2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers: -
Second report by Mr. Chesterman on proposed Federal Capital sites in the Tumut district, and. by Mr. Scrivener on proposed sites in the Southern Monaro district.
Amendment of Financial and allowance regulations, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 31, and of regulations, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 32, Mili. tary Forces.
Addition to Financial and Allowance Regulations, Statutory Rules, 1904, No. 30, Naval Forces.
Ordered to be printed.
– I desire to move the adjournment of the Senate.
– If the honorable senator wished to move the adjournment of the Senate, under standing order 60, he ought to have sent me’ a statement of the matter of urgency.
– I understood that under the standing order I could hand in a copy of my motion when I was about to move it.
– I do not think that was the intention. I’ shall not offer any objection, but I think that the statement should have been handed in previously. In fact;ifI had not had private notice, I should not have known that the honorable’ senator Intended to move the adjournment.
– The . necessity for handing in notice had been overlooked by me in this’ instance.
– Do you lay it down, Mr. President, that it is necessary that you should have notice of an honorable senator’s desire to move the adjournment of the Senate under standing order 60?
– The standing order says so.
– The standing order does not say that notice must be given.
-Will the honorable and learned senator allow me to read the standing order? It says -
The senator so moving must make in writing, and hand in to the President, a statement of the matter of urgency.
– Exactly ; Senator Pearce hands in the notice now.
– The honorable senator did not propose to hand any statement in until I informed him it Was necessary.
– What I have stated was the practice under the Victorian standing order from which our standing order was taken.
– Senator Pearce did not hand in any notice in writing. I’ asked him if he was going to hand in- a notice, and he has now done so.
– I move-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 10.30 a.m. to-morrow.
I do so for the purpose of discussing, as a matter of urgency, the annual report of Major-General Hutton, General Officer Commanding the Commonwealth Military Forces.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places,
– I take this course, Mr. President, because of the fact which is well Known to all honorable senators, that when an honorable senator attempts to discuss a question concerning defence, on the only other opportunity that we have, namely, on the Estimates, it is the invariable experience that it is absolutely impossible to get the Senate to direct its attention to the matter. Attention is diverted to a number of questions arising out of the Estimates, and, in consequence, the subject of defence never receives that attention which it should have. In the annual report of MajorGeneral Sir Edward Hutton, certain statements are made which are of infinite importance to the Commonwealth. The’ people are’ paying for the defence of Australia on land upwards of ,£600,000 per annum. They also pay a large sum for defence by sea. Vet, on the authority of the highest expert on military matters in the Commonwealth - an expert who receives a high salary - that money, might as well have been thrown into the sea. Because this expert says that the army for which we have been paying would be unable to cope with any army which would probably be employed either to make a raid or to occupy Australia; and in any case would be unable to take the fieldi because of lack of equipment, transport, and various other essentials. Sir Edward Hutton point’s out in various parts of his report, . to which I will refer later on,’ that in some very important and vital particulars we have been pursuing in the past, in defence matters, a policy which is little less than insane. We have assumed that by paying a certain sum of money we were getting a force which would be useful for the defence of Australia, whereas the results of the expenditure have been absolutely useless. For instance, he points out that while we are paying for a permanent force of trained artillerymen, that force is depleted to an extent which, tie says, is dangerous to the safety of the Commonwealth. There are certain points in the Commonwealth, such as Thursday Island and Albany, which are in a certain state of fortification. Sir Edward Hutton’s report sm that he will not be responsible for what happens . in case df war in respect of those fortifications, because his recommendations have not been, acted upon. He again makes certain recommendations, and says that- if they are not acted upon he will not be responsible. Parliament will be responsible for what happens in the case of a military crisis. .
X wish, first of all, to direct attention to the depletion of the troops belonging to the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment. The reference in the report to which I desire to direct attention is to be found on page 9-
The existing establishment of. the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment is considerably below that which I recommended in clause 3 of my Annual Report, dated 1st May, 1903. An increase is a matter of vital importance. I pointed out last year that the reduction of the Royal Australian Artillery to the existing, establishment laid, down by the Minister for the Estimates of 1903-4.
Then he quotes his previous report, and continues-p
I represented that a reduction of the Permanent Artillery personnel existing in the six States prior to Federation, from fifty officers and 1,170 other ranks, to thirty-eight officers and 820 other ranks, might be effected, tut only as a temporary measure. In spite, however, of my earnest representations, the late Minister of Defence still further reduced the number to thirty-four officers and 714 other ranks.
Practical experience and personal investigation extending over the last twelve months, have fully confirmed my opinion that the result of . this last reduction can only be to seriously compromise the security of the Commonwealth. .
Further down on page 10 Sir Edward Hutton says -
I have previously represented to the Minister that the existing garrison of Thursday Island is altogether insufficient to insure its security. I have, accordingly, recommended a small increase of .men, who must be matured and experienced soldiers, and who cannot -be found under existing conditions from other places in the Commonwealth.
On the same page he says -
I earnestly represent, therefore, that an increase of the Royal Australian Artillery by four officers and 106 others is of the greatest importance;
– That increase is very likely provided for in this year’s Estimates.
-Col. Gould. - It ought to have been provided for long ago.
– At any rate it has not been provided for yet When the
Estimates are brought forward it is too late to make any suggestions. We are always told at that stage “ You should have raised this question before. The departmental Estimates have been framed, and we cannot interfere with them. They must go through as they are.” Unless the question raised is of vital importance, the Estimates are very rarely altered. Therefore, the Senate should take an opportunity before the Estimates are brought before us to express an opinion on this subject. At any rate this debate will serve the useful purpose of giving the Government an opportunity of knowing what is in the mind of the Senate upon the question. In his recommendations for the ensuing year on page 19 of the report, Major-General Hutton again returns to this question. He says -
The necessity for an immediate increase in the personnel of the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment has been commented upon at length in clause 4. I earnestly recommend the paramount importance of adding at least four officers and 106 other ranks to the existing establishment of the regiment. The present strength of the Permanent Artillery can only be viewed with the gravest apprehension.
Those words coming from the highest military authority in the Commonwealth, to whom we must look, if to anybody, for military guidance, are of serious import, and should- have some effect.- If we think that the judgment of the General Officer Commanding is not worth receiving, we should take the first opportunity of retiring him ; but if we have confidence in the General Officer Commanding then his recommendations should be given very serious consideration.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to vote the money?
– I am.
– The Labour Party cut down the Military vote.
– I expected that Senator Dobson would bring forward that repeated charge. The Labour Party never at any time expressed the opinion that the regiments should be cut down in numbers.
– But the Labour Party cut down the total vote.
– The House of Representatives cut down the total vote, and left the Government of the day to make savings where they could. The cutting down of numbers was one of the methods which the Government adopted of making a saving.
5 Q 2
-Col. Gould. - That was one of the few methods open to the Government.
– The responsibility did not rest with the Labour Party, but with the Government of the day. If the then Government thought that the reduction was wrong, they ought to have resisted it.
– There. I agree with the honorable senator.
– The Government should have told the House that the reduction could not be made except at the expense of safety.
-. - The proposal was adopted as a temporary measure. The object was to cut the expenses down for the year.
– It was the Ministry who cut down the numbers, and not the House of Representatives.
– I do not acquit the Government of blame.
– Senator Pearce ought to show that the cutting down has been a mistake.
– That is what I am about to attempt to do. There are two vital points in Australia, the defence of which depends almost entirely on the regiments referred to - Thursday Island and Albany. At Thursday Island, where the General Officer Commanding recommends that the permanent minimum should be four officers and ninetyseven men, the present establishment is three officers and fifty men. At Albany, where the General Officer Commanding recommends a minimum of two officers and thirty-eight men,’ the present establishment is two officers and twenty-eight men. It will be seen from these figures that the present establishment is very seriously below the permanent minimum recommended. At Sydney, the permanent minimum recommended is fifteen officers and 263 men, whereas the present establishment is fourteen officers and 203 men. At the other forts - at Melbourne and’ other places - the permanent minimum recommended is sixteen officers and 296 men, whereas the actual establishment is fourteen officers and 225 men. At all those important points, for the defence of which we rely on efficient and trained artillerymen - because we cannot make an artilleryman out of a volunteer in a few months - the establishment is seriously undermanned. As to the deficiency in guns; on page 13 of the report, we find a comment on the fieldartillery shooting, which throws a side light on the guns supplied to our soldiers. Major-General Hutton says -
The deficiency in modern guns, and the absence of suitable field artillery ranges, are mainly accountable for the. low standard of proficiency in gunnery generally.
On page 26, Major-General Hutton points out tha”t, during 1904-5, it is proposed to order twenty of the latest fifteen-pounder B.L. guns, which would bring the number up to fifty-six. The point to which I wish to draw attention is that, while Major-General Hutton makes this recommendation, we find that during the last year, although a similar and very strongly worded suggestion had been made in a previous report, only six additional guns were imported by the. Government. I ask the Minister, because the report does not make the matter clear, to what extent our artillery are at the present time using obsolete guns? It seems to me that if the artillery are using obsolete guns, the field artillery might just as well be disbanded, seeing that their drill must be useless. With guns which are obsolete, it would appear to be a waste of money to keep up the corps.
– If we have no guns, why ask for an increase of men?
– The increase is asked in the permanent artillery, which mans ,the forts, but the guns to which I allude are field guns used by the militia.
– But the drill is not necessarily useless.
– But the men are paid so much a drill, and so much a year. If the case be as indicated by MajorGeneral Hutton, we are repeating the farce which was enacted in connexion with the general body of the Military Forces. We were spending about ,£500,000 per annum on the Military Forces, although we had no rifles with . which to arm the men ; and now we are spending money on field artillery, who are provided with obsolete guns which would be useless in time of war. The next point to which I wish to draw attention is that of warlike stores, which is referred to on page 15 of the report, paragraph 13, in the following terms : -
It is with feelings of the gravest apprehension that I again invite attention to the unsatisfactory condition of the warlike stores. The previous representations on this subject require but little modification in the present report, from those made by me in the official documents abovementioned, except in the items “ fixed defences,” “small arms,” and “small arm ammunition.”
That is to say, in regard to these three items, the General Officer Commanding considers, that what has been done by the present and previous Governments has to some extent met his objections. But the General Officer Commanding goes on to point out that there are various other respects in which there is a lack of stores and equipment. For instance, he points out, as regards the Field Artillery, that it is almost wholly deficient in ammunition waggons, equipment, and saddlery generally ; in short, that the force is in such a state that it could not take the field effectively. I should like to know whether the Government intend to do anything towards rectifying the position which the report discloses ?
– Why does the honorable senator not ask why the last Government did nothing ?
– I know that the present Government are not responsible for the sins of the last Government. While the recommendations were made in 1903, the Major-General points out that the late Government practically did nothing. Something has been done in regard to small arms and ammunition, but in all the other vital -essentials of equipment the late Government did nothing. I should like to see something done in the early future towards remedying the deficiencies pointed out by the General Officer Commending. A few words may, now be said in regard to the financial aspect of the question. I find on looking over the Estimates of 1901-2, that the vote for the Military Forces was £831,212, which was cut down in 1902-3 to £656,014, and, last year, to £57 I,579. This year’s estimate was £558,926, on which Major-General Hutton, in his report, recommends an increase of £50,493, which would make the expenditure £609,419. In the face of the alarmist reports which have been furnished, and in spite of them, past Governments adopted a policy of retrenchment and economy in the very directions where the General Officer Commanding said the greatest danger existed. In the year 1902-3, the Government reduced the expenditure on warlike stores by £5,662, although they had in their possession a recommendation from the General Officer Commanding that there should be a large increase. In 1903-4 the vote was reduced by £19,349, again in the face of a recommendation of the General Officer Commanding that an increase was necessary. We are face to face in this report with a recommendation to spend on warlike stores and equipment, £500,000, the expenditure to be spread over four years. As I have said, the General Officer Commanding recommends that there should be an additional expenditure on the Military Forces of £50,493, and one item in that expenditure is the conversion of 1,446 volunteers to militia in Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania, at a cost of £8,178. I know there has been an agitation in Tasmania on the part of the volunteers themselves, that they should be converted into militia; but I am given to understand that there is no such desire on the part of the volunteers of Western Australia and Victoria, who are content to remain volunteer regiments. The conversion of those regiments into militia would increase the vote by some £5,000; and I contend that, since MajorGeneral Hutton has pointed, out that we could not place our present militia forces in the field, it would be absolutely nonsensical to add to their numbers. Until they are properly equipped it would be better to allow them to remain volunteers, at a saving to the Commonwealth. I hope, therefore, that the Government will take into their serious consideration the wisdom of not allowing the conversion except in the case of Tasmania, where it is desired by the volunteers themselves.
– Is it not simply a question of pay ?
– It is. I understand that in Victoria, New, South Wales, and Western Australia, the volunteers desire to remain as at present, and until they are thoroughly equipped, it would, as I say, be wise to save the expenditure the conversion would involve.
– Do they not wish to remain volunteers, because they are called upon to do less drill?
– Is it not because as volunteers they will have less drill, less responsibility, and less discipline?
– The moment drill and discipline are tightened, the volunteers will want to be paid like the others.
– And the drill and discipline would improve them, and make them more efficient.
– But they can be allowed to remain as volunteers.
– Not if you want to get more work and drill out of them.
– That may be so; but it is of no use getting more drill out of the men or increasing the number of militia until we have proper equipment.
– We shall soon get the equipment, if the honorable senator will vote the money.
– The equipment has been added to during the last twelve months.
– The General Officer Commanding points out that the equipment is just as lacking as before. Another item . in the increased expenditure of £50,000 is new units to complete the organization adopted by the Commonwealth, involving an expenditure of £10,538. I understand that to mean that there are some units in the Military Forces that are not up to the full peace establishment, and that Major-General Hutton desires to increase them at the cost I have mentioned ; but when we are told that there is not the equipment for the existing numbers, why should we have new units?
– But does Major-General Hutton say that he has not the equipment for the additional men in the infantry forces?
– Major-General Hutton says that he has not the equipment for the existing forces, except in three particulars.
– Surely there are rifles for them to drill with?
– But that does not complete the equipment. In another paragraph Major-General Hutton says that he could not put the force in the field.
– That does not show that the force ought to be disbanded.
– This is not a question of disbandment, but of enrolling fresh men in the militia, and bringing the force up ‘ to a peace establishment. To enrol these additional men means increasing an army which already suffers from lack of equipment, and it would be much better to spend the £10,538 in equipping our present militia.
– Equipment means transport, and matters of that sort; and surely we can provide as good transport as the Boers had, without going to additional expense ?
– Hear, hear. We are to have a citizen army.
– A citizen army is right enough, but t ‘he Boers had a better system of transport and were more mobile than were the forces opposed to them. Where the British Army failed was in matters of transport.
– The less the transports, the more mobile the force, as was pointed out by De Wet, who disagreed with Cronje on the question.
– I should like to point out that this report also makes a very important recommendation on the question of the Council of Defence. I notice that the press has already referred to the subject, and I trust the Minister will give some explanation of what the Government propose.
– The Government proposals have been announced in the other House.
– Then they might as well be announced here, so that they may afford food for discussion by honorable senators. We could effect savings in other respects. For instance, I understand that past Governments insisted on the up-keep of a couple of gun-boats in Queensland at a cost of £4,932 per annum, although they are absolutely useless for defence purposes.
– Whoever told the honorable member that, did not know what they were talking about.
– These boats are useless to compete, I understand, with a modern ship of war. At any rate, I contend that we could, by abolishing obsolete gun-boats, such as the Cerberus and the two vessels in Queensland, and by not carrying out the recommendation of the General Officer Commanding to have more militia, fully equip the Commonwealth forces.
– Should we have no Naval Forces?
– Yes ; but not on present patchwork principles.
– What has the General Officer Commanding to do with the Naval Forces?
– Nothing ; but I am pointing out that there are directions in which we can save money which we are at present spending without getting an equivalent. My time is up, and I can only say that there are a good number of points in Major-General Hutton’s report which will be helpful to Parliament in the discussion of the Estimates. But I believe that it is best that we should have a preliminary discussion, so that if the
Estimates are not framed in accordance with the will of the Senate, we shall have a chance of amending them in that direction.
– I am afraid that a great many honorable senators have been taken by surprise in regard to this important matter, and are not in a position to discuss it as thoroughly as they would desire. I have no doubt that every one has had an opportunity of seeing in the press a slight review of the report of the General Officer Commanding, in which he points out the utter unpreparedness of Australia for defence against a hostile attack. While I know it used often to be said that Australia need not fear anything of this kind, and it was the habit of many to ridicule the idea of spending money as we did on our Defence Force, circumstances are now pressing the matter home to the people of Australia, who are beginning to realize that they do not know the day when the old country may be involved in a war. If the mother country is involved in a war with any of the more important nations who have naval forces, we may depend upon it that Australia, if not prepared to defend herself, may, and probably will, have experience of war upon her own shores. When we receive a report of so grave a character from the General Officer Commanding, knowing that it has followed other similar reports, pointing out the unpreparedness of Australia to resist an attack, it is high time for every patriotic citizen to back him up by insisting upon adequate provision being made for the defence of the Commonwealth. We are told that the late Government are to blame for the position of affairs - that they ought to have shown more backbone, and put a firmer foot down with regard to insisting on getting money which was said by the General Officer Commanding to be required.
– So they should have done.
.- No doubt they should. While I am one of those who consider that the influence of the Labour Party in the discussion of the military votes in the previous Parliament had a most deleterious effect on the then Ministry, I do not acquit the latter - I do riot acquit members of Parliament, who chose to take upon themselves the responsibility of using the power that they had bv means of their number, weight, and influence - I do not acquit them of the responsibility for the present position of affairs. They had a weak Government to deal with. That they had a Government that had not sufficient strength or backbone, was, to a certain extent, their advantage in many things; but in this case it was to the disadvantage of the community generally.
– But the Labour Party could not . have beaten them alone.
.- No; but we know perfectly well that the late Government were always prepared to bend their knees to the Labour Party whenever it ‘made a stand on any matter. This may be unpleasant for Ministers to hear.
– What Ministers ?
– I am alluding to the late Ministers just now. The present Ministers are, I know, in a different position from their predecessors.
– The honorable and learned senator does not care much for them.
.- I have not said a single word in derogation of them. I respect the members of the Labour Party, and do not object to their working together for what they consider is best for the community generally. The Labour Party are now in a different position. They now possess not only power, but responsibility, and I hope, now that the opportunity is afforded them by the strong report they have received, that they will endeavour to reform the existing conditions in the military service. I arn aware that individual members in the other House did not specifically point out how the reduced vote was to be administered; but we know perfectly well that when a lump sum is cut off a large amount which is submitted under a fully-considered scheme, it devolves on the persons in authority to cut away where they can most consistently, as they believe, in the public interest. We know that one great subject of opposition to a number of persons was the fact that the General Officer Commanding was generally seen with a pretty brilliant staff. To some persons that acted like the proverbial red rag on a bull, and they considered that it ought to be done, away with. The first step was to cut down, the HeadQuarters Staff. That has been cut down, as well as other appointments, and what has been the effect of the reduction? It is all very well to say that we do not want the rank and file - the fighting units - to be cut down, but that the Head-Quarters Staff must surfer. Let it be remembered that the HeadQuarters Staff is charged with the responsibility of supervising and directing what is to be done. You cannot unduly cut down that body without destroying the efficiency of the Military Forces generally.
– Can we not cut down the Military Forces without destroying their efficiency?
– We cannot cut down the Head-Quarters Staff unduly without interfering with the efficiency of the Military Forces generally. What does the General Officer Commanding say on this point? At page 5. of his report he states -
In clause 1 of my Annual Report, dated May, 1903, I pointed out that a reduction of the Deputy Quartermaster-General, which was directed from last July, 1903, would prevent the duties of command being carried out with proper efficiency. I also pointed out that -
The work of consolidating the reconstruction and re-organization is only now beginning, and to cripple my efforts as the responsible Military Head, by depriving me of the services of an indispensable Staff Officer, is to make the success of the Military System as proposed most difficult.
The further reduction now directed will, if carried out, render it impracticable for the General Officer Commanding to accept the responsibilities laid down for him in Part IV., para. 1, of the Military Regulations, published on 1st March last. It is, I venture to submit, with all respect, unreasonable to expect any General Officer to accept the vast responsibilities of command unless he is granted the assistance of a suitable Staff to administer the various Departments under his charge. I accepted the position, when offered to me on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, with a full understanding that I should receive the same assistance from an adequate Staff as any other General similarly situated.
He goes on to point out that instead of bringing out Imperial officers, he accepted the officers who were on the colonial list. But we find from his report that the very foundation of our military system, the Head-Quarters Staff, is unduly and improperly interfered with. If the General Officer Commanding is not to be relied upon in this particular, can he be relied upon in other matters in connexion with our defences? We know perfectly well that he was brought out as a man of whom we had had experience in New South
Wales. While in that State he was engaged in a Conference which was convened, in anticipation of the federation of the colonies, to formulate a scheme for the defence of the Commonwealth as a whole. However, if instead of taking a large and brilliant staff with him to different places, he had appeared with only two or three men, and had allowed the other men to remain in their offices, probably there would not have been such a great outcry. But we know perfectly well that these officers, one and all, have their own duties to perform. I believe that if an inquiry were made, it would be found that they have been engaged, not merely between 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock in the day, but throughout the day and at night time, in perfecting work and attending to duties which have devolved upon them ; and those duties have been unduly harassing and heavy because of the insufficiency of the staff. Let the Minister of Defence make the fullest inquiry he can, and I have no hesitation in saying that he will find that the work is more than can reasonably be undertaken by the men who are on the staff.
– I made the inquiry, and found the facts to be quite the opposite.
– The honorable gentleman differs from the General Officer Commanding. Then we come to the question of the number of men whom we have for defence purposes. We know that their number is lamentably insufficient. We know that one Minister, who was determined to outdo the friends of economy and reform, as they imagined themselves to be in the other Chamber, voluntarily offered to cut down his Estimates by a further sum of £50,000 or £60,000. I believe that that was done without even any pressure. What has been the effect of the reduction ?
– Is the honorable andlearned senator referring to the last Minis- ter?
D- No; to Sir William Lyne, who acted during the absence of Sir John Forrest. That was a most lamentable thing to take place. I cannot believe even now that if the House had been made aware of the facts, as stated in the report of the General Officer Commanding, there would have been such a determination to cut down the military estimates. Is it not lamentable to be told that we have not got even the minimum number of men in the permanent forces which is required for a peace establishment ? It is absolutely necessary to have this minimum, not- only to look after the ordinary military forces on a peace foundation, but for instructional and other purposes. We require men who have been in the permanent branch of the force for a considerable time, and who are capable of forming matured judgments, and giving instruction to, the various forces which are being established. The six States are placed under one administration, and a country which measures upwards of 2,000 miles across in one way, and nearly 2,000 miles in another, contains a population of between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000, and has millions of square miles of land which is absolutely unoccupied, has to be defended, so far as land forces are concerned, by our own people. But for that purpose we have an annual vote of only £600,000. We are told now that the amount ought to be increased, and I hope that Ministers will accept the recommendations made by the General Officer Commanding, and will increase the strength of the forces at any rate up to the peace footing, and take in the number of men who have been recommended by that officer, even those to whom some exception has been taken by Senator Pearce. He took exception to the conversion of the volunteers into militia in Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania. All these men are, I assume, equipped possibly, not as we should like to see them, but nevertheless equipped. That equipment would carry them over until some better provision could be made. Why should we discourage these men in any way ? Why should we attempt to set them on one side ? As Senator Pearce says, let the Tasmanians be made a portion of the Militia Force; but in the other States, where the men have not sought for the conversion, let them wait. I have had a knowledge of the Volunteer- Force for a great many yearsfirst as it was, a purely volunteer force, then when New South Wales was giving land grants to the men, and afterwards as a partially paid force. From my knowledge of the force during that period, I can say without the slightest hesitation that, as regards efficiency and discipline, there is no room for comparison between the purely volunteer force, as I have known it, and the militia force, as I have known it. In one case you have a large number of men, who are not under the same strong bonds of discipline as are the militiamen. They are simply unpaid men who are patriotic, and desire to do what they can in the defence of the country. I do not decry the men, or wish to run them down in the slightest degree; but I hold that, where you have men who are paid for certain services, you have a stronger hold on them than you have on others who are unpaid. I know that in a large number of the regiments many men look to their pay as an important source of income. They regard the position not only from the patriotic point of view, but also from the stand-point that it provides them with a certain amount of bread and butter. That has had the effect of giving us a stronger hold on these men, and making them more effective in case they should be required.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Senator Drake). - I must inform the honorable and learned senator that his time, under the standing order, has expired.
– Can I move for an extension of ten minutes to Senator Gould ?
The ACTING PRESIDENT. - That cannot be done without an amendment of the standing order.
– I heard with pleasure much that was said by Senator Pearce. But. in my opinion, the late Government was greatly to blame for the Estimates being reduced. They yielded to the pressure of the very party of which Senator Pearce is a prominent - member. In the last Parliament, Senator Matheson brought forward an important proposal, which unfortunately was negatived. I had the honour of supporting the proposal, and I find that on the nth September last I made the following remarks, which still apply to the situation : -
I hope that in future the Government will show their faith in Ministerial responsibility when amendments are proposed upon the Defence Estimates. I hope that they will stick to their proposals, and have the pluck to resign if they are defeated, so as to let others take their places. I was perfectly ashamed when ^160,000 was knocked off the Defence Estimates for one year. I believe there is a general feeling throughout the Commonwealth Forces, that they- were not fairly treated in that matter.
There is no getting away from the fact that the General Officer Commanding made one great mistake. When his original proposals were not carried, he ought to have offered to resign, and when the Government knew that he intended to resign thev would have had the pluck to stand to their colours, and endeavour to obtain sufficient support in each House to carry then through. It is absolutely ridiculous that- we. in these days, should be in what is practically an unsafe state of defence. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that, before long, we shall hear the guns of an enemy at our door.
– Where will they come from?
– This young nation does not want a huge standing army.
– That has never been recommended, and nobody wants it.
– It was the action of the late Minister of Defence which drew my attention to the wisdom of the suggestion of Senator Matheson that we should have a Council of Defence. I hope that the Ministry will carry out the idea of the honorable senator, and that we shall soon have a Council of Defence established. I believe that Senator Pearce has done good work in raising this discussion at the present time ; but at the same time he ought to remember that the party with which he is associated has a certain amount of blame’ to bear in this matter.
– Absolutely none.
– I was not a supporter of the late Government. I always opposed them in these matters, but I recognise the awkward position in which they were placed.
– The Labour Party saved the country from spending money on an army without arms.
– Hear, hear !
– The honorable senator who says “ Hear, hear,” was not in the last Parliament when “Yes, Mr. Watson,” or “ No, Mr. Watson,” was a standing joke. When that gentleman put up his finger, the Government did whatever he wished. I believe that the present Government have more pluck than their predecessors in these matters. I hope they have. I do not intend to detain the Senate further than to say that I think Senator Pearce has done good work in bringing this subject forward.
– I, like the previous speaker, think that Senator Pearce has done good work in bringing this matter forward for discussion at this early stage of the session. But I am not sure that I agree with the conclusions that either Senator Walker or Senator Gould drew. In the first place, we must remember, in reading the report of Major- GeneralHutton, that a military caste is always most inordinate in its demands. The whole history of the civilized world shows that if military men had their way they would dominate the entire community. If we provided for a Standing army of 100,000 men, in the very next year the military caste would come down and ask for an army of 200,000.. If we were to vote them in one year £250,000, in the next year they would ask for £500,000, and in two or three years time they would demand £5,000,000.
– It would cost us a great deal more than £5,000,000 if our cities were bombarded.
– The property-holder always wishes to tax the entire community for the defence of his property. It does not matter who pays for the defence, so long as he gets it.
– What would be the position of Cairns if there were a bombardment?
– The people of Cairns would be able to take care of themselves in an emergency of that kind. Under our system of taxation by means of Customs and Excise, the poorest’ man in the community, who has no property whatever, pays almost as much as the wealthy individual. The poor nian has to pay for the protection of the property of others, though he himself has none to protect. I have only a limited time at my disposal, as unfortunately the Standing Orders do not allow us to discuss matters of this kind fully. Therefore I do not intend to be “ side-tracked “ by honorable senators who do not seem to think as I do on this subject. But I am of opinion that the man for whom services are performed ought to pay for them, and not those for whom they are not performed. But in defence matters the people for whom the services are performed want to shift the payment on to the shoulders of people who do not require the services. I was speaking when interrupted about the inordinate demands which a military caste always make. In one or two of the countries of Europe, where unfortunately a military caste dominates the Government, their demands are almost insatiable. In fact, in some countries they ride rough-shod over the rest of the community, and their demands are met without any demur whatever. We do not want in Australia to have anything of that sort. We do not require a standing army, and a large staff flying round in all their glory of feathers and gold lace. What we need is a patriotic feeling in the breasts of our citizens that will induce them to train themselves for the defence of their country in time of emergency. I beg to differ from Senator Gould when he says that it is pay that makes men most efficient in the defence of their country. In my opinion no country ever secures efficient military service from mercenaries. It gets the most efficient service from a patriotic citizen soldiery, who are prepared to fight for love of their country. My opinion is that any standing army that we’ could afford to maintain in Australia at the present time would be practically useless in the hour of danger. We require not a standing army, but an efficient volunteer force, composed of the citizens of the country, having a sufficiency of arms and ammunition always at their disposal, and being trained to use their weapons effectively. The only permanent force which we require is a few permanent artillery corps to man the forts, and the various strategetical points like Thursday Island and Albany. It is essential that we should have a small, efficient, and permanent force to man those forts. Next we require a permanent expert train-, ing staff, so as to train our citizen soldiers efficiently. We cannot have an expert training corps as a purely volunteer force. We must have a permanent force to discharge those duties adequately. If we cannot obtain trained men in Australia we should get them from the mother country. We should, certainly obtain the services of good drill sergeants, and I think that it would be a wise policy to shift them frequently. It might be advisable to engage drill sergeants from the old country for three years, and at. the end of that period to engage fresh ones. I do not agree with Senator Pearce that because our arms are not right up to date we should disband any part of. our forces. A man may become an expert rifle shot, although he has never handled a modern rifle. I know some very fine shots in this country, who, until very recently, had used only rifles of the old Snider pattern.
– Rifle shooting is a matter of the training of eye, but it is different in regard to artillery, where there is complicated mechanism to deal with.
– The aim of experts in regard to modern artillery is to do away with mechanical complications, and to make the guns as simple as possible. The conclusion which I draw is, as I have explained, that we require to have an expert training staff. I also agree with Senator Pearce, that we must have the best, most modern, and most effective weapons for the use of our soldiers. With regard to the kind of force which we require, I believe that if the rifle clubs were multiplied throughout the length and breadth of Australia, if our volunteer corps were increased, and if we extended our naval brigades, we should be able to raise a highly efficient fighting force, which would meet all the demands that could be made upon it. I understood Senator Pearce to say that he did not believe in naval brigades.
– No; I was referring to the two Queensland gunboats.
– In my opinion, the history of modern warfare proves that naval brigades are equally efficient as land forces and on the sea. In the State which I have the honour to represent there are some very efficient naval brigades indeed. Some of the members are crack rifle shots, who have won ‘ prizes in shooting competitions. It would be wise to multiply the number of our naval brigades, especially, in view of the fact that they are competent to man the guns on land, and their naval training enables them to take to the sea should it be necessary. The next thing that we require is a sufficiency of the best up-to-date arms and ammunition. The history ‘of modern warfare conclusively proves that’ troops are always at a disadvantage as compared with their opponents unless armed with the most modern weapons. That being so, it would be a wise move, as well as an economical one, to insist upon having the most efficient armaments that could be obtained. The necessity for having the best possible ammunition is obvious. In this connexion, I should say that it would be wise for the Commonwealth to establish an arms and ammunition factory of its own. If ever Australia had to take the field in its own defence, and we -were entirely dependent on outside sources for our ammunition supply, we should be at a great disadvantage; whereas, if we had our own ammunition factory, or factories, within the Commonwealth, we should be entirely independent of outside sources, and as emergency demanded we could at all times increase the supply of our arms and ammunition. Such a factory, or factories, should be carried on by the Government itself, and not by private individuals. If it were a Government . institution we should have a guarantee that the small arms and ammunition manufactured were what they were reputed to be - the best and most efficient that could be produced.
– The General Officer Commanding recommends that.
- Senator Gould said that he hoped the Government would accept the recommendations of the General Officer Commanding, and bring the permanent forces at least up to the full number required on a peace establishment. I should like to know what is a peace establishment and what is a war establishment in the judgment of the General Officer Commanding? I have been trying to point out that >e should always be prepared for war; !and the only way to accomplish that end is to have our citizens trained in the use of arms, and to have a sufficiency of armament, ammunition, and equipment for them. I believe that if we were well provided in that respect we should not need to bother our heads about any standing army. In the South African war a citizen army was faced by perhaps the bravest soldiery in the world; because the traditions of the British Army show that the British soldier in efficiency and valour is a match for the best troops. Yet in South Africa a citizen soldiery gave the British Army all they could possibly do to conquer them. The history of that war proves, to my mind, that a well -trained and properly-equipped citizen army can give a very good account of themselves against any troops ; and I believe that, if our troops are provided with the most efficient arms and ammunition, and were well trained, we need have no fear of any European army that will be likely to be brought against us. Therefore, I,’ hope that the Government, instead of going in for a large standing army, which would be a menace to the liberties of the people, will insist upon creating a citizen soldiery, animated by a patriotic spirit, and armed with the best weapons. Such a soldiery would be the best safeguard for the defence of Australia.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - This debate has shown similar features to many debates which I have listened to in times gone by, when Ministers have been compelled to make reductions in their estimates of lump sums. The reductions have been made in some particular direction, and then the Government have been blamed for the manner in which they have distributed the retrenchment. The very men who formerly came forward and said, “ Cut down the military vote by so much,” or “Reduce the vote for that .Department by a . lump sum,” were quite ready to say afterwards, that the Government were to blame for the reductions which they had made. “ Whip high or whip low,” the critics will always find fault. It will always be said that the reductions ought to have been made in some other direction than that in which they were made. In this case the late Government were desired to reduce the military vote. They did reduce it, and now they are blamed because of the manner in which the direction of Parliament was carried out. It is the old story over again. Senator Pearce was a member of the party which insisted that the military vote should be cut down- by a lump sum. Now he comes forward - as some one always does in cases of this kind - and says, “ You made a mistake in the way in which you carried out our wish ; we did perfectly right in ordering you to cut down the sum ; but you ought to have cut it down in some other way.”
– The Government cut it down in the wrong way.
– I do not care how the Government cut down the amount ; whatever they did would have been said to be wrong by some persons. The Government themselves believed that they were acting rightly under the circumstances. They took the best advice they could get. One of the points which the honorable senator made was with reference to the cutting down of the permanent staff.
– I referred to the permanent artillery.
– The honorable member quotes the General Officer Commanding when the report of that gentleman is in his own favour, but yet he blames the late Government for taking Sir Edward Hutton’s advice. Here is an expert - unmistakably an expert - who was brought out to teach us what to do in military matters. The honorable senator’s party induced the late Government to act contrary to the advice of the General Officer Commanding. Yet now he deliberately blames them for having reduced the expenditure in the way that the General Officer Commanding recommended. The honorable senator appears to be prepared to set up his limited judgment and experience against the vast experience in military matters of the General Officer Commanding. Surely he will give the late Government credit for acting con scientiously in the matter, and for believing that they cut down the expenditure in the best way possible.
– After the honorable senator’s speech, I begin to have doubts.
– The honorable senator was perfectly cocksure that the late Government were wrong. But, in many instances, they were quite right. Take the matter of equipment. The honorable senator made a great cry about that. He alluded to the absolute necessity for equipment, and for having waggons, so as to provide for a rapid mobilization of troops ; but it appears to me that the more equipment of that kind an army has the more hampered it is on the battlefield. That is proved by the history of the South African war. The great heavy waggons that had to be taken about with the British Army, at the commencement of the campaign, were a real hindrance to the operations of the troops. The great mistake that the Boers made at the beginning was in being hampered with heavy equipment. But towards the end of the war General De Wet, with a light transport, was able to move about with a rapidity which astonished the British generals. The honorable senator spoke about the necessity of having a number ot waggons and other equipment, together with horses, ready in case of a campaign.
– The General Officer Commanding does not recommend that. He says that the necessary provision can be made by contract, or arrangement.
– We have plenty of express waggons, horses, and other means of carrying supplies for a force in the field, and in time of war they can be commandeered. Our great difficulty would be in getting men who had been sufficiently trained. If we had the trained men, I have no doubt that we should find the equipment necessary for transport purposes.
-Col. Gould. - If the honorable senator reads pages 19 and 20 of the report he will see that Major-General Hutton does not recommend getting all that sort of equipment.
– I have not read the report closely, but I know that the Major-General has made a number of recommendations. I admit that we ought to have the best arms and ammunition we can possibly get.
– Where are the obsolete guns?
– I do not know, but it is said there are obsolete guns.
– I do not know where they are, neither do any of the officers.
– When I was in office in South Australia about the year 1880, two Armstrong guns, unmistakably up-to-date, were obtained for the defence of that State. When they came out, however, the Government were trying to balance the finances, and as it would have cost a considerable sum to mount the guns, they were landed on the shore somewhere near Glenelg, where a roof was - placed over them, and where they remained until I went home as Agent-General in 1894. When in London I tried to sell these guns to the Japanese, who were commencing their war with China, but I was then informed that the weapons were quite out of date. That is the trouble with all small States; unless we have plenty of money we cannot keep up with the improvements in modern armament. The question is whether a small country like this can, even in prosperous times, maintain its defences up to their proper standard. It appears to me that it cannot, because we are not rich enough, seeing that it means an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds. So long as we can keep as good an armament as it is possible to purchase at the time, we ought not to be too anxious to keep pace with every modern improvement. But under any circumstances, our soldiers ought to be armed with the very best rifles that can be procured.
– This motion will undoubtedly lead to a most interesting debate, but I question very much whether any good will arise from the ventilation of these questions at the present moment. My reason foi holding that opinion is, that we have no definite proposal before us. We do not know what the present Government propose to do, either in the way of the expenditure of money, or in the way of revising the control of the Military Department. Therefore, we are all obliged to talk absolutely in the dark; we are simply ventilating our little grievances, and finding out portions of Major-General Hutton’s report with which we may, or may not approve. The very highest proof of the uselessness of the debate may be derived from the few words which have fallen from Senator Playford, who entertained us for some time with his views as to waggons. The honorable senator said that no transport equipment was wanted; that waggons merely hampered a mobile force, and that it would be’ absurd for the Commonwealth to invest money in that direction.
– There is plenty of equipment in the shape of waggons belonging to private individuals, which could be commandeered in time of war.
– If Senator Playford had devoted but ten minutes to the perusal of Major-General Hutton’s report he would have seen that the views he expressed1 were exactly the views of that officer, who lays it down distinctly that that is not the sort of equipment wanted. MajorGeneral Hutton uses the word “ equipment” as applied to armament, saddlery, water bottles, and a large number of other absolutely necessary articles in which the forces are absolutely lacking. I desire, if possible, to impress on honorable senators how the present position of affairs has arisen. Senator Playford says that it has arisen, just as similar difficulties have arisen previously, from members of the Opposition attacking the Government on any ques tion that comes handy, and he points out that it is always easy to move a reduction in the vote for the military. If they succeed Ministers have to ‘apply the pruning knife, and do so liberally in order to please members of the Opposition. I want to impress on honorable senators why that course has been adopted in the Federal Parliament. The reason is that the defence of the Commonwealth is not considered seriously by a single member of the community. And why? Because the Ministers themselves get up in Parliament, and contend that we have to look to Great Britain for the defence of the Commonwealth. I speak without any possi-. bility of being contradicted on this question. When we were discussing the naval subsidy both Ministers representing the then Government in the Senate, their supporters, and also opponents of the Government, with almost one accord, asserted that the defence of Australia would be provided by the British Government.
– Not with one accord.
– With almost one accord.
– The most economical arrangement that could be made is that which has been made in regard to naval defence, an’d I should vote for it again to-morrow.
- Senator Gould certainly advocated the subsidy on grounds of economy, and I do not want to touch on that point. What the supporters of the subsidy said was that the British fleet forms the first line of defence, and it is to that fleet we look to prevent any enemy approaching Australia. We were given distinctly to understand that it was absolutely unnecessary for Australia to have a single ship of her own, and that if we gave the money to the British Government, we should effect the most economical - though, as I would put it, the stingiest - arrangement for obtaining the most ample defence that could be provided:
– Naval defence.
– We were told that with this naval defence no ship could approach our- shores with any possibility of attacking us.
– We were told’ that it would be nonsense for Australia to have any ships of her own.
– We were distinctly told that it was cutting at the root of every principle of naval defence for us to have war-ships of our own. Honorable senators may say “ No,” but if they turn to Hansard they will see that what I assert is a fact. That theory has soaked into the brain of every member of the Commonwealth Parliament, and they very naturally say, and Ministers very naturally feel, that it would be unwise to spend money upon the land forces if the enemy is never going to be allowed to approach our shores. What is the result? A certain number of people in the Commonwealth like to play at being soldiers - because that is practically all they are doing- - and as those gentlemen are voters, and Ministers dare not say, what they honestly believe, that a large sum of money is being wasted. A certain amount must be provided to pay members of the militia and other people who take an interest in parading in uniforms and shooting at marks. That is absolutely a matter of fact. When we suddenly find this intense enthusiasm in regard to military defences, I really cannot help asking myself whether honorable senators have ever taken the trouble to read the reports which Major-General Hutton has supplied. T have done my level best year after year to call attention to those matters, but I have had very little support in this Chamber, and absolutely none outside. The matter has been ignored, and I have been absolutely villified in certain sections of the press for calling the attention, as it was said, of the enemies of the country to the state of our defences. As a matter of fact, I was merely quoting MajorGeneral Hutton’s report, which was public property. Major-General Hutton mentions item after item, in which he says it is absolutely impossible for our army to be of any effective use unless it is fully equipped. I will not mention each item, but in paragraph after paragraph we have the statement that the men are ineffective and useless unless equipment is provided. We find, however, that the- provision of the absolutely necessary equipment is to be spread over five years. But do the Government of Australia guarantee peace for five years ?
– The period is five years, counting last year.
– The money ought to be provided at once.
– Do the Government guarantee peace in order that during five years we may leisurely make our army effective? If not, what is the good in the interval of spending £600,000 per annum in wages to, and in the equipment of, an absolutely inefficient force? I ask honorable senators to consider these questions when the Senate is not sitting, in order to arrive at some satisfactory conclusion in their own minds as to the absolute waste, year after year, in maintaining our Army. I desire now to touch on another question. Last year, with the greatest possible difficulty, I succeeded in having a motion accepted requiring Major-General Hutton to furnish us with a full and detailed statement of the arms and equipment required for the Military Forces to make them efficient. That motion, though passed by the Senate, was ignored by the Government. To this day we have never obtained that return, and, owing to the opposition I encountered, I let the matter drop. . I desire now to prove to the Chamber that such a. report was absolutely necessary at the time. When the Estimates came up for consideration we found that Major-General Hutton had asked that the minimum expenditure for last year on equipment should -be £125,000; but the Treasurer, with a sweep of his pen, cut that down to £75,000, the latter being all he was willing to ask Parliament to vote.
Major-General Hutton had set out distinctly the equipment on which he wished to spend the £125,000, and I wished, before the matter came before Parliament, to find out on what it was proposed to spend the £75,000, so that I might give an intelligent vote. But I met with the most strenuous opposition from Senator Drake, who was then in office, and who, as reported in Hansard, said -
On arms, rifles, pistols, and reserve of ammunition, we propose to spend ,£30,000. I am quoting from page 183 of the Estimate laid on the table. On equipment of forces, and requirements to arm and equip field artillery, ^22,000 ; gun mountings, Fremantle, £5,000; and fixed defences, reserves of artillery ammunition, ^13,000. That makes ,£70,000, under the heading of military, and on the naval side it is proposed to expend ^5,000 this year, as an instalment of the ^20,000 necessary for re-arming the Cerberus.
I need hardly say that that statement was absolutely wrong. I now turn to a statement supplied by Major-General Hutton as to how the money really was spent.
– What is the part of the statement which the honorable senator says is inaccurate.
– That . part of the statement which says that £5,000 was to be spent on the Cerberus out of the £75,000. But at the time I did .not know that the statement was wrong, and therefore I did not call attention to it. I find that £26,200 was spent on arms, accoutrements, camp equipment, saddlery, &c. ; £51904 on small -arm ammunition in the field force, and in the garrison force ; £13,000 on fixed defences - artillery ammunition - and £26,896 on small-arm ammunition. Eight field guns which were to be ordered, and which were absolutely essential to the efficiency- of the force, were never ordered, though we had voted the money. The £5,000 which was voted for the defence of Fremantle was never spent, even to the extent of a penny, and that port to-day is as undefended as it was then.
– Is there much to defend at Fremantle?
– The best answer I can give to that interjection is that if the Vice-President of the Executive Council has not been to Fremantle he should pay it a visit. I believe that within a very few years Western Australia will be the leading State of the Commonwealth. The £5.000 was not spent on the Cerberus, because that amount did not form part of the vote. We were entitled to information, and we were given information which was absolutely erroneous, under the influence of which we voted the money, which we now find has never been spent.
– It is ‘ astonishing, if anything goes wrong, how anxious people are that some one else should be blamed. But I think that the cause of the present position can be sheeted home to two different parties. When the Federation was established the Defence Estimates amounted to £831,000. The General Officer Commanding and all the officials had a very difficult and complicated task in forming six different defence systems into one uniform system; and, so far from expecting to see the expenditure cut down by £260,0.00 I should not have been, surprised had it been slightly increased. The Estimates for that year were reduced from £831,000 to £571,000, and when they were brought before Parliament the Labour Party desired retrenchment. Whether they entered on that policy in a wise or a foolish manner we are now discussing. In my opinion, they were foolish in insisting that the Defence vote should be cut down. So far as I understand, the Labour Party did not go much into detail, but expressed a desire to have a citizen army with no “ frills “ ; and in pursuance of their idea they first reduced the Estimates by £100,000, and shortly afterwards by another £60,000. To my mind they are responsible for that reduction, and are very much to blame for the action they then took. A former Government may be to blame for not taking the responsibility, backed up by their experts, cif declaring ‘ that there could not be efficient defence for the sum, which, chiefly owing to the Labour Party, was voted by Parliament. I do not read Dickens very much, but I think in one of his works there is a gentleman of the name of Mr. Vincent Crummels, an eccentric but good-natured manager of the Portsmouth theatre, who, on being asked to write a play, was informed that the only theatrical properties available were a pump and tub, and had .to write his play “around” those articles. The Labour Party, in my view, in setting about the business of cutting down the Estimates in a very foolish fashion, did so very much as Mr. Crummels set about writing his play. They did not attack the Defence policy, or point out . how . the money
I should be applied, but having counted heads, and ascertained that they had a majority, lopped off a lump sum, and we are now suffering the consequences of their unwise and unstatesmanlike act. Although possibly all the blame may not rest with them, I think Senator Pearce is exceeding the bounds of his usual fairness when he contends that the Labour Party are entitled to no blame whatever. But coming to the criticisms of Senator Pearce, I quite agree with Senator Playford that it is quite impossible for us to keep our forts, floating batteries, and gunboats level with the latest- inventions. If we were to go in for that sort of thing, goodness only knows to what extent the vote would have to be increased. We ought to recognise that we are part of the Empire, that we have a grand Navy at home. It is insanity, I think, not to hold to the principle that we are one Empire, one sea, one trade, and that we ought to have one Navy. I see no reason whatever - and here again I am at loggerheads with the Labour Party - in our trying to have an Australian Navy.. Is not the Australian Squadron practically our own? Is it not here to defend this, an important part of the Empire ? Is it not here because we pay for it, and because we have an arrangement with the Empire? Would it be any better if we had three ships of the Imperial Navy arid three of our own? Would that make the slightest difference? The Labour Party cut down the Estimates on the one hand, and then go in for starting an Australian Navy on the other ; that is a kind of policy which I do not understand. The last ship which was built at home - of course it is an- enormous man-of-war - cost £1,400,000. It is estimated there that a ship is out of date in seven years, and that it is almost obsolete in ten years. If ever we enter on the policy of. building a fleet and having gun-boats, and floating batteries - a Navy of our own - Heaven knows where the money will come from. I do not believe that’ the people will ever consent to pay for it. We ought to recollect that the Naval Agreement is one of the finest bargains we ever made. For tha paltry sum of £200,006 a year, we are to have the services of that magnificent Australian Squadron, which we know has been so much approved of late.
– And which is useless as a coastal defence.
– I come again to the question of our gun-boats. It is evident that money may be saved, but I cannot go the whole length with Senator Pearce in saying that money is absolutely wasted. I believe that the Cerberus is nearly thirty years old; and that the two gun-boats in Brisbane are nearly twenty years old. What good in the way of. efficient defence is likely to be gained by spending money on those three boats? None whatever. But we have to recollect that there are the crews to be considered. Certainly we have not too many naval men. The crews of the boats must be kept up in drill. We cannot get rid of them one year and take them back next year. Therefore, it appears to me that, although we may be absolutely against spending money in keeping up obsolete gun-boats, we must bear in mind that the men have to be kept on.
– What do we want with them? We have the British Fleet now.
– My honorable friend is set” on that idea of his - an Australian Fleet.
– What is the honorable and learned senator advocating?
– I am pointing out that we have an Imperial Fleet and an Australian Squadron, for which we are paying a small subsidy. We are willing to supply as many men as are necessary to the Squadron.
– What about the naval men of the Commonwealth? .
– It is perfectly right that the Commonwealth should maintain a naval force.
– When there are no boats for them to go to sea in?
– The honorable sena* tor forgets that under the Naval Agreement we have two boats which are to be nothing less than training ships. If we want halfadozen more training ships, I believe that the Imperial Government will be only too glad to send them if we have the crews wherewith to man them, as I believe we have. It all comes back to the question of a citizen soldiery. I shall be very glad to hear the ideas of the Minister of’ Defence or Senator McGregor with regard to this citizen army. I have never got rid of the idea, because I believe that it is the right system for Australia. When my motion on the notice paper is reached, I shall have very much pleasure in stating the reasons - and I think they are very good ones - why we should have a system of compulsory training for our youth. I am not advocating any kind of conscription, although I believe that that would be the right thing to do.
– The honorable and learned senator must not anticipate the discussion on his motion.
– The honorable senator cannot possibly object to compulsory training, which is, I understand, the onlysubstitute for conscription.
– The honorable and learned senator ought not to anticipate the discussion on his motion.
– I think, sir, that there is a close connexion between MajorGeneral Hutton’s report and my motion. The report commends the cadet system, but states that it cannot be brought into force at the present time. A Committee has found that .it is a desirable system, and ought to be encouraged, but it has made no recommendation for compulsory training. I venture to suggest, sir, that, while I may be anticipating the discussion on my motion, I am also dealing with the question before the Senate. We may have a very large army of trained persons hereafter, at a very small cost. I am inclined to think that the Head-Quarters Staff is rather expensive. I should like to see as much money as possible spent in training the youth of the Commonwealth in physical and military exercises, and especially in shooting. If that course were followed, we should soon have a system of defence which, combined with the Australian Squadron, would be quite sufficient to protect the interests of the Commonwealth.
– I do not think that the remarks which have fallen from Senators Gould and Dobson should be allowed to go unchallenged. Of course, I allude to those remarks in which they laid the blame for the present state of affairs almost entirely on one part)’. If honorable senators will recall the first occasion on which this question was dealt with and discussed, they will recollect that the military estimates had become so inflated, owing to the Boer war, just prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth, that there was a general movement in another place to cut down the military expenditure. . A reference to the division lists will show that a considerable reduction in the expenditure was voted for by honorable members from the three parties in the House of Representatives. As a mat ter of fact, the movement did start with the leader of the Labour Party. Mr. Watson moved for an instruction -to the Government to cut down the military estimates by a lump sum. His proposal was discussed by the leading men of all parties, and it met with the approval of a large proportion of all parties. It did not meet with very much opposition from the Ministers.
.- Oh !
– It did ‘ not meet with very much opposition, either, from the leader of the honorable and learned senator’s party.
– I did not know that he had anything to do with a third party.
– The leader of the Opposition openly approved of the proposal made by Mr. Watson that there should be a considerable reduction made in the Defence expenditure.
– I question that very much.
– The honorable and learned senator may question it, but on page 16400 of Hansard the following remarks are reported : -
Mr. REID. I am prepared to knock ,?60,000 off the Estimates for the military establishment.
Mr. McCay. Does the right honorable and learned member include ammunition in the sum of ^700,000?
Mr. REID. I find that it is absurd to use any figures in connexion with this Department; I shall not attempt it. I am prepared to vote for 6 00,000 less than the amount in these Estimates, on the understanding that we shall keep the Department down to that reduction, being willing at the same time to consider applications for warlike stores on their merits. We wish to make a fixed amount of reduction on the annual management of the military, but with reference to the stored, we are prepared to receive any propositions from the Government, and deal with them on their merits.
I would like those who have laid- the blame for the present position on the members of the Labour Party to be fair. I ask Senators Gould and Dobson, and those who are always so anxious to find a stone to cast at that party, to be fair. If they are fair, they will recognise that the attack made on the military estimates on that occasion by the leader of the Labour Party, was based on the ground, and only on the ground, that there was too large an expenditure on what was then commonly called “ frill,” and that there were too many officers who were not earning their money; as a matter of fact, too many useless officers. The attack was not only supported by leading members of the Opposition and the Ministerial party, but the reduction was carried by a large majority. What was the basis of the attack on the inflated expenditure? That the vote was not being expended in the best interests of the defence of Australia.
– Who is the judge of that ?
– The general tenor of the remarks on Mr. Watson’s proposal was that too much money was being expended on staff officers, and not enough on stores and ammunition.
– And this report confirms that.
– I ask honorable senators to do justice to the Labour Party, and to remember that its leader laid it down distinctly and clearly that neither he nor his party wished to in any way interfere with the necessary equipment and proper supply of arms, Avarlike stores, and ammunition. That feeling was prevalent in all parts of the other House. A large reduction in the vote was made, and the retrenchment was effected by Ministers on the lines which they thought best. Rightly or wrongly, it was held, however, that it was not made on the lines best suited ‘ to the needs of Australian defence, and in the following year, another attack was made, and a further large reduction was effected. But right through the piece, any criticism which was directed at the Defence expenditure by the present Prime Minister, or the members of the Labour Party, was always on these lines : that no reasonable expenditure which was necessary for warlike stores, or ammunition, or for properly arming our citizen soldiers would be objected to by them. The accuracy of that statement cannot be challenged. I have always found other members of the party agree that the basis of our defence system should be a citizen soldiery, and that no reasonable expenditure should be objected to for the purpose of providing a proper supply of arms and necessary warlike stores and ammunition.
– And we must have them trained as well.
– We admit that we must have a certain amount of training. We know that our forts must be manned by scientifically trained soldiers. But, as regards our citizen soldiery, our rifle shots, we ought to be very careful before we accept Senator Gould’s proposal to convert the volunteers into militiamen. If that step is taken we shall be coming dangerously near to a position which, in the end, would fasten on the Commonwealth an expensive military system and standing army, whose upkeep the people would not care to pay for. The members of no particular party can be properly blamed for any deficiency in the supply of warlike stores, rifles, and ammunition for keeping our Defence Forces on a proper peace footing. I do not think it fair for Senator Gould, Senator Dobson, and others to try to fasten the whole of the blame upon the present Ministerial party.
– We do not put the whole of it on them.
– The honorable and learned senator tried very hard to put a great portion of the blame on them, and what he did not put on them, he was very careful to fasten on the other party. But if honorable senators will take the trouble to look up the debates in the other House, they’ will find that whatever blame there was can be attached equally to the members of all parties. In my opinion, it was a good thing for Australia that the’ attack was made on those Estimates, and the expenditure was cut down, because it is better to start a reform with an undermanned force than with an overmanned force, and an over-officered Head-Quarters Staff. I am very glad that the question has been brought before the Senate, because I believe that the discussion will assist Ministers .considerably in framing their defence estimates. At the same time, I, as a member of one party, refuse to admit that it should bear the whole of the blame.
– Senator Pearce is to be commended for initiating a discussion on the report of the General Officer Commanding at this stage. If the matter is allowed to remain in abeyance until we get the Estimates of expend.ture at the end of the year, honorable senators will be tired with the work, of the session, and desirous of getting back to their constituents, and the discussion will be of a perfunctory character. More than that, Ministers will have embodied their policy in the Estimates, and, of course they will fight to retain the amount which they have . put down. If, however, we have a discussion now, and Ministers have the advantage of ascertaining the views of the Senate in regard to military expenditure, it will be a guide to them in framing their Estimates.
– I do not think they have got much information from the discussion so far.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.They will not get information in regard to the exact items and matters of that sort, but they will ascertain the view of the Senate in regard to the general allocation of expenditure. They will get information as to the general principles upon which the Senate thinks that more money should, be spent - whether on equipment, or rifles, or guns, or matters of that kind.
– That was all agreed to last year.
– It was not; because the General Officer Commanding points out that he is short in these directions. I think that, of all the Departments that have been taken over by the Commonwealth, the conduct of the Defence Department has been the most unsatisfactory. It has been the most mismanaged Department. The whole control of the Defence Department, under Commonwealth jurisdiction; has been spasmodic, haphazard, and chaotic in its character. That has been caused by the fact that we took over the Defence Department in March, 1901, and that nearly twelve months elapsed before Major-General Hutton arrived. He came in January of the following year. He set to work at once to reorganize the Military Forces, but he w.as compelled to do that under the various States Acts, which differed considerably in character, and by that difference enhanced tremendously the difficulties of his task. He complained in his report that he was considerably handicapped by the fact that no definite, broad, guiding principles of policy had been laid down by Parliament as to the manner and method in which he should re-organize the forces of the Commonwealth. We have, it is admitted, reduced the expenditure upon our second and third lines of defence - that is, on fortifications which are the second” line of defence, ‘ and on internal forces, which are our third line. But it must be remembered that’ those were reductions on an inflated expenditure, brought about by the fact that Great Britain was engaged in a war in South Africa. It must also be borne in mind that while we h’ave decreased the expenditure as compared with preceding years on fortifications and internal forces, we have nearly doubled the expenditure on the first line of defence - the Navy. The
Federal Parliament has voted practically the same amount of money for the defence of Australia as was previously voted by the six States together. The question, therefore, is not so much as to the amount we have voted, but as to the allocation of the money upon the three branches of the service. That is where exception can be taken. Right throughout the debates on the Estimates, and on the Defence Act, the general trend of opinion of members of both Houses of the Legislature was that we should spare no money in making our citizen forces efficient.
– And that the public should get full value for their money.
– Yes. There was no member of either House of the Legislature who asked that there should be any reduction of expenditure for the permanent artillery, or for equipment, rifles, and other matters of that kind. All that we did or were able to do was to vote a lump sum and trust to the Minister of Defence and the General Officer Commanding, to allocate the money in the best interests of Australia. It is in regard to the garrison artillery that the most grave and regrettable aspect of our defences arises. The garrison artillery is at the present time in a state of pitiable inefficiency. The three strategic points of Thursday Island, Sydney, and Albany are admitted by the General Officer Commanding to be totally undermanned. I believe that the guns which are there are not of the latest pattern, and therefore not as effective as they should be. Surely we should insist that our second line of defence shall be raised to a state of efficiency before we bring into existence large bodies of paid militia, which, as was pointed out, we are not able to properly arm and equip at the present time. We had 731 permanent artillerymen at the time of Federation. They have been reduced to 539. That reduction has entailed a saving of expenditure of about £20,000. Now turn, to another arm of our defences - the Volunteers and Militia. The Minister of Defence and the General Officer Commanding - because certainly there was no instruction from Parliament - decided to convert volunteers into paid militia, in many cases against the wishes of the men themselves.
– Who says so?
– It is so. The honorable senator cannot controvert my statement when I say that volunteers were converted into militia.
– Does not the honorable senator understand that a report is only a recommendation?
– But it has been done.
– This Government cannot be blamed for that.
– No ; the present Government cannot be blamed for the sins of their predecessors. But the conversion of volunteers into militia entailed large expense upon the Commonwealth,, and in many instances it was done against the wishes of the volunteer regiments.
– Can the honorable senator give one instance?
– I was speaking to a captain of a volunteer regiment in Western Australia, and he told me that the conversion was absolutely unnecessary, and his regiment did not desire it. There was also the case of the Victorian Rangers, who protested strongly against being converted. But they were converted into militia notwithstanding. I believe that the same has happened in the case of the St. George’s Rifles, Sydney. There are illustrations from . three States. ‘ The conversion of those volunteer regiments into militia entailed an additional expenditure of £28,000 per annum. If that change had not been made, it would not have been necessary to reduce by one man the number of permanent artillery at the fortifications. Therefore, the blame for the undermanning of our fortifications rests entirely upon the then Minister of Defence, or upon the General Officer Commanding, in allocating the money which Parliament voted. But the most regrettable feature of the reduction of the permanent artillery is this - that many of the men who have been retired have gone away. Some have gone to South Africa. It is impossible in twelve months, or even in two or three years’ time, to replace them. An artilleryman, or a sapper and miner, is a trained military mechanic. It takes from five to seven years to train these men up to a state of efficiency. Yet they have been retired; and to bring the fortifications up to a proper state of efficiency would require a new set of men to undergo training for five or seven years. That was one of the most foolish and regrettable mistakes made by the Minister of Defence or the General Officer Commanding, whoever was respon sible. The turning of the volunteers into militia was .a proposal which emanated from a body called the Colonial Defence Committee. I think it is a self -constituted body. They said that, with the exception of a nucleus of permanent troops, the Military Forces should consist entirely of troops serving on the partially-paid system. Major-General Hutton is evidently in full accord with that opinion. He seems, as a military officer of considerable experience and ability, to look upon volunteers as toy soldiers, who could not be brought up to a proper state of efficiency. These socalled amateur soldiers have been almost wiped out since Major-General Hutton has been commanding the forces. In connexion with that matter, T should like to congratulate the present Minister of Defence on his proposal to institute a Council of Defence. “Until we have a Council of Defence, we shall have no continuity of action in regard to the forces of the Commonwealth.
– There will be .no economy either.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Without a Council of Defence, it means-that whenever we get a fresh Imperial officer from Great Britain, probably a new system will be initiated. The present General Officer Commanding is, I believe, what is known as an infantry man. The next General Officer Commanding might be a cavalry man, and a third might be an artilleryman. Officers in all these branches of the Imperial Service have different views as to the relative importance of the various arms of the service, and as to how forces should be constituted. Each new commandant would desire to bring in a new system. If we have a Council of Defence continuity will be brought about. The Minister, being a member of the Council, will be able to direct its decisions to a certain extent, and with the help of the chief military officers in the various branches of the service, we shall be able to promulgate a policy in conformity with the desires, the necessities, and the genius of the Australian people. That policy will be continuous. The Committee will be responsible for seeing that the forces are kept in an efficient state. I am one of those who believe that, at the present time, it would be injudicious to say that we will not bring out any more Imperial officers to place at the head of our Military Forces. It is absolutely essential for us to have at the head of our forces an Imperial officer, because we have at present no Aus- tralian officers, with sufficient knowledge’ of all the intricacies of the various branches of the service, to occupy such a position.
– We might have an Imperial officer with Australian experience though.
– Or what is better, an Australian officer with Imperial experience, and I am glad to see that Major Parnell has been sent home for a course of instruction.
– The time allowed to the honorable senator, under the standing order, has expired.
– I beg to draw attention to the state of the Senate. (Quorum formed.)
– Although Senator Pearce has adopted a somewhat new departure in parliamentary practice in moving the adjournment of the Senate in order to call attention to the report of the General Officer . Commanding the Military Forces, I quite realize with him that it has happened in our experience that many matters of very great issue, and involving serious consequences to the general public, have been slummed over; hastily passed, ill considered, and not thoroughly understood when the Estimates were being considered. But, at the same time, I am bound to say that the discussion which has taken place to-day, notwithstanding this new departure, has been, to a very large extent, profitless, because most of the matters of great interest which have been touched upon have already been provided for in the Estimates which this Government intend to submit to the considera- don of Parliament. It may be just as well that I should, in the time at my disposal, mention one or two subjects. For instance, Senator Pearce has first made a complaint with regard to the remarks of the General Officer Commanding, on page 9 of his report, concerning the increase of the permanent artillery. He said that at some point in Western Australia the forts were inefficiently manned, and that there were other places - such as Thursday Island - which are of importance, strategically, and are also inefficiently manned. The answer is, that if these forts are inefficiently manned, it is not because we have not got the requisite number of artillerymen - well trained and efficient - to man them. If it be true that the forts are inefficiently manned, I am glad that the honorable senator has called attention .to it. I want to know why, and I shall cer tainly make it my business to find out the reason why, permanent men are kicking their heels in the air, and doing nothing of value to the Commonwealth, in the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne. It is not want of provision on the part of this Government, or the previous Government, that has caused forts to be undermanned. It is not because there are not enough permanent artillerymen fit to man the guns at the points of danger. So far regarding that matter. Senator Pearce also wanted to know how many obsolete guns were being used at the forts.
– In the field artillery.
– Of my own personal knowledge, I cannot say anything upon the subject, but I made it my business to inquire at the Department, and the reply was that they are absolutely unaware of any obsolete guns being used in the field artillery at the present time.
– Two batteries of new guns were obtained in New South Wales just before Federation.
– Yes; I understand that the system for some years has been that when a gun has become obsolete it has been sent to the old country to be examined, and, if possible, brought up to date. If it is a mere question of chase-hooping the work is done, and the gun is brought out again. Comparatively speaking, it is not correct to say that obsolete guns are being used. A man who is trained by means of these guns would be quite efficient with a modern up-to-date gun in any part of the world. That is my answer to that particular question.
– Then the report of the General Officer Commanding is incorrect ?
– I shall, to some extent at any rate, touch upon this report of the General Officer Commanding. Perhaps it may be just as well to say now that, when I received this report, I went through it very carefully. Noticing several items that I did not think were quite proper, I returned it, drawing the General Officer Commanding’ s attention to particular paragraphs, with a covering memorandum stating that I fully realized that the report must be distinctly the report of the General Officer Commanding, and that I only advised revision. If the General Officer Commanding did not think fit to make any revision, well and good. The report before us is the report without revision, and I hold myself, as far as I am concerned as a Minister, absolutely irresponsible for any mistakes, or the use of any terms or statements in that report. On the question of the conversion of volunteers into militia in Western Australia, I may tell Senator Pearce that there is no vote on the Estimates which will be submitted for any such purpose.
– Volunteers were converted into militia a year or two ago.
– What Senator Smith has in his mind is an entirely different matter from that to which Senator Pearce has alluded. I wish honorable senators to distinctly understand that the report on this point of the General Officer Commanding is only a recommendation. The General Officer Commanding asks for the conversion of, <I believe, 1,447 volunteers into militia. This matter has been carefully considered by the Government, and not a penny piece has been provided on the Estimates, nor does the Government intend to make provision for the cost of any such conversion. The volunteers will remain exactly as they are, and Senator Pearce and his friends may possess their souls in peace and patience, for they need not be disturbed by any such fear ; unless, of course, Parliament otherwise directs. Senator Pearce referred to the question of the fixed defences and warlike stores, referred to on pages 25 arid 27. I can give the Senate an assurance that in this respect provision has been made on the Estimates ; but there will be one general vote which honorable senators will be called on to consider under the heading of “ warlike ammunition and stores.” The Government fully realize that in the past Ministries have, for some reason or other, spent all the money in forming corps, and on badges, braids, buttons, and like articles, so as to make an attractive soldier for a Saturday afternoon parade, and to render such a soldier effective in the way of equipment and warlike material, there has been no money left. The present Government are going in quite an opposite direction. We are asking Parliament to give us authority to spend a sufficient amount on warlike stores and equipment, in order to fully arm the men we have at the present time. We ;do not intend to increase the number of the force unless we can fully arm and equip all the men, as well as keep a good reserve of ammunition. With that pur pose in view, we propose to ask Parliament to vote a sum of £177,000 as a first instalment. Of course, we know that it is impossible to spend even that sum between now and the end of the next financial year, but the Government think that there ought to be more than the actual sum required, and a fair margin of time to enable them to place the orders early enough to get them fulfilled in a reasonable period. Honorable senators must fully realize that we cannot place an order, say in England - and I presume we shall place orders there first ; in fact, I suppose we shall deal with England always - on the 1st January, and expect it to be executed by the end of April. A margin of nine or ten months must be allowed from the time an order is given for its completion. The money required for this purpose will, as I say, be distinctly shown under one heading. It will be seen, therefore, that the matter to which Senator Pearce called attention on page 25 is already provided for on the Estimates, and that there is absolutely no necessity for any reference to it in the report of the General Officer Commanding. The same may be said as to the question of fixed defences, referred to on page 27. I shall be very pleased if honorable senators, when they get the Estimates into their hands, will look carefully into the matter. They will then not confuse the votes that’ may be placed in order in the various Departments with the vote to which I have just referred, and add the two together. What we design is, to place this particular vote in one lump sum, so that honorable senators may thoroughly understand what they are doing when they agree to it. After careful deliberation, and taking all the expert evidence within our reach, the Government came to the conclusion that they could not ask for a penny less than £177,000; and if honorable senators are really sincere in their statement that they wish to have the store-houses filled, and our soldiers well armed, they will support this vote ‘ when the Estimates are before them.
– Efficiency is the first consideration, I suppose.
– We may train, feed, pet, or do anything we like with a man, and put a rifle in his hand, but if he has no bullet to put into that rifle, of what value is he to the defences of Australia? It is rather a delicate matter to touch upon in public, but I could make some statements that would not redound altogether to the credit of the defences of Australia. Senator Pearce referred to means of saving money, which are necessary in order to succeed in the very desirable object he outlined. He suggested that the Paluma and Gayundah should be put out of commission in Queensland, and I presume he wouldtake the same course with the Protector in South Australia.
– And with the Cerberus.
– I presume so. New South Wales could not suffer in this way, because that State never had wisdom enough to get a boat of its own. In New South Wales a Naval Brigade has been kept up, but for what earthly reason, New South Wales alone knows.
– We had torpedo boats.
– But in New South. Wales there has been no possibility of giving the men a sea training ; and a naval man who is not a seaman seems a peculiar kind of individual to employ in the defences of Australia.
– Like a jockey without a horse.
– That is just what I was about to suggest. I should like to point out to Senator Pearce and those who agree with him - though I hope they are few - that the most fatal course that could be pursued would be to put the boats referred to out of commission until we have other vessels to substitute for them. What is Our particular trouble at the present time? In Australia there are a number of young men who take naturally to naval pursuits, but there are not the boats on which to give them the necessary training to render them efficient, or to make them of anyspecial value in time of danger. In New South Wales there are a number of men who do not follow the sea as a calling, but have a natural inclination foi nautical pur suits. These men have to be simply trained on land ; they get a kind of idea of how to run a gun out, but no idea at all of firing at a moving object, simply because they have not the slightest chance of getting any training or experience. In South Australia the naval volunteers have a good boat, on which they can be well trained.
– But the Minister is cutting down the number of their drills in South Australia.
– I am not cutting down the number of their drills.
– The Minister is doing so.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon; I am not cutting the drills down. I am cutting down the land drills, but not the sea drills.
– There are only, twenty-one days’ drill instead of thirty.
– I made an attempt to insist upon twenty-one days on the Cerberus, and there was a mutiny. I have cut down the land drills, because I consider that if seamen are to be made effective they must spend the bulk of their time afloat.
– In order to get their “sea legs.”
– It would be a lively spectacle in time of trouble, when the order was given to clear the decks for action, to see the men who were to man the guns with their heads over the side, singing out “Yurup.” That would be a lovely kind of sea defence ! The Government will absolutely insist on a certain amount of sea training, and so far as South Australia is concerned, that can be obtained. It would be disastrous and suicidal to put the Protector out of commission. I believe that this vessel is only required in South Australia for about three months of the year, and there is no reason why, during the rest of the year, she should not go to Western Australia and give the men there some training. The only two other boats on -which any training can be given are the Paluma and the Gayundah,. in Queensland. After all is said and done, ‘ the Cerberus ‘is only a harbor defence/ or floating fort, and cannot be taken to sea. But the other boats could be distributed, and might be lent, one to Tasmania and the other to New South Wales, in order to give the recruits in those States a chance of getting their “sea legs.” Any attempt to save money by putting our present boats out of commission would be a fatal mistake, and I hope the Senate will never think of adopting any proposal of the kind.
– Would the boats be of any use in case of war?
– The Protector would.
– Captain Creswell is our naval expert, and. if we have a naval expert, we must, to a large extent, follow his advice. Captain Creswell distinctly states that by expending a little money, and by taking the 8-inch gun out of the Protector - a gun which is too powerful for the strength of the vessel - that vessel could be made the most up-to-date gun-boat we have in Australia. The 8-inch gun could, of course, be placed on some boat which needs such armament.
– What about the Cerberus t
– As I said before, the Cerberus is best suited for harbor defence; but, in case of an attack on Thursday Island, the Paluma would probably take the most active part, while the Gayundah is admirably adapted for training purposes. .1 have more faith in the opinion of Captain Creswell than I have - though it is a big thing to say - in the opinion of Senator Smith. The subject of the inefficiency of the garrison at Thursday Island is a somewhat delicate one to touch on at the present time. I know that the General Officer Commanding has made certain recommendations which involve increased expenditure, and an increase in numbers at Thursday Island. All I can venture to say about the matter is that it is not absolutely certain whether Thursday Island should be the sole point of defence of that passage into Australia, and that representations have been made to the War Office, but no reply received as yet. I hope that honorable senators will not press for any further information on this point.
– -Is it intended to increase the garrison ?
– If it is intended to expend money on some other point in that quarter, there is no necessity to have increased expenditure at Thursday Island.
– I mean only as to increasing the number of men.
– But that would involve increased expenditure.
d- - The men enrolled might be transferred to another place.
– I have already pointed out that the permanent men of the Royal Artillery could be made available for other portions of Australia, if _ they were absolutely essential either to efficiently man a point of defence or for some other purpose. At present the Royal Artillery are in the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, but for what reason very few people know - I do not. An honorable senator mentioned the subject of a small arms factory, and the complaint that had been made in regard to the agreement with the Govern ment. I think it was Senator Pearce who drew attention to the words of the General Officer Commanding, when he invited attention to the ‘unsatisfactory condition of the warlike stores. It would appear that the General Officer Commanding makes a complaint about the unhappy relations that exist between himself, as head of .the military branch of the Defence Department, and the permanent head of its civil branch. He makes the complaint that he was not informed about any agreement that was made between the ammunition factory at Footscray and the Department, and recommends that 10,000,000 rounds of ammunition for the forthcoming year should be purchased. He does not make that complaint for the first time. He has been told distinctly that there is no agreement, that there has been no arrangement, and that no effort has been made by the permanent head of the civil branch of the Department to block any one of his recommendations in that respect. On the contrary, we provide on our Estimates for 1,000,000 rounds more than he recommended - 11,000,000 rounds. I cannot understand what the real grievance is, or what reason there is for many of the statements which appear in this report.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - The discussion has justified the moving of the motion. Some remarks made by the Minister have certainly been of a very reassuring character, especially those in which he told us that the Government do not propose, in their Estimates, to compulsorily convert the remaining volunteers in Australia into militia, at the estimated cost set down in that report. He did not tell us, however, what the Government proposed to do with the other recommendation - that is, to fill up the existing units. I trust that they will take into consideration the advisability of not filling up those units, but devoting the £10,000 which would have to be spent if they did, to purchasing this year additional warlike stores. With regard to the relationship between the Government and the Colonial Ammunition Factory, I cordially indorse what the General Officer Commanding has recommended, as I fancy a large number of honorable senators will, that the supply of .ammunition and small arms will not be satisfactory until that work is undertaken by the Government. I suppose that it is rather premature to urge that point, and perhaps it will be one of the works established at the Federal Capital. In regard to the statement I made as to the Major-General’s complaint of being kept in ignorance of the agreement between the Colonial Ammunition Company and the Government, the Minister of Defence has handed to me a departmental paper, in which this passage occurs -
There is nothing in the correspondence of the Department to warrant any such statement, and the General Officer has been asked to furnish an explanation in regard to it.
It would be a singular thing for the officer who is most vitally concerned in this matter to make such a complaint unless there were some ground for his action. If he had been kept in ignorance of any such agreement, certainly he would have had good ground for making the complaint, for he, of all persons, should be made acquainted, not only with the existence of the agreement, but with all its details.
– He should have been consulted before it was made.
– There was no agreement made.
– According to the departmental papers, there was no such agreement in existence, and therefore the complaint on that point is unfounded.
– It was simply the old agreement with the Victorian Government, which we took over, and which has ten years to run.
– It seems to me that in many respects the report is little short pf misleading. As regards the question of supplying field-guns, the reply of the Minister is not altogether satisfactory. The General Officer Commanding points out that his estimate of a peace establishment for Australia is sixty field-guns of an uptodate type. He mentions that when the existing orders are filled,, Ave shall have in the Commonwealth thirty-four guns, and that the orders the Government propose to place during the coming year will bring that number up to fifty-four guns, so that, even when those are supplied, the number of field-guns in the Commonwealth will not be up to what the General Officer Commanding considers should be its peace establishment. Therefore, I think there was some justification for my statement that we should have an indication that the Government are going to take such steps as aa-HI provide something approaching the requisite number of fieldguns. I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, nf on notice -
Is it true, as reported in the press of 30th June, that in consequence of representations made, the Minister of External Affairs had decided that New Guinea natives should not be granted certificates under the Immigration Act to enable them to work in the pearling industry in waters over which the Commonwealth has jurisdiction ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is -as follows : -
The Minister has instructed that no further permits should be issued to coloured persons to enable them to engage in the pearling industry, without special reference to himself. The case of the natives of New Guinea will be specially considered when reports, which have been asked for, have been received.
Motion (by Senator O’Keefe, for Senator Keating), agreed to -
That there be laid upon the Table of the Senate a return showing the message receipts revenue of the Eastern Extension Company in respect of the Bass Straits Cable, for each of the six months periods ending on 31st October, 1902, 30th April, 1903, 31st October, 1903, and 30th April, 1904, respectively.
– I wish to move -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the Select Committee of the Senate on the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll to sit during the sittings of the Senate.
– There are not enough senators present to carry the motion.
– Cannot the bell be rung, sir?
– I suppose that the honorable senator can move the motion, if he thinks that there are nineteen senators in the building.
– There were nineteen senators here this afternoon.
– The honorable senator can move the motion if he thinks he has a chance of carrying it.
– I beg to move the motion.
– Before the motion is put, I think it devolves upon me, as President, to point out that, in my opinion, a. most objectionable practice will be initiated if the motion is carried. We ought to consider all the circumstances under which we are sitting. The Senate consists of only thirty-six senators, while a Select Committee consists of seven senators. Australia is a very large place, certain parts of which - for instance, Western Australia and Northern Queensland - are difficult of access from this city. When that fact is considered, it will be seen that the taking away of seven senators to some very distant portion of the Continent may prevent the Senate from carrying on its business. Our theory is that we are here representing the people; elected “by the people, and paid by the people for doing the legislative work of the Commonwealth, and no’ senator ought to absent himself from the service of the Senate, for any inferior service. It is quite true that leave of absence to a senator is given, and most properly so - in fact, it cannot be helped - on account of sickness, and also on the ground of urgent private affairs. The latter ground of absence may or may not be abused - I am not expressing an opinion - but if it is abused, that is no reason why we should initiate another system; which seems to me to be open to the gravest objection. We were nearly obliged to adjourn this afternoon from the want of a quorum, and if the members of Select Committees are allowed to absent themselves from the Senate for the purpose of carrying on its work in some distant part of the Continent, honorable senators may sometimes be brought here and find that during the sitting there is no quorum to carry on the business. I do not say that in other parts of the world such leave is not given. In England leave is sometimes given to a Select Committee to sit while the House is sitting, but, so far as I can gather from May, who is not very explicit on the subject, that leave is only given to members of Select Committees to sit in London, so that they may be summoned at a moment’s notice when there is a division in the House. Of course the circumstances also are very different. There are 672 members in the House of Commons, and a Select Committee of some ten or fifteen members is very different in its proportion to that number, from a Select Committee of seven members in its proportion to a Senate of thirty-six members. In reference to this matter, I understand that one of the reasons brought forward is to save expense if a Select Committee sits in different parts of the Commonwealth. That contention is, I think, at least doubtful. The hotel expenses and railway fares of two Hansard reporters and one officer of the Senate, who is secretary to the Select Committee, have to be paid. I think it is at least doubtful whether it is advisable to initiate this practice on the score of economy. It seems to me that it would be much cheaper to bring witnesses to Melbourne than to take the Committee to the witnesses. If the scale of allowances fixed for witnesses is too high, it may be altered. I have no personal objection to the proceeding; it is a matter entirely for the Senate, to decide; but, in order to help the Select Committee to perform its duties, I took the responsibility - which perhaps I ought not to have taken - of giving leave of absence to Mr. Upward for one day. I was then asked to give further leave of absence up to the 23rd July, which I declined to do. He is an officer of the Senate, the Senate is sitting, and it ought to say whether he should be here tor not. I did not think that I ought to take that further responsibility ; but if leave is given to this Select Committee to sit while the Senate is sitting, it means an approval of the principle of Select Committees going to distant parts of the Commonwealth and holding inquiries. 0? course, a Select Committee must have a secretary.
– Supposing that the Select Committee have sat to-day in Brisbane while the Senate has been sitting?
– I do not know what is going to happen if they have sat. That they have sat I know, but whether they have sat while the Senate has been sitting to-day I do not know ; in fact, I do not think they have, because two or three telegrams have been received, asking that they may have leave to sit while the Senate is sitting. I understand that they have not so sat. If they are in Brisbane, and if they are holding sittings and examining witnesses during a part of the day, it will not do very much harm if they are given leave to sit during the rest of the day, even when the Senate is sitting ;’ but undoubtedly I think we acted somewhat inadvisably in giving them leave to adjourn from place to place, which they may perhaps have thought gave them power to go to Queensland and take three officers of the Senate with them. I hope that the question will be carefully considered by the Senate, not only as far as this particular occasion is concerned, but so far as our decision on this particular case may influence us, and may influence Select Committees in other matters.
– What is the motion before the Senate?
– The motion is that the Standing Orders be suspended, in order to enable the Select Committee on the case of Major Carroll to sit while the Senate is sitting.
– In order to submit a motion?
– The only question before the Senate at the present time is whether we shall suspend the Standing Orders, and if we give our assent I take it that Senator Smith will have to submit a motion asking leave for the Select Committee to sit during a sitting of the Sen- are
– That was not the motion which Senator Smith read. If it had been I should not have said anything.
– I assume that he could not move anything else.
– I moved that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would permit the Select Committee to. take evidence during the sittings of the Senate.
– Perhaps Senator Gould is right. I shall put the question -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable Senator Staniforth Smith to move a motion without notice.
– I wish to explain why it may be necessary to suspend the Standing Orders, if we- have the statutory majority to enable us to do so. Originally I was opposed to granting to the Select Committee the’ right to take evidence while the Senate was sitting, because I did not think it advisable to make a precedent which might be used to delay the work of the Senate in the future. We have granted leave to the Select Committee to move from place to place and to take evidence, and as they are in Queensland, and we do not wish to interfere with the taking of that evidence in . the most ‘ economical manner, we might agree’ in this instance to the request made, on the distinct understanding that no precedent is laid down.
– What is the use of suspending the Standing Orders, and then listening to reasons as to why they ought to be suspended? Would it not be more proper and dignified for Senator Smith to give his reasons now.
Question - That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable Senator Staniforth
Smith to move .a motion without notice - resolved in tEe affirmative.
– There is another difficulty. Although the Standing Orders have been suspended to enable Senator Smith to move his motion, he must have them still further suspended in order to enable the Select Committee to sit when the Senate is not sitting.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I move -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the Select Committee of the Senate on the case of Major J. W. M. Carroll to sit during the sittings of the Senate.
I think it will be agreed that, speaking generally, to permit Select Committees to sit while the Senate is sitting is objectionable. But in this case I think I can show that there are exceptional circumstances, and that if permission is not given to the Committee to sit in Brisbane it will entail much greater expense than would otherwise be the case. While we sat in Melbourne several witnesses were examined. We sat very long hours; on one occasion from n o’clock in the morning till 11 at night. But we had to suspend the sittings when the Senate was sitting. That meant that some officers who were brought down to Melbourne at the instance of the Department went back in New South Wales, and had to come down a second time to have their evidence taken. We considered that, in order to save expense, it would be advisable for the Committee to go to New South Wales. We knew that a number of New South Wales witnesses were to be examined, and if they were all brought over to Melbourne the expense would be considerable. The scale laid down . in the Standing Orders is 6d. per mile and 15s. a day travelling expenses. In accordance with the permission of the Senate, we went to New South Wales, and sat from Wednesday and Saturday midday, examining twelve or fourteen witnesses. The expenditure thus incurred was very small ; but if those witnesses had been brought down to Melbourne, it would have been three or four times as great. In Brisbane there are a large number of witnesses to be examined, because the services-‘of one of the .parties to the inquiry were rendered principally in Queensland. If these witnesses were brought down to Melbourne the expense would be very great. If the Senate does not grant this permission it will mean that the Select Committee can only take evidence in the mornings, because the Senate will be sitting in the afternoons and evenings. The result will be that the time of the Committee in Brisbane will be wasted. It stands to reason, therefore, that if this permission is given we shall reduce the expense in Brisbane by at least one-half. Another point is that one of the parties to” the inquiry can call witnesses without personal expense, but another party cannot do so. It would, therefore, be a hardship to that party to have to bring witnesses from Queensland to Melbourne at his own expense. As the President has pointed out, even the House of Commons, whose procedure we follow to a large extent, grants permission in exceptional circumstances for Select Committees to sit while the House is sitting.
– Will not the Committee summon any witnesses whom one of the parties asks for?
– The Committee has summoned no witnesses. The parties have summoned the witnesses themselves. I cannot give the honorable and learned senator any further information on that point. This is a very exceptional case. If the permission is not given, it simply means that the members of the Committee will be delayed in Brisbane, and we shall increase the cost of the inquiry.
– I beg to second the motion. The circumstances of the case are exceptional, and it by no means follows that, by granting this permission, we shall establish a precedent. I would point out that had the Committee itself chosen to call witnesses, it would have been liable for their expenses. But the Committee has called no witnesses up to the present, and therefore the expenses of witnesses are not debited to -it. One- exceptional circumstance connected with the case is that, during almost the whole of the time that one* of the parties to the dispute was in the service of the Commonwealth, he was engaged in Queensland. It was therefore important to call evidence from Queensland- Probably there would have been a miscarriage of justice had the Committee not consented to the request that evidence might be taken in Queensland. I am sure that the Senate, no less than the Select Committee, desires that all the circumstances of the case shall be fully inquired into. Of course, as the members of the Committee are now in Brisbane, if we do not suspend the Standing Orders to enable them to take evidence while the
Senate is sitting, it will mean that they will be kept in Brisbane for several days, at some additional expense, though not much.
– It appears to me that we have really no alternative in this matter. I certainly agree with the remarks of the President as to the necessity for exercising the greatest care in creating a precedent of this kind. Possibly the Senate made a mistake at the outset in permitting the Committee to move from place to place. But, as the matter is now presented to us, it would be foolish to refuse to accede to the request. As a matter of principle, I object to such permission being granted for the reasons that the President has so well expressed. In future we should be careful not to consent to anything which would have the effect of causing senators to absent themselves from the Chamber. I can understand permission being given to a Select Committee to sit while the Senate is sitting, if the meeting of the Committee be held in Melbourne, when its members are in immediate touch with what is going on in the Chamber. Certainly the case is an exceptional one, and we are practically committed to passing the motion. But it should be passed on the distinct understanding that no precedent is to be created.
– We all realize the great difficulty of dealing with a matter of this kind ; but it must be remembered that the Senate, as a portion of Parliament, undertakes other duties besides- sitting here and attending to the business that is transacted in the Senate Chamber. We take upon ourselves the responsibility of appointing Select Committees to inquire into matters which we consider to be of sufficient importance to warrant investigation. If we go so far we must go further, and be prepared to carry out the duties involved in such investigations. If we appoint a Select Committee with power to summon witnesses, we must -do it in such a way that no unfairness is permitted to any one. It must, be realized that in many cases an inquiry would be maimed, if power were not given to a Select Committee- to go to other parts of the Commonwealth, even while the Senate was sitting, unless we were prepared to incur a very large expenditure of public money for the purpose of bringing witnesses to Melbourne. No doubt this Committee have satisfied themselves that it is necessary to go to Brisbane, and to Sydney, and that it was not a wise thing to pay the expenses of a number of witnesses to Melbourne. When we can, by granting this permission, avoid both inconvenience to witnesses and expense to the Commonwealth, the permission should be granted. We need not regard it as a precedent. Wc do not put ourselves in the position of ‘ saying that whenever we order an inquiry to be made the Committee will have power to sit when the Senate is sitting. Each case will have to be dealt with on its own merits. I realize that we should not create a precedent of this kind without due consideration, and that we should not hamper general public business more than is necessary by permitting members of the Senate to sit on Select Committees in distant parts of the Commonwealth when business is being transacted in the Senate ; but, having appointed this Select Committee, it appears to me that it is our duty to render every possible assistance, in order to make the inquiry effective, so that we can arrive at a reasonable and wise determination on the subject.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - If we had a little, more information on the subject, it might appear that there was an alternative to passing this motion. I was struck with a remark made by Senator Smith to the effect that while Major-General Hutton’s witnesses were paid, the witnesses called bv the other party to the dispute were not. That may be a very great hardship. Senator Best assures me that he does not think that that information can be correct, but certainly Senator Smith stated it, and rather based his argument for the passing of this motion upon it. We have, as a matter of justice to a private individual, who has been retrenched from the service, appointed a Select Committee. If it turns out that an injustice has been done to him, shall we think of making him pay his own expenses in bringing- witnesses to Melbourne? Suppose the evidence is conflicting, but that the general tenor of it is that Major Carroll might have been retained in the service. In that case, surely to make him pay the expenses of his witnesses would not be just. The question concerning the expenses of witnesses is important, and I am inclined to think that it would be- better for the Senate to grant reasonable expenses to a private, individual, who has to summon witnesses, than to pass a, motion which is fraught with difficulties. We all admit that if “an officer’s character is at stake, he ought to have full justice done to him. It is of no use to grant him an inquiry with the one hand, and to take it away with the other, by refusing to pay the witnesses whom it is necessary for him to call in order to maintain his character. Possibly, however, all the witnesses whom he has thought it necessary to call were not required. Therefore, if we went out of our way to grant expenses to these witnesses, I should say that the Chairman of the Committee ought to be informed as to what the several witnesses were going to testify before they were called. If many witnesses have already been examined as to Major Carroll’s character, I can hardly understand that there are ten or a dozen more to be examined. It may be that some of the evidence yet to be taken is not important. The evidence might appear important to the man himself, - but not to the Select Committee; and as the Committee act in a judicial capacity they should surely be at liberty to say, “ We will pay the expense of a witness because we think his evidence will be helpful, but we cannot give carte blanche for half a dozen witnesses to be brought from North Queensland, unless it is shown that their evidence will help to elucidate the matter we have to determine.” Reasonable expenses might be paid, but no witnesses summoned, unless the Committee desired their evidence ; and I suggest that the motion be negatived, with a view to ascertaining whether the Committee cannot pay those expenses.
Senator MCGREGOR (South Australia - Vice-President of the Executive Council). - Senator Dobson is objecting to a certain course of action at the wrong time. We have already given this Select Committee power to go from place to place and take evidence, and the Committee are in Brisbane at the present time. The object of the motion is to enable the Committee to take evidence when the Senate is sitting; and as the expense of. going to Brisbane has already been incurred, they desire -to conclude the investigation as rapidly as possible. If we did not’ carry the motion, the Committee could only take evidence in the morning when the Senate was not sitting, and would have to go about their own business in the afternoon or evening. The time when Senator Dobson should have raised this question was when the motion was proposed to grant leave to the Committee to go from place to place. Although I do not say it would be a wise practice to take the course suggested in every instance, I do not raise any objection to it under the present circumstances. If the Committee were to be compelled to return to Melbourne, and the leave to go from place to place were rescinded, the work would be only half done, and we should then have to bring the witnesses from Queensland to “Victoria. I hope Senator Dobson will see his way to withdraw his objection to the motion.
– It seems to me that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has made out a strong. case on behalf of the motion, but I think he would make it still stronger if he gave us an assurance that at the end of the week, there being very little business, the Senate would adjourn for a fortnight, during which this Select Committee could complete its labours.
– The only commonsense way is to give the Select Committee power to complete their labours.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I presume honorable senators have no objection to my granting leave to the Usher of the Black Rod to continue to act as secretary to the Select Committee during their absence.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
Motion (by Senator Findley) proposed -
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 13.
– I had not the pleasure of being present when this Bill was passing through its first stages, but, in view of the fact that the measure is really part of the same piece of legislation as the Bill, the second reading of which,. I understand, is to be moved to-morrow, I hope that there will . be no recommittal, but that the further consideration will be held over until the measure I have just mentioned has been considered. We should then be placed in the position of being able to find out whether, as is very likely to be the case, some amendments are not desirable in the Bill now before us. The whole question involved in these two Bills is important, and I should like to know from the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether steps have been taken to elicit the opinions of Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Manufacture, and other commercial bodies as to its provisions.
– The honorable senator wishes us to go to those chambers for their approval?
– In the past, arrangements have been made to send technical Bills of the kind to various bodies concerned, in order to obtain expert opinion because it is very desirable to have the very best information which we can get. Let me take, for instance, the matter of manufactured tobacco. If the Government were informed that tobacco’ was being imported containing a certain proportion of glycerine, sugar, or some other substance, would the tobacco be stopped under this Bill, because it contained material other than tobacco? Manufactured tobacco seems to contain a considerable number of ingredients. The late Government, under the hand of Mr. Kingston, issued an order by which the manufacturers of Australia had permission to use in the production of their tobacco, without payment of duty, a number of subsidiary substances. Those substances are sugar, liquorice, glucose, essential oils, flavouring essences, starch, vaseline, spices, and spirits, large quantities of which are used in Australia. I am not arguing the question as to the right or wrong of the use of such materials in this way, but I desire to know what will be the consequence, under the legislation we are proposing, of those articles being used in the manufacture of tobacco. Will local manufacturers still be allowed to use these materials, whilst the importer will be prevented ? We all desire that goods shall be honestly sold. On reading Hansard, I noticed that Senator Trenwith remarked that what was wanted was honest labels ; and that, I think, expresses the view of the Government and every member of the Senate. It is very possible, however, for difficult questions to arise. These flavourings and mixtures are used in the manufacture of tobacco, in order to give it fragrant qualities, I suppose, though I am not a smoker myself. But we have the fact before us that the term “ tobacco “ does not cover what is commercially sold as manufactured tobacco. How far do the Government propose, under the Bill, to interfere with the sale of tobacco? I only instance this as one of the great difficulties surrounding the question, and I suggest as conducive to the object the Government have in view - honest trading - that this Bill be held over. We have to consider the details of one Bill with the details of another, and we shall, by the course I suggest, ascertain what amendments may be necessary in the measure before us.
– Even had Senator Pulsford not spoken, I should have been inclined to make a similar request, but for rather a different reason. In my opinion there is no pressing necessity for this measure, and it would be well, in conjunction with the Bill which is to be introduced to-morrow, to reconsider the question of whether some of the clauses are within our powers. I mentioned the matter on the second reading, and also in Committee ; and I have still considerable doubts as to whether we have power to apply some of the provisions of this Bill in cases of purely State trading. No doubt we have power to deal with commerce as between one State and another, but by this Bill we interfere with trading strictly within a State. The point is worth careful consideration, at all events, before the Bill leaves the Senate. I may explain what I mean by a reference to the effects of decisions which have been given in the English Courts. If a man goes into a shop and buys as foreign or imported a ham so marked, but which afterwards turns out to be a colonial ham, that is an. offence under the Act. A Bill making it an offence could, beyond a doubt, be passed in any one of the States; but the question is whether the Commonwealth Parliament has power to interfere in any detail of trade in a particular State.
– Are not the words used in the Constitution, “ among the States “ ?
– I think the section of the Constitution provides that we have power over trade and commerce between one State and another.
– The words are, “ among the States.”
– I have referred to the Constitution, and the words are, “ among the States.”
– Then, I should say, that the word “ among “ would not be required if commerce within the State was meant ; I take it that “ among “ is a qualification or limitation of our power, otherwise the word would not be necessary. It means trade between one State and another, and certainly trade beyond the limits of one State. The Vice-President of the Executive Council explained that the reason for the alteration of the title was the doubt in the minds of the Government, as it was a doubt in the minds of the late Government, as to what our powers are tinder the
Constitution, and he tells us that the title was altered to the Fraudulent Trade Marks Act, because the Constitution gives us power to deal with trade marks. But the alteration of the title will not give us any more power than we already have under the Constitution. I think that if this question were reconsidered in connexion with the Bill to be introduced to-morrow, we might get a clear idea as to whether what is to be proposed deals with trade marks within the Constitution. I do not wish to throw any obstacle in the way of the passage of the Bill, but merely suggest, as Senator Pulsford has done, that the Government should not unduly hasten progress with the measure, but in the meantime should take advice on the matter. I quite admit that the Merchandise Marks Bill was brought down and introduced by the late Government, but. neither Parliament nor the present Government can divest themselves of responsibility; and I suggest that the matter be carefully considered before the Bill leaves the Chamber.
– I am rather surprised at Senator Drake being critical now in connexion with a measure exactly similar to that introduced by himself. I do not see any more reason for doubt now than existed a considerable time ago when the other Bill was introduced by the honorable and learned senator.
– I told honorable senators then that it was a matter of considerable doubt, and that the responsibility was with Parliament.
– Of course, I have a very limited legal knowledge, but the honorable and learned senator will see that, so far as the internal trade of a State is concerned, the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill gives power to act only where the trade mark is not good. Section 51, sub-section xviii., of the Constitution, enables us to deal with trade marks; and if we have the right to deal with trade marks, and the trade marks used’ are fraudulent, then I consider that the Constitution, if interpreted in a reasonable manner, gives us the power to take action in regard to those who commit the fraud. With regard to the position which has been placed before us by Senator Pulsford, if tobacco, in which are the many ingredients which he mentioned, is imported as tobacco, the case will depend on what “ tobacco “ means. If an importer does not think that the word “ tobacco “ sufficiently describes the article he is importing, then he can easily more fully describe it. An importer may use any description he likes; it is only where he omits to describe his goods, or insufficiently describes them, that the amendment which Senator Findley intends to move will operate. I would point out to Senators Pulsford and Drake that, from a legislative point of view, the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill and the Trade Marks Bill have no connexion with each other. It must be recollected, too, that it is on the motion for the adoption of the report on this Bill that Senator Findley is seeking to have clause 13 recommitted, with a view to its amendment When his proposal has been dealt with, the Bill will have to be reported again, and after the report has been adopted the third reading will have to be passed. At any of these stages the Bill can be again recommitted. No very great difficulty would arise if the third reading of the Bill were delayed for a week or two. I do not see that either the Government or honorable members in another place are so short of work that the Bill should be rushed if it is the desire of honorable senators to delay the third reading until such time as the Trade Marks Bill has been introduced. There is no serious objection to that course being taken, but then I do not see any necessity for it, because these Bills are really independent of each other. The Trade Marks Bil! I shall endeavour to introduce to-morrow. The Bill how before the Senate deals with only the fraudulent use of these marks, and if it is not carried, the old law will remain in existence. It will always apply where a description is given to any goods which is not correct, or which is false to a material extent. I hope that no objection will be raised to the recommittal of clause 13. It was on a promise which was made to Senator Findley that I got the officers of the Commonwealth to look into the clause, and provide an amendment which would meet his view, and come within the terms of the Constitution.
– Will the Minister state explicitly what would be the view of the Government if a man imported tobacco containing any other ingredient as all manufactured tobacco does?
– It would all depend upon how it was marked. If it were merely described as tobacco, and the Court decided that the description was not false to a material extent-
– But would the Government deem it their duty to take a case into Court at once?
– The Government are not contemplating doing anything at the present time in connexion even with this measure; but if they considered that the public were being imposed Upon, then I think it would be their duty to take action.
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - I have no notion of what I am being asked to vote for, and, therefore, I should like to know how Senator Findley proposes to deal with the clause if it is recommitted.
– I propose to ask the Committee to insert a new sub-clause in these words -
All goods to which a trade description is required by regulation to be applied, and ‘to which the prescribed trade description is not applied.
.- By his amendment the honorable senator contemplates that, under the power to make regulations, the Government can require articles to bear a trade description or trade mark. The object of this Bill is to prevent a man from putting a fraudulent trade mark on goods, or otherwise misrepresenting the quality of the goods. But the amendment proposes to enable the» Government to prescribe that a mark shall be put on any or ever article which is imported. It is not within the power of Parliament in this Bill to provide that I should be compelled to put any description or trade mark on an article that I imported.
– Not even if it can be shown that, by not doing so, the importer is fraudulently imposing on the public?
– No. I contend that the proposed amendment is not within the scope of this Bill. An amendment which empowers the Government to prescribe, by regulation or otherwise, that a description must be placed on imported goods, is irrelevant to the subjectmatter of this Bill, and that is a reason why we should not consent to the recommittal of clause 13. Holding that view, I shall feel it incumbent upon me to vote against its recommittal. If I thought, however, that it was within the power of the Parliament to introduce a provision of that character into this Bill, I should consent to a recommittal of the clause, no matter what view I took of the proposed amendment.
Question - That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 13 - resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Recommittal) :
Clause 13 (Prohibition of importation of fraudulently marked goods).
– I move -
That the following new sub-clause be added : - ” e. All goods to which a trade description is required by regulation to be applied, and to which the prescribed trade description is not applied.”
That this is a highly important amendment will, I think, be admitted by every honorable senator. That it is constitutional I believe will also be admitted: ^ But whether it is in order under the title of the measure now before the Committee is perhaps arguable. Believing that it is constitutional, and satisfied in my own mind that it is in order to insert the amendment in the Bill, I desire to test the feeling of the Committee by taking a vote upon it. When the Bill was before the Committee on a previous occasion, those honorable senators who spoke upon it, without any exception so far as I am aware, expressed themselves in strong and vigorous language in regard to the fraud, adulteration, and dishonesty which are practised by certain classes of traders in the Commonwealth, and desired that the citizens of this country should be protected, as far as possible, against such deceptions. On that occasion I exhibited a number of commodities that had been submitted to an official Government analyst’.
– I wish to raise a point of order. I believe that the proposed amendment is practically the same as that which, some time ago, the Chairman of Committees ruled out of order. It would save time if you, sir, would give your ruling on the question. It is of no use to discuss the amendment if, at the end of an hour, it is to be ruled out of order. My objection to it is that it is beyond the scope of the Bill.
– I understand that the point of order is that as this amendment has been previously dealt with by the Committee, it is not competent for Senator Findley to submit it again. I think that the Acting-Chairman will have no difficulty in settling that point. Even supposing the amendment were ‘submitted in actually the_ same words in a previous Committee, it is quite competent in this new Committee for an hon- orable senator to submit it again. That has been done frequently, and with great respect to Senator Pulsford, I do not think it is capable of argument. But, even on its merits, I do not think I should have any difficulty in convincing the Committee that this is not the same amendment as was submitted previously.
– I do not raise the point on the ground that this proposal was previously ruled out of order by the Chairman of Committees. I only drew attention to that fact incidentally. My point of order is, that this amendment is outside the scope of the Bill, being beyond the order of leave.
– I admit that the question submitted is a different one, but I think that we have a right to assume that this amendment is, at least, incidental to the subject-matter of the Bill. It involves a question as to our powers under the Constitution. The 51st section of the Constitution says that -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to (i) trade and commerce with other countries and among the States.
Then it subsequently goes on in subsection xviii. to specify “ trade marks “ ; and in sub-section XXXIX. it specifies - matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament or in any House thereof, or in the Government of the Commonwealth, or in the Federal Judicature, or in any Department or officer of the Commonwealth.
I submit that this amendment is incidental to the very object of the Bill. The object of this Bill is-
– Specified in its title.
– That point can be readily overcome bv altering the title.
– When we have done something else; but we must have the power to do that something else.
– We have the. power if we so desire to alter the title. If that is the only difficulty it is easily overcome. But I apprehend that the real difficulty is as to whether the amendment is incidental to the subject -matter of the Bill.
– Only clause 13 has been recommitted; the title has not.
– First of all, it must be recognised that we have the constitutional power to enact what is proposed. That cannot be denied for one moment. Then arises the question of whether the amendment is reasonably within the scope of the Bill. I think that it may fairly be claimed that it is. The object and subject-matter of the Bill is the prevention of the application of any trade symbol or mark to any goods by reason whereof the public might be deceived. We have the very fullest power to prevent the importation of goods except upon our own terms. The amendment proposes to say, in regard to certain goods which it is proposed to import, “ If you desire to bring those goods into Australia, you must conform to certain terms. That is to say - You can only bring them in by the imposition of a certain mark upon them.” We undoubtedly have power to deal with trade marks, and the Court and Parliament should construe every word of our power in the widest possible terms. Trade marks are well defined, and recognised to mean the application of some symbol or mark to goods for the purpose of distinguishing them. If we have the power to deal with the affirmative application of trade marks to goods, I submit that we have also the incidental power to deal with the negative application of marks to goods. We can say, “ If those goods are to come in, they must bear some mark so as to enable the public to know exactly what they are purchasing.” Take, for instance, cotton blankets. I introduced a provision into the Victorian law that such goods should not be admitted unless branded as cotton blankets, so that the public would not be deceived. Similarly in this connexion, when the Constitution gives us power to deal with trade marks, the term has no specially hidebound or cast-iron meaning. We have to take the broad, general meaning of “ trade marks.” We have not only the affirmative power- to legislate in cases where trade-marks have actually been applied to goods, but also the negative power to say that goods which are imported into the Commonwealth shall bear some trade mark or symbol. It is to be borne in mind that, if once the Bill is passed with this amendment in it, and a case goes to the High Court, there can be no possible doubt as to its being sound and good law. Undoubtedly Senator Findley’s proposal would be valid. ‘
– That is all the more reason why we should be careful.
– I am pointing out that Senator Findley is entitled to the broadest construction in regard to his amendment. We should also be disposed to put the broadest construction upon our own procedure. Under the terms of the Constitution this proposal is incidental to trade marks, which we are specially empowered to deal with. Therefore I urge that Senator Findley is entitled to move his amendment upon this Bill. The amendment itself, if we are permitted to discuss its merits, I regard as most valuable in furthering the object in view.
– Senator Best’s argument that this Bill, if amended as Senator Findley desires, would be held to be good by the High Court, is entirely beside the question. Whether we have power to legislate in this direction is also beside the question. The question is, “ Can we, in this particular Bill, limited as it is to dealing with fraudulent trade marks, introduce such an amendment as Senator Findley has proposed?” Senator Best, quoting from the Constitution, argues that we have power to deal with trade marks. Undoubtedly ‘ we have. He has, also referred to paragraph XXXIX. of section 51, which deals with matters incidental to the execution of any power vested in the Constitution. But that provision does not extend the powers of this Parliament one jot or tittle beyond the specific matters which we are authorized to deal with. Of course, anything incidental to a power conferred by the Constitution can be provided for, but that does not enlarge our power in any Act of Parliament to go beyond the constitutional limits. In this Bill we have simply to deal with fraudulent trade marks, and we are told that it is within the scope of the Bill to make a provision that a man shall place a mark upon his goods before he sells them. What has that to do with fraudulent trade marks?
– In clause 13, paragraphs b, c, and d, we have power to compel a man to place a mark upon his goods.’
– In any case provided for in that clause, it is contemplated that a trade mark of some sort or other has already been placed upon goods. lt is perfectly competent-tor us, within the scope of the Bill, to deal with that subject. But Senator Findley goes’ further. His amendment provides that a particular description shall be required bv regulation to be applied to goods. Therefore, he contemplates that a regulation shall be made by - a Minister, not by ^Parliament, under which there shall be power to say to an importer -“You must put a mark upon your goods wherever the Minister required you to apply it.” The clause to which Senator Findley has directed my attention simply contemplates that goods have already got a mark upon them, and provides that if a false mark is put upon them the offender is liable to punishment. The whole purport of the Bill is to provide that persons shall not put false marks on any goods, but not to provide that they shall put marks on goods whether they like it or not’.
– Clause r3 says that goods shall not enter unless they have marked upon them the country of origin.
– That is, if there is a mark upon the goods in the first instance, a statement of the country of origin is essential. But, under this Bill, as it stands, I should have a right to introduce goods from Germany or England without putting any mark upon them, and should not be punished. The Bill gives no right to insist upon my putting a mark on the goods. I do not say that it is beyond the powers of the Constitution to insist that marks shall be put upon goods, but I say that that cannot be provided for in this Bill, any more than it would be within the purport of the Bill to deal with any other power conferred upon us by the Constitution. Suppose it were proposed to insert a provision in the Bill dealing with beacons, buoys, and lighthouses. We have power under the Constitution to legislate in regard to those matters, but we must do it in a proper manner. Standing order 194 provides -
Any amendment may be made to any part of the Bill, provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the Rules and Orders of the Senate.
The question is not whether we have power under the Constitution to pass such a Bill, but whether the amendment proposed is relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. It has been said that if this provision be insetted, the High Court would not say that it was ultra vires. But the Court cannot enter into the question of our rules and orders ; we deal with our own procedure. The. Court has to take the Bill as it comes out of the crucible, and say whether it contains provisions which the Commonwealth Parliament have power to insert under the Constitution. We have the responsibility of seeing that we do not allow the introduction of matters which, although within our powers under the Constitution, are not relevant to the particu- 5 r 2 lar Bill under discussion. An honorable senator may be’ quite satisfied with the provisions of a Bill which is introduced, and we have no right to spring a surprise on him, when he may not be present, by inserting a clause which is not relevant to the measure. It may be said that honorable senators ought to be present ; but, nevertheless, what is the object of the standing order which I have read ? A title is given to a Bill, and it is thus notified what is the subject to be dealt with; and it is altogether inexpedient, even if we had it in our power, to make amendments of this character. The proposed provision is not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, although it may be within our power, under the Constitution, to deal with such a matter. We are compel led to adhere to our own standing order, which is really a repetition of a standing order observed in. every Parliament.
– Does the honorable and learned senator argue that the title of a Bill cannot be altered?
– We can alter the title, if an amendment is inserted which is relevant to the subject-matter of a Bill.
– There are the words “ for other purposes.” .
– But those words mean purposes relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill.
– This Ss a Bill to deal with trade marks.
– It is not a Bill to compel persons to register and place trade marks on everything. We have heard about cotton blankets; but supposing that an importer honestly does not know whether the blankets are wholly wool, or wool and cotton mixed ?
– Then they are not allowed to come in.
– But that is a matter to be dealt with in another measure.
– We hear a great deal about unfortunate importers, but very little about the unfortunate public.
– The honorable senator will find me with him in any attempt to prevent fraudulent goods being imposed on the public. The question at present is whether it is within our power to insert the suggested amendment in the present Bill.
– Although this is a legal question, it .is one on which we ought to bring common-sense, as well as legal opinion, to bear ; but, in saying that, it must not be thought that I lay claim to any extra amount of common-sense. Standing order 179 provides that the title of a Bill shall agree with the order of leave, and that must govern any amendment. Standing order 194 is -
Any amendment may be made to any part of the Bill, provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the Rules and Orders of the Senate.
A ‘ common-sense way of looking at the amendment, in the light of the Standing Orders, is to take this Bill for what it is, namely, a Bill ‘ to prevent the use of fraudulent trade marks. What is the object of the amendment on the face of it? Goods are coming into the Commonwealth free from any mark, and the idea underlying the amendment is that goods may be thus brought in with a view of putting on fraudulent trade marks after they have been entered. In order to prevent such offences, power is given to proclaim that goods shall be marked in such a way as, with the other provisions of the Bill, to prevent fraud.
– The Bill deals only with trade marks which of themselves are fraudulent.
– It is already provided in the Bill that goods imported, bearing the name of a firm, shall, in addition, be marked with the country of origin.
– That is the whole point ; the same principle is acted upon in the amendment.
– It seems to me that if under the order of leave we have power to provide that this additional mark shall be used, we have power to make an importer place a proper description on goods. It is the same principle in both cases. The name of the firm may not be fraudulent in any way, and yet power is given under other provisions of the Bill to insist upon the country of origin being shown.
– That is because the first description might deceive the public.
– Would it not equally deceive the public if there were not any mark? As Senator Best pointed out, if goods are allowed to come in unmarked, the whole of the object of clause 13 may be defeated. The order of leave is to bring in a Bill “ relating “ to fraudulent trade marks - not a Bill to prevent fraudulent trade marks only, but a Bill “relating” to fraudulent trade marks.
– It cannot be said that there is a fraudulent trade mark until a mark has been placed on goods.
– The Bill is not only to prohibit, or compel the alteration of, fraudulent trade marks, but to prevent any possibility of fraud by means of trade marks.
– There are affirmative and negative powers.
– This is a proposal based on the principle of prevention. I contend that the amendment relates to fraudulent trade marks, and it is proposed as the only way of preventing fraudulent trade marks after the goods ‘have been imported.
– The amendment proposed differs in character from the whole of the provisions of the Bill to such an important degree that, even supposing such legislation to be within our power, it should have found a place in a different measure. The point of order is, whether the amendment is relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. The object of the standing order is that no one shall be taken by surprise - that after a Bill has been introduced on an order of leave, and accepted on the second reading, there shall not be, at .1 later, stage, an amendment introduced which is irrelevant to the subject-matter. This Bill is founded on the Imperial Merchandise Marks Act of 1887. With the exception of one word in one clause, and a few other words inserted at the instance of Senator Best, there is not to be found in this Bill any provision which is not to be found in the Imperial Act. The principle of that Act is that it does not compel men to place any mark whatever on goods, but if a mark is used it must be truly descriptive. There is nothing in the Bill at present to compel any manufacturer in Australia, or any importer, to use any mark on goods sold ; but the object of the amendment is to compel such marks, and this gives an entirely different character to the measure.
– Does not the Bill already say that the country of origin must be shown?
– That is only required when there is any other mark on the goods, because, unless the country of origin be shown, the mark may be misleading. For instance, an importer might use the name of some celebrated firm in Australia, and put no other mark on the goods.
– Clause 14 covers such a case.
– - I am talking about the Bill as it is at present. Under such circumstances the public might assume that the goods were made in Australia; and to prevent misconception it is required that the country of origin shall be shown. In the Merchandise Marks Act, and in this Bill, there is nothing to require a man to place any mark on goods.
– If no mark is used, is that not calculated to mislead to a certain extent?
– I am talking about the character of the Bill. I do not say that under certain circumstances it might not be advisable to require that goods shall be marked, but I am only pointing out that that is not required by the Imperial Act, or by this Bill as it stands. The important departure is that the amendment gives power to prescribe that in every case a mark must be placed on the goods ; and I say that that is outside the scope of the Bill. We discussed this measure on the supposition that it followed on the lines of the Imperial Merchandise Marks Act; and the alteration in the title only emphasizes that fact more strongly, showing clearly that it deals with trade marks which may possibly have fraudulent operation.
– As to the words “ subjectmatter of the Bill,” we see clearly that trade description forms part and parcel of the subject-matter; in fact, it forms a most important element of the measure. What is “the subject-matter of the Bill,” is practically the whole question.
– It is all governed by the word “fraudulent.” Senator Best. - I am putting aside the question of the title, because it is clear that we can alter the title if we find it necessary. The term “trade description “ is of a most comprehensive character. It includes all statements, direct or indirect, as to the number, quantity, quality, measure, guage, or weight of goods, together with other similar matters; and we see that “trade mark” includes “trade description.” The amendment deals with goods to which a trade description is required by the regulations to be applied, and to which a trade description is not applied - lt deals wholly and solely with “trade description.” When we look at the Bill we see that “ trade description “ is declared to come within the meaning of “ trade mark,” and under the Constitution we are specially given power to deal with trade marks. What I contend is that, inasmuch as “trade description” is part and parcel of the subject-matter of the Bill, necessarily an amendment which deals solely with “ trade description “ must be within its scope. The question is surrounded with great difficulty, but I submit, sir, ‘that a broad construction should be given to the standing order, especially as the amendment deals so specifically with one of the most important factors of the Bill.
– I think that a little consideration will show that Senator Best has not assisted his case by his reference to the interpretation clause. Take the definition of “ false trade description “- “ False trade description “ means a trade description which is false or likely to mislead in a material respect as regards the goods to which it is applied.
That definition contemplates that there shall be a trade description. Then we come down to the definition of “trade description.” How is that term defined? “ Trade description “ in relation to any goods means any description, statement, indication, or suggestion, direct or indirect -
It contemplates that there must be a description of some sort or other. Then the term “ trade mark “ is defined to include a trade description. So that all through its provisions the Bill deals with cases in which there is a description of some sort or other. Then the amendment of Senator Findley seeks to include -
All goods to which a trade description is required by regulation to be applied, and’ to which the prescribed trade description is not applied.
That is an entirely different thing, I submit, because it is not contemplated by the Bill. It seeks to make a man put on goods a description which they did not bear when imported. The amendment, I submit, is not relevant to the Bill, nor does it come within its order or leave or the scope of the title.
– I wish to point out to you, sir, that Part III. of the Bill is headed “ Importation of fraudulently marked goods.” Those who support the amendment contend that when no mark is used at all fraud is implied, but that is absurd. The absence of a mark can hardly be called fraudulent.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Senator Dobson). - The question I am asked to decide is a very delicate one, and it is surrounded by considerable difficulties. At page 453 of his Parliamentary Practice, May says -
In entertaining an instruction, the House is subject to this primary condition, namely, that the amendments to be sanctioned by an instruction, must come within a fair interpretation of the rule laid down by standing order No. 34, namely, that those amendments should be relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.
But May goes on to say -
Thus, as the subject-matter of a Bill, as disclosed by the contents thereof, when read a second time, has, since 1854, formed the order of reference -
I take it, therefore, that in giving my ruling I have to look at the subject-matter of the Bill as disclosed by the contents thereof when read a second time. Senator Drake has pointed out that the whole object of the Bill is to deal with fraudulent trade marks. There is not a word in the Bill which does not have a direct bearing on that point. The amendment is for an entirely different purpose, although at first sight it may appear to be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. The first part deals with what is called the forging of a trade mark; the. second part with offences; the third part with the importation of fraudulently marked goods, and it is in clause 13 of that part that Senator Findley wishes to insert an amendment. I think it would be improper to place the amendment in that clause, and there is no other’ part of the Bill in which it could be inserted. I think that I ought to take into consideration the fact that there are two measures in which it might be placed. It is perfectly plain that it could appear in that part of the Customs Act which deals with the importation of prohibited goods, and that is, I think, the proper place for its insertion. Then arises the question, could it not also properly appear in the Trade Marks Bill, which, no doubt, Senator McGregor will obtain leave to introduce to-morrow? I think that the amendment would be more relevant to a Customs Act Amendment Bill, or- a Trade Marks Bill, .than to a Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill. In my opinion it is so irrelevant to this Bill, and so outside the scope of the title, that I cannot accept it.
– I beg to dissent from the Acting-Chairman’s ruling, and I hand in my dissent in writing.
In the Senate:
– In clause 13 of the Fraudulent Trade Marks Bill, sir, Senator Findley moved an amendment, which, no doubt, you have seen. Senator Pulsford asked a ruling as to whether the amendment came within the scope or title of the Bill. As Acting Chairman I ruled that it did not, for reasons which I stated ; and Senator Findley thereupon handed me this objection -
I respectfully beg to dissent from the ruling of the Acting Chairman of Committees.
He does not state why he objects, but I suppose that he thinks that the amendment does come within the title of the Bill.
– After I had been speaking to the amendment for a few minutes, Senator Pulsford objected that it was foreign to the measure.
– That it was not within the scope of the Bill, or the order of leave.
– Not relevant to the Bill.
– I hold that’ the amendment is relevant to the Bill, and I am justified in coming to that conclusion, because clause 13 compels manufacturers in different parts of the world to place on the goods - a definite indication of the country in which the goods were made or produced.
– As an addition to a mark already there.
– It pre-supposes, probably, that there is a mark already there.
– It does not pre-suppose, but absolutely requires it.
– If there is a mark already there, it compels an additional mark to be placed there, stating the country in which the goods were made or produced. Inasmuch as that power is given in clause 13, I hold that I was in order in submitting the amendment.
– In my view, the whole principle which is being contended for is conceded in the passage of paragraphs ‘c and d of clause 13. It will be observed that paragraph b prohibits the importation of-
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.
That paragraph prohibits the. importation of such goods. But, in addition to that, we insist that the importer shall mark the goods in a particular way.
– That he shall add to the brand, rather.
– That may be. The goods have on them some particular mark, which may be honest and bond fide. But clause 13 says that the importer shall brand the goods in another manner, and this is all that is attempted to be done under this amendment. Supposing ‘ that certain goods are sought to be imported which it is obvious to the Customs officers are adulterated goods, by his amendment Senator Findley proposes to .empower the Minister of Trade and Customs to say that a certain mark shall be applied to those goods. The whole principle of the amendment is admitted in paragraphs c and d of clause 13. Then, in trying to discover what is the subject-matter of -the Bill, we must not be guided by the mere title - “A Bill relating to Fraudulent Trade Marks “ - but must look at the tenor of the Bill. We find that its most important factor is “ trade description,” which includes a Customs entry ; and a trade mark includes, a trade description. I contend that “ trade description “ forms part and parcel of the subject-matter of the Bill, and that, therefore, an amendment which deals with its most important factor - “trade description” - is in order. Section 51 of the Constitution enables the Parliament to deal with the question of trade marks in every phase, and as the Bill introduces the subject of trade marks, an amendment of this kind may be absolutely necessary and ancillary to the prevention of fraud, because it must be construed to mean that no goods shall come in except under certain penalties, since they are calculated to defraud the public. I do not propose to deal with the validity of the amendment if passed ; but, in the arguments I addressed to the Committee, I said that the High Court, if appealed to, could not do otherwise than rule the provision to be valid, for the reason that it does not attempt to interfere with the procedure of Parliament. If Senator Findley gets the benefit of the doubt which exists, no injury can accrue from an amendment which has for its object a beneficent advantage to the public. While I admit that there is room for very considerable difference of opinion on the subject, and while I think that a broad construction should be given to the standing order, still I claim that the amendment is within the scope of the Bill, and incidental to its subject-matter.
– The Bill when it was read a second time provided that in any case where a person placed any trade mark or brand on any goods, it should truly describe the goods, and should not be misleading. That provision followed on the lines of the Imperial Merchandise Marks Act of 1887, but there was nothing in the .Bill at the time of its second reading which prevented any one from importing or selling goods unbranded. The paragraphs of clause 13, which have been referred to by Senator Best, simply provide that where goods are imported with certain marks on them, it shall be necessary that something else shall be added to those marks, in order that they may not be misleading; but there was nothing in the Bill at its second reading which prevented any person from importing goods without brands on them. The amendment of Senator Findley, however, provides that by regulation importers may be compelled to put brands on their goods. I admit that that is a very considerable departure from the principle of the Bill as it passed its second reading. I submit that we are to gather what is the subject-matter of the Bill from its contents as it passed its second reading, and seeing that it then contained no provision to prevent a person from importing goods bearing no brand, the amendment is outside the subject-matter of the Bill.
– I think that honorable senators have been arguing under a misapprehension as to what the amendment is. Those who have raised objections to it have been talking about trade marks. The amendment itself says nothing whatever about trade marks. It deals with a trade description, which is not necessarily a mark on goods at all. If honorable senators look at the definition of “trade description “ in the Bill, they will find- that it includes “ a Customs entry relating to goods.” A Customs entry is not a mark on goods. A trade description, therefore, is a Customs entry; and Senator Findley’s amendment deals with - all goods to which a trade description is required by regulation to be applied, and to which the prescribed trade description is not applied.
In that respect, I contend that the amendment is perfectly relevant to the Bill. It is impossible to hold that we can pick out any one of the definitions of “ trade descriptions “ in the Bill, and say that that is the only definition to which the amendment applies. It applies to any definition of “trade description” to which it is relevant. I contend, therefore, that it is relevant, and within the scope of the Bill, when it is applied to a Customs entry. Senator Findley’s amendment is drafted on the assumption that in connexion with Customs entries certain things will be attempted in cases where goods do not bear any trade mark; and where the Customs regulations, with regard to entries, are made to apply to certain goods, this amendment will have force. The argument of honorable senators opposite has been based on the assumption that the amendment uses the term’ “trade mark,” and that it would compel persons, who have no trade mark on their goods, to put one upon them. It does not mean anything of the sort. Having in view that fact, I contend that the amendment is perfectly relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill.
– May I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to inform me if there is any provision in this Bill, or in any other measure, which authorizes the Customs to insist on a trade description ?
– I admit that this Bill does not make it absolutely necessary that there shall be a Customs entry ; but where a Customs entry is required on the importation of goods it is implied that it is compulsory.
– It is always necessary that there shall be a Customs entry.
– But not under this Bill.
– It is so under the existing law.
– The object of Parliament ought to be the protection of the people for whom we are making laws.
– That has nothing to do with my duty in ruling whether the amendment has anything to do with the subject-matter of the Bill. I have nothing to do with whether the amendment is in itself good or bad.
– But my argument on this point may influence your decision in that respect. It is admitted that we have power to make such an amendment as Senator Findley has moved, and it is not denied that it would be a right thing to carry such a proposal. But the amend ment is objected to on the flimsy pretext that it is not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. When I introduced the measure, I asked leave to introduce “ a Bill relating to fraudulent trade marks.” The second, reading of that Bill was carried. Amendments were made in Committee. Now it is found that there is a possibility of some individuals evading the provisions of the measure by giving no trade description, or an unsatisfactory trade description, or some trade description that is not complete in itself. Senator Findley therefore thinks that it is proper to Insert an amendment to protect the public from those who intend to deceive them in that way. Senator Pearce has urged that we should exercise a little common sense, and I am aware, sir, that you have already indicated in connexion with the insertion of amendments in Bills that it is the duty either of the Chairman of Committees or of the President fo give as wide an interpretation as. possible to the Standing Orders. I desire you to give as wide an interpretation to this Bill as the “standing Orders and the practice of Parliament will allow. I will give an example as to how a refusal to allow the amendment to be inserted would operate. We are governed by the Constitution. The Constitution gives us instructions with respect to legislation for the people of the Commonwealth. Suppose that you, sir, put yourself in the position of the Constitution, and issued instructions to a servant of yours that at some function - say, a dinner or a luncheon - which you were about to give, your servant was not to admit any one named McDonald or Macpherson. Suppose that a number of gentlemen arrived and gave their names, and that afterwards an individual came up and said, “I will not give you my name.” Your servant - and it must be remembered that we are the servants of the public, acting under the terms of the Constitution - would say, “ I was instructed by my superior to admit no person named. McDonald or Macpherson, and if you do not give me a name how am I to know that you do not bear one of those names? Unless you give me your real name, I cannot admit you.” That is the position in which we stand from a common-sense point of view. I hold that as we have power to compel importers to use certain terms or certain marks, we have a right to compel them to describe their goods fully by stating their country of origin. If we have power to do that, as this is a Bill relating to fraudulent marks, I contend that we have power to insist that true marks shall be placed upon goods.’ Consequently, I consider that the amendment is relevant to -the subject-matter of the Fill.
– I wish to point out that section 68 of the Customs Act provides that- All imported goods shall be entered either (a) for home consumption; or (i) for warehousing; or (f) for transhipment.
Then clause 69 provides that -
II the owner cannot immediately supply the full particulars for making an entry, and shall make a declaration to that effect before the collector, he may make a sight entry.
Then there is a penalty for non-description. There must be a trade description.
– I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council has rather addressed himself to the desirability of inserting a provision of this character than as to whether it can be inserted in this Bill. The question is whether the amendment is relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. Much stress has been laid upon the term “ trade description.” Trade description in this Bill has relation to - any description, statement, indication, or suggestion, direct or indirect, as to the number, quantity, quality, measure, gauge, or weight of the goods; ‘ and it- includes a customs entry relating to goods. In the first place, I submit- that that ‘does not extend the term “ trade description,” which is limited by paragraphs a to’ g of clause 4. But, assuming’ that it does that, and assuming that this Bill has already gone beyond the order of leave, that, nevertheless, would not make legal a. further irrelevancy. Take the Bill itself. In the first place, the order of leave was to bring, in - a Bill relating to fraudulent trade marks.
That Bill was introduced.
– I do not think that the order of leave has anything to do with the matter. We must take the Bill, as it was read a second time.
– I merely want to show that the Bill is before us in accordance with the order of leave. The title of the Bill is, “ The Fraudulent Trade Marks Act 1904.” Passing by the inter: pretation, we come to clause 5, under which a person is deemed to have forged a trade mark, who - without the assent of the proprietor of a trade mark . . . makes a mark so nearly resembling it as to be likely to deceive; or falsifies any registered trade mark, whether’ by alteration, addition, effacement, ot otherwise.
Then, the Bill provides that -
A trade mark shall be deemed to be applied to anything, if it is woven in, impressed: on, worked into, or annexed, or affixed to the thing.
Clause 7 sets forth the conditions under which a trade mark is to be deemed to be applied to goods. The next clause provides that a trade mark shall be deemed to be falsely applied if, without the consent of the proprietor of a trade mark, a mark is applied which is likely to deceive. Then we come to ‘the offences. They relate to forgery of a trade, mark, to false application, to making any die or instrument for the purpose of forging, or to having pos-. session of any instrument to be used for forging a trade mark. Under all these provisions the goods must have a trade mark upon them before the Bill comes into operation.
– Is there not anything with regard to trade description?
– Yes; but the definition of trade description does not help the honorable senator one jot or tittle. We are told that an importer has to pass an entry, before he can land his goods. If the entry is false he is liable to penalties and to forfeiture. But the question is whether it is relevant to the Bill to provide that an importer must have a mark upon his goods Whether he wishes to do so or not. Our standing “order is clear that an amendment must be’ relevant, and May shows that that parliamentary rule, is applied in the House of Commons in the way . in which we wish to have it applied here. Although honorable senators have contended that we could alter the title of the Bill, I reply that while that can be done, it would not enable us to commit -an illegality, and then to cover it up by an alteration of the title. The whole question is - is this amendment relevant, and does it appear to be a mat.ter which a man might reasonably expect to find in a Bill dealing with trade marks ? I submit, most respectfully, that it does not.
– This is a matter on which I have such very grave doubt, that I ask leave to give my decision tomorrow.
In Committee Progress reported.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the Select Committee od Tobacco Monopoly have leave to extend the time for bringing up the report to this day month.
Senate adjourned at 9.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 July 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19040713_senate_2_20/>.