be quite equal to the protection of the river. But let me point out what has happened in the past. I think it was in 1890 or 1891 that a flood came. There were not many labour members in the Queensland Parliament at that time, and the Government was not very careful. There was not a full crew on board the Paluma, and the morning after the flood that vessel was found in the middle of the Botanical Gardens. It took nearly three months to prepare ways to get her out. But one night the flood came again, and there being some people on board the Paluma who knew how to steer her in the right direction, she was floated into the river once more. That would be a nice position for a foreign cruiser to have to face. How would a ship from the Black Sea or the Baltic like to meet with such a fate? Proceeding along the coast, there is nothing to protect in Thursday Island except a few Japanese and boss pearl fishers. I have very little sympathy for Thursday Island. If an earthquake swallowed it up, there would be no damage done that we should have occasion to regret so long as the decent people got notice.
– Do earthquakes generally give notice?
– I need not call the honorable senator’s attention to the old story of Lot and his wife who got away because they were respectable people. If the respectable people in Thursday Island got an opportunity of removing themselves in time T should have very little regret for the loss of the rest, judging from what I have heard. Senator Smith, who has been there, and has had opportunities of verifying what he has heard, can tell us that in Thursday Island there is’ nothing but a sickening sink of iniquity. I am sure that he would be quite satisfied with the results of an earthquake so long as one or two of his friends gob off safely. From Thursday Island we proceed to Port Darwin. There is nothing else on the road. It is a long distance, and I do not know where the hostile cruiser would get its coal and provisions on that coast. But suppose the cruiser got to Port Darwin. It would not stop very long there, because the cockles would eat holes through the bottom of the ship, and the mosquitoes would kill the crew. There are only 400 or 500 white people in the whole of the Northern Territory. The principal number of the inhabitants are Chinamen. The hostile cruiser might as well -go to China as to the Northern Territory.
Then, proceeding to Wyndham, another long journey, the enemy would get less than at Port Darwin. Then the vessel could go to Senator Smith’s favorite watering place, Broome. There are only a few white people there, all the rest beingcoloured aliens. I am sure that a hostilecruiser would be disappointed with what it was able to get on the north-west coast. I have referred to all the vulnerable points, and have shown that they are almost invulnerable.
– The honorable senator did not say anything about Hobart.
– I was leaving Hobart till the small-pox had been got rid of. I remember hearing a story which is applicable. It is a story of naval warfare, sothat I hope it will not be ruled out of order. Once, when Lord Dundonald was- * on his little sloop of about 150 tons, he was overtaken by a great French cruiser of some 2,000 or 3,000 tons armed with 50 or 60 guns. He hardly knew what to do. But there was a man on board who could mimic a Dutchman very well. Lord Dundonald knew there was smallpox in Holland at that time. He therefore put up the Dutch colours, and when the Frenchman hailed hisvessel, and said, “ Where are you for ?” the man who could mimic a Dutchman replied, that the ship was from Amsterdam orRotterdam - or whatever city had the smallpox worst. The Frenchman asked, “All well on board ?” The answer was, “ No ; we are all down with the smallpox.”’ Orders were at once given for the Frenchman to bout ship, and away in the opposite direction ab the greatest speed possible. Similarly, I think there is no necessity bo refer bo Tasmania until she gets rid of the smallpox. I hope this debate will havefinished before that time.
– The honorable senatorseems to think that it would not matter if the Australian Squadron went- away to the- China seas.
– If the squadron had been away from these coasts during thewhole of the last twenty-five years nothing would have happened, except that we should have been about £2,000,000 better off. I do not think that the taxpayers would regard that as a disadvantage. Bub let me refer bo the remainder of the coast of’ Australia, and ask the question : Where any foreign cruisers that were raiding these seascould do any damage? Upon the north.- coast of Queensland, the cruisers would be afraid to go within 100 miles of laud on account of the reefs. If they once got inside they would be afraid that they would never get out again. Off the New South Wales coast chey could not get within miles for rocks and peaks. It would only be by taking great risks that they could get near the shore. Down in South Gippsland they could not get within five or six miles of the coast for mud. At French Island there is so much mud that I could walk across to the mainland without rolling up my trousers. I am sure that Senator Playford can testify that round about Elan ville or Yankalilla it would be impossible to effect a landing. As to Kangaroo Island, we have had dozens of ships wrecked there - even ships full of whisky. Many sensible arguments have been used in the course of the debate, but a question of this kind has its ludicrous and its ridiculous sides.
– What does the honorable senator think of my argument regarding Sir Joseph Porter ?
– It was an excellent argument ; I have no fault to find with it. I am only sorry that my honorable friend had not collected more material for the purpose of continuing his speech. It appears to me that Australia resembles, in one respect, a tortoise or a turtle. Whenever an enemy comes to attack a turtle or a tortoise, it pulls its head and its limbs inside its shell, and remains safe.
– Unless some one turns it over.
– It is only turned over if it comes out of the water. Australia is a self-contained country. If .all the rest of the world went under in consequence of an earthquake not a soul in Australia would’ suffer from hunger or thirst. Not a soul would need to go naked. There is not a soul who could not go into the bush with his rifle or shot-gun and shoot whatever game there was to be obtained. There is not a soul in Australia who could not obtain here all the amusements which he could get in any other part of the world. Australia is entirely independent, with the exception that it owes a lot of money. That is about the only trouble we have got. So that if all the rest of the world were destroyed, and we no longer owed that money to anybody we should be over £200,000,000 better off than we are. If we were entirely cut off from the rest of the world, instead of having to send abroad our wool, meat, butter, fruit, eggs, and produce of every description, to the value of £8,000,000 or £10,0(»0,000 every year, we should have all that stuff for ourselves. What a time the people of Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide would have, with all this produce remaining in Australia, instead of having to be sent away ! That illustration shows the disadvantage and not the advantage of our connexion with the rest of the world. I have said that we are like the tortoise. If danger comes we can draw in our head and our limbs, and we are perfectly safe. Would it not be ridiculous if a tortoise - and this is exactly the position of the Commonwealth of Australia - imagining that he was about to be attacked by a whale, a sea serpent, or a sea lion, got into a deep pool inside a coral reef, and then halfadozen sharks went swimming round while he was inside of his shell and there was nothing to fear? Cannot honorable senators see the similarity of the position, and how ridiculous it is that we, who are like the tortoise self-contained, self-reliant, and selfsupporting, should have half-a-dozen sharks floating round to look after some other fellow who will likely enough never come near us ? Though, like the tortoise, we are self-contained, I have also indicated that we are very well armed, and, if we are not, it is quite possible to arm us effectively. It is proposed that we should spend hundreds of thousands of pounds in drilling a land force, and I have heard Senator Pearce admit that he would not object to the spending of £100,000 or so upon really up-to-date weapons of defence. We are to be in this position, and we are armed at all the vulnerable points. If we rolled ourselves up we should be like a hedgehog and nothing could touch us. And yet some honorable senators cry out about the dangers with which we are to be assailed, the men-of-war that are going to float round Australia, when we know that they could come within miles of us without the risk of being blown to pieces or wrecked upon our shores. Does not all this show that it is not any fear of danger that is affecting certain honorable senators who are so anxious to carry a Bill of this description ? No, it is the selfish instincts which induces them to endeavour to get something out of other parts of the Commonwealth which will benefit them, and which will do no good to anybody else. There is another aspect of the question to which I should like to call the attention of honorable senators. Is there anything more detestable in this world than a bully? Is there anything more detestable in this world than a man intoxicated who rolls about the streets insulting women and children? Is there anything more detestable than a man who is always on the aggressive, and who is always wanting to fight somebody ? Would it be right for the Commonwealth, for a State, or i.or any municipality in the Commonwealth to arm a mau of that description with a rifle, a revolver, a cutlass, or even a black thorn stick? Would it not be to their detriment and to their danger? Would not the man be the means of creating rows and ructions wherever he might go? Why is it that the flea is the most detested insect in the world ? It is because it is so persistent, so persevering, so pestilential, and because it is so painful in its endeavours to annoy everybody with whom it comes in contact. Do we desire to make the Commonwealth as contemptible as an insect of that description ? Why is it that the bee is more admired than the wasp? Simply because the bee does its work and interferes with nobody, unless it is itself provoked and interfered with. But how detestable an insect is the wasp. This goes to show that if you give some people, as some animals, the opportunity of becoming obnoxious, obnoxious they must become. Consequently, I say, it is better for the people of Australia, and it would be better for the people of many other parts of the world, if they paid more attention to the legitimate production of wealth than to providing the means for destroying the wealth of others, as well as protecting the wealth they have themselves. I should like honorable senators to consider these things, and to see that they give no opportunity to the sons of Australia to become more aggressive than they ought to be. We desire to be a peace-loving people here, and I am sure we shall never make a peace-loving people of Australians if we are always talking war to them, and always pretending that somebody is going to injure them, is going to rob them of what they have not got, and to do all sorts of damage to the country to which they belong. We ought never to do anything of the kind. It should always be our object to create a feeling of brotherly affection in the people of Australia for the white people of every other part of the world.
– Except Asiatics ; a number of them are white people.
– When they come along we shall see.
– But the honorable senator will not let them come along.
– Just so. Senator Walker said that he would allow them to go to Heaven with him, but I would ask the honorable senator and other honorable senators who are so anxious to refer to the restrictions put upon the immigration of coloured people, who ever heard of a black, a yellow, or a red angel ? Is not everything in the realms of bliss pure and white? Senator Walker should remember that when he is trying to poke fun at an ignorant individual like myself. I hope that lessons will be drawn in many directions from this debate. I have no desire to overtax the indulgence of honorable senators. I would not do that for the world. But I wish to say a word or two with reference to the Bill we are discussing. I have noticed that though a great deal has been said during this debate, very little attention has been given to the Bill itself. When we come to consider the Bill we shall find that there is nothing in it but an agreement. Tt certainly has a preamble in which there are nearly as many “ Whereases” as there would be in one of Senator Higgs’ questions. It would be meaningless, but for these “ whereases.” The first clause .of the Bill, the enacting clause, tells us what the Bill is going to be called. The second clause tells us what it is going to do. The next one appropriates money, but it does not say how much, and in it there is no solitary condition. I should like Senator Clemons to pay some little attention to what I amgoing to say. I propose to endeavour to be serious in thu midst of what seems to me one of the greatest , absurdities over brought before the Senate. When Senator Downer was speaking I endeavoured by interjection to draw from him a reply to the question whether the Admiralty had carried out the old agreement entered into in 1887. The honorable and learned senator ought t<> know that they did not. He knows that even at the time the agreement was made it was acknowledged by the Admiralty that two of the ships to be supplied were obsolete,and they never made any attempt to improve them or to replace them by others. I should like Senator Downer to say whether there was any provision in the agreement made in 1887 in the way of imposing a penalty for nonfulfilment of the agreement. Senators Clemons and Downer are both pretty high in the legal profession, and I should like to know if they have ever drawn out an agreement between two parties in which there was not some condition imposing a penalty for the failure of either party to carry out the agreement. If one borrows money and enters into an agreement in connexion with it, something will happen if he does not pay up, and he may actually be put in gaol. Senator Reid has said that a lot of members of Parliament do not pay their debts. I pay mine when I can, and when I cannot the other fellow has to wait. What I desire to call attention to, is that whenever an agreement is drawn out, even if it be in connexion with a contract for the building of a house, if the contractor does not build the house according to the plans and specifications referred to in the agreement, the other fellow will not pay him. If he agrees to build it in a certain time and fails to do so, what is the result? In such agreements there is generally a provision that he will be fined so much a day - £5 to £10 a day. If a contract is entered into to build a railway, Senator Styles, I am sure, can tell us, or Senator Fraser if he were here could tell us, that there are certain conditions under which penalties are imposed. I should like to know whether Senator Downer from recollection, or Senator Clemons from knowledge, can tell me that anything of the kind existed in the previous agreement drawn up between the different States and the Admiralty. They cannot tell me any such thing because there was none.
– Who was to enforce that contract ?
– That is what I desire to know. The very same objection applies to this contract. It begins with article 1, which states ‘ what the Admiralty are going to do for us. The Admiralty are going to provide one firstclass cruiser, two second-class cruisers, four third-class cruisers, and four sloops. Article 1 is the only article which provides for the
Admiralty doing anything for us ; all the other articles provide for our doing something for the Admiralty. That shows that when Australians go to the old country and come in contact with men of sagacity, with the experience of statesmen, like Mr. Chamberlain and others associated with him, they have to keep both eyes and both ears open. There are twelve articles in the agreement, and yet there is not a single condition in the way of a penalty. The British Admiralty are to furnish us with a sort of fleet which is to be kept up-to-date, and certain conditions are to be observed in return for the payment of a certain sum of money. But if the Admiralty send out one first-class cruiser, one second-class cruiser, and four third-claas cruisers, who is to decide whether or not they are treating us fairly? Who is to be the judge to certify that the conditions have been fulfilled? There is one part of the agreement I can see through plainly. If we do not pay the £200,000 the very guns provided under the agreement will be turned on us so as to compel us, whereas if the Admiralty fail to fulfil their portion of the agreement who is to force them to do so 1 No one is prepared to answer, and there is nothing in the agreement to show how the agreement is to be enforced. We must pay the £200,000, but there is nothing to compel the Admiralty to fulfil their part of the agreement. So it is from the beginning to the end of the agreement - so far as the Admiralty is concerned it is “ heads I win and tails you lose.” Poor Australia has to rely on the honour and on the integrity of the very party with whom sixteen years ago she entered into an agreement which has not been carried out as faithfully as it ought to have been. Honorable senators should look at the position from that aspect, and ask themselves whether it would not be better to save this £2,000,000. lt will not be safe for Australia to enter into an agreement like that unless there be some condition to compel the Admiralty to carry out the agreement to the letter. It has been asked how the agreement can be thus enforced ? If those who drafted the agreement had had the interests of Australia at heart as much as they had the interests of the Empire, they would have inserted some provision to the effect that until certain men, say Captain Creswell, now in the Australian service, and a French naval authority with an American naval authority, certified that the agreement had been kept, we should not have to pay this £200,000. It may be said that it is unreasonable to bring outside people into our affairs; but that is the spirit of arbitration - a spirit which I hope this Parliament will foster in the minds of the people of Australia. Something has been said already about Australia creating and maintaining a fleet of her own; and I do not wish to sit down before referring to that aspect of the question. Senator O’Connor stated that the same objections would apply in connexion with an Australian-owned Squadron as applies to a hired squadron. At that time I. said that 1 had not proposed an Australian-owned squadron, but now I am going to do so as an. alternative. I should not have an Australianowned squadron immediately.
– When we have paid our debts the honorable senator would, start 1
– I would start whenever we had the money in hand. Under present conditions, it is suggested that we shall still maintain our present naval ships - the Protector, the Cerberus, the torpedo boats, and the two gun-boats in Queensland. As we are still to keep these ships, I suggest that they should be improved. I know that to bring the Protector up-to-date it would be necessary to give the vessel a ‘certain amount of strengthening, but that work could be carried out in Port Adelaide at the expenditure of a few thousand pounds! I am sure that in Port Adelaide there are men both able and willing to make the Protector as strong and capable as any vessel that could be built at the present day. When the vessel had been strengthened the power of her engines could be increased and her speed augmented from fourteen knots to eighteen or twenty knots. Senator Charleston, who knows something about the construction of vessels, will -agree that machinery above a certain power cannot be put into a vessel except she be of a certain strength. The strength of . the vessel must be in proportion to the power and weight of the machinery; and the same rule applies to armament. For the expenditure of about £10,000 the Protector could be made an up-to-date vessel, with a speed of eighteen or twenty knots, - carrying one 8-inch gun and four 6-inch guns - a vessel which, properly manned, no other vessel except the Royal Arthur could get near. With 200 men, the Protector could out-manoeuvre or destroy either the Katoomba or the Wallaroo, although the latter had twice the number of men and arms they possess at present. I have been on board the Cerberus, and, having seen iron before, I can assure honorable senators that that vessel is almost as sound as on the day she was built. All that the Cerberus wants is bringing up to date, and treating in the same way as I suggest the Protector should be treated.
– The Government are going to do that.
– Then what more is wanted ? Do the Government want to send the Cerberus to hang on to Garden Island like the other war vessels ? The sum of £20,000 or £30,000 spent on the Cerberus would make her equal to any of the boats at present on the Australian station.
– Equal to any two of the present vessels.
– So far as the two little gun-boats in Queensland are concerned, it does not matter what .people say about their strength, they are exactly the class of boats required for the position. They are able to protect Brisbane River and Moreton Bay from attacks of cruisers from any part of the world. They are of light draft, and can go where it would be impossible for heavy crusiers to go ; and they could be strengthened and improved. If Sydney has no vessels of the kind, one equal to the Protector could be obtained for £100,000 or £150,000. What we want for Australian coast defence is not so much battle-ships as “watch-dogs.” In Melbourne we want vessels which could go outside the Heads and reconnoitre. If any suspicious vessels were observed they could be attacked, . but if they were too strong, then the Australian ships ought to have speed enough to get inside the Heads behind the submarine mines or torpedoes, and under the shelter of the forts. That is the class of vessel we want for the protection of Australian commerce, which does not consist in our business with the outside world, but in the business between one Australian port and another. If the Protects; when lying outside Investigator Straits, saw any suspicious vessels cruising about she could give warning to any of the intercolonial boats which were about to leave. That would mean only a few days’ delay to the intercolonial boats, and our commerce would be protected. But how are we to get such vessels? We already have some admirably adapted for the work, and at very little cost we could get others. During the last fifty years there has been no possibility of invasion ; and is it not quite reasonable to expect that for as long in the future there will be no trouble? We want swift vessels, well armed for their size, which can go out on observation duty, and in case of danger return under the forts and warn those in charge of the defences ashore. If they do that work, they are doing pretty well all that is really required. But how are we to get them ? We have not had a war for a long time, nor are we likely to have one. Let us decide not to enter into this agreement, and to save £94,000 a year for a period of ten years. If we adhere to the old agreement we shall still have the protection of the Auxiliary Squadron, and we can do something to force the Admiralty to bring their boats up to elate and to carry out the promises which they made in 1887. If that course were taken, at the end of ten years we should have saved nearly £1,000,000, when we could get as many vessels of an effective class as the present squadron comprises, and have what is so often spoken of - the nucleus of an Australian Navy. I hope that we all anticipate that within ten years prosperity will return to Australia, that with the increase of her population the revenue will, increase, and that at the end of that time we shall be in a better position to increase the annual amount which we are prepared to pay for naval defence. When we are in a position to do that we can increase our naval strength, and I am sure that the security of the people of Australia will be assured. I have no desire, I was going to say, to aggravate honorable senators by keeping them unduly late. I like to be reasonable. I have put the position from my point of view, which may seem a ridiculous one in the eyes of some persons. If my suggestions are worth anything, honorable senators can consider them ; otherwise they can throw them aside. If, in face of the great cry all over Australia for economy, they are prepared to throw away £94,000 a year, they will have to answer to the people. It will not be the fault of those who have endeavoured to warn the Senate against its foolishness. The supporters of the Bill must answer to the people, and I hope that when the time comes the people will consider all that has been said, and that their verdict will be in favour of economy.
– The debate has lasted for five sitting days. The question has been discussed from every point of view - in fact, up to . the. very limits of order. Topics of every kind have been introduced, which could by any possibility throw any. light on the matter which we have to decide. I admit that it is one of the most important questions which the Senate has had to consider, and on which every honorary senator ought to feel, and I hope does feel, a sense of the responsibility of the vote which he is to give. I wish to dissociate myself from the one or two senators who have accused the opponents of this agreement of want of patriotism. I believe that every honorable senator is animated by the desire to do what is best in the interests of Australia. We take different views of our duty, but I believe that we are all aiming’ at the same object. It appears to me that, as the matter has been discussed so fully, it is not in the interests of discussion or argument that I should prolong the debate. Many of those who have opposed the Bill have answered each other : many of them have answered themselves ; and those who have not been dealt with in that way have been answered by the many admirable speeches which have been made from this side of the Chamber. I hope that we shall now, however, go to a division, and I propose that afterwards we shall go into Committee pro forma.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Under Standing Order 2S5, I move -
That the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
– I second the motion that this Bill be referred to a Select Committee. I particularly claim the votes of several honorable senators. I would draw attention to the fact that last session we appointed a Select Committee to deal with the question of the steamship service between Tasmania and the main land. It will be just to consider the report of the committee and the evidence which it took. The committee inquired into “ the best means to adopt for improving the steam-ship communication “ and “the estimated cost involved in the adoption of such means.” In the fourth paragraph of its report the committee says- Evidence has been given to your Committee relative to the advisableness of the Government of the Commonwealth owning a line of steamers to connect Tasmania with the other States of the Commonwealth. Your Committee are of opinion that such a proposal should be considered in connexion with any movement for the’acquisition by the Federal Government of the railways of the several States, and in connexion with the question of defence, respecting which evidence has also been given to your Committee as to the possibility of constructing steamers for the Tasmanian Australian trade with a view to their utilization in time of war as a valuable adjunct to Commonwealth defence.
The report is signed by Senator Keating, and the other members of the committee who agreed to it were Senators Barrett, Drake, Macfarlane, Neild, Playford, and myself.
– What possible bearing can that report have upon this Bill t
– -It has a considerable bearing, because if the report is of any value it should be taken into consideration in connexion with the question of naval defence.
– Has it not been taken into consideration?
– No. Not a single honorable senator has raised the point brought forwardin the report, nor has the evidence given by experts before the committee been considered. In fact the chairman of the committee has voted against the proposals embodied in his own report.
– Certainly not.
– Certainly his vote was that in considering the question of defence we should have no regard to the recommendation of his own committee. We ought to have a Select Committee in order that the whole matter may be properly considered.
– It is perfectly childish.
– I hope that the Senate will now take an opportunity of considering the evidence given before the committee to which I have referred, and that Senator Higgs’ motion will be adopted.
Senator O’CONNOR (New South Wales - “Vice-President of the Executive Council). - Neither the mover of this motion, nor the seconder of it, has given the slightest shred of a reason for supporting it. This Bill has been thoroughly discussed from every point of view, and no mention was made in the debate of any advantage that might be derived from referring the measure to a Select Committee. Not a word was said on that point. No doubt it was recognised that there would be nothing gained from such a suggestion. The motion for the second reading has been carried by fifteen votes to nine - that is, by a majority of six in a Senate of twenty-four. The reasons now put forward are palpably illusory. It is quite evident that no advantage whatever can be derived by sending the Bill to a Select Committee, nor can there be any result except the wasting of a great’ deal more time. I take it that the Senate will recognise that the majority must rule. As the majority has decided that the Bill shall be read a second time, there should be some very strong reasons given before the Senate decides not to go into Committee with it at once. We should only stultify ourselves if we allowed ourselves to be led into the ridiculous position of affirming the principle of a Bill, and then referring it to a Select Committee, for the purpose of discovering some reason why it should not be approved of. I do not want to help my honorable friends who are taking this action, by speaking any longer, but I hope that the Senate will, by even a larger majority than before, reject the motion.
– Senator O’Connor has complained that no one has given a reason why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. I think the honorable and learned senator could not have listened to Senator Higgs, because the honorable senator gave several reasons why this course should be adopted. I propose in a few minutes to fill any gaps which Senator Higgs may have left, by giving some extremely good reasons why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee.. Before I do so I wish to reply to the extraordinary argument used by Senator O’Connor in reference to the majority which the Government obtained in the recent division. As the honorable and learned senator has pointed out, the majority was one of fifteen to nine in a Senate of twenty-four. As a matter of fact it is clear that the Government have not secured an absolute majority of the Senate in favor of this Bill. There are twelve members of the Senate who are absent and who have not voted, and it is impossible to say how their votes would have gone.
– Have not some of them paired 1
– I do not know whether they have paired or not. .
– The honorable senator has been looking at the pair-book, and he must know whether some have paired 01- not.
– At the time I looked at the pair-book honorable senators had paired only up to the adjournment for dinner.
– The division is twentyone to fifteen, if that is of any .use to the honorable senator.
– Senator Clemons has in some way polled the whole Senate, but he must be in error in assuming ing that every member of the Senate absent has paired, because I am aware that two or three absent members of the Senate have not paired. That point, however, is hardly in order, but it follows in the most natural way upon the remarks of the Vice-President’ of the Executive Council. Some of us have become aware within the last twenty-four hours that the question has been raised whether’ we can amend the Bill in Committee. Senator O’Connor cannot dispute that.
– I hold a very strongopinion that- we cannot amend any portion of the agreement.
– The honorableand learned senator admits what has come to my knowledge within the last twentyfour hours, that there is a strong doubt whether any portion of this agreement can be amended in Committee.
– I have no doubtabout it.
– Other honorable senators have some slight doubt about it ; and I submit that, in the circumstances, this is eminently a Bill which should be submitted to a Select Committee- in ot-der that that particular question may be investigated, and that a report upon the subject may be submitted to the Senate.
– If the Select Committee brought up a recommendation for an alteration the honorable senator would not he in order in moving it. That follows from what the honorable senator has said.
- Senator O’Connor is begging the whole question. What I said was that in the opinion of many persons this Bill could not be amended in Committee ; and I say that obviously it is a Bill which should be referred to a Select Committee in order that the position should be investigated, and that we may have a report submitted to the Senate as to the powers of a Committee of the Whole in dealing with it. Senator O’Connor has said that if the Select Committee recommended an alteration it would be impossible for the Committee of the Senate to adopt that alteration. That is only the opinion of the honorable and learned senator, and it is with a view of testing that opinion that I maintain that this Select Committee should be appointed. If we refer to the Standing Orders we shall find that, after a Bill has been referred to a Select Committee and reported upon, the Senate Can then go into Committee of the Whole. The question is put - “ That the President do now leave the Chair and the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole for the consideration of the Bill,” which being resolved in the affirmative, the Senate resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole upon the Bill. I submit that if that is feasible, and I have every reason to believe that it is strictly in accordance with our Standing Orders, it is nonsense for Senator O’Connor to say that it would be impossible for the Committee of the Senate to adopt the recommendations of the Select Committee if they dealt with any amendment. It stands to - reason that the Select Committee would not suggest any alteration of the agreement unless the members of it had previously satisfied themselves that it was absolutely within the power of the Committee of the Senate to make amendments if they were thought necessary. Many of us, while admitting that we have been beaten on the second reading of the Bill, are still of opinion that there are a number of minor matters in it which ought to be altered in Committee. I propose to touch upon a few of them, in order that the Senate may realize how extremely important it is thatthe Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. In the first place, the question arises whether we ought, in principle, toaccept any measure which comes up to us from another place in which an appropriation is embodied in a machinery Bill.
– That is a constitutional question with which the proposed Select Committee could not deal.
– I will take a note of the President’s opinion on thesubject, but I am not at present prepared to withdraw my contention.
– I do not think that is a question which the Select Committee could inquire into, unless there is someaddition made to the motion before the Senate. I desire only that the Senate shall not be under any misunderstanding as towhat is being done. If this Bill is referred to a Select Committee, that committee can. deal only with the matters referred to it. I do not think it can deal with a constitutional question such as that referred to by Senator Matheson, unless the Senate gives itpower to do so. And I do not think the Senate would give it power to do so by asimple reference of the Bill to a Select Committee. Honorable senators know thatneither a Committee of the Whole nor a Select Committee can inquire into any matter which the Senate does not order them to inquire into. They must get an order from the Senate to make the inquiry, either express or by necessary implication.
– I am very much obliged to the President for the very valuable light he has thrown upon this subject.
– It seems to me a. matter with which the Senate should deal, and the Senate may deal with it on thethird reading of the Bill.
– I bow to the President’s ruling, and I pass on to another point in connexion with this agreement. A point arises on which it is essential that weshould have some further information ; and that is in connexion with the addition of some clause to the agreement .to safeguard our right to own and fit ships of war for ourselves.
– I should like to raisethe point of order that Senator Matheson is not called upon ‘in accordance with the- decision of the President to move as an amendment an instruction to the Committee. According to Standing Order 288, I find that -
An instruction may be moved to the Committee on the Bill, but ought not to be moved by way of amendment.
– I am aware of that : but I was pointing out the position to Senator Matheson and honorable senators generally. A constitutional question, ought not to be dealt with by a Select Committee, and could not be dealt with unless the Senate specially referred it to the committee. But that does not prevent the Senate dealing with the question.
– We can deal with it when this motion is decided.
– If a Select Committee is appointed, undoubtedly an instruction can be given to it.
– Proceeding with my argument, I may mention that a most important amendment of the preamble has been given notice of by Senator Pearce. That amendment is on all-fours practically with an amendment, of which notice was given by Sir Edmund Barton in another place. I mention that incidentally only in order to convince honorable senators that it is not a frivolous amendment. It is one which was brought forward by the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth ; but, to my mind, -it was unfortunately dismissed in another place with but scant debate. I have read all that was said upon the occasion, and every word I read impressed me more and more with the absolute importance of the addition to this Bill of some such clause as was suggested by Sir Edmund Barton. If Senator O’Connor’s view is right it would be absolutely impossible for Senator Pearce to move in this direction.
– No ; I beg the honorable senator’s patdon. I said nothing about that. I spoke of the agreement itself, which is a different thing. I say we cannot alter a word of the agreement, but I do not say we cannot amend the Bill, so long as we do not amend it in. such a way as to contradict the agreement.
– I beg the honorable and learned senator’s pardon. 1 remember that he did use the word “agreement,”but I understood him to refer to the whole Bill as the agreement.I quite appreciate the honorable and learned senator’s objection now;, and it has rendered it necessary for me to explain that other legal members of the Senate have expressed the opinion that the Bill itself cannot be amended.
– Then what is the use of playing the farce of going into Committee upon it at all?
– That is exactly the point I would raise. That is one of the matters which the Select Committee would investigate. They would be able to inform us as to the rights of the Committee of the Senate, and we should be in a position to know exactly where we were. The amendment, of which notice has been given by Senator Pearce, is of the greatest importance. Honorable senators will notice that in the schedule of the Bill, which Senator O’Connor emphatically tells us cannot be altered in any respect, there is a most important paragraph to the effect that -
The Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and of New Zealand, having I’ecoguised the importance of sea power in the coutrol which it gives oversea communications, the necessity of a single navy under one authority, by which alone concerted action can be assured, and the advantages which will be derived from developing the sea power of Australia and New Zealand, have resolved to conclude for this purpose an agreement -
Many of us are of opinion that this particular part of the schedule is most dangerous.
– The honorable senator ought not to discuss the Bill, but should only give reasons why it should be referred to a Select Committee. Senator Hisrsrs confined himself to giving such reasons. I do not want to stop debate, but I do not think that the honorable senator is in order in again discussing the Bill.
– I do not propose to debate the Bill in the least, but it is necessary to point out the importance of referring this matter to a Select Committee, otherwise I’ should fail to influence the votes of honorable senators.
The PRESI DENT.- 1 do not want to prevent the honorable senator pointing out the importance of referring the matter to a Select Committee.
– It is important that the Senate should understand the danger which arises from this part of the Bill.”
– Wecan discussour powers of amendment very well in Committee.
– The honorable and learned senator is quite right, but I am sure that, with the sagacity of a lawyer, he will recognise that it would then be too late.
– I rise to a point of order. We have agreed that the Bill be read a second time, and I submit that no amendment can be moved which revokes or varies that decision. The motion before us involves either an abrogation or a qualification of the decision that has been come to.
– I do not think the question raised by Senator Downer is now before the Senate. The only question is whether the Bill shall be referred to a Select Committee, and afterwards to a Committee of the Whole, or whether it shall be referred to the Committee of the Whole at once. The Committee of the Whole can do everything a Select Committee can do except take evidence, and to take evidence is the only object of a Select Committee. I think Senator Matheson ought to confine himself to those points on which he thinks evidence ought to be taken.
– While bowing to your ruling, sir, I submit that a Select Committee should be instructed to consider the question of where and how any amendments desired by honorable senators can be inserted in the Bill.
– Such a recommendation by a Select Committee would have no effect, because that is a matter which would have to be decided by the Committee of the Whole. A Select Committee cannot bind either a Committee of the Whole, or the Senate. The Chairman of Committees will have to give a ruling in Committee of the Whole if any amendment be proposed.
– I submit that the Select Committee can take evidence as to whether or not this particular portion of the schedule is necessary to the agreement. I maintain that it is absolutely unnecessary, and many other honorable senators are of the same opinion. It is a matter on. which the Senate should ‘ not accept the simple affirmation of Senator O’Connor that it cannot be altered. There are other matters on which it is absolutely essential that evidence should be taken. Senator O’Connor stated that certain numbers of men will be employed on specific ships, and a Select Committee could take evidence as to whether there is any reason to suppose from the agreement that such will be the case. I see no evidence of that in the agreement, and I cannot agree with Senator O’Connor that there is the least likelihood that the men will be thus employed, or that specific ships will be used for the purpose ; and on this point it is desirable to have the evidence of expert naval men. The most important part of the Bill is that relating to the reserves, and I am anxious to urge on the Government that Captain Creswell, Captain Hixson, or other experts employed by the Government, should be asked to throw some light on the operation of those clauses. Personally , I am satisfied that the clauses will be found to be absolutely inoperative. Another point on which the Senate should receive information through the medium of a Select Committee is the jurisdiction under which the Australian sailors of the Naval Reserve would be placed. I have given some small attention to the matter, and I am satisfied that no member of the Senate has the least idea of what the position of these men will be under the Imperial Discipline Act. Then, again, there is the question of the special rate of pay,, on which special information ought to be available. It is understood that this special rate of pay will be in the form of a retention, to be handed to the men at the closeof their services. Under the Naval Discipline Act any penalties inflicted on sailors is invariably accompanied by loss of theirreserve pay. So far as I can judge, sailors, who might be attracted to the British Navy by promise of these Australian rates, of pay would for the least misdemeanour find all their accumulated pay forfeited. Anotherpoint on which we have had no information whatever, and on which we ought to have expert advice, is referred to in article 7,. which shows the two classes into which the Naval Reserve is to be- divided. I have been unable to obtain personally any information, nobody in Melbourne apparently understanding the question. I alluded to this point in my address, and I certainly expected that Senator O’Connor would have taken some trouble to explain the point, but he apparently was in the samedark condition as myself. According to the clause, the Naval Reserve is to be divided into two classes, one class consisting of thosewho have served three years on board one of His Majesty’s ships, and another- class consisting of those who have not so served. That is a question upon which we cannot express an opinion without expert advice, and the Government ought to have taken some small pains to post themselves as to the operation of the clause.
THE PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator ought not to debate that question further than to give reasons why the Bill should be referred to the Select Committee.
– The agreement has to run for a. period of ten years, and a most remarkable want of knowledge has been displayed as to the terms of the commissions of the ships. Each of the ships has to be commissioned for a certain number of years, which, we have been told, may be from three to five, though nobody seems to have any exact information. That is a point on which we are entitled to receive expert advice. I hope honorable senators will not think I have spoken at too great length. It must be remembered that Senator O’Connor distinctly said that nobody had given a single reason why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, and, under the circumstances, it was absolutely necessary that something further should be said on the subject. I hope I have satisfied honorable senators that there are good, valid, and most important reasons why a Select Committee should bo appointed.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I should like to say a few words in reply. When Senator O’Connor said that no. reasons had been advanced why this Bill should be referred to a Select Committee, he was merely adopting the r61e of a barrister in a court of law in regard to evidence produced by the other side. His suggestion that our object in moving the motion is merely to tie up the Bill is not fair to us. Perish the thought that we should tie up the Bill in this fashion. We only desire a Select Committee to be appointed. The matter brought forward by Senator Pearce was overlooked by some of us. It is most important that the Select Committee should inquire whether it would be wise to construct a vessel to carry on certain services in connexion with Tasmania, and at the same time to be used for defence purposes. There are other matters for investigation, such as, for example, some proposals I have made. Senator O’Connor says he takes the ground that we cannot amend the Bill in any particular
– No, the agreement.
– Not only does Senator O’Connor entertain not a shadow of doubt that we cannot amend the agreement, but he says that we cannot amend the Bill in any particular.
– I never said anything of the kind.
– I am very glad to hear from the honorable and learned senator that even if this motion is not carried we shall have an opportunity in Committee to move some judicious amendments which will not interfere, I think, with the provisions of the Bill. I propose that the Select Committee should inquire whether there is any condition in the agreement which could prevent the carrying of an amendment that the soldiers and the sailors shall be prohibited from using the dum dum bullet on an enemy. That, I think, is a fair matter for consideration. The Select Committee would have a right to inquire whether we should use civilized methods of warfare, or resort to the methods of the savage and the tyrant. Senator O’Connor said that the Select Committee could only bring up a report suggesting an alteration, and that we could not amend the Bill.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon.
– Honorable senators will remember that.
– I did not say that. I said that if the Select Committee did bring up a report suggesting an alteration in the Bill, it could not be made if it contradicted its purposes, and I say so now.
– The Select Committee might not attempt to do anything of the kind, but might say, “ We support the Bill in every respect.” If the Select Committee came to that conclusion we might be prepared to abide by their report; but, atall events, let the matter be considered. Honorable, senators know that we cannot bring witnesses to the bar and examine them .in a reasonable way.
– Yes, we can.
– Certainly it could be done ; but let the honorable senator imagine himself standing at the’ bar and answering questions. He talks about the dignity of the Senate !
– He would . make a mess of it, I think.
– He never makes a mess of anything. The Select Committee could make due inquiry. If I have not advanced sufficient reasons, I am sure that Senator Matheson has given ample justification for the appointment of a Select Committee. If it is thought that there will bo a difficulty in getting honorable senators to sit on a Select Committee, I may say that Senator Matheson and I will be only too happy to attend.
– An . impartial tribunal.
– The idea that we could be anything else but an impartial tribunal tickles my fancy.
– We want to catch our trams.
– If honorable senators are so anxious to get away we might adjourn this discussion.
– As the honorable senator is replying the debate cannot be adjourned.
– I would beg honorable senators to restrain their impetuosity, because I wish to conclude. I suppose the second stage has been reached in this mutter, and we might as well have a division. I trust that the Senate will see its way to fall in with our views.
Question - That the Bill be referred to a Select Committee - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
In Committee :
Clause 1 agreed to.
Bill received from the House of Represen tatives, and (on motion by Senator Drake) read a first time.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table the following papers -
Review of report of Capital Sites Commission.
Report of Electoral Commissioner, Tasmania.
Report of Electoral Commissioner, Western’ Australia.
Comparative schedule of articles and rates of duty payable under Customs and Excise Acts and proposed rates of duty under Papua Preferential Bill (Return).
Ordered to be printed.
Senate adjourned at 11. 13 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 August 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19030825_senate_1_16/>.