1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of the following message : -
Mr. President, MessageNo. 21.
The House of Representatives requests the concurrence of the Senate in the accompanying resolutions in regard to the procedure for the selection of a Federal Capital Site, which were agreed to by the House of Representatives on the 23rd instant.
House of Representatives,
Melbourne, 24th September, 1903.
That, with a view of facilitating the perform ance of the obligations imposed on Parliament by section 125 of the Constitution, it is expedient that a Conference take place between the two Houses of the Parliament to consider the selection of the seat of government of the Commonwealth.
That this House approves of such Conference being held on a day to be fixed by Mr.
Speaker and Mr. President, and that it consist of all the Members of both Houses..
That at such Conference an exhaustive open ballot be taken to ascertain which of the following localities, viz., Albury, Armidale, Bathurst,Bombola, Dalgety, Lake George, Lyndhurst, Orange, and Tumut, reported on by the Royal Commission on Sites for the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth, appointed by the Governor-General, on the 14th day of January, 1903, is in the opinion of the Members of the Parliament the most suitable for the establishment within such locality of such seat of government.
That Mr. Speaker be empowered, in conjunc tion with Mr. President, to draw up regulations for the conduct of such Conference and for the taking of such exhaustive ballot.
That the name of the locality which receives an absolute majority of the votes cast at such Confereuce be reported to the House by Mr. Speaker.
That it is expedient that a Bill be introduced after such report has been made to the House, to provide for determining, as the seat of government of the Commonwealth,; a site within the locality so reported to the House.
That the passage of the last preceding resolu tion be an instruction for the preparation, and introduction of the necessary measure ; and that leave be hereby given for that purpose.
That so much of the Standing Orders of this House be suspended as would prevent the adoption or carrying into effect of any of the above resolutions.
That these resolutions be communicated to the Senate by a message requesting its concurrence therein.
Appointments to the High Court Bench.
– I desire, as the representative of the Government in the Senate, to announce that Sir Edmund Barton, the Prime Minister, has tendered to the GovernorGeneral his resignation, which has been accepted, that Mr. Alfred Deakin was commissioned by His Excellency to form an Administration, and that it has been constituted as follows : -
Minister of State for Trade and Customs - The Honorable Sir William John Lyne, K:C.M.G.
Attorney-General - The Honorable JamesGeorge Drake.
Minister of State for Defence - TheHonorable Austin Chapman.
Vice-President of the Executive Council - The Honorable Thomas Playford.
These gentlemen will attend to be sworn in this afternoon. I have also to announce that, in reply to a telegram from the late Prime Minister, a letter has been received from His Honour Sir S. W. Griffith accepting the position of Chief Justice of the High Court, and that since the resignation of the late Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton and Mr. R. E. O’Connor have agreed to accept positions on the High Court Bench. I think it may suit the convenience of honorable senators if I move that the Senate adjourn until .Tuesday next.
HonqraULE Senators, - No ; until Wednesday.
Sonator DRAKE. - There are special reasons for asking the Senate to sit on Tuesday.
– The principal reason -is that we want, to pass the Supply ‘Bill.
-Col. Neild.- The Supply Bill can be put through on Wednesday.
– An adjournment until Wednesday will be much more convenient to honorable senators.
– As that appears to be the feeling of honorable senators I move-
Tliab the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday next.
– I rise to say a few words with reference to the announcement which my honorable friend has just made. I think I am expressing not only my own opinion but also the view of every senator when I state that we shall all regret the absence of our friend Mr. O’Connor from his place in the Chamber. His services to the country and to the Senate have been great, and although it has been my fortune, as it has been the fortune of other honorable senators, to be occasionally engaged in very active controversy on many matters which have arisen for consideration, I believe that no sting has been left behind, and that as between our friend who has vacated his place in the Senate and his office in the Ministry and each individual member of the Senate there will be the best of feeling and the best of good wishes for his future- We all rejoice to know that he retires to occupy an office in which I believe his- great abilities, his integrity, his broad-mindedness, will enable him to render even greater service to the Commonwealth than he has been privileged to do hitherto. I wish him long life and great success in that position, for which he is admirably fitted and which, in my belief, he will adorn. I congratulate Senator Playford, and the Ministry of rehabilitated fragments, on his accession to the position of “Vice-President of the Executive Council. He knows that I do so with the utmost sincerity.
– Hear, hear.
– It is no mere lip service, as my honorable friend is aware. We have been delighted to see him in that corner, both in his sitting down and in his up-rising ; we have really an affection for him, and those feelings will notbelessened when he takes his place at the table. Apart from the controversies of political life, in which we are all engaged, and which are necessary in order to the proper conduct of the business of the country and of its government - apart from those things which are essential, I believe that my honorable friend, wherever it is possible, will have the assistance - of honorable senators on both sides of the Chamber. That is all I need say of that appointment. I congratulate Senator Drake on being promoted - I think it is promotion - to the position of official leader of the Commonwealth Bar. I am sure, if he will allow me to say so, that he will show he is well fitted to occupy the position. I am glad that no mistaken notion as to the necessity of having the chief legal adviser of the Government in another place has intervened to prevent him from filling the office. I do not think that there is any such rule written or unwritten. I am very glad indeed to congratulate my honorable friend on his taking the position. Of the other arrangements I prefer to say nothing. The less said the better. I say no more.
– In offering my congratulations to those who have boon promoted from the Parliament to fill more honorable and responsible positions I shall have very little to say. As regards those senators who have changed their relation to their fellow members every member of the .party to which I belong is gratified by the promotion- which has been accorded to Mr. O’Connor. We know that he will do his duty in the position to which he has been translated, as he did on the floor of the Senate. We have always esteemed and admired our good old friend, Senator Playford. We expect, that, when he is at the table and ‘subject to criticism and responsible for the answers to the questions which may be hurled at him, he will give the same satisfaction as he has given from the place which he now occupies. As regards the direct representative of the Government here, no one who has watched Senator Drake’s conduct of business has a right to doubt his sincerity, or to complain of any want of energy and industry on his part in endeavouring to carry out his duties. We hope that he will receive thesamesupport from honorable senators in the future as in the past. I trust that our relations for the rest of this session will be mutually pleasant As one of those who have to appeal to the electors at the end of the year, I trust also that we may all meet again and renew our friendship in the first session of the next Parliament.
- Mr. President-
– I shall not say that it is out of order, but I do not think it is in accordance with custom for any one except leaders to speak on an occasion of this kind.
– But this is a motion for a special adjournment.
– I do not know whether that is the feeling of the Senate or not. Of course, if Senator Stewart wishes to speak I shall allow him.
– The honorable senator could speak on the next motion, “ That the House do now adjourn.”
– He could only speak to the question of adjournment, I think.
– Had Senator Drake simply made a Ministerial statement to the Senate, it would have been most unusual for any one but the leader of the Opposition, and, possibly, the leader of the Labour Party, to speak, but since he concluded his remarks with a motion that the Senate, at its rising, should adjourn until Wednesday, it is quite open to honorable senators, I submit, to speak to that question. I recognise that under the new standing order honorable senators will have an opportunity of addressing the Senate on the ordinary motion to closethe sitting, and it might be more convenient if they reserved their remarks until it was moved.
– It is a question as to what the effect of the new standing order is.
– The discussion has to be relevant to the question.
– I submit that on a motion for adjournment to discuss a specific question the debate has to be relevant, but that on a motion to close the sitting honorable senators are entitled to discuss any subject they may deem fit.
– That point was made very clear when we were debating the standing order.
– Perhaps the point had better be discussed on the motion that the Senate do now adjourn.
– But some honorable senators who desire to speak now might be precluded from speaking then.
– If Senator Stewart desires to speak now he can do so.
– When I came here to-day, I was not prepared to hear the announcement which has been made by the representative of the Government. I expected to have an opportunity of making a few remarks on some subjects which I believe to be of importance, notonly to the State which I represent, but also to the Commonwealth. I do not know whether Senator Drake knew last night what was going to happen to-day, but if he did he ought to have allowed the debate on the first reading of the Supply Bill to proceed instead of being adjourned, and honorable senators being deprived to a certain extent of the opportunity to say what they had intended to say.
– Last night we sat later than usual.
– We might have continued the sitting longer than we did. In any case, I desire to say now, with regard to one matter, what I would have said then, under ordinary circumstances. I regret very much that I cannot join in the chorus of contratulation which we have heard this afternoon from all sides of the Chamber. I cannot contratulate the Commonwealth on at least one of the appointments to the Bench of the High Court. Holding the opinions I do, I think I should be wanting in my duty as a representative of the people if I did not give utterance to them on this occasion.
– I am not in the habit of taking Senator Dobson’s advice ; if I did, Heaven knows where it would land me.I think that the occupant of the exalted position of Chief Justice ought to be a man of stainless public record ; he ought not to be a self-seeker, and, above all. he ought to be an Australian in sentiment. Does the proposed Chief Justice comply with those requirements is the question which I have been compelled to ask myself, and I regret very much to say that I have to answer in the negative. With regard to the first of those requirements - that he should have a stainless public record - I do not know whether honorable senators know anything whatever about the record of Sir Samuel Griffith. But I can assure them that it is a matter of public notoriety in Queensland ; and it will be interesting, as well as informing, at this juncture to look back some years, and ascertain what this gentleman’s conduct has been in the positions of Premier and leader of the Opposition in Queensland.
– Is the honorable senator in order in discussing the past conduct of any of the Judges of the High Court ?
– They are not Judges yet.
– We ought to treat them as Judges.
– An announcement has been made that certain gentlemen have accepted positions on the High Court Bench. I submit that unless there is a substantive motion dealing with the fitness of those gentlemen for the positions to which they have been appointed it is not in order for an honorable senator ‘to discuss the past conduct of one of them. The rule laid down in May is perfectly clear with regard to parliamentary criticism of Judges of the superior- courts in Great Britain. I will admit that the Justices of the High Court of Australia have not yet ben sworn in, but still I think that the rule laid down in May will apply. That rule is that -
Unless the discussion is based upon a substantive motion, drawn in proper terms, reflections must not be cast in debate upon the conduct of the Sovereign, the heir to the Throne, and members of the Royal Family, the Viceroy and GovernorGeneral of India, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Speaker, the Chairman of Ways and Means, members of either House of Parliament, and Judges, of the superior Courts of the United Kingdom.
I am aware that in our new Standing Orders we have not provided that we shall be guided by the authority of May, or by the rules of the House of Commons. But still May’s work on Parliamentary Practice must be regarded as having very great authority as a guide to the President in deciding matters of this kind, and I submit that the determination of the point rests entirely with the President. Let us examine the reasons for the point of order. It has always been considered undesirable that a man occupying the position of a Judge of the Supreme Court should be liable to have his conduct criticised, in any House of Parliament unless upon specific and substantial grounds. The motion now before the Senate is an ordinary one : That the Senate, at its rising,, adjourn to a certain day. I submit that it is not competent upon that motion to discuss a matter of such grave importance as the fitness of any gentleman for the position of a Judge of the High Court. It is most undesirable that there should be a possibility of the character of one of our Judges being besmirched and dragged in the mire in any way whatever. We must regard thesegentlemen as being above reproach.
– I do not carewhether it is by-and-by or not. Whether they have been sworn in or not, if they have accepted positions on the High Court Bench they are Judges dejure, although they may notbe Judges de facto. It may be necessary forthem to be sworn in before, all the formalities connected with their appointment arecompleted, but good sense and decency alikeshould preclude honorable senators from discussing any one of them at the present time. Of course if Senator Stewart considers that the conduct of one of the Judgeshas been such that he should not have been appointed to the Bench, it is open to him to* move a substantive motion, but I contend that except upon a substantive motion thehonorable senator should not be permitted to proceed with his criticism of the gentleman in question.
– The motion before the Senate is that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until an unusual time. It is not a motion which, within the terms of our Standing Orders, is one of urgency. It is a motion to enable a Minister to make a statement as to a change in the personnel of” the advisers to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and as to certain appointments which it is proposed to make, or which havebeen made, to the Bench of the High Court of the Commonwealth, and to fix our next day of sitting. In discussing that motion,. it must be remembered that the circumstances are unusual, and the question must be treated in an unusual manner. Several hon- orable senators have alluded to the qualifications of certain persons for the positions they will be called upon to occupy. That was done without any protest from any honorable senator ; and I cannot say that other honorable senators cannot take the contrary view. But at the same time I will ask Senator Stewart not to indulge in personal recriminations, and to moderate his remarks as much as possible. I deprecated, as honorable senators will recollect, any dis1 -cussion on this question further than from the leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Labour Party, and I think it would have been better if -after those honorable senators had spoken “the question had been put. In fact, I wished to put it, but I was not prepared to say that Senator Stewart was not in order. I will now ask Senator Stewart to be as brief as possible, and not to indulge in any strong language against any of the gentlemen who, as stated by the Attorney-General, have accepted the positions mentioned.
– I thank you for the ruling you have given, sir, and I will be careful to take, so far as my public duty will permit me, the advice which you have given. I think it is only right and reasonable, and in accord with common -sense, that if certain honorable senators are permitted to sing the praises of a particular individual without amy protest being made, other honorable senators should be permitted to give reasons why in their opinion certain appointments should not be made.
– I think the honorable senator should be general in his remarks, and not go into particulars.
– How can I be ;general without-
– Be generous.
– I think if any one is to be blamed for lack of generosity, it is not myself. It is the Government who should be blamed. I was quite prepared to make my statement before any appointments had been made. Indeed, I was prepared to do it when I first saw a rumour of certain appointments in the newspapers. If Senator Drake knew last night, as he probably did-
– No, I did not. I believed that the debate commenced last night would be continued to-day.
– In any case, I think that the Senate and the House of Representatives ought to have been afforded an opportunity of criticising these appointments before they were made. Therefore, if there is any lack of generosity, it does not appear to me that I am guilty of it ; the guilt lies somewhere else If I do not take this opportunity of saying what I have to say on the subject I shall have no opportunity later on. After the Chief Justice is sworn in I shall not be able to offer a single remark, unless, as Senator Gould has pointed out, I do so under cover of a substantive motion. I have no desire to do anything of the kind. When Senator Gould intervened with his point of order, I was considering whether, from my point of view, Sir Samuel Griffith complied with the qualifications which are held to be necessary in any person called upon to fill the office of Chief Justice of the High Court. With regard to Sir Samuel Griffith’s public record, I may tell honorable senators that in the early eighties that gentleman was the recognised leader of the white labour party in Queensland. He did valiant service for that party.
– Does the honorable senator think the political record of Sir Samuel Griffith is a question that ought to be discussed in considering his fitness for this position ?
– I think so. My object, I may as well explain at once, is to show that Sir Samuel Griffith proved himself to be unreliable in politics.
– What has that to do with it?
– That he abandoned his own party; that he renounced his deliberately adopted policy.
– For reasons which he gave.
– If I can demonstrate that he did these things– .
– Which, of course, the honorable senator cannot do.
– If I can, I am entitled to assume that he is unfitted to occupy the position of Chief Justice of the Commonwealth 1
– What is the honorable senator’s object 1 Is it not that Sir Samuel Griffith shall not be appointed to the position, and has he not already been appointed to it ?
– I wish Senator Gould would allow me to conduct this discussion in my own way.
– I think it will be a very great mistake if the honorable senator does.
– I have no doubt that Senator Gould thinks it a very great mistake.
– I rise to a point of order.
– This is stifling debate.
– According to a practice by which I take it we are bound, J Judges are amongst the persons whom we cannot criticise.
– He is not a Judge.
– Is the honorable and learned senator afraid of the truth 1
– No; I am not afraid of the truth. I am afraid of slander. My point of order is that as it ought to be and must be the practice of the Senate, in common with every, other legislative chamber, that honorable senators should not reflect upon the character of our Judges, and as Sir Samuel Griffith has accepted the position of Chief Justice of the High Court, and the whole Cabinet reconstruction depends upon his acceptance of that position-
– And he has been appointed by the Executive.
– He has not been sworn in yet.
– We have already had a ruling.
– So we have ; but I am raising a point which was not raised by Senator Gould. As we know that Sir Samuel Griffith is absolutely in the position of Chief J ustice of the High Court, having been appointed to that position by the Executive Council, and having accepted the appointment, and being in every way our Chief Justice, except that he has not been sworn in-
– Except that he has not been sworn in.
– I take it the rule should apply which debars us from reflecting upon the character of any one in that position.
– The President has already given his ruling.
– I wish to add one word to what Senator Dobson has said. Once a person has been appointed to a position upon the Judicial Bench of the High Court, he can only be removed from it by an address to the Governor-General, passed by both Houses of the Federal Parliament, although, of course, he may resign. My contention is that everything connected with the appointment of SirSamuel Griffith as Chief Justice of the High Court has been absolutely completed. He has been appointed by the Governor-General, with the advice of the Executive Council, and having been so appointed’, it is not open now, even to the Governor-General or the Executive, to reverse the appointment, except by taking the action provided for in the Act, under which the Judges of the High Court are appointed. ,
– The honorable and learned senator is only repeating himself.
– I am not addressing Senator Higgs. I am addressing the President, and I must ask Senator Higgs not to interrupt me.
– The President has already ruled.
– The President’ has had another point of order submitted, and he is bound to consider it.
– Very well, we shall all discuss it.
– I say that Sir Samuel Griffith, having been appointed to the position of Chief Justice, he cannot be removed from it except by an address to the Governor-General from both Houses of Parliament, because, although he has not been sworn in, he is de jureChief Justice of our High Court.
– No,- he is not, until he takes the oath of office.
– The only necessity for his taking the oath of office is toenable him to carry on his work.
– He will not be Chief Justice until then.
– I say that at the present moment we are not in a position to remove him from office. Senator Dobson. - He has accepted theposition.
– Senator Gould was not a senator until he was sworn in.
– The honorable senatorcould not have interfered with his right tothat position.
-Col. Gould. - I repeat that SirSamuel Griffith is de jure a Judge of theHigh Court, and if it would be improper, as we know it would, to criticise the conduct of that gentleman except on a substantive motion, after he had been sworn in, it is equally improper to do so at the present time. Of course if it were competent for Senator Stewart to criticise the conduct of Sir Samuel Griffith upon a motion such as that now before the Senate, after he had been sworn in, it would be competent for him to proceed now ; but I submit that there is only one legitimate way in which the conduct of this gentleman can be questioned, and that is upon a specific motion. I ask you, Sir, to reconsider your ruling, in view of the further circumstances mentioned by Senator Dobson.
– I wish to speak to the point of order raised by Senator Dobson. I submit that the person who has been named as Chief Justice of the High Court can discharge none of the functions of that office until he has been sworn in by the GovernorGeneral. W e can have no Chief Justice of the High Court until that final act is consummated.
– And yet honorable senators criticise him as Chief Justice.
– We are not doing so. I consider that Senator Stewart is referring merely to the qualifications of the proposed nominee for the position.
– He is giving honorable senators the whole of Sir Samuel Griffith’s political career, which has nothing to do with the question.
– Senator Stewart cannot be said to be speaking of the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth, because he has no existence yet.
– Yes, he has.
– No such officer will exist until final action is taken and the person named for the position has been sworn in. If Sir Samuel Griffith is Chief Justice of the High Court at the present time, the act of swearing him in before the GovernorGeneral is not necessary. If, on the other hand, that is necessary, Sir Samuel Griffith is not yet Chief Justice. Senator Stewart contends that these appointments are .subject to the criticism of Parliament. If Senator Stewart is in order at all in speaking on the motion before the Senate, he is in order in criticising the appointments announced. Let us apply Senator Dobson’s point of order to another speech to which we have just listened.
– Will the honorable senator refer to section 72 of the Constitution ?
– I prefer to settle this point first. Senator Symon, in referring to the appointment of Mr. O’Connor, to the High Court, spoke of that honorable and learned gentleman’s qualities as a politician and a leader of the Senate. That was the time when Senator Dobson should have raised his point of order, if it is right to raise it at all.
– No ; because Senator Symon was not criticising the con- duct of Mr. O’Connor.
– If it’ was in order for Senator Symon to criticise, though in a friendly manner, the ability of Mr. O’Connor as a politican, that honorable and learned gentleman having received an appointment to the High Court Bench, it is equally in order, as the President pointed out in his former ruling, for any other honorable senator to refer, though in unfavorable terms, to other appointments to the same Bench.
– I have already made up my mind, and have given my ruling upon the question.
– But if some honorable senators are allowed to raise points of order every five minutes, surely others may express an opinion.
– I have already expressed my opinion.
– I understand that : but I desire to point out that the contention of Senator Stewart, which I support, is that if there is an honorable senator present who has an objection to the appointment of any of these gentlemen, he has as much right to give expression to that objection as has any other honorable senator to express approval of any other person appointed to a similar position. Honorable senators will agree that when the question was first raised on the motion that the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday, I endeavoured to follow the example set by the leader of the Opposition. I did not give expression to any opinion calculated to provoke discussion, as I was under the impression that I might have an opportunity to do so when speaking to a subsequent motion. I have just as strong an objection to the appointment of a certain gentleman to the High Court Bench as have other honorable senators, but when I was speaking a few minutes ago, I waived my I right to make any reference to that subject.-
I simply expressed my approbation of the Ministerial appointments.
– Is the honorable senator discussing the point of order ?
– I am speaking to the point of order. I trust that Senator Dobson–
– The point of order was decided long ago.
– If so, the honorable and learned senator should have accepted the President’s ruling instead of raising a further point of order.
– The honorable senator, at this stage, must confine himself to the point of order, and not express any opinion as to the qualifications or disqualifications of any person.
– I am not seeking to do so. I am simply pointing out that–
– I would ask, Mr. President, in the. interests of orderly debate, whether you have not already given your ruling.
– 1 have.
– That being the case, how can the honorable senator be in order in discussing a point which you have already determined ?
– I gave my ruling, and subsequently Senator Dobson raised practically the same point of order. I was prepared at once to give my ruling upon it, but honorable senators appeared to be strongly disposed to make long speeches, and disinclined to hear what I had to say. If Senator McGregor will resume his seat, I will say this–
– Before you give another ruling, Mr. President-
– But I do not propose to do so.
– Then, before you repeat the ruling which you have already given, I wish to say that I claim the same right as has been conceded to Senator Dobson and Senator Gould to fully express my opinion on this point of order.
– The point of order now raised is, in effect, that which I have already determined. What I said before, . I desire to repeat. I say that, inasmuch as some honorable senators have expressed their approbation of certain appointments and have stated their reasons for that approbation, I am not prepared to debar other honorable senators from expressing s their disapprobation of certain appointments. At the same time, it appears to methat Senator Stewart, in going into a number of details as to the past history or i political career of a - certain gentleman, is departing somewhat from the course of. action which should be pursued by him. I think that the honorable senator will be perfectly in order in expressing his disapprobation of the appointments made by the Government. That relates to a political question.
– But he should be allowed to give reasons for- his disapprobation.
– I think it is altogether improper for an honorable senator to enter upon a long dissertation in the course of what is really an informal discussion. I again ask Senator Stewart to confine himself to generalities. I call on the honorable senator to proceed.
– But will Senator Stewart be out of order in expressing reasons for his disapproval “!
– I do not think it is advisable that he should enter upon a long dissertation. I have urged him not to do so, and I think it would be well for him to confine himself to a simple expression of disapproval.
– But, Mr. President, you have not given your ruling on my point of order that Sir Samuel Griffith is a Judge within the meaning of the Act.
– I call on Senator Stewart to proceed.
– I think it would be very much better if I were allowed to continue my remarks. Those who consider that what I am doing is wrong should allow me to bear the blame of my action, and those who approve of my attitude of coursehave nothing to say. I was referring, when interrupted, to the position occupied by Sir Samuel Griffith in the white labour movement in Queensland. I was pointing out that he was the leader of that movement in Queensland, and conducted it to victory. In 1885 a measure was passed which declared that the kanaka traffic should cease as from the year 1890. In 1888 Sir Samuel Griffith was defeated at the elections by Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, who had previously been an advocate of black labour, but who bowed to the weight of public opinion in Queensland, and publicly pledged himself never again to propose the re-introduction of any kind of coloured labour into the State. Thus we had the leaders of the two great political parties in Queensland ostensibly at one on this very important question and unanimously supported by the country. In 1890 the kanaka traffic came to an end. Some time later a coalition Government was formed by Sir Thomas McIlwraith and Sir Samuel Griffith, who previously had been political enemies of the most pronounced type. Sir Samuel Griffith had even gone so far as to take a trip to England to endeavour to prove that Sir Thomas McIlwraith was little short of a criminal. But in 1892 these two gentlemen formed a coalition Government with Sir Samuel Griffith as Premier. Immediately afterwards a Bill was introduced to repeal the Act of 1885 which put an end to the kanaka traffic. I had not the slightest objection, nor do I believe that any citizen of Queensland had the most remote objection, to Sir Samuel Griffith changing his mind upon this question, or to Sir Thomas McIlwraith taking up the same position. But I contend that what those gentlemen, and more especially Sir Samuel Griffith, should have done, was to have appealed to the country before deliberately breaking their own promises to the people - before deliberately going back upon the policy unanimously adopted by the country.
– Does the honorable senator really think that this has anything to do with the question?
– I think it has. In my opinion, it proves that Sir Samuel Griffith is unreliable - that he has been faithless in his public acts as a public man. If that can be proved against him as a lawyer, as a politician, and as the Premier of a State, it naturally follows that he cannot, from my point of view at all events, and from the point of view of a great number of the people of the Commonwealth, be a fit and proper person to fill the position of Chief Justice. We place this gentleman, so to speak, in possession of the Constitution. We put the Constitution in his hands to interpret. We have found him faithless in one relation of life, and how are we to know that he will not be faithless in this ? We have found him going back on his pledged word and abandoning his pledged policy. We have found him deserting his party. We have found him passing a law without appealing to the country for authority to do so, and I have heard it said lately in Melbourne
– Does the honorable senator think that it is fair to attack a gentleman who cannot come here and de- fend himself?
– Is it possible for Sir Samuel Griffith to come here ?
– We know that he cannot.
– What a miserable subterfuge is this suggestion that I ought not to attack a man who cannot come here !
– I simply put a question to the honorable senator. He has a right to proceed with his remarks.
– I should be prepared to meet Sir Samuel Griffith on any public platform and to debate this question with him. He is not a member of the Senate, and therefore it is idle, Mr. President, to ask me whether it is or is not cowardly to attack him. I am not attacking him, I am merely performing what I conceive to be my duty to the Commonweath. If I think the Commonwealth in danger, is it not my duty as a citizen, and much more as a member of the Senate, to warn the people of that danger 1 There may be no danger, but if I think there is, ought I not to sound the alarm ? That is what I am doing now. I am pointing out what Sir Samuel Griffith did as a politician, and I ask the members of the Senate if it is not possible, nay probable, that he will be guilty of conduct of an exactly similar character, if, unfortunately, he occupies the position of Chief Justice of the High Court.
– Shame !
– We cannot cancel the appointment.
– My task is a very difficult and not a pleasant one. Honorable gentlemen, by their interruptions, make it more difficult and unpleasant. In the beginning of 1892 a coalition was formed, and shortly afterwards an Act repealing the Act of 1885, and providing for the reintroduction of the kanaka traffic, became law. What followed? Sir Samuel Griffith was at the time Premier, and the late Sir Charles Lilley was Chief J ustice. A movement immediately took place to literally drag the latter from the Bench. Those of us who lived in Queensland at the time, and knew what was going on behind the scenes, were perfectly well aware that Sir Charles
Lilley was told in plain terms that he must get off the Bench, or he would be removed by Parliament. Why 1 Simply because he was a democrat - a man like the late Chief Justice Higinbotham of Victoria.
– I think that the honorable senator is not in order in discussing Sir Charles Lilley. He has nothing to do with the question before the Chair.
– Sir Charles Lilley vacated the Chief Justiceship, and Sir Samuel Griffith, being Premier, appointed himself to the position. He did so under extraordinary circumstances. Sir Charles Lilley was getting only £2,500 a year; Sir Samuel Griffith raised his own salary to i’3,500 a year.
– It was Sir Hugh Nelson who proposed the increase of salary.
– That is Sir Samuel Griffith’s connexion with Queensland politics. I come now to his connexion with the Federal movement. Surely I am entitled to say something on that head. He has always been an ardent advocate of Federation. He was a member of two Conferences, and drafted a- Constitution which was praised by every Conservative in Australia as a monument of the greatest capacity. It was, however, so Conservative that the Convention which sat in 1S97 and 1898, found that it could not be adopted. One of its provisions, I believe, limited much more strictly than the limitation in the Constitution now in force the right of appeal to the Privy Council. I understand that Sir Samuel Griffith was chiefly responsible for that provision. In 1900, however, we found him secretly intriguing in London - as an honorable gentleman who occupies a distinguished position in this Senate has characterized his action - against the Constitution adopted by the Australian people. He tried to get the Imperial authorities to alter the Constitution, which had been twice accepted by the people, and which had the unanimous support of the Premiers of the States. In what particular 1 He did not on that occasion desire that the right of appeal to the Privy Council should be limited. He had changed his mind then. He was not, as he had been in 1891, an Australian in sentiment. He was in favour of extending the right of appeal to the Privy Council. I think that any one who knows him can easily find a reason for that change of mind. The reason was the alternative proposal submitted by Mr. Chamberlain for the establishment of an Imperial Court of Appeal, with paid Australian Judges upon the Bench, and with a prospect of those Judges becoming peers of the realm. That was the magnificent prize which Sir Samuel Griffith dangled before his vision, and for which he was prepared to bind Australia in chains, so far as Great Britain was concerned, by compelling the people of Australia to go to the Privy Council for the interpretation of their Constitution. That is the kind of man who has been appointed to the position of- Chief Justice of the High Court. Can it be said that a man of that stamp is not a self-seeker ? I ask Senator Gould, who appears so indignant at the remarks which I have made, whether under ordinary circumstances he would consider one who had been guilty of conduct of that description fitted to occupy the most exalted position in the Commonwealth ?
– If honorable senators had all voted against the Judiciary Bill this trouble would not have happened.
– We must have a High Court ; but the Justices of that Court should be above suspicion and above reproach. Their public record should be stainless, and above everything, they should be Australian in sentiment. I do not wish to say more. I feel that my task has been a most unpleasant one. I should have preferred to congratulate the Commonwealth upon its prospective Chief J ustice, not only for the sake of the Commonwealth itself, but for the sake of the State which I represent. It has been said here in Melbourne that all these things were done by Sir Samuel Griffith without a single murmur from the people of Queensland. That, however, is an absolute misstatement, because there were many murmurs both loud and deep, and these culminated in the return of an almost complete labour representation from that State to the Federal Parliament. It may be pointed out that the people might have turned out the Government, of which Sir Samuel Griffith was a member, and reversed the policy which he initiated. I can assure honorable senators - and no man knows it better than the Minister of Defence - that they could not have done anything of the kind. It was made exceedingly difficult for any person to get his name on the electoral’ roll, and it was impossible for the people of Queensland to show their disapprobation of Sir Samuel Griffith’s conduct before they made an emphatic demonstration in that direction at the time of the Federal elections. . I am sure that if Queensland had been polled, Sir Samuel Griffith would not have been the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth.
– I should like to say a few words in explanation of my position upon this matter. I raised the point of order which has been disallowed by the President, simply because I regarded it as not only indecent, but wrong, to criticise, upon any other than a substantive motion, the conduct of any person who had been appointed to the position of a Judge.
– We had no opportunity before.
– That was the honorable senator’s misfortune. He might, however, have set himself right by submitting a substantive motion. I submit that as Sir Samuel Griffith has been appointed in a regular way by the GovernorGeneral in Council, he is de jure a Judge, and that no action could be taken to depose him from that position except by a specific motion, and an address to the GovernorGeneral, from both Houses. It may be that Sir Samuel Griffith is not yet a Judge, and that I may be wrong in my opinion ; but, assuming that I am correct, it is laid down in Denison and Brand’s Decisions’, 1857-1S84-, that -
Charges against the Judges are unbecoming to be made, as there is a proper course open if their conduct is to be challenged.
Again in Peel’s Decisions 18S4-95 it is stated that -
There must be no comment, except upon motion in due course, upon the conduct of the. Judges of the land, nor must any bias in their conduct arising out of political circumstances be imputed to them.
The remarks of Senator Stewart with regard to the unfitness of Sir . Samuel Griffith for the position to which he has been appointed were based upon that gentleman’s actions as a politician. It is perfectly true that at one time he advocated the abolition of black labour, and subsequently supported thereintroduction of that system for a limited number of years, but the fact that as a politician he saw fit to change his views upon a matter of very great moment to the people of Queensland, does not in any way affect his fitness for the position of Chief Justice of Australia.
– He should have appealed to the country.
– The question whether he should have appealed to the country does not affect his fitness for the position to which he has been appointed. He may have been the most inconsistent politician in Australia, and yet that would not be any justification for saying that he is unfit to become a Judge of the High Court. Exception has also been taken to Sir Samuel Griffith, on the ground that he was in favour of limiting the right of appeal to the Privy Council, and that he subsequently changed his mind. I decline, however, to believe that a man is unfit for a high judicial position simply because circumstances lead him to honestly change his mind. So far as the question of appeal is concerned, I am told that Sir. Dickson went to England, at the time he was a Minister, and represented that the people of Queensland were in favour of retaining the right of appeal to the Privy Council.
– He was a member of the delegation from Queensland.
.- If that was not the feeling of the people of Queensland, it was, at any rate, so represented, and I am informed that the members of the Queensland Ministry were of that opinion.
– Is it right for a Judge to interfere in politics 1
.- A Judge is perfectly entitled to give his opinion upon a question of that kind, particularly if it be true that he, with others, was requested by the Imperial authorities to express his opinion for their guidance. He may not have been thus invited, but whether that be so or not, the facts mentioned by Senator Stewart are not sufficient to justify the condemnation of his appointment. If it had been urged that the appointment was not desirable in view of the fact that it would exclude a better man from the position, or that the gentleman appointed was corrupt and incompetent, there would have been some force in the objection. But the matters which have been mentioned do not afford sufficient justification for the attitude assumed by the honorable senator. Sir Samuel Griffith may not be as good a man for the position as some others would prove, but that is not the contention, and nothing has been said to in any way affect his vital qualifications. It has been stated that because certain remarks were made in approval of the appointment of Mr. O’Connor to a position on the High Court Bench, honorable senators would be justified in adversely criticising the appointment of Sir Samuel Griffith. Those remarks were of a very flattering character, and having been made, the argument was used that it was open to any honorable senator to express dissatisfaction with regard to any one of the other Judges.
– That was the ruling of the President.
- Senator Gould is not disputing my ruling.
– I say again that it is improper for any honorable senator to express the opinions that have been expressed concerning a gentleman who has been appointed to the High Court Bench.
– What other opportunity could we have had?
-Col. GOULD. - There is a proper method laid down; and I am quite sure that if the honorable senator had grave cause for expressing dissatisfaction at an appointment of this kind the Government would afford him an opportunity of discussing a substantive motion to that effect. When a man is in a position from which he cannot reply to attacks that are made upon him, I trust that honorable senators will always refrain from such attacks unless they are made in a regular and constitutional manner. How can the gentleman who has been referred to reply to the attacks which have been’ made upon him today?
– He does not care.
– Perhaps he does not care, but it is a matter of grave moment to the Commonwealth that the Judges should be clean and reputable men. I am aware that certain honorable senators are honestly dissatisfied with the one appointment. It may be very hard for them to see this gentleman placed in such an important position as that which he has now to occupy. But still there is a broad rule laid down for dealing with such cases, and we should not attack a man whose hands are tied. So far as I can judge, the objections raised to the gentleman in question are not such as justify any honorable senator in urging that he is unfitted for the high judicial position to which he has been appointed. I say this as one who has not had a great personal acquaintance with Sir Samuel Griffith. I do not say it as a matter of personal friendship, but simply with a desire to do what is fair and just to those holding public positions. Ihope thathonorable senators will, now that the matter has gone so far, allow the motion to be put without further discussion.
– After the honorable and learned senator himself has spoken.
– I have said all I have to say with reference to the matter. As to the changes in the Ministry, I congratulate my honorable and learned friend, Senator Drake, upon his promotion to the very high and responsible position of Attorney-General. It must be a matter of congratulation to the Senate that the Government recognise that three of the important salaried positions in the Ministry can be worthily filled from this Chamber. We now have the Attorney-General occupying a seat in the Senate. Previously the portfolios of Minister for Defence and PostmasterGeneral have been held in the Senate ; and I hope that at some future time we may welcome Ministers holding other portfolios. I congratulate my honorable and learned friend, and hope that he will have a bed of roses while he remains Attorney-General. As to my genial friend, Senator Playford, I congratulate him on attaining the position of Vice-President of the Executive Council. I feel sure that the Senate will be led by him with all kindliness. Referring again to the High Court Bench, I congratulate the Government upon having appointed gentlemen who, in my opinion, will worthily fill the positions to which they have been appointed.
SenatorFRASER (Victoria). - I do not rise to flatter the Government, considering that I have been more or less opposed to them during the last eighteen months or two years. From my fighting nature, I should be more inclined to find fault with them. But on this occasion I am not justified in finding fault with the Government in regard to the appointments to the High Court Bench. I think I could have named one or two men whose appointment would have given me intense satisfaction, and at whose promotion I also think the country would have been pleased. But at the same time, speaking as one with a knowledge of Australia extending over fifty years, I must say that, in my opinion, the appointments made will satisfy the people of the Commonwealth. I am content, and believe that the country will be content, notwithstanding what has been said by Senator Stewart. I am going to give up speaking of the Labour Corner, because I am more or less friendly towards the honorable senators who sit there just now, as they have done some kindly actions towards me lately. I agree with Senator Gould in saying that a high Official person like a Judge of the High Court should not be attacked in Parliament, except in a regular and constitutional way. There is no proper opening for an attack upon the new Chief Justice. He is a man -well known throughout Australia, and highly esteemed in his official capacity as a Judge. He is looked up to by all the professional men, and they are better judges than laymen as to his qualifications. He is held in high esteem in Queensland, notwithstanding what Senator Stewart may say ; and I am pleased with his appointment. I believe that the new High Court will really command the Confidence of the public. I was afraid that it would be constituted in such a way that it would not do so. I am in favour of keeping the road clear for appeals to be made to the Privy Council, but at the same time, if appeals to the High Court of Australia are dealt with expeditiously, economically, and wisely, I believe that many cases will not be sent to England. I compliment the Attorney-General on his promotion in the Ministry. I do not know that there is any necessity for me to say much more than that I am quite satisfied as far as the arrangements of the High Court are concerned.
– The honorable senator forgets Senator Playford.
– Senator Playford is a senator with whom I have been more or Jess acquainted for the last thirty years, and I have always found him a straight man, as, I am sure, honorable senators have. Senator Playford certainly does not “ carry so many guns “ as does the late “VicePresident of the Executive Council, but that is not to be expected, because the latter, as a profound and experienced lawyer, naturally had a great advantage over laymen in dealing with Bills and other matters which came before the Senate. I am glad that the changes have been made in such a way as to give satisfaction to the people generally. Since the nature of the appointments became known, I have heard many comments, and I think I may say that the universal opinion is that the arrangement arrived at is better than was expected.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– This is a convenient time to make a few observations. I beg to join with those honorable senators who have congratulated—-
– The honorable member is now raising a.question, which I think ought to be settled. The question is whether on the motion “That the Senate do now adjourn,” matters may be discussed which are not connected with the adjournment. I am quite open to admit that a good many honorable senators who amended the Standing Orders in this connexion did so with the intention of permitting general discussion on the motion now before us - with the intention of allowing all manner of irrelevant questions to be discussed. But I have to administer the Standing Orders as they are. What is the position ? Standing order 405 provides -
No senator shall digress from the subjectmatter of any question under discussion.
The question under discussion is, “That the Senate do now adjourn,” and part of standing order 416, as submitted to the Senate by the Standing Orders Committee, provided that that question should be put forthwith, and without discussion. That part of standing order 416, however, was struck out, and, according to the Standing Orders as now framed, the motion, “ That the Senate do now adjourn,” is not excepted from the ordinary rule that the discussion should be relevant to the subject-matter of the motion. I have to rule on a question which has never before arisen, and I feel a difficulty in that I have to rule on the Standing Orders as they are, because I know that a great many honorable senators, when they amended the Standing Orders, intended that on the motion “ That the Senate do now adjourn,” it should be open to them to discuss any matter. In my opinion, the question now raised by Senator Higgs, is one for the Senate to decide ; and if I do give a ruling, it must be on the distinct understanding that if the Senate comes to a different conclusion, I shall not feel in any way hurt. I must decide according to the
Standing Orders as they are, and not according to the Standing Orders as some honorable senators wish them to be ; and under the Standing Orders as they are, the discussion must be confined to the question of the adjournment of the Senate. I do not know what would be the best method of leaving the question to the Senate, but it is certainly a question for the Senate, and this is perhaps a convenient time to decide it. I am quite willing, therefore, to give a ruling against Senator Higgs on the understanding that if that honorable senator likes to challenge my decision I am quite content to leave he matter to the Senate. Indeed, I am quite content to leave it to the Senate to give a decision now. It is, of course, a peculiar state of affairs for a President to give a ruling, and then to invite senators to consider the question of dissenting from that ruling. That, however, is practically what I am doing, and if honorable senators think that the letter of the standing order should be set aside, it is quite competent for them to take that course. But I see nothing in the Standing Orders to warrant me in allowing irrelevant discussion on the question “ That the Senate do now adjourn.” Elsewhere in the Standing Orders, where we intended that discussion should not be confined to the motion before the Senate, we said so. For instance, we say that on the first reading of a Bill which the Senate may not amend, the discussion need not be relevant to the subject-matter; and that, to a certain extent, implies that in other cases the discussion shall be relevant, as expressly stated in standing order 405. As I say, I am quite prepared to give a ruling now, and allow it to be discussed. I do not care whether or not I am overruled, because it is a question on which I admit there is undoubtedly a misapprehension on the part of many honorable senators.
– Will you suspend your judgment, Mr. President, until honorable senators have spoken 1
– I have made my mind up on the letter of the standing order ; but if Senator Higgs likes to challenge my decision as incorrect that* will afford the Senate an opportunity of discussing the whole matter. In the face of the misapprehension which I know exists in the minds of a good many honorable senators,
I would rather not take the responsibility of deciding the question myself.
– I understand, Mr. President, that you have not yet given a ruling.
– I should like to be relieved of the responsibility of giving a, ruling, if some way of affording relief can be found.
– 1 suggest, Mr. President, that you suspend your judgment, in order that you may hear honorable senators. I feel convinced that, when you have heard the question discussed, you will come to the conclusion that, on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, we may discuss irrelevant
– Very well; I shall suspend my formal judgment until I have heard honorable senators.
– If it would be more convenient to discuss the matter at a later stage, I am willing to postpone my remarks ; but, if honorable senators are not anxious to leave for other States, we may as well devote a few moments to the question. I distinctly remember New South Wales senators objecting to the form of the standing order which provided that the motion “ That the Senate do now adjourn,” should be put forthwith, without discussion, from the Chair.
– That is so.
– But the Standing Orders Committee did not agree with the New South Wales senators.
– There is no doubt that a great many honorable senators intended, by amending the Standing Orders, to allow a general discussion on such a. motion.
– If the President desires to oppose the intention of the generality of honorable senators-
– No ; I desire to do nothing of the sort. All I say is that I have to take the Standing Orders as they are, and that the intention of honorable senators, who amended this particular standing order, may not have been carried out. I must freely admit that a great many honorable senators - New South Wales senators especially - desired to be enabled to discuss all manner of questions on the motion “ That the Senate do now adjourn.” The point which I have to decide is whether we have given effect to that intention - whether we have gone sufficiently far in amending standing order 416. I have no desire to give a ruling which will be dissented from, and, therefore, if Senator Higgs will give notice that on a future date he will move that the standing order shall permit of a general discussion taking place upon the motion for adjournment the whole matter may be settled.
– I remember that one Friday afternoon I desired to debate the motion for adjournment, and that you, sir, suggested that we should postpone consideration of the matter.
– That was because the train was leaving at 4.30 p.m.
– This appears to me to be a convenient time to raise the question. However, if it can be properly discussed at a later stage, I have no objection to adopting your suggestion, and shall accordingly give notice of motion- to that effect.
– I should like to point out that if the Senate adjourns un til Wednesday next, that will be the last day of the present month. Upon that afternoon private members’ business must be taken, and consequently we shall not beable to pass the Supply Bill till the last day of the month, with the result that the civil servants will not be paid at the usual time. The reason why we didnot propose to proceed with business this afternoon was that there was no Minister in the Chamber who had been sworn in. Within a few minutes, however, I believe, that Senator Playford will be present in his capacity as Vice-President of the Executive Council, and probably I shall be sworn in soon afterwards. Now that we have gone so far, it appears to me that it would be wise for us to pass the Supply Bill before we adjourn.
– There are very good reasons why we should not do that. The resignation of the Prime Minister carries with it the resignation of the whole of the Government.
– I fully understand that.
– The AttorneyGeneral has himself moved the adjournment of the Senate.
– Yes. But it is quite competent for me to withdraw that motion. In a few minutes the Ministry will be properly constituted, and there will be nothing to prevent us from proceeding with the consideration of the Supply Bill. If, on the contrary, we adjourn till Wednesday next, that measure cannot be passed till the last day of the month - a most unusual thing. I have been asked by one or two honorable senators to give the Senate an opportunity of passing the Supply Bill before we adjourn. The Treasurer desires Supply to be granted in order that he may be in a position to pay the civil servants at the usual time. Senator Playford has now been sworn in, and consequently the House is properly constituted for the conduct of public business.
– The Senate will agree to grant the necessary supply.
– I ask leave to withdraw my motion.
– I object.
Question resolved in the negative.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In view of the approach of the elections -
Have the Government yet framed any regulations under the Electoral Act 1902 to give facilities to voters for senators to vote at any polling place in the State as provided in section 139 ?
In view of the urgency of this matter, will the Government expedite the framing of regulations, so as to give the Senate an opportunity to consider them ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Resolved (on motion by Senator Playford) -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable a Supply Bill to be passed through all its stages without delay.
Oversea Mail Contract : Ports of Call :
Senate Elections : Transcontinental Railway : Officers of Library: Senate Chamber : Senate Officers’ Salaries : Pacific Cable Conference : Penny Postage.
Debate resumed from 23rd September (vide p. 5384) on motion by Senator Drake -
That the Bill be now read a first time.
– I desire to say a few words in regard to the extension of the mail contract to Queensland.
It would have been only a proper act on the part of the Government to invite tenders for a service which directly included Brisbane as a port of call for the mail steamers. That has not been done, and the probability is that Queensland will be excluded from any trading benefits so far as the mail contract is concerned. I think it is extremely desirable that the producers of that State should have equal opportunities of sending their produce to the old country with the producers of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. In Queensland there is a very large area of excellent country which is admirably suited for dairying - indeed, I believe that it is much better adapted to that sort of thing than is any other portion of Australia. We have also a considerable area which is suitable for fruit growing. If we had direct mail communication with Brisbane the probability is that our export trade would be very largely increased, and that the development of our resources would be materially encouraged. I would, therefore, impress upon the Government the absolute necessity of bringing Queensland within the circuit of the mail boats. I. see no reason why she should be excluded, except that it is probable that if the steamers go to Brisbane a little extra expense may be entailed upon the Commonwealth. I conceive that one of the objects of Federation was that each of the States should help the others, and that the States hs a whole should pull together to secure the benefit of mutual assistance and cooperation. If that is so, there can be no valid reason why Brisbane should not be made a port of call for the mail steamers. Indeed, ^1 would suggest that they should go a little further north than Brisbane, and touch at Rockhampton. There is up there a very rich district which is only awaiting increased facilities for export to be capable of sending away .a very large quantity of produce of various kinds. I find that Queensland’s contribution to the subsidy amounts to nearly £10,000, and all the benefit which that State is to derive from that expenditure is that her letters will be forwarded from Adelaide. So far as Queensland is concerned the service does not go beyond Adelaide.
– She might as well be a suburb of Adelaide.
– She might just as well be a suburb of Adelaide, but, although
Adelaide is an admirable place, Queensland has no desire to occupy that position.
– She already has a mail service from the old country coming through Torres Straits.
– We desire to be brought within the compass of the southern mail, and I believe we are entitled to that. Senator De Largie haw spoken of the Torres Straits mail service, but I am sure no one would object more strongly than would that honorable senator to a proposal that the mail boats should cease to call at Fremantle.
– There is no analogy.
– In many respects there is no analogy. Queensland is a richer State in many ways than is Western Australia. The only thing of any consequence which Western Australia produces is gold, and we know that that could be sent to the old country without any refrigerating chambers.
– Western Australia has the biggest export of timber of any of the States, and she also has exports of pearl.
– That may be so, and my desire is that Western Australia shall go on and prosper. That, however, is no reason why Queensland should be- subjected to any inferiority. She is one of the great States of the Commonwealth. She is third in point of population, and second in point of size. Indeed the country available for occupation in Queensland is larger than in any of the other States. That being the case, I think it would be good policy and good business on the part of the Commonwealth Government to include that State in the mail circuit. I therefore bring the matter under the notice of the Minister in charge with the greatest confidence. I understand that a very large public meeting was held in Brisbane only last night in support of this proposal. Meetings have also been held in support of it in Rockhampton, Townsville, and Charters Towers. There is a very generally expressed wish on the part of the Queensland people that they should participate in this mail service. I am quite sure that the people of that State will gladly consent to increase their contribution if that should be found necessary. There is another matter to which I desire to direct the attention of the Minister representing the Government. When the Electoral Bill was passing through this Chamber members of the Senate insisted that the electors should have the same facilities in voting for candidates for the Senate as were given to them in voting for candidates for the House of Representatives. In voting for candidates for the House of Representatives an elector can vote anywhere within his own electorate. We claim that the same right should be given to electors voting for candidates for the Senate, and that they should therefore be permitted to vote anywhere within a State. That was allowed at the last Federal elections in three of the States, Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland, and very few cases of personation were discovered. The Commonwealth Electoral Act gives power to the Government to make regulations providing facilities for this being done. The late Vice-President of the Executive Council gave us a distinct promise on behalf of the Government that regulations permitting an elector to vote anywhere in a State for a senatorial candidate would be framed. I understand that they have not yet been formulated. Surely it is high time they were. I believe that Sir John Forrest is opposed to giving these facilities, but the right honorable gentleman is in his present position not to carry out his own wishes, but to do what the Act provides shall be done, what the Government has distinctly promised, and what public opinion demands shall be done. I can assure the Minister representing the Government in this Chamber that if this is not provided for very great dissatisfaction will arise in my State, and a very large number of the electors of Queensland will be disfranchised. I know that the objection raised in some quarters to the proposal is that it will have the effect of -making personation more easy. Unfortunately it would appear to be impossible to entirely abolish personation, but why should we take up the position that, because a few persons ‘may offend against the law by per- sonating, we should therefore disfranchise a large number of honest people who would never think of doing such a thing ? Our laws are made for the honest and not for the dishonest, and I submit that it may be much better that a dozen persons should be allowed facilities to personate than that probably a couple of thousand persons should be denied the opportunity of voting. Therefore I appeal to Senator Playford to bring the matter before the notice of the
Minister for Home Affairs, and try to get the promise made by his predecessor carried out.
– It may be convenient if I state at once that regulations under which persons will be able to vote at various polling booths at the senatorial elections are in the hands of the Attorney-General, are nearly completed, and will be issued in ample time.
– I desire to say a few words on a question which is almost of supreme importance to the State I represent. I refer to a survey of the route of the transcontinental railway. Now that we have a VicePresident of the Executive Council who knows something about this matter, I feel that the position is improving all the while. I think we are entitled to ask for the authorization of a trial survey before the session is closed. The States EngineersinChief were appointed by the Government to report on this very important question. These gentlemen were all highly qualified to express an impartial opinion ; and in view of the rosy complexion of their report the Government ought to provide a sufficient sum for carrying out a survey.
– Why should Tasmania be taxed for that purpose 1
– Considering that the railway would greatly shorten the mail service, Tasmania would derive a benefit from its construction in common with the other States.
– She would get precious little benefit out of that railway.
– She would get the benefit of a quicker mail service. We desire a survey to be made in order that the country which the railway is to traverse may be better understood. We have every right to claim that the logical sequence of the impartial report of the States EngineersinChief is a survey of the line. I desire to know if the Government intend to take any immediate step in that direction. In the life of this Parliament every State except Western Australia has derived a benefit of some kind from the Federation ; it still remains the Cinderella of the group. I hope that on our return to the State we shall be able to tell the electors that the Government have done something to advance the construction of a great national undertaking, which will confer an immense benefit on the people of all the States.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council). - I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time. In this Bill we are asking for two months’ Supply. It ought to be passed some time before the end of the month, so that all the pay-sheets can be got ready. If it is not passed through all its stages to-day, and anything were to occur to delay its passage on the 30th September, public servants who are not paid under special Acts would have to go without their salaries. As it is an urgent matter we ask honorable senators to give us Supply to day. We expect the Appropriation Bill to reach the Seriate next week, when all the questions which have been referred to in connexion with this Supply Bill can be discussed. Last evening the Attorney-General made a note of all the matters which were mentioned by honorable senators, and is making all the necessary inquiries, so that he may be able to give a full answer by-and-by.
– I do not rise to oppose the motion, because I can see that the new Government are placed in a difficulty. It does seem to me most extraordinary to bring forward a measure of this kind at this time. Why did not the late Government apply to the Senate for two months’ Supply long ago ? .
– Because they had no opinion of the Senate ; because they thought that it was a mere Upper Chamber.
– So it seems. What harm can it do to delay the granting of Supply until the 30th September, when this Bill could be passed, and the public servants paid on the following day 1
– We have to pay public officers all over the Commonwealth. They are- generally paid before the end of the month.
– What great difficulty could arise if they were not paid until the 1st October ? Would not persons who are earning their living outside the Public Service be quite satisfied to get their pay within twenty-four hours of its being due 1 No great harm would be done by letting public officers wait twenty-four hours for their salaries. It will create a precedent if we rush this measure through the . Senate with about half - a - dozen senators in attendance. The Government should have given more reasons than they have done before they asked the Senate to take this step.
– The Bill was discussed at great length yesterday.
– I am sorry to hear so good a business man as Senator Zeal wishing to delay the granting of this Supply Bill.
– No ; I only protested against the action of the Government.
– The Government ought to be placed in a position to make the payments in due course. To delay the passing of the Bill until Wednesday next- the last day of the month - would not be business-like or fair to the Government. I hope that it will be passed at once.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
– I should like to ask the Minister in charge of the Bill whether the salaries provided for the officers of the Senate are on the basis of this year’s Estimates, as introduced in another place, which contemplated an increase in payment.
– They are on the basis of last year’s Estimates.
– I desire to ask whether it is correct that any of the officers in the Library have additional duties imposed upon them during the session, and, if so, whether they receive any bonus or addition to their ordinary salary in respect of that special service ? If any extra work is imposed upon’ these officers during the session - and I believe there is something of the kind - we should in some way or other recognise it by giving them special remuneration.
– Mr. Speaker has charge of the pay sheets relating to the Library officials, and as I have no information on the subject I cannot now reply to the honorable and learned senator’s question.
– I hope that the honorable senator will suggest that something be done in the direction I have indicated.
– I will cause inquiries to be made, and if I find that these officers are compelled to work overtime during the session I shall see that, even if they get nothing more, they receive such remuneration as is provided for by the Public Service Act.
– I desire to bring under the notice of the Vice.President of the Executive Council the state of the atmosphere in this chamber, as well as in some of the rooms within the precincts of Parliament House. I trust that the honorable senator will cause inquiries to be made from the proper authorities as to whether the ventilation of the chamber cannot be improved. Honorable senators who sit here ibr five and six hours at a stretch must have observed that the atmosphere has a very injurious effect upon them. I do not know whether it is that the chamber is not properly ventilated, or whether the carpets and furnishings have been so long in use that they are detrimental to our health.
– We require new carpets.
– If I had my way I should replace them with linoleum or oilcloth. The carpets harbor innumerable germs and microbes dangerous to the health of man. Something requires to be done. The atmosphere in the chamber has given rise to numerous complaints on the part of honorable senators, and if those who sit on the floor of the Senate find it deleterious to their health, those whose duty requires them to sit in the galleries must find it even more objectionable. I am sure that the trouble can be remedied, and I trust that the honorable senator will take steps to that end.
– I can afford the honorable senator some information on ‘ the subject. Different senators are differently constituted. There are some who complain to me that there is far too much ventilation - that they catch cold in the chamber - and at the express request of a considerable number of honorable senators, we have had gas- heaters fixed in the Senate for the purpose of warming it. There is always a difficulty in every Parliament in pleasing the two sections - those who prefer an abundance of fresh air, and those who do not. I confess that
I am among the former class, and I should like to see this chamber better ventilated. No one is called upon to sit here more continuously than I am, but it seems to me that it is impossible to please every one. In every parliamentary building of which I have heard - from the House of Commons downwards - complaints are constantly being made by the two sections.
– We need more ventilators in the roof of the building.
– If the honorable senator glances at -the ceiling he will see that there are some round holes in it, which are designed to ventilate the chamber, but I cannot say whether they are sufficient. We must recollect that this is not our building. We are here only as the guests of the Victorian Government, and I think we should hesitate before we incur any large expenditure in effecting alterations. I am fully aware that the atmosphere in the Senate is sometimes very stifling. For my own part, I should like to see the gas heaters removed, but, as I mentioned before, they were provided at the express request of certain honorable senators.
– I would point out that the remedy is in the hands of honorable senators themselves. If the curtains around the walls were removed we should have abundant ventilation, but while they remain they shut out the fresh air. This chamber was used for some forty years by the Legislative Council of Victoria.
– And the members of it lived to a ripe old age.
– The membership of the Legislative Council is more numerous than that of the Senate, but no great difficulty in regard to ventilation was ever experienced while the Council met here. My difficulty as President was to keep the chamber warm enough. Before resuming my seat I desire to bring under the notice of the Minister another matter which requires our consideration. I find that, during the discussion of this year’s Estimates in another place, statements were made and decisions were arrived at which placed the officers of the Senate in an invidious position as compared with the officers of the House of Representatives. I fail to see why treatment should be accorded one set of officers which is not accorded to another. The salaries of our officers have been reduced, and the statement has been made very freely that they have less work to perform than have the officers of another place, and that they should, therefore, receive a smaller remuneration. The question should not be dealt with in that way. If any reductions are to be made in the salaries of our officers the Senate should be consulted. If honorable senators give a moment’s consideration to the question, they will readily see what may follow. At some time or other a difference of opinion might occur between the two Houses, and as another place votes supply, it might in such circumstances reduce the salary of every one of our officers, from the President downwards, by ten per cent. That should not be possible. A certain sum of money should be passed in globo for the Senate, and should be disbursed by the proper officers according to a schedule prepared either by the Senate or by a committee of honorable senators. Unless honorable senators take care to prevent such an invasion of their rights as this appears to be, they will bitterly rue their neglect. Some day the two Houses may come into conflict on a point of this kind, but by the exercise of ordinary prudence such a difficulty should be impossible.
Senator Sir RICHARD BAKER (South Australia). - This is a matter which I intended to bring before the Senate when the Appropriation Bill came up for consideration. I understand that the reductions referred to by the honorable senator were made on the plea that the officers of the Senate have not so much work to do as have the officers of the House of Representatives. In the first place I am not at all sure that that statement is correct. The refreshment rooms, the Queen’s Hall, and other parts of the building which are common to the members of both Houses, are under the jurisdiction of the joint House Committee, and the officers of the Senate are the officers of that Committee. In the House of Representatives there are three more officers than there ale in the Senate. We have the Clerk of the Papers and Accountant at £380, and a shorthand ‘writer and typist at £188, or £568 in all ; whereas, in the House of Representatives they have the Clerk of the Papers and Accountant at £420, the Clerk of the Records at £350, the Assistant Clerk of Committees and Reading Clerk at £300, the Assistant Reading Clerk at £-200, and a junior clerk at £80, or a total of £1,350. The officers of the
Senate should, in my opinion, receive at least the same salaries as those paid to similar officers in the service of the House of Representatives.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I support what has been said by Senator Higgs in regard to the ventilation of the chamber, and I also wish to point out the desirability of raising the lights here, in order to safeguard the eyesight of honorable senators. In the other chamber the roof-lighting is out of the range of vision of honorable members, but here an honorable senator sitting on the back benches has a glare in his eyes throughout the sitting.
– The matter is one for the House Committee to inquire into.
– With regard to the point raised by Senator Zeal, he has not put the position rightly. As a matter of fact, there has been no reduction of the salaries of officers or servants of the Senate.
– All that has been done is to strike out increases.
– They have given increases to their own officers.
– No ; they have passed the salaries to which we agreed last year. The President has promised to bring the matter forward when the Estimates are under’ discussion, which is the proper time to deal with it, but I hazard the opinion that £185 per annum, which I understand is the pay of some of our attendants, cannot be regarded in Victoria at the present time as a low salary.
– I have heard senators continually assert that the Senate is not to be compared with a Legislative Council, and those who have knowledge of the work done here know that both senators and officers have a great deal more to do than the members and officers of the Legislative Council of Victoria, which formerly occupied this part of the building. I understand, however, that the salaries and wages of the officers and attendants of the Senate and House of Representatives were arranged as though the relative positions of the Senate and the House of Representatives were the same as the relative positions of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, which was a wrong basis upon which to arrange them. Although the House of Representatives may not have reduced their salaries, I think those who wish to maintain the prestige and position of the Senate should see that consideration is paid to the greater amount of work done by our officers and attendants. I hope that when the Estimates are under discussion the opinion of the Senate will be expressed upon this question.
– The question will be raised.
– If we are to be considered an important part of the Legislature of Australia, we should see that the right amount of importance also attaches to our officers.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I desire to support the remarks of Senator Stewart in regard to the tenders for the mail service. I think . that the State of Queensland has not been fairly dealt with by the Government, and I should like to feel sure that there is not some influence in the Cabinet which is being used against that State in this matter. To my mind, there is no reason why the mail steamers should not call at Brisbane. Honorable senators may be influenced by the argument that they cannot afford the time to do so, but business men will admit that nowadays there is not so much urgency in regard to the carrying of mails as there was formerly, because all urgent business is done by means of cablegrams, and letters are chiefly confirmatory of the messages which have been sent by cable.
– Bills of lading and all documents of that kind must go by mail.
– Yes, but there is not the same need nowadays for quick despatch in the matter of mails.
– In any case the steamers remain a fortnight, in Sydney now.
– It is only fair to Queensland that she should share in the carrying facilities provided by the Commonwealth Government. There has been established in Queensland within the last few years what is practically a new industry - the dairying industry. A few years ago the farmers looked upon dairying almost as a means for making pin money for their wives. How they get £20 or £30 a month from their dairies. It is their mainstay, and has worked quite a revolution in their condition.. Millions of money have been spent in improving the channel of the Brisbane River in order to enable the largest steamers to go up to the wharf at Pinkenbah, which is 7½ miles distant from Brisbane proper, and, therefore, there should be no difficulty in accommodating the mail steamers, if the Government will only compel them to call. It is very unfair to single out the port of Brisbane, and call for tenders in a special way.
– Does the honorable senator wish that Brisbane should be made a starting point.
– No ; a port of call only. When tenders were called, Brisbane was placed at a disadvantage, because the steam-ship companies were asked to send in alternative tenders, one of which would omit Brisbane from consideration. Now, the greatest indignation prevails in Brisbane. A meeting held there last night, and attended by representatives of all parties in the State, condemned the action of the Government. I would ask the Attorney-General whether the grievances of Queensland cannot be redressed even at this stage. I cannot help thinking that some influence adverse to Queensland is at work in the Cabinet. Human nature is human nature all the world over, even in Cabinets, as we have seen from recent developments. The Federal spirit is not predominant at the present time, and certain State influences aire at work to deprive Queensland of her rights. We cannot afford to overlook this matter, and although the Government seem disposed to pay very little attention to the Senate, they will some day find our assistance lacking when they most require it. They are piling up a number of political crimes which will call for punishment later on. It may be true that the Senatecan bark but cannot bite. But at the same time we could place the Government in a very awkward position by rejecting Supply Bills or other equally essential measures. I should imagine, from the way that the members of the Government in. another place treat this Chamber, that they do not attach very much importance to what we may think or do, and it may be necessary to take some strong action in order to show them that we are entitled to some voice in the affairs of the Commonwealth. I think that the Senate is more in touch with the people of Australia than is the House of Representatives, because we represent the States as a whole instead of divisions of the States. Therefore, we are entitled to a great deal. more respect and attention than we have hitherto received.- I should like the Attorney-General to reply to the questions I asked last evening with reference to the Pacific Cable and the message sent by the Governor-General to the Honorable Joseph Chamberlain.
– I think that matters in connexion with the advertisements relating to the mail service have been misrepresented to the honorable senator and also to the people in Brisbane, who have been complaining of the action of the Government. I can assure the honorable senator that there is no hostility towards Queensland on the part of the .members of the Cabinet. That particular portion of the advertisement relating to tenders to which he has referred has not been altered in any way .from its original form. Nearly the whole of our mail contracts will expire about the time at which the proposed new services will begin, and therefore an opportunity is afforded to secure offers from the shipping companies for almost every kind of mail service that would be of use to us. If honorable senators read the advertisements they will see that we are asking the shipping companies to furnish us with alternative tenders under almost every conceivable condition as to route and ports of call. Weare inviting tenders for a service from Sydney via Colombo or Aden, for a service simply to Colombo or Aden, for a service from eastern ports, from Brisbane, via Vancouver and also from some port in Australia by any route to England. We have purposely made the invitation as wide as possible in order to secure every variety of offer, and thus extend our choice.
– Two alternative tenders are invited, one including Brisbane, and the other excluding it, as a port of call.
– The advertisements are drawn up in such a way as to leave an opportunity for the shipping companies to tender, in almost every conceivable form, for a service from Australia to England. With regard to the service hitherto maintained by the P. and O. Company, we are asking for tenders, as before, from Sydney ma ports, and also, as an alternative, we are inviting the companies to state what additional cost would be involved if the steamers were required to go on from Sydney to Brisbane. That seems to me to be very fair. If the shipping companies respond toom advertisements, we shall know exactly what services we can secure, and be able to judge which will be the most advantageous in view of the expenditure involved. I cannot see that there is anything unreasonable in that. We are inviting tenders for a service from Brisbane to Vancouver. We do not say anything in that connexion with regard to a service from Albany or Fremantle. We are inviting tenders for services going in the other direction from particular ports, and in fact we are affording the companies an opportunity to tender for a service from almost any port, and by any route they like, including the Cape and Torres Straits. What reasonable ground is there for the complaint made by some people in Brisbane ? We are inquiring as to the cost that would be involved in extending the service from Sydney to Brisbane. Is there any reason why we should not ascertain that ? We might not be able to afford to pay the extra money, or we might discover some more efficient way of carrying on a mail service from the eastern ports. The position taken up by some people in Brisbane is that we should not allow the shipping companies to submit any tenders except for a mail service which would include Brisbane as a port of call. That is not reasonable.
– We ask that the Government shall call for tenders for a service to include Brisbane.
– We have done so.
– -Only as an alternative.
– Yes ; we have invited tenders foi” a service from Sydney to London, and have also asked what additional expense would be involved if the steamers were required to proceed on from Sydney to Brisbane.
– Thus inviting a differentiation.
– Surely the honorable senator does not suppose that the shipping companies will perform extra work without extra payment. We have not found any shipping companies ready to do so. If honorable senators will turn to the advertisement and read it for themselves they will see that we have made the conditions so _ wide that we can obtain tenders for every possible service that could be of use to us. It will be for the Executive afterwards to decide what proposals they will accept.
That will be the time, if any injustice is done to any State in connexion with the acceptance of tenders, for representations from that State to be made. But I cannot see how any grievance can exist in consequence of the way in which we are calling for tenders, seeing that we embrace every possible alternative.
– Why did not the Government make the tenders with regard, to other ports alternative 1
– They are alternative to such an extent as to make them as wide as possible. I hope honorable senators will obtain copies of the advertisement calling for tenders and read it. They will then see that no injustice has been done to Queensland. At all events I say distinctly that the supposition that there is in the Cabinet any hostile feeling to Brisbane is absolutely baseless. I do not know whether Senator Higgs desires me to go into the other matter to which he has referred. I made preparations to do so, and am having inquiries made in connexion with everything which has been brought up. But we shall have the Appropriation Bill before us next week or the week after, and I propose to postpone my reply upon the matters alluded to on the motion for the first reading of this Bill until the Appropriation Bill is before us. There is only one matter which I ought to mention in fairness to Senator Higgs. It has reference to the motion which was carried in the Senate with regard to the telegram, sent by the Governor-General to Mr. Chamberlain. I take all the responsibility for allowing that motion to be passed in the form in which it was passed without challenge. I did not happen to be at the table at the moment. But I wish to point out that the motion was not in the .proper form. I do not think the honorable senator is acting in the best taste in asking for the cablegram ; but the proper form of asking for anything that is in the possession of the Governor-General is by means of an address. The motion in question should have taken that form. I do not think the honorable senator is right in asking for the cablegram ; but, in any case, it is a well-known fact that the proper form in reference to such matters is that a minute goes from the Prime Minister to the Governor-General, and the minute is transmitted to London. I do not think the honorable senator is justified in implying a distrust as to the way the minute was transmitted. 11 d
– I am not distrusting the Governor-General, but his advisers.
– The minute as sent to the Governor-General has been circulated amongst honorable senators. But if Senator Higgs entertains a suspicion that the telegram sent by the Governor-General contains something that was not in the minute, and wishes to obtain a copy of the telegram, his proper course is to proceed by way of address.
– There is one subject which I should like to bring under the notice of the Government in connexion with the Post and Telegraph Department. It is a subject that has not been mentioned this session. I allude to the fact that we, as a Commonwealth, are out of harmony with the entire British Empire in connexion with the penny postage system. There is no Government under the King that maintains the old-fashioned idea of charging for every letter that is sent to or received from England at the rate of 2£d. It will be remembered that when Canada started the penny postage system some years ago there was a loss for the first nine months, but since then the revenue has increased by leaps and bounds. If we turn to India, to Ceylon, to Fiji, to New Zealand, or to* any other British dependency on the globe, we find that one uniform penny postage rate prevails. This is a matter which the Federal Government ought to look into very closely. Although at the commencement of a penny postage system there might be a slight loss, nevertheless, the increase in the correspondence carried would be so great that, in two or three years, the loss would be completely overtaken. I say so much, because we are supposed to represent the most energetic portion ‘of the British Empire. We are descendants of the bold spirits who came here after the discovery of gold, and we ought not to lag so far behind in a matter of this kind. I wish the Government to take the subject into their serious consideration, and to look into all the figures, so that an alteration may be made, and- that we may be brought into conformity with the rest of the British Empire.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Drake seems to be under the impression that I desire to reflect upon the GovernorGeneral. I have no such desire. I know that the Governor-General merely carries out the wishes of’ the Executive Council. Senator Drake has taken up a most extraordinary attitude this afternoon. He declares that before I can obtain a copy of the cablegram sent by the Governor-General to Mr. Chamberlain in connexion with the Cable Conference, I must move that an address be presented to His Excellency. *
– That is the usual form, and it is the form provided by the Standing Orders.
– Was that form followed in connexion with the correspondence laid on the table of the House of Representatives on the 2nd July 1
– If it contains correspondence between the Governor-General and the Secretary of State, I should say yes.
– The motion carried in the House of Representatives was -
That there be laid on the table of the House all the correspondence in connexion with the proposed agreement between the Commonwealth and the Eastern Extension Company.
Included in that correspondence are a number of cablegrams sent by the GovernorGeneral to Mr. Chamberlain.
– It was irregular, if that was done.
– Copies of those cablegrams sent by the Governor-General were printed amongst the correspondence, although no address was sent to the GovernorGeneral. There was no suggestion of any reflection upon the Governor-General when the correspondence was asked for. One document is headed -
Copy of telegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral .of the Commonwealth.
– There is no telegram sent by the Governor-General, is there 1
– There happens to be
Copy of telegram from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
That is dated 27th March. Why was it that the Government have only given us in the return laid upon the table of the Senate a copy of Sir Edmund Barton’s letter to the Governor-General ?
– It was a minute for transmission, was it not 1
– No; it was a letter containing a request that the GovernorGeneral would cable, asking Mr. Chamberlain if he still pressed for a Conference. Then we had Mr. Chamberlain’s reply cable of the 27 th August, which amounted to fifteen or twenty lines, and dealt with a variety of matters other than the mere request contained in Sir Edmund Barton’s letter to the Governor-General. That shows, to my mind, that the Government advised the Governor-General, probably by word of mouth, as to the terms of the communication sent to Mr. Chamberlain, who, in his reply, said that it was possible the matter had gone too far for the Commonwealth to recede. How did Mr. Chamberlain come to send that reply, unless there was some suggestion in the cablegram of the GovernorGeneral that the matter had gone too far ? If it was possible to produce the cablegram of .the 27th March, 1903, why is it not possible to produce the cablegram sent to Mr. Chamberlain on the 21st August of this year? I have no wish to reflect on the Governor-General, who simply carries out the instructions of the Ministry ; but the latter have adopted such an extraordinary attitude that honorable senators have, a right to see all the papers connected with the matter.
-r- I am perfectly sure that the proper course by which to approach the Governor-General is by an address, but I shall inquire into the matter more fully. I see by the correspondence referred to that the Government have laid on the table telegrams which passed between the GovernorGeneral and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and, perhaps, there may be no objection to a similar course being adopted in regard to other communications.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper : -
Engineer for Linotype Printing Office, Applica-tions, &c.
Senate adjourned at 5.15 p.m;
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 September 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19030924_senate_1_17/>.