1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice - ] . Is the Government aware that the Premier of South Australia has stated that he will refuse to sanction the construction of the Transcontinental Railway until fuller information is obtainable ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– Very unsatisfactory.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the report be now adopted.
I said - “Of course their visit will include the taking of evidence 1” I admit that the reply which I received was somewhat sphinxlike. It was - “I shall do nothing to prevent them from taking evidence.” When the Commission reached Dalgety, however, they took no evidence. What was the use of the promise made in this Chamber, and repeated in the telegram of the Prime Minister, if it was intended that the Commission should only ride round in a coach, without asking any questions or taking any evidence? Why was the visit made, unless as a pretence? There are other peculiar circumstances connected with the report upon the Dalgety site. Some one with more interest or more influence than myself succeeded, after the report of the Commission had been completed and presented to Parliament, in securing a special expedition to Dalgety on the part of the Commission. For what reason was this done ? I do not know, and I have never heard a reason given. The report upon the Dalgety site was accompanied by a map which reflects mo credit upon those responsible for its compilation. Right through the proposed site at Dalgety runs- the finest stream for the purposes of water supply iri Australia - the Snowy River. If honorable senators will look at the map submitted by the Commission - this extraordinary secret tribunal, which fears to make its discussions and differences public ; and that there were differences of the most serious character amongst the Commissioners I positively affirm - they will find that the map in question contains no drawing of the Snowy River itself. Little subsidiary creeks or water-courses, which are probably dry for nine months in the year, are carefully drawn ; but the Snowy River is omitted from the plan. For the purposes of a city supply, water could be conducted from the Snowy River by means of a flume, which a few diggers could construct - a flume as simple as that to be found at the Cataract at Launceston, and yet we find no indication of this splendid stream which would afford a neverfailing supply. It is considered good form always to be pleasant, and it is always nice to meet with nice people, but some one must have courage enough to direct attention to the absence of truth, as well as to fawn over the truth when it occasionally appears. I am now directing attention to what seems to me to be the absence of a form of truth from the proceedings of the Commission. At the risk of appearing not only ungracious but disagreeable, I feel it my duty to offer these criticisms. It is always pleasant to receive an honest compliment, or to pay a compliment where it is honestly due. On the other hand, it is always unpleasant to have to direct attention to matters of a disagreeable character. I never have been, and I hope I never shall be, forgetful of my public duty to the extent of failing to refer to matters of an undesirable or improper character to which I think attention should be drawn. With regard to the Bill in its present form, I also desire to say a few words. As to the large area which it is sought to acquire, and which the Vice-President, of the Executive Council so nobly championed, I should like to point out that 1,000 square miles cannot possibly be required for building sites. The area must be utilized for some other purposes, probably for farming. It is generally understood that the leasing system will be adopted by the Commonwealth in connexion with the territory under its control. I admit that that is not laid down in the Bill ; but it has been so prominently referred to in the debates in both. Houses that ic would be mere affectation to ignore the fact that it is not intended to alienate any land within the Federal territory. If the Commonwealth had an area of 1,000 square miles the question would arise, “ Where are you going to find tenants to occupy 1,000 square miles of farming leaseholds, whilst on every side of this Bellamyite settlement people can obtain freeholds under the land laws of New South Wales by paying a deposit of only 2s. per acre ? “ No one knows better than the “VicePresident of the Executive Council that one of the most prominent characteristics of Britishers is the desire to own land. A Britisher will own a piece of land, even though his title be strangled by a mortgage, rather than take land on lease without a mortgage. Therefore, I contend that if we adopt the leasing system in connexion with the Federal territory, the larger the area the less likely shall we be to secure its useful occupation for farming purposes. I put this forward as a reason why it is undesirable to claim so large an area as 1,000 square miles. As to the legal question, regarding the proper interpretation of the Constitution, I do not in- tend to occupy the attention of the. Senate.
I When we had no High Court, discussions upon that point might have been justifiable. Now, however, that that tribunal has been constituted, discussions upon such a subject, in an assembly consisting chiefly of laymen, would be mere beating of the air. I shall not trespass upon such delicate ground. What I have said has been said with a feeling of the obligation we are under. I hope that whatever be the fate of this Bill - and it seems to me to be more than doubtful; to be, indeed, a foregone conclusion that we are solemnly enacting some thing which is never to have the force of law - I hope at least that those who are charged by the people of Australia with the maintenance of the obligations of the Constitution will not place too much responsibility upon the individual electors of the Commonwealth, and have too little regard for the solemn obligations imposed upon those who are elected.
– I do not propose to discuss the whole of the matters that have been referred to by Senator Neild, but I should like to say that the speech delivered by him with regard to the absence of the minutes of the Royal Commission is important. He states thathehas information upon which he can rely that it was intended to recommend another portion of the State of New South Wales as a site for the Federal Capital. It would be well for the Government to make some effort to ascertain how far that statement is correct. The Government would be perfectly justified, even if the Commission have the right to retain the minutes of their proceedings, in obtaining copies of them, in order that they, for their own information and satisfaction, and incidentally for the satisfaction of Parliament, may ascertain exactly how the decisions of the Commission were arrived at.
– Has the honorable and learned senator, during his long experience as a Minister, ever known of the retention of the minutes of a Commission ?
– It is most unusual for the minutes of a Royal Commission to be retained or held by its members as their own private property. A Commission is appointed by the Government to do a specific work. Certain men from different States were chosen in this case. It is .quite right that members of the Parliament should know exactly the views entertained by the men representing their individual States. I quite agree with Senator Neild that the minutes should not be regarded as the private property of the Commissioners, but as the property of the Government. As State property they are documents to which we should have access. The Government should obtain possession of them. I do not look upon the Capital site question as having been definitely settled, and if that view be correct,, it would be well for the Government to make up their mind to have the matter thoroughly inquired into and investigated for their own satisfaction and for the satisfaction of the members of this Parliament. I recognise, as every honorable senator must do, that there is a very large majority in favour of the Bill asit stands, and that it would be utterly futile and useless to object to the adoption of the report and the third reading. Thoseof us who are opposed to some of its provisions have entered our protest as strongly as we could. But we must recognise that there must be finalty in dealing with Bills, although some of them may come beforeus again. I should like before resuming my seat to remind the Senate of one or twofacts that I think should be borne in mind in connexion with the settlement of the site. I take the opportunity of mentioningthem now instead of saying anything when the motion for the third reading of the Bill is submitted. The Bombala site has been approved of by a large majority of honorable senators. The area to be taken and the legality of taking it have been discussed. Therefore, 1 put those matters on one side just now, simply saying that I recognise, as do honorable senators generally, that if theState of New South W ales is a willing party to any proposal that may emanate from this Parliament to take 1,000 square miles of territory, there is nothing more to be said. Because the State of New South Wales has the right to say - “ We will give you 1,000 square miles,” or whatever area may be determined upon, so long as it is done in a constitutional manner. There is a possibility of taking 1,000 square miles, but it cannot be done without the consent of New South Wales. With respect to the Bombala site, even the reports which have been placed before us show that its selection would make very serious demands upon the revenues, not only of the Commonwealth but of the States of Victoria and New South Wales. Bombala is situated at a considerable distance from a railway. The nearest railway station is Cooma, which is sixty miles- from Bombala, and the cost of constructing a railway from Cooma to Bombala has been estimated at £337,000.
– Would not that be profitable expenditure for New South Wales ?
– The building of such a line might be a good investment for New South Wales. If so, the railway would be made. But the expenditure would have to be incurred immediately. Furthermore, the site of the Capital would probably be some little distance from the town of Bombala. But I do not take that into consideration now, because the additional cost thereby involved would be small, and such as might be involved by the selection of any other site. The point is that immediate expenditure would be necessary. It has been urged all through, when we were discussing the sites, that we should consider the convenience of members in reference to means of access to and from the Capital. It is estimated that to build a line from Bombala to Bairnsdale would cost £1,181,500. I do not know the length of it!
– That line would open up a great stretch of country.
– Victoria would construct that line at its own expense.
.- If the State of Victoria considered that such a line would pay, no doubt it would be constructed.
– Probably Victoria would construct that line even if the Capital were not located at Bombala.
.- We must wait for the construction of these railways for it to be convenient for Parliament to meet at Bombala. But some honorable senators are still more ambitious. They wish to see Eden a Commonwealth port, and to connect it with Bombala. To do that would mean the expenditure - I believe I am mentioning a very low estimate - of upwards of £500,000 for fifty-five or sixty miles of railway. The line would run through hills and mountains - a most difficult route. I am not an engineer, and cannot say whether the actual expenditure would probably be more than that estimate, but I know that it would not be much less than £500,000. Then, to make Twofold Bay an up-to-date port, we should have to provide wharfage accommodation and other conveniences. It has been estimated that another £1,200,000 would be required in that direction.
– That is rubbish.
– I am quoting from an estimate that has been given by Mr. Darley, who was, and is, as eminent an engineer as Australia ever had the privilege of having within her territory.
– Large boats go to Twofold Bay now.
.- I know that; but, if we are to have a seaport for the Capital, it will have to be an upto date port, thoroughly equipped with all modern conveniences for the reception of shipping at all times. If only a quarter of the expenditure which I have mentioned would have to be incurred, the Bombala site would involve an expenditure which is not involved in connexion with any other site that has been brought under the consideration of the Senate. There is a strong feeling in the minds of the members of this Parliament that no expenditure of an extravagant character should be entered upon. Both in New South Wales and Victoria circumstances are such thatitis absolutely necessary for the States Parliaments, whatever they may wish to do, to be very careful with regard to the expenditure of public money and going before the British public for the raising of loans for the construction of railways and other public works. I do not say that money for the purposes of the Federal Capital could not be borrowed, but under existing circumstances we could not profitably borrow any very large sum of money to construct any works in Australia to-day. When we have regard to that fact, and remember that the professed object of many members of this Parliament is that the Federal Capital shall not be a myth, but a reality. I say that to select a site upon which a city will not be built until many years hence is to keep the promise made to New South Wales in word, but to break it in deed. There is no object in selecting the Capital site unless we contemplate within a reasonable period proceeding with the erection of suitable buildings. There is no charm in saying that a particular area is to be the seat of government some fifty years hence. If the site is not to be in use until twenty or fifty years hence it will be better to wait until that time before making the selection.
– Even then we should have to wait for some years before the necessary works could be completed.
– If we select a place that will not necessitate a large amount of expenditure to make it available, we shall have a better opportunity of getting into the Federal Capital at an early date.
– We do not want to select a place which we can go into tomorrow ; the Capital will remain for all eternity.
.- I want to have a place that we can go into soon.
– Cannot we be comfortable here for a year or two longer?
– I recognise that we shall have to remain in Melbourne for more than a year or two.
– We may remain’ here, but we shall never be comfortable ; even now we are looked upon as interlopers.
.- The sooner we make a start with the construction of the Capital the sooner the Federal Parliament will be able to be in its own home and be independent. At the present moment, this Parliament must recognise the fact that it is really dependent on the generosity of the people of Victoria.
– The accommodation is freely offered, and we should accept it in that spirit.
– I am not complaining of what Victoria has done.
– Who are the Victorians who make complaints?
– I have never said that they make complaints, and I do not say so now.
– The honorable and learned senator’s remarks imply that he thinks so.
.- No, they do not, and if the honorable senator imagines that I think so I can assure him that I do not ; because I recognise that we have been treated with great generosity with regard to our occupancy of these parliamentary buildings. But that is not a reason why we should remain in this position longer than is necessary. It is far better that the Federal Parliament should have its own home, and be independent. Our Parliament House should be erected by ourselves, and paid for by ourselves. No one State should be expected to contribute to the expense of Federation inan undue proportion. All the Statesare equally interested, and all of them ouffht to be called upon to contribute in equal degree. In making these remarks I wish to emphasize that it appears to me tobe quite clear that the amount of expenditure which will be involved in the site selected - that is assuming that the difficulties with the New South’Wales Government will be got over - means putting off the establishment of the Capital for many years. I trust that whatever our selection may be it will be one which will enable us forthwith to lay out our Capital, and begin the erection of suitable buildings in. which the Parliament may be housed. I have no sympathy with those who declare that the accommodation, of Parliament at the future seat of government will involve an expenditure of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. We do not want a palatial pile of buildings such as those in which we assemble at the presenttime. There is no necessity to spend £500,000 or £600,000 in the erection of the Houses of Parliament. I venture to think that a building which would be adequate for our purposes could be erected for £100,000. An additional £100,000 ought to supply all the necessary accommodation for the officials who are connected with the management of the Commonwealth business. I urge honorable senators, many of whom will appear before the electors within the next few weeks, to endeavour todisabuse the public mind of the idea that we intend to incur an extravagant expenditure of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. No such desire is entertained by any honorable senator.
– Except Senator Styles.
– I was quoting from a parliamentary paper which was prepared by a New South Wales official.
.- The report towhich the honorable senator refers was prepared three or four years ago, when we imagined that Federation would give us a city of palaces.
– The estimate has never been revised.
– According to the representations of Sir Edmund Barton, the late Premier, in another place an expenditure of £500,000 will provide all that is necessary.
– Last night I endeavoured unsuccessfully to obtain from the Vice-President of the Executive Council some idea as to whether the acquisition of a territory df 1,000 square miles would really carry out the intention of the Senate. I was informed that at least 1,500 square miles were required. Since looking at the map and inquiring into the question, it appears to me that an area of 1,000 square miles would give us about ten miles square in the vicinity of Bombala and a strip of country fifteen miles wide extending down to Twofold Bay. If we obtain that, we shall have an. oblong strip of country - a sort of no man’s land - between the Federal Capital and the State of Victoria. Whether New South Wales will grant us 1,000 square miles is a question for subsequent negotiation. I think that the position which I took up on a previous occasion has been amply justified by every hour’s discussion.’ We are attempting to settle this matter before we are ready, whilst a number of matters have still to be considered and the most delicate negotiations have yet to be conducted. This is a question in which the electors may desire to have some voice, and as it will probably be shelved during the present session, I trust that every candidate will be asked by the electors to express his views upon it. As far as I can understand, we have to consider three interests - first, those of the citizens of the Commonwealth generally ; secondly, those of the mother State, in which the capital is to be established’; and thirdly, those of Victoria, which has a right to the temporary seat of government until the permanent seat has been determined. Our first consideration should be the general body of the people. In view of the enormous check which our progress has sustained by reason of the drought; of the falling off in our exports, of the exodus of our population, of the decrease in our birth rate, and of the diminished value of our stocks, I hold that the selection of a Federal Capital should not be “ rushed.” Of course, I know my New South Wales friends will say that that statement means that the electors will be asked to repudiate the obligation to give New South Wales the permanent seat of government. I do not suggest anything of the kind. I think that the people of the States will be loyal to the Constitution. But, because the seat of government must be in New South Wales, it does not follow that it should be established there at the earliest possible moment, and that the citizens of the Commonwealth ought not to be allowed to consider the enormous check which our progress has sustained. Although I voted for Bombala. I be- lieve that the acquisition of that site ; will prove most expensive. Of course ; a line of railway from Cooma to Bom-
Ibala might very easily be constructed i for an expenditure of £300,000, and that would afford very reasonable access to the new Capital for representatives of New South Wales; but what about the representatives of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania? They would be compelled to spend hours and hours in travelling, unless the Victorian railway were» extended from Bairnsdale to the Capital. ‘ All these questions are questions for delicate negotiation. They require the very gravest consideration. Our financial position must be the foundation of the whole scheme. Last night Senator Millen quoted words of mine in which I declared that Melbourne might very well remain the temporary seat of government for ten or fifteen years. Seeing how disastrously our financial position has been affected during the past few years, I have no hesitation in affirming that it would be a good thing if, for fifteen or twenty years, we did not incur any very great expenditure upon a Federal Capital. I believe that it will take eight or ten years to restore us to the financial position which we occupied three years ago. Our losses of both sheep and cattle must have an injurious effect upon our finances for some years. When we have recovered our position, it will be time enough to seriously think about spending much money upon the Federal Capital project. Before concluding, I desire to say a word or two in reference to the rights of Victoria. Has that State no rights in this matter 1 I was really astonished to hear senators from New South Wales argue that because the Commonwealth Parliament occupies the Victorian Parliamentary buildings rent free, we should bustle out of Melbourne as fast as possible.’ Certainly this State has treated us very generously, but we are under no obligation to it. Its people are aware that Melbourne must be the temporary seat of government, and accordingly they have placed these buildings at our disposal.
But we must remember that as a result of the consideration which has been extended to us, they have been obliged to spend £50,000 or £60,000 in fitting up another building to accommodate their State Parliament. Therefore, they undoubtedly have moral rights in this matter. When they consented to the mother State being granted the permanent seat of government, one of those rights was that the temporary seat of government should not be removed from Melbourne until some good reason could be shown for it. Yet, from the moment that the Commonwealth was inaugurated, the representatives of New South Wales seemed to think it our imperative duty to at once select the Federal Capital. I should have thought it our duty to pass the necessary machinery measures for the government of the Commonwealth. I shall not divide the Senate upon this matter, because I accept the decision which was arrived at by the Committee last night. At the same time I protest against what has been done, and having regard to the interests of the citizens of Australia generally and their financial position in particular, if I am again returned to the. Senate, I shall do my best to see that a proper site for the Federal Capital is selected.
– Since I spoke it has come to my knowledge that some honorable senators assume that I derived certain information to which I referred from the late secretary to the Capital Sites Commission. I wish to say that that gentleman gave me no information whatever. It is only bare justice that I should clear him of any imputation of that character.
– So far I have refrained from discussing this Bill, because I was extremely anxious that we should arrive at a vote upon the question. I cannot fail to remark, however, that the tone of this morning’s debate constitutes a very great improvement upon that which characterized the proceedings of last night. I am glad to see that our New South Wales friends are disposed to view our decision in a somewhat different light from that in which they previously saw it. I am satisfied that as time goes on they will come to agree that in the selection of Bombala a wise choice was made. I believe that the great majority of the people of Australia are this morning very well satisfied with the choice made by the Senate.
– The people of Victoria are.
– I do not think that Victoria has more to gain from the choice than has any other State.
– Victoria supports Bombala in order that there may be no Capital.
– I do not think i so. Had Senator Dawson been in the posi-: tion of Victorian senators, he would have liked to see the Federal seat of government l retained in Melbourne as long as possible ; I and in my opinion there has been too much j hurling of charges at the representatives of the State in which the Federal Parliament meets. Bombala is a truly Australian site, and its choice will reflect credit on us in the future. If we can only secure a sufficient area to make the territory self supporting, our work of yesterday will be approved by generations to come.
– Let us go to the sand hills of Western Australia.
– The sand hills of Western Australia are totally unknown to Senator Dawson, who speaks in ignorance of that State, just as he speaks in ignorance of Bombala. The honorable senator has never been in Western Australia, and he has not taken the trouble to visit Bombala which he now condemns. The honorable senator has seen Tumut, and has become so intoxicated with the charms of that place that he can see advantages nowhere else. I have nothing to gain personally by voting for Bombala, to which as a site for the Federal Capital there is not even a “ good second.” Honorable senators have travelled over the Bombala territory, and have had an opportunity of judging of its merits; and those who support the selection of Bombala are taking a proper step.
– Senators went over the territory at horse speed.
– They spent two days at Bombala, and travelling over a great extent of territory, had splendid i opportunities for observation. This part of Australia has never had justice done to it by either New South Wales or Victoria. Between the railway terminus at Cooma, in New South Wales, and the railway terminus at Bairnsdale, in Victoria, there is a large tract of country entirely undeveloped ; and, so far as I can judge, unless the Federal territory be fixed there, that country will, owing to the jealousy of the two States, remain undeveloped for a long time to come. It is rich land, to which neither one State nor the other has any more right than had the blackfellows who formerly roamed over it, if no more be done towards its development than has been done up to the present time. If it be made Federal territory it may reasonably be expected that a large area of fertile country will be brought under cultivation to the benefit of the whole of Australia. I congratulate the Senate on the choice of the Bombala site.
– I realize that honorable senators are in favour of Bombala, to the exclusion of every other site, and it is bad business “ flogging a dead horse.” But, seeing that the unusual course has been followed by honorable senators of making observations on the motion for the adoption of the report, I may as well occupy a moment or two in presenting my views. With sorrow aiid sadness I am forced to the conclusion that a great act of repudiation is about to be perpetrated by honorable senators - the repudiation of a solemn moral obligation to New South Wales.
– The Senate has chosen the territory.
– I shall have something to say later on about the choice of territory.
– I do not see where the repudiation comes in.
– If the honorable senator will possess his soul in patience - or as much of a soul as he has - he will hear my reasons for arriving at my conclusion. I regard what the Senate has done, and is at present determined to maintain, as an act of repudiation. When the bargain was made between the States it was granted as a concession to New South Wales, that the Federal Capital should be within its borders. Obviously that meant that the Federal Capital was to be in a sufficiently central position in New South Wales as to come within the New South Wales sphere of influence rather than within the sphere of Victorian influence.
– Not at all.
– It is perfectly obvious, or otherwise where was the concession 1 It was because of this supposed concession that New South Wales agreed to come into the Federation ; and if New South Wales had not agreed to join, there would have been no Federation. Moreover, because of that concession, New South Wales agreed to grant not less than 100 square miles of her territory for the Federal Capital. On the other hand, Victoria demanded that the Federal territory should not be less than 100 miles from Sydney.
– Who says Victoria demanded that ?
– Victoria did make that demand as we know from the actual records. Senator Styles ought to look at the Constitution Act, and, if he desires to be further enlightened, let him consult the reports of the debates.
– That point was not debated in the Convention.
– Does the honorable senator deny the proposition that the 1 00- mile limit was a concession to Victoria, or rather to Melbourne ?
– It was a concession made to the other five States.
– In the name of common sense, what had this 100-mile limit to do with any of the other small States 1 Both provisions were agreed to by the smaller States in order to satisfy the demands of the larger States. The demand of New South Wales was to have the Capital within her sphere of influence as against Victoria, and the demand of Victoria was that the Capital should not be within 100 miles of Sydney. Victoria got the further concession that, as a matter of temporary convenience, the Federal Parliament should meet in Melbourne.
– What concession is there in that?
– It enables the honorable senator to meet better men than he” could ever have hoped to meet otherwise ; and, good man as he is, he would be a better, if he travelled and associated more with the people of the other States.
– I must ask honorable senators not to interject so freely.
SenatorDAWSON. - I was giving reasons why I regard the action of the Senate as repudiation. Victoria, having received the concession that the Federal Parliament must temporarily meet in Melbourne, now wants to repudiate her bargain with New South Wales. There were two classes of senators who voted for the Bombala site. One class consisted of senators who really believe that Bombala is the most suitable place for the Federal Capital, and the other class consisted of Victorian senators, who believe that if Bombala be selected the seat of government will never be moved from Melbourne.
– That is hardly a fair observation.
– I am speaking as plainly, and as clearly as I can, in order to present my view of the matter. . The Victorian senators have voted in order to repudiate a bargain which they clearly entered into when Federation took place. However, I shall not press that subject any further.
– It is to be hoped not.
– The observations are certainly a great reflection on honorable senators.
– I could possibly say a little more on the matter. Senator De Largie, when I interjected something about the sand hills of Western Australia, was very pert and somewhat impertinent. The honorable senator put my interjection down to my ignorance, which he suggested was also responsible for my.objection to Bombala. A further suggestion the honorable senator made was that I was intoxicated with the charms of Tumut, and so I am, becausel knowTumut and appreciate it. But to senators and members of the House of Representatives who charge me with having visited only one site, I reply that I do know that one site thoroughly, whereas they do not thoroughly know any site. Senator DeLargie states that the visiting senators spent two days at Bombala. Great heavens ! The honorable senators, by spending two. whole days, claim to know all about the 1,000 square miles or the 10,000 square miles they would prefer, and all about the resources of the territory to be able to contrast it with all the other suggested sites. My experience is that knowledge is acquired by continuous and intelligent observation, though it appears that some people are able to acquire it by intuition in two days. My knowledge of the Tumut district is the result of a visit of two months’ duration. During the first week I was unable to move about much, but thenceforward I was continuously travelling day after day ; and it was after a month’s travel that I began to realize fully the value of the territory and to become enamoured of it. There is not a member of this Parliament who can conscientiously say that on the occasion of the Parliamentary inspection of the sites he saw anything of the country surrounding Tumut. The same remark will apply to the inspection of all the other sites visited by honorable members on that occasion. When it is asserted that I have seen only one site, I feel constrained to say that I stand in a position superior to that occupied by any other honorable senator. I can say that I have properly inspected at least one site, and that is more than others can claim to have done. Those who took part in the Parliamentary inspection travelled at the rate at which the sparrow flies, and yet they assert that they saw the country. As to the suggestion that I am ignorant of Western Australia, I would remind Senator De Largie that I visited that State long before he went there. I went there as a prospector to assist in opening up the country in a way that makes it possible for those who represent that State to obtain a living, and the charge that I know nothing of the State comes ill from any honorable senator.
– Why does the honorable senator denounce Bombala when he admits that he has not been there?
– I favour Tumut as against Bombala, because of the report of experienced and unbiased men drawn from various States, and appointed to make an expert examination of the sites. They had ample time to make a very careful inspection of the suggested sites, and no limit was placed upon their expenditure.
– They were only an hour at Bombala.
– The honorable senator bases that assertion upon the statement of Mr. Oliver, who is evidently biased, and prejudiced against the Commissioners.
– How long were they there ?
– I cannot say.
– Have they answered Mr. Oliver’s charge ?
– I am not prepared to say that they have or that they should take any notice of the charges made by that gentleman.
– The main facts upon which their report on Tumut is founded were supplied by officials who have been there on many occasions.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Customs an official?
– I do not say that he is.
– He was surely their tutor?
– It is true that Tumut is the only site that I have visited, but I know the country well, and it is because of my intimate knowledge of its characteristics that I feel so enthusiastic in regard to it. My knowledge of the features of the other sites is derived from the report supplied by the Commissioners, who are unmistakably opposed to the selection of Bombala. Whether they are right or not I am not absolutely prepared to say ; but judging from their report on Tumut, which I know to be accurate, I should imagine that their statements in regard to the. other sites may be fully relied upon. I have yet to learn from any enthusiastic Bombalaite that any part of their report on that site can be said to be inaccurate.
– The Commissioners were appointed to furnish us with full information on the subject.
– Quite so.
– Had the honorable senator visited Bombala he would have been in ecstasies about it.
– He would never have lived to return to us.
– I do not think that I should. I have been in the neighbourhood of Bombala, although I have not actually visited the place, and I have heard much about it from people who have resided in the district. On the occasion that I visited Cooraa I was very pleased to get out of it, and I am not at all anxious to return. I venture, in conclusion, to say that I feel satisfied that in the selection of Bombala the bargain made with New South Wales has been repudiated, for it means that there never will be a Capital city. Whilst we should give some consideration to the understanding arrived at between the two larger States of the Commonwealth, we must not overlook the smaller States. I was one of those who, prior to the Federal referendum in Queensland, took an active part in urging the people of that State to accept the Constitution Bill, and one of the strcuig points which I made on public platforms during the campaign was that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales, and not less than 100 miles from Sydney. It was never for a moment contemplated that a site would be selected which is, in name, New South Wales territory, but, in effect, belongs to Victoria. If it were open to us to select a site in any of the States, I should be able to point to a place in Queensland which is even more desirable than Tumut. If the compact with New South Wales had not to be considered, then, as a Queenslander, I should believe it my duty to vote for Armidale, but I consider it well that we should honorably carry out the obligation imposed upon us.
– Some honorable senators appear to be anxious that we should at once go to a division, and, but for certain statements which have just been made by Senator Dawson, I should not stand in the way of the gratification of that desire. The honorable senator took what he admitted to be an unusual course in speaking at length on the motion for the adoption of the report, and, as I have not yet addressed myself to this question, I intend to take this opportunity to say a few words in regard to it. I was anxious that a vote should be taken last night, and refrained from speaking during the second reading debate ; but when the honorable senator asserts that the selection of Bombala - a site for which I voted - is tantamount to repudition of the bargain made with New South Wales, I feel that it, devolves upon every honorable senator who is opposed to the policy of repudiation to show that that statement is without foundation. Some honorable senators may have supported the selection of Bombala because of a desire to repudiate the bargain ; but my vote was due to no such consideration. I supported that site simply because I believe it to be the most truly national one, and because, after a careful study of the various reports which have been submitted to us, I consider it to be the best. I have not been to Bombala, but I have visited Tumut, Lyndhurst, Orange, Bathurst, and Albury, and, relying on the evidence before us, and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each particular site, I hold that Bombala is the most suitable place for the establishment of the Capital. I shall not detain the Senate by making a lengthy speech. I merely wish to show distinctly that I utterty repudiate the argument used by Senator Dawson. I hurl back at him the statement that the people of the parent State voted for Federation only because they believed that the Capital would be under the influence of New South Wales, or, in other words, the influence of Sydney. I hold that the majority of the people of New South Wales will be quite satisfied with the choice we have made.
– They will be satisfied with our selection of a territory within that State.
– The honorable senator must know more aboutNewSouth Wales than does any honorable senator from that State.
– I do not profess to be familar with the State j but I believe that a great many people in New South Wales do not share the views entertained by residents of Sydney. I do not think that Sydney represents New South Wales, or Melbourne Victoria, and certainly neither New South Wales nor Victoria represents the whole Federation. I hold, therefore, that, apart altogether from any consideration as to the individual interests of Victoria or New South Wales, the representatives of other States in this Parliament have a right to vote for what they believe to be the best site. We have not departed from the Constitution’; we have selected a site which is in New South Wales territory, and how can it fairly be said that we have repudiated the bargain made with New South Wales 1 Senator Dawson asserts that he has seen at least one of the sites, and that those who took part in the parliamentary tour of inspection did not have an opportunity to fairly examine any of them. He is so wrapped up in Tumut that he holds that it must be the best. In reply ,to the statements made by the honorable senator I think it is well to put before the Senate the opinion held by at least some of the people of New South Wales in regard to the climate of Tumut, which, according to Senator Dawson, is the best in the world.
– The opinion of people who are not Bombalaites
– Quite so. I have here a statement as to the climate of Tumut, which represents the opinion of a number of people residing in New South Wales ; and I think it as well to read it for the edification of Senator Dawson. It sets forth that -
The three western sites are situated on an elevated plateau west of the Blue Mountains, with altitudes ranging from 2,200 to 2,880 feet above sea level, thus insuring a temperate climate. TheTumut site is 1,050 feet in a confined valley.
.- Who published that statement 1
– Evidently thehonorable senator is not altogether familiar with public opinion in New South Wales in regard to the various sites.
– The statement is all rubbish ; the site is miles away from the Blue Mountains.
– The report continues -
The Albury site is 800 feet on the edge of the great inland plain and exposed to fierce hot winds arising therefrom, which also affect Tumut to some extent. The superiority of the western sites over Albury and Tumut in the matter of altitude is very marked, and, therefore, the advantages of the western sites in the matter of climate are unquestionable. Tumut is also subject to very bleak and cutting blasts during the winter and spring months owing to the proximity of the Snowy Mountains. Data from official sources for many years are available for the three western sites, whereas two returns of temperature from Tumut other than private ones are available, and these only for three years. While the Commissioners’ report takes no cognizance of the humidity of the atmosphere at the various sites, it must be apparent that at Tumut, situated in a river valley, shut in by mountains, thehumidity must be much greater than on the elevated western plateau - a climate conducive to the occurrence of fogs both in summer and winter.
I do not say that all these statements are true, but I put them forward as representing the opinions of certain people in New South Wales who claim to have an expert knowledge of the qualifications necessary for the Federal Capital site.
– Who published that circular 1
– It is signed by Thomas A. Machattie, president of the western branch of the Federal Capital League. Does it not show that the rivalry between Tumut, Lyndhurst, Bathurst, and Orange is merely petty jealousy on the part of certain provinces in New South Wales 1 Does it not show that in New South Wales this great question of the choice of a site for the Federal Capital has been reduced to one of petty jealousy ? Does it not show that many of the people of that State are influenced more by feelings of provincialism than by anything else, in their view of the respective merits of Lyndhurst, Orange, Bathurst, and Tumut? When we. know these things, and when we have listened to New South Wales representatives for the last couple of days talking ! of these splendid sites, and contending that I a site favoured b)’ other honorable senators is no good, is it not quite within the province of I representatives of other States, who favour the selection of Bombala, to let the public ! know that Tumut is not favoured by every 1 one in New South Wales ? The Senate has taken a truly national stand in selecting a site which, whilst being within New South “Wales territory, and thus in accordance with the Constitution, is more suitable for the future Capital of the Commonwealth than any other site which has been before us. I am of opinion that when the Bill, us amended, is sent to another place, honorable members there will consider very carefully what they are doing before they decide to reject Bombala. If they do reject Bombala I do not think that very much harm will have been done. We shall, at least have done this : We shall have reduced an admittedly very large question to small proportions: we shall have brought the sites suggested down to two; and the people of Australia at the Federal elections will have something definite before them to make a choice upon. The electors in every one of the States will, I have no doubt, avail themselves of every possible opportunity of securing detailed information with reference to these two sites. They will question candidates as to their opinions regarding them, and, therefore, it may not prove altogether a bad thing if the selection of Bombala by the Senate should mean that the question will not be decided this session.
.- That is what was sought.
– I hope that honorable members in another place will accept Bombala. If they do, well and good ; but, if they do not, I say that the probability is that Australia will have reason to thank honorable senators for their action, rather than to blame them. It is because I believe that Bombala is the best site, and because I could not consent to the charge hurled at us by Senator Dawson, that those who have voted for Bombala desire only repudiation, that I have thought it necessary to make these remarks.
– The honorable senator has entirely misinterpreted my remarks. I said that there was repudiation, but that there were two classes of voters.
– Had it not been for the highlyinflammatory address to which we have listened from Senator Dawson, I should have spared the honorable senator’s feelings by refraining from giving another New South Wales opinion upon the wonderful site at Tumut. Seeing that the honorable senator has so enthusiastically advocated the claims of Tumut, I have felt compelled to give this
Sydney and New South Wales opinion of that place. This is taken from an influential Sydney newspaper : -
Everything now depends upon the attitude of the Senate, which body has within its power to delay for some very considerable time the selection of the site. Many members of that body favour Bombala. Bombala, however, seems to have been favoured by the House of Representatives chiefly as a means of delaying the whole matter, and it is quite possible that those in the Senate that favour Bombala are animated by just the same motives.
Honorable senators can tell that it must have been a Sydney man who wrote that.
– Because he is telling the truth ?
– I am glad the honorable senator admits that he is telling the truth. Let him listen to the rest of the quotation : -
On the other hand it cannot be denied that Tumut has its natural disadvantages. A district that is visited by cyclones is scarcely an Eden of bliss. On the 18th ultimo Tumut was visited by a most disastrous cyclone, that brought great destruction at Tumut Plains, at Blowering, and Brungie.
– I was there the day after, and one could not get through the country for fallen trees.
– The paragraph continues -
It tore up trees by the roots-
– There are no trees at Bombala to tear up.
– unroofed houses, demolished sheds, snapped off telegraph poles, carried sheets of iron through the air as if the were paper, lifted up water and carried it along considerable distances.
I suppose that was the Tumut water supply.
It was described by one of the correspondents of a Sydney . dairy newspaper as “an awful blast, about a quarter of a mile wide.” Fortunately no lives were lost. This matter of Tumut having recently been visited by a most dangerous cyclone will no doubt be carefully considered by senators.
Senator Dawson was extremely fortunate in not meeting one of those cyclones during his two months’ sojourn at Tumut. When the honorable senator speaks in such a cocksure manner about Tumut I should like to ask him whether he grew cabbages while he was there to test the soil, whether he investigated the water supply, which since his visit has been displaced by a cyclone, whether he tested the quality of the building stone, and the other capabilities of the site? Unless the honorable senator was in a position to test the various capabilities of the site I should say that the opinion he offers as the result of a personal visit of two months is of no more value than the opinion I have formed of Bombala after a two days’ visit to that site.
– I desire to make a very few remarks on the question of the alleged bargain. It is stated that New South Wales made a bargain on coming into the Federation, and that she would not have come in if the concession had not been made to her of having the Capital within her territory. That is a misrepresentation of the facts and of the truth. Since Australia has been populated the centre of population has been in New South Wales, and has gradually been trending in a northerly direction.. When we entered into Federation there was no doubt at all as to where the Capital ought to be, but there was doubt whether the State of “Victoria would be willing to recognise the fact. That was the only matter in question, and before Federation could be brought about a concession had to be made to the people of Victoria of putting around Sydney the 100-railes limit provision in the Constitution.. That was the only concession made, and it was made to Victoria and not to New South Wales. The section of the Constitution simply recognises the right of New South Wales as the centre of the population of A ustralia to have the Capital site within her borders.
– Then the selection of Bombala complies with the Constitution.
– Before Victoria would consent to recognise that right the concession had to be made to the Victorian people of excluding Sydney and the country for 100 miles round that city. As I pointed out the other night, the centre of population at the present time is 200 miles west of Sydney, and is gradually going northward.
– I desire just to say that the concession was made by Victoria to New South Wales because the people of Victoria knew perfectly well that from a dozen to twenty sites would be found in opposition to each other to secure the Federal Capital, and hence the people of New South Wales would be much more in favour of coming into Federation on that account. By that proposal the advocates of
Federation secured many supporters where, perhaps, they might not have had any.
– I wish to say only’ one word in reply. I can say nothing fresh on the main question. One honorable senator has answered another, and we desire to pass the Bill as soon as possible. If I can get through a certain amount of business to-day, as I hope to do, I shall not ask honorable senators to attend on next Tuesday. The only point upon which I desire to say a word is with respect to the report of the Commissioners being unanimous. I am informed that it was absolutely unanimous.
– Did they not have some squabble?
– As far as I know they had no squabble, and their report was absolutely unanimous.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolved (on motion by Senator Playford) -
That the Standing Ciders be suspended to enable the Bill to pass through its remaining stages without delay.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration of House o£ Representatives’ Message) :
Every soldier or sailor of the Active Forces (other than the Permanent Forces) may, except in time of war, claim his discharge before the expiration of the period of service for which he engaged on the following conditions : -
He shall, if he is not exempted from such payment for special reasons, pay such sum, not exceeding Two pounds, as is prescribed.
Senate’s Amendment. - To leave out paragraph. 6, and insert the following new paragraph : - “ (bb) He shall, if a member of the Militia Forces, pay such sum not exceeding two pounds, and if a. member of the Volunteer Forces pay such a sum not exceeding one pound, as may be prescribed, but such payments may, for special reasons, be waived by the General Officer Commanding, upon the recommendation of the officer commanding the corps or ship’s com pany from which the member seeks to be discharged.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - To amend new paragraph by omitting - “General Officer Commanding, upon the recommendation of the officer commanding the corps or ship’s company from which the member seeks to be discharged,” and inserting “officers authorized by the regulations to waive them.”
– With the exception of three matters, the House of Representatives has accepted the whole of the seventy amendments which were made by the Senate in this Bill. These matters involve amendments in several clauses, but there are only three points upon which the two Houses are not at present in accord. I shall deal with them one at a time as they come on for consideration, but I ask the attention of the Committee now, that honorable senators may understand what the House of Representatives proposes. The House of Representatives is willing to accept our amendment in clause 39. with this alteration, that this authority for waiving the payment of this sum shall be officers authorized by the regulations to waive them. I move -
That the Committee agrees to the amendment of the House of Representatives.
– I rise to support the motion. The amendment to which the House of Representatives has disagreed was moved by myself ; but the variation which it has suggested in no degree alters its object. It is expressed in slightly different phraseology, and it entirely meets, I think, the obligations of the service.
Motion agreed -to.
Clause 55 -
When any member of the Defence Force is killed on active service, or on duty, or dies or becomes incapacitated from earning his living from wounds or disease contracted on active service, provision shall be made for his wife and family out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund at the prescribed rates.
Senate’s Amendment. - To leave out the clause, and insert the following new clause : - 54a. (1) When any member of the Defence Force dies or is killed while on active service, or is killed while in the performance of his duty, or dies from injuries received or disease contracted, while on active service, or from injuries received while in the performance of his duty, provision shall be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, at the prescribed rate, for his widow and for his children under sixteen years of age.
When any member of the Defence Force becomes incapacitated from earning his living by reason of injuries received while on active service, or in the performance of his duty, or by reason of disease contracted while on active service, provision shall be made for the payment to him, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, of an allowance or gratuity at the prescribed rate.
No payment or allowance shall be made where the death or incapacity of a member of the Defence Force is attributable to his misconduct or wilful neglect.
House of Representatives’ Message. - To amend the clause by inserting after the word “service,” line 4, the words “or on duty,” by leaving out the word “ wife,” line 5, and inserting the word “widow,” and by inserting after the words ‘* and family,” line 5, the words “ or for himself, as the case may be. “
– As the clause originally stood, it did not provide for the case of a man incapacitated by an accident while on duty ; but only applied to cases of incapacitation on service. Many honorable senators expressed a desire that the clause should be amended in that direction, and after a good deal of discussion, another clause was drafted ; but it has not been approved of by the House of Representatives for some reason. It is now proposed to restore the original clause, with certain alterations. I think that it meets the wishes of the Senate in another way, and, therefore, I move - “
That the Committee does not insist on the omission of the clause, but agrees to the amendments made by the House of Representatives.
– This is rather a peculiar incident. It will be recollected that I gave notice of certain amendments to the clause. The first amendment was carried, but when I moved the second amendment the Ministersuggested that a new clause had better be prepared. A new clause was prepared, and was by the courtesy and generosity of the Minister, inserted on my motion. The other House has objected to what we did, but, strange to say, it has amended the original clause in identically the same way as I proposed to do. I desire to ascertain the opinion of the Attorney-General on a very important point. It is proposed to substitute the word “ widow “ for the word “ wife “ ; and to retain the term “family,” which is widely indefinite. We had used the phrase “ children under sixteen years of age.” Will the word “ family “ include the wife, or will it be necessary to insert the word “widow,” leaving the word “wife” to stand? I take it that the Government have differentiated between “widow” and. “family,” and, therefore, I think we should retain the word “ wife.”
– There is no provision for the wife when the husband is living. It is only in the case of a man being killed that there is provision for his widow and family.
– Is it intended by the clause, as it is now submitted, that the provision for a man shall not be extended to any member of his family?
– The provision for himself will include his family.
– I support the motion.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 27 -
The Governor-General may appoint a Board of Advice to advise on all matters relating to the Defence. Force submitted to it by the Minister.
Senate’s Amendment. - To leave out all the words after the woid “a,” line J, and to insert in lieu thereof the following words - “ Council of. Defence, consisting of -
House of Representatives’ Mesmye. - To disagree to the amendment.
– I have to ask the Committee to reconsider its determination on this clause. The House of Representatives has declined to accept the amendment of Senator Matheson for the following reasons : -
There is no doubt that the Minister’s responsibility would be interfered with by being compelled to consult on every matter a Council of Defence, with whom, perhaps, he might have considerable differences.
That is a very reasonable objection. The proposal is new, and under discussion in
England, and until we have some light thrown on the subject I think it is advisable to defer action in this direction.
The provision which was struck out, but which we wish to be restored, provides for a Board of Advice to assist the Minister in any matter which may be submitted to it. That, I think, as the other House says, meets existing circumstances, and time for consideration may be taken before we launch out into the larger scheme. I move -
That the Committee does not insist upon its amendment.
– I supported Senator Matheson in his proposal for a Council of Defence. I did not quite like the composition of the body, and it was at my suggestion, I think, that he reduced the number of political members from four to two. What we contend for, and cannot get away from, is Ministerial responsibility. The second reason which has been given by the other House for not agreeing to our amendment is, I think, a very good one. According to the London press, the suggestion of Lord Esher, and many of the other Commissioners, which is most favoured, is the following one : -
Re-organize theWar Office Council, and define more clearly its functions as an advisory and executive board, presided over by the Secretary of State, in whom, however, final responsibility to Parliament must be reserved.
If we had a Council of Defence including a member of the Opposition and a supporter of the Ministry in each House, as well as the Minister himself, they would be held to share his responsibility. It would be said at once that the member representing the Opposition would to some extent be responsible and be its mouth-piece. I am, therefore, inclined to think that we ought to have no Council unless the principle of Ministerial responsibility is maintained. I argued that in my opinion it would be maintained. I do not desire to get away from that principle, and, on the whole, I think it is only fair to give the General Officer Commanding a show, so that we may have an opportunity to see the result of his scheme. He has been placed in very disadvantageous circumstances. The military estimates have either been cut to pieces, or he has been told to take them back and remodel them, without being given a hint or suggestion. I think that when we have had a year’s experience of his system we shall be in a better position to decide whether to continue that system or to institute a Council of Defence.
– As one of those who supported Senator ‘ Matheson, I am quite willing that this matter should be allowed to stand over, for I the very good reason quoted by the Attorney- j General, namely - (
It is inexpedient to alter the existing system ‘ until more information is obtained as to the action taken upon recent proposals for re-organization of the army in England.
I hope that the result will be that we shall have in connexion with army organization a board similar to the Board of Admiralty. In view of the assurance of the Attorney-General, I think that we may with dignity accept the amendment of the other House.
– The amendment of Senator Matheson was carried late one Friday evening after some of us had left. I had expressed my opposition to his proposal at a previous stage. I concur with the message of the other House in so far as it suggests that it is desirable for the Commonwealth to have a little further information - which will no doubt be shortly available from England - as to the re-organization of the military administration, before we add an entirely new departure and a novel experiment to the many novel departures and many experiments that we are now trying throughout our Defence service. I think that the Board of Advice which was provided for in the original clause will be a sufficiently wide departure to take from old methods for the present. In a case of this kind, involving, as it necessarily does, a very large amount of technical matter, it is very much better for us to hasten slowly than to do something, which we might find reason to regret, and which we could not alt er except by another Bill, while the Board of Advice which is proposed by the Government could be altered by a regulation involving much less trouble, difficulty, and delay. I have pleasure in supporting the motion.
– As one of those who supported the provision for the appointment of a Council of Defence, I have not seen any reason to change my mind, and if a division be called for, I shall certainly vote as on the previous occasion. I have found it necessary to severely criticise the conduct of the General Officer Commanding, and I have brought facts under the notice of the Senate which tend to show that great disorganization exists in our Defence Forces.
– The honorable senator must allow a little time for the reorganization of a large Department like that.
– It may not have been possible for the General Officer Commanding to do all that has been required of him, but so far as I can gather there has been no real work performed since he has occupied his present position.
– The honorable senatoris mistaken. The General Officer Commanding has done a lot of work.
– I have good reason for my statement. I have investigated matters in connexion with the administration of Defence matters, and the information obtained by me and presented to the Senate from time to time has disclosed a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. My statements have not been controverted.
– They were only onesided statements.
– They were based upon facts. The honorable senator on one occasion made an altogether ineffectual attempt to defend the action of the General Officer Commanding. In Victoria a Council of Defence upon lines similar to that now proposed has accomplished good work. I am not prepared to hand over the management of defence affairs to the sweet will of Major-General Hutton, or any one else.
– The Minister is responsible to Parliament.
– It has been frequently remarked, and with truth, that the Minister is but a figure-head. The Defence Department has been under the control of three different Ministers during- the currency of the present Parliament, and no real responsibility has attached to any one of them. There has been no head to the Department, and, consequently, it has become thoroughly disorganized. It cannot be denied that drastic reforms are necessary. The appointment of a Council of Defence,, such as that contemplated, would not interfere with the responsibility of the Minister to Parliament. I previously instanced the case of the Public Service Commissioner in his relation to the public service, and I showed that there would be no reason to apprehend any interference with the responsibility of the Minister or the control exercised by Parliament over Defence matters. Therefore, I do not. consider that the reason advanced by the House of Representatives will hold good. “We are told that it is inexpedient to alter the existing system until more information is obtained as to the action taken upon recent proposals for the reorganization of the army in England. I would point out, however, that the principle underlying the reforms contemplated in Great Britain is embodied in the proposal for the establishment of a Council of Defence here.
– We have not yet received the report of the Imperial Commission.
– Not the whole of the report ; but we know that, in consequence of the disclosures made regarding the conduct of the recent war in South Africa, the English public are determined that reforms shall be instituted upon lines similar to those nowproposed byus. Asimilar change is being made in the United States. Therefore, in view of what is being done in other countries, and in view of the necessity for drastic changes in our own administration, I think that the Senate should persist in its amendment. It is urged by the House of Representatives that the Board of Advice, as proposed in the Bill, would meet existing circumstances, and give time for full consideration. That Board would be appointed under regulations, and, so far as we can gather at present, would not carry out the desires of honorable senators. I see no reason why we should abandon our position, and I shall vote against the motion.
– I intend to adhere to the vote I gave on the last occasion when the Bill was before the Committee. I then pointed out that Ministerial responsibility was altogether a sham. As Senator Barrett has said, we have had three Ministers of Defence during the currency of this Parliament. To begin with, we had Sir John Forrest, who proclaimed himself a man of peace.
– We had the late Sir James Dickson to begin with.
– Well, that would add to the number of Ministers, making a total of four. I know that the late Sir James Dickson was decidedly a man of peace, and that he knew as much about war as I do, which is very little. I do not want to increase my knowledge in that particular. Then we had Senator Drake, whose transition from the supervision of the delivery of letters to the control of Defence affairs was exceedingly rapid. That honorable and learned gentleman scarcely had time to settle himself in the Minister’s chair in that Department before he was transferred to another. No single Minister has had even the most remote opportunity to make himself acquainted with our alleged system of defence. The result is that the administration has been left in the hands of MajorGeneral Hutton. I protest against that system being continued. Chaos exists in the Department at present. We do not exactly know what the policy of the Government is, or whether it has any policy ; but we know that the public wish that our defence forces should consist of citizen soldiers. We know, furthermore, that Major-General Hutton is possessed of the idea that we should have permanent forces, and that he desires to establish a military caste. He wishes to bring Australia under the sway of militarism, similar to that which exists in Europe. The Government have drifted hither and thither without compass, or rudder, or policy, and have been merely hanging on, whilst the Commandant has been strenuously attempting to impose his policy upon the people very much against their will. Under these circumstances, the Senate made a proposal which would tend to bring about an improved state of affairs, but the House of Representatives has seen fit to cast it to the winds. It is urged that Ministerial responsibility would be interfered with. That is a pure, undiluted sham, because there is no such thing as Ministerial responsibility. The mention of it is perfectly farcical. It would be more correct to refer to Ministerial irresponsibility. With regard to the second reason, it may be pointed out that Great Britain, after long experience, and having committed many sad blunders, has come to the conclu-‘ sion that there is something wrong in the management of its army and navy. I regret very much to say that commercially, and from a military and naval point of view, the defences of Great Britain are absolutely rotten. After wasting thousands of lives and millions of treasure, the public of Great Britain have come to the conclusion that some reform is necessary. It is therefore proposed to establish a Council of Defence. They have tried the scheme we have in operation and found it wanting. “Why should we continue a system which has been discredited in every country which pretends to have a military organization ? The greatest military organization in the world is that of Germany. Germany has a Council of Defence, and in almost every other European country whose military organization is of importance the same system is adopted. Yet we, in the greenness of our youth, refuse to take advantage of the experience of the older countries. I shall repeat the vote which I gave previously, and shall oppose the passing of the Bill if this provision is not inserted. Without it the measure is absolutely useless.
– I supported the establishment of a Council of Defence for a number of reasons ; one of which is that I think that the present system of control, when there happens to be an autocrat in command, leads to acts of unfairness being committed. The occasion affords an opportunity to bring under the notice of the Committee a particular instance where, to my knowledge, an officer has received very unfair treatment at the hands of the General Officer Commanding. I do not say that the same treatment might not have been meted out to him by any other official who had been in the place of MajorGeneral Hutton. But, from what I have gathered, I am satisfied that the present system has a tendency towards the perpetration of injustices. The present General Officer Commanding appears, when he has a “set “ on a man to follow it up without sufficient reason, and without giving the man a chance, lt will be remembered that Colonel Wallack, of Tasmania, who is an officer of high repute, was in command on board the Manhattan, in Sydney, when troops were being despatched to South Africa. He was relieved of his command because some of his men did not appear to be under proper discipline, and returned in liquor after an orgy.
– It is so common for men who ai-e going on service to get drunk that there is a special provision for it in the King’s regulations.
– Colonel Wallack was instantaneously relieved of his command by Major-General Hutton, who used strong language on the occasion. He was given no chance to defend himself. I am assured that, if he had been given a chance, he could have exonerated himself. He was not to blame.
– That is a matter which the Council of Defence would not deal with.
– At any rate, the instance gives support to the argument that when we have an autocrat at the head of our forces, it is right that there should be some check upon his action. A Council of Defence might have seen that justice was done to this officer. The injustice toColonel Wallack was followed up by MajorGeneral Hutton. At the time of the Easter encampment in Tasmania he should naturally have been ‘ placed in chief command j but another officer, considerably” his junior, was placed over his head. The only thing alleged against him was want of power to maintain discipline. Compare the treatment, of Colonel Wallack with that meted out to another officer. Take the case of Colonel Lyster. The report of the Royal Commission on the Drayton Grange scandal was in the hands of the Defence Department and of the General Officer Commanding. Colonel Lyster was proved to have been absolutely deficient in the power of discipline. Yet he has been appointed to the command of the South Australian Defence forces. But I believe that the change that has lately been made in the head of the Defence Department will tend to bring about a better condition of affairs. I hope that greater Ministerial control will be exercised. While I am still a great believer in a Council of Defence, yet,seeingthat the service isin astate of chaos, owing to the want of a Defence Act, and as we are within a day or two of the end of the session, I am not going to resist the action of the House of Representatives in regard to this provision. If we find that in the future complaints arise similar tothose which have been previously made, and there is evidence that the establishment of a Council of Defence will remedy the grievances, we can take action next session to bring such a body into existence. I believe, and hope, that the new Minister will pay great attention to the universal demand of the people of Australia for the encouragement of our citizen soldiery and our rifle clubs. I am certain that he has more sympathy in that direction than Sir John Forrest had. Consequently, whilst willing to accept the alteration, which has been made in another place, in order to
Allow the Bill to be passed, I reserve to my self the right to support any movement for the establishment of a Council of Defence if what we desire is not done.
Question - That the Committee does not insist upon its amendment - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clause 120 not insisted upon.
Resolutions reported ; report adopted.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ Message) :
Divisions 1 to 10 -£30,207.
Senate’s Requests. - That the salary of the Clerk of the Papers and Accountant, £380, be increased to £420 ; the salary of the Shorthand Writer and Typist, £188, be increased to £200 ; the salary of the Housekeeper and Doorkeeper, £205, be increased to £235 ; and that the salary of the President’s Messenger, £188, be increased to £204.
House of Representatives’ Messaije. - Amendments not made.
– Honorable senators will perceive from this message that the House of Representatives has agreed to our request to reduce the number of superintendents of public works at a salary of £600 each, from four to “two.
It has, however, disagreed to all the requests which relate to officers of the Senate, whose salaries we desired to restore to the amounts which originally appeared upon the Estimates. Honorable senators will recollect that there are four officers upon the Senate staff who are interested in this matter, namely, the Clerk of Papers and Accountant, the Shorthand Writer and Typist, the housekeeper and doorkeeper, and the President’s messenger. The House Committee desired that these officers should receive salaries equal to those which are enjoyed by officers of the House of Representatives who perform similar duties. In the case of two of our officers the request for increases was made by the Joint House Committee. In the case of the others, the recommendation that increases should be paid was made by the House Committee of the Senate only. The objections which have been urged by the other Chamber in opposition to our proposal are that, in the interests of economy, it is not expedient to grant these increases, and that the officers of the Senate do not perform the same quantity of work as do the officers of the House of Representatives. But I would point out that the Clerk of Papers and Accountant upon the Senate staff, who at present receives £380 a year, and whose salary we desire to raise to £420, has to perform the work which is done upon the staff of the House of Representatives by the Clerk of Papers and Accountant, who receives £420, and the Clerk of Records, whose salary is £350. He has also to perform a portion of the work which is done by the Assistant Clerk of Committees and Reading Clerk, whose salary is £300. Thus, one officer upon the Senate staff, at a salary of £3S0, has to perforin the work of two and a half clerks upon the staff of the House of Representatives. Our Shorthand Writer and Typist, who is at present receiving £188 per annum, and whose salary we wish to increase to £200, is equivalent to the assistant reading clerk at £200, and is really called upon to do more work. Upon the House of Representatives’ staff there is also a junior clerk who is in the receipt of £80 a year, and whose duty it is to help the assistant reading clerk. We have no such corresponding officer. Then I come to the case of the housekeeper and doorkeeper, who receives £205 per annum. We propose to increase his salary to £235, so as to place him upon an equality with the housekeeper and doorkeeper of the House of Representatives. He does exactly the same work and is employed precisely similar hours, because, since I we have handed over to the members of the inter-State press what was formerly a waiting-room, that portion of the building has to remain lighted as long as the Senate . is sitting. ;
– He is one of the oldest officers in the service. 1
– As I am reminded, he is one of the oldest officers in the service. Then we desire that the ] salary of the President’s messenger shall be ; increased from £188 to £204, which is the amount received by the Speaker’s messenger. Practically the volume of work performed i by these officers is the same. There may be some slight difference, owing to the fact ; that the Senate does not sit quite so long as does the House of Representatives ; but for ‘ all practical purposes it is the same.
– Is it possible i for the work of the whole Public Service to be mapped out upon lines of exact equality 1
– No. Then owing to five officers being employed on the staff of the other House, as against two upon the Senate staff, one of the former can be allowed off duty every alternate night. That, however, cannot be done in the case of the Senate officers. The House of Representatives has five officers to do the work which is performed by two officers upon the Senate staff. The Clerk of the Papers, and the Shorthand Writer and Typist, assist in the work of the Joint House Committee, and are under the control of the Usher of the Black Rod, Mr. Upward. A considerable quantity of work has to be done by that committee, and these officers assist Mr. Upward, in the performance of the duties connected therewith. Then, in the case of the House of Representatives a sum of £60 is provided for “ adjustment of salaries “ of its officers, whereas no such provision appears upon the Estimates in connexion with the Senate. That vote means that the House of Representatives can increase the I salaries of any of its officers if it considers it desirable so to do. The same item constantly recurs throughout the Estimates. In the Treasurer’s Department, for example, a sum of £250 is provided for these adjustments. The Senate, however, has no means of adjusting the salaries of its officers even though they may be entitled to consideration. The President thought it better that a lump sum should be provided upon the Estimates, and that that sum should not be exceeded. I think the other Chamber ought to recognise that upon the ground of common fairness the Senate can claim that the salaries of these officers should be raised- to the amount indicated. As a member of the House Committee I moved in that direction, and the Treasurer very properly placed the increases upon the Estimates. When, however, these items were challenged in the other House, the Government divided upon them, and, unfortunately, were badly beaten. Later on when the Senate requested the House of Representatives to reinstate the increases proposed, the Treasurer did not call for a division. I asked him his reason for not doing so, and lie assured me that it was useless as the great majority of the Committee were opposed to him.
– Were the facts which have been stated by the “Vice-President put before the other House ?
– I think so.
– Not one of them.
– I wish that the result had been different, and I am only sorry that I cannot vote with honorable senators in favour of restoring the increases suggested. Under the circumstances, however, I have no alternative but to support my colleagues. I therefore move -
That the requests be not pressed.
– I entirely agree with everything which the Vice-President of the Executive Council has said, except with his concluding remarks. I thought that he intended to move in exactly an opposite direction. It is not necessary for me to state the case on behalf of the officers of the Senate who are chiefly concerned, because that has already been very well done by the VicePresident ; but this seems to me to be a matter as between the two Houses rather than one in respect of the claims of particular officers. I venture to think that as a matter of courtesy the House of Representatives ought to allow the Senate to manage its own interna] affairs. That is the almost universal practice in all countries where there are two Houses of Legislature. Nobody will for a moment suggest that the Senate is not as powerful or influential relatively to the House of Representatives as the House of Lords is to the
House of Commons. On the contrary, we know from its Constitution that it is far more important, and that it wields far greater powers relatively to the other House than does the House of Lords to the House of Commons. Yet what is the practice which is followed in England ? In this connexion I wish to read the following extract from the report of a debate in Committee of Supply of the 17th June, 1870 :-
Mr. Goldney wished to know whether there was any scale by which the salaries of the House of Lords were regulated.
Mr. Stanfield, in reply, said that the estimate for the House of Lords was prepared by a Committee of the House of Lords and sent to the Treasury, and it was generally accepted by them without dispute. It was undoubtedly within the competence of the Committee of Supply to modify and even reduce it -
No one denies that. It is within the legal power of the House of Representatives to cut down the estimates of expenditure upon the Senate staff in the same way as it is within our power to reject the Appropriation Bill. Mr. Stanfield went on to say - but a certain amount of respect was always paid to the estimate, and it had not been their habit to scan it very closely. Mr, Gladstone said it was his duty to support the statement of the Secretary of the Treasury, because the question was one of a peculiar nature. It was not to be supposed that the Treasury would assume that control over the estimate of the House of Lords that it was their duty to exercise over all ot her estimates. Under the old usage, the House of Lords were accustomed to regulate their own expenditure ; but that House, in a spirit that did them great credit, had abandoned that privilege, and had consented that the expenditure should come under an annual vote. Under these circumstances, it would not be becoming for the Treasury to assume that sort of command over that estimate that they very properly exercised over ordinary estimates.
That seems to me to lay down the principle which ought to actuate the two branches of the Legislature in dealing with the estimates of the salaries of officers of either House. I venture to think that if the Senate attempted to cut down the salaries which the House of Representatives wished to pay to its officers, the members of that House would not consent to it. I trust that the Senate will look at this matter as one of some importance, because it seems to me that the position which is taken up by the other Chamber is this - “ We are the sole judges of what shall be expended, and we intend to treat the Senate in exactly the same way as we treat any other Department.”
– The other House has agreed to one of our suggestions.
– But the estimates which relate to the salaries of officers of the Senate appear to be regarded by the other Chamber in just the same way as an expenditure for the erection of a post-office. Had it desired to consult the interests of economy, surely it might have exercised its functions to a far larger extent than by cutting down the salaries of officers upon the Senate staff by £98. I do not want to speak strongly, although I feel strongly on the matter. I hope the Senate will vindicate its position.
– We have to realize that this is a question of the rights of the Senate, and not a question of the rights of the individual officers whose salaries are affected. The President has clearly shown that the amount of the salaries of the officers of the Senate should be left entirely within our discretion, and that there should be no attempt on the part of the other House to interfere with items of that character. It is a pity that with such a message the other House did not give some reasons for refusing to our requests. In the case of an ordinary Bill, when we propose an amendment, and the other House dissents, reasons are given for that dissent ; and when requests have been submitted, as in the present case, it would be a simple act of courtesy for the other House to state the grounds for their disagreement. It would conduce more to pleasant feeling between the two Houses if that course were adopted, instead of sending us the brief message -
The House of Representatives has not made the remainder of the amendments requested by the Senate.
It is not treating us with courtesy to send a message to the effect that - “We have had your request before us, and we shall not grant it, because the matter dealt with is no business of yours.” I hope that such a state of things will not be allowed to continue, but that the representatives of the Government in the Senate will impress on their colleagues that the Senate are entitled to be treated with ordinary courtesy when the House of Representatives choose to disagree with any suggestions we may make.
– With the same courtesy that we extend to the House of Hepresentatives.
– I opposed some of the proposed increases of salary, and I feel it necessary to explain the vote which I shall give on the motion before us. I voted against several of the proposed increases of salary on what I believe to be the merits of the cases. I find, however, that when our requests went before another place, instead of being discussed on their merits, another basis altogether was adopted, and the right of the Senate to make any request in connexion with an Appropriation Bill was denied.
– That was the expression of opinion of only one member of the House of Representatives.
– That was the expressed opinion of several of the members of the House of Representatives, and the position was not combated, I am sorry to say, from the Ministerial benches.
– The right of the Senate to request amendments could not be challenged.
– The Prime Minister recommended that the request be complied with.
Senater PEARCE. - At any rate, the facts which have been laid before us to-day were not laid before the House of Representatives as they should have been, and the view that the Senate has no right to request amendments in an Appropriation Bill was not combated by the Ministry. Every honorable senator agrees that the doorkeeper of the Senate is entitled to a salary similar to that paid to the corresponding officer in another place. That is not merely because that salary is paid to the doorkeeper of the House of Representatives, but because the doorkeeper of the Senate is entitled to the salary proposed. In the House of Representatives that view of the matter was never taken ; it was never suggested that the other proposed increases should be refused and that of the doorkeeper granted. If that had been done I should have been prepared to vote as I voted on the previous occasion ; but when I find the House of Representatives rejecting the whole of the proposals without discussing their merits, the only course open to me is to join in what I hope will be the unanimous vote of the Senate - to send the whole of the requests back, determined to insist on them, even to the extent of blocking the Appropriation Bill.
– I find myself in exactly the same position as Senator Pearce. I was opposed to several of the increases ; but seeing that the merits of the proposals were never discussed in the House of Representatives, and that the latter Chamber claims to be absolute in matters of finance, it is my duty to join other honorable senators in again submitting our requests. The Constitution certainly gives the House of Representatives precedence in matters of finance, hut it does not make that House absolute. To take the position that the House of Representatives is absolute appears to be straining its powers beyond the endurance of the Senate. So far as I can see, this is an attempt to snuff out the Senate, and if we submit now-
– We will be treated in a worse way next year.
– We shall have further indignities heaped on us in days to come.
– I am quite with other honorable senators in the proposal to send our requests back to the House of Representatives. I presume, however, that our message will clearly express the reasons for our action, and explain that, in our opinion, the salaries are only just and right.
– We ought to go on another principle altogether, and insist on the rights of the Senate.
– We must recollect that in another place there are some men who hold extreme views on the point, and we should, to some extent, try to save trouble. Let it be known that we stand on principle ; but, at the same time, we ought to give full information as to our reasons.
– This is an important question, and I take it that the expressions of opinion by honorable senators will receive attention in another place.
– The division will show the opinions of honorable senators.
– It is just as well however, for senators to have their opinions placed on record. We cannot possibly consent to accept the action of the members of the House of Representatives, who have given us not the slightest reasons for refusing our requests. If it was considered that the requests of the Senate were wrong, the House of Representatives should have extended to us the courtesy of giving their reasons for rejecting them.
– It is quite clear from the tone of the remarks made that there will be no record in the form of a division list.
– I shall divide the Committee.
– In that case I shall vote against the motion, and I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will be the only one to vote in the affirmative.
Question - That the requests be not pressed - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 21
Question so resolved in the negative.
Resolution reported : report adopted.
– If it is desired to send reasons for again returning the Appropriation Bill to the House of Representatives, those reasons ought to be agreed to by the Senate. I cannot, on my own responsibility, import reasons into a message : and our reasons ought to be indicated. I suggest that one reason is quite sufficient, namely, that the Senate considers that it ought to have the power to regulate its own internal economy.
– It is the duty of the Government to name a committee to bring up reasons.
– I do not think a committee can be appointed to draft reasons.
– The reason suggested by the President ought to be embodied in the message.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - It might obviate some friction if, in addition to the reason which has been suggested, there were included an expression of opinion that the officers concerned are entitled to the salaries proposed. We lay down the constitutional principle in the first proposition. I desire rather to obviate a difficulty than to seek one.
Motion (by Senator Drake) pro-, posed -
That a message be sent to the House o£ Representatives informing them of the resolution of the Senate, and, assigning as a reason, that the Senate considers that it should have power to regulate its own internal affairs.
– Surely Mr. President these proceedings are irregular.
– I do not know-
– I think that they are. I do not hesitate to say that it is theduty of the Government at this stage to ask for the appointment of a sub-committee to draw up a list of reasons to accompany the message. It is certainly not your duty, Mr. President, or that of any individual honorable senator to move that certain reasons be added to the message. I object to the position taken up by the Government, who would allow you, or some private sena-‘ tor, to accept a responsibility which properly attaches to Ministers.
– I have accepted the responsibility by moving this motion.
– I am glad that theMinister has seen fit now to do what he ought to have done at the outset.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).- I do not think that the Senate ought to adopt the motion. If honorable senators will only reflect for a moment or two, they will realize that they are asked to take up an altogether untenable position. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives unreserved power over all the finances of the Commonwealth. There is no escape from that position.
– We have the power of veto.
– The Constitution also provides that the Senate shall have power to request amendments in financial measures, so that it thus gives the two Houses full power over finance. The position now taken up by the Attorney-General, and apparently accepted by other honorable senators, is that the Senate has a right to control its own internal affairs. My contention is that the Senate, is only a portion of Parliament, that the finances of the whole Commonwealth are under the control of Parliament, and that to say that the House of Representatives has no power over the finances of the Senate is to assert that we are independent altogether, so far as our internal finances are concerned, of that branch of the Legislature. That position is not tenable, and we shall be merely making ourselves ridiculous by assigning this reason for our action. We shall merely be inviting the ridicule of another place if we assent to this position. I concurred in pressing the requests because of the extreme position taken up by several honorable members of another place, who said - “ We are the absolute masters of finance. We shall do whatever we please. We refuse the right of the Senate to alter this Bill in any shape or form.” I cannot agree with that position ; but we are now asked to take up an equally extreme position on the other side, by saying that the House of Representatives has no power to interfere with our internal affairs. I think that proposition is absurd in the last degree, that it will place us in a false position, and ought not to be agreed to by the Senate.
– In my opinion the Senate would not act wisely in attaching reasons to our message. The reason for our action appears in the Constitution itself. We contend that it is a matter of courtesy, which the practice of other Parliaments has recognised, that our internal administration of our own department should not be interfered with. But we cannot attempt to advance that view of the position as a legal right, and I think that we should weaken our case if we attempted to do so. I would suggest with very great respect that it would be unwise to give any reason. I am not quite sure that our Standing Orders provide for reasons being assigned in connexion with those Bills which we have no power to amend.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - Senator Best has just given expression to opinions which I had intended to voice. It seems to me that in this case the proper persons to give reasons are the members of the Government. If the reasons stated by Senator Playford had been put before another place by Ministers our requests would not have been rejected.
– The Standing Orders provide for the sending of the message, but not for reasons to accompany it ; and, therefore, reasons cannot be sent to another place unless by the express desire of the Senate. I presume that the mover of the motion intends to say that the Senate is of opinion that as a matter of courtesy, not as a matter of right, we should have power to regulate our own internal affairs. Is that the intention of the Attorney-General ?
– I am prepared to withdraw the motion. I moved it only because I believed it to be the desire of the Senate that some reason for our decision should accompany the message. My opinion in the first place was that no reasons should be given.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
In Committee. - (Consideration of House of Representatives’ amendments).
– I shall be glad to have the assistance of honorable senators in expediting the consideration of these amendments. The schedule is a lengthy one, but the vast majority of the amendments made in another place are merely alterations in the drafting of the Bill, and will be at once agreed to. I shall point out, as we proceed, the nature of any amendment that is really of an important character.
Amendments in clauses 4 and 6 agreed to.
Home of liepresentatiiies’ Amendment. - After clause fa” insert the following new clause : - “6a. 1. ‘The patentee under a State Patents Act of an invention, whose patent is in force at the time of application, may make application under this Act for a patent for the invention.
The Commissioner may grant, a patent under this Act for the invention, but if he is satisfied that the subject-matter of the patent under the State Patents Act -
– This amendment will carry out the wish of the Senate as to the position of a man who has taken out a patent in oneof the States, and desires that it shall be extended to the Commonwealth. It will give the fullest possible privilege to the holders of patents in the States, subject to the interests of other patentees and the public. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– I think that I was the first to bring this matter under the notice of the Senate, and I must say that the amendment carries out my desire in the fullest degree, and is a great improvement on the Bill as it left us. Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clauses S and 9 agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After clause 9 insert the following new clause : - “9a. 1. TheCommissionermayinrelationtoany particular matters or class of matters or to any particular State or part of the Commonwealth, by writing under his hand, delegate all or any of his powers under this Act (except this power of delegation) to a Deputy Commissioner, so that the delegated powers may be exercised by him with respect to the matters or class of matters or the State or part of the Commonwealth specified in the instrument of- delegation.
– This is merely an alteration in drafting. The last paragraph of clause 12 in the Bill, as it left the Senate, gave the Commissioner authority to delegate any of his powers under this measure to a deputy Commissioner. That paragraph has been omitted, and the introduction of this new clause more clearly defines the Commissioner’s powers in this respect. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clauses 12, 13, and 18 agreed to.
Amendment, inserting new clause ISa, agreed to.
Amendment in clause 2S agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After clause 28 insert the following clause : - “28a. Applications for patents maybe lodged at the Patent Office immediately after the Commissioner is appointed, notwithstanding that this Act has not then commenced, and all applications so lodged shall have priority according to the time when the3- were so lodged, and the lodging of an application under this section shall have the li ke effect as the lodging of an application after the commencement of this Act, but any patent granted pursuant to the application shall be dated as of the day of the commencement of this Act. Until forms are prescribed applications shall be in such form as the Commissioner directs.
Applications made under a State Patent Act may be lodged as prescribed before the commencement of this Act as applications under this Act.”’
– It will be seen at a. glance that the object of this clause is to provide that there shall be no hiatus. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I hope the Committee will not pass this clause without looking into its effects, because it is rather important. This Bill will come into operation on a date to be fixed by proclamation, but the States Patent Acts, will continue in operation until that date. The Commissioner under this Bill may be appointed a month or two months before the proclamation of the Act, and we shall be confronted with this contingency : We may have inventors lodging applications for patents two or three months before the Act is actually in operation. Then, when the Act is proclaimed, we shall have the Patent Office loaded up with applications which must be dealt with in the order of priority. Knowing the superior advantages of the Commonwealth Act over the various States Acts, particularly in the matter of fees, we can quite imagine that inventors will endeavour to lodge their applications under this Bill as soon as possible. But I would ask the AttorneyGeneral what advantage there is in giving them this power to lodge their applications before the Act conies intoforce? I venture to prophesy that the clause will lead to a great deal of heartburning and a great deal of bungling. As a matter of fact, if a man patents an invention under any ohe of the States Acts, he can prevent any one else from pirating his invention. If, for instance, a man has. patented an invention in South Australia; under the State Patents Act, I cannot lodge an application for a patent for the same invention under this clause, because I must make a declaration that I am the actual inventor or his assignee.
– The desire is to give inventors an opportunity of securing protection over the whole of the Commonwealth, at the earliest possible moment.
– That surely should be the moment when the Commonwealth Patents Act comes into operation. To allow inventors to lodge applications under this clause will not give them any protection.
– It will give them priority, and it will give them a real protection from the time of their application, because the letters patent, if granted, will date back to the application.
– All that applicants will get uader this clause is a guarantee that their applications will be dealt with in order of priority. I submit this case to the Attorney-General : An inventor, under this clause, lodges an application for a patent with the Commissioner as soon as he is appointed, whilst some other more enterprising person goes to a State Patents Office and lodges an application for a patent for the same invention. Of what benefit will this clause be to the first man 1 When the Patents Office is actually established and the Act is in operation, his application will come up for hearing, and the man who has been enterprising enough to secure a patent in a State Patents Office will be able to object.
– This clause proteets the first man.
– The honorable senator cannot have read the clause. This Bill can confer no benefit upon any one until it is proclaimed as an Act in force. It can give no protection. All that this clause can effect is that if Jones lodges an application for a patent, and Smith lodges an application for the same invention, if Jones’ application is lodged first he will have a priority over Smith. But if Smith is sufficiently enterprising to go round to the States Patents Offices in the meantime
– He cannot do it.
– There is nothing to prevent him. The States Patents Acts are to continue in full force until this Act is proclaimed. If I go to a State Patents Office before the proclamation of this Act, what authority will the officials have to refuse me a patent because somebody has lodged an application with the Commissioner under an Act which has not yet been proclaimed?
– Inventors will know that an application under this Act will have priority.
– Every layman must know thac an Act can have no force until it is proclaimed. The Attorney-General is proposing the insertion of a new clause, which will have the effect of securing a host of applications, but which will give no protection to the applicant, and can serve no useful purpose. The clause is a delusion and a snare, and should be left out.
– There are advantages and disadvantages in inserting a clause of this kind. The object clearly is to enable inventors to have an opportunity of lodging applications perhaps a few weeks before they could do so if they had to wait until the Act is proclaimed. Of course an Act is entirely inoperative until it is proclaimed, but as soon as this Act is proclaimed this clause will take effect, and applications which are in the hands of the Commissioner will have priority. Under this clause an inventor desiring a patent will not need to run round to all the States Patents Offices. That is the state of things which we are endeavouring to remedy by this Bill. An inventor under this clause will be able, at the earliest possible moment, to lodge his application with the Commissioner.
– This will give him no protection.
– This will give him a priority which amounts to protection. He will get the benefit of the early date of his application.
– Providing no one makes an application for a patent for the same invention to a State Patents Office.
– Inventors will not take their applications to States Patent3 Offices when they know they may be lodged with the Commissioner under this Bill.
– They may not have the knowledge.
– The Registrar of Patents in every State will become a DeputyRegistrar under the Commissioner, and assoon as the Commissioner is appointed, it will be known at every State Patents Office ; and every person lodging an application with the Commissioner at a State Patents Office will know perfectly well that he will be under no risk of being anticipated. If we do not insert a clause of this kind, we shall prevent inventors lodging applications for patents covering the whole of the Commonwealth until the Act is proclaimed.
– That is what we should do.
– I quite agree with Senator Pearce. It is obvious to any one who reads this clause that the Ministry contemplate the appointment of a Commissioner before the proclamation of the Act.
– He probably will be appointed a short time before the proclamation of the Act in order that he may be able to get things ready.
– What would be the good of the Act without a Commissioner under it ?
– There would be nothing funny in having an Act proclaimed before every official under it is appointed.
– We should have an Act in operation which could not be worked.
– We should have an Act in operation which could not be worked until we appointed a Commissioner. There is no reason why we should appoint a Commissioner before we have proclaimed the Act under which he is to work.
– There is, decidedly.
– There is nothing in the world to prevent the proclamation of the Act and the appointment of the Commissioner being simultaneous. No difficulty of administration, and no other good reason, can be alleged for not proclaiming the Act and appointing the Commissioner at the same time.
– There would be no difficulty if the Commissioner knew for some time beforehand that he was going to be appointed.
– I can conceive many reasons why we should not appoint a Commissioner for some time before the Act is proclaimed. One reason, on the score of economy, is that the Commissioner would require to be paid his salary before there was an Act which he could administer.
– He would have work to do in preparing for the operation of the Act.
– He would h:ive very little work to do. It is obvious that this new clause contemplates the lapse of a considerable interval between the appointment, of the Commissioner and the proclamation of the Act.
– Not longer than is necessary.
– If it is not contemplated that there shall be a considerable interval, why all this trouble about nothing? Clause 6, to which I refer the AttorneyGeneral, bears out the contention of Senator Pearce. It provides that nothing in this Bill shall affect any proceedings pending under any State Patents Act. We are going to induce applicants for patents to rush in their applications, in order to secure the advantage of priority, whilst, at the same time, the States Patents Offices are still open. That is undesirable, and the Attorney-General can give no satisfactory reason for it. Senator Pearce’s argument is sound, and we shall be inviting a conflict between the Commonwealth Patents Office before it is established, and the Patents Offices of the States which have been established fov years. I am opposed to the clause, and if Senator Pearce calls for a division, I shall support him.
Question - That the amendment be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause 35 -
Every application and specification shall forthwith be referred by the Commissioner to the Examiner, who shall ascertain and report as to -
Whether the title has been stated as prescribed ;
Whether the invention has been described as prescribed ;
Whether the application and specification are as prescribed ; and
Whether the invention is novel, and has been already in possession of the public withthe consent or allowance of the inventor.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - At end of paragraph 6, add “and”; at end of paragraph c omit “ and,” and omit paragraph d.
– The amendments in clauses 35 and 37 relate to the subject of novelty. The House of Representatives prefers clause 35 as it was originally drafted with some alterations which I shall point out. It holds the view which I have expressed before, that it is not desirable that the Examiner should be called upon to report on novelty. It is a most intricate and delicate matter, on which the validity of patents more frequently turns than on anything else, and to say that the Examiner . shall report as to novelty is really a trap. But in clause 37 it is proposed that in the case of complete specifications, the Examiner, in addition to reporting whether an invention lias been already patented, shall report as to novelty. I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clauses 37, 38, 40, 41, and 42 agreed to.
Amendment, adding new clause 42a, agreed to.
Amendments in clauses 43, 44, 51, 52, 54, 55, 60, 61, 62, 63, 71, 72, 73, 77, 80, and 82 agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Before clause 83 insert the following new clauses : - “82a. Every patent shall be granted subject to the following conditions : -
– The object of this amendment is to restore the provisions which were objected to by the Senate. I have already expressed my opinion strongly on this subject. I think it is very desirable to require a man who has obtained a patent to work it in Australia, instead of sitting down and importing the article, thus preventing anybody else from making it here. The amendment of the other House provides that an inventor shall be required to manufacture an article for which he has obtained a patent and supply it at a reasonable price to the public, and that after the expiration of four years he shall not import the article. I think it is a very good provision to make. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause 83. - (Compulsory Licences.)
House of Representatives Amendment. - At end of sub-clause J add “or in the alternative for the revocation of the patent. “
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– I only wish to point out to those honorable senators who think that we are nob sufficiently safeguarding local manufacturers the drastic powers which are conferred by this clause. It is provided that any person interested may, after the lapse of two years, present a petition alleging that the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to a patented invention have not been satisfied, and apply for the grant of a compulsory licence, or, in the alternative, for the revocation of the patent. That surely would afford sufficient protection to the public without such a provision as that just rejected.
Motion agreed to.
Other amendments in clause 83, and amendments in clauses 84 and 86 agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After clause 88, insert new clause 88a
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The object of this clause is to enable patents to be acquired by the Commonwealth, and the new clause immediately following gives similar powers to the States ; subject, of course, to provisions for compensation to the patentees.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment, adding new clause 88b, agreed to.
Amendments in clauses S9, 93, 99, 101, 105, 115, and 118 agreed to.
Amendment, adding new clause 118A agreed to.
Amendments, omitting clauses 119, 120, 121, and 122, agreed to.
Amendment, adding new paragraph (3) to first schedule, disagreed to.
Other amendments in first schedule, and amendment in second schedule, agreed to.
Resolutions reported ; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Drake) agreed to -
That Senator Clemons, Senator Pearce, and the mover be appointed a committee to prepare and bring up reasons for the disagreement cf the Senate to certain amendments of the House of Represeni tati ves.
At a later stage -
Resolved (on motion by Senator Drake) -
That the following reasons be sent to the House of Representatives : -
As to No. 19 - Because it is undesirable that the appointment of tlie Commissioner should, except for a short interval, precede the Proclamation of the Act, and that the clause would tend to conflict with the States Patent Acts, and would confer no substantial benefits on applicants.
As to No. HQ - Because the desirability, if any, of the clause is obviated bv the succeeding clause, No. 83.
As to No. 79. - Because it is consequential on No. 56.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is intended to amend section 80, sub-section c, of the Public Service Act, which deals with persons who have passed the examination and are capable of filling vacancies that arise in the service. The Act provides that they must be appointed within nine months. That provision has been found to be inconvenient in working, and the Bill proposes to substitute eighteen months for nine months. I think ic is an amendment which will commend itself to the Senate, as it has already done to the House of Representatives.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported without amendment ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– Senator Stewart has given notice of four questions, which I desire to answer now. The questions are as follow : -
The following are the answers : -
Resolved (on motion by Senator Playford) -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– For the information of honorable senators, I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council if he can- make any announcement as to whether the Government intend to proceed by way of conference to settle the question of the Capital site this session, seeing that a disagreement has arisen between the two Houses 1 I ask the question because I am sure that the Government do not desire to bring the matter to a conclusion in a thin House or in a thin Senate ; and we all know that it is extremely probable that there will be a small attendance in both Houses during the rest of the session.
– The honorable senator was kind enough to ask me some time ago whether I should be prepared before the Senate rose to answer the question which he has just put to me. I have communicated with the Prime Minister over the telephone, and the reply which I have received amounts to this : That he believes that the Government, when they receive the Bill in another place, will ask the House to agree to insert Bombala instead of Tumut. Failing that, he is not in a position to say exactly what course will be adopted It will depend upon circumstances and upon the feeling in the other branch of the Legislature.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 October 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19031016_senate_1_17/>.