2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator DAWSON laid upon the table the following paper’: -
Second annual report on the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
– Before ‘proceeding to the business of the day, I have a statement to make in reference to Hansard proofs of speeches made on Friday. The House of Representatives meets on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday, and if proofs of speeches made here on ‘ Friday are not returned to the Chief Parliamentary Reporter before Wednesday a difficulty arises in the printing department. Honorable senators are therefore requested to return their proofs of speeches made on Friday by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to prosecute certain Melbourne fish “ salesmen who, for the last two or three years’, are alleged to have systematically defrauded cbe Commonwealth revenue of considerable sums of money by means of fraudulent Customs entries?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question’ is as follows : -
The Minister of Trade and Customs has given full consideration to this matter, and the honorable member may rest assured that the proper course will be taken in regard to this case.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
With reference to the New Hebrides Land Commission, to be appointed under the provisions of the Anglo-French agreement, will the Government, in view of the urgency of the matter, communicate with the Imperial authorities by cable, urging the speediest constitution of the Commission ?
Senator McGREGOR. The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -
A despatch, fully expressing the views pf the Government, is now on its way to England. As soon as it has been received there the Imperial Government will be asked by cable to urge the speedy constitution of the Commission.
– SMITH asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
How many Commonwealth civil servants” have lodged their life assurance policies with the chief officers of departments, as provided under Regulation 176 of the Public Service Act?
– The answer to the honorable’, senator’s question is as follows: -
Inquiries are being made, and the information will’ be furnished as soon as possible.*
Motions (bv Senator Walker) agreed to.
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Lt.-Col.’ Neild on. account of illhealth.
That one month’s leave of absence be granted to Senator Pulsford on account of ill-health.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That, a message be sent to the House of Representatives requesting that the House of Representatives give leave to the Honorable Austin Chapman to attend to be examined by the Select Committee of the Senate on Privilege - Case of Senator Lt.-Col. Neild.
Motions (by Senator Higgs) agreed to -
That a Message be sent to the House of Representatives, requesting that the House of Representatives give leave to the Right Honorable Sir John Forrest, G.C.M.G., to attend to be examined by the Select Committee of the Senate on the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll.
That the Select Committee on the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll have leave to adjourn from place to place, and that at such adjourned meetings three shall form a quorum for the purpose of taking evidence.
That the- Select Committee have leave to extend the time for bringing up the report to this day month.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders _be suspended as will permit the Select Committee on Tobacco Monopoly to allow the representatives of the press to be present when convenient during the sittings of the Committee, and make a report of the same public.
– I move -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, wherever practicable, the public works undertaken by the Commonwealth should be constructed under the day labour system.
I have much pleasure in submitting the motion in order to elicit an expression of opinion from the Senate. In the near future the Federal Government will have to undertake a large number of cosily public works such as railways, fortifications, and public buildings.
– Where is the money to come from ?
– We shall provide the money when the time arrives, but at present we are not considering how it shall be provided, but how it shall be spent. It is well before the Parliament is committed to any of these schemes that there should be an expression of opinion, as to what is the best method of carrying out public works. In this matter we shall not be working in the dark We have the benefit of the experience of parliamentary bodies and municipal councils in Australia and other countries, who have carried out simitar works under both the contract and day systems. We can, therefore, make a comparison of the relative cost, and it can be done in cold blood, because no scheme is at present under discussion. If this question is. gone into by the Senate, useful information can be obtained which will be of assistance to t he Government in deciding on the policy to be pursued. The question of the construction of public works by day labour or byl contract is very often made subsidiary to other questions, or is made the vehicle of party attacks. The motion has no party colour ; it is not brought forward by the Government or the Opposition, and therefore it can be debated without regard to any schemes which may have to be submitted later on. In Western Australia various Governments have constructed a large number of public works, and given a very fair trial to both systems. When I instance the biggest work of its kind in the world, and mention that it was carried out almost entirely by day labour, honorable senators will agree that I am not asking for an experiment to be made as far as that State is concerned. The work to which I refer was that of conveying water from the coast for a distance of 400. miles into the interior, raising it at intervals bv a series of nine pumping stations, discharging away in the interior what is practically a river, reticulating the towns on the gold-fields, and supplying the mines constantly with fresh water. In carrying out that work almost every kind of labour - clerical, skilled and unskilled - and high-class machinery and masonry had to be employed. The largest contract was that for the supply of pipes. It was let to two firms and carried out under strict supervision. But the construction of the weir- one of the biggest works of its kind in Australia - -was carried out entirely by day labour. In order to get a firm foundation, sinking had to be carried on to a depth of 120 feet, owing to a fault in the rock. The excavating for the weir, the refilling with cement concrete, the masonry, and the cementing of the weir when completed, were carried out entirely by day labour. The railway from the permanent line to the weir was also constructed by day labour. The work of transporting the pipes from the foundries, and taking them along the line of pipe track, laying and caulking them, erecting pumping stations, fixing in position costly and intricate pumping machinery, and constructing a reservoir at Kalgoorlie was carried out directly bv the Government with day labour, and without the intervention of a contractor. In Western Australia, therefore, we have had an opportunity of thoroughly testing the efficacy of the system.
– Was it done more cheaply by clay labour than by contract?
– It is impossible to say that.
– How can a comparison be made?
– No’ tenders were called by the Government, and therefore we have no opportunity of saying what it would have cost if contracts had been let. But I venture to say that, whether it was done more cheaply or not, it was done in a better way than it could have been done by contract. There was no inducement to the Government, for instance, to put inferior cement into the weir, or to endeavour to scamp the work. In fact, there was rather an inducement to the workmen and Government officials to put their best work into the weir. It was urged by the Forrest Government at the time, and by the Engineer-in.-Chief, the late Mr. C. E. O’Connor - in my opinion one of the best engineers Australia has known - that as it was a scheme of such magnitude, in which the weir would be a- vital feature, they would have to make sure, no matter at what cost, that the soundest materials were employed, and the ‘most faithful work possible done. No person in Western Australia, not even the advocates of the contract system, has ever cavilled at the cost of that work. On the contrary, we have had the criticism and the commendation of men of all ranks, who have said that the weir is a splendid instance of faithful work, cheaply constructed. I admit that the work of constructing the pipe line has been challenged. The challenge was made in such a way that, in order to investigate the charges, a Royal Commission was appointed. The Commission - and the majority of its members, were hostile to the principle of day labour - went thoroughly into the question of the manner in which the weir and the pumping stations were constructed and the pipes laid, and their report was not in any way detrimental to the principle of day labour. I ought to say that previously tenders had been called for the caulking of the pipes, and by some method, which did not transpire during the inquiry, and which we have been unable to discover to this day, the man who was the successful tenderer, was put on to supervise that work. He sold what he called a patented process to the Government at a very high figure. The Government had to spend months, at a cost of hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, in making, the machine fit to do the work which it was designed to do. What the Commission did expose was the cunning manner in which this man made a large sum out of the Government, by selling them a machine which proved utterly inadequate to do the work. On the question of the cheapness of the construction of the “ work they made no comment, but they did comment very severely on the transactions - these were not revealed, but special - evidence pointed to their existence - between this man who was the contractor, and the Government, prior to the carrying out of the work.
– The ( honorable senator’s statements afford no test as to cost.
– What I am pointing out is that these facts afford a test of the ability of a- Government to safely carry out complicated and important works by day labour. Nobody in Western Australia has ever said that the works to which I refer have not been faithfully carried out. At the commencement of my remarks I pointed out that we had no means of testing whether these works could be carried out more cheaply by contract. I am not giving these illustrations in order to prove the cheapness of day labour; I have other instances to prove that fact. The argument against day labour is that it is not so cheap, and that it is not so good as contract work; and I shall strive to disprove those two contentions. This public work has been completed, and in operation for some time, with absolute satisfaction. The weir is, apparently, as sound to-day as on the day on which the water first flowed into the reservoir ; and’ it must not be forgotten that last winter-there was a tremendous strain caused by the overflowing, and backing of the water for ten or twelve miles around. This reservoir holds between 5,000,000,000 and 6,000,000,000 gallons of water, so that a very severe test has been successfully applied.’ The pipe line, the pumping stations, and other works, have also stood the test of time; there is no diminution in the stream of water, which’ has proved ample for all requirements 1 at the gold-fields. These- facts show that the officials, who carried out this theory in the first place, did their work faithfully. They told the Government that water could be delivered in the quantities desired, and that the scheme could be worked successfully; and their words have come true. In Western Australia there was another great work which required all kinds of labour and engineering and technical skill. That was the construction of the central railway workshops at” Midland Junction, which compare more than favorably with similar workshops in any of the “other States. I do not make that statement boastfully, but simply in order to show that the Western Australian Government, by sending experts to learn the latest methods, and obtain proper machinery, in the other States, have been able to construct extensive and thoroughly up-to-date workshops. I have here the Swan Express of ‘the 7th May, 1904, a newspaper published in the district in which the work was carried out. The then Minister of Public Works, Mr. C. H. Rason, who became Treasurer on the retirement of Mr. Gardiner, is reported to have said, on the occasion of the opening of the workshops -
Those shops constituted a monument of work honestly and faithfully performed. For generations after those present had been gathered to their long home, the Midland Junction workshops would stand as a lasting tribute to the skill and energy of the men employed on their construction. He could only hope that it would in the hereinafter be said of him that he had done his work as faithfully as had they.
Then the Mayor of Midland Junction, Mr. Farrell, on the same occasion, said -
The railway workshops reflected great credit on all concerned, and were an indisputable’ proof of the fact that large public works could be carried out better under the day labour than the contract system. The men employed there were good workers. From the manager to the hodcarrier they were all busy.
Mr. Farrell, I may say, is a large builder and contractor at Midland 1 unction, and he made those remarks in proposing the health of the Minister of Public Works. In his reply to that toast, the Minister is reported as follows: -
The Hon. C. H. Rason, in reply, said with regard to the subject of day labour in public works, that the matter was in their own hands. In the case of the construction of the Midland Junction Shops, where the work had been honestly done and carefully supervised, it had undoubtedly been shown that such work could be done as cheaply by day labour as by contract…..
If they could go on demonstrating that work could be done better and more cheaply by day labour than by contract, they could depend upon it that it would be so carried out.
That is the experience and testimony of a politician ; but in the following extract we have the opinion of the works engineer -
Mr. H. Ower, resident engineer, responded, and in doing so hoped that the new Minister for Works (Mr. J. L. Nansen) would receive the same loyal support as Hon. C. H. Rason. Until recent years departmental work had never had a fair innings, but he was convinced that it was the better and cheaper system as opposed to that of contract. In fact he had been able under the system to save from 10 to 12 per cent., for the work had been done that much under the estimated cost. The amount saved would help to build the extension asked for by Mr. Evans. The whole of the employes had rendered loyal assistance, all had done a good day’s work.
The Minister of Public Works, Mr. Rason, is by no means a labour representative; in fact, he has just- had a very severe fight foi his seat against a labour candidate. Mr. Rason was a member of the Forrest Ministry, he being the Minister of Public Works under whom the water scheme was carried out. It will be seen, therefore, that Mr. Rason has had experience of two great works, .and his testimony is that they have been better and more cheaply done by day labour than they could have been done under contract. We have another example of a different type in the harbor works at Fremantle - no light undertaking. These harbor works involved an expenditure of something like ,£1,250,000, it being necessary to make a harbor from what was practically rock and swamp. Where the mail steamers now lie to-day in Fremantle Harbor there was at one time only four or five feet of water, covering hard limestone rock. This was at the month of the Swan estuary, where there was all the danger and difficulty caused by the silt carried down that stream. The position was exposed to the fierce gales from the northwest, which rendered the work of extending the Mole both dangerous and costly. For the construction of the breakwater no tenders were called. The Government recognised that those breakwaters should be of the best material, and faithfully constructed; that there should be no cavities, by means of which there might be a saving of a few yards of stone. That is a trick by which I believe some contractors have discovered a way of making a few extra pounds.
– Contractors generally have overseers to see that the work is properly carried out.
– I know that contractors have overseers, but, be that as it may,, the Government decided that the work should be done by day labour. The Builders’ and Contractors’ Association of Western Australia offered strong opposition to the growing practice of the Government to adopt day labour, and brought immense pressure to bear in order that the construction of the wharfs, at any rate, should be by contract. Strange to say, the leading member of that association was the successful tenderer for the construction of part of the wharfs. This contract work was carried on side by side with work done by day labour, and, as the conditions were exactly similar, there was a fair trial of the two systems. The result was that the work done by day labour was found to be the cheaper ; and the first gale proved that it had been done faithfully. That gale also proved that piles which were supposed to have been driven in, under contract, some 10 or 15 feet, were really only driven in for a foot or two at the bottom of the harbor, and when the scour of the waves came parts of the wharfs were found to be swinging. That could be seen by anybody, because the wharfs which had been constructed by contract sunk at the centre by about 2 feet, owing to the sand scouring out from the bottom of the piles, and the consequent giving way of the supports.
– If that happened the overseer should have been sacked.
– But before such things are found out the work has been completed. Such faults are always found out too late - when the final payment has been made, and the overseer had gone on a trip to Europe with the contractor. I clare say Senator Styles has heard of the practice in the good old land-boom days in Victoria, of one contractor leaning up against a building to keep it perpendicular, while the other contractor went to draw the final deposit. It seems to me that something of that sort was done in the case of the Fremantle wharfs. At any rate, the work done by day labour at. Fremantle was cheaper than any work of a similar character carried out in Australia. The estimates of the cost of removing the silt and rock from Fremantle Harbor were based on the cost of similar work in New Zealand, New South Wales, and other States, and when the work was completed, a comparison showed that the cost was less than that of any other harbor works under contract in the Commonwealth. In Western Australia there have been railways constructed by day labour, and others constructed by contract. It might be said that some of the railways in Western Australia were constructed very cheaply under the contract system ; and I suppose the Southern Cross to Coolgardie line was the cheapest of the kind ever carried out. Yet that contract paid the contractor handsomely, because one stipulation was that he should have the right to run the railway for his own profit for about twelve months ; and with the rush of population to the gold-fields he reaped a magnificent harvest, allowed, las he was, to charge pretty heavy fares and freights.
– The contractor got more in that way than it cost him to construct the whole line.
– The completion of the contract was not. hurried.
– The contract was not completed before the stipulated time. Had the Government taken the work in hand it would, “as we see, have been carried out practically for nothing, because ‘the contractor earned from the traffic more than sufficient to recoup him for the loss on the construction of the line - the profit he made from the running of the traffic amounted to more than he spent on. the work of construction.
– The same sort of thing took place in connexion with the StrahanZeehan railway in Tasmania.
– Contractors frequently lose by contracts.
– But in the case of the Southern Cross line, the contractor gained, and the Government would also have gained, seeing that the contractor did not obtain one passenger more than would have been obtained by the Government. The Western Australian Government have constructed two lines by day labour as cheaply as other similar lines have been constructed by contract labour, and the work was better done in each case. Under day labour the requisite quantity of metal is always used, and substantial buildings are erected. The whole question narrows itself down to that of supervision. It may be said that there is less supervision with day labour, which must, therefore, prove more costly.
– The supervision in regard to the piles which the honorable senator mentioned, must have been very loose.
– That is so; but I should like to point out the different effects of loose supervision under the two systems. What happens if there is loose supervision under a contract? Not only is the work more costly than it should be, but the contractors are afforded all sorts of loop-holes for the introduction of “ extras “ - I could point to a building constructed under contract, and in connexion with which the extras came to as much as the contract itself. There is also the opportunity to put in “scamped” work. But what happens if there is loose supervision under day labour? Of course, if men are allowed to do the “ Government stroke,” or loaf, the job will certainly be costly ; but we never find men, under these conditions, trying to spoil the concrete by not giving it sufficient mixing, or trying to avoid work. As a matter of fact the very opposite happens. If there be loose supervision with day labour we have the men trying to put in more work than is necessary. Loose supervision, under the contract system, means a costly job, plus bad work, whereas loose supervision with day labour means a costly job, plus good work. Loose supervision under either system is bad, but it is much worse under the contract system. The contractor does not undertake the work from any philanthropic motive, or for the good of his country. He undertakes the work in order to make as big a profit as possible, and, no matter how close the supervision may be, there are, especially in big works such as the Federal Government may have to undertake, hundreds of opportunities for the vigilant contractor to dodge the most vigilant supervisor. Contractors regard it as perfectly legitimate to dodge supervisors; it is looked on as “good business.”
– There are exceptions.
– No doubt; but, generally speaking, a very loose code of morals governs the carrying out of Government work under contract. Such dodging is looked on very much in the same light as travelling without a ticket on the railways, or smuggling a pocketful of cigars into port. The contractor who is able to dodge the supervisors is regarded as rather a smart business man, and not in any way as a robber of the people. Without good supervision the contractor will not always keep up to the specifications. Under day labour the supervisor is generally an engineer of some repute, with men under him whose positions are secure, and not dependent on the good will of some contractor. When one work is completed these men are sent to another; and there is every inducement to them to work well and faithfully, and as economically as possible, in order that they mayget a rise in the service. A Government supervisor who did his work properly could, I maintain, enforce just as strict discipline as any big contractor. It is said that men will not work for a Government as they will for a contractor. But is a large contractor ever seen by the bulk of his employes? In nine cases out of ten I should say that the em ployes would not know the contractor if they met him in the street. The only person who comes in contact with the workman is the man in charge of a. particular department or branch. Workmen will work just as well for a Government supervisor as for the representative of a contractor. In neither case does the employe come into touch with the employer, and there is just as much likelihood of good service under one condition as under the other. I know as a matter of fact that on the public works I have mentioned the men did faithful work, with the result that they were carried out quite as cheaply and expeditiously as they could have been under contract. I do not propose to speak at greater length on the question, but I would point out that the Government will have to carry out such works as fortifications, and that on their faithful construction may depend, not merely the safety of hundreds of lives, but the safety of the nation. It may mean the saving of millions of pounds worth’ of property and of thousands of lives. We want, in connexion with such works, both good material and faithful construction. Honorable senators are no doubt aware of what happened in connexion with the construction of the fortifications in Sydney. It was proved by a Commission that inquired into the question that the contractors for some of the fortifications constructed an outer scale of masonry and cement facing, with a centre composed of all sorts of rubbish. It is reported that when members of the Commission were promenading along the masonry work they absolutely fell through the cement facing into the rubbish below. If that work had been constructed by day labour nothing of that kind could have happened. Of what value would that work be in time of war? It was intended to withstand a bombardment, but the first shell would have dissipated the whole of it into a cloud cf dust. The Commonwealth will have to undertake works of this kind, and it may well be advisable that their construction should be a little costly, if necessary, in order that they may be substantially and faithfully built. In connexion with such works the Commonwealth must have an assurance that only good material and faithful workmanship are put into them. Taking railway construction, out experience throughout Australia teaches us that if a line is cheaply constructed in the first instance the increased cost of maintenance in after years will more than balance a largely increased cost in the original construction. As a matter of fact, in the case of the Southern Cross-Coolgardie line, to which 1 have referred, within two years after the Government took it over they had to re-metal it from one end to the other. That was because, owing to loose supervision under the contract system, the contractor put earth where he ought to have put metal. Had that line been constructed by day labour, it would have- been properly metalled from the first. I remember that whilst I was a member of the Subiaco Municipal Council an endeavour was made to introduce the day-labour system. An expenditure of .-£9,000 of loan money was agreed upon for the making of roads.’ We were told that if the day-labour system were adopted, we should not be able to get as many miles of road constructed, or to have the work done as cheaply. We determined, however, to make a small experiment. It was not, I think, quite fairly conducted, because we were permitted to spend only ,-£1,000 on day labour, as against ^8,000 spent on the contract system. In these circumstances, dealing with much greater quantities the contract work was done a little more cheaply than was the work done under the day-labour system, because we had to go to the expense of hiring drays and all that kind of thing for a comparatively small quantity’ of work. But what was the result of that experiment ? We now find that the Municipal Council are satisfied that the roads ‘constructed under the day-labour system are the best roads in the district, and. whilst not a penny is required for their maintenance, large sums of money have to be spent every week or month to keep the roads made under (he contract system in order. The result of the working of the two systems has been the same everywhere, and I trust, therefore, that the Senate will unanimously agree that wherever practicable - the Government shall carry out public works by the day-labour system.
– I move -
That the word “practicable,” line 2, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ the Government thinks it preferable to do so.”
– That would be done in any circumstances.
– It is quite refreshing to hear Senator Pearce departing from his free-trade principles in the way he has done this afternoon. The honorable senator proposes a monopoly of day labour, whilst I, as a free-trader, think it better that we should have both contract and clay labour. I know of cases in which each has proved the better. I know of instances in which extensive alterations are being made to old buildings by day labour, and I think the day labour system is the better in a case of that sort. But when we have to deal with a large work such as the new railway station which is being built in Sydney at the present time, the contract system is, in my opinion, preferable. Who will tell me that that work would ever have been undertaken if tenders had had to be called for it in the present state of the money market?’ Any honorable senator who has seen it must admit that it is an unconscionable waste of money.
– It would be equally a waste, if it were done by contract labour.
– No; because the contract price would have been so enormous that no Public Works Committee and no Parliament ‘would have agreed to pass it. Senator Pearce has instanced the case of the harbor works at Fremantle, but probably the day-labour men were put on their mettle by the knowledge that contract work was going on alongside of them. Competition is the soul of business, and no one knows that better than does the honorable senator. On the subject of contractors, probably Senator Styles is better. able to speak than any other member of the Senate; but as an old banker I am in a position to say that I know of some instances in which contractors have taken works at far too low a price, and have honestly carried them out, though they have lost heavily in doing so.
– I do not include all contractors in what I said.
– The honorable senator spoke of contractors as a class in such a manner that if I were a contractor I should feel exceedingly annoyed. He also referred to persons taking ‘ advantage’ of the “ Government stroke,” and bringing bogus actions. I. think that no person is likely, to know more of bogus actions than is an old banker. When a man, by some unfortunate mistake of a clerk, gets a cheque sent back, he is apt suddenly to discover that his credit is worth £1,000, and some enlightened jury, only too happy to smash the banks, gives him a verdict for ;£5°°-
– That is an argument iri favour of a State Bank.
– I shall not further take, up the time of the Senate. I beg to submit my amendment.
– It would certainly be a waste of time for the Senate to pass the amendment in the form suggested by Senator Walker. The honorable senator must see at a glance that if it is preferable to carry out public works by day labour the Government will not require the spur of a resolution of the Senate to induce them to do so. They will surely be sufficiently patriotic in the interests of the Commonwealth to do what is preferable, or, in other words, what is bet. I admit that Senator Pearce in his motion asks us to affirm absolutely that all public works shall be carried out by day labour, because it cannot be doubted for a moment that it is “ practicable “ to carry out all works by that system. The honorable senator will, therefore, see that the word practicable should not appear in the motion, unless it is his intention to assert that all public works carried out by the Commonwealth in the future shall be done by day labour. I am not prepared to go that length, though as ‘ a rule I prefer the adoption of that system to the contract system. We have tried the day labour system in South Australia, in connexion with a variety of works; in the building of railways ; in the building of the Adelaide railway station ; in the enormous work in connexion with the Happy Valley Reservoir, on which we spent £500,000, and also in connexion with the water-works at Bundaleer and Barossa.’ All these work were undertaken on the day labour system, and in our experience in South Australia the system has worked admirably. I do not say that the work is done more cheaply than a contractor could do it, because f do not believe it is, but we can. get better work. In adopting the day labour system what we have to go and come upon is the contractor’s profit. We get the contractor’s profit ; ‘ and in that way the work is done eventually as cheaply as under the contract system, and ‘ almost certainly as good work is done. There is no doubt that in some cases a contractor will scamp his work where he gets the chance. I do not, of course, say that that is done in all cases, because I know that there are contractors who are exceedingly anxious to carry out their contracts faithfully. A contractor, with a reputation for doing faithful work, will know that that stands him in good stead when he is looking for another contract, whilst if a contractor scamps his work, and that is found out, he has but a poor chance of getting another contract. As Senator Pearce has already pointed out, there is no doubt that the success of the day labour system depends after all upon efficient supervision. If a competent engineer is appointed to supervise the work, and if he is a good man, who will stand no nonsense from those under him, but will insist upon every man doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, then the work can be done economically and well under the day labour system. But if we are to allow political influence to be brought in, and if the man who. is supervising the work is compelled, possibly at the instance of the Government, or of their supporters, to take on a lot of unemployed who may be unfit to do a fair day’s work, or to earn the minimum wage, which an employe in the service of the Government receives, then the work must be expensive. I must say that in this connexion we have been exceptionally for’tunate in South Australia in having a supervisor like Mr. Mann. He supervised the construction of the Happy Valley Reservoir ; he had charge of the work at Bundaleer, which he has just finished ; and he is now to take charge of the construction of 100 miles of railway from the Murray Bridge into the Pinnaroo country. That work will be done by day labour under Mr. Mann, and will be done well, because he is determined that the men under him shall do a fair day’s work’. He pays no’ regard to the members of Parliament in South Australia. He hasshown that in a most unmistakable way. Complaints have been made against him. and Select Committees have been appointed to inquire into the way in which he has treated men in carrying out public works, but he has always been able to hold his own. He has shown that he has considered the best interests of the community as a whole, and he has come off victorious in every case in which he has. been tried. The Barossa water-works, to which I have referred, are being constructed under Mr. Rogers, an engineer who has been almost equally successful in carrying out public works. We have, therefore, in South Australia, been exceptionally fortunate in this respect, and in every instance in which we have adopted the daylabour system we have been fairly successful. I recollect one case which occurred in South Australia, when my own Government was in office. We required a number of pipes for reticulation purposes, and when we found that by combinations we were unable to get any tender which could be considered a competitive one, instead of entering into expensive contracts for the supply, of pipes, we determined to make them ourselves. We had members in the South Australian Parliament at the time who objected to that kind of thing, and who considered that, in purchasing and erecting machinery for the making of these pipes, the Government would be losing money. But when the whole of the work was finished, inquiries were instituted. The State Auditor-General was commissioned to inquire, and report whether, in the construction of these pipes on the day labour system, the Government had or had not lost money. He presented a most exhaustive report on the subject, in which it was proved unmistakably that the Government had saved money by the adoption of the day labour system in the making of these pipes. It must not be forgotten that this was not ordinary pick and shovel work, or the work of ordinary labourers, and yet a considerable sum of money was saved. Personally, therefore, where competent supervision can be secured, I am in favour of public works being carried out under this system, but I do not believe that it is wise to tie the hands of any Government to carry out all works by day labour. Every public work which the Government are asked to undertake should be treated on its merits. If they come to the conclusion that, in the special circumstances connected with any specific work, it could be better carried out by contract, they should have the power to call for tenders, and have it done in that way. Where it can be shown that public works, under the supervision of Government officers, can be carried out efficiently and economically by employing day labour, that system should be adopted ; but as I have said before, political influence in such cases must be kept out, and the officer supervising the work must not be compelled, at the instance of members of Parliament, to employ men on the work whether they are fit for it or not. If a Government officer is to be asked to construct a public work on the day labour system, he must be given an absolutely free hand in the choice of the men who are tq carry it out, and in such circumstances, with a competent supervisor, the work can be done more economically and more substantially than under any other system. I have already said that I think the word “ practicable “ should not remain in the motion, I suppose that what Senator Pearce means is that the day labour system should be adopted if the work can be carried out efficiently and economically under that system. .
– I think it can be carried out efficiently and economically wherever practicable.
– It is always practicable to carry out work by day labour.
– I can mention cases in which it is not.
– Every public work can be carried out by day labour, and by carrying the motion in its present form the honorable senator would tie the hands of the Government to carry out all works by day labour. Where Commonwealth public works can be carried out efficiently and economically by day labour, they should be so carried out; but we - should leave the Government free in special cases to have recourse to the contract system if that should seem desirable. I would suggest that the motion be amended to read as follows : -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, the public works undertaken by the Government should be constructed under the day labour system whenever it can be done effectively and economically.
– Before the honorable senator can move an amendment he must get Senator Walker to withdraw his amendment, which is to leave out the word “ practicable.”
Senator WALKER (New South Wales). - I am quite willing to withdraw my amendment, because the proposal of Senator Playford will practically carry out my idea.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Amendment (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the words “ wherever practicable “ be left out, with a view to adding the following^ words : - “ Whenever it can be done effectively’ and economically.”
– I do not think that any person could object to any public work being done byday labour where it was the best means that could be employed. But to say that all public works, to be undertaken by the Government, shall be carried out by day labour is carrying the idea to an absurdity. We have heard a long explanation about some huge works at Barossa and other places of whose location in South Australia no honorable senator knows except its representatives) There are a great many places in the world besides South Australia, and a large number of huge works have been carried out, not by day labour, but by contract, and in an admirable manner, too. I may te’.l Senator Playford, as he appears to think that South Australia overshadows the universe, that all the railways of Great Britain and Ireland have been made under the contract system. I do not know that contractors have been such arrant thieves and rogues as Senator Pearce would probably insinuate. I venture to think that they are just as honest as he is. Is it right that a deserving body of men should be traduced? The phraseology of the motion is perhaps not objectionable because it affords to the Government a loop-hole. It merely says that “ whenever practicable “ public works are to be carried out under the day labour system. Who is to be the judge of the practicability ? The Government ! If the .day labour system is not thought practicable it will not be adopted by the Government. The amendment really introduces a distinction without a difference. I would appeal to Senator Pearce to be reasonable. No one wishes to deny to the working man all the privileges which he can get from the use of day labour. But to say that the Commonwealth shall employ day labour on every public work which is carried out is perfectly monstrous. Senator Playford instanced ‘the making of pipes in South Australia. But what has pipe-making to do with navvying? For the former work a man requires to possess a particular knowledge, whereas for the latter work a man requires to have only brawn and muscle. To say that because a dozen or twenty pipes were made in South Australia the Commonwealth should adopt the day labour system is perfectly monstrous. I support the motion in preference to the amendment, because it leaves the Government to judge, and as they have to take the responsibility of carrying out a work, I hold that they ought to be responsible for adopting the day labour system.
– I desire to give one or two illustrations which ‘will go very far towards establishing the position taken up by the mover of the motion. It is in the recollection of honorable senators that a few years ago a system of telephone tunnels was carried out in Sydney under the superintendence, for a considerable time, of a Mr. Donald, a really practical man. It was carried out by the Department with day labour, as Senator Walker must be well aware.
– I do not object to day labour in ‘some things.
– Quite so. The work was not only carried out efficiently, but it was conclusively proved that an immense saving to the Government had been effected. The Western Mail, of the 23rd April last, quotes a work which was carried out some time ago by the Glasgow County Council, than which, I think, there is no council in the British Empire more particular in executing works of real public value. They decided to have a sewerage system, and called for tenders. According to the Western Mail, the lowest tender for the whole work was £119,000. The County Council had in their service men who were capable of giving an estimate, and supervising the work. Their experts advised that the lowest tender was altogether too high. The work was carried out wholly bv the council, at a cost of £78,000, thereby effecting a saving of £41,000, and securing a system which could be relied upon. The statement that the adoption of the day labour system would be a monstrous step for the Commonwealth to take, is, in my opinion, discounted at once by a glance at the. facts of the cases which have been quoted. If we think that, under the day labour system, we can get a public work which will be as thoroughly efficient and as cheap as it would be if carried out bv contract, why should we not at once abandon the plan of letting contracts, and carry out all our public works ? Surely there is no need to cultivate the system of contracting as though it were indispensible to our civilization ? I believe that we are all satisfied that it is not an indispensable clement. I hold that it is our duty to carry out our public works in such a fashion as will make them quite satisfactory to the people of the Commonwealth. The works that have been undertaken in Western .Australia by day labour have been so well described by Senator Pearce, that it is unnecessary for me to mention two or three smaller works. In defence of the daylabour system, we have the experience of not only Western Australia, but New South Wales, South Australia, the Glasgow County Council, and various parish councils in the South of England. I think that the reasonableness and the practicability of the motion are such that it must commend itself to every honorable senator.
– I rise to support the motion. I am sure that Senator Pearce .did not intend to convey that sweeping condemnation of contractors as a body which, at first sight, his words would lead us to believe that he did. Contractors are no better or worse than the great body of people, though, perhaps, as a rule, a little better than bankers. As regards all these dodges which it is said they resort to, no one can speak with authority unless he has been a contractor.
– Or has worked under’ one ?
-No; not even if he has worked for a contractor. I have worked for a contractor and have been one, therefore I have seen both sides of the position. In a great many cases contractors do what they ought not to do, just as we all do. In a great many cases - I was nearly going to say in the majority of cases -they are forced into doing what they ought not to do by those who are placed over them. The powers given to the officers under any contract for works are such that if the officer in charge should see fit he can stop the contractor in short order if he is adhering literally to the conditions and the specifications. Now conditions and specifications are prepared for the general guidance, and are not to be carried out literally any more than our Standing Orders are. In common with other honorable senators I dislike a rogue, whether he is a .contractor or anything else. Contractors are reflected upon because they cheat the Government; but what shall we say of the rascal who takes his money monthly and shuts his eyes while a contractor cheats the country ? The contractor is a cheat, but the other is something worse than a cheat. I have been a contractor for a great part of my life. I was the first man in Australia who showed ‘that railways could be constructed by day labour. There are many honorable senators who are aware of that fact. It was done in South Australia, where they do everything so well, where they make twenty or thirty pipes, and boast about their feat, where they have a water supply and even a sewerage scheme. In your State, sir, you have many nice things done, but they are done chiefly by Victorians. From Victoria I went over to Adelaide, and carried out a portion of its sewerage system. When the construction of a railway line from Burra to Hallet was contemplated in- 1877, the Government of South Australia thought that they would strike out in a new line. I was appointed Resident Engineer for that line, and it was the first public work in Australia which was carried out by day labour. It was carried out so satisfactorily that the Engineer-in-Chief certified that although it had been carried out by day labour, mostly by the unemployed whom Senator Playford has referred to, it was the cheapest piece of broad gauge line that had been constructed in the State. And the hours on that section were reduced from o£ to 8J a day. While the contractors were working their men for hours a day the Government were working theirs for 8J. These facts are known to many honorable senators, including Senator McGregor.
– Hear, hear ; I was working there at the time.
– Ever so many at-, tempts have been made to introduce contract work in other directions. I recollect, and perhaps Queenslanders will recollect, that in that State a good many years ago the Government thought that they would strike out in a new line. They called for tenders for dredging work at the mouth of the Brisbane River in Moreton Bay, but they never let a contract afterwards. That work was done before by day labour. The contract proved ‘an outrageous failure; the contractor floated away with ^20,000, and left somebody else to do the dredging. The Queensland Government . also tried to do railway surveying and supervision by contract, giving a man named Fitzgibbon £400 per mile for this work on the railway from Ipswich to Toowoomba. That gentleman cleared out with .£50,000 at the end of four years, and left the Government to make the railway.
– Did the Queensland Government call for tenders, or simply give the work to the one man.
– There was no public call for tenders.
– The Government ought to have called for tenders.
– When the sewerage works < were commenced in Adelaide, the engineer employed had previously been a contractor. The South Australian Government would not trust the contractors to import the cement, but, very wisely - I was one of the contractors for the sewerage - purchased the cement, tested it, and then handed it over to be used. The same system has been adopted by the Metropolitan Board in Melbourne; and, I think, I had something to do with suggesting that all the cement for the Melbourne works, and also the pipes, should be provided by the Board, apart from the contractors. The “bullocking” work, if I may so express myself, is let out under contract by the Board of Works ; but, if I had my way, I would do nearly all the work by day labour.
– Would the honorable senator propose to build a ship by day labour ?
– When the Commonwealth undertakes to build ships with day labour, my honorable friend and myself, if we are alive, may discuss the point. I would carry out all work with day labour wherever practicable.
– The Commonwealth is going to have a navy of its own.
– I wish the Commonwealth had a navy of its own now ; I think we ought to have a navy of our own.
– And the Commonwealth ought to have a bank of its own.
– Perhaps that will come. I do not see that the motion could have been differently worded, expressing, as it does, the opinion that wherever practicable works are to be carried out by day labour. The members of the Government are reasonable men, sometimes ; and I do not suppose that if a post-office required painting, or a chimney was necessary to be erected about a hundred miles up country, they would think of sending men from Melbourne to do the work.
– It would not be impracticable to do so.
– Such a course would not be taken by a practical man, and, therefore, I call it impracticable. Under such circumstances, tenders would probably be called for, and local men allowed to carry out the work. There are many other instances which I might give. In constructing a railway for the Government of South Australia when Mr. Colton was Minister of Works in 1877 and 1878,- 1 had the authority of the Government to fix the prices for certain work which I thought to be necessary, such as erecting fences and breaking stones ; and the Engineer-in-Chief of that State certified that this was the cheapest section of railway work ever constructed there. Other States have followed the example set by the model State. In Victoria a railway contract has not been let for very many ‘years. In that State the last line successfully completed was one of 120 or 130 miles to Mildura. The cost of that line was probably one-third of a million, and, speaking roughly, I can say that the Railway Parliamentary- Standing Committee of Victoria, of which I was a member, have over and over again recommended that railways shall be built by day labour. I hope the motion will be passed. I think Senator Zeal put the matter fairly enough when he said that the terms of the motion cover all the ground. We must leave some latitude to the members of the Government of the day. We must not expect them to do ridiculous things ; and no doubt they will act wisely, as in the past.
– I am in full agreement with the motion,-‘ and in common with Senator Playford, I believe it is practicable to carry out all works without the intervention of contractors. There are good, bad, and indifferent contractors.
– And there are good labour and bad -labour men, I suppose?
– Labour men are usually “ twenty-four carat,” but there are bankers who are very fine citizens, while there are ethers who to-day have not their liberty. I .have no consideration for the contractor, whom I regard as an absolutely unnecessary individual. He is the middleman who comes between the employer and the employe^ and the view I hold is confirmed by the Governments and the largest municipalities of the world. The London County Council a few years ago- decided to abolish the contractor wherever practicable ; and to-day, I understand that that Council’ are carrying out huge’ undertakings without any such aid, and on trades-union lines in regard to wages and conditions. For many works, the tenders sent in had been excessive, and this change was, therefore, made. The result has been that the London County Council have saved a considerable sum of money to the taxpayers, and, at the same time, have improved the standard of living, so far as their employes are concerned. In every large city in Australasia, the municipalities are dispensing with the contractor. A few years ago, the Melbourne City Council was strongly in favour of having all work done under the contract system, and on one occasion accepted a tender for man, horse, and dray at 4s. 11d. per day. A numerously attended indignation meeting was held in the Melbourne Town Hall, and strong opinions were expressed on the action of the council in accepting such a tender.
– Were the horses alive ?
– As Ave well understand, horses are valuable property in the eyes of the contractor. The horses are well housed and well fed, and on the occasion to which I refer, the contractor’s first consideration was for the animals, and his next for the men who drove them. I am informed that to-day the Melbourne City Council have almost abolished the contractor, and, in a large measure, the same may be said of the North Melbourne, Hawthorn, and Richmond Councils. At Richmond, on one occasion, the local council considered the tenders which were submitted so excessive, that they decided to do the work by day labour. The result was that the council paid higher wages than those previously paid by the contractors; and did the work much more cheaply, and to the satisfaction of the ratepayers generally. A short time ago the Government of Victoria called for tenders for the construction of locomotives. Tenders were sent in by private firms, and also by the management of the Government locomotive workshops at Newport. It was found that the tender of the State Government was about £1.200 per engine less than the tender of the proprietors of the Phoenix Foundry at Ballarat. The facts which I have just cited show that on the ground of economy alone the contractor ‘ can be dispensed with. The Commonwealth, in the course of a few years, will be a large employer of labour. In the interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth, and of the workpeople, it is well that we should follow the example set by Governments and municipalities in various parts of the world. If we do I am satisfied that the work will be done better, higher wages will be paid, reasonable, hours will be observed, and altogether better results obtained. I know there are certain citizens who imagine all sorts of difficulties whenever the abolition of the contractor is proposed. These “bogies” have been raised only to be knocked down time after time. For several years now not a solid argument has been advanced in favour of the retention of the contractor, whom there is a desire to abolish in every direction. The contractor is like the middleman in connexion with other lines of business.
– Butter, for instance. . Although butter may have very little to do with the subject we are discussing, recent revelations have a bearing on the motion. The butter agents are merely middlemen, who tell the farming section of the community, as contractors tell the people generally, to be careful of the terrible Labour Party, whose policy means robbery and ruin. But the very people who speak thus of the Labour Party have made immense profits out df the farming community by means of deliberate frauds, not only on the citizens of the State, but on the consumers of farmers’ produce abroad. I am in full accord with the motion, which, I trust, may lead to the absolute abolition of the contractor within the Commonwealth.
– I am rot particularly anxious to support this motion, because I think it inadvisable to tie the hands of the Government. This motion introduces problems more difficult than honorable senators seem to imagine. We could occupy hours, even days, in discussing it, and then we should not arrive at any satisfactory solution. I believe that every statement that has been made, for or against the motion, could be contradicted by -facts; it is almost impossible to get at the truth of the matter. I ask Senator Pearce if he has ever read the report of the inquiry made in New South Wales during the last two years with regard to the day-labour system under the O’sullivan regime. I read the report in the Sydney newspapers, which I have endeavoured, without success, to obtain from the library.
– I have read the report of the Commission on the fortifications constructed, by contract.
– The honorable senator has read the report which suited himself, but not the report on the daylabour system. A good deal of work has been done under that system in New South Wales, and the reports go to show that abuses have sprung up, under which thousands of pounds of public money have been thrown away. I would remind honorable senators opposite that there is such a thing as “ going easy ‘’ - the “ ca’ canny “ system. I remember reading a series of a dozen articles which were published in the London *Times; excellent articles which gave a large amount of startling information.
– They were all prevarications.
– The honorable senator is making a statement which is absolutely contrary to fact. Senator Pearce will bear me out in the statement that in almost every single case cited in those articles, the labour leaders admitted that the reports were correct with one or two trifling exceptions ; but they blamed the employers for the condition of things. I hold in my hand a reprint of the articles published under the title “ Trade Unionism and British Industry,” and I defy any honorable senator to contradict the greater part of the evidence, which shows that throughout the unions of Great Britain, there is observed the dishonest principle of “ go easy.” The book, as I say, is a reprint of the Times articles on “ The Crisis in British Industry,” with an introduction by Edwin A. Pratt.
– Quotations from ancient times.
– The quotations I propose to read are from the utterances of a man who understands his business, and who was sent by the first journal in the world in order to make a thorough investigation into these matters; and no labour leaders dared contradict his statements.
– The statements were contradicted in journals in London.
– The honorable senator and I have argued this question before, and on going to a magazine which he mentioned, I found that the labour leaders practically admitted the charges. In the articles, to which I have referred, there is one dealing with the building trades, and it is stated -
For instance, there is no rule as to the precise number of bricks a man shall lay in the course of his day’s labour; but there is a well recognised unwritten law on the subject which a bricklayer will disregard at his peril. Twenty years ago a bricklayer would lay his 1,000 bricks a day when on straightforward work. Thirty years ago the bricklayers employed on railway tunnel work in London laid even 1,200 a day. But the unwritten law now in force declares that a bricklayer engaged even on plain work must “ go easy,” and not lay more than 400 in the day. He will thus not only avoid compelling those who do not wish to do more to go faster, but he will “ give another man a chance,” by helping to render it necessary for more hands to be engaged.
What happens if he should exceed this quantity is shown by a story which is given on the authority of a master builder. At one of his jobs a new hand, who possessed all the energy of youth, was one day put on, and he showed himself so devoted to his work that the other bricklayers were dissatisfied, and counted up how many bricks he had laid in the course of the day. They found he was responsible for 724. Such zeal as that could not be tolerated, and they gave him to understand that he need not turn up on the morrow, as they would not have him working with them.
The young man was started on another job, but, according to the article, he had a repetition of his previous experience, and had then to go away altogether. I wish specially to direct Senator Findley’s attention to this -
The maximum of 400 bricks per day is the “ recognised “ limit for dwelling houses, shops, and business premises built by a private contractor. In the case of public buildings, and especially London County Council and London School Board work, the limit is considerably less. It is to be feared that the London County Council, especially with its direct employment of labour, and its strong trades union sympathies, must be held responsible in no small degree for the development of the “go-easy “ practices in the building trade generally, the standard set by its own employes being regarded as one which should be followed, not only on other public works, but to a certain extent on private work also. Thus a firm of contractors had a job on hand in the e.as.t end of London, and complaint was made to Certain of ‘ the bricklayers - who were engaged on some straightforward work on which they could easily have laid from 600 to 700 bricks a day - that they were not doing enough. The reply they gave was, “ The London County Council limit is 330 bricks the day. That is what they consider a fair day’s work, and we are not going to do more for you or for any one else.” But this 330 limit was somewhat generous for public work, if it be true, as affirmed by one authority, that in the case of a certain Board school in London, the average number of bricks laid was only 200 per day. Even this figure, too, represents activity itself, compared with another school built for the London School Board. The builder thought he was paying an unconscionable amount for labour, and he had his men watched for some days. He found that the work they did represented an average of 70 bricks per man per day ! This particular builder could very well have followed the example of .the contractor who, going to see how his job was progressing, remarked to the foreman, “ I don’t think we need measure up the work. We’ll count the bricks.”
I happened to remember when Senator Findley was speaking that the London County Council was referred to in that book, and so I turned it up. If I recollect rightly, not more than three years ago some electrical engineering work had to be done in connexion with which a large brick building was required. In that case time was the essence of the contract. A man was got over from America to handle the work, and. his men laid 1,800 bricks a day. Senator Pearce appears to think that all these works can be undertaken by day labour where they are honestly done- and carefully supervised. No one doubts that for a moment. But very often men will not do honest work. The volume from which I have read clearly shows that working nien think they are entitled to go a little bit slow in order to make room for other workmen.
– Could the honorable and learned senator not come a little nearer Australia for a case ?
– I propose to deal with my honorable friend’s Australian workmen. The honorable senator told us that, in connexion with the building of a wharf at Fremantle, some of the piles were not driven in more than a foot, and the wharf was consequently swaying about. All I can say is that if that is the way in which Government work is carried out in Western Australia, there must be some very inefficient and dishonest employes in the service of the State Government. . So far as I understand work of this kind, in putting up an ordinary bridge, every pile driven under contract is driven under the supervision of a clerk of works. An entry is made in the books of the clerk of works and of the contractor to show how far each pile is driven, and I cannot understand the illustration which Senator Pearce has given, if it is to be assumed that the work to which he refers was carried out by sensible people.
– The honorable and learned senator cannot disprove what I have said.
– I meet the honorable senator’s statement by saying that it only proves that there must have been corrupt Government officials in the employment of the contractor for the works, and Senator Pearce is too clear-headed a man to base, the whole of his case upon some instances in which failure resulted from the employment of corrupt and dishonest persons, who would rob anybody. May I call the attention of the honorable senator to the fact that, if this motion were adopted and carried out, the business of builders and contractors would be injured, and their plants rendered useless. To a great extent the motion would revolutionize the system under which we are living. I am aware that some of our socialistic friends desire to carry their views to such an extent as would upset existing social conditions ; but I hope we have not come to that yet. Dealing next with the question of the minimum wage, Senator Playford, who intends to support the motion, has given a reason why he should not support it. He points out that if men are to be put on these works at the instance of members of Parliament, or because they are the friends of friends of Government officials, persons mav secure- employment who are unable to do the work required of them; who are slow and inefficient, and who cannot earn the minimum wage. With respect to the minimum wage, I think that it outrages economic law, and runs contrary to the principles of human action.
– The honorable andlearned senator would not make it 6s. 8d. ?
– The honorable senator is very good at making irrelevant interjections. What he says has nothing to do with my argument, which is that under the system suggested we should be employing at the same minimum wage three or four different classes of men.
– Are there not some inefficient barristers and solicitors?
– In connexion with any work carried out under the Government the minimum wage of 7 s. or 8s. a day will be given, and whilst some men will honestly earn that wage, and some, perhaps, a little more, there will be hundreds who will not and cannot earn it. The whole system of the minimum wage should be altered if we are to insist upon all public works being carried out by day labour.
– Every solicitor charges at least 6s. 8d., but they are not all equally competent.
– But one .has a choice in that case of employing a solicitor whose services are worth the 6s. 8d.
– He will charge six guineas.
– In this case there would be no such choice. We cannot prevent men from endeavouring to earn a living, but whilst we should give every man a fair wage we should not treat all workmen alike, because we know they are not alike.
– We fix only the minimum just as the honorable and learned senator’s association fix their minimum at 6s. 8d.
– My honorable friend . says that he fixes only the minimum, but he does nothing of the kind. He fixes a fair average wage, which the majority of men can no doubt earn, but which many men cannot, and do not, earn, to the knowledge of us all. If this motion, is adopted, and any attempt is made to carry it into effect by the present Government - for I do not suppose that any other Government would attempt to do so - there will be constant agitation to have public works undertaken. Who are asking at the present time ‘that the central railway station at Flinders-street shall be constructed? It is the workmen. They no doubt want work, and it is natural that the poor fellows should ask for it; but I believe that they are pushing the State Premier of Victoria into that work before he is ready. In the first year in which he controls a surplus he is asked to spend a lot of it in putting up new buildings. Who are asking that the central railway station at Sydney should be gone on with? It is the workmen again ; and if we say that all public works are to be carried out by the Federal Government on the day labour system a clamour will be raised to have every Post-office, Custom-house, the fortifications referred to, and the buildings of the Federal Capital, when it is settled, carried out under that system, and the work undertaken at the earliest possible moment. Good, fair, and bad workmen will be employed on the same work, and unless the men can be picked it is clear that more money will have to be spent under this system than would have to be spent under the contract system, because a contractor would pick only skilled men, who could do good work. It is plain that the cost of a work must depend upon the quality of the labour employed, and if we cannot pick our labourers we cannot do the work as cheaply as it could be done by a contractor who would be able to pick his workmen.
– Who says that the Government cannot pick labour?
– I do not believe that the Government dare pick labour.
– It is done in South Australia.
– It is done in this State.
– It was done in the State which, the honorable and learned senator represents in connexion with the construction of a railway by day labour.
– They do it, and they do not. They’ make a show of .picking labour, but no Government can pick labour in the same way that a contractor, can.
– In the Government Printing Office here they keep only expert men.
– In the Government Printing Office no man is employed who cannot do a certain amount of work. No work is more pushed ahead than is that of the Government Printer, and while I am satisfied that the Government Printer does work of the most excellent kind, .he cannot afford to have men on his staff who cannot do a certain amount of work.
– He is not a contractor. He is doing the work bv day labour.
– He is not a contractor, but the work he has to do for the Government checks itself, like the laying of bricks.
– Why cannot we apply the same rules to railway building?
– I am sorry that some of the honorable senators from New South Wales are’ not present, but I should like Senator Pearce in his reply to point out how it is that the picture he draws differs so entirely from that which appears in the New South Wales report, to which I have referred.
– I have some New South Wales figures which I can give the honorable and learned senator.
– I am perfectly certain the honorable senator has. I am equally certain that they will back up his own case, but I could read scores of paragraphs from the New South Wales report that refute that case completely. It appears to me that to pass the motion in this way is to have absolutely no prudent thought for the interests of the taxpayer, and whether the motion is amended in the way suggested by Senator Walker or not, it is my intention to propose the addition of certain words.
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator will permit me to call his attention to the fact that under the new Standing Orders he is prevented from moving that amendment.
– I propose now only to intimate the amendment which I intend to move.
– I point out that, according to the practice adopted by the Seriate in passing standing order 392, a senator who has spoken to the original question and an amendment cannot afterwards, move an amendment. That is in accordance with the New South Wales practice. If honorable senators will recollect, when we adopted this standing order a good deal of doubt was expressed as to what would follow from it. I confessed that I did not know. It was agreed that I should write to the Clerk of Parliaments in New South Wales to ascertain the practice there. I did so write, and received an official communication, which T subsequently read to the Senate. I told honorable senators that, in future, that would be the practice adopted, and the Senate agreed. I am perfectly willing to admit that hitherto a different practice has been followed, and honorable senators may be, to some extent, taken unawares on this occasion. I shall not, therefore, ask them to strictly conform to the standing order; but in future it will be my duty to do so. Senator Playford is in the same position as Senator Dobson in this matter. He spoke to the original question, and to an amendment.
– He moved, his amendment after Senator Walker had withdrawn his amendment.
– Yes; but Senator Playford proposes to move another amendment, and, strictly speaking, according to the standing order, he cannot do that. I am sure that honorable senators have overlooked the new standing order to which I refer, and what I propose to do is to allow Senators Playford and Dobson to move their amendments ; but I must ask honorable senators to conform to the standing order in future.
– That is what comes of departing from the practice of the model State, and adopting that of New South Wales.
– Senator Pearce has had to admit that the system he suggests will greatly increase the cost of public works.
– I do not admit anything of the sort. I quoted cases to show that works had been constructed under this system more cheaply than under the contract system.
– But the honorable senator did not give us any estimate by any competent authority to show what those works could be constructed for.
– I mentioned one case where the work was done under the day labour system at a cost which was less than the contract price for similar work at the same place.
– I think my honorable friend could give us very few instances of that kind. In whatever form this motion is carried, we should certainly have some check upon the system which Senator Pearce desires to inaugurate. I therefore propose, when the proper time comes, to move that the following words be added to the motion : -
Provided that before any work is commenced, the Government shall obtain from one of its engineers or architects an estimate of the probable cost of the work to be done, and shall lay before Parliament such estimate, together with a certificate of the proper official as to the total sum which such work has actually cost.
– Estimates are always submitted.
– I am sure that honorable senators cannot propose that in adopting a system of this kind we should not have any check upon the expenditure involved. They will admit that some safeguard of this kind is necessary for the information of .the Government, in order that the Treasurer may know what he has to face, and also for the information of Parliament and of the taxpayers. If this motion is to be placed on our records, and is subsequently to be acted upon, I wish it to be carried out on the condition that we shall always have ah estimate of the probable cost of any work, and that we shall always have a certificate from the proper authorities, showing the actual cost of the work.
– Before any work is gone on with the Government must always bring forward an appropriation to meet the expenditure.
– Of course they must ; but does not my honorable friend see that what I wish to do is to saddle some officer of the Department with the responsibility for a statement that, for instance, £1,000 is a fair sum to expend upon it ? He must be able to say that, having gone through the specifications, and taken out the quantities, the work can be done for about £1,000. If afterwards it is found that it has cost a little less or a little more, or a great deal more, we should have a certificate from the proper officer, showing the actual cost, in order that we may see where we are going under this daylabour system.
– That is always done now.
– It should be done; but I doubt that it is.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’ Keefe) adjourned.
The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of the following messages: -
The House of Representatives acquaints the Senate that it has authorized The Honorable Austin Chapman, a Member of the House of Representatives, to attend, if he think fit, before the Select Committee of the Senate on Privilege - Case of Senator Lieut.-Col. Neild - as requested in the Senate’s Message No. 7.
The House of Representatives acquaints the Senate that it has authorized the Right Honorable Sir John Forrest, a Member of the House’ of Representatives, to attend, if he think fit, before the Select Committee1 of the Senate on the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll, as requested in the Senate’s Message No. 8.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and, on motion by Senator McGregor, read a first time.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as will enable this Bill to, pass through all its stages without delay.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators who have had previous parliamentary experience will know ‘ that the passing of a Bill of this description
is absolutely necessary at the close- ‘bf the financial year. After to-day, unless the Bill is passed, the Treasurer will have no legislative sanction for the spending of money, and the Bill has been introduced to enable him “to make advances to public officers, and to meet expenditure,” until such time as the ordinary -Appropriation Bill for the year can be passed. The amount now asked for is ,£120,000, of which about ,£45,000 is required to make advances for the purchase of uniforms, an expenditure which must be made as soon as possible, but will come up for consideration in connexion with the ordinary appropriation of the year.
– How long will the Bill enable the Government to carry on?
– Until October.
– By that time we hope to have introduced and passed the Appropriation Bill for the year 1904- 5. If that has not then been done, we shall have to introduce another Supply Bill. Considering the nature of the measure now before the Senate, I do not think any further explanation of its provisions is necessary.
– On the motion for the second reading of the Bill I should like to make some remarks in reference to the employment of Papuans in the pearling industry.
The ‘PRESIDENT. - The Standing Orders provide that such remarks may be made on the first reading of a Bill which the Senate may not amend only, and that on the motion for the second reading honorable senators must confine their remarks to the subject-matter of the Bill.
– Then I will keep what I have to say until the adjournment of the Senate is moved.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
– I understand that the Treasurer, in making advances to public officers, and meeting expenditure, will do so on the basis of the appropriations for the year 1903-4.
– I understand that the amount of those appropriations will not be exceeded.
Schedule agreed to. Bill reported without . request ; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I think that the Order of .the Day for the further consideration in Committee of the regulations made under the Defence Act should be allowed to drop off the paper, because it is useless, seeing that the time allowed by the Act for the consideration of those regulations has expired.
– As the Order of the Day is one for further consideration in Committee, the Senate cannot deal with it. It is for the Committee to report that it will not go on with the matter, if it chooses to-do so.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the Chairman do now -leave the chair.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 29th June, vide page 2797) :
Clause 12 (Prohibition of importation of fraudulently marked goods).
– I have indicated my intention to move an amendment upon this clause, to make it as much as possible like the provision in’ the Victorian Act, which I conceive to be a better one than that in the English Act; but as in conversation the leader of the Government in this Chamber has been good enough to say that he will agree to the reconsideration of the clause, I shall await that opportunity to move it.
– I have had a conversation with Senator Best, and as I find that the amendment which he wishes to move will not affect the principle embodied in the Bill, but will improve the measure, I shall have no objection when the proper time comes to allow him to move it.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 13 to 18 agreed to.
Clause 19 -
After hearing the evidence adduced on the hearing of any charge for an offence against this Act, a court of summary jurisdiction may, in lieu of convicting the accused or dismissing the charge against him, commit him for trial on indictment.
– Has this clause been copied from any existing Act ? As I read it, it seems to give to the prosecution two chances pf putting an accused in peril. Clause 17 provides that offences against the Bill shall be punishable on indictment or in a Court of summary jurisdiction. I do not know whether1 it is intended that before proceedings by way of indictment are instituted the accused shall first of all be submitted to a preliminary hearing before a Court -of justices to determine whether or not he should be committed for trial. The ordinary procedure is to bring a person, who is charged with a criminal offence, first of all before a Court of justices. And, in some instances, under the Statute laws of the various States, he can elect to be tried then and there, and dealt with as being guilty or not guilty, or to have simply an inquiry to determine whether there is a -prima facie case against him. Under this provision, however, an accused could be brought before a Court of summary jurisdiction, and after he had submitted- himself to the peril of being imprisoned or fined, the Court might, at any stage, say “ We are not going to take the responsibility of dismissing the accused. The evidence against him so far is not conclusive. We should not be justified in finding him guilty, but we will’ give the prosecution, which, in the first instance, intended the proceedings in this Court to be final, a further opportunity to procure evidence against him by committing him for trial on indictment.” I do not think we ought to legislate in a way that would put an individual, no matter how serious the charge against him might be,’ more than once in peril of fine or imprisonment. If a man comes before a Court of summary jurisdiction to have his guilt or innocence determined finally, his case should be dealt with by that Court. The prosecution has the option, under clause 17, of taking which proceeding it pleases. It may proceed against an accused by way of indictment, or before a Court of summary jurisdiction. If it chooses to bring him before a Court of summary jurisdiction, and to ask that Court to finally determine whether he is guilty or not, it should not have a second string to its bow.
– That is exactly what takes place at present in our State Courts.
– Not where the lower Court is called upon to finally determine the case.
– This relates to an ordinary Court.
– Exactly. There is another procedure under which a person who is to be prosecuted in the Supreme Court must first of all be brought before a Court of justices, which has not to determine his innocence or guilt, but to decide whether there is a prima facie case against him. A man may be prosecuted before justices who have no power, under the procedure adopted, to determine his guilt or innocence. IT he has elected to be tried bv jury, those justices merely conduct a preliminary inquiry, and commit him for trial or dismiss him. An accused person has the option, in certain cases, of electing, when before the justices, to be tried by a jury or to be summarily dealt with by the justices. If he elects to be tried by them, they must determine whether he is guilty or not. They cannot then say, “ We do not feel competent to decide whether 3-ou are innocent or not ; we shall commit you for trial. “ Under clause 17 of this Bill the boot is on the other foot. The prosecutor will have the option of proceeding against an accused person either in a Court of summary jurisdiction, or by way of indictment. Having exercised that option, and decided to bring the case before a Court of summary jurisdiction, the prosecutor should not be allowed to have two strings to his bow. A Court of summary jurisdiction, when once invoked, should determine the question once and for all.
– There is power to appeal.
– That does not affect my argument. It only allows an additional step to be taken before a man’s guilt or innocence can be finally determined. The prosecutor, having elected to exercise this option in a particular way, ought to be bound by it just as an accused person is bound.
– This clause is not required.
– I agree with the honorable senator. Clause 17 is sufficient. The alternative offered in this clause violates that well-known principle of criminal jurisprudence that an accused person shall no£ stand in peril, on the merits, more than once. I hope the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see the wisdom of omitting this clause.
– There is no need for it.
– Quite so. It cannot be justified, and the marginal notes do not show that it is in operation in any other part of the .world.
– In view of the evidence already adduced as to trade practices, it seems to me that every precaution should be taken, and that no provision relating to the punishment of those who have imposed upon the public could be toestringent.
– This might affect a person who had not imposed on the public.
– In that case the man would be discharged.
– It would be for the Court to decide whether the accused was innocent or guilty. .If a Court of summary jurisdiction, before whom a person charged with .an offence under this measure had been brought, experienced any difficulty in determining the case, or did not feel competent to deal with the technical questions involved, it should have the right to send the- accused for trial before a higher Court. In a subsequent clause we give the power of appeal, and we should also give a Court of summary jurisdiction power to send an accused for trial before another Court when it feels that the interests of justice would be best served ip that way.
– I do not view this clause with the degree of apprehension which Senator Keating manifests. It is most unobjectionable. If the evidence in a case brought under this measure before a Court of summary jurisdiction showed that it was so very serious or complicated! that full justice could be done only bycommitting the accused for trial on indictment, the magistrates would be able under this provision to adopt that course. If they committed him for trial on indictment it would only be because of a feeling that the case was far more serious than the prosecution had evidently contemplated - that the evidence was of such a nature that the exercise of mere summary jurisdiction and the limited powers of such a Court would not adequately meet the offence.
– Then why have the words in the clause “ dismissing the charge?”
– The power proposed to be given to Courts of summary jurisdiction is a power that they have held heretofore. They have the power of either convicting or dismissing an accused.
– Instead of committing him, they might, under this clause, indict him.’
– .This is. merely a description of their powers. The Bill gives them the power to dismiss or convict in certain cases; but if the evidence in any case disclosed so serious an offence that the magistrates did not feel justified in exercising their power, they would have the right, under this provision, to send the accused before a higher Court. As a matter of fact, a similar power exists under most of the States’ statutes. When a man is charged wilh larceny, arid it is discovered that the offence is comparatively trifling, a Court of summary jurisdiction in this State may deal with it. If, however, the magistrates are satisfied that it is a serious case of larceny, they mav send it on for trial.
– Can the magistrates decide, or has not an accused the election ?
– In certain cases, if the accused chooses to plead’ guilty the magistrates deal with him summarily.
– But the accused has the option of saying whether he will be committed for trial or dealt with summarily.
– If he pleads guilty, he may be summarily dealt with. On the other hand, it is for the magistrates to say whether they will accept the responsibility of dealing summarily with the offender. That is the principle which is involved in this case; it is a principle which is in the interests of justice, and is particularly necessary in order that justice may be done to the public, whom this measure seeks to protect.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania). - I have listened with attention to both the Vice-President of the Executive Council and Senator Best, and as the result of the Vice-President’s reply, I am more than ever convinced that the clause is out of place in this Bill. The argument used by Senator Best that it would enable Courts of summary jurisdiction to remit or send to the higher Court a case of exceeding gravity is, so far as it goes, perfectly correct, I recognise that it has some force, because under clause 18 an accused convicted after trial on indictment would be liable to imprisonment for any period not exceeding two years, or, in the alternative, ro a fine of £100, while a person convicted before a Court of summary jurisdiction would be liable only to imprisonment for six months, or, in the alternative, to a penalty not exceeding ^50. It is perfectly correct that this clause would empower a Court of summary jurisdiction to send a case of gravity to a higher tribunal. But the clause does not stop at that. It says that a Court, of summary jurisdiction may, in lieu of convicting the accused, or dismissing £h”e charge, send him to a higher Court.- The principle for which I contend is that which underlies all British criminal jurisprudence, that a man must not be put in peril twice before a Court of criminal or quasi-criminal jurisdiction. The cases to which Senator Best has referred are not in point in connexion with the clause. Those are cases in which, according to his argument, the accused pleaded guilty, and the evidence, or the offence, was of such a character that the magistrates declined, or had no power, to administer punishment, and sent him on with his plea of guilty to another Court, which, under the. terms of its jurisdiction, could impose the. appropriate penalty. Obviously, this clause refers to a case in which the accused is pleading not guilty, because the clause says -
A Court of summary jurisdiction may, in lieu of convicting the accused, or dismissing the charge against him.
The Court could not dismiss the charge against the accused if he pleaded guilty. Obviously, this clause is intended to meet a case where a prosecutor says “ I charge this individual with a certain offence against the Fraudulent Trade Marks Act. Under section 17 of that Act, I have power to take that charge into a Court of summary jurisdiction, and to . prosecute the accused there. Under that section, too, I have power to take the accused into a higher Court, and to prosecute him by way of indictment.” It would be ‘ for the prosecutor to elect there and then which Court he should have recourse to. If he decides to go to a Court of summary jurisdiction with a slummed case - with his evidence not properly prepared, or before he has sufficient evidence to sheet home the charge - he would know that he was _ going into a Court which was competent under the Act to finally determine whether the accused was guilty or innocent. But at the close of the case, instead of allowing the defence to go on, he could rise and say, “ Under section 19 of the Act, your worships have the power, instead of convicting or dismissing, to commit the accused for trial on indictment.”. If the opposing counsel rose and said that that power was only conferred on a Court of that character to be exercised where the offence was one of the gravest nature, and where the penalty which it could mete out would not be adequate, he would be told, “ Certainly not ; that power is not given to this Court to be exercised in lieu only of convicting the man. It is a power given to the Court to be exercised in lieu of either convicting or dismissing the man.” If there is any reasonable doubt about the guilt of an accused person, the duty of a Court of competent jurisdiction is to dismiss the charge. If the Court is not satisfied that the case has been proved by the prosecution, the benefit of the doubt must go to the accused, in accordance with the ordinary laws of evidence, and the rules for the administration of justice in our Courts. In such a case the Court will say, “Well, we have a doubt; we are not satisfied that the evidence fully sheets home guilt to the accused.” But there may be operating in the minds of the magistrates other circumstances which are not in evidence. They may say - “ In order to give the prosecution another opportunity of proving the guilt of this man we shall remit the case to the higher Court.” The clause is not limited to the class of cases to which Senator Best has referred, and if Senator McGregor contends that it is, I shall ask him to accept an amendment to insert after “ may “ the words, “ if satisfied of the guilt of the accused,” and then strike out the words, “or dismissing the charge against him,” so as to make the clause read in’ this way -
After hearing the evidence adduced on the hearing of any charge for an offence against this. Act, a Court of summary jurisdiction may, if satisfied of the guilt of the accused, in lieu of convicting ‘ the accused, commit him for trial on indictment.
That would limit the powers of the justices entirely to those cases where the offence proved before the justices was of such a grave character that, in their opinion, the fullest measure of punishment which they could inflict under the Act would not be adequate. I ask Senator McGregor to accept an amendment to that effect.
Senator BEST (Victoria). - I think that Senator Keating is unwittingly going to do a great injustice to the accused. If a man charged could only be committed in those cases where the Court was satisfied that he was guilty, that would mean practically that the justices had adjudicated, and found him guilty.
– Yes; decidedly, and he should be found guilty only once.
– Precisely ; but instead of that they might say, “ The evidence disclosed to us is of such a serious character that we feel that we should not deal with the case.” Consequently, they would remit the case to a higher Court, and there the accused would be found either guilty or innocent. Surely that is the more reasonable course to take, and that is the course which is taken in ordinary Courts of summary jurisdiction. First of all, there is a preliminary trial before a Court of summary jurisdiction, and if a prima facie case is made out, it is remitted to a higher Court.
– I hope that Senator Keating will not move an amendment. I have not had a legal training, but from my experience, limited though it has been, I know- that when a prisoner pleads guilty he elects to be dealt with by the Court of summary jurisdiction ; but Senator Keating desires that a man when he pleads guilty shall be sent on to a higher Court. That is reversing the usual order of things. The honorable and learned senator has argued that it is the prosecutor who will have all the power. The prosecutor will have no power. He will bring a man before a Court of summary jurisdiction if, in his view, that is the right course to pursue, or he will enter an indictment against the man if, in his view, the offence is moreserious that he was led to think, and bring him before the higher Court straight away. But on many occasions the Court of” summary jurisdiction might find that thecase was of such a serious character that it ought to go before a higher Court, and’ then it would decide accordingly. Itwould not be the prosecutor who would make that decision-. In the interests, and for the safety, of the public we ought to allow the clause to remain as it is, because it is only following but a practice that is adopted in the majority of the Courts in Australia.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania). - I would ask Senator McGregor to have in the clause some provision to show that this power which is conferred on a Court of summary jurisdiction is to be exercised only in those cases where the evidence discloses an offence of such gravity that it would be better dealt with by being remitted to a higher Court.
– They will do that. Surely the honorable and learned senator has some confidence in the Courts.
– Yes; but the honorable senator must remember that these -cases come before the Courts of summary jurisdiction outside the cities. I do not know if there is a provision in the Bill for special magistrates to hear the cases.
– Honorary justices.
– In many instances the magistrates who compose these Courts of summary jurisdiction are gentlemen who have had no legal training, and, who, with the best intentions, may frequently be insensibly biased in connexion with a case. Outside the Court, and apart from the evidence, they may have become acquainted with circumstances which suggest to their minds guilt or innocence on the part of the accused, and they may endeavour to shirk the responsibility of convicting.
– They should not convict if they have any doubt, they should send the man on.
– That is the very thing which I am trying to avoid.
– I do not mean a doubt as to his guilt.
– The honorable senator says that if the magistrates have any doubt they should send the man on. In other words, that the prosecution should have two strings to its bow. Having elected to take the man before that Court, if the prosecution cannot prove the case, then the justices, following the ordinary rules of British jurisprudence, should give him the benefit of any doubt, and dismiss him straight away. But if there can be incorporated in the clause a provision to the effect that this power is to be exercised where the Court is satisfied that the case is one of such a grave character that it ought to be sent on to the higher Court, I shall be perfectly satisfied. I would ask Senator McGregor whether, at the same time as clause 12, this clause can be recommitted for the purpose of submitting an amendment which would have that effect ?
– I rise to remove a wrong impression with which Senator Keating seems to have been suddenly seized. When I referred to a doubt in the mind of the Court, I did not refer to a doubt with respect to the guilt or innocence of the accused. With the usual agility of a lawyer the honorable and learned senator pounced on the remark. What I meant was a doubt in the mind of the Court as to its capacity or ability to deal with the case. If the Court had a doubt as to the guilt of the accused that would be a different thing. I have no objection to the clause being reconsidered, and if Senator Keating has an amendment prepared, we can deal with it at a later stage.
– The Committee would be well advised to leave this clause as it stands. An ordinary Court has the alternative of convicting or acquitting an accused person. This clause gives the Court a third course, and it is advisable that Courts should have that course open to them, lt may be that certain intricacies of law are disclosed, or in the course of the examination of witnesses, evidence may be obtained that it was impossible to obtain prior to the opening of the case. We have in our minds an inquiry concerning a Victorian industry, which is now being conducted, and which affords an illustration that, as a case proceeds, fresh evidence may be disclosed. Senator Keating proposes to add the words - “ If satisfied of the guilt of the accused.” I think that would be creating a most improper position.
– I intend to submit an amendment.
– An accused person would go before a higher Court prejudged. No man should go into any Court prejudged. A man is supposed to be innocent until he is proved to be guilty. It would be an extraordinary position for a man to go into a higher Court actually prejudged by another tribunal. It would simply put him in the position of going to the higher Court to receive a higher sentence than the lower Court could inflict. In the event of fresh evidence being disclosed, or legal difficulties arising, the Court of lower jurisdiction has power to say - “ This case ought to be tried by a Court of higher jurisdiction; and without declaring in any way whether the accused is- innocent or guilty, we will remit the case to the higher Court.” That is a .valid position.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 20 to 26 agreed to.
Clause 27 - 1. Any goods or things condemned as forfeited may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as the Court by which they are condemned directs, and the Court may, out of any proceeds realized by the disposition of the ) goods or things, award to any innocent party any loss he has innocently sustained in dealing with the goods or things.
– It struck me, on reading the clause, that it was a mistake not to insert the word “ sold “ in the first sub-clause. Goods which are forfeited may b.e “destroyed or otherwise disposed of.” Apparently most forfeited goods will have to be destroyed.
– “ Otherwise disposed of “ includes “ sold.”
– In sub-clause 2, it is provided that the mark shall be obliterated before the goods are sold or disposed of. I therefore think that the word “ sold “ should also be used in the first sub-clause. I move -
That after the word “ be,” line 2, the word “ sold “ be inserted.
Amendment agreed to. Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia).In the second sub-clause it is stated that before any forfeited goods are sold the fraudulent trade mark shall be obliterated. Who is responsible for discharging that duty ? If the mark is not obliterated, what becomes of the goods?
– Goods which are forfeited are seized on behalf of the Crown. Probably they would be seized by a Customs officer. As I understand, the Comptroller of Customs will see that the law is properly carried into effect.
Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 28 and 29 agreed to.
Clause 30 (Discovery) -
– I wish to ask some of the legal senators whether they think that this clause is quite right as it stands? It provides that -
Nothing in this Act shall entitle any person to refuse to make a complete discovery.
On the well known principle that a man cannot be asked to convict himself, or to give evidence of his own guilt, ought not the clause to read -
Nothing in this Act, or in any other Act, nor in any rule of law.
I do not think that the clause is sufficiently protective in its present form-
– As we are simply dealing with this measure, I do not think we have a right to put into it anything that would influence any other legislation that is embodied in any other Aca.
– A general principle of law is not got rid of by this provision.
– We do not want to get .rid of any principle of law.
Clause agreed to. Clauses 31 to 33 agreed to. Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That clauses 12 and 19 be reconsidered. Clause 12 -
The following goods are prohibited to be imported, and shall, if imported, be forfeited to the King : - [a) all goods to which any forgery of a registered trade mark or any false trade description is applied, or to which any trade mark is falsely applied ; and
all goods manufactured at any place outside Australia, and having applied to them any name or trade mark being or purporting to be the name or mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in Australia unless that name or mark is accompanied by a definite indication of the country in which the goods were made or produced ; and
all goods manufactured in any country not being a portion of the King’s Dominions, and having applied to them any name or trade mark being or purporting to be the name or mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in any portion of the King’s Dominions, unless that name or mark is accompanied by a definite indication of the country in which the goods were made or produced.
Senator BEST (Victoria). - I desire to move certain amendments in this -clause. I -explained my object fully last evening. I stated that there are men who have established industries in Australia, and who have attached to certain trade marks which are used in those industries a value which has been acquired by the reputation which their goods have obtained, and probably also by the expenditure of large sums of money. Those goods are known in connexion with the trade marks used. When the goods have become very popular, I want to make it certain that manufacturers outside Australia do not avail themselves of the opportunity to make goods of the same class - although probably of an inferior quality - to attach to them the Australian trade mark, and then to introduce them into Australia. The amendments which I intend to move have for their object the protection of the proprietors of trade marks in Australia.
– Suppose an Australian manufacturer wished to manufacture his goods in some place outside Australia?
– There could be no possible objection to his bringing in his own goods. I should have liked to go to the full extent of the Victorian Statute, but as Senator McGregor sees some objection to that, I shall content myself with confining the provision to trade marks. The Victorian Statute in section 26 provides -
Whereas it is expedient to make further provision for prohibiting the importation of goods, which, if sold, would be liable to forfeiture under this part of this Act; be it therefore enacted as follows : -
The remainder of the section is the part which I desire to incorporate -
All goods manufactured at any place outside Victoria, bearing any name or trade mark being or purporting to be the name or trade mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader iri Victoria.
I should prefer to have these words introduced, but Senator McGregor takes exception to the words “bearing any name,” and asks that I should confine the amendment to the trade mark. The honorable senator takes the objection that persons of the same name might manufacture these particular articles. Honorable senators will understand that I propose in paragraph b to leave out the reference to trade mark or marks, and to insert the following as a new paragraph : -
All goods manufactured at any place outside Australia, bearing or having applied to them any trade mark being or purporting to be the trade mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in Australia.
– “With the consent of the owner of the trade mark.” The honorable and learned senator will require to add those words, if a man is having his goods made outside of Australia.
– We do not want them made outside.
– In the case to which Senator Drake refers the goods would come in as a matter of course, because the Minister of Trade and Customs would not interfere to prevent them from coming in.
– The honorable and learned senator means” ihat he would not exercise his power, but they would still be prohibited.
– I have no objection to add the words “ unless with the consent of the owner of the trade mark.” They would make the amendment clearer.
– I could not accept that addition, because in that case the goods would have to be marked with the country of origin.
– Not at all. This has reference to a trade mark only. What Senator Drake suggests is that a man may have a factory in New Zealand-
– Or in Calcutta.
– Or in various other places. He may attach the same trade mark to his goods, and- may desire to import some of them to Australia. As a matter of fact I am quite certain that he could get them in, but in order to make it absolutely clear I have no objection to add the words suggested by Senator Drake.
– Then, the goods must also be marked with the country of origin.
– If Senator McGregor raises that objection, I prefer to submit the amendment in the way I have stated. The proper place for the amendment would be between paragraphs a and b. I therefore move -
That after paragraph a the following new paragraph be inserted: - “ (ai) all goods manufactured at any place outside Australia, bearing or having applied to them any trade mark, being or purporting to be the trade mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in Australia.”
– I have no objection to that amendment, but I desire to state the objection I should have to the addition of the words “ unless with the consent of the proprietor of the trade “mark.” According to the scheme of this part of the Bill, if any persons outside of Australia adopts an Australian trade mark, they must mark their goods also with the country of origin. Senator Best is proposing to strike out the reference to trade marks in other parts of the clause, and if the words suggested by Senator Drake were added to the honorable and learned senator’s amendment then any person in Australia having a trade mark could shift his factory to Hong Kong’, China, Singapore, India, Africa, or anywhere else, and send his goods into Australia with an Australian trade mark, and an Australian name, and without the country of origin being branded on them. I am sure that neither Senators Best nor Drake desire that that should be done. I think, therefore, that it is better that the amendment should be left as it is now proposed.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments (by Senator Best) agreed to-.
That the words “or trade mark,” line 10, be v left out.
That the words “or mark,” lines 11 and 13, be left out.
Clause,’ as amended, agreed to.
Clause 19 -
After hearing the evidence adduced on the hearing of any charge for an offence against this Act, a court of summary jurisdiction may, in lieu of convicting the accused or dismissing the charge against him, commit him for trial on indictment.
– I move -
That after the word “ jurisdiction,” line 3, the words “ if satisfied that such evidence, if true, discloses the commission of an offence which should be punished on indictment,” be inserted.
I use the words “ punished on indictment “ because in clause 17 it is stated that any offence against the Act shall be “ punishable on indictment,” or in a Court of summary jurisdiction. If the amendment I move is carried, I point out that everything that is contended for by supporters of the clause will be secured, and there can be no suggestion on the part of an accused person that the clause gives the prosecution a double alternative which may be used against him. There will be no power under this amendment to bring a man up to be tried on more than one occasion. If the justice is satisfied that the evidence against an accused person is of such a character, if true, as to disclose an offence which is so serious that it should be punishable under paragraph a, rather than under paragraph b, of clause a 8, he may prefer not to deal with it, but to’ send it on to a Court that can adequately punish the commission of such an offence.
– I see no objection to accepting the amendment, because I think it would just carry out what the Court would do.
– I find some difficulty in appreciating the importance which Senator Keating evidently attaches to this amendment. My reading of the clause is that the justices dealing with an offence by summary jurisdiction may on discovering that the evidence discloses the commission of very serious frauds send the case on for that reason. A case may involve very complicated and delicate matters, and I can understand many cases arising in which a justice may be quite satisfied that a prima facie case .is made out, but he may not be quite satisfied that the evidence sheets home the guilt to the accused. In such a case my honorable and learned friend, by his amendment, takes away from the justice the right of sending the case on.
– He has ‘ it in no other case.
– A prosecution is brought against an accused person in the belief that a lesser offence under the Bill has been committed. The evidence may disclose that a greater offence has been committed, and the prosecution ought to be by indictment. The whole matter may be surrounded by complication, and it may be difficult for the justice to say that the crime can be sheeted home to the accused. He will not be a paid magistrate, but an ordinary justice, and why should we take from him the right to say that the case is’ too complicated for him to deal with, that he can hardly say that the accused person is innocent, that he does not like to say that he is guilty, and therefore he will send the case on to another Court? Why should he not have that power?
– Why should we give him that power when we do not give it in any other case ?
– That is exactly what is done in every case of indictment and information. Every serious offence is preceded by summary jurisdiction, to ascertain whether there is or is not a case against the accused, who, if it be held that there is a case, may be said to undergo two trials, though the- first is really only a preliminary inquiry, in the nature of that made by an English grand jury. Under the Bill an accused will not be subjected to two trials ; he will be subject to either a trial by a Court of summary jurisdiction, or to the preliminary inquiry to which I have referred, and a subsequent trial before the Supreme Court.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania).- It has been stated more than once that clause 17 provides that any offence against, the Bill shall be punishable either by indictment or in a Court of summary jurisdiction. If proceedings are taken in a Court of summary jurisdiction, they will have nothing in common with the preliminary inquiry to decide whether there is a prima facie case sufficient to warrant committal, to which Senator Dobson has referred. At such an inquiry it is never determined that an accused person is guilty or innocent. The only question upon which the magistrates can come to a determination is as to whether there is sufficient evidence to secure his committal to stand his trial before a higher Court. In this case, however, the Court of summary jurisdiction will have power to say whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.
– But it will also have power to send the case on to a higher Court if it thinks fit. .
– Clause 17 allows the accused to be brought before a court of summary jurisdiction for the final determination of his guilt or innocence. The prosecutor has the option of saying whether he will take the case to a Court of summary jurisdiction or to a higher Court. If a case is one surrounded with technicalities, it should not be brought before the lower Court.
– That fact might not be known until disclosed by the proceedings in the lower Court.
– A prosecutor, who takes the responsibility of laying a charge against a private individual, should know the features of the case, and when it is surrounded by complications .should take it before the higher Court. My position is that, if it is taken into the lower Court, that Court may say that the accused is guilty or not guilty, or it may, after proceeding to a certain stage, say, “ We will not go further with this case. We decline to exercise our jurisdiction in regard to it, and, therefore, send it on to the higher. Court.”
– There is no harm in that.
– There is harm in it, because that power is not given to other Courts. The amendment will -prevent injustice being done, and will safeguard the principle that no man shall be in peril more than once.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Motion (by Senator’ McGregor) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday, 13th July.
Papuan Pearl Fisheries. Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed - That the Senate do now adjourn.
– It is stated in the press this morning that the Minister of External Affairs has determined
– I understand that Senator Smith wishes to bring forward a matter which is not relevant to the question before the Chair. The draft Standing Orders recommended by the Standing Orders Committee, provided that the motion for the .adjournment of the Senate should be put without debate; but honorable members altered it to permit of debate taking place. They did not, however, alter the Standing Order which requires that all debate shall be relevant to the subject matter of the question put from the Chair, and, therefore, although a debate upon the motion for the adjournment of the “ Senate is permitted, that debate must be relevant to the question of adjournment. The intention of the Senate, no doubt, was to permit the discussion of matters irrelevant to the motion ; but that intention was not carried into effect in the Standing Orders. I am reminded, however, that when the question arose last session, it was resolved that, on the motion for adjournment, honorable senators should be permitted to debate matters irrelevant to the motion, a resolution which I had overlooked. I shall, therefore, allow Senator Smith to proceed with his speech, a course which I had intended to take, in the event of no senator objecting, before the resolution of last session was brought under my notice.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - It is reported in the press this morning that, as the result of a deputation, the Minister of External Affairs has determined to refuse to allow Papuans to engage in the Australian pearl-shelling industry, a decision which honorable senators, when they thoroughly understand it, will admit imposes great injustice on the people of New Guinea, chiefly because of the extraordinary territorial boundaries of Queensland. Ordinarily, a country does not exercise jurisdiction over the surrounding sea for more than three miles from her coast ; but when the Federal Council was in existence an Act was passed greatly extending the maritime jurisdiction of Western Australia and Queensland, of course, only , in regard to British ships, to enable the Governments of those States to control the manning and conduct of the pearlfishing industry in Western Australian waters and in Torres Straits. By this Act the territorial boundary of Queensland was extended as far as New Guinea, as honorable members will see by reference to a map in my possession, on which I have had it charted. Under section 123 of the Constitution, the Federal Parliament has no power to alter. that boundary unless it first obtains the consent of the Government of Queensland. I believe that consent to the adoption of the .10th parallel of south latitude was promised some time ago, but owing to the apathy of both Governments concerned, the boundary has not yet been altered. The reported decision of the Minister of External Affairs will do great injustice to the people of New Guinea, by preventing them from fishing in what are really New Guinea waters, though, nominally, waters within the territory of Queensland, and will mean that Daru, a prosperous little settlement containing several stores and shops, in the western division of British New Guinea, will be absolutely ruined, while the -revenue of the territory will be greatly injured. The extension of our jurisdiction over the Gulf country, which is very thickly populated by the Papuans, will also be considerably retarded. Pearl shelling is the principal industry in the western division of British New Guinea. The people ‘there collect copra, and follow other small industries, but those industries are not likely to extend, nor to assume anything like the proportions of the pearl-fishing industry. -The pearlfishing grounds on the Warrior and Wompa reefs are really within New Guinea waters, and equitably should come under the jurisdiction of the Government of British New Guinea. They are, however, nominally under the jurisdiction of Queensland. There are on the articles of the pearling fleet 2,308 persons, of whom over 505 are South Sea Islanders, while there are 197 Malays, 617 Japanese. 306 Torres Straits Islanders, and 155 natives of New Guinea. Those figures were collected at the end of last year by the police. Only a few miles from the coast of New Guinea, but under the jurisdiction of Queensland, lie the large islands of Boigu, Dauan, and Saibai. The natives of these islands are ito be prohibited from engaging in the pearlshelling industry, while the Torres Straits Islanders, and the natives on the mainland, are to be permitted to continue in it. Another very important point, and one that is not generally known, is that, if this proposal were carried out, British Papuans would be the only people on the face of the earth prohibited from pearl shelling in the Torres Straits. There the pearlshelling industry is carried on in the high seas, and the pearl shell which lies in the sea bed is. the joint inheritance of the na tions of the earth. Pearl shelling is not an Australian industry. I have inquired into the pearl-shelling industry at Thursday Island, and find that there practically no shell is taken within three miles of the shore.
– But the head-quarters of the pearl fishers are on Australian territory.
– As I have already remarked, the pearl shell at the bottom of the high seas is available to any nation that chooses to take it, but the industry is worked from Thursday Island, which is really a portion of Australia. If Papuans were not permitted to go on these boats great injustice would be done them, and the prosperity of New Guinea would be injured. If the boundary were altered, I should not object to a proposal to prevent Papuans from landing on the mainland of Australia. I should be quite prepared to debar them from landing on Thursday Island. It would be much to their advantage if that course were adopted. I speak disparagingly of only one aspect of life on Thursday Island - the fact that hotels there are open alike to white and coloured persons. ^Whilst at Thursday Island I saw “ Mainlanders,” Torres Straits Islanders, and South Sea Islanders generally, standing in the front bars of hotels, and publicly drinking intoxicating liquors. There is a law in Queensland against the supply of drink to coloured persons, which is quite as stringent as any New Guinea ordinance, or similar legislation in any of the other States; but it is openly flouted on the island. Thus, If Papuans were not permitted to land there, and to cultivate a taste for strong drink, it would be to their advantage. We must recognise that pearl shelling is not an Australian industry, although the head-quarters of the fisheries are on Australian territory. If I pointed out on. the map the various points at which pearl shelling is at present carried on in Torres Straits, honorable senators would see that, the pearling does not take place in Australian waters.
– The Newfoundland banks are not in Newfoundland, nevertheless, Newfoundland controls the fishing there.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.The people of any nation could fish there if they desired to do so.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Have they jurisdiction beyond the three miles limit.
– It would appear that thev have.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.By international law they have not. People of other nations could not be prevented from fishing in Torres Straits. Those sailing under the Japanese, Chinese, or Malayan flag, or even Dutch Papuans, can fish there, run their boats into port at Thursday Island, sell their shell, and secure their water and provisions just as a British ship mav do.
– The action taken by the Government does not prevent the Papuans from fishing; it simply prevents them from landing at Thursday Island.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.According to the newspaper reports, which are the source of my information, Papuans under British jurisdiction are not to be allowed to sign on at all.
– The Government’s decision is merely ,that they shall not be allowed to land at Thursday Island.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITHThe honorable senator may have information that is not in my possession. I should not object to any proposal to prevent them from landing at Thursday Island; but it would be grossly unjust jo say that Papuans shall not engage in pearl fishing in Torres Straits, when every other race in the world may do so.
– What power have we to say that they shall not ?
– We have the power, because the Federal Executive Council has extended the boundaries of Queensland to the borders of New Guinea. Our jurisdiction in this respect, however, can extend .only to persons on British ships. By international law it cannot apply to the people of any other nation. The only power w-e have is to say that any person under British jurisdiction shall not fish in these waters. The suggestion was made to the Ministry that Papuans who are under British jurisdiction shall not be allowed to fish in these waters. It is unnecessary for me to dwell further on this matter ; but I would point out to the Vice-President of the Executive Council that the decision of the Minister of External Affairs places British New Guinea in a very invidious position, and, if carried, into effect, would prevent Papuans from pearl-fishing in what may be said to be their own waters, although all other races may do so with impunity. I hope that I shall receive an assurance from the Minister that, it is not intended, as has been reported in the press, that the islanders shall not be allowed to engage, in the pearl-shelling industry.
– In his anxiety to take action, Senator Smith has misconstrued even the statement which appeared in the press in reference to this matter. If he had examined it more carefully, he would have found that the decision relates only to exemption certificates.
– In the report which I read, no reference was made to exemption certificates.
– The honorable senator failed to read the right report. He reads a newspaper which invariably misrepresents. I know something of this question, although it has not come before the Cabinet. In reply to a deputation which waited on the Minister of External Affairs, with reference to the issue of exemption certificates under the Immigration Restriction Act, it appears that my honorable colleague said that he would not grant exemption certificates to Papuans, and that information was being sought in regard to the position of Japanese and other coloured races. T do not think that any decision that would prevent the Papuans from fishing in their own waters, whether arrived at by a Minister or a Government, could have any effect.
– What are the exemption. certificates to which the honorable senator refers?
– Certificates which enable the holders to land on. Thursday Island, Broome, or other parts of Australia. I understand that .that is the position. I shall be very happy to place the honorable senator in possession of any information relating to this question ‘ that I am able to secure, and I have only to add ‘ that I do not think that there is any intention to prevent Papuans from fishing in the waters adjacent to their own islands. We need not discuss the question further. If the report read by the honorable senator has created in his mind the idea that an injustice to the Papuans is contemplated, it must have been very loosely written.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 6. to p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 June 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040630_senate_2_20/>.