2nd Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Official Signature : Archbishop of Sydney
– I have here a petition from the Most Rev. the Archbishop of Sydney, praying that a clause be inserted in the Papua (British New Guinea) Bill prohibiting the importation of intoxicating drink from the Possession. I find, however, on reference to the Clerk, that exception is taken to the petition inasmuch as it does not include the surname of the Archbishop of Sydney. It is signed “ W. S. Sydney “ instead of “ W. S. Smith, Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney.” As this petition comes from the head of the Church of England in Australia, according to the title by which he is recognised, I ask honorable senators to consent to so much of the Standing Orders being suspended as will enable the petition to be presented. I therefore move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be sus- t ended as will allow a petition signed “ W. S. Sydney “ to be presented.
– Perhaps I ought to explain to the Senate that the Clerk considered it to be his duty not to certify to this petition as being correct. The ground that he takes is that by our Standing Orders a petition must be signed by a person, and that this petition is signed with the name “ Sydney “ ; there being no such person, “ Sydney ‘ ‘ being a title. In consequence of the decision given in the Colenso case, and in other cases, by the Privy Council, it has been understood that there are no Archbishops or Bishops in this Commonwealth, in the strict acceptance of those terms, there being no established church here. But it is a question for the Senate to decide whether the Standing Orders shall be suspended or not.
– I would point out that, although there does not seem to be any great objection to the acceptance of this petition in itself, to suspend the Standing Orders would be to establish a precedent, which might be very unwise. This petition is irregular. It emanates from a very important person, and one for whom we have a very high regard. But we may have irregular petitions in the future from other persons, and the precedent of suspending the Standing Orders to enable irregular petitions to be received may lead to motions of this kind being made in future in connexion with petitions concerning which there is some doubt. I think it an unwise thing to do. Personally, I do not believe that any great ‘harm will follow if the petition is not received. We all know that it is forwarded by this gentleman in a representative capacity, and, having that knowledge, full justice will be done even if the petition is not accepted.
– The only objection is that the petition is1 signed by the Archbishop, by his title ras an Archbishop, instead of in his own name. In other respects, the petition is regular.
– I hope that Senator Gould, out of regard for the Standing Orders, will withdraw this petition until it is properly presented. It is only in cases of very grave necessity that we should suspend the Standing Orders. That course is usually taken for the purpose of enabling the business of the country to be carried ‘on more expeditiously. This petition will neither hasten nor delay the business of the country which is before Parliament at the present time. £0 far as concerns its influence upon members of the Senate, I think that every honorable senator knowing the circumstances will have just as much respect for the petition sought to be presented at the instance of the Archbishop as they would have if it were duly presented in a regular form. I therefore hope that Senator Gould will withdraw his motion.
. - I should like to point out to my honorable and’ learned friend, Senator Gould, that the petition - if I may refer to it as such, for the purposes of discussion - merely brings, under the notice of the Senate a resolution passed by the Synod of the Church of England in Sydney. That resolution is conveyed to the notice of the Senate, and consideration will undoubtedly be given to it. It being within our knowledge that the resolution has been passed, it is not absolutely necessary that the petition should be formally received. With regard to the point raised by Senator McGregor, I confess that I entirely as;ree with him. We know perfectly well that no Bishops, in the sense of their having any territorial or diocesan- jurisdiction, or having the right to use the name of their See, are recognised in the Commonwealth of Australia by our Government or by the Imperial authorities. They are recognised as “ The Right Rev. So-and-so.” It is as well to adhere to that position, or we may establish a regrettable precedent.
-If the objection to receive this petition is simply that the document is signed by the Archbishop of Sydney with his usual signature, it is very ungracious. I can quite understand the Clerk not feeling himself bound to accept a petition so signed, and he has very properly referred it to the Senate. I have no fault to find with that. But if the Senate refuses to admit the petition because it is so signed, it will do a very ungracious act. The petition practically comes from and embodies a resolution of the Synod of the Church of England in New South Wales. If the Archbishop had thought that he was contravening our Standing Orders by signing the petition in this way, I have no doubt that he would have adopted another method.
– We all agree with the honorable senator in that.
– Then, what ground is there for refusing to accept the petition? Why waste time in objecting to receive it? It appears to me to be an ungracious act altogether.
– I rise to order. The honorable and learned senator says that an act of the Senate is an ungracious act. Is that remark in order ?
– There has been no act of the Senate yet. What I understood Senator Dobson to say was, that if the Senate refused to agree to the suspension of the Standing Orders, it would be an ungracious act. That is his own opinion.
– It is only my opinion, and it is a parliamentary and a very mild way of expressing it. Despite all that has been said, I think that it will be a very ungracious act on- the part of the Senate to refuse to accept the petition. T hope that we shall not introduce denominational considerations, and that the petition will be received.
– I am sure that the Archbishop of Sydney is too broad-minded a man to misinterpret the action of the Senate in upholding its Standing Orders. It may appear to be an ungracious thing on our part not to receive the petition ; but I would1 ask honorable senators whether they would accept, my signature as “W.G. Queensland,” if I attached it in that form to any Bill passed by the Committee? In my opinion,, the Senate is indebted to the Clerk of theParliaments for calling our’ attention to thematter. I am sure .that no harm will bedone. The Attorney-General put thematter in a very proper form, when he informed Senator Gould that the attention of the Senate has been directed to the resolution carried by the Synod in Sydney.
– Any one. can quote the resolution in the debate.
– It appears to me that the Archbishop of Sydney has not signed this petition deliberately with the intention of contravening our Standing Orders. If he had been aware of what the Standing Orders provided, I feel sure that he would have signed it in accordance with them. It -would be a wise and a gracious thing if we were to find some way out of this difficulty, it being understood that our action on this, occasion should not constitute a precedent, and that the Senate desire that the Standing Orders as they exist shall in future be strictly observed.
– I hope that either Senator Gould will withdraw his motion for the suspension of theStanding Orders, or that the Senate will accept the motion unanimously. It seems to me that we are taking a very red-tapish course in this matter. We all know that the worthy clergyman who has signed thispetition has signed it in his official capacity, and without any intention to bring himself into conflict with the Standing Orders. If we carry out the very letter of the Standing Orders, we shall be departing from the spirit of them. The Archbishop will nodoubt have effected his purpose, whether we accept the petition or not ; but it has tobe remembered that the right of petition is always regarded as a very sacred one and we should not therefore refuse to any ‘ person through any mere informality the right to put his case before the Senate. It must be remembered that the Papua Bill will probably be dealt with this evening, and if the petition is not presented to-day. the full effect of it may be lost. We ought to have it before us when the Bill is in Committee. If, however, the motion of Senator Gould is not to be accepted unani- mously, I hope that the honorable and learned senator will see his way clear to withdraw it.
– Quite apart from the duty of upholding our Standing Orders, it appears to me that there is a constitutional reason why we cannot accept the petition in its present form. A little while ago, there was some agitation, and some bad blood arose, between the various religious ‘organizations as to the precedence of their heads at social and political functions. The Senate should be very careful not to participate in anything of that kind. Our Constitution lays down the principle that all religions are equal in our eyes. I hold that, according to section 116 of the Constitution, if we were to accept the petition in its present form we should, to a certain extent, be defeating the object of the section, which says -
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance.
I hold that if we were to accept this petition containing the Archbishop’s territorial signature - which, I understand, is the usual way in which archbishops and bishops sign documents, instead of using their Christian and surnames - we should, to a certain extent, be establishing a certain religious observance, and giving a precedence to this Archbishop to which he is not en- . titled. There can be no denying that we should be setting a precedent, and its having been established, the petitioner in this case would in future be entitled to address the Senate over the signature “ W. S. Sydney.”
-Col. Gould. - In the other House the signature was accepted.
– If the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives permit such a petition to be received, it is not for us to interfere. We have to maintain our own Standing Orders. I hold that the constitutional reason is sufficient to justify us in rejecting the petition in its present form ; but, at the same time, I do not believe that there is any honorable senator who has any objection whatever to the petition except on account of the manner in which it is signed.
– I cannot help saying that I very strongly dissent from and dislike what Senator de Largie has said. I am perfectly certain that the
Archbishop of Sydney, who signed the petition, had not the faintest desire to establish any precedent for himself.
– J did not say that he had.
– I believe the honorable senator said that if this precedent were established the Archbishop would say so and so.
S’enator de Largie. - I really cannot allow that argument to be attributed to me. What I said was that if we were to establish this precedent the Archbishop of Sydney would have a claim for its maintenance in the future. But I imputed no such idea to the Archbishop as that he desired to establish it.
– I accept Senator de Largie’s explanation at once, and I am glad that he has made it. I erroneously understood him to say that the Archbishop was desirous of establishing this precedent. I am glad that he has had the opportunity to make an explanation. That explanation I unreservedly accept. I agree with Senator Mulcahy in urging on Senator Gould to withdraw the motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders. There is nothing more certain than that if the Archbishop had had the faintest idea that the adoption of his usual form of signature was not in accordance with the Standing Orders, he would have signed the document in another way ; and no one more than the Archbishop must regret this debate, even so far as it has gone. Not merely for our own sakes, but for the sake of the Archbishop, I urge that the motion should be withdrawn, and the petition presented in another form.
– I join in urging Senator Gould to withdraw the motion. That honorable senator must realize the awkward position in which he will place the Senate if a division be taken. The objection raised by the Clerk seems to be well-founded, and we ought not to be asked to give a vote which might be taken to be a reflection on the petition, and on the person who signed it.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - I made the request to the Senate for the suspension of the Standing Orders, in the belief that I could rely on the courtesy of honorable senators. I did not regard the motion as one which would cause any dissension, but, of course, when I find that a number of honorable senators are opposed to the suspension of the Standing Orders, I shall not insist on a division. It is well, if there is a desire to have the Standing Orders suspended for any specific purpose, that there should be the consent of the Senate as a whole. But really honorable senators are making a great deal too much of this matter. The Standing Orders simply provide that every petition shall bear a signature on the face of it ; but now technical objection is taken to this gentleman being designated not by his surname, but by the name of his See.
– The Archbishop knew of this objection, because this is the second time his attention has been called to it.
– The first time was -eighteen months or two years ago.
.- There was a petition which I had to present, and which I did not afterwards bring before the Senate.
– That petition was returned to the Archbishop.
– Then it appears that Senator Gould also knew of this objection.
– I was perfectly well aware, when I spoke to the Clerk, that objection was raised, and I take the proper course of asking that the Standing Orders shall be suspended. Unfortunately the petition arrived during my absence last week, and I was unable then to present it.
– Of course I maybe wrong, but I think Senator Gould knew that the Archbishop was aware ‘of the objection.
– The petition could not be signed by anybody but the President of the Synod, and the peitition is presented simply for the purpose of presenting to the Senate the following resolution : -
That in consequence of the disastrous effects of the liquor traffic among native races, the Most Reverend the President be requested to petition, on behalf of this Synod, both Houses of the Federal Legislature to enact the prohibition of the importation and sale of intoxicating drinks for beverage purposes in New Guinea when a Constitution Bill foi that Territory shall come before either of those bodies.
In compliance with the resolution, the Archbishop forwarded this petition.
– With his official signature, as .President of the Synod.
– Which he knew was not in order.
– The Archbishop signed the petition in accordance with the position he occupies, and in a way in which it has been accepted by the other Chamber.
– That has nothing to do with us.
.- The petition is signed in a way which would be accepted by the Parliament of New South Wales.
– But in a way which would not be accepted by the House of Commons.
– By statutory law in New South Wales, the Archbishop of Sydney is recognised as holding property, and in every other respect > and he had perfect justification for signing the petition in this way. If there has been any irregularity, I am, of course, bound to accept the responsibility. Even if there were only two or three honorable senators averse to the suspension of the Standing Orders, I should not be prepared to go to a division. I hope, however, that honorable senators will bear in mind that, if in the future, they should desire the Standing Orders to be’ suspended for their own convenience, they may find some little objection and difficulty raised. If honorable senators take up the position that the suspension of the Standing Orders shall be refused on all occasions’, I am with them. I now ask leave to withdraw the motion, and I express my regret that it should have been submitted, and that I have been unable to obtain that courtesy which I expected.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON laid upon the table the following paper : -
Provisional Regulations under the Defence- Act 1903. - Amendment of the Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth, 1904 - Statutory Rules 1904, No. ?2.
The Clerk laid upon the table the following paper: -
Return to order of the Senate of 10th November, 1904 - Warrant and Non-commissioned Officers, Instructional Staffs - Reclassification of.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General, without notice, whether the Government will next session introduce legislation with the object of bring- ing about uniformity of the marriage laws within the Commonwealth?
– I do not know whether the honorable senator ought not to have addressed this question to Senator Dobson.
– Senator Dobson’s proposal was to separate married couples.
– There is a nice interjection !
– I shall, however, take the matter into serious consideration, because, no doubt, uniformity is desirable.
– I desire to ask the Attorney-General, without notice, whether the word “ survey,” used in the KalgoorliePort Augusta Railway Survey Bill, means a flying survey, or a contractor’s survey, with a view of deciding quantities, and all information necessary on which to call tenders, or a survey betwixt and between the two ?
– I shall explain all about the matter when I move the second reading of the Bill.
– I should like the Attorney-General to give me the information now, if he can.
– I am unable to give the honorable and learned senator the information.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 5827), on motion by Senator Higgs -
That ‘there be laid on the table of the Senate a precis of the statements made by Mr. John Renfrew Craig, of Samarai, in correspondence with the Government of British New Guinea, and wilh the Commonwealth Department of External Affairs, containing certain charges against the Executive Council of British New Guinea, and specific allegations with regard to the maladministration of the Government of British N-:w Guinea.
– -I think the Attorney-General was very severe on Mr. J. R. Craig when this motion was last before the Senate. The chief objection of the honorable and learned senator to having a precis made of Mr. Craig’s statement, appeared to be that Mr. Craig had on various occasions applied for a position in the Commonwealth Service. The fact that Mr. Craig did not obtain such a position does not prove in any way that he is a man to whom the Attorney-General, or any other member of the Ministry, should not pay attention when he writes a number of intelligent letters, which, though not couched, in every case, in the language which the Attorney-General might use, contained very serious statements concerning the administration of New Guinea. My object in asking that a freds of this correspondence should be prepared was to make Members of the Federal Parliament better acquainted with New Guinea affairs, so that they might be better equipped for legislating in regard to the Possession. The Attorney-General has taken up a very strong attitude in opposition, to the motion, and he appears to have a considerable number of supporters-; and under the circumstances, I should like honorable senators to bear with me, while I give a short precis of some of the statements of Mr. Craig. In one of his letters that gentleman refers to certain atrocities, as he describes them, in the Louislade Archipelago. It appears that in those islands the custom is to allow the natives to obtain goods on credit, payment being demanded in gold. The accounts are kept, and if the natives fail to pay, they are charged exorbitant interest, and very harsh measures are used towards them. It appears that certain persons actually arrested natives for the non-payment of accounts, and tried them for the offence in the storekeeper’s house. In one case, they actually imprisoned a native who failed to pay, 300 feet below the’ surface in a mine, and handcuffed to a truck, 1 all night. It appears that this unfortunate native lost his reason, and for some three years he wandered about the island in a half-witted manner until death put an end to his unhappy condition. It would appear also that these people, unauthorized, ventured to administer a flogging to the natives because they failed to pay their accounts. Mr. Craig states that the only punishment that was ever inflicted upon persons guilty of these offences ,was to deprive one of the .members of the firm of his1 commission as a justice of the peace and of his authority to “sign on “ natives. Subsequent to the cancellation of his commission, as a justice of the peace, this man continued to sign on boys for his own firm. The firm had some hundreds of natives employed, and they were signed for the period of three years, which was against the law, at a rate of wages of is. a month and rations. It appears, further, that they forcibly recruited natives, and sent them to places 200 miles from their homes to work for the firm. Mr. Craig, whose statements have been challenged by the Attorney-General, is borne out by one of the Government officials in an official report, which is to this effect -
At Sudest certain abuses are cropping up, the result of the objectionable system of giving goods on credit to the natives, which was introduced by these traders a few years ago. Perhaps, when gold was fairly plentiful and easy to obtain, matters went smoothly enough, but now, when the gold is worked out, these” traders have awakened to the fact that they stand to lose a considerable sum if the native cannot meet his liability, and at times they adopt measures of an illegal character in the endeavour to urge the native to greater efforts in his search for gold. The traders who were indicated are Messrs. Mahony, Patrick Carby, and Mr. John Clyde Mahony, Justice of the Peace,’ a qualified officer for the Possession.
That is a statement by one of the New Guinea officials, and it appears to me to bear out the statements which have been made by Mr. Craig. With regard to another letter, in which Mr. Craig refers to unjust judicial decisions in appeal cases from the Warden’s Court, in reference to leasehold or dredging areas .on the Yare and Mambare Rivers, in December, 1900, he is borne out by the late Mr. J. P. Cusack, secretary to the Amalgamated Miners. Mr. Craig says -
These leaseholds originally applied for by genuine practical miners were withheld by the magistracy, with the connivance of the Executive Council, until such time as members of the magistracy and of the corrupt Customs gang were able to lodge applications and communicate with southern brokers with a view to gigantic exploitation schemes.
Let me say here that I think Craig has made a very serious mistake in his own interest in using such language as “corrupt Customs gang,” which I have just quoted. His letters would have had greater weight, as I have told him frequently, if he had not used this language. The statement above quoted appears to me to be borne out by the following extract from a letter written by Mr. J. P. Cusack, in May, 1904: -
It is strange and a painful fact that, although members of the New Guinea governing executive can get big estates around Port Moresby, and the deeds handed to them at once, we here on Woodlark gold-field - a field of some ten years’ standing, and supposed to be regulated by the Queensland Mining Act - cannot get a homestead lease of an acre to build a hut on.
– That is extraordinary.
– Mr. Craig has made a statement on the subject to the Department of External Affairs, and he also addressed a complaint to the Executive Council of New Guinea in regard to the matter.
I find that his statements are borne out, to a considerable extent, by individuals, and by correspondence.
– Is the honorable senator going to give any corroboration of these statements ?
– I propose to give the name of one of the miners in New Guinea, later. With regard to the Woodlark decisions, Mr. Craig says -
After many Warden’s Court cases, appeals were made to the Central Court of the Possession, and a date set for hearing. Legal counsel, costing over ^500, was secured from Townsville, but the corrupt gang “ influenced “ or “ worked “ the Executive Council -
Here, again, Mr. Craig indulges in extreme language, to which the Senate is not accustomed - so that the Central Court heard and decided the appeal cases before the date set for hearing, handing over the leaseholds to the corrupt gang. At a meeting of the Executive Council held that same evening on board the Merrie England, an appeal against this iniquitous proceeding was presented to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, but the same was never acknowledged, and the unjust decision still remains in force.
– By whom was the appeal presented?
– I have no names in this case. This is one of the general paragraphs, but I now come to particular instances. Mr. Craig states -
During the year 1899 a good deal of litigation took place in the Warden’s Court, Woodlark, over certain mining leaseholds, which resulted in appeals being lodged and certain cases set for hearing by the Central Court. Some of these cases were as undernoted.
These cases being heard in the Warden’s Court, were decided by the Warden an3 two assessors in favour of Webster and Soich, and Pryke and Fuller, in which Johnston and Arbouin appealed to the Central Court; appeal was allowed, and to enable both parties time to arrange for legal counsel, the Warden stated that the case would not be heard before a certain date.
A number of the parties interested then left Woodlark Island for Queensland for the purpose of arranging the engagement of legal counsel.
The Chief Judicial Officer arrived at Woodlark in the absence of these men about six weeks before the date indicated by Warden for the hearing of the appeal cases. The Judge gave about an hour’s notice that he was going to hear those appeals.
Mr. D. Pryke, as representing Webster and Soich and Pryke and Fuller, objected in Court to the appeals being heard, as Johnston and Arbouin had not complied with the Act, which states that notice shall be served on the other side within ‘ a certain period, which in this case had not been done, and the cases were, therefore, actually out of Court.
The Judge overruled this objection, and also affirmed that there was no appeal, absolutely refusing fo hear evidence, nevertheless giving a decision upsetting the Warden’s Court decision.
Mr. Pryke asked the Judge for an appeal to the Supreme Court of Queensland, which was refused, the Judge stating that there was no appeal from the Central Court. Mr. Pryke thereupon lodged a petition with the Executive Council, pointing out the unjustness of the decision of the Central Court, and requesting that the matter be reconsidered by the Executive Council. No official acknowledgment was ever received of such appeal, and the decision still remains in force.
Mr. Pryke was in Melbourne the other day, and he was asked to read that extract from Craig’s correspondence. He did so, and attached to it this certificate -
Having read this statement, I can certify to the truth of the- same. (Sgd.) Daniel Pryke, of Samarai, British New Guinea, 4’th November, 1904.
Witness, 130 Grey-street, East Melbourne.
– Yes. Senator Stewart witnessed Mr. Pryke’s signature to that certificate. Now, with regard to the Customs cases, I propose to read an extract from Mr. Craig’s correspondence, without giving the names. He writes -
Let us consider the notorious instance of August, 1902, as a specific instance typical of many other similar frauds during the previous four years.
In August, 1902, there was on the manifest of the s.s. Moresby the particular item consisting of 4,810 lbs. of trade tobacco. On one copy of the manifest to be lodged with the Customs, Mr. A., assisted by Mr. K., altered the figures to 2,810, thus evading the payment of duty upon 2.000 lbs. weight of trade tobacco, which, at is. 6d. per lb. duty, is equal to a sum of ^,’150, evaded upon this one particular item alone.
A and K “fixed up” certain copies of invoices from head office to suit the manifest so “ faked.” These invoices they stamped with the Government stamp, feloniously secured through the connivance of M, and fixed up everything, as usual, “ nicely “ - fraudulently - in a similar manner to what they had done so frequently during the previous five years.
– I rise to a point of order. In the interest of the Senate, I ask whether the honorable senator is in order in reading extracts from correspondence, which make grave charges of corruption in public affairs without giving names, and full particulars?
– The honorable senator desires that the papers shall be laid on the table, so that we may have the names given.
– The honorable senator is withholding names, while making statements, which, if proved, reveal a dreadful state of corruption in New Guinea.
– I do not think that I can rule the reading of the document out of order. Honorable senators must take the responsibility of making these statements.
– But should not names be given when charges are made?
– They should lay upon the table any document from which they quote, if that is required. If I understand Senator Trenwith bright, the honorable senator desires that this document shall be laid upon the table, and it therefore should be.
– I am quite willing to lay the paper upon the table.
-Col. Neild. - Standing order 350 says that a document quoted from by an honorable senator not a Minister of the Crown, may be ordered by the Senate to be laid upon the table. I submit that there will have to be a vote taken as to whether this paper should be laid upon the table.
– Such order may be made without notice immediately after the conclusion of. the speech in which the document is quoted’.
– The quotation continues -
There were several items on that particular manifest fraudulently manipulated in a similar manner, and the total amount of the evasion of duty amounted to a sum of about ?700. Of that sum about ?100 was allowed to remain to the credit of a certain company to swell their profits, while about ^’600 was divided or shared out among various persons.
– Does the honorable senator think it is fair to read all this correspondence, when the motion is for a -precis of it ?
– The honorable and learned senator took such strong objection to a precis being prepared that he rendered- it absolutely necessary for me to give some extracts from the correspondence, in order to show honorable senators how grave werethe statements made concerning the administration of affairs in New Guinea.
– If the honorable senator believes that, why should he not make direct charges, and deal with them in that way?
– Mr. Craig says he is perfectly willing to make charges.
– Will the honorable senator take the responsibility of making them ?
– Why should I be asked to take that responsibility?
– Because they are being made in the Senate. Let Mr. Craig make them in a court of law.
– Why should he go to the expense when it is a public matter ?
– He went to the expense before, and backed out of it.
– That is what the documents show.
-Mr. Craig has told the Department of External Affairs how the fraud on the Customs was arranged by certain individuals, and I should like a precis to be made, in order that honorable senators may be able to say whether action ought to be taken, or whether the Government should be asked if any action has been taken.
– Since the honorable senator has a copy of the correspondence, why does he not make a precis and submit charges?
– It is the duty of the Government, if they know ofthese things, to investigate them. The object of the precis, as has been stated frequently, is to get an inquiry into the administration of affairs in the island. Both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, I think, have refused to give an inquiry. If a question is asked about the treatment of. the natives, the Prime Minister says he does not consider it necessary to appoint a special advocate for the natives, that a new Administrator has been appointed, and it is his duty to act for them. The same unsatisfactory reply is received to any inquiry concerning these other matters. I have had a conversation with at least one missionary from New Guinea, who tells me that the charges and statements made by Mr. Craig are matters of common report throughout the Possession. With reference to the Gibara raid of April, 1901, Mr. Craig says it is the case of a native, who was supposed to have stolen a box, containing gold, from a man named Woolfe -
A certain officer, with a posse of about twenty members of the armed native constabulary, took Sipilia and other prisoners with him to Milne
Bay, and he specially invited several diggers to accompany him in a general raid upon the peaceful natives. During the three days’ duration of the Gibara raid, Sipilia was led about in irons under the charge of the chief warder, Tauakina. The gold was not recovered, and there was no charge whatever against Sipilia, but he was hated intensely by Symons and certain diggers as being a missionary spy. The officer arranged with four white men that they should execute Sipilia. He instructed Tauakina to hand Sipilia over to the four white men, instructing them if the boy did not find the gold to “ remove “ him. The four men led Sipilia further into the bush, knocked the irons off him, so as to leave no mark of identification, and shot him dead without any legal form of trial whatever.
I do not propose to go any further into Mr. Craig’s correspondence. I think I have read sufficient to show the Attorney-General that if he eliminates from Mr. Craig’s letter all his extravagant epithets, he will find a sufficient basis of serious statements to induce the Government to have an investigation made into the charges contained therein.
– It would be like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.
– The honorable and learned senator complains of the language used in the letters, but he should remember that men who lead a pioneering life of that kind are not always in the habit of using the language to be found in Shakespeare. They may be like certain bullock drivers mentioned in a humorous article written by a member of this Parliament. Concerning a certain gentleman, he wrote, “a finished orator, the bullock drivers repeat his phrases to this day.” The Attorney-General should excuse the extravagant language of Mr. Craig, and not dismiss his statements because he is not as polite as he himself invariably is. The honorable and learned senator said that Mr. Craig had been charged with a very serious offence. He would not allow that Mr. Craig was innocent, because he said no verdict has been passed upon him. Mr. Craig claims that there has been no trial, and that the officials will not bring him to trial because they cannot prove his guilt.
– Is it that his guilt cannot be proved, or is it that he is guiltless ?
- Mr. Craig claims that he is perfectly innocent, and that the charges were made against him on account of his action in opposing certain officials in New Guinea. I propose to read a letter which the Rev. W. E. Bromilow wrote at
Dabu on the 10th November, 1903, to Mr. Craig, who, it will be remembered, was charged with the murder of a native -
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of yours of5th October ult., and to say in reply that-
Tagigi, is proved by the fact of his being returned to his home, and by his having signed on to another employer.
After perusing at Townsville Mr. Craig’s letters of 9th September, 5th October, and 26th October, 1903, to the Department of External Affairs, Bishop Stone Wigg wrote to him on the 2nd February, 1904, in these terms -
I have read through your papers, and think that you make a prima facie case for inquiry by the Federal authorities. I must say I hope a thorough inquiry will take place.
I admit that there is a very great deal of correspondence written by Mr. Craig. He has shown an extraordinary amount of perseverance in sending correspondence to the various Departments.
– Altogether misdirected perseverance.
– There may be a certain amount of misdirected zeal. Since he spoke to me about this matter at Townsville, in November last, I have repeatedly told Mr. Craig that he would get a great deal more consideration if he would refrain from using extravagant language. But that is no reason why his statements should be dismissed as unworthy of credence. The Attorney-General could instruct one of his officers to make a short precis ; it may be as short as the Government wish, so long as it will give honorable senators an idea of the maladministration in the Possession. “Mr. Craig points out that, through Customs leakages, a great deal of revenue is lost. Because he has happened to apply for a position in the Public Service of the Com- monwealth, and has not succeeded, surely that is no reason why we should refuse to listen to the statements he is prepared to make. I understand that he is willing to make an affidavit concerning a great number of the charges he has made, and he claims that other charges can be substan tiated by witnesses who are either in the Possession or in the Commonwealth.
I hope the motion will be carried.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
– In view of the amount of business on the notice-paper, I ask that the order of the day for the resumption of the debate on the motion standing in my name, with reference to the rebate of duties on natural products grown in the New Hebrides, be read and discharged.
Order of the day read and discharged.
Debate resumed from 24th November (vide page 7390). on motion by Senator Higgs -
That the report of the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the case of Major J. W.
– When my remarks were terminated last week, I was about to refer to some of the evidence given as to the qualifications of Major Carroll as a military officer. But before I proceed to discuss that point’, I desire to make one or two remarks in addition to what I said upon two points in particular, because there seems to be some dissent from my criticisms. First, with regard to the reasons advanced by MajorGeneral Hutton for having selected Major Carroll for retrenchment, I stated that the real reason that had been stated by Major-General Hutton was that he was called upon to retrench, and that Major Carroll was an officer whose services could be dispensed with, with less detriment to th<» military service of the Commonwealth, than was the case with some other officers. The statement was challenged by my honorable friend, Senator Dawson. It is a very important matter, and, therefore, I need not apologize for referring to it again. Senator Dawson said that MajorGeneral Hutton had not put that point forward as a reason. I intend to refer to certain passages in the evidence to show that he did put it forward as a reason. It is important, because it confirms the view which I take, and have previously expressed, that the statement, taken from the letter of the 14th November, did not constitute the reasons for the retrenchment of Major Carroll. I again refer honorable senators to the letter of the 14th November, and will show that that letter does not state that any of the statements made in it are reasons advanced by Major-General Hutton for the retrenchment of Major Carroll. The General Officer Commanding had been called upon in a private letter from the Minister of Defence, Sir John Forrest, to give him some particulars about Major Carroll, and in the last sentence the Minister says -
Please, therefore, let me have good grounds for my actions in Carroll’s and all other similar cases.
Major-General Hutton, in a private and confidential letter, dated the 14th November, 1902, wrote back -
With reference to your note of the 12th inst., and Captain Carroll, the case is as follows : -
Then a little further down he says -
Captain Carroll’s history is as follows : - It is under those two headings that all the statements appear which have been chopped up and alphabetized by the Select Committee. They appear in the course of the inquiry as statements lettered from A to something very far down in the alphabet. Honorable senators have been invited to take the view that these statements were reasons advanced by Major-General Hutton for the retrenchment of Major Carroll. But it is clear from the letter that they were not the reasons, and Major Carroll himself has never advanced the contention that they were.
– What is the meaning attached to these reasons for breaking Major Carroll’s military career?
- Major Carroll having been retrenched, he went to see the Minister on the subject. The Minister wrote to Major-General Hutton, asking for particulars, and saying that he desired- to have good grounds for his action “ in Carroll’s and all other similar cases.” Major-General Hutton, in reply, gave the Minister the history of Major Carroll’s case. It is quite a distortion of his letter to say that every passage in it contains a reason for the retrenchment of Major Carroll.
– The reasons given in the letter are, as a matter of fact, reasons why Major Carroll should be retrenched.
– The facts of Major Carroll’s case were known to the General Officer Commanding, and they no doubt were the facts upon which he came to the conclusion that the Major could be retrenched. But the statements in the letter were the reasons given by Major-General Hutton..
– Will the honorable and learned senator state what the reasonswere ?
– I have given the reasons, but I am now replying to the assertion that what is contained in MajorGeneral Hutton’s letter of the 14th November were the reasons for the retrenchment. In a letter written by Major-General Hutton to Sir John Forrest on the 19th July he says -
Further inquiry confirms me in the opinion I expressed to you in my letter of 14th November. The destruction of this officer’s papers does not affect the case as it stands - inasmuch as his retrenchment was recommended on account of his being an officer, who, as compared with others, could most easily, and with less detriment, be spared from the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
That is the reason advanced by the General Officer Commanding there, and also in the other passages.
– The General Officer Commanding advanced other reasons besides that.
– Not reasons. If ‘honorable senators look at the letter which was cut up by the Select Committee, and set out as statements of reasons, they will see that none of those are advanced as grounds for the retrenchment of Major Carroll.
– Why were the statements made?
– The General Officer Commanding was giving a history’ of the case to the Minister.
– In order to have, justification for the retrenchment of Major Carroll.
– The General Officer Commanding was endeavouring to put the Minister in as good a position as he was in himself so far as information was concerned. The important point is that the reason given by Major-General Hutton was that he was called upon to retrench, and that he came to the conclusion that Major Carroll’s services could, in his opinion, be spared with least detriment to the service. On page 33 of the evidence, Major-General Hutton is reported as stating, in a letter dated 16th September, 1903: -
It became then a question of consideration which of the recently appointed officers could, with best advantage to the Commonwealth Military Forces, be retrenched. The choice rested between five or six officers who were appointed to the Queensland State Military Forces about the same time. I found that the claims of the following two officers were least worthy of consideration, and that their services could, from the information then at my disposal, without detriment, be dispensed with, namely,- and Captain Carrol).
The officer whose name I have not mentioned was dispensed with altogether, but Captain Carroll was given employment elsewhere. In a Minute by the General Officer Commanding, dated 10th July, 1903, and reported on page 31 of the evidence, there is the following: -
I do not propose to comment on Major Carroll’s statement. The whole Question is as to whether it was advisable to retain Captain and Honorary Major Carroll’s services at the time the retrenchment was effected in 1002.
That, I submit, was the only reason that the General Officer Commanding should have been called upon to give. If the judgment of the General Officer Commanding was correct on the subject that one reason was amply sufficient.
– He based his reason on the statement in the letter.
– He does not say so, but, no doubt, he based his reason on the general knowledge he obtained from the sources at his disposal with regard to the incidents and particulars of Major Carroll’s career. All the information he could get from his officers and elsewhere was used by him. And, as he says, he went into the facts fully in order to arrive at a decision. There is no doubt, however, that the reason he submitted to the Minister was the reason I quoted just now.
– What is Senator Drake’s opinion of some of the information given by officers to the General Officer Commanding ?
– I have run through the whole of the statements, and expressed my opinion regarding them, and I do not suppose that the honorable senator wishes me to deal with them seriatim once more. I do intend, however, once more to refer to one of the statements in view of the interjections - not generally improper interjections - which I heard when I was speaking on the last occasion. Before I pass from the present point, however, I wish to refer honorable senators to the evidence given by my late colleague, Sir John Forrest, who was then Minister of Defence. In the evidence of the right honorable gentleman, the following occurs : - 6287. Would that be prior to the 12th November, 1902, on which date you wrote to the General Officer Commanding the letter which appears on page 15 of the Minutes of Evidence? - I note that that is a private letter from me, but, in this instance, I have no objection to its being produced. The letter was not intended for any one but the General Officer Commanding, and it will be seen from the same page of the evidence that he wrote me a private and confidential letter in reply. Those letters should never have been produced. I do not say that as objecting to the production of the letters, but merely to intimate that they were nol written with a view to publication.
It was that letter, written in order to give the Minister confidential information, that was divided up by the Committee and regarded as containing separate reasons advanced for the retrenchment of Major Carroll. This debate might go on for ever if we continued going over the same ground. But I desire to say a few words in regard to statement G, to which honorable senators opposite evidently attach a good deal, of importance. That statement is to the effect that Major Carroll was appointed to the Queensland permanent staff after he had made himself useful to the then Premier, Sir Hugh Nelson, and it seems not only to have hurt the feelings of Major Carroll, but to have been taken rather to heart by some of the members of the Select Committee. Of course, it is admitted that there was no foundation for the statement that Sir Hugh Nelson had been approached in the matter, or had made the appointment. But, when speaking about the rumour which was undoubtedly current in Queensland at the time, and which was reproduced by the General Officer Commanding in his remarks - though he may have been in error as to details - I understood honorable senators opposite to say that there was no evidence that there had ever been any such rumour. I think it was Senator O’Keefe who said that nearly every witness in Queensland had been examined with a view to find out whether they had heard of the rumour. I think the honorable senator is wrong, because I went through the evidence, though certainly not word for word, and I found that the only officer who was asked the question was Lt.-Col. Thynne.
– I was speaking of witnesses who were examined down here, but who had been in Queensland at one time or another.
– I do not know what witnesses were examined down here and what witnesses were examined in other parts, but I think that in Queensland Lt.-Col. Thynne was the only one who was asked a question on this point.
– There must have been half-a-dozen or more witnesses who were asked the question, and the majority said they had never heard the rumour.
– I think there can be no doubt that there was a rumour to the effect. The position taken on behalf of the General Officer Commanding on this point has been challenged, and somewhat rudely challenged, by Senator Dawson, who made a most improper remark in connexion with statement G, and it is necessary for me to refer to one or two passages of the evidence on the point.
– Would the rumour be any justification for the General Officer Commanding repeating it?
– The General Officer Commanding did not say it was a rumour, but repeated it as a statement of fact.
– I s’hall quote what the General Officer Commanding said in his evidence. Se was being asked at the time by the Minister what Major Carroll’s qualifications were, and he replied that Major Carroll had served three years on probation in Queensland, and had not distinguished himself particularly. The General Officer Commanding went on to say that Major Carroll was afterwards re-appointed to the Permanent Staff, and it seemed almost necessary to account in some way for such an officer receiving an appointment of the kind. The General Officer Commanding would no doubt want to know the reason, and he would make inquiries, and in writing a private and confidential letter to the Min ister he would, to the best of his memory, relate what had been told him by his officers.
– This is special pleading, which is not worthy of the Minister.
– Why not?
– It is a laboured, manufactured suggestion. Senator DRAKE. - It is nothing of the kind ; it is what the General Officer Commanding himself said in his evidence.
– The General Officer Commanding’s statement was not upheld by one witness.
– I shall quote what the witnesses said. The General Officer Commanding, in his written statement, which appears on page 33 of the evidence, stated -
It appeared that in February, 1899, Captain Carroll was appointed to the Permanent Staff of the Military Forces of Queensland. The reasons of the appointment were unknown, but it was stated to me that his appointment was made by the then Premier of Queensland, acting, probably, on representations of a favorable naturemade in regard to this officer. and so on. The following is an extract from the evidence on page 35 - 356. Who is responsible for the statement that he “made himself useful to the then Premier of Queensland “ ? - The whole of the officers whom I consulted ; but their impressions may have been» wrong. I merely give the statement for what it is worth. It is the explanation which was offered for the. return of Major Carroll to the Queensland Permanent Forces. 357. Amongst those officers you include Colonel Ricardo, Lt.-Col. Aytoun, and Lt.-Col. Plomer? - Yes, they were all in Brisbane at the time of my visit, and I have not the slightest doubt but that they will tell the Committee exactly the same thing as myself. There was no imputation that anything improper had occurred in the matter of his re-appointment.
– Colonel Plomer wasnot in Queensland when Major Carroll was brought back from the old country
– Perhaps Colonel Plomer had not that information.
– This is another of. Major-General Hutton’s reckless statements.
– At question 373 Major-General Hutton was asked - 373. Then the statement that Major Carroll- “ made himself useful to the then Premier of Queensland “ was advanced under a misapprehension? - It was made as the result of a mistaken impression which was conveyed to me. T have no means of gauging the qualifications of. the majority of officers other’ than by relying.; upon the opinions of officers in whom I have confidence.
Lt.-Col. Lyster, who is well known as an old Queensland officer, is thus reported, on page 161 of the evidence - 403S. Did yo.u ever hear it stated that Major Carroll had made himself useful to Sir Hugh Nelson when in England? - I have heard it, but who said it, or where it was said, I do not know. 4039. Did you ever hear it said that he got his commission because he had made himself useful? - You mean the second appointment? 4040. I mean the appointment that is referred to here? - I have heard it said, but who said it, or whether since, or before, or at the time, I could not say. 4041. You cannot say whether it was in 1898, or later? - No. 4042. Was it a matter of common remark, or was it merely the expression of one individual’s opinion ? - That I could not say.
– That is about the most we could get anywhere.
– I think not.
– He was “sufficiently ambiguous,” at any rate.
– Senator Dawson seemed incredulous when I mentioned, from memory, that Major Selheim was one of the officers who had referred to this rumour. I find that on page 167, at question 4150, Major Selheim gave this evidence -
Did you ever hear any reason assigned for his being brought back to Queensland? - Yes, hearsay again - pure hearsay.
What was the reason assigned? - I heard that somebody who had influence had arranged for him to return.
Did you ever hear the name of .Sir Hugh Nelson mentioned in this connexion? - Yes.
Was it common talk? - Yes, I have often heard it.
– By. whom was he being examined ?
– By Captain Niesigh Does that make any difference?
– I was struck by the way in which the questions are put.
– Leading questions are quite usual throughout this evidence.
– Major Selheim gave his evidence in a very straightforward manner.
– He is an officer who holds a very high character, and who has been spoken highly of by Senator Dawson.
– Leading questions were not usual with the members of the Committee, but with the General Officer Can.manding’s representative.
– At question 4154, Major Selheim is asked -
Is it probable that you, among others, may have mentioned the rumour to the General Officer Commanding, when he was in Brisbane in 1002, and asked questions on the subject of Major Car roll? - Yes, I may have done so. Had I been asked, I should have told him just what I have told the Committee now, but I have no recollection of being asked.
– That does not substantiate Major-General Hutton’ s statement. The witness said he. did not remember being asked.
– He says it was a mere rumour, and it is evident that there was a rumour of the kind in Brisbane at the time, and that is the statement which was made by Major-General Hutton.
– Major-General Hutton could never have invented it.
-A statement is made by Major-General Hutton, which we know was not verbally accurate, but he mentions the rumour as suggesting a reason for the appointment of Major Carroll to the permanent staff in 1899. I am merely showing that there was such a rumour, and it is easy to connect the two things. It is not necessary to bring any witness to say that he actually communicated to Major-General Hutton the statement referred to in the letter.
– Is it fair to retrench a man on rumour?
– The honorable senator harps on that point, but I say again that Major Carroll was not retrenched on rumour. This statement is included in a confidential document, which Sir . John Forrest has said should never have been produced, and which was’ written in order to put the Minister in the position occupied by the officer who recommended the retrenchment. Major-General Hutton was called upon to retrench, and after he made inquiries of officers in Brisbane, he came to the conclusion that, in the circumstances, Major Carroll, with another, were the. proper officers to be retrenched. I propose now to read evidence given by the same witness under examination in chief by the chairman at question 4196 -
Where did you hear the rumour that Major Carroll had made himself useful to Sir Hugh Nelson? - I heard it at Head-quarters here.
Can you remember the name of any person who repeated the rumour to you ? - I cannot say that I do. There is just the impression in my mind that I have heard it.
You have only an impression that you heard it? - No. I am positive that I heard it, but I cannot say from whom I heard it.
Did you attach any importance to the statement at the time? - No, I did not. It went in one ear and out the other.
If it were True that influence had been used, would it necessarily follow that it was corrupt or wrong influence ? - No.
It might have been a perfectly fair thing to do? - Yes. I am quite sure that nobody imputed any corrupt influence to Sir Hugh Nelson.
I now refer honorable senators to the evidence of Lt.-Col. Chauvel on the same subject. He was asked by the chairman, question 4352 -
Did you ever hear that Major Carroll received an appointment in the Queensland Force because he made himself useful to the Premier of Queensland when in England ? - I have heard that said.
Did you ever tell any one that Major Carroll had made himself useful to the Premier of Queensland ? - Certainly not.
Did any one ever tell you that? - I have heard the rumour, but I cannot remember that any one specially told me of it.
Can’ you trace the rumour to any person ? - No, not at this time; it is so long ago.
Did you hear it more than once? - I think so. J have heard it lately, but I do not remember how it cropped up.
Was your opinion of Major Carroll sought by any person in 1902, prior to the retrenchment? - I think not.
– It is marvellous that they should all recollect having been told it, whilst none of them can remember by whom.
– Then we have the evidence of Dr. Thomson, the principal medical officer in Queensland.
– He is a beauty.
– He is a gentleman who occupies a very high position indeed in Queensland. He has given a very great deal of his time to military matters, and as a gentleman and a soldier his evidence is entitled to consideration.
– He was the most unsatisfactory witness who came before the Committee.
– He certainly cannot be said to have had any bias against Major Carroll, because he gives that gentleman a very high character indeed. He says that Major Carroll was in the habit of visiting at his house, and he evidently had a very high opinion of him. In answer to question 4534, he says -
Major Carroll has always been an abstemious, pure-living, clean-tongued man, and a gentleman in every sense ‘of the word.
– Yet Dr. Thomson went to head-quarters in Queensland to try to prevent Major Carroll from getting his appointment as adjutant in 1899.
– That is so, and he gives as his reasons for doing so, that he thought that, physically, Major Carroll should not have been re-admitted to the service at that time.
– Yet, he passed him to go ,to the South African war afterwards.
-Col. Neild. - He showered rose-leaves on him, and then stabbed him.
– I am endeavouring to exclude from my remarks all matters, but those which are dealt with in statement G, to which some honorable senators apparently attach very great importance. This is the evidence given by Dr. Thomson at question 4612 -
Have you ever heard anything -which would justify the Committee in coming to the conclusion that it had been general conversation in Brisbane, that Major Carroll’s return from England to an appointment on the Permanent Staff was due to the influence of Sir Hugh Nelson? - That was common talk ; I have no evidence of it.
Mess-room talk ? - Yes ; that was the general impression.
By the Chairman. - Can you remember the name of one person who stated that Major Carroll had made himself useful to the Premier of Queensland? - I never heard that he had made himself useful.
What were the terms of the rumour you heard on the subject? - The yarn went about that during a visit Sir Hugh Nelson made to England, I think at the time of the second Jubilee, Major Carroll had seen him, and had used some influence with him with Sir Horace Tozer. General Gunter is dea’d, and I make no charge, far from it; but General Gunter told me certain things which led me to understand that the influence I refer to had been used to get him back, and it was impossible for him (General Gunter) to interfere.
By Senator de Largie. - Did he indicate the nature of the influence ? - Yes, as I have told you. My memory is that both Sir Hugh Nelson’s name and Sir Horace Tozer’s name were mentioned in connexion with it.
By the Chairman. - Did you ever say to any one that’ Major Carroll had made himself useful to the Premier of Queensland ? - Never. I never heard it suggested ; and that he made himself useful to Sir Hugh Nelson, I never dreamt of.
You never said it ? - No. I thought that simply as an old Queenslander he had gone to see Sir Hugh Nelson in London, and had pled his cause. I never associated the story with anything of that sort.
It must be perfectly clear, from ,the extract I have read’, that there was a rumour to the effect stated at that time in. Queensland, by way of accounting for an unexpected appointment. It will be remembered that Major Carroll, in his evidence, has said that when he received this appointment in London, he was, never more surprised in his life.
– It does not show that he was unfitted, because he did not expect the appointment.
– No; he had made application for an appointment to the Permanent Staff, but when he heard of this appointment, he’ was very much surprised. Is it any wonder, therefore, that officers who had continued in the Queensland Defence Force all the time, and who were, perhaps, looking with longing eyes to a position of that kind, should be surprised at the appointment of Major Carroll, should have looked round for some reason for that appointment, and that the idea should get about, as I put it myself in speaking, that he had “ a friend at court.” That seems to me to be a reasonable explanation of the rumour. Major Carroll says that he did not use or attempt to use any political or other influence to secure the appointment. We may accept that statement without qualification, and agree that the appointment came to him in the way he has stated. But there is still left the almost unavoidable impression upon one’s mind that there was some “ friend at court,” who was saying a good word for Major Carroll.
– That shows the damaging effect of Major-General Hutton’s letter.
– The damaging effect of a private and confidential letter to ‘he Minister ?
– All the more damaging because it was private and confidential.
– Major-General Hutton merely stated the information he received from officers in -Queensland, as accounting for the fact that Major Carroll, who had not greatly distinguished himself during his previous term of military service in Queensland, should have been appointed to a permanent position on the Queensland Staff.
– The honorable and learned senator is ignoring Major Carroll’s service with various corps in England.
– It is evident khat Major Carroll’s service in England did not make any great impression upon the officers in Queensland.
– He passed his examinations.
– I shall say a word about that now, in consequence of a remark made by Senator Higgs, which was I think unfair to Colonel Plomer, and which was to the effect that a statement made by that officer that Major Carroll had never passed his lieutenant’s artillery examination then, or at any time, was incorrect. I believe the honorable senator endeavoured to show that it must be incorrect on account of something which Colonel Plomer had himself said afterwards. It is a very curious thing that there should be all this disp’ute and doubt about such a matter. Major Carroll, in his evidence with regard to his examination, says that it has been twice denied that he passed his examination as captain. A matter of that kind should be so absolutely clear on the records that when we find that there is any doubt or dispute in connexion with it, we are justified in seeking for the reason for the doubt. If we do that, I think we shall find on the evidence that the statement in Colonel Plomer’s letter, which Senator Higgs has characterized as untrue, is, strictly speaking and technically, correct. I have no desire in dealing with this matter to do any injustice whatever to Major Carroll. I have gone through the evidence very carefully, and have tried to arrive at a correct conclusion upon the subject. I find, on page 274, from Appendix 34, that this officer passed his examination for lieutenant in subjects A and B, and unless the practice has been considerably changed - and I do not think it can have been, because it is laid down in the regulations - I do not believe that includes any special examination in artillery. Subject A deals with regimental duties^ and B with ordinary drill.
– Why did not Colonel Plomer say that he had passed. Why should he conceal anything. He said that Major Carroll had not passed in artillery in Queensland, or in any other State. Why did he not state what Major Carroll had done if he wished to be fair?
– I do not know in what connexion the statement was made. The fact is that Major Carroll afterwards, while in Queensland, passed part of the examination for captain. He then visited England, performed certain service there, and passed some examination before a Board of Officers in artillery. There is no doubt about that. But technically, Major C.arroll had not then passed his examination, because the part of the examination he had gone through in Queensland,coupled with the examination he passed in England, did not constitute a “ pass “ under the Queensland Defence Act. That is shown by a letter from Major-General Owen, who was Commandant of Queensland at the time. I do not quote this letter as containing anything to the discredit of Major Carroll; but only in order to show that the statement by Colonel Plomer that he had not passed an artillery examination, is not to be set aside as an untruthful statement. On page 20, the following letter from. Major-General John F. Owen, who was Commandant of the Queensland Defence Forces at thetime, to the Chief Secretary, who was the head of the State Defence Department, will be found : -
Headquarters Queensland Defence Forces,
Brisbane, 9th February, 1892.
Fr om the Commandant Queensland Defence Forces,
To the Honorable the Chief Secretary.
With reference to the attached Lieut. Carroll (Unattached List Queensland Defence Force), formerly of the Permanent Force, passed here in all but subject B.
He has now passed before a Board of Officers of the Regular Army in England in this subject.
Though clause 32 of the Act does not meet this case (as he has not served as an officer in Her Majesty’s Regular Army), nor is there any portion of our regulation which applies, yet, under the circumstances, you will probably approve the “ passing “ mentioned as equivalent to passing the less severe examination here.
– “ The less severe examination here.”
– I have said that this letter is not to the discredit of Major Carroll.
– Why did not Colonel Plomer mention that?
– Perhaps he would have done so if he had known of it.
– He should have known of it.
– Because he was told to search the records concerning this officer.
– It was impossible to find out a thing of that sort. The letter proceeds -
If so, I will notify in general orders that Lieut. Carroll has passed the necessary examination as Captain.
Ihave the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
John F. Owen, Commandant Q.D.F.
Approved, S.W.G. - 12/2/92.
That was approved, and no doubt Major Carroll was gazetted as having passed, but, strictly speaking, he had not passed, according to the requirements of the Queens land Defence Act.
– That is refining too much.
– The honorable senator had no right to characterize the statement made by Colonel Plomer as being untrue.
– Colonel Plomer admitted that he was wrong in making that statement.
– No; what he said was that if he had known that Major Carroll had been appointed as a captain he would have accepted that as evidence that he had passed.
– “ I should in fairness have mentioned it “ is what he says.
– He did not know of it at the time, and I am merely pointing out that it was not fair of the honorable senator to characterize. Colonel Plomer’s statement as being inaccurate. Holding the opinion that the one reason given for the retrenchment of Major Carroll is that he was the officer who could be spared with least detriment to the Force, I consider that the Committee appointed should have made inquiry to ascertain that. A Committee of the Senate is not the best possible tribunal to decide such a matter. I hold the opinion, which I expressed when the Committee was appointed, that a question of that kind should have been submitted to. two or three military experts, who could decide the relative merits of Major Carroll and the five or six other officers whose names have been mentioned.. The General Officer Commanding might have made a mistake, because we are all liable to errors of judgment, which are exposed by the light of information subsequently obtained. If the General Officer Commanding had made a mistake as to certain other officers, who could have been retrenched with less detrimentto the service, a board of that kind would be able to find out the fact, and pass an authoritative opinion upon it, to which the Government would no doubt pay the highest respect. But this Committee, unfortunately, seems to have considered it to be its duty to inquire into certain charges against Major Carroll. In the course of the inquiry, as I have already pointed out, evidence was given in regard to other officers whose names were mentioned in comparison with Major Carroll, and as I have pointed out, Captain Niesigh was actually prevented from cross-examining Colonel Tom Price, on the ground, as stated by the Chairman, that Colonel Price, being an officer of great experience and ability, it was quite sufficient when he said that, in his opinion, the officers whom he named should have been retrenched before Major Carroll. I shall have to quote from the evidence of one or two officers, in order to show the military character of Major Carroll, and what his reputation was as an officer.
– The honorable and learned senator is making a very long speech.
– I am doing so in justice to Major-General Hutton. I wish the Senate to know something about the subject.
– Will the Government give us another day for the consideration of the motion ?
– The honorable senator can ask the Attorney-General about that. Other honorable senators will, no doubt, desire to follow me in the debate.
– It seems that there will be no chance of having a division on the motion.
– If the Committee think that anything I quote is not fair, or ought to be supplemented by other quotations, they can check me. Major-General Hutton said in his evidence that he had no means of judging the qualifications of the majority of the officers, other than by relying upon the opinion of officers in whom he had confidence.
– Those other officers reported to the General Officer Commanding common rumours, like the Sir Hugh Nelson rumour. That was the stuff they gave him.
– I will refer to the evidence of the officers whom, no doubt, Major-General Hutton consulted, . and the Senate can judge for itself. Major Carroll was first of al’l attached to A Battery as a militia officer for the three years, from 1888 to 1891. The following is a letter written by Colonel Plomer to Colonel Hoad, the Chief Staff Officer. It is printed on page 34 of the evidence. -
With reference to your letter re Captain Carroll.
Captain Carroll’s service in the Permanent Artillery was long before my time, but from confidential papers in my possession I can give you the following ‘facts : He joined in January, 1888. In November, ii 880, he was placed under arrest by the Commandant, Colonel French, on a complaint by Major De Voeux, D.A.A.G., regarding conduct towards him. A Court of Inquiry was held, and Colonel French withdrew the recommendation he had made to the Chief Secretary, that Acting-Lieutenant Carroll’s appointment in the Permanent Artillery should be confirmed, and he never served in it except as a probationer. He, however, continued as a provisional Lieutenant, and I find from the records that on 3rd January, 1890, Major Grieve, R.A., commanding the Permanent Artillery, made a report to the Brigade Major that he was dissatisfied with the way in which Lieutenant Carroll, attached to the -battery under his command, performed his duties, specifying one or two minor irregularities, and stating that he had had to find fault with him on several occasions. The matter was investigated, and Lieutenant Carroll was placed under open arrest (second occasion), and dealt with by the Commandant by written warning.
On the 2nd May, 1S90, Captain Byron reported him for not promptly obeying a verbal order. For this he was reprimanded by the officer commanding the battery, Major Jackson. While I have been serving in Queensland, Lieutenant Carroll was for most of the time absent in South Africa, and while he was here he was Adjutant to an infantry regiment in the North. I had no fault to find with him during these two months. Colonel Byron, had he been here, would have been able to throw more light on his military capacity, but I do not think I am doing Captain Carroll any injustice in stating that, from conversations I have had with Colonel Byron, he had little opinion of him as a useful officer, and it was on this account, I have been always led to understand, that Lieutenant Carroll thought it preferable to return to England. This he did, and, as the correspondence regarding him in your office shows, he was for years absent from Queensland in England, and undoubtedly while there, he was attached at various times to various arms of the service. It was on this account, through his showing zeal, that he got a chance of again being employed. From the little I know of him, I am afraid I have not a high opinion of his capacity. Zeal may be all right, but we are not all favoured with the same amount of brains, and one must have some to make a Staff Officer of any use.
That seems a very severe statement, and I should, in fairness, petition that Colonel Plomer said in his evidence afterwards, that the idea which he intended to convey was not that Major Carroll was destitute of brains, but that he had not sufficient ability for a field officer. The point with regard to Major .Carroll’s three years’ service in Queensland is referred to in the evidence Lt.-Col. Chauvel, at page 172 of the evidence, question 4307 -
Did you ever hear from military officers that Major .Carroll’s services as a subaltern were unsatisfactory ? - Yes, I heard it.
Did you hear it at that time, or in later years? - At that time, or shortly afterwards. I heard Colonel Byron speaking of him as unsatisfactory.
Did you hear the opinions of any other officers concerning Major Carroll at that time? - Yes, I heard Major Jackson speak of him.
What was Major Jackson’s position? - He was then commanding the Queensland Permanent Artillery, which is now the R.A.A.
What was his opinion? - He had not very much of an opinion of Major Carroll’s capacity as an officer. I think he liked him, but he did not think he was satisfactory as a subaltern.
On page 174, the same witness was asked -
In what light has Major Hooper represented Major Carroll to you?
He answered -
He has often spoken to me of Major Carroll as an unsatisfactory Adjutant - unsatisfactory in his methods of keeping accounts chiefly ; but, at the same time, he has spoken of him as a very popular man with officers, and so on.
In other words, as a very nice fellow, but not a good soldier in his position ? - Exactly.
The next witness, whose evidence I must refer to, is Major Deacon, because it was under Major Deacon that Major Carroll served in South Africa,
– Not all the time.
– For part of the time he was under Lt.-Col. Aytoun, but that officer was in Scotland at the time the Committee was inquiring, and, therefore, was not available as a witness. Major Deacon, and also Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne speak of Major Carroll’s services under Lt.-Col. Aytoun
– Major Carroll got promotion under another officer in South Africa.
– Promotion was served out all round to officers who were willing to stay in South Africa for a longer period. They were advanced a step in rank. Major Deacon went to South Africa in command of the first Queensland contingent, and his opinion of Major Carroll is given in question 500-
During that time, had you good opportunities of observing Major Carroll’s movements and general conduct? - Yes; he was immediately under my command.
What was your experience of him as a military officer. What opinion did you form as to his military capacity ? - He was perfectly useless to me. I am sorry to have to say it, but that is’ a fact.
That is in the capacity in which he was then acting ? - Yes.
Or in any capacity? - Especially in that capacity.
What was his capacity? - He was the officer commanding what was known as F Company of the Fourth Queensland Imperial Bushmen.
You found that he was perfectly useless to you as a military officer? - Yes.
Then, at question 575, the same witness is examined as follows: -
What I desire to ascertain is the opinion entertained by Colonel Avtoun regarding Major Carroll. It is stated that in his report he recommended Major Carroll as quite satisfactory. Did Colonel Aytoun express any opinion to you ?- - Yes.
What did he say? - That Major Carroll really made him quite ill - that he did not know what to do with him.
Perhaps at this point I may refer to the evidence of Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne at page 206 of the evidence. It is fair to say that Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne holds a very high opinion of Major Carroll, and explains that the very strong feeling expressed against him by Lt.-Col. Aytoun was partly due to Lt.-Col. Aytoun’s preference for Imperial officers as against Colonial officers. At question 5Z42 Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne is examined as follows: -
Did any one express disapproval to you of Major Carroll’s conduct as a military officer? - Yes, Colonel Aytoun did.
What did he say? - Colonel Aytoun made an application for the appointment of an Imperial officer as Adjutant of the 4th Queensland Bushmen, and his remarks when he made that application were to the effect that Major Carroll could not handle the rough material he had in his contingent.
He speaks very highly of Major Carroll in respect of his bravery. The evidence goes on, at question 5295 -
Do you think that Colonel Aytoun would carry his prejudice to such an extent as to do a deliberate injustice to Major Carroll, simply because he was not an Imperial officer ? - I do not think that Colonel Aytoun was altogether satisfied with Major Carroll, but I do say that the condition of affairs in Colonel Aytoun’s regiment was so very unsatisfactory that I think that, and his natural prejudice in favour of Imperial officers, led him to do what I considered to be a very considerable injustice to other officers of the regiment besides Major Carroll. I do not know that he did any special injustice to Major Carroll, because if he was not satisfied with him as adjutant, he was entitled to make a change.
Then, at question 5320 -
I now ask you whether, in your own mind, you d ) not blame Major Carroll more than Colonel Aytoun for the condition of the horses in the contingent? - I do not. I certainly blame Major Carroll for it to a certain extent, and I do not blame either so much as my remarks appear to have led you to believe.
– That refers to the bad saddles.
– Lt.-Col. Spencer Browne, as I said before, speaks highly of Major Carroll, and cites his evidence in fairness to that gentleman, and as partly explaining Lt.-Col. Aytoun’s feelings. It has been said that Lt.-Col. Aytoun gave a certificate as to the conduct of Major Carroll, when it was a question of his being granted a gratuity of £100, and that he stated that Major Carroll’s services had been very satisfactory. But we have other evidence,” which shows that Lt.-Col. Aytoun’s opinion of Major Carroll was certainly adverse. Going back to the evidence of Major Deacon, at question 614 he is examined as follows : -
What report did you make to the General Officer Commanding when he consulted you at Cambooya ? - The same report that I have made to you, namely, that Major Carroll was useless as an officer on active service.
Then, at question 685, in connexion with Major Carroll’s appointment to the command of a squadron -
Then he belonged to the regiment? - I was not quite sure about that. Major Carroll reported to me as having been on leave, and having re-joined the regiment. I told him I had no place for him, and that I did not want him, and he then said something about his being entitled to an appointment as second in command. I told him that the recommendation for that appointment rested with me, and that I certainly could not recommend him. In fact, it was not until two days after he reported to me that I took him on the strength of the regiment again. I think he rejoined on the nth, and on the 13th he was posted to the command of the squadron.
How did you come to place him in. command of a squadron? - The Officer Commanding my corps, Colonel Jefferies, told me that I ‘had better find some place for him. I explained the position that I was in, and that I did not want Major Carroll. The reason I appointed him squadron leader was because, apart from myself, he was really the senior officer in the regiment.
At question 69 ii -
You told the Committee that Colonel Gallway asked for an officer to do duty as Provost-Marshal, and that you nominated Major Carroll for the position, in order to get rid of him? - Yes; that was my object.
Whilst on active service, did you find that it was very much a case of every man for himself, and the’ devil take the hindmost. You got rid of an officer, and you let the other fellow who took him look after him? - Yes.
At question 698 -
Did you feel on that occasion, or on other occasions, that the fact that Major Carroll was with you in a responsible position, either as Adjutant or as squadron leader, added to your responsibility ? - Very much so.
Did you ever entrust him with independent responsibility in the nature of command? - Nothing further than that which was imposed upon him as a squadron leader.
At question 712 -
Did Major Carroll himself apply to you for a recommendation to remain for further service? - He applied for further service, and the application was sent to me. I forwarded it to Colonel Adye, the A.A.C. for the Colonial Forces, at Pretoria.
At question 715 -
Are you quite certain as to the accuracy of what you have just stated? - Yes. 718. After returning to Queensland, had you anything to do with the vouchers or requisitions for the payment of the war gratuity - .£100 per man? - I do not think I did. I think Colonel Aytoun , dealt with that matter. 719. If you had been called upon to deal with that matter, I suppose that an officer would re-, quire to be very bad indeed - more than inefficient -to induce you to report so adversely as to prevent him from getting his £100? - Yes. 720. He would have to be a downright blackguard ? - Yes, I only knew of one case in which the gratuity was refused. 721. In the ordinary way, when officers come oft service, they feel very kindly towards one another, and would not go out of their way to prevent any man from getting his gratuity ? - Certainly not.
The next witness, to whose evidence I must refer, is Brigadier-General Finn, who was Commandant of the Military Forces in New South Wales- 869. Did he cease to be an Instructional Officer in New South Wales at the end of 1892? - Yes. 870. What opinion did you form of Major Carroll as a military officer ?- Only a fair opinion. 879. What was the oral report you made to Major-General Hutton concerning Major Carroll between July and November, igo2 ? - That he was only a fair Instructional Officer, and that he had much to learn.
Then follows evidence as to alleged peculiarities.
– The honorable senator does not attach much importance to the evidence as to Major Carroll’s alleged eccentricities ?
– No; and I am sorry the point was touched upon. The term “ eccentric “ is very elastic, and I do not attach blame to the officers who may not have used the word in the same sense that it was used by others.
– I understand the honorable senator to say that he does not regard this alleged eccentricity as one of the reasons for Major Carroll’s retrenchment?
– Certainly not. Then we have the evidence of Major MacLagan, which has the same bearing as the evidence of Brigadier-General Finn, and in regard to the latter I fail to see any inconsistency. r5io. Captain Niesigh. - Have you any acquaintance with a confidential report by General Finn on Major Carroll ? - I was present when one was read to him. 1511. Will you please look at Exhibit B25, and say whether you were present when that was read to him? - Yes.
*5r2. Was it read in the nature of an adverse report?- Yes, it was. 1516. Amongst the general remarks on this Ex.hibit B25, I observe this private note - “Fair” and “Moderate” cannot be accepted as satisfactory in regard to any qualifications in which an officer can improve himself by more attention to and study of his profession.
Would judgment and tact be included in those qualifications? - I think so.
The next witness is Lt.-Col. Antill. 1200. Did you know Major Carroll as an officer of the Instructional Staff there? - Yes. 1 201. Did he attend any course of instruction which you conducted? - He attended the first preliminary school to which I have referred. 1202. From what you saw of him there, were you able to form any opinion of his capacity and his ability, specially as an- Instructional Staff Officer ? - Certainly . 1203. Did you consider him a competent Instructional Staff Officer? - No; I did not. 1204. Could you say in what way he was deficient? - Generally speaking, either theoretically and practically, I do not consider Major Carroll a competent instructor. 1205. Do you say that he showed a lack of ability or knowledge? - Certainly. Particularly a? regards Light Horse, the work upon which I am best able to form an opinion. 1211. Did he strike you as an officer who, with the advantage of instruction, would be able to satisfactorily qualify for instructional purposes? - I do not think any amount of instruction would alter a man’s disposition in this respect. 1292. By Senator O’Keefe. - Do you know anything of Major Carroll’s qualifications 011 active service ? - Nothing whatever. I never met Major Carroll on active service. 1293. Have you heard discussions amongst officers in which they have stated their belief that Major Carroll was eccentric? - Yes, I have heard it generally said. 1294. Speaking from your actual knowledge of Major Carroll, and of all his qualifications, do you think there is any position in the Permanent Forces of the Commonwealth in which he would be of use as an officer? - No, I do not. 1295. You say that without qualification? - Without qualification, that is my candid opinion.
– I notice that the honorable and learned senator has not read the evidence of any witnesses who are in favour of Major Carroll.
– I think I have pretty well dealt with the witnesses referred to up to the present time.
– But the honorable and learned senator has not dealt with the evidence in favour of Major Carroll to the same extent that he has dealt -with other evidence.
– I have dealt with the witnesses merely as they come in order.
– Is the honorable and learned senator “stone-walling”?
– Is the honorable and learned senator going to read the whole of the evidence?
– No. It is curious that one honorable senator should complain of my not reading enough, while another honorable senator suggests that I am “stonewalling.”
– If the evidence were read from one end to the other it would be fair, only no time would be .given to the other side.
– There will be time.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral promise that we shall” have time?
– I promise that I shall put my view.
– The next evidence to which I desire to refer is on page 75 - 1491. You stated that you thought that I was below the standard of a militia officer? - No. I said that from my short experience of you I thought you were below the standard of other instructional staff officers. 1492. But had any of the other instructional staff officers done this new drill? - Yes, they were doing it at the some time. 1493. Had they ever done it before? - Not so far as I am aware. 1494. Then what makes you say that you think I was below the standard? - Because I think that you did not grasp it as quickly as they did. 1 have already read the evidence referring to the report of Brigadier-General Finn, and now we come to Colonel Plomer. who was Instructional Commandant in Queensland at the time, and was, no doubt, one of the officers from whom the General Officer Commanding got his information -
I557- What did you say to him? - General Hut ton asked me what I knew of Major Carroll, and I must have told him - in fact, I swear I told him - that from all I had heard I knew nothing very satisfactory of him. 1558. From all you have heard you knew nothing very satisfactory of him ? - I am’ sure I must have told General Hutton that my knowledge of Major Carroll was gathered from responsible commanding officers. 1559. Can you give us the names of any of the responsible officers who gave you information about Major Carroll ? - Colonel Aytoun, Colonel Ricardo, Colonel Lyster - in general terms. 1560. I am referring to the time General Hutton was in Queensland, when you went to meet him; can you remember any of the details of the verbal expressions which were expressed by Colonels Aytoun, Ricardo, or Lyster? - I can remember perfectly well what Colonel Aytoun said. 1561. What did Colonel Aytoun say? - I remember asking Colonel Aytoun what sort of officer Major Carroll was as Adjutant in South Africa. I knew at that time that Major Carroll had returned. Colonel Aytoun shrugged his shoulders, and said, “ My dear Plomer. we all know poor Carroll.” Colonel Avtoun never said anything against Major Carroll. 1562. What did Colonel Ricardo say? - Colonel Ricardo always gave me a general idea that Major Carroll was a somewhat eccentric officer, on whom one could not very well depend. I had never seen Major Carroll at that time.
– Is Colonel Ricardo the officer who turned his contingent into policemen in South Africa?
– I am not aware that that was done; but, at any rate, it has nothing to do with this question.
– It shows the value of the officer.
– The evidence proceeds - 1565. So far, you have been giving us information as to what were the opinions furnished you by other persons ; can you now give us your own experience of Major Carroll ? - My experience of Major Carroll, personally, is very limited. When he came back from South Africa, some time about April or May, 1902, 1 must have seen him. I remember very well his coming to my office when I was A.A.G. ; that was before he went to Charters Towers. I remember on one occasion trying to make him understand why at that time he was not a Major in Australia, and I had great difficulty in making him understand. I did my best, but the Committee will understand that one does not wish to hurt any one’s feelings by stating the reason which would be given ultimately. No one likes to be reduced in rank; but I tried to explain to him that he was a Captain in Australia, whatever he had been in South Africa. I must say that I quite failed to make him understand. Ultimately the honorary rank of Major was allowed by the Commonwealth to all officers who had served under similar circumstances. The opinion that I formed was that Major Carroll was extremely stupid. I could not understand how it was that I could not make an officer grasp so simple a position. Major Carroll then went north, and I must say that I never heard anything against him. I had very little dealings with him personally.
– Will the honorable and learned senator read a little further?
– Certainly. 1566. Did you ever have occasion to find fault with Major Carroll? - Not myself. 1567. Were you the President of a Board in Brisbane appointed to consider the destruction of certain papers? - I was; but the Board was not to consider the destruction of certain papers; it was to go through a whole lot of papers.
But I have dealt with all this before.
– What I had in my mind was that Colonel Plomer had only had two days experience with Major Carroll.
– The honorable senator may be able to ascertain the fact for himself. The next evidence is as to the opinions expressed by officers during the three years in Queensland. 1628. You state, further, in your letter - . . “ I find from the records that on the 3rd January, 1890, Major Grieve, R.A., commanding the Permanent Artillery, made a report to the Brigade Major that he was dissatisfied with the way in which Lieutenant Carroll, attached to the battery under his command, perf ormed his duties.” Is that so? - Those aTe almost the words of the report. I remember the words - “ I am dissatisfied withthe manner in which Lieut. Carroll performs his duties.” The report went oa to enumerate the delinquencies. 1632. Did Major Grieve say why? - He gave specific instances in a report, which ought to be produced. I do not want to say anything worse than I need against an officer.
That seems to have been the feeling of most of the witnesses. 1633. As Commandant of the Commonwealth Forces in Queensland, did you receive any re quests that you should forward a report to Headquarters or to the Defence Department? - Not to the Defence Department. 1634. These were papers and records connected with Major Carroll’s case ? - Yes ; as regards his service, so far as I remember. I take it you want to know why that was not produced before. 1635. Quite so? - The real reason was that an officer does not want to say anything worse than he can help against an officer. Why take up what he had done in the Artillery ? It was self-evident to the General ; I have nothing to do with the civil side of the Defence Department. When we knew very well that his service had not been satisfactory, why rake up all manner of other irregularities? 1659. However, I presume that whatever recommendation was made would be truthful? - Certainly. 1660. Then if Colonel Aytoun Said that Major Carroll’s conduct was quite satisfactory- ? - His conduct, yes; that is different from capacity. 1661. Then for the purpose of getting a gratuity they make a statement that is misleading? - I do not think so. The officer is not asked as to the other officer’s capacity. We were not asked at the end of the war whether an officer was capable, bu[ whether he had done his best. 1665. Am I to take it that there is nothing contradictory in the two statements? - Read like that there is, without knowledge of what they are. When Colonel Aytoun signed that statement in regard to Major Carroll’s services at the end of the war, I know from my military experience that it was with the view of Major Carroll getting the gratuity. 1666. And you say, at the same time, that it is a truthful statement? - It was a truthful statement. 1667. Then it is true that Colonel Aytoun thought that Major Carroll was quite satisfactory? - That his conduct was quite satisfactory.
With reference to Major Hooper’s report, I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, it was excluded by the Select Committee without good reason. Major Hooper was the officer commanding the Kennedy Regiment, of which Major Carroll was adjutant, and I propose to read the report which Major Hooper made.
– Major Hooper would not swear to the report.
– That matter has been discussed. If the Select Committee had only intimated that they desired Major Hooper as a witness he would have been brought down and his expenses would have been paid. The Select Committee, however, called upon Major Hooper to answer interrogatories, but they were advised by the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth that they had no power to mate such a demand. The Select Committee went out of their way in, as it appears to me, a most unjustifiable manner, to exclude the evidence of Major Hooper.
– The General Officer Commanding could have directed Major Hooper to attend.
– Captain Niesigh asked the Committee to say that they required Major Hooper, when he would have Major Hooper in attendance; and there is no doubt that the question of expenses would have been satisfactorily settled.
– The Select Committee did not know the, evidence Major Hooper was going to give
– The Committee had seen the report which Major Hooper had prepared, and they were asked to intimate that they wanted to hear that officer.
– And to pay his expenses.
– They were invited to ask Major Hooper to give evidence, when his expenses would have been paid. It is perfectly clear that if the Committee had said they wanted Major Hooper’s evidence, Captain Niesigh would have undertaken that he would be present, and that the Department would pay the expenses. But as the Committee said they would not pay the expenses, the Minister of Defence said the Department would not pay. Other documentary evidence of a similar character was admitted, and I can see no possible reason why the Committee should have declined to take Major Hooper’s report into consideration.
– It was unsworn.
– There was any amount of unsworn documentary evidence admitted. This is the report -
Kissing Point Camp,
Townsville, 20th June, 1904. From Major J. Hooper, Officer Commanding Kennedy Infantry Regiment, C.M.F., N.Q. To the ‘Commandant, C.M.F., Qld. Sir, -
I have the honour to state, in reply to your letter of the 19th inst. : -
At the time Major Carroll was appointed, the regiment was under the command of the late Lt.-Col. Blaxland, who was stationed at Townsville. The head-quarters of the regiment was at Charters Towers, where I lived, and where Major Carroll was stationed. I was then, and until June, 1900, second in command with the rank of Major, and commanded the regiment on all parades. In July, 1900, I was appointed to command the regiment. During the period from December, 1899, to April, 1900, and more particularly during the camp of continuous training at Kissing Point, in May, 1902, I had ample opportunities of observing Major Carroll.
As Adjutant, Major Carroll was in command of the regimental band, and operated on the general and contingent banking accounts of the band ; and as the staff banking accounts were in a Charters Towers bank, and the O.C. lived at Townsville, Major Carroll, for convenience, was instructed to operate on the staff banking accounts also. Major Carroll soon got the accounts in such a muddled state that he was ordered to take his cash books to Townsville, and one of the clerks in the District Staff Office had to be employed to unravel the tangled entries. The books were then taken away from Major Carroll, and the banking accounts transferred to a Townsville bank, so that the accounts might be kept under the immediate supervision of the O.C. ‘In 1900, I had the accounts transferred back to a Charters Towers bank, but knowing Major Carroll’s inability, I did not allow him to keep the cash books on his return to the regiment in April, 1902.
Iri June, T902, I spent several hours trying to teach Major Carroll the method of making out the annual pay-sheets - one of the duties of the Adjutant - but lie could not grasp the matter. In the end I had to take over the work, and Major Carroll, wilh my consent, paid a clerk (Mr. Oakey) to do the checking under my supervision. Major Carroll never was able to grasp the methods of making out the various returns, and so could not be trusted to .check the returns when made out.
He had very little tact in the management of men, owing to his want of judgment, and, consequently, I did not hand over the command of the band to him when he returned to the regiment in April,’ 1902.
As a private individual, Major Carroll was a gentleman, and was much liked by all who knew him.
The -witness added -
Attached to that is the following minute by me, under same date : - D.A.G. and C.S.O.,-
In accordance with your wire of A. 39 of 18th inst., I called upon Major Hooper, Commanding Kennedy Infantry Regiment, for a statement regarding Major Carroll.
When Major Carroll wished to go to South Africa in 1900, Major Hooper offered to do his work as Adjutant without fay or allowance, which would tend to show there is no personal bias on his part.
– Major Hooper would not swear to his statement.
– He was willing to appear before the Committee as a witness. He was a teacher in charge of the State school at Queenton, and he could not come down to Brisbane unless his expenses were paid.
– The Committee had nothing to do with that.
– He said that he had no wish to say anything adverse to Major Carroll, and he therefore would not make a statutory declaration unless the committee could compel him to do so.
– Yet he did it in another way.
– He was called upon to send in a report, and he had to do so, and I say that just as much importance should be attached to his military report as to any other military report embodied in this evidence.
– Could he not have embodied that report in an affidavit?
– He was not on the Permanent Staff.
– He is a militia officer. He receives pay according to the number of drills he attends, but he does not get a salary for giving all his time to the service.
– He is not a volunteer.
– No, he would not be called a volunteer; he is a militia officer. I do not wish to say anything further. I have pointed out before that Major Carroll, after being retrenched from the staff in Queensland, went down to New South Wales, and with regard to his service in that State we have the opinion of BrigadierGeneral Finn. In evidence very fairly given, and in no way personally directed against Major Carroll’s character, but viewing him only as an instructional officer, Brigadier-General Finn said that he could not see his way to place him in any position in the Force in New South Wales. I have undertaken to speak on this subject with a very great deal of reluctance. I have no desire to say one word against Major Carroll, who, as all the witnesses have said, bears a very high character; but the evi dence shows that the officers in Queensland to whom the General Officer Commanding could have applied’ for information, were almost unanimous in speaking against his capacity as a military officer. I have no wish to say anything detrimental with respect to the evidence given by the other officers examined in Queensland, but I think honorable senators will find that they were in no case officers under whom Major Carroll had served. I consider that very important. They were brother officers - militia and volunteer officers - and they gave the evidence which has been given by all the witnesses as to Major Carroll’s high character as a gentleman. With regard to his military capacity, I do not think the same importance can be attached to the evidence of those officers in Queensland as would be attached to that of officers under whom Major Carroll served. It seems to me that if the Committee had to decide whether any injustice had been done to Major Carroll, what they should have inquired was whether Major-General Hutton, having been ordered to make retrenchment, made a mistake in recommending that Major Carroll should be retrenched rather than one of the other officers who have been named. As I have said before, I think that an injustice has been done to every one of the officers who have been named, because, while they have been mentioned as officers who should have been retrenched instead of Major Carroll, and the inference is allowed to be drawn that they were inferior to him in military capacity, they have not been allowed to give evidence on their own behalf, nor have other witnesses been given an opportunity to give evidence for them. In this respect, I think that an injustice has been done, not only to the officers whose names have beer mentioned, but to the late General Officer Commanding, and to the Department.
– The honorable and learned senator must know that the Committee permitted Captain Niesigh to appear as the representative of Major-General Hutton, and of the Department, and he was at liberty to call whatever witnesses he pleased.
– Surely it was not for him to call these five or six officers, or other witnesses to give evidence as to their qualifications. Senator Styles also forgets that Colonel Price was stopped when giving evidence under cross-examination with regard to two of these officers.
– I was present, and the Committee had heard enough on the subject.
– After Colonel Price had given evidence adverse to two of these officers, as compared with Major Carroll, Captain Niesigh was not allowed to crossexamine him in order to show the grounds on which he based his opinion.
– If the honorable and learned senator will look at the evidence, he will find that Colonel Price had already stated those grounds.
– He was only allowed to go so far as to refer to one of them not having passed an examination in riding, and his cross-examination was prevented by the Committee. I have endeavoured to avoid giving the names of these officers, some of whom are personally known to me, and it seems to me entirely unfair that they should rest under such a stigma. If the instruction to retrench is to stand good, I point out that the re-instatement of Major Carroll, on the report of the Committee, must mean that one of these other officers must go. If so, would not that officer have exactly the same right to appeal to the Minister, and the same right to secure a. Select Committee of the Senate to inquire into his claim? Where would such a thing end?
– He would if he could make out as good a case as did Major Carroll.
– How could it be said that he could not make out a good case until there had been an inquiry. Does the honorable senator mean to tell me that it would be possible to carry on the military administration of the Commonwealth if every officer who felt himself aggrieved should have the right to call for the appointment of a Select Committee to collect a great volume of evidence bearing on his case.
– Yet the honorable and learned senator complains, because the Committee endeavoured to prevent Captain Niesigh repeating the same evidence over and over again.
– What the Committee did was to stop Captain Niesigh’s crossexamination of a particular witness. The instance to which I have referred is about the only instance in which evidence was stopped.
– No, there are several such instances.
– There are very few, and there is not another where such important evidence was refused. As soon as Captain Niesigh proposed to cross-examine Colonel Price, the chairman of the Committee gave his ruling that Colonel Price being an officer of great experience, and occupying a certain position, it was sufficient that he should express an opinion, and it should remain unquestioned. Why did not the Committee accord the same treatment to Major-General Hutton? I submit that Major-General Hutton carried out the duty cast upon him to the best of his ability and judgment, and before the Senate agrees to the recommendation of the Select Committee, which practically means reversing Major-General Hutton ‘s decision, and upsetting his judgment, at least, the qualifications pf other officers who have been compared with Major Carroll, should be inquired into. I submit that that can only ‘be done by a committee of military experts. I hold that the evidence taken does not bear out the findings of the Committee on these separate statements. I submit that, on the whole, the statements made by Major-General Hutton in a private and confidential letter to the Minister are substantially well-founded and accurate, and that no injustice has been done to Major Carroll. There ‘ is nothing in the evidence to show that Major-General Hutton did not act in the fairest and most bona fide manner upon the information supplied to him by his officers. I contend that the judgment of the late General Officer Commanding, instead of being upset by the inquiry carried out by the Select Committee, has really been confirmed and justified by the evidence given before that Committee.
– Listening to the evidence submitted in connexion with this case, it has appeared to me that a middle course should be adopted. The matter is, I think, one which can be best dealt with by a compromise, and I therefore move -
That the words “ be adopted “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words - “ having been duly considered, the Government be recommended to give that officer’s case favorable consideration at the first convenient opportunity.”
It seems to me that it is probable that Major Carroll will suffer wrong if an extreme course is pressed on his behalf. I submit to the friends of Major Carroll that the amendment I move will meet the case. It should rehabilitate him in his own estimation, and in that of the public. I suggest that the amendment .should be adopted, so that the Government may favorably consider the case of Major Carroll, and I submit it for the consideration of the Senate, and in the interests of both parties, as a very reasonable compromise.
– As a member of the Select Committee that inquired into the case of Major Carroll, it is not my intention to detain the Senate at the same length as Senator Drake has done. In an extraordinarily long speech, which seemed to savour-
– The honorable senator had better not say anything about that.
– I did not propose to say anything very severe, but it seemed to me that the honorable and learned sena tor’s speech, perhaps unconsciously, was in the nature of a special plea for the Department, and, incidentally, for the late General Officer Commanding. I submit that it is probable that Senator Drake has been actuated to some extent by unconscious bias. The honorable and learned senator occupied the time of the Senate on last Thursday afternoon for two and a half hours, and again this afternoon for nearly the same length of time, and his arguments have been entirely devoted to those portions of the evidence which go to prove the case of MajorGeneral Hutton. It has seemed to me that Senator Drake, as a representative of the Government in this Chamber, would have acted with more impartiality, if he had not taken that rather one-sided course. I impress upon honorable senators that this is a case in connexion with which there should be no party feeling. I believe that the members of the Select Committee, and those who think with them, in supporting the adoption of the report, will not be ‘ guided by party considerations. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has put the case for the other side almost as though the question had been one between two parties, and Major Carroll had been supported by one, whilst the General Officer Commanding and the Department had been supported by the other. The amendment moved by Senator Zeal is certainly worthy of consideration. I knew nothing of it until a moment or two before it was moved, but before honorable senators consider it, I wish to bring under their notice a matter which I consider of extreme importance. I may possibly take an extreme view, but whether my views are extreme or not, I intend to put them before the Senate as briefly as I can. The Attorney-General ‘knows that sometime ago he laid a document upon the tableof the Senate, which is headed -
Case of Major J. W. M. Carrol] (Memorandum! by Major-General Sir E. X. H. Hutton, K. CM. G.j CB., in regard to report of Select Committee).
I submit that that report of Major-General Hutton, who was one of the parties to this case, submitted to the Senate while the case was still sub judice-
– He was not a party to the case; there are no parties to an investigation.
– I am speaking of Major-General Hutton in his capacity as General Officer Commanding. If he was not personally a party to the case, certainly the Department was a party to it. The parties were the Department on the one hand, and Major Carroll on the other. It seems to me to be a distinct breach of privilege that any individual, being a party to a case, should be allowed, while the case is sub judice, to furnish a memorandum for the purpose of influencing the judgment of the Senate. It is all very well to say that objection should have been taken to th? document at the time when it was laid upon the table. The answer is that frequently the Attorney-General lays papers upon the table, and we do not see them until we receive them by post the following morning. Very often they are entirely overlooked. The Senate, in its wisdom, appointed a Select Committee. That. Committee represented the Senate itself. It took an enormous mass of evidence, and in pursuance of its duties furnished a report, which has been in the possession of the Senate for some weeks. While that report is under the consideration of the Senate, one of the parties to the case sends in a memorandum, putting his views before the Senate with respect to the evidence. I submit that the memorandum should never have been tabled while the case was sub judice. Let the Attorney-General suppose that a case was being heard in a Court of Justice. Suppose that both the parties had laid their case before the Court, and that, after that had been done, one party sent a document to the Judge emphasizing his own point of view. That is exactly what has happened in this case. The members of the Select Committee are responsible for this report.
– It is the Senate that is responsible for it, and is now considering it.
– My contention is that the Attorney-General should never have tabled the document.
– The honorable senator wants to shut the mouth of the man whose/ whole reputation is at stake.
– Certainly not. How can it be said that the mouth of Major-General Hutton was shut when his private secretary was allowed to conduct his case before the Committee? Captain Niesigh conducted the case with marked ability - with, indeed, the ability of a professional advocate. Much has been said with regard to the fact that Major Hooper was not called.
– Does not the honorable senator think that Major Hoioper ought to have been called ?
– I could give many reasons on that point, which I think would carry just as much weight with the Senate as did Senator Drake’s argument on the other side. But my contention is, that Major-General Hutton, through his private secretary, who represented him, took advantage of the most ample opportunities to call evidence. But, after both sides have been fully heard, it is simply a farce to allow one of the parties to come in with fresh comments. My complaint is that at this stage, one side is allowed to furnish a memorandum, practically bringing forward fresh evidence.
– There is no fresh evidence.
– There are fresh reasons.
– The man whom the Committee wish to condemn is simply giving his view. The view of the other side has been put. If the Committee brings in a condemnatory report, it is only just that the party condemned should be heard.
– Would the honorable and learned senator admit that it would be equally fair for the other party to the case to be allowed to go through the mass of evidence, to put his finger upon certain portions of it which bear in his favour, and to furnish a similar memorandum?
– Certainly; why not?
– Then how are we to attain finality ?
– We shall attain finality when the Senate comes to a decision.
– I am satisfied that when the Senate considers the facts fairly, they will think as I do, that such a memorandum should never have been laid upon the table.
– No one can have a higher opinion of the efforts of the Select Committee than I have.
– If the honorable and learned senator were sitting on this side of the Chamber, his voice would be one of the loudest against this breach of the privileges of the Senate. Here, I may point out, that many of the arguments brought forward by Senator Drake are° to be found in this memorandum. I am inclined to the opinion that Senator Drake has been somewhat influenced by it.
– It is singular that the honorable senator should have urged the same views of the facts as Captain Niesigh, the author of the memorandum, has done. One of the chief grievances brought forward in tha memorandum is that Major Hooper was not called as a witness.
– A very important matter, surely.
– It has already been explained that if the late General Officer Commanding had desired to call Major Hooper, he could have been called.
– But the then Minister of Defence would not pay his expenses down to Melbourne.
– Why did Major Hooper refuse to make a declaration after he had stated that he would do so? The reasons are given in paragraph e of the memorandum, in which Major Hooper is quoted as saying -
I am unwilling to make any voluntary declaration -
How could it have been a voluntary declaration when he was pressed to make a sworn declaration by the Committee^ and would not do so? A declaration made under pressure could not have been voluntary. He goes on - because my evidence could not favour Carroll, and I do not wish to pose as his voluntary accuser.
In paragraph g of the memorandum it is stated -
It will be seen that the Permanent Staff officer’s, who had Major Carroll under their notice in New South Wales, were unanimous in their condemnation of him as an Instructional Staff Officer, and their evidence is only met by that of certain volunteer officers of short service, and necessarily very limited relative knowledge.
I think that is rather a slur on the volunteer officers who gave evidence. Because their testimony did not happen to coincide with Major-General Hutton’s opinion, ho says that it is not worth very much, as they are volunteers.
– He does not say that; he merely deals with the weight of their evidence on military questions.
– But the chief grievance in this memorandum is that Major Hooper was not called. What is Major Hooper but a volunteer officer?
– He is a militia officer.
-A militia officer approximates more nearly to a volunteer than to a member of the Permanent Staff. Although it is a grievance that Major Hooper, a militia officer, was not called, we are told that the evidence of volunteer officers is that of persons of “necessarily very limited relative knowledge.” I should like to know which is the higher authority - the Senate or an outsider in the person of Captain Niesigh? The Senate appointed the Select Committee, which has furnished a report ; and now an attempt is made to influence the mind of the Senate by means of a purely one-sided statement, sent in after the report of the Committee was furnished. We shall turn our proceedings into a farce if this kind of thing can be done. I do not intend to enter upon an analysis of the evidence, though, as Senator Drake did so on the other side, I should be justified.
– Senator Higgs didso from the Committee’s point of view.
– Senator Higgs merely gave a review of the evidence, so as to justify the report of the Committee.
– I think the honorable senator is Wrong.
– Surely the Select Committee may be considered an impartial body?
– But I take it that an honorable senator who does not agree with their findings is entitled to give his reasons ?
– Quite so. Senator Drake took up nearly the whole of last
Thursday, and nearly the whole of the time allotted to private members’ business to-day, and has rendered it impossible for those who take an opposite view, to deal adequately with the evidence.
– I thought the honorable senator was dissatisfied because I did not read more evidence.
– The honorable and learned senator misunderstood me. My feeling was that he was unduly dragging out his case. ‘The honorable and learned senator gave all the evidence he could on the one side, and has occupied so much time that there does not now appear to be any prospect of arriving at a decision before Parliament prorogues. It would take an honorable senator another four hours to summarize the evidence against the arguments advanced by Senator Drake, who reduced the case to one of lawyer and client.
– Rubbish !
– The Department and the General Officer Commanding constituted the client, and the honorable and learned senator was the lawyer.
– I thought that Senator Drake dealt with the matter with extreme impartiality.
– The honorable and learned senator dealt with the matter at extreme length, and I may have been wrong, but I could hot help thinking that he did not seem very anxious that the Senate should arrive at a decision. There should be some settlement, because it would be unfair to both sides if Parliament were to rise without finding for or against the report of the Committee. So anxious am I that there should be finality, that I am prepared to do myself the injustice of refraining frqm sifting the evidence, and laying before the Senate sound reasons in support of the recommendations submitted by the Select Committee. In common, I believe, with other members of that Committee, I am willing to accept the fullest responsibility for the report ; and, further, we are prepared, even in the absence of any amendment, to accept the verdict of the Senate on the report as it stands. It is only fair, however, that the report of the Committee should be considered on its merits.
– And not on opinions expressed by Captain Niesigh.
– A decision should not be arrived at on the one-sided statement submitted by Captain Niesigh and the
General Officer Commanding after the completion of the evidence. The Senate ought to be guided by the evidence which was obtained in a proper way, and not by a memorandum, which should never have found its way into the Senate.
– That memorandum is a reflection on Parliament.
– If Senator Zeal had not submitted an amendment, I had intended to deal at considerable length with the evidence, in order to show that the contentions of Senator Drake are unsound. I understand, however, that other honorable senators may have something to say, and, in the absence of any promise from the AttorneyGeneral to grant Government time, this may be the last occasion on which we shall have an opportunity to discuss private members’ business. I hope that honorable senators who have not yet made up their minds, will carefully read the report of the Select Committee, and arrive at a decision uninfluenced by the memorandum to which I have referred. I know that at least, two Or three honorable senators, after hearing the arguments of Senator Drake and reading that memorandum, have gone away quite satisfied that the findings of the Select Committee are unsound. I recommend those honorable senators to read the report for themselves before coming to a final decision.
– I should not have spoken but for the remarks of Senator Drake in regard to Major Hooper’s report. I, with other members of the Select Committee, happened to be present when that matter was considered, and must know better than Senator Drake what occurred.
– The proceedings were reported.
- Major Hooper desired to come down to give his sworn test:mony, but, because both the Committee and the Department declined to pay his expenses, he refused to swear to his statements in Queensland. In order to save expense, the Select Committee journeyed t.,.300 miles towards Major Hooper, and I was one of the members who took the trip. Even then Major Hooper would not come to Brisbane, although we were waiting for him; and I must say that the incident made a bad impression on my mind. Major Hooper had every opportunity to make an affidavit and send it down, and we refused to accept any unsworn statement. The Committee had decided that all witnesses should be sworn, and we did not see why an unsworn statement by Major Hooper or any one else should be admitted. I do not blame the General Officer Commanding for the course he took, but I think he was ill-advised. With other members of the Committee I had the advantage, not only) of hearing, but of observing the demeanour of nearly every witness, and we all know what an advantage that is in estimating the value of testimony. In my opinion, the report of the Select Committee is amply justified. If ever I get into a difficulty with the military, I shall retain Captain Niesigh to prepare the brief and Senator Drake as my advocate. Had I been in Senator Drake’s place, I should have done what he has done, namely, gone to Captain Niesigh, who was the man able to pick out the evidence favorable to the case presented by the Department.
– The honorable senator is entirely mistaken; I did not go to Captain Niesigh.
– I merely say that if Senator Drake did so, he only did what most people would have done in similar circumstances; but, of course, I at once accept his denial. Unless I am compelled by the Senate, I shall decline ever to serve again on a military Select Committee. I have now served on two, and had the parties been allowed to call all the evidence they desired, I am afraid I should hot have lived long enough to see the conclusion of the work. Senator Drake has commented on the refusal of the chairman to allow the cross-examination of Colonel Tom Price. As honorable senators know, Colonel Price does not mince matters, and he declared that he was never consulted as to which officer should be retrenched.
– Was he Commandant at that time?
– Colonel Plomer was Commandant, and it was that officer who said that Major Carroll was stupid, or used words to that effect. Colonel Plomer, in his evidence, stated that he had known Major Carroll personally twenty-four hours, or forty -eight hours, or some -such period, and that he was unable to make Major Carroll understand that while he might be a major in South Africa, he was only a captain in Australia. I suggested to Colonel Plomer that it might be his hazy method of communication which made it impossible for Major Carroll to understand, and Colonel Plomer admitted that. Major Carroll was charged with being eccentric, and at one time it was even insinuated that he was a coward. At Brisbane, however, when the question was directly put, he was declared to be recklessly brave.
– There is no insinuation that Major Carroll was a coward.
– It was suggested that Major Carroll was not fit to be a soldier because he had appeared in a “wild west” hat with a stockwhip round his waist ; but we all do things in our youth which might be regarded as eccentric in our later years. Had I known that Senator Drake would have gone into details so deeply, and had I been in better health, I could have prepared a counterblast. I think I could have quoted the opinion of men who occupy much higher military positions than that of the schoolmaster in Northern Queensland - Major Hooper - who, I suppose, has never smelt powder except when opossum shooting. Many of the officers who returned from South Africa spoke in the highest terms of Major Carroll. I shall support the adoption of the report ; but I am afraid that the next time I am asked to serve on a Select Committee of a like nature, there will be a vacancy in the Senate. I am certain that, had the Attorney-General been chairman of this Select Committee, much of the evidence would never have been permitted. The chairman, Senator Higgs, was most patient, and, in my opinion, allowed too much latitude to the witnesses. The position which Senator Higgs took up was that, unless the evidence was admitted, it would afterwards be said that the parties had not received fair play. Time after time I pointed out to that gentleman that the Committee were wasting time in hearing evidence which was absolutely useless ; but I recognised that he was in a difficult position. A new charge has now been levelled by Senator Drake against the chairman of the Committee, but the honorable and learned senator cannot know as well as the members of the Committee what took place. Considering the cost which this Select Committee and the printing of the report and evidence have involved, it would, I think, have been much better to have, in the first instance, given Major Carroll £300 or .£400 by way of compensation. The result, however, is that, whoever gets the “ ha’pence,” the members of the Select Com mittee are receiving the “ kicks,” for doing their duty to the best of their ability.
– No, no !
– The attitude assumed by Senator Drake is undoubtedly a great reflection on the members of the Select Committee.
– I merely went through the evidence.
– There is no doubt as to that ; but I notice that many things which might have been said in favour of Major Carroll were omitted.
– The honorable senator can say those things now.
– I am not blaming the honorable senator. He was a member of the Government who got into the difficulty, and, as a matter of course, he feels compelled to help the Government out.
– Will Senator Styles mention anything in favour of Major Carroll which Senator Drake has omitted ?
– I daresay that if I slept on the evidence, as Senator Drake has done, I could pick out a great many points which would surprise honorable senators.
– Especially if the honorable senator got a brief from Captain Niesigh.
– The suggestion in regard to Captain Niesigh has been withdrawn. That gentleman appeared in behalf of the Defence Department, and, so far as I can judge, he performed his duty right well.
– Like Senator Styles, I have come to the conclusion that the Senate would do well in future to be wary about appointing a Select Committee on . military subjects. I shall support Senator Zeal’s amendment, which seems to offer a most satisfactory way out of the difficulty. We are asked to say not only that the General Officer Commanding should not have retired Major Carroll, but also that one of the other five officers named should have been retired. That is the difficulty which presents itself.
– Not altogether.
– I find myself in that position. It must be admitted that the other men have not been heard.
– Is it not a fact that other men have been appointed to the service since, while Major Carroll has not been reinstated?
– I know nothing about that. The Minister instructed Major-
General Hutton that some officers must be retired. I take it that some had to be retired from the staff in Queensland, and the General Officer Commanding had to act on the information given him by his eyes and his ears - his subordinate officers. The information given him might have been utterly unreliable, it might have been tainted, and all that some honorable senators have said about it, but it was the information upon which the late General Officer Commanding acted.
– There is no imputation of animus on .the part of MajorGeneral Hutton.
– No, certainly not.
– No one has said that Major-General Hutton was actuated by any bias against Major Carroll.
– He told Major Carroll that he would never get any more employment in his time.
– That was after the retrenchment.
–But let us say that he was biased, and what position shall we find ourselves in then. We shall still have no proof that the other officers to whom reference has .been made .are inferior to Major Carroll, and we shall be unable to say that they are until each of them has been given exactly the same opportunity as we have given Major Carroll to state his case. We have not heard these officers put their case. They have not been placed in a position to call witnesses as to their qualifications, or they might have been able to put before us as good a case as that put before us by Major Carroll. I say that Major Carroll has put before the Senate a good case. To my mind he has shown that he is a valuable officer, and that the Defence Force will be benefited by his reinstatement. I am asked if I have read the evidence. I have read the whole of it. With all respect, I feel that Senator O’Keefe has been a little unfair to the Vice-President of the Executive Council. Senator Higgs put Major Carroll’s case before the Senate with great force.
– As well as it could be put.
– I believe so, and the honorable senator put it impartially as chairman of the Committee inquiring into the case ; but the Committee’s report reflects upon a Department for which the ‘Government are responsible, and’ it is therefore the duty of a representative of the Government to put the case from the point of view of the Department. * The Vice-President of the Executive Council has put the case for the Department. But this report is our property. We cannot complain that any one has referred only to special portions of the evidence, because we can read the whole of it. I am not bound to accept Senator Drake’s dictum in this matter when T can study the report and the evidence for myself.
– I should not have complained if we had time to put the case for the other side at the same length.
– I have stated the difficulty in which I find myself. I am not in a position, even with the evidence and the Committee’s report, to say that Major-General Hutton should not have retired Major Carroll, and should have retired one of the other officers. On the evidence I have to take up the position which is covered by Senator Zeal’s amendment. I say that the evidence before the Committee discloses the fact that Major Carroll is a valuable officer, and that whatever may have been the reason for his retirement, if it is possible the Government should take into favorable consideration the advisability of reengaging him. That is what the amendment provides for, and it seems to me that it suggests the only possible course for the Senate to adopt on the evidence which has been placed before them. I could not support the adoption of the report submitted by the Committee, but I can support Senator Zeal’s amendment, and the motion submitted by Senator Higgs if it is so amended.
– I do not care to give a vote on this matter without stating my reasons. There is a great responsibility resting upon the Senate if it should decide to vote against the report of a Select Committee which, after going through all the toil and weariness ‘ of examining a great many witnesses, has come to a unanimous conclusion. I cannot say that, like Senator Pearce, I have read every word of the report and evidence submitted by the Select Committee, but I have read a great portion of it. I listened to the very able summary contained in the speech of Senator Higgs, and to the very able speech of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. Having heard those speeches, honorable senators must be very well informed of the evidence- which was brought before the Committee. I hold that if an officer in the Military Forces believes that he has been unjustly treated, and comes before the Senate for his defence, the evidence to be produced on his behalf should be of such a character as to make it clear, not only that an injustice has been done by his retirement, but that the Commonwealth Military Department would suffer from the lack of his services. Like some other honorable senators, I shall be very careful before I allow myself to be nominated to serve on a Select Committee dealing with military matters. I believe that the Senate should be absolutely the last resource for persons seeking justice in this way. All history and biography teach us that great military captains of all ages have complained that their military schemes have been more seriously retarded by the interference of persons without expert military knowledge than by anything else. In dealing with our Military Forces, we should be careful that no matter how popular a man may be he should not seek thedefence of the Senate unless the case he submits is of such a character that it would be clearly detrimental to the military interests of the Commonwealth if it were not heard. After listening to the various statements which have been made, I have come to the conclusion that the services of Major Carroll have not been such that even his retirement would be detrimental to the Commonwealth Military Forces. Casting no reflection upon his gallantry and personal qualities, I feel that I must take the view of his military capacity which has been taken by the military experts who appeared before the Select Committee. I take it that Major-General Hutton would never have retired Major Carroll if he had not felt that it was his duty to do so, and that, as compared with other officers, who but for his retirement, would have had to be retired, Major Carroll was on no more than an equality with them from a military point of view. I regret that I should have to vote against the adoption of a unanimous report from a Select Committee, but I must doso in view of the importance which I attach to the morale of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
Question - That the words “ be adopted “ be left out - resolved in the affirmative.
Question - That the words “‘having been duly considered, the Government be recommended to give that officer’s case favorable consideration on the first convenient opportunity,” be added - put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 30th November (vide page 7612), on motion by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) :
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– In rising to discuss the second reading of this Bill, I desire to say, in the first instance, that I am standing in rather a novel attitude in speaking as a supporter of the measure. Because when a year ago Senator Matheson made a proposal in favour of the establishment of a Council of Defence in connexion with the Defence Bill which wewere then consider ing, I opposed the suggested innovation. I did so partly because the proposal then submitted was for a sort of semi-military semi-political council. It may be remembered that Senator Matheson proposed, amongst other things, that there should be members of both Houses of Parliament on his suggested Defence Committee. That was one of the reasons why I took exception to it. It did not seem to me to be a workable proposal. I have very seldom in my political career gone back on any attitude which I have taken up. I have generally gone forward. Possibly it may be considered that I am going forward now. rather than backward. But I wish to make it quite clear why I take up a totally different attitude to-night. My principal reason for opposing Senator Mathison’s proposal a year ago was that, the proposal for establishing a Council of Defence was at entire variance with the greater experience in respect of defence matters that is necessarily possessed by the Imperial authorities at the centre of the Empire. But having noted the immense changes that have been made in connexion with British defence by the establishment in Great Britain of a Council of Defence, and being aware that the’ old position of Commander-in-Chief - held latterly by that dear old soldier, beloved by the whole Empire, Lord Roberts, popularly known as “Bobs” - was to be abolished, and that Great Britain was to follow in military administration somewhat the lines that have obtained for many years in connexion with naval administration, I necessarily reconsidered the whole subject. I am free to say that I am not one of those who think that Australia has nothing to learn from the mother country. I think that we may learn a great deal from her. When I found that this momentous change had been made in the motherland, I necessarily began to consider whether a similar change might not have advantages for Australia. Amongst the advantages that occurred to me were those which were so fully submitted by the honorable and learned Attorney-General last night, namely, that a Council of Defence would provide for a greater continuity of method in the administration of defence matters than could possibly arise by having a constant succession of ever varying CommandersinChief. If the Attorney-General had possessed as large a knowledge of military matters as he possesses of law, I am quite sure that he would have elaborated his argument to some little extent.
S’enator McGregor. - He made a very good speech.
– I am not finding fault with the speech at all. I recognise the excellence of the honorable and learned gentleman’s deliverance, particularly on this question of continuity of policy. But I propose to address myself at greater length than ‘the honorable and learned senator did to the support of this very proposal. Before doing so, I think it is but just that I should place on record my very high appreciation of the moral courage and ability with which the late Minister of Defence, Senator Dawson, has drawn up and submitted to Parliament a proposal which I believe will very shortly become the law of the Commonwealth, and be possibly - with some few alterations that experience may prove to be necessary - the enduring defence law of the Commonwealth. With reference to this question of continuity of policy and method, I may remark that supposing we kept up the old system of command by a General Officer Commanding, we should never be likely to have a succession, or a regular supply, of officers, representing the same branch of the military Service. And as long as we had officers representing various branches of the service coming here, we should be absolutely certain to have an ever varying policy, in some important respects at least.
– One General Officer Commanding might be a light horseman and the next an artilleryman.
– Exactly. The General Officer Commanding, who has just left us, was the one mounted rifleman General in the whole British service. There is not another officer that I know of who has occupied the same position as Sir Edward Hutton has done in connexion with mounted rifles or mounted infantry, as they are sometimes called. It is not possible for us to get another officer who would take exactly the same -stand in connexion with that arm of the service as he did. If we were to seek to import another General Officer Commanding, we should possibly, as Senator Dawson just now observed, get an artilleryman or an infantryman ; and I would point out, i f we had an infantryman, what would almost inevitably be the first change he would make. We have in use in the Commonwealth at present an infantry drill that was designed by the late General Officer Commanding. It is unlike the infantry drill that obtains in any other part of the British Empire. If we were to have an infantry General as Commander-in-Chief in the course of the next twelve months, it is absolutely certain that the infantry drill of the Commonwealth would be entirely changed. The infantry drill to which I refer took a very long time to hammer out. It is a kind of bastard mounted drill ; and it has the disadvantage that if the infantry of the Commonwealth were ever called upon to fight alongside other British troops in any part of the Empire, it would be impossible to work them together in brigade.
– Is it not suitable to Australian conditions ? That is the chief point.
– I am not proceeding to criticise the drill. I only want to point out how the policy may vary with a change of command. That is all. I am not finding fault with the drill. 1 am pointing out that the infantry drill that is now in use, designed by Major-General Hutton, in its formations, in its movements, and in its commands, is unlike the infantry drill of any other part of the Empire, lt- may be the best drill. It is quite possible that this drill is superior to that designed by the British Horse Guards, and signed by Field-Marshal Lord Roberts. Sometimes minor officers know more than their superiors, and possibly Major-General Hutton’s ideas may be infinitely superior to those of his superiors. But the point is that if Major-General Hutton were to be succeeded by an Infantry General, this horse marine drill ,would be abolished, and the whole of the present system would be upset. On the other hand, the Council of Defence, which it is proposed to establish, may consider that it is such an excellent drill that they will keep it on.
– Would the Council of Defence have to alter the drill if it were to be altered?
.- 1 take it that the Council of Defence would have the entire administration of the Defence Forces. There would be a continuous policy. There is another question. MajorGeneral Sir George French, who was senior officer in the Commonwealth for the first year after its establishment, had a very strong belief in the advisableness of regiments possessing what is known as review-order uniform - that is, a smart dress for special occasions, ceremonials, and so on. He strongly believed in the old red coat for ceremonial displays. Major-General Hutton, on the other hand, when he came along, was only too anxious to get rid of every scrap of scarlet in the Commonwealth. I am not discussing one General’s opinion as against the other. I am stating cases which are opposed to the idea of continuity of policy. Major-General Hutton, I say, sought to get rid of every bit of red cloth in the Forces. That might be perfectly right. I am not questioning it. But the next General Officer Commanding, if we continued the old policy, which it is proposed to change, might be a man who ‘held the same views as were held by MajorGeneral Sir George French. He might want to have the red coats back again. In that event, it will be readily understood that there would be a useless expenditure of money. If we are going to change the clothing of our Forces every few years, according to the views of the General Officer Commanding, we shall have two things - first a very useless expenditure of money, and secondly, a very patchy appearance on the part of the troops. That was seen to be the case in Sydney at Major-General Hutton’s farewell parade the other day, where the troops appeared in all possible odds and ends of uniform, because the clothing was not in proper order Rather an unusual order was given in connexion with the parade. The dress to be worn was not undress, or field service dress, . or review order. It was to be “ as prescribed “ - or some such term analogous to that which we find so frequently in this Bill. The consequence was that everybody came in what clothing he possessed. One man might have a scarlet coat with a pair of khaki trousers ; another man might have a khaki jacket with blue trousers. It was anything but satisfactory. That was due to the continuous changes; and the difficulty would be augmented if we were to have ‘a constant change of commanding officers. There is a point which the AttorneyGeneral did not discuss, and to which I propose -to address myself. It is a much more important question than that of changes in drill and uniform. I refer to the apparent impossibility of the Commonwealth,’ even by offering an exorbitantly high salary, securing the - services of the class of senior officer that we should have if we are going to put all our eggs in one basket - if we are going to have the whole of our Defence administration under one General Officer. I may remind honorable senators of the fact that for many months the Commonwealth Government busied itself in seeking to secure the services of a British General’ Officer, and was unsuccessful. The negotiations extended over fully nine months, and it was only at the end of that time that, failing to obtain the services of any one of the distinguished General Officers whom the Government were seeking, they eventually secured the services of a half -pay colonel. Because at the time the late General Officer Commanding was engaged for the command in Australia, he was, according to his own publication - the Military Forces List of the 1st September last - in the position of a half -pay colonel.
– He was a General by courtesy only.
– At what salary ?
– According to the Army List the salary of a half-pay colonel was 9s. per day.
– And how much were we paying him?
– A salary of £2,500, and unlimited travelling expenses. In view of the rate of pay, the Commonwealth ought to be able to secure a most superior military officer, but, apparently, it could not be done. There are attractions in England and India which prevent our getting such an officer as we ought to have, if we are going to carry all our defence eggs in one basket. One of the reasons why I am supporting the appointment of a Council of Defence is, because its members will not be here to try experiments, but will maintain a continuous policy of management. In England the pay for a major-general on the Staff is ,£1,095 ; a colonel on the Staff gets £750 ; a major of brigade, which, apparently, was the highest appointment that the late General Officer Commanding ever held in England, gets £383 5s. per annum ; but the colonel of a line regiment receives 18s. per day. This information is given in the Army List, at page Ii68, and also in Whittaker’ s Almanack. With a Militia Force of about 44,000 men, Canada does not pay such munificent sums as are disbursed in Australia. It gives the British officer who commands there, only £800 a year.
– Without a travelling allowance.
.- I do not know what the travelling allowance is. I only know that the net emolument- a few years ago was £800. When I was in London a few years ago, I had the friendship of a very distinguished officer - Lieut. - General Moncrieff, of the Guards. He had a long chat with me one afternoon as to the rates of pay in Australia as compared with Canada, where the Commander-in-Chief - General Burgoyne - was a personal friend of his own, and received a total emolument of £800 per year. When I mention that Major-General, now Sir George French, drew even more in the New South Wales command than Major-General Hutton has drawn in the Commonwealth command, because allowances of one kind and another brought up the former’s emoluments t.o very nearly £2,700, it can be very readily understood how General Burgoyne’s friend was taken back at the idea of a British colonel - local rank, major-general - drawing £2,600 or £2,700 for commanding about 10,000 troops, as compared with £800 for commanding 40,000 men in Canada. The Colonies and the Commonwealth have been magnificently liberal in their offer of emoluments to British soldiers.
.- That may be, but even with this lavish expenditure it seems that when we got our last commanding officer we got a gentleman who was really a colonel on the half-pay list, and had been so for a year and nine months.
– The honorable senator wishes to suggest that he was on the unemployed list?
– A position on the half-pay list is, or should be, a position of honour. I do not know why it was, but Major-General Hutton seems to have had a faculty for getting on the half-pay list.
– I think he has a faculty for getting on the full-pay list.
– He was in Canada after he left New South Wales.
– If we cannot get general officers of experience as commanding general officers, rather than regimental commanders, it is desirable that we should have in the Council of Defence a continuing body that would undergo slight changes when, as the exigencies of political life required, the Minister would be changed from time to time. The Treasurer would be changed from time to time. Possibly some of the staff officers would also be changed from time to time, but still the Council of Defence, although some of its members retired, would remain a continuous body, like the Senate, but without any fear of. a double dissolution. We have been depending on a gentleman from the other end of the world, and apparently the pay did not attract the sort of officer whom the Government sought to obtain two or three years ago, and there we run the risk of getting sooner or later an officer with more ambition than ability, with more eccentricity than solid knowledge, and with a desire to run fads of his own. That is one of the risks which the present system lays us open to. In this respect, let me recall an incident connected with the selection of an officer to command in one of the
States. When the Prime Minister of the day was visiting the old country, he intimated to the Adjutant-General of the Forces, Sir Redvers Buller, that very likely on his return to Australia he would send him a wire, saying that he wanted a good1 officer sent out. In due course, the Prime Minister sent, the wire, and a reply came back from Sir Redvers Buller, recommending a gentleman who was very far on in years, approaching seventy, I think, though some men are fairly young, even at that age. The Prime Minister thought the officer was far too old, and sent this wire : - ‘ ‘ Must have a real live man.” This reply came back from Sir Redvers Buller: - “Am sending you a real live devil.”
– Major-General Hutton.
– If the honorable senator knows the fact, I shall not contradict him.
– It is in the records, anyhow.
.- I do not say anything regarding Sir Redvers Buller’s opinion of the officer he sent. But there is always the risk of getting an eccentric rather than a solid man with large military knowledge, who alone should hold the direction of the defences of Australia. Because, with the greatest respect for every layman who has occupied the position of Minister of Defence in .the Commonwealth, or elsewhere in Australia, the Minister, as a layman, cannot be expected, unless in exceptional circumstances, to go against the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief. There is a great risk of placing the whole defence of the Commonwealth in the hands of one individual, unless he be paramount in his profession. With the greatest possible respect for the colonial soldier, professional or amateur, I recognise the almost impossibility of his deriving a knowledge which would enable him to cope with the different branches of the military service, however excellent he might be in one. A colonial soldier might learn the duties of a cavalry leader, or an infantry leader, or a gunnery officer ; but I fail to see how it is barely possible for one colonial soldier, or one man, unless he be eminent in his profession, to gather and use profitably a knowledge of the various arms of the service, and the varied branches of the Military Department.
– We have only one in Australia.
.- I hope there is one, though I do not know exactly where to find him. I am laying down the exact opposite proposition ; I say that in my opinion, an officer may reasonably obtain in Australia a knowledge; of one branch, though I do not say he can gain a knowledge of all branches sufficient to qualify him to assume the responsibility of undivided control. On the other hand, a Council of Defence involves the proposition that each of the leading branches of the service must be represented. Amongst the four “or five officers who will constitute the military section, will necessarily be men who have been trained in the different branches of the profession. Their working together, and exchanging views and knowledge on matters in which they are experts, will give us a body much more likely to give satisfaction in developing the defences of the Commonwealth, than could be obtained by maintaining the practice of having a succession of British officers, who, however capable in their respective spheres, may not all be experienced in the various branches of the service.
– Will not the InspectorGeneral have to be an expert in all branches ?
.- He ought to be. That question leads me to the remark that the officer who is destined for the position of Inspector-General, has had considerable experience as AdjutantGeneral in India, Burmah, and other places in the East, and has thus acquired an excellent insight into the duties he will have to discharge.
– He has also had large colonial experience.
.- That is so, and that experience is not without its merits. It is one thing to handle troops who are sworn in for years of service, and cannot help themselves - troops which may be bullied and brow-beaten, to the heart’s content of any officer - and it is another thing to handle colonials, Who are of an entirely different class, and serve on a totally different footing.
– They are not common “ Tommy Atkins.”
– They are not. Amongst the members of the Defence Forces of Australia are to be found men of good professional and social position, not only amongst the officers, but in the rank J and file. In a regiment in New South Wales which I command, I have had the pleasure of having amongst the non-commissioned officers, and in the private ranks, men of high professional position and attainments who would be the last in the world to accept the discipline, so called, of officers who do not know how to treat them. As Senator Dawson says, a knowledge of Australian conditions is very necessary in an Inspector-General, and I do not think that the Council of Defence scheme could be launched under much happier auspices. There are many points which I might elaborate, but I think I have said sufficient to show my reasons for supporting the second reading. First of all, the Bill provides for the adoption of a similar method to that followed in the heart of the Empire; and, secondly, there are technical, or, if honorable senators like, professional or military reasons which appeal to me as a man of some little experience, who for many years has been an enthusiast on the subject of defence. I took a deep interest in the subject for years before I was personally connected with the Defence Forces; indeed, my interest dates from when, as a lad, I lived in New Zealand in the days of the war, and when the Civil Courts were closed, and, under the martial law which prevailed, one could scarcely turn a corner at night without being challenged by a sentry. With militarism in every direction, and the whole community practically a camp, I, perhaps, got into my blood some of those feelings and instincts which make a man a bit of a soldier.
– A bit of a fireeater, for instance.
– A bit of a fire-eater, if the honorable senator likes, but I hope a fire-eater with no bad temper.
– Is it true, as has. been suggested by the Attorney-General, that the honorable senator did “ even time “ as a “ sprinter “ ?
– I never had occasion to run after the Attorney-General, nor he after me, so that I do not see how the observation is apposite. I aim not in the habit of running away, if that is what Senator Dawson is suggesting. Having been for many years giving attention to defence matters, I naturally take great interest in the Bill now submitted, and in the wide departure that is proposed. Last night I suggested to the Attorney-General that clauses 5 and 6 might be omitted. Since then, however, I have had the pleasure of a chat with the Minister of Defence, and from the explanation given to me by him, I see that one of the clauses, at any rate, need not be contested in this Chamber. As to the other clause, I may possibly ask for an amendment, in order that the Bill may be more in consonance with the principal Act. This clause deals with a matter. which was much discussed when the Defence Bill was before us. I hardly understand the reason for inserting such clauses in a Bill which deals with a large question of policy, and not with such little petty details as might be provided for in some other measure. This is a Bill to frame a new military constitution, and, in my opinion, it should not be burdened with comparatively unimportant regimental matters. That, of course, is only an expression of opinion, and may not be of much consequence. I feel quite sure that by my explanation, I shall have relieved honorable senators, . who might otherwise wish to criticise my change of attitude, from the necessity of making any attack upon me.
– The honorable senator admits having changed his views?
– Certainly; and I have given my reasons at, perhaps, undue length. To put the matter briefly, I was first led to consider the change,1 by observing the method which has been adopted in the heart of the Empire; and then, having opened my mind, technical matters followed in train, and caused me- to regard the matter from quite a different point of view from that which 1 took twelve months ago.
– Is the change not also the result of the honorable senator’s personal experience of General Officers Commanding ?
D- My experience in that connexion has nothing whatever to do with my change of opinion, and I have said nothing to justify such a suggestion.
– It is refreshing to hear that the honorable senator has seen his way to adopt the more advanced views.
– I am happy to think that I have fallen into line with my progressive - I shall not say aggressive - colleague, who helps me to represent New South Wales. I have much pleasure in supporting the second reading of the Bill, and I hope that in Committee I shall not have ‘occasion to speak, at any length, but will have opportunity to “ vote early and often “ for a measure which I believe will tend to the welfare of the defence of Aus- tralia and its people. I again compliment the late Minister of Defence on the courage and ability he showed in submitting a scheme which appears to be so excellent and workable.
– I suggest that the debate be adjourned.
– No, no.
– I understood from the Attorney-General, when he moved the suspension of the Standing Orders the other night, that he was prepared to give honorable senators a little time to consider themeasure.
– I said I should consent to an adjournment, and I did so.
– That was only one adjournment.
– I never consented to two adjournments.
– I suppose I must deal with the measure, but I point out that for weeks we have been fighting to get the report of Senator Dawson’s Committee. That report, for some reason, it has been almost impossible to obtain.
– Honorable senators have had the report since the 18th November.
– The report was laid on the table of the other House, but as it was not printed, it was impossible to circulate it.
– On the 18th November, in compliance with a request by the honorable senator, I moved that the report be printed.
– I am not disputing that fact, but merely saying that we did not receive the report until Saturday last. The Attorney-General would hardly expect me to work on the report on Sunday, and between then and to-day other important matters have engaged our attention.
– The honorable senator can discuss the report on the Defence Estimates.
– But I want to discuss the report when I am dealing with this Bill ; indeed, it is impossible to do otherwise.
-Col. Neild. - The Ministry ignore that report.
– That is so, to a certain extent. But unless the report is the substratum of Mr. McCay’s memorandum, that memorandum is absolutely a useless document.
– “Lt.-Col.” McCay.
– I do not use empty titles in this Chamber.
– There is Lt.-Col.. Neild.
– I always address that gentleman as Senator Neild ; and. I take this opportunity to protest against the habit which the Hansard reporters have of putting words into my mouth I never use in respect of the several “learned” and “ gallant “ members of this Chamber. It is an a’bsolute waste of time, of printing, and of the services of the Hansard reporters, to continually insert these words, which no member of the Senate would ever dream of using. They are redundant and absolutely unnecessary, and the words “ honorable senator” should be quite sufficient. This is an extremely difficult subject with which to deal. We have before us four independent documents - the departmental report, Major-General Hutton’s report on the departmental report; the memorandum by the Minister of Defence, Mr. McCay, an extremely sketchy document; and the Bill to amend the existing Defence Act.
– And we have the AttorneyGeneral’s speech.
– I do not think that the Attorney-General’s speech has added very much to the information which was already before us. The honorable and learned senator, in what was, no doubt, a very able speech, has put before the Senate what was already before us in print. He will admit that we have been at this late stage very amply provided with documents.
– I admit that my honorable friend knows more of the subject than I do.
– But we have no opportunity to deal with the documents now that we have them.
– The honorable senator would appear to be complaining that he has been inundated with information.
– I am complaining that essential information has been kept back until such a late hour that it is impossible for honorable senators to properly deal with it.
– The honorable senator ought not to say “ kept back.”
– The position is this : One type-written copy of his report appears to have been laid upon the table in another place. I do not think it will be considered any breach of confidence if I say that Senator Dawson has informed me that, in order to secure a copy of the report, it was necessary for him to get a special copy made at his own expense. I applied for the same document, in order that I might get a type-written copy of it, and I was told that the Clerk in another place could not part with it. I then went to the Attorney-General, and asked that he should secure a copy of the document to be laid upon the table of the Senate, and should get it printed. It took the honorable and learned senator some five or six days before he could secure a type-written copy of this report ,<to lay upon the table of the Senate. In the circumstances, I am justified in saying that the report was kept back - whether intentionally or not is another matter. As I pointed out by interjection when the, Attorney General was speaking, the Bill is really all we have to deal with. I pointed out also that practically there is nothing in the Bill but the mere shell of the scheme. All that the Bill contains is provision for an InspectorGeneral, a Director of Naval Forces, a Council of Defence, a Military Board, and a Naval Board. Honorable senators will find that it says nothing whatever of the constitution of these Boards. That is a matter of supreme importance to the Commonwealth, and yet it is left entirely in the hands of the Governor-General in- Council. I think it essential that some direction should be inserted in the Bill dealing with the constitution of these Boards. Parliament in this. Bill is deliberately deprived of any opportunity of dealing with the actual scheme proposed. The AttorneyGeneral has said that it is competent for any honorable senator to move amendments in the Bill. That, I grant, is the case. At the same time, the honorable and learned senator deprecated my avowed intention to move amendments.
– The honorable senator did not avow any intention to move any aamendment. Senator MATHESON.- I think I did.
– I said that if the honorable senator wished to put the whole scheme in a schedule to the Bill, he could take the sense of the Senate on that.
– I said that I proposed to deal in the Bill with the constitution of the Boards, and the AttorneyGeneral said that ‘he hoped I would not do so. It is true that any honorable senator can move amendments on this Bill, but when the leader of the Government expresses J the opinion that they are thoroughly unnecessary, of what use will it be for any private member to devote his time to the drafting of amendments ? Honorable senators who are not lawyers will find that this work is not easily done, and must take time. We have, in discussing this matter, practically to leave the Bill entirely out of consideration. I take it that, after the experience of the last two or three years, the Senate has at last come round to approve the principle I advocated last year, and which, unfortunately, they did not insist upon on that occasion. I contended that we must have a Council of Defence, and must have Administrative Boards in conducting the defences of the Commonwealth.
– I am free to confess that I voted against the honorable senator’s proposal in ignorance.
– It is such a pity that so many honorable senators do that every time. I very rarely speak in the Senate without having taken immense pains to post myself on the subject which I discuss.
– The honorable senator has been like the “ voice of one crying in the wilderness.”
– Exactly ; and it is very poor consolation to be told a year afterwards that one is right.
– That is the fate of all great reformers.
– It has not been the fate of the great reformer who has suggested this scheme. What we have to deal with is not this Bill, but the intentions of the Government in connexion with the constitution of the proposed Boards, and the duties of the Inspector-General. Here we find ourselves at once in a difficulty. We do not know whether the intentions of the Government are contained in the report of the departmental Committee appointed by Senator Dawson. So far as we know, the Ministerial scheme is not to adopt the report of that Committee. Then we have Major-General Hutton’ s criticism upon the departmental Committee’s report, and on looking at Mr. McCay’s memorandum we find that MajorGeneral Hutton’s suggestions are not accepted either. Finally, we have Mr. McCay’s memorandum. On analysis, it will be found to be a most unsatisfactory and sketchy document. It adopts to a very large extent the report of Senator Dawson’s departmental Committee, but it does not adopt it in toto.
– It only curtails the fourth military member.
– The honorable senator is mistaken ; it does more than that. I.t modifies it considerably. When we come to examine the memorandum, it proves to be most hastily thrown together. It is lacking in essential details, and it bears on its face evidence of extremely hurried preparation. As a matter of fact, Mr. McCay’s memorandum is the only thing we have before us, and in it the Government are pledged to practically nothing in the way of detail. The Minister of Defence does not touch upon the most essential question of ‘how much of the departmental Committee’s report he intends to adopt, and how much of it he intends to ignore. It is absolutely essential that this Bill should be made very much more definite before it leaves our hands. It should, in particular, define who are to be the members of the Boards ; it should define their term of office, and any other essential details. I cannot at the moment suggest other essential details, but the two matters I have mentioned are absolutely essential, and should, without doubt, be embodied in the Bill. We might then leave it to the GovernorGeneral in Council to prescribe the powers and functions of the boards which would be created. In dealing with this matter, it is necessary to fall back on the report of the departmental committee, as the source from which the Minister of Defence has drawn his inspiration. Whether the Minister has adopted the report in whole or in part, the Attorney-General has frankly admitted that his inspiration has been derived from that report. Directly we begin to read the report, we find that it is itself based and founded, and even composed, on the report, in three chapters, which was issued by Lord Esher’s Committee. There appears to be scarcely an original sentence or an original idea in the whole of the report.
– What does Senator Dawson think of that?
- Senator Dawson is probably aware of it. When Senator Dawson spoke of the “ brains of the Committee,” I certainly .thought that he would have done well if he had seen his way to acknowledge the debt which the departmental Committee certainly owe, and ought to have acknowledged, to the brains of Lord Esher’s Committee, which sat in -London.
– This scheme which we propose is entirely ‘ opposed to the scheme brought up by Lord Esher’s Committee.
– I will deal with that remark as I go on. He might more fairly have spoken of the “ brains “ in Australia that used the scissors and the pasteRot. I intend to substantiate what I say, for I have the recommendations of Lord Esher’s Committee and of Senator Dawson’s Committee marked in parallel columns.
– I am quite satisfied that I made a mistake originally in not appointing Senator Matheson as a member of the Committee.
– That is as it may be. Nowhere in this report do I find any acknowledgement of the indebtedness of the Committee to Lord Esher’s Committee. In that respect the report offers a startling difference to the report of Lord Esher’s Committee, who in marginal notes acknowledge their indebtedness to all previous Committees. Whenever they quote from the report of either Lord Hartington’s Committee, or any previous Committees which have sat in England to deal with defence questions, they acknowledge their indebtedness. I have the original English documents here before me, so that I am able to speak with absolute authority on these points. Lord Esher’s Committee has been ‘ careful to give reasons in detail for every proposal they put forward, and therefore one is able to compare those reasons with the decision of the departmental Committee in .the Commonwealth, whenever they diverge from the recommendations of the English Committee.
– Whenever the honorable senator speaks of the departmental Committee he speaks, of course, of the Defence Committee.
– Yes ; it is a convenient thing to do.
– Do not mind making a convenience of me !
– We will call it “Senator Dawson’s Committee,” if the honorable senator prefers that.
– The honorable senator bases his argument on the assumption that this is the only departmental Committee which made an inquiry.
– It is the only one we know of.
– There was another appointed by Mr. Chapman. The honorable senator should realize the difference between our Army and the Army in England.
– I realize that difference at once ; but that comes in when we deal with details. If honorable senators have before them the report of Senator Daw son’s Committee, and will turn to page 5, they will see that under the heading of “ Duties of Inspector-General “ are the sentences which I now propose to read. I should explain that I have only had time to deal with a portion of the report. I had intended to deal with thewhole document. I have dealt with that portion under “Duties of Inspector-General,” and I intend to go through the rest of the report and to parallel the other portions in the same careful way as I have done with the paragraphs which I now propose to read. I shall read, in each case, the paragraph from Senator Dawson’s report, with the parallel extract from the report of Lord Esher’s Committee -
– What is wrong in that ?
– The honorable senator is leading us to believe that Lord Esher’s Committee reported before Senator Dawson’s Committee reported’.
– I am glad that Senator de Largie has grasped that point.
– Would not Senator Matheson give the same instructions to his coachman as his father gave to his coachman ?
– I cannot answer that question, because I do not know what instructions Senator Dawson gave to the Committee.
– What is the point in all this, anyhow?
– The point is that a few moments ago the honorable senator said that this report was not based upon the report of Lord Esher’s Committee - that in every material point the reports differ.
– I said it was not similar in some respects.
– I am showing that the very language in the two is almost identical - that there is hardly the diffe- rence of a semi-colon, or any other small stop, between them.
– That shows that great minds work upon the same lines !
– It goes to show that the office boy, with a pair of scissors, a paste-pot, and some intelligence, could have prepared this Committee’s report.
– Is this the report that Major-General Hutton criticised adversely ?
– It is.
– Then he criti cised the report of Lord Esher’s Committee.
– That is perfectlytrue ; but it must be borne in mind that Major-General Hutton said that Lord Esher’s Committee’s report might be good enough for England, but that it was not, in his opinion, suitable for Australia. I differ from him inthat respect, but we must be fair to him. He said, in effect, “ It is good enough for England, with her larger military organization, but it is not a suitable scheme for a small army like ours in this Commonwealth.” He is entitled to hold that opinion. I differ from him, but that does not make him wrong or a fool. Then we have two original paragraphs -
He should also furnish a report to the Board immediately he has completed the inspection of any unit or units upon all points which, in his judgment, should not be held over for his annual report ; also on points upon which he may have been so requested to report by the Board or any member of it.
He should embody in his annual report only those portions of his intermediate reports which he deems necessary to repeat.
– That only means an interregnum report.
– Yes, that is an intermediate report.
We find there that the Staff has been slightly reduced, but the language is the same. The next paragraph is original -
He will be assisted, when the Board deem necessary, by any officer whom they may detail.
Under the English scheme the Inspector is assisted by a number of other sub-inspectors, whom it is not proposed to appoint in the Commonwealth.
Those are the whole of the duties of InspectorGeneral as set out by the Committee. With one or two trifling alterations, which I have pointed out, the two sets of recommendations are identical.
– The result is that we have not only the authority of Senator Dawson’s Committee, but also the support of Lord Esher’s Committee for this Bill.
– Undoubtedly. That is the point I wish to make. And I wish to make, as I go on, this further point, that where Senator. Dawson’s Committee have wandered from the recommendations of Lord Esher’s Committee, and have given no reason for it, in the absence of any reason, and in the exercise of common sense, I individually think that it would be very much better to stick to the recommendations of the Intelligents - that is to say, Lord Esher’s Committee - rather than to adopt the proposals of people who were unable to formulate an original report for themselves.
– Does Lord Esher’s scheme provide for the Inspector-General being the Commander-in-Chief of the forces ?
– No, it does not. I should like to point out where the duties of Inspector-General, set out by Senator Dawson’s Committee, differ from those recommended by Lord E.sher’s Committee. In the first place, Lord E sher’ s Committee say -
The Army Council may direct the InspectorGeneral whether to make an inspection personally or through his staff.
That is a most important power to retain in the hands of the Army Council, or, as it would be called here, Council of Defence. Yet that provision is deliberately struck out of the fourth paragraph of the duties of the Inspector-General; and because there was a gap which they did not know how to fill up in any other way, they put in the words “ the staff which may be allotted to him,” - a mere redundancy.
– It is not a mere redundancy, because if the Parliament does not vote the money, how can he be given a staff?
– We are assuming that the Parliament will vote the money to carry out this Bill in its entirety.
– The honorable senator knows very well that in the past the Parliament has not voted money for an elaborate staff.
– Unless the Parliament votes sufficient money for an InspectorGeneral and a staff, it would be folly and waste of time to appoint that officer. He could not carry out the duties of his office solus, and, seeing that the honorable senator contemplated the existence of a staff, I should like to know whether he did not contemplate that Parliament would vote the money. I should like to know what cogent reason there is for cutting those vital words out of the recommendation of Lord Esher’s Committee?
– Does not the honorable senator see that there is a difference between Australia and England in that respect. In Australia the Inspector-General will be within easy reach of any portion of the territory he has to inspect, but that is not so in Engand, because the InspectorGeneral mav have to go to Canada.
– I take exception to that statement. If the honorable senator will look at Lord Esher’s report, he will find that the Inspector-General is not expected to go outside the United Kingdom. Evidently the honorable senator has completely forgotten his own State and Western Australia, when he suggests that it would be easier to get about in Australia than in the United Kingdom. It takes as long to get from Melbourne to Perth, as to go from Liverpool to New York. So that that reason can hardly be considered a valid one for depriving the Army Council of power to direct the InspectorGeneral as to his work.
– Supposing that something required to be inspected in India, should the Inspector- General of England go to India?
– No; he is not sent.
– That is a, reason why he needs a staff, from which he could depute an officer in England to go out and inspect.
– The honorable senator is mistaken. There’ is no provision for making an inspection in India, and, moreover, the Indian Army is totally distinct form the British Army. The debate has been useful, because we know now the motives which influenced Senator Dawson’s Committee in striking out these, to my mind, extremely vital words. In the last paragraph but one of their report, Lord Esher’s Committee say -
The Inspector-General and his staff should have no executive or administrative functions.
Senator Dawson’s Committee say
The Inspector-General will have no administrative or executive functions.
Why have the staff been left out? Is it contemplated, for instance, that the InspectorGeneral’s staff, who have just the same functions as the Inspector-General, should have in addition executive or administrative functions? Because, if so, it just proves what I wish to elaborate, and that is that Senator Dawson’s Committee, directly they got away from the report of Lord Esher’s Committee, lost the entire inspiration that formed the basis of the whole of that extremely valuable report, and they absolutely failed to recognise the vital distinction that Lord Esher’s Committee drew between the functions of the Inspector-General, which were; simply to be inspecting functions, and those of the executive or administrative staff of the Military Department. There is no necessity for me to deal any further with that matter. The AttorneyGeneral said there was no particular objection to the two original paragraphs. This is the original paragraph of which I do not approve -
He should embody in his annual report only those portions of his intermediate reports which he deems necessary to repeat.
I distinctly dissent from that principle. What we have had to fight against in the Military Department all along has been the fact that Parliament has been kept in the dark. From the very first moment that the Minister I am not allowed to mention took control of the Department, report after report was pigeon-holed, and denied to us. The best proof of how unnecessary the refusal on his part was, is that when Senator Dawson came into office he found no difficulty in giving any members of the Senate the fullest information in connexion with these matters, and he freely gave me information which I had been refused by previous Ministers. I wish, to place on record my appreciation of the extremely good work he did in that respect, particularly in allowing light to be thrown on the very great deficiency in the matter of guns and field artillery, about which no information could be got. If it is to be an instruction to the Inspector-General that his annual report should contain only matters which he deems it necessary to repeat, Parliament will not get that full information on defence matters which it is entitled to expect. Having, as I hope, established the fact that the report of Lord Esher’s Committee forms the basis of the changes we propose to make in our Defence Department, we now have before us a certain amount of expert advice, which I intend, as shortly as I can, to quote and use for the purpose of analyzing the proposals whichare submitted by the AttorneyGeneral in Mr. McCay’s memorandum. As it comes first, I propose to commence with the Council of Defence. In this memorandum, Mr. McCay proposes that the Council of Defence shall consist of the Minister of State for Defence, the Treasurer, the Naval Director, and the Chief of the General Staff. Then there are consultative members, but these may be dismissed altogether, because any person whom the Committee wished to consult would obviously become a consultative member. The expression “ consultative member,” is merely brought in as a sop to certain officers and people in the Citizen Forces who are being honored with this very flowery designation’, which will satisfy them and mean nothing. In dealing with this matter of a Council of Defence, Lord
Esher’s Committee give very fully the reasons why they advocate such a body, and I propose to quote them shortly, in order that we may analyze how far Mr. McCay’s proposals agree with those of that Committee. Lord Esher’s Committee say : -
In considering the constitution of the Defence Committee itself, we are fully alive to the vital necessity for having as its invariable President, the Prime Minister of the day. Under our political institutions, based on the authority of a Parliament with traditions like ours, no body of experts, however highly trained and qualified, would carry sufficient weight and authority to give practical effect to their conclusions, unless the Prime Minister, in whom governing power is vested, were present at their deliberations, and personally committed to their policy.
Senator Dawson’s Committee, working on that report, expressly included the Prime Minister for that very reason, and the present Government, who drafted in the course of two or three days a memorandum which took three weeks or a fortnight to print, apparently cut out this gentleman without one shred of reason.
– Surely the honorable senator does not want him on the Council ?
– Undoubtedly I do. I do not pretend to be an expert, but simply to go to the best experts for advice.
– Why should we not differ with Lord Esher’s Committee if we choose?
– There is no reason why we should not, but we ought to be given a reason for doing so.
– There is ample reason.
– The AttorneyGeneral might have given us some reason when he was dealing with this matter, because he was aware of this departmental report.
– I referred to the omission of the Prime Minister.
– But the AttorneyGeneral gave us no reason why the Prime Minister should be omitted.
– I thought the reason was obvious.
– Obviousness is not a reason.
– Why should we have the Prime Minister, if there are three Ministers already on the Council?
– The Prime Minister is the responsible person, before whom everything must go.
– The Prime Minister is the only one whom His Majesty the King knows in a Government. The GovernorGeneral does not even know the AttorneyGeneral.
– That is a fiction ; as a matter of fact, the Governor-General does know the Attorney-General.
– The Minister of Defence is the responsible Minister.
– That is so, but the Prime Minister is, as it were, the chairman of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the man without whose sanction nothing can become effective - no important resolution of the Minister of Defence can be given effect to, without the consent of the Prime Minister. The Attorney-General does not deny that.
– I do not admit it.
– But silence gives consent.
– I have said in words that I do not admit it.
– But the AttorneyGeneral does not deny it ; and that is where he is so clever that we can scarcely deal with him. Lord Esher’s Committee say -
Still less can we attempt to anticipate future possibilities. We should, however, fail in our duty were we not clearly to define the urgent and vital importance of providing, in some shape or form, a permanent institution, charged with the duties and responsibilities of calling the attention of the Prime Minister of the day to strategic problems of defence, which are never constant, to the actual condition of our armaments, and to the relation which the latter should bear to the former if the King’s Dominions are to remain secure.
Further on is this statement -
At the outset of our inquiry, therefore, we are driven to the conclusion that no measure of War Office reform will avail, unless it is associated with provision for obtaining and collating for the use of the Cabinet all the information and the expert advice required for the shaping of national policy in war, and for determining the necessary preparations in peace. Such information and advice must necessarily embrace not only the sphere of the War Office, but those of the Admiralty and of other offices of State.
Then comes the important part -
A committee which contains no permanent nucleus, and which is composed of political and professional members, each preoccupied with administrative duties widely differing, cannot, in out opinion, deal adequately with the complex questions of Imperial defence. Valuable as is the work which this committee has accomplished, the fact remains that there is no one charged with the duty of making a con tinuous study of these questions, of exercising due foresight in regard to the changing conditions produced by external developments, and of drawing from the several departments of State, and arranging in convenient form for the use of the Cabinet such information as may at any moment be required.
The committee is necessarily a changing body. It is not safe to trust matters affecting national security to the chance of a favorable combination of personal characteristics. We are, therefore, convinced that the addition of a permanent nucleus to the Defence Committee is essential as the only valid guarantee - (1) that vitally important work with which no one is now charged shall be continuously and consistently carried on, and (2) that the Prime Minister shall have at his disposal all the information needed for the due fulfilment of his weighty responsibilities, and, further, we can conceive no other means of focussing questions of national defence under existing conditions without involving constitutional changes which would be undesirable, if not impracticable.
Now we come to the definite suggestions of Lord Esher’s Committee to deal with the serious position which is pointed out; and those suggestions are as applicable in Australia as they were in England. The proposals are as follow : -
The permanent nucleus of the Defence Committee should consist of : -
A permanent secretary, who should be appointed for five years, renewable at pleasure.
Under this official two naval officers, selected by the Admiralty, two military officers chosen by the War Office, and two Indian officers nominated by the Viceroy, with, if possible, one or more representatives of the Colonies. These officers should not be of high rank, and the duration of their appointment should be limited to two years.
The duties of the permanent nucleus of the Defence Committee would be : -
To consider all questions of Imperial defence from the point of view of the navy, the military forces, India, and the Colonies.
To obtain and collate information from the Admiralty, War Office, India Office, Colonial Office, and other departments of State.
C To prepare any documents required by the Prime Minister and the Defence Committee, anticipating their needs as far as possible.
To furnish such advice as the committee may ask for in regard to defence questions, involving more than one department of State.
I should like to know why Senator Dawson’s Committee, having followed slavishly the proposals made by Lord Esher’s Committee - having proved that apart from -Lord Esher’s Committee, they had no initiative - failed to adopt any of those suggestions. The Council which Senator Dawson’s Committee suggested, was practically the equivalent of” the Defence Council, which prevailed in England at the time the report was issued.
– How many Ministers was it proposed to put on the Council of Defence ?
– At the time the report was framed there were on the Council of Defence, the President of the Council, the Prime Minister, the Secretary of War, and the First Lord of the Admiralty. These were all political members. Then, in addition, there were the CommanderinChief, the First Naval Lord, the Director of Naval Intelligence, and the Director of Military Intelligence. Those four latter gentlemen practically correspond with the three gentlemen recommended by Senator Dawson’s Committee, namely, the InspectorGeneral, the Naval Director, and the Chief of Staff.
– So far as political representation is concerned, it would be greater in Australia than in England. ,
– The honorable senator is wrong, because there are four political representatives on the English Council.
– But the British Cabinet is very much the larger.
– In dealing with a question of policy and organization, as much discussion and intelligence is required in providing for 200,000 or 500,000 men, as for 25,000 men. At any rate, the fact remains that that was the Defence Council in England when Lord Esher’s Committee framed their report. That Committee found the Council insufficient, and, for the very cogent reasons ‘ which I have quoted, they urged that a permanent nucleus should be added to the Committee. It is for us to consider how far the three professional members whom Mr. McCay proposed to add to the Council can perform the functions of a permanent nucleus; and I submit that they cannot perform the functions. I suggest for the consideration of the Senate, that a military officer and a naval officer such as are recommended in Lord E sher’s Committee - not of high rank necessarily, but young men - should be appointed to the Defence Council for two years. As I have said the duty of such officers would be to spend their time permanently preparing and col lating information to place before the meetings of the Council.
– In England, those officers are associated with the Secretary of the Council, are they not?
– They are associated with the Permanent Secretary, who is appointed for five years.
– They are not on the Council, but are simply associated with the Secretary.
– On the . contrary, as I read the report, they are absolutely part of the Council.
– I did not understand that to be so.
– Lord Esher’s Committee recommended that the permanent nucleus should consist of a permanent secretary and . certain officers, and, surely, “ nucleus “ means a centre round which the other members of the Council will, from time to time, congregate?
– But the report goes on to speak of certain other persons who may be appointed for two years.
– Those are the persons of whom I aim speaking. It is possible to take that view, but I do not read it so. In any case, there was a distinct recommendation by Lord Esher’s Committee in connexion with the Council of Defence, which we have appropriated, and for which no provision whatever has here been made. This is a most serious omission. It is perfectly clear, as Lord Esher’s Committee points out, that these gentlemen, owing to their departmental and administrative duties, will be practically debarred from framing schemes. Unless we have a permanent Department of the Defence Committee, occupied solely with that business, defence matters will remain in exactly the same mixed-up condition in which they are to-day. Personally, I still hold the opinion that both political parties in Parliament should be represented on the Council of Defence. I have often aired my views on the subject, and no one can deny that nearly all the trouble in connexion with the Defence Department arises on account of the conflict between the two political parties in Parliament struggling for supremacy, and anxious to secure votes. In these circumstances the conduct of the defence of the Commonwealth must suffer.
– There are ‘sometimes three or four party leaders in Parliament. What would the honorable senator do in such a case?
– There are always two very well defined parties, the Government and the Opposition. Since it is proposed that we should amply provide for the representation of the Government on the Council of Defence, I believe that a member of the Senate and a member of the House of Representatives might fairly be taken from amongst those who are in opposition to the Government, and given seats on this Council. If that course were followed, the recommendations of the Council of Defence, when submitted to Parliament, would be received in a very different spirit from that with which Parliament will receive recommendations emanating merely from those who are in power.
– From a non-party body.
– What I suggest would remove the whole question of defence from the sphere of party politics, and certainly that is what we should aim at. Lord Esher’s Committee had nothing to say upon this question, because in England such a question would never arise. The Government in the Parliament of the United Kingdom has usually so strong a majority that the cavilling of the Opposition counts for little or nothing. In recent years it has been found that when Army and Navy votes come before the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Opposition raise no obstacle of any kind, and the votes are passed almost without discussion.
– It was on an Army vote that the last British Administration was displaced - on Brodrick’s adverse motion.
– It was because the Government had not made proper provision for the supply of cartridges, and the adverse vote was in condemnation of the laxity of the Secretary of State for War. I have dealt with the principle of the Council of Defence proposed, and I come now to deal with the provisions of the Bill as applied to it. As I have already said, they are entirely inadequate. I hope that the Attorney-General will see his way to add something to clause 7, which will define the constitution of the Council, so that the matter may be dealt with by Parliament, as it ought to be. We can very well leave the functions and powers to be prescribed by the Governor-General in Council, but it is essential that the constitution of the Council should be decided by Parliament. I come now to deal with the Military Board. According to the proposal before us, it is to consist of the Minister of State for Defence, the Chief of General Staff, Deputy AdjutantGeneral, Chief of Ordnance, and a finance member, who is called in the Minister’s memorandum a “ Civil Member.” Senator *** Dawson’s Committee, following much more closely the recommendations of Lord Esher’s Committee, advise that there should be four so-called military members corresponding to the Chief of- Staff, AdjutantGeneral, Quartermaster-General, and Chief of Ordnance, with the addition of a finance member. I wish to deal first of all with the term “ Civil Member,” referred to in **Mr. McCay’s memorandum. This term bears no relation whatever to the term “ Civil Member,” as used by Lord Esher’ s Committee. The expression, as used in the report of that Committee, provides a definition for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War, the official who apparently represents the War Office in a junior capacity in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. No work has hitherto been provided for him, and under the circumstances Lord Esher’s Committee suggested that he should be called the Civil Member, and should be added to the Committee of Defence. In the Commonwealth we have no parliamentary official occupying a corresponding position. The functions which are set out in Senator Dawson’s Committee’s report for the Civil Member are those assigned to the Finance member. It is just as well that this should be thoroughly understood, because the term “ Civil Member “ as used in the Minister’s memorandum is most misleading, and the proper term should be “ Finance Member.” I cannot help feeling that this term “ Civil Member” has been used here with very grave intention, in order to suggest that the finance member should not be a military man. I am given to understand that it is the intention of the Government to make the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Department the Finance member of the Military Board, and it is for that reason that the term “ Civil Member “ has been used. I strongly protest against any arrangement of that sort being made.
– Where did the honorable senator discover that? I understood that he was to be Secretary to the Council of Defence.
– I . do not dis- ‘ cover that set out in any way in these documents, but I have been led to understand, from conversations outside, that that is what is proposed.
– I was not led to understand that.
– I am very glad to hear the honorable senator say so, but it only proves the necessity for setting these things out clearly in the Bill. It will be particularly noticed in this connexion that the duties of the Defence member are clearly set out in Mr. McCay’s memorandum. He has to deal with financial matters, and these include -
Finance : See Treasury requirements are compiled with. Financial Regulations. Keep accounts of Forces. Supervise receipts and disbursements. Examine expenditure. Frame estimates. Financial advice. Contracts. Lands. Claims.
There is not a single one of these matters which could not be performed by a military man. Senator Walker has asked me what grounds I have for supposing that it is the intention of the Government to appoint the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Force to this position.. I have a very strong reason which I overlooked, and that is that it is specifically recommended in Senator Dawson’s addendum to his Committee’s report. The honorable senator expressly states that the Finance member of the Military Board should undoubtedly be the Permanent Secretary or permanent head of the Defence Department. I just as strongly affirm that that gentleman should not be appointed the Finance member of the Military Board. My reason is this : The Military members of this Board are all to be appointed for a fouryears’ term. The Minister, as we all know, will come and go, and the result will be that the Permanent Secretary of the Department, if he should become a member of the Board, will go on for ever. Major-General Hutton, in dealing with the matter, says, in paragraph 21 of his criticism of the scheme -
The main alteration is the substitution of the Secretary of the Department of Defence for the General Officer Commanding as the controlling element of the proposed Military Board.
There is no doubt whatever that this gentleman would become absolutely what the General Officer Commanding describes as the “ controlling element of the proposed Military Board.” That would be the most disastrous thing that could possibly take place as a result of these proposals. Every disadvantage that arises from the present position of the General Officer Commanding would be perpetuated under such a system, without our having, as we have- under the existing scheme, the advantage of a highlytrained technical man at the head of affairs.
– The honorable senator will find that there is no reference to the Permanent Secretary of the Department in the Minister’s memorandum.
– That is so, but things which are not mentioned sometimes eventuate when it is too late to protest against them. I have no hesitation in saying that the Finance member should be absolutely independent. He should be appointed, as are the Military members, for a term of four years, and he should then return to his regimental duties. What can be more essential than that our military officers should acquire an .intimate acquaintance “with the difficulties of dealing with financial questions, and the restrictions which the Parliament must place upon expenditure? How could any officer better obtain this experience and information than as the Finance member of the Military Board? Again, I fall back upon my authority, and Lord Esher’s Committee has a good deal that is most significant to say upon this subject. They say -
The theory that military officers of all ranksare by the fact of wearing un’iform shorn of all business instincts has inevitably tended to produce the laxity which it is supposed to prevent. When money is doled out in compartments, and no discretion as to allocation is permitted, savings are not likely to accrue. In the cases, however, in which some measure of financial responsibility has been afforded to military officers, as in funds granted for manoeuvres, and in the provision of supplies in th’e military districts, marked regard for economy has ‘ been manifested. There can be no doubt that in proportion as officers are accustomed to financial responsibility the economy which they alone can secure will be effected.
While, the present system of fiancial control is futile in peace, it is ruinous in war. Officers unaccustomed to bear any financial responsibility, and ruled by excessively complex regulations, cannot at once improvise a system for the control of expenditure in the held, when the restraints are suddenly removed. The result, as in South Africa, is the waste of millions.
And again they say -
The Financial Secretary is now the colleague of the members of the Council, and can no longer occupy the position of an independent critic with special powers of access to the Secretary of State. His responsibility for the efficient and the economical administration of the military force* is co-equal with that of the other members. He has specially assigned duties, but not special responsibility apart from them. Parliament and the country must in future hold the Army Council responsible as a whole, through the Secretary of State, for the efficiency of the forces. The Council is one and indivisable with aims and interests shared in common by all members.
So much for the Finance member. I can see no reason to dispute the carefully-arrived- at conclusion of the Esher Committee. It would be impossible for the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Department to control that Department efficiently, and at the same time discharge all the duties that I have enumerated, as well as act as Secretary to the Military Board, and as Secretary to the Naval Board. I see no reason, however, why he should not act as secretary to both these Boards, because his duties in that respect would be analogous to the duties as Permanent Secretary of the Defence Department ; and as a simple recording officer, his assistance would no doubt toe most valuable to both Boards. But as a member of the executive” of those Boards, he is distinctly out of place. The next question is that of the absence of a Quartermaster-General. When Senator Dawson’s Committee framed their report, following the lines of the Esher Committee, they included such an officer. But Mr. McCay has come along, and has cut the Quartermaster-General out entirely. No reason of any sort is given for the omission. The duties have in the most arbitrary way been divided between the Adjutant-General and the Chief of Ordnance. Four of the Departments which would ordinarily be controlled by the Quartermaster-General, namely, Transport, the Army Service Corps, the Army Medical Corps, and the Veterinary Department, are placed under the control of the DeputyAdjutantGeneral. The other four Departments, namely, Supplies, Clothing, Equipment, and Ordnance Department Stores are placed under the control of the Chief of Ordnance. I pointed out yesterday, and I repeat it, that the Chief of Ordnance must be a highly-trained engineer officer. He must be a man of very special attainments in a very special line. To ask that officer to make himself responsible for buying supplies wholesale, and looking after clothing ‘ and equipment is .too preposterous for anybody to think of. In addition to that, it is absolutely impossible in any army to separate transport from supplies. Nothing could be more clearly set. out than that fact is in the columns of Lord Esher’s report, under the heading of “ Duties of Quartermaster-General.” I do not, however, quote it; but I do propose to quote a paragraph from Lord Esher’s report in that connexion. It is as follows, speaking of the Admiralty: -
It may be said to have been founded on the proved requirements of war, and although it has not in recent times been put to the supreme test, it has smoothly and successfully met new demands as they have arisen, including an enormous increase of -personnel and materiel. It conforms closely to the arrangements under which the largest private industries are conducted. Finally, it has retained the confidence of the Navy and of the nation.
That is a very vital point which I wish to impress upon the Senate - that these three or four gentlemen are asked to conduct the business of the Defence Department in exactly the same way as a private business would be carried on. I appeal to the Senate as to what person would ever dream in his private business of employing a highly-trained engineer to purchase stores wholesale for the purpose of sending them up country, and selling them retail? Any business man would laugh at the suggestion. Yet, if we follow Mr. McCay’s proposal, we should be forced to adopt that very system. In fact, if we attempt to carry out this scheme without a QuartermasterGeneral, the whole thing is practically doomed to failure. I again propose to quote Lord Esher’s report. It says -
For the first time in the long annals of War Office reforms its intricate problems have, we believe, been approached from the point of view of war rather than from those of peace. The scheme we have laid before you is based upon the consideration that the preparation for war is the primary object of a War Office, and that military organization can be sound in time of peace, unless it is applicable to the necessities of war.
What we have to ask ourselves is this - is Mr. McCay’s proposed organization applicable to the necessities of war? Can any one believe it possible that in time of war we can do without a QuartermasterGeneral’s department ? Has the Senate any idea of the organization of the QuartermasterGeneral’s department. If not, all that honorable senators have to do is to turn to MajorGeneral Hutton’s report on the recommendations of the Defence Committee, and there it will be found that at the present moment we have a Deputy Quartermaster-General, assisted by two assistants, whose services have practically been shown to be indispensable. Yet the Government propose to do away with that officer, and to throw his work upon two other officers, in spite, not only of MajorGeneral Hutton’s advice - because I understand that people are chary of accepting his advice - but of the carefully-thought-out scheme of the Esher Committee. It is a curious fact that the duties in connexion with the Quartermaster-General’s department are nearly double those of any of the other three departments enumerated in Lord
Esher’s report. I do not propose to go through them all, because it is not essential that I should ; but the fact remains that this is the one department that Mr. McCay has though fit to cut out of the scheme put forward both by Senator Dawson and by Lord Esher. Mr. McCay gives no reason for doing so. The Attorney-General gives no reason. They simply say, “ We do not think it is necessary.” Therefore, we have these two gentlemen representing the Government setting up their opinions in opposition to those of admitted experts, whatever may be thought of Major-General Hutton.
– The present Minister of Defence is a practical military man.
– He may be, but he has not had the experience that Sir George Sydenham Clarke, Lord Esher, and Admiral Sir John Fisher have had. I think I have made out a good case for the QuartermasterGeneral, and I hope that the Senate will insist on having that officer reinstated as a member of the Council of Defence. I spoke at the commencement of the slovenly, slipshod way in which Mr. McCay’s memorandum has been drawn up.* Just in passing I wish to justify that statement. In Mr. McCay’s schedule we find an officer called the Deputy Adjutant-General. T understand that the word “ deputy,” directly the office of General Officer Commanding is done away with, is entirely redundant. We find that MajorGeneral Hutton talks, in connexion with the new office, of “ the Adjutant-General.” We find that Lord Esher’s Committee talk Of the office of “Adjutant-General.” Yet, because under existing conditions the officer is called a Deputy Adjutant-General, Mr. McCay, or the office - of course it is not Mr. McCay individually - puts down the same title, though it was quite unnecessary to use the word “ deputy.” The most important feature in connexion with this Council of Defence has not been sufficiently touched upon by Senator Dawson’s Committee, or by any one else. The point is this. These officers are appointed for four years, and it is intended that at the end of four years’ tenure the officers are to go back to their ordinary routine work outside the office, and that four other men of similar standing are to come in and carry on the work.
– Will not the officers be eligible for re-election ?
– No ; that is a most important point, and one upon which Lord Esher’s Committee lays great stress.
They have the strongest objection to the new organization getting into a groove. They have experienced the drawbacks connected with the existing organizations, and the grooves that the principal officers connected with it have got into. What they say is most important, because it lays down the rule which should govern the appointments in the Commonwealth, and which reads as follows : -
In appointing the members of the Army Council, no consideration, except that of special fitness for the duties involved, should arise.
It is not necessarily any senior officer ; a good junior officer would be taken in preference.
It will not be necessary to appoint an officer of high rank who has shown capacity for field command to a purely administrative office such as D or E ; nor need there be a bar to the appointment of an officer of any rank to any post at the War Office if he possesses the necessary qualifications, experience, and intellectual capacity. We consider that the question of military rank can be allowed to remain in abeyance among members of the Council.
That is most important.
They will have official titles and fixed salaries during their period of office, and they will be practically in the position of the Lords of the Admiralty. This would have the advantage that any member of the Council could afterwards revert to any post outside the War Office suitable to his military rank without, as now, being restricted to a few appointments of the highest class.
– What is to be done with the Director of Naval Affairs at the end of four years?
– At the end of four years, he would have to go back to one of the State commands, and one of the State Commandants would have to be taken on as Naval Director.
– He would be disrated.
– He would not be disrated. He would be simply given leave from his executive functions, and go to the administrative branch.
– But under that scheme he has to carry out both executive duties and the Naval Commandant’s work.
– That is one of the most peculiar things in this connexion - the absolute inability df Senator Dawson’s Committee to follow out the lines of Lord Esher’s recommendations, directly they departed from the use of scissors and paste. They were all right so long as they were cutting it out and pasting it on to a piece of paper ; but directly they became original, they entirely forgot the fundamental principles which governed that report.
– Let the honorable senator ask leave to continue his speech tomorrow.
– The AttorneyGeneral wishes to go into Committee on the Bill to-night. To continue the quotation -
While we are strongly of opinion that immense improvement can be effected in the War Office and in the Army by reconstructing the administrative machine on sound principles, we are well aware that the personal qualifications of the individual members of the Council must be factors of great importance. Men of exceptional ability can obtain fair results from a bad system, but under a good system personal shortcomings produce the minimum of disadvantage, and they are, moreover, easily detected. It is of the essence of a bad system that mediocrity, or worse, is effectively shielded.
Under a scheme of that sort, we shall have six State Commandants, and I hope five military men upon the Military Board. In other words, there will be eleven leading officers in the Commonwealth available for interchange. I have already pointed out the ridiculous nature of the provision for consultative members of the Council of Defence. What I said there applies with equal force to the inclusion of representatives of the Citizen Force as consultative members of the Military and Naval Boards. The titles, if they are conferred, will be simply figures of speech, because it is perfectly obvious that if it is necessary to consult any people, they will be called in, whether they are called consultative members or not.
– Are Advisory Boards new to the military system of the old coun-try?
– The honorable Senator is mistaken. This is not an Advisory Board, but a certain number of citizen colonels are to be given the title of consultative members. They are to be told, “You are consultative members, and if we want to consult you we shall send for you.” It is a mere farce to insert that’ provision in any scheme, because if the Board wished to consult any persons, they would send for them. This sop is put in to gain the support of a certain number of citizen colonels and majors in order to disarm criticism.
– Is the honorable senator aware that for many years in the old country there has been an Advisory Board in connexion with the militia?
– The honorable senator may be perfectly right. No doubt other persons outside Parliament are of the same opinion as he is, namely, that this constitutes an Advisory Board, but it does not. It is simply an honorary title given to a few men in order to secure their support. There again the provisions in the Bill are entirely inadequate, and if it is taken into Committee to-night, it will be utterly impossible to draft amendments by the morning. I maintain that the constitution of these Boards ought to be clearly set out in the Bill. They are not set out, and the result will be that we shall probably pass the Bill to-morrow morning, and in the course of a few months we shall find that the Government have made arrangements differing perhaps very materially from even the provisions indicated by Mr. McCay, and which, so far as I am concerned, will be thoroughly unsatisfactory. I now come to the Naval Board, and here we find a most curious reversal of the whole of the principles that nominally governed Senator Dawson’s Committee, when they were dealing with the Military Board. The main objects of the proposed new scheme as were set out in Mr. McCay’s memorandum are -
The separation of administration from executive command, thereby making practicable, first, decentralization by the increase within established limits of the independence of State commands, and the consequent encouragement of independent thought and initiative ; and, second, the ultimate full development of a Citizen Force.
What do we find ? We find that in spite of that the Director of Naval Forces is to combine both administrative and inspecting duties ; indeed from another paragraph it is fair to assume that it is also intended that he shall have a State command. I do not know whether the Attorney-General has made any inquiry on that score, but I called his attention to it when he was making his second reading speech. We might just as well have no system as have a system which is put in force in one respect by one Board, and is entirely ignored by the other Board. Beyond that there is very little to say about the Naval Board. Its construction is entirely out of keeping with the rest of the scheme, and if it is put through on the lines contemplated it cannot avoid being a failure. I now come to the question of the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Department. Lord Esher’s Committee have a good deal to say about the Secretary to the War Office, whose position corresponds with that of the Permanent Secretary of our Defence Department. In case it may be suggested that under this re-organization scheme his duties would become so diminished that he might fairly be asked to take a seat on the Military Board as a defence member, I propose to indicate a few of the duties which he might reasonably be expected to perform. Under Lord Esher’s scheme, and doing nothing else than act as Secretary of the War Office, the following are the principal duties he would have to discharge: -
All papers intended to be brought before the Army Council will be sent to the secretary, who will summon and attend its meetings, keep, minutes and records, and make himself f acquainted with all questions which come before the council for decision.
All letters sent from the War Office/ in the name of the Army Council should bear tile signature of the secretary, to whom all letters sent to the War Office should be addressed.
The secretary will be responsible for making such arrangements as will secure secrecy wherever necessary. The War Office has for some time been notorious for the leakage of confidential matter, and recent cases have been brought to our notice showing that the present safeguards are totally insufficient.
It will be remembered that when Senator Dawson was in office he ordered an inquiry on several occasions into a most extraordinary leakage which took place iri the Defence Department, showing that the defects occurring at home are equally prevalent here. The question of promotion is dealt with extremely fully in Lord Esher’s report, and has hardly been dealt -with by Senator Dawson’s Committee or in Mr. McCay’s memorandum. This is one of the most important topics with which we could’ possibly deal. There is always a feeling that promotions are apt to be made improperly - that influence may be brought to bear in order to secure promotion for men who are not duly entitled to it. Lord Esher’s Committee are very explicit on. the constitution of a Promotion Board ; but I do not see that Mr.. McCay makes any proposal in this connexion, except that the Inspector- General is to be the Chairman pf such a Board. Nothing whatever is said, however, about the constitution of the Board. Under the circumstances, we are obliged to fall back upon Major-General Hutton, who recommends that the Board shall consist of the Inspector-General, the AdjutantGeneral, and the Commandant of Victoria. Personally, I do not think that such a Board is at all satisfactory, though I have no suggestion to make on that score, being of opinion that any recommendation’ should, have come from the Committee. I have not touched on the Inspector-General, chiefly because there is not much exception to be taken to the proposal which has been placed before us. I understand that objections are raised to the presence of the Inspector-General on the Council of Defence, but as the equivalent officer will be on the Council in England I do not see any objection to the .same course, being pursued here. Had Lord Esher’s Committee pointed out that it was impossible, or out of place, for the InspectorGeneral to be on the Council, the objection would have held good here, but in the absence of any direction of the sort I do not see why we should strike out a line for ourselves.
– The AttorneyGeneral says “ Hear, hear,” but I appeal to him, though I am afraid uselessly, to induce the Minister of Defence to mould the scheme more on the lines laid down by Lord Esher. If some reasons were given for the departures, one might be satisfied; but, so far as one can see, there is simply a desire to make an innovation in the proposals of a predecessor. Suggestions are struck out which are essential fo the scheme, and we are simply told, without any proof, that they are unnecessary.
– It is dangerous to give reasons under such circumstances.
– It certainly is, when there are no reasons to give ; but the matter is left in an extremely unsatisfactory position. I intended to say a great deal more, but, unfortunately, this legislation has been pushed ahead somewhat unduly, and there has not been opportunity to consider all the questions which arise out of the report.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee: Clause 1 agreed to. Progress reported.
Senate adjourned at 10.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 December 1904, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1904/19041201_senate_2_24/>.