2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
PUBLIC SERVICE CLASSIFICATION.
Senator PEARCE. - I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, without notice, what action, if any, the Government are taking with the classification of the Public Service, having regard to the discussion upon the scheme in both Houses of Parliament?
Senator KEATING. - The classification scheme, together with an exhaustive report from the Public Service Commissioner on the criticisms levelled thereat in both Houses, is before the Cabinet, and will receive almost immediate consideration.
GUNS AT LARGS BAY.
Senator GUTHRIE.- I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, if he has observed, in the Adelaide press, paragraphs concerning questions which have been asked in the State Parliament about the gunswhich are being mounted at Largs Bay, and if so, whether it is true that the guns are obsolete?
Senator PLAYFORD.- When I noticed the paragraphs in the Adelaide press, I asked for a report on the subject from my officers. I cannot answer the honorable member’s question until the report has been received.
Senator DE LARGIE.- When the Minister of Defence is furnishing the answer to Senator Guthrie’s question, will he let us know whether the guns being mounted at Largs Bay are identical with the guns which Senator Guthrie so generously offered to Western Australia when they were buried in the sand in South Australia?
Senator PLAYFORD.- These are not the same guns. I never generously offered any guns to Western Australia.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he is yet in a position to give the Senate any information as to the respective strength of the Euryalus and the Powerful?
– This morning I received from the Naval Director a report on the subject, which I have sent on to the Prime Minister to be specially communicated to the Admiralty.
– Can the honorable gentleman give the Senate any information on the subject?
– I do not know whether I ought to do so at present. I shall consult my colleagues on the matter.
– All that honorable senators desire to know is, which is the more powerful ship?
– Undoubtedly the Euryalus is the more powerful.
– I desire to ask the Minister whether the Powerful complies with the requirements of the contract?
– I am advised that she does not comply with the conditions of the contract.
– Do the Government, under the circumstances, propose to take any steps to enforce the contract?
– The matter has been referred to the Prime Minister, and I have not the slightest doubt but that all necessary steps will be taken. Of course, until a reply to our communication has been received, I cannot say whether the Naval Director’s report is absolutely accurate in every particular. It may be controverted. We should wait until we hear the other side of the question before we take any further steps.
– I desire to ask the leader of the Senate whether the notice of motion which his honorable colleague has just given for the ratification of the Orient mail contract will be proceeded with tomorrow? It involves a very large question, and, therefore, it is desirable that honorable senators should know whether it will be proceeded with to-morrow or not.
– The honorable senator ought not to argue the matter.
– I ask Senator Playford, in courtesy to the Senate, to say when the motion will be moved ?
– Later on I hope to be able to inform the Senate on the subject. It will all depend upon the progress which is made with Government business.
Assent to Bills
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
The causes of discontent on the part of the troops in Hobart, and the Southern District of Tasmania, were reported by the late G.O.C., to be : -
Have any communications been received from or addressed to the Imperial Government or the Colonial Office by this Government with respect to the holding of a Colonial Conference next year; if so, will the Government lay copies on the table of the Senate?
Is the Government aware whether such a Conference is to be held or not ; and, if it is, do the Government intend to be represented thereat ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Has the Government any information as to whether the Government of Western Australia intend to proceed with the construction of the railway from Kalgoorlie to Esperance at an early date ?
If not,will the Government communicate with the Western Australian Government, in order to ascertain the probability or otherwise of the early construction of that line ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Motion (by Senator Stewart) agreed to-
That a return be furnished to the Senate showing
The amount expended in each of the States upon thebuildings, &c., transferred to the Commonwealth.
The cost in each State of the lands upon which said transferred buildings were erected.
The total cost in each State of said lands and buildings.
– I move -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, it is contrary to the established principles of constitutional and parliamentary government that the head of the Executive should in public express himself on matters of public policy unless advised so to do by his responsible Ministers.
I was in hope that the Government might have treated this motion as a formal one. If they had done so, they would have been able to avoid a discussion and then save time. The motion is couched in very general terms, and I do not see how it can be disagreed with by any representative of the Government here. I wish to say that I submit the motion with some reluctance, because I have never met any one in a similar position to that held by His Excellency the Governor- General who has impressed me more favorably as a man, and I believe that no Viceregal couple who have ever landed in the Commonwealth have been more anxious, and more successful, in placing people whom they have met at their ease and unembarrassed than their Excellencies Lord and Lady Northcote. But the representatives of His Majesty in the Commonwealth have so frequently of late years, in spite of all warnings, taken part in controversial politics, that I deem it to be my duty to bring forward such a motion for the consideration of the Senate. These gentlemen who accept positions as Governors are the representatives of His Majesty the King. They are, to all intents and purposes, as is pointed out in Todd’s Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies, local constitutional Sovereigns, and they should not indulge in any public utterances which are calculated to be used by any party to further its particular ends.
– The present holder of the position has not done so.
SenatorHIGGS. - I propose to show that His Excellency the Governor- General has made a speech on the question of defence, which may be considered to be very controversial.
– His Majesty the King made a similar speech some time ago. The honorable senator had better go to England and object to his doing so.
– I have referred to the warnings which have been given by various members of Legislatures in these States. Honorable senators will recollect the case of Sir Hercules Robinson, who ventured to make a speech on the question of education some years ago. Senator Symon will also recollect the case of Sir William Robinson, referring to matters of public controversy, on which occasion the honorable and learned senator remarked that -
It was a deplorable thing that the Governor of the State of South Australia- and he said this with a good deal of pain - should interfere in matters of public politics in the Colony.
Senator Symon went on to say
To his mind it lowered the high office which His Excellency held, and His Excellency, when he made these observations, projected himself into the region of conflict and criticism, and he must not complain if those who had the interest of the country at heart as much as His Excellency resented an interference, which was deeply to be regretted.
There was also the case of the Earl of Kintore in South Australia, who published a despatch on the question of coloured labour, in connexion with which, as will be seen on page 678 of the South Australian Hansard for 1 89 1, the following resolution was carried, on the motion of Mr. Grainger: -
That, in the opinion of this House, the public expression of vice-regal views on debatable politics, unless at the request of responsible Ministers or of Parliament, is opposed to thebest interests of good government.
That motion was carried unanimously in the South Australian House of Assembly, where it was supported by the present Minister of Defence, Senator Playford. As to the question whether, as Senator Dobson has said, the King has taken part in controversial politics-
– I did not say that he had done that. I said that His Majesty had done something very much like what the Governor-General had done - that is, that he bad spoken about defence matters.
– I hope that Senator Dobson will quote the King’s words, because I remember that when the present Bishop of New Guinea approached His Majesty and asked him to send a few words as a message to his subjects in New Guinea, the King declined to do so, because he had not been so advised by his Cabinet Ministers. Senator Dobson will also see in yesterday’s newspapers a cablegram showing that the King refused, for similar reasons, to receive a petition from certain persons. It has been the practice, ever since the English Revolution of 1868, to limit the powers of our constitutional Monarchs. The Monarch has never, without challenge, expressed any public opinion calculated to invade the domain of controversial politics. The late Queen never did so; nor, I affirm, has the present King done so. It remains for Senator Dobson to prove that he has. I have referredto Todd’s Parliamentary Government in the
British Colonies. Let me quote a passage -
The position of a Governor in a Colony possessing representative institutions, with “ responsible government,” is that of a local constitutional Sovereign. Whatever other powers may be conferred upon him by the law of the particular Colony, he is, by virtue of his commission and instructions from the Crown, the representative of the Queen in this part of her dominions, who is herself the source of all executive authority therein. He has his responsible Ministers, who advise him upon all acts of executive government and in all legislative matters.
The question is whether His Excellency the Governor-General has made a speech on a controversial subject. I quote from the West Australian, of the 28th September of this year, which contains a report of a military dinner given at the Esplanade Hotel, Perth, at which His Excellency made a speech about a variety of subjects usually mentioned by Governors at similar functions, but in which also he touched upon defence in these words -
He had of late seen a good many references to the military system which prevailed in the Swiss Republic, and there were a good many newspapers and public men in this country who appeared to advocate the adoption of a similar system for the Commonwealth. So far as the Swiss system appealed to able-bodied citizens to make themselves familiar with the use of arms, he was in full sympathy with the principle. (Cheers.) It could not but be good for every able-bodied young man to learn how to handle a rifle, to shoot and ride well, and perfect himself in all manly exercises. But when that was said, he thought that the parallel between Switzerland and Australia completely and entirely ended.
– Is it not so?
– I do not think so.
– Where is the controversial politics?
– It may be claimed by some that defence is not a matter of controversial politics. They will claim it as a self-evident proposition that we should defend our country. No one will deny that. But will any one say that the question of how we shall defend our country, and the provision we shall make, and what method we shall adopt, are not controversial questions? I take the ground that the question of how we shall defend our country is very controversial. I have had a little experience on a Select Committee, and in other ways, of the military system which some public men in this Commonwealth want to engraft here, or to continue so far it has been engrafted ; and I say that that system is calculated to bring to the front the crawlers, and to make it almost impossible for men of independent mind and spirit to remain in the Defence Forces.
– Is the passage from His Excellency’s speech which the honorable senator has quoted, the only portion of it which he contends is controversial ?
– I have another quotation to make later on, showing that the Governor-General referred to the ability of Australia to spend a proportion of her funds in defence matters, and also his opinion on immigration.
– The GovernorGeneral was the guest of a certain number of officers, was he not ?
– So that he talked “ shop” out of courtesy to his hosts?
– The report shows that-
At the Esplanade Hotel last night His Excellency the Governor-General and the InspectorGeneral of the Military Forces, Major-General H. Finn, were entertained at dinner by the officers of the Commonwealth Military Forces of Western Australia.
– It was a private dinner, and the proceedings ought never to have been reported.
– Evidently it was not a private dinner, because the press reported the speeches made. But if some honorable senators take the ground that it was a speech privately made, I think that that makes it all the more objectionable. We have in this Commonwealth, as His Excellency said, a good many newspapers and public men, who say that we ought to adopt the Swiss military system for the defence of Australia.
– His Excellency does not advocate that.
– By inference he condemns it, except so far as the Swiss military system teaches men to shoot well, and to cultivate their physical qualities.
– He simply says. “Adopt the Swiss system so far as it is applicable to your own requirements.”
– I hope Senator Dobson will allow me to continue without so much interruption.
– I wish I could stop the honorable senator from wasting our time.
– These interjections are no doubt a very excellent method of putting on record Senator Dobson’s extreme loyalty to the monarchial system.
– Is the honorable senator’s motion due to his objection to that ?
– The honorable senator knows my opinions, and is well aware that I am quite prepared to state them at any time; but I do not wish to introduce them in connexion with this subject. Whilst the majority of people in the British Dominions and this Commonwealth uphold the present system, it is my duty, as a loyal subject, to obey the wishes of the majority. But, at the same time, it does not prevent me from holding my own opinions and expressing them, as I hope to do in a relevant manner whenever occasion requires. It might be contended that the question of a Customs Tariff is not controversial, because every one agrees that there must be a Tariff. But the controversial question is, what particular kind of Customs Tariff we shall have. We may all agree that it is in the interests of the Commonwealth to increase the population, but there is a great deal of difference of opinion as to how that shall be brought about. Then we all agree that railways are good for the country, but it is controversial as to in which particular directions railways shall be constructed. Mr. Hughes, of the Australian Defence League, which has been formed in Sydney, was interviewed some days ago by the Melbourne Age as to the aims and objects of that organization, and he expressed certain opinions in favour of the Swiss military system, showing by his remarks that the subject is extremely controversial.
– Mr. Hughes showed that Cardinal Moran and the Rev. Dill Mackay agree with him; and it would, therefore, appear that the question cannot be controversial.
– Mr. Hughes may be of opinion that Cardinal Moran and the Rev. Dill Mackay are in accord as to the necessity for such a system of defence, but he did not take into account the GovernorGeneral, -who has condemned the Swiss system as inapplicable to the Commonwealth.
– The Governor-General <Jid nothing of the kind.
- Mr. Hughes, in the course of the newspaper interview, said -
I do not admit for one moment that there is any analogy between such a force as I have in my mind and conscription in vogue on the Continent of Europe. We see in Switzerland the happy results of a nation taking upon itself the duty of defending its frontiers as against the professional militarism in the surrounding countries. In Switzerland there is no military caste - the army is composed of citizens. The people are citizens first and soldiers afterwards. To them it is but a part of their duty as citizens to be trained to repel invaders.
I shall show later on in what respect I think the Governor-General’s speech has had a pernicious effect.
– How can the honorable senator say that?
– The GovernorGeneral’s speech was made to a gathering of military officers, including Major-General Finn, Inspector-General, who may be called upon at any time by the Minister of Defence to report as to the value of the proposals made by “this recently-formed defence organization. Major-General Finn said at that banquet -
It was not sufficient to say that the defence of Australia should be carried out by the citizens alone.
My experience of Major-General Finn, judging by his attitude when before the Hutton-Neild Select Committee, is that he is very likely to have his opinions coloured by the opinions of the man who may be his superior. Before that Committee, we found Major-General Finn condemning Lt. -Col. Neild, and asking that the latter should be retired from the service, but, as soon as Major-General Hutton left the Commonwealth, Lt.-Col. Neild was restored to his position in the Force, probably by Major-General Finn. There is objection to the Governor-General making a speech condemning the Swiss system, when that speech is addressed to officers who may have to pass an opinion on the proposals of the new Defence League. The West Australian, in commenting on- the speech of the Governor-General, said -
The fact which the Governor-General sought, and rightly sought, to impress on his hearers was- that Australia must make a strenuous endeavour to set its house in order; it must not be satisfied to be a helpless appanage of the Empire, a source of weakness rather than of strength.
Is it necessary for Australia to set her house in order, or to be told to do so by the Governor-General ? That is the question.
– These are not the words of the Governor-General.
– Does Senator Playford not see that the speech must be controversial when a newspaper like the West Australian infers from the remarks that they mean to impress on Australia the necessity to set our house in order?
– Everything a man says, unless it be an absolute truism, such as that the whole is greater than a part, is controversial.
– The GovernorGeneral in that speech went on to say : -
But should the British Empire be involved in a war, the responsibilities of Great Britain would be enormous, and her powers, great as they were, were not absolutely illimitable. Therefore, itwas necessary that Australia should be strong enough to protect herself, at all events at home, and in order to do that she needed to develop her resources and to increase her able-bodied population.
The first portion of the speech might be taken to support those who wish to establish an Australian Navy, and also it might be taken as a defence of the Imperial authorities, who have, as pointed out by Senator Matheson the other day, failed to carry out the Naval Agreement. The latter portion of the remarks might be taken inferentially as a condemnation of our immigration laws. We all agree that we ought to increase the population, but, while some of us are of opinion that we ought to increase it by raising more babies, and endeavouring to keep alivethose already born, there are others who believe that we ought to throw down all the barriers in our immigration restriction laws, and admit people who come under contract or in any other way. The Governor-General went on to say : -
It would be simply impossible for Australia to spend more than a certain portion of money upon its military and naval defence, and that proportion could not be very large.
Some of us take the view that Australia is well able to provide the funds for necessary defence, and there are those who believe that we are spending quite sufficient at the present time - that we are not spending a small sum, as suggested by His Excellency. Canada, with a population of over 5,000,000, is spending about£400,000 per annum on defence; while Australia, with a population of 4,000,000, spends about£1,000,000. In the present year we in Australia are spending some £300,000 more on defence than we were spending prior to Federation, in 1900, when the expenditure, including the naval contribution, was about£700,000. Canada, which is near the seat of any trouble likely to arise, and has continual friction on her borders with the people of the United States, is spending less on defence than
Australia, which is so far away from the centre of any likely conflict. I now propose to leave His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and refer to another representative of the King in the Commonwealth, namely, Sir George Le Hunte, the Governor of South Australia, who has written a report on the Northern Territory, no doubt intended for publication.
– The Governor of South Australia did not make the report public.
– I ask honorable senators to read the report, and then say whether there is not any amount of internal evidence that it was intended for publication. Sir George Le Hunte describes in great detail the country through which he passed - the condition of the settlers, of the Chinese and the aboriginals, and so forth - relates the experiences of himself and party, and gives an account of the social functions which they attended. It is a very elaborate report of the same type as the reports which he issued when Administrator in British New Guinea. There would be no harm if this were merely a narrative; but Sir George Le Hunte ventures to discuss controversial matters, such as that of coloured labour, protection versus free - trade, the railway system, and the administration of the Post and Telegraph Department. The Governor of South Australia must not think that because he is authorized by a section in the Constitution to issue writs for the return of senators, that it is his duty to indulge in criticism of Commonwealth politics.
– To whom was the report addressed ?
– According to the document, it was addressed to the Premier of South Australia for the information of Ministers in that State?
– Who made it public?
– It was laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly of South Australia by the present Government of that State.
– The report was also laid on the table of the House of Representatives by the Commonwealth Ministry, who had no business to do anything of the kind in the case of a report by the Governor of a State.
– It was laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly of South Australia on the 31st August of this year, and about a week later the Honorable R. W. Foster, who was Commissioner of Public Works and Minister of Agriculture in the Butler Ministry, asked the- leader of the present Government, Mr. Price, if the Government proposed to publish the Governor’s report in pamphlet form, for the purpose of wider circulation. The Butler Government were in office at the time the Governor took this trip, and without doubt it was intended to publish the document ; and Mr. Foster thought it ought to be issued in pamphlet form and distributed right throughout the State, if not throughout the Commonwealth. Even if the document were not intended for publication, I ask honorable senators to consider the question whether a Governor should express such views as are there set forth.
– Surely, if the Governor were asked to do so by his Ministers, and he did so, they alone could complain?
– Surely we have a right to complain?
– I think not.
– We have a right to place on record our objection to a King’s representative taking action of that sort. The Governor, in the course of the report, refers to Victoria Downs Station in these words -
A great want is a regular mail service ; at present they are without one. … I was verv sorry to heaT when I got to Port Darwin that the Commonwealth postal authorities had not seen their way to granting it, on the ground that, having regard to the very small amount of the revenue that would be received from it, they did not think the mail service was required there at present. … In every, country which is being first settled a mail service must be carried on at a loss for a considerable time : but it is a material form of assistance and encouragement which a Government should readily grant wherever it is possible to do so. I shall hope to hear that further consideration has been given to this matter by the Federal Government.
It is Sir George Le Hunte who hopes to hear.
– Why should he not?
– I hope I shall not be further interrupted by means of interjections. I want to know what Sir George Le Hunte has to do with the matter.
– If the South Australian Government asked him to report, was he not right in setting out his opinions in that report?
– I prefer to answer questions at the conclusion of my address, as Senator Millen no doubt says when he is on an election campaign, and does not desire that he should be thrown off his argument. I want to know what Governor Le Hunte has to do with postal matters? It may be contended that his remarks cast a reflection upon the representatives of South Australia in the Federal Parliament. If there is anything deficient in the postal service of South Australia, what are they doing that they ha*e not looked after the matter, and why should it be left to the Government of the State to interfere?’ With regard to the agricultural industry, Governor Le Hunte takes a side, and joins a party, the party to which Senator Dobson belongs, who object to our White Australia legislation. Dealing with the; Northern Territory, he says -
With regard to labour, it must be cheap, reliable in its supply, and it must be, to a certain extent, skilled ; cheap, because our products will have to compete with those of cheap labour countries; reliable in supply, because no tropical industry can be carried on with an intermittent supply ; and skilled, because, however prolific may be the production, unless there is the requisite expert knowledge and skill in the various treatments and preparation of the products for the markets of the world, it will not realize its proper value, and the industry will fail. Indeed, it is only where products are cultivated by the native population of a tropical country that the growers can- afford to take what they can get for their produce according as to whether it is of good or inferior quality. The evidence of nearly all who have studied the subject on the spot is unanimous that tropical products cannot be grown to pay in any large quantities in the Northern Territory without the introduction of cheap labour suitable for the climate and suitable for the industry for which they would be required; in other words,” that coloured imported labour is a necessity. Australia at the present time has given an adverse verdict to this. It has even been said on high authority that it would be better for the Northern Territory to remain for ever undeveloped than that a coloured alien labourer should set his foot in it. It is not my intention, nor is it my duty, to criticise this decision, though I will take the liberty of saying that, in my opinion, that expression will, at some future date, be viewed with the same curiosity as the now celebrated telegram “ Infantry preferred.”
Is not that another way of saying : “ It is not my duty, and it is not my intention to criticise you, but I fake the liberty of saying that in my opinion you are a consummate ass “ ? That can hardly be denied, because the action of the Imperial authorities, who, when volunteers were offered from the States, sent out a cable to the effect that foot soldiers would be preferred to mounted men for the Boer war, was certainly the action of an egregious fool. That is the plane on which Governor Le Hunte places our action in deciding on the White Australia legislation. He reflects on Australian miners, and labourers, by saying that he met the son of a colour-sergeant of the Royal Horse Artillery, .a very fine specimen of a workman, engaged in sinking a shaft, who was of opinion that white men could do anything, even tropical agricultural work in the Northern Territory, and Governor Le Hunte adds that “ if they were all like him he might perhaps agree with him.” If the Governor of South Australia wishes to see miners at work he might go to Charters Towers, where the climate is somewhat similar to that of the Northern Territory, or to Western Australia, where he will see miners at work about the furnaces at Kalgoorlie, with the temperature at, I suppose, about “150 degrees.
– In the shade.
– No, near the furnaces. The work is done under cover, but the temperature in which it is done is hotter than in the sun. It is certainly much hotter than we found it in Western Australia away from the furnaces when the thermometer registered 114 degrees in the shade. There is, I think, in the remarks to which I have referred, a great reflection on Commonwealth legislation. His Excellency’ s views on protection and free-trade are contained in this paragraph -
Can white labour be employed at such a price that it will pay the employer to send out his produce to compete with that of cheap labour countries? Granting, for the sake of argument, that the white man is physically able and willing to do the work in that climate, would he ever be employed in large numbers - for it takes large numbers to keep a large industry such as sugar, cotton, rice, &c, going as a paying concern? Could any large industry survive, except perhaps by the help of a bonus, which though no doubt defensible in the interests of a new industry which requires temporary help till it can maintain itself is otherwise indefensible on economic principles, and ought never to be continued indefinitely to an industry which cannot at all exist without it.
– A very sound principle, is it not?
– Sound, no doubt, according to Senator Symon, who is a freetrader; but surely not sound according to Senator Playford, who is a protectionist ? Honorable senators who come from Queensland look at this paragraph as perhaps containing a slight dig at the New South Wales and Queensland sugar industries, which are being assisted by bounties. Governor Le Hunte’s arguments, expressed in a State like South Australia - some of whose representatives are opposed to the sugar bounties - might be calculated to induce them to continue their opposition to those bounties when, but for this report, those who support the bounties might have been able to convince them that they should cease their opposition. With regard to the railway, he said -
The question of the railway is a vital matter to the Northern Territory, as without it it can never be developed.
And he at once became controversial, when he said that a State railway would be a dead loss for many years to come, and added that if would not be a loss to the country if it were constructed on the land-grant system. On this question there are two parties in South Australia - those who believe in the construction of this railway on the land-grant principle, and those who believe that it should be a State railway, and should not be constructed on that principle. It has been said that this report is a confidential document, and T may mention that the Government of South Australia took occasion in it to refer to a number of matters of detail in connexion withthe functions which he attended. He dealswith all kinds of subjects, and even mentions the fact that Senator Neild was onthe boat with his party, but had to return’ on account of an attack of dengue feverHe refers to his visit to the police camp, and says that the building ought to be more tidily kept. Fancy the Governor of aState assuming the office of a municipal inspector, and inspecting the buildings of the police camp Details of this kind occupy a considerable portion of the report. Thereare some references to the glorious moonlight and the flowing waters- poetic touchesto brighten a report which it was intended should be circulated throughout the community.
– It is hardly fair to say that it was intended that it should be circulated. It was written at the request, of His Excellency’s Ministers.
– The Governor of South Australia would not have gone to the trouble of writing a report occupying seventeen closely printed pages, and comprising over seventy paragraphs, of twenty or thirty lines, each on a variety of subjects, unless he intended that it should be- published, just as his reports from New Guinea and other places in which he held office as. Administrator were published.
– He was obliged to make reports on New Guinea.
– He may have been compelled to make reports on New Guinea, but does not the Governor of South Australia realize the difference between the two positions - one, that of a State Governor, a local constitutional sovereign, and the other that of a man whose duty it might be even to inspect and report on police camps and so forth ?
– Was all his knowledge to be shut out because lie was a Governor ?
– No, but I think that expressions of political opinion such as I have mentioned were quite out of place in his present position. I hope that on all occasions I shall “be prepared to resent interference of this kind. The Governor of a State or the Governor-General of the Commonwealth is a kind of umpire. Sir Frederick Bedford realizes the position, and showed that he did by the observations he made at a banquet. He said, in effect, “ I have no policy to declare, and I should be very careful about declaring it if I had, for it seems to me that so long as one keeps his mouth shut very little fault can be found. It is only when a policy is declared that criticism comes in.” That is the position which a Governor ought to take, and which is assumed by many Governors.
– Merely a machine.
– I do not put it in that way. His position is that of an umpire, and when he ventures to express opinions about defence, the system of bonuses, railways, and immigration, he enters a very controversial field, and, as Senator Symon pointed’ out in the case of Sir William Robinson, he must not then complain if his conduct is criticised. We have made every endeavour in our Standing Orders to prevent the name of the GovernorGeneral being used disrespectfully. So far as we could, we have tried to safeguard him, and to protect him from any criticism which might make his position undignified or uncomfortable.- Perhaps it is not right that we should’ compel him to go over to New -South Wales and live in a house in Sydney for a certain portion, of the year, when that is entirely unnecessary ; but, generally speaking, we do our level best to make the position a dignified and comfortable one. The Governor-General should recognise that, and if he does not, if through carelessness, neglect, or inadvertence he gives expression to political opinions he must expect that persons who entertain such views as I hold will criticise what he has said. I hope that the motion will be carried. It would probably have been carried on the voices if it had not been called “ not formal.” Since the leader of the Government in the Senate has placed us in such a position that we must express our opinions, and must vote to show that there is a majority in favour of the motion, the Government must take the responsibility.
– Senator Higgs has expressed the opinion that if I had not called “not formal “ to the motion it would probably have been carried without any trouble. I can assure the honorable senator that he is verv much -mistaken. Other members of the Senate would have called “ not formal “ to the motion if I had not done so. I called “not formal” to it because I do not like the wording of the motion. The honorable senator uses ‘the words, “ and express himself on, the matters of public policy.” What are the matters of public policy ? We require some better definition of the phrase. I informed Senator Higgs that the Government would oppose the motion unless it was made more definite. I have a distinct recollection of supporting the motion - at all events by refraining from expressing any opinion on it - to which the honorable senator has alluded in the case of Lord Kintore, but honorable senators will find that the wording of that motion differs from that submitted by Senator Higgs. It made no reference to “ public policy.” Almost every subject that can be imagined, including education, defence, and finance, might be regarded as a subject of public policy. And very often it is a matter of controversial policy. Under ordinary circumstances I have expressed the opinion, and the Government of which I am a member hold the opinion, that it is unwise for the Governor-General of the Commonwealth, or the Governor of a State, to express “h’is views on questions which are agitating the public mind, ana* on whicli people tate different sides. It is better for their Excellencies not to take any side, but to abstain from expressing their opinions on these questions. I do not think that the motion should be carried coupled with this condition -
Unless adised so to do by his responsible Ministers.
I do not think that, in any circumstances, the Ministry should be allowed to advise His Excellency in a matter of this kind, because he is supposed to hold the balance between the two parties, whether they be called the -ins and the outs, the protectionists and the free-traders, or the Socialists and the anti-Socialists. It is the duty of a Governor-General, as well as of a Governor, to hold the balance evenly. Certainly, he ought not to enter the public arena and express opinions favorable to his Government’s proposals any more than he should express opinions hostile to their proposals, because in a very short time he may have for. his advisors the very minority whom he has perhaps been severely criticising. It certainly is not right, under any circumstances, for the Ministry to ask the Governor-General to express his opinions on controversial pontics, and undoubtedly it would be wrong if they made such a request. Senator Higgs has referred to the report, on the Northern Territory which was written by the Governor of South Australia. I do not wish to enter into a controversy on th’is point, because His Excellency is amenable to the Ministry and Parliament of his own State, who can deal with him as they please. I can imagine that His Excellency announced that he intended to take a trip to the Northern Territory, and that the Ministry of the day said, under the circumstances, “ Your Excellency, we shall be only too pleased to receive a report on the various matters which may engage your attention in. this important part of our territory.” No doubt His Excellency kept a journal of his trip. In his report he expressed his opinions pretty freely, as he had a perfect right to do, but in a confidential manner to his Ministry. If the report was not marked confidential when it was sent in, it ought to have been.
– Would the Government have laid the report on the table of the House if it had been so marked?
– Very likely the Government asked His Excellency ‘if hewould approve of the report being tabled, and no doubt they obtained his approval.
– It does not appear to have been marked confidential, except that it was addressed to the Premier, and the responsibility for publication rested with the latter.
– The Premier of the day ought, to have known that a great many of the opinions which His Excellency had expressed were so highly controversial that it would not be wise to print the report. Even if His Excellency had not perceived any harm in printing the report the Premier ought to have advised His Excellency that, under no circumstances, would he recommend the printing of thehighly controversial passages. I blame the Ministry of the day to a certain extent for what was done. In a similar position I should have noted the highly controversial passages, and recommended His Excellency, for his own protection, not to make them public, because it could only give rise to a heated controversy, and cause considerable trouble to the Ministry, and possibly attract notice ,in other parts. Now, I anticipate that if the GovernorGeneral had not made this speech at Perth, Senator Higgs would not have moved this motion. In the speech, which I have read very carefully, I cannot discover anything which is highly controversial, and which we ought to condemn. I cannot put upon the speech the construction which my honorable friend does. ‘
– Because the Minister is against the adoption of the Swiss system.
– No; I have a perfectly open mind on the subject.
– I judged so, from the Minister’s speech in opposition to Senator Dobson’s motion the other night.
– I opposed the motion of Senator Dobson, because, in my opinion, the time has not yet come for us to institute compulsory service. That 1 have been in favour of compulsory service in South Australia is well known. It is an ideal system, which I should like to see adopted. But I am doubtful “whether it would be wise to take that step just now. And I am also extremely doubtful as to the willingness of the people whom we serve, and have to obey, to put up with it. There is not one word in the Governor-General’s speech which is condemnatory of the Swiss system. Let me read what His Excellency said -
He had of late seen a good many references to the military system which prevailed in the Swiss Republic, and there were a good many newspapers and public men in this country who appeared to advocate the adoption of a similar system for the Commonwealth. So far as the Swiss system appealed to able-bodied citizens to make themselves familiar with the use of arms, he was in full sympathy with the principle.
– Is not that only a part of it?
– No ; it is the main part. His Excellency went on to say -
It could not but be good for every ablebodied young man to learn how to handle a rifle, to shoot and ride well, and perfect himself in all manly exercises.
His Excellency had a perfect right to call attention to the fact that there was no parallel between the two countries,., because one country is an island continent with a coastline of 8,000 miles, and the other country has not an inch of coastline, but is surrounded by the most “powerful nations of Europe, and protected by special treaties. But for these treaties the Swiss could no more protect themselves than fly. The great Napoleon said, “ I am going to take Switzerland,” and thereupon he took it without the slightest trouble. The Swiss never attempted to fight his army because it would have been utterly useless. He formed a constitution for the Swiss, and gave to the country the name of Helvetia. He really did what he liked with’ these people. If France, or Germany, or Italy would not come to her assistance, any one of these three powers could take Switzerland without the slightest trouble. In making that reference, His Excellency did not discuss a question of controversial politics, but merely mentioned an actual fact. He went on to say -
But when that was said, he thought that a parallel between Switzerland and Australia completely and entirely ended.
Surely at a dinner given to the GovernorGeneral - the Commander of the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - by military officers to whom the question of defence was the most important, His Excellency is allowed to say something on the question of defence, and to utter a few words on the question of the defence of Switzerland. Surely His Excellency is permitted, on such an occasion, to say that he can see no harm in the Swiss defence system, and that, in his opinion, it would be a good thing if all men in these States were trained to the use of arms. That is a pious aspiration which we all have; and it involves no controversial question. Is there a man in the Commonwealth with any common sense who will say that it is not an ideal system which we might adopt? The Governor-General did not say whether our Defence Force should consist of so many men, or whether we should protect ourselves by paving a subsidy to the British Navy, or having our own fleet. He did not go into any of these highly controversial questions. He simply made a passing reference to the Swiss system’, because a number of the officers whom he was addressing are in favour of it. A colonel in New South Wales has given a very interesting account of the system in a book which he has written. We are all imbued with the idea, I presume, that the most perfect defence system for any country would be one under which every able-bodied man was trained to the use of arms and able to take his place in the ranks when necessary. That is all the Governor-General said. A little further on he said -
Beyond this no two countries could be more divergent. After all, Switzerland was but a small land-locked territory, while Australia was a vast Continent, with, it might be said, an unlimited seaboard.
He referred to a matter of fact, and not a matter of controversial politics.
– Why did His Excellency wish to remind the newspaper and public men who hold these views that they are wrong.
– His Excellency did not say that they are wrong. The honorable senator may draw that inference from the speech, but it contains no statement to that effect. He merely said that he approved of the Swiss system to a certain extent, but he pointed out that there is no parallel between Switzerland and Australia.
– Evidently His Excellency thought that the newspaper and public men did think that there is a parallel between the countries, and he pointed out that, in his opinion, there is not.
– Why should not His Excellency make that remark? After the honorable senator had alluded to the speech in the Senate, I read the report, and said to myself, “Well, however can mv friend Higgs see anything of a highy controversial character in this speech ? I thought it was ‘‘an intelligent speech. I think that His Excellency made ‘a great many observations which we can all appreciate. Next day, a Perth paper, in a leading article, commented on the speech in very favorable terms. It did not discover anything specially wrong in the speech, or say that His Excellency had broken any proper rule. It was left for the honorable senator to make that discovery. Apparently nobody else did. Certainly no newspaper did.
– The secretary of the Defence League in Sydney thought it his duty to write to the papers to explain away what the Governor-General had said.
– I have not seen the letter, and certainly the secretary had a very easy task, for I cannot see where an explanation would come in. His Excellency also points out in this speech that there is no Japan close to Switzerland, and that it is of no consequence to the Swiss that the United States has acquired the Philippine Islands. He went on -
The consequence was that it was absolutely necessary that Australia should become strong and able, actively and seriously, to assist in her own defence.
There is no harm in that.
– He pointed out that it was a matter of great concern to us that the United States had annexed the Philippines.
– So it is, because the Philippine Islands are a buffer between us and Asia. The taking of the Philippines by the United States was one of the best things that ever occurred from an Australian point of view.
– The Governor-General puts it in a different light.
– I do not know, that he does. If so. it does not appear in the report from which I am quoting. After saying that Australia ought to become strong and able to defend herself; a remark with which we shall all agree, and than which he could have said nothing truer, His Excellency proceeded -
Should the British Empire be involved in a war the responsibilities of Great Britain woul’d be enormous, and her powers, great as they were, were not absolutely illimitable. Therefore it was necessary that Australia should be strong enough to protect herself, at all events at home, and in order to do that she needed to develop her resources and to increase her ablebodied population.
That is a statement of absolute facts. Yet the honorable senator says that the* GovernorGeneral has entered into the question of immigration. It is a wonder that he did not say that His Excellency brought in General Booth and the Salvation Army. I see no reference to controversial questions whatever in this speech. It is merely a statement of absolute truisms. We must increase our population ; and when our population is larger we shall be better able to defend ourselves. Is there anything controversial about that statement of fact? The speech continued -
From a military point of view, it must be remembered that so long as the population of Australia remained at about its present numbers, and so long as the revenue of the country remained what it was, it would be simply impossible for Australia to spend more than a certain portion of money upon its military and naval defence, and that proportion could not be very large.
There is nothing controversial in that, is there-? Some people think we can spend a great deal more on defence; and others that we ought to spend less. True, that is controversial ; but the statements made by the Governor-General are practically truisms known to us all. We have not illimitable powers to draw upon ; we have to be careful in the money we spend; we have to see that it is usefully spent.
That meant - and he regretted to say it - considering the audience to whom he was speaking - that they could not afford to maintain as many officers as he thought would be desirable under happier circumstances.
See how nicely His Excellency keeps away from controversial questions ! Notice the pious hopes and wishes that he indulges in ! He went on -
The officers generally must co-operate loyally and actively in doing all they could to facilitate the discharge of the new duties which have been imposed upon their friend and guest, the InspectorGeneral of Australia, Major-General Finn.
There is nothing in that to which the slightest exception could be taken. After reading the whole speech, I say that there was nothing to complain of in it. Coming to the motion its/elf, if it contained a simple abstract proposition, and df a few words were altered, I might agree to it. I dissent from the statement that His Excellency has entered into controversial questions.
– W - Will the Minister support the amendment which I intend to move ?
– I do not know until I see it. I quite agree, however, that Governors and Governor-Generals should copy the example of the present King. I followed his career with great interest while he was Prince of Wales, and to a great extent I have followed him in his various utterances since he has been
King. One cannot but notice the great, tact which characterizes His Majesty’s speeches. He never expresses definite opinions on highly controversial questions that come before the people whom he governs. Those who represent him in the British dominions should, I quite agree, be careful not to transgress the wellunderstood rule that the representatives of His Majesty should not express public opinions, 011 highly controversial political questions of the day. But in this particular case, I say that the Governor-General has not expressed such opinions. It seems to me that the motion is aimed especially at His Excellency ; and as the passing of it would be a reflection on him, I shall have to vote against it.
– I I intend to propose an. amendment which I think that both Senator Higgs and the Minister will be able to accept. I wish to make the motion read as follows : -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, it is contrary to established principles of constitutional and parliamentary government that the head of the Executive should in public express himself on matters of controversial politics.
– Why not insert the word “highly” before “controversial”?
– N - No ; I hold that it is inadvisable that the representative of the King should express opinions on controversial political questions.
– I wish to move an amendment that would come before that mentioned by Senator O’Keefe.
– I b I believe that the honorable senator wishes to apply the motion solely to the Governor of South Australia. If I sat down, and gave him an opportunity to move it, I should lose my chance of proposing an amendment.
– Shall I be prevented from moving an amendment coming before that mentioned by Senator O’Keefe. if his amendment is moved now ?
– I w I will not move my own amendment at this stage in deference to Senator Pearce’s wish, but will get some other honorable senator to move it for me after I have concluded my observations. I quite sympathize with Senator Pearce’s desire to make the motion apply to the Governor of South Australia so far as that goes, but I do not think it goes quite far enough. If the motion is amended as I suggest, there will be nothing in it to which any honorable senator cannot agree. Even the Minister of Defence has said that he has always been very jealous of the privilege of self-government, and he has given us to understand that he will vote for the motion if it is amended in such a way as I have indicated. The difference between the Minister and Senator Higgs is simply one of opinion as to what was really intended by the Governor-General. In that regard I differ to some extent from Senator Higgs. I believe that His Excellency did not intend his remarks to bear the controversial aspect that the honorable senator has endeavoured to read into them. At the same time, it might have been better if His Excellency had not said as much as he did. Under our system of government, we are left absolutely free to make our own laws. The Governor-General is the representative of His Majesty in this Commonwealth, whose people hold different views, and are divided into various political parties. His Majesty himself, I am sure, would not give utterance to opinions in public which would tend to support or to emphasize the political views of any party, and I am quite sure that His Majesty would not desire that his representative here should do any.thing of the kind. I think that the speech of the Governor-General in Western Australia did touch slightly upon forbidden ground. When we enter into matters of defence, we deal with a very vital question, about which different opinions are held in Australia. There is a large body of political opinion which favours the idea that the military system carried on in the past by the States, and taken over by the Commonwealth, should prevail in the future, and is best calculated to meet the purposes of the defence of Australia. A number of people believe in maintaining highly-paid officers and a generally expensive military system. On the other hand, a large section of our people do not believe in that system, but hold that we should have a strong force of citizen soldiers. Certainly the speech of the Governor-General did slightly touch upon dangerous ground, so far as it seemed to favour the present military system, because, taking the Minister’s own word for it, the Governor-General expressed his regret that the present financial position of Australia did not allow us to have as many officers as he thought would be desirable in happier circumstances.
– Surely that is controversial.
– Y - Yes. It seems to me that the Governor-General in that speech favoured the present military system, with which a large number of people do not agree, and that, therefore, he was on controversial ground. With the remarks generally of Senator Higgs I cordially agree; but, while disapproving of the action of the Governor-General-
– What does it really matter ?
– I - It matters a great deal while we remain under our present system of government and the GovernorGeneral is the link between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Crown. We desire to keep the Governor- General in the position of a link, and I think I may say, without disrespect, retain him as the figurehead of the Government. That, I make bold to say, is the view of a large number of people in Australia. His Excellency has, generally speaking, pleased the people of Australia more than did any of his predecessors, and he and his lady are immensely popular in every part of the Commonwealth.
– Why make an invidious distinction?
SenatorO’KEEFE.- It is not an invidious distinction to say that the GovernorGeneral, with his happy manner of carrying out his duties, has made himself very popular within the Commonwealth.
– The GovernorGeneral recently advised the Australian people to patronize Australian industries; does Senator O’Keefe regard that advice as controversial ?
– U - Undoubtedly. In my opinion, the Governor-General was just as wrong in that case as he was in the case under discussion. It is extremely probable that large numbers of free-traders throughout Australia are of opinion that the GovernorGeneral ought not to have expressed any such views.
– Nothing of the sort. It was only a bit of human nature on the part of the Governor-General.
– T - That may be ; but a gentleman in the highand responsible position of Governor-General is not supposed to express opinions of the kind. The Governor-General was not well advised in having, as it seems tome, favoured a system of military defence which does not meet with the approval of large numbers of Australians. However, that is a matter of opinion on which we may very well differ; and I may say that I have not taken quite the same serious view of the occurrence as Senator Higgs. As to the complaint in regard to the Governor of South Australia, however, I am of opinion that that gentleman in the report he drew up showed extremely bad taste.
– What has the Commonwealth Parliament to do with the matter ?
– No No doubt it is a matter for the South Australian Government, but it must not be forgotten that amongst the subjects dealt with by His Excellency were some purely under Federal administration; and, under the circumstances, I think we are entitled to express an opinion, always provided that it was intended to make the report public. In that report was dealt with one of the most vital questions of policy that has ever agitated the minds of the people of Australia - the White Australia policy. That is a question with which, of course, I am not entitled to deal now; but, rightly or wrongly, it has assumed immense importance. The next Federal elections, like the two previous elections, may be fought largely on the question ; and yet we have the Governer of a State showing such extremely bad taste as to, in strong language, express views on one side. I do not say whether His Excellency is right or wrong in the views he holds, but his private opinions ought to remain private opinions. The question arises whether it was intended that the report should be made public ; and if that was not the intention, either the South Australian Government or the Federal Government have blundered in giving it publicity.
– The report appeared in the newspapers all over the country.
– If If the report was intended to be private, it ought not to have been laid on the table of the Commonwealth Parliament House.
– The State Government first made it public.
– The Then the blunder is with the State Government.
– After the report had appeared in print, members of the Federal Parliament asked the Government to procure copies, so that the full text might be seen.
– I t I think it is the duty of this Senate to express disapproval of any interference by a State Governor in such questions as I have indicated. I feel quite sure that His Majesty has no desire that his representatives either in the Commonwealth or in the States should take sides on questions of vital public policy. Ifmy amendment as indicated should be submitted, any honorable senator who voted against it would place himself in what I cannot help regarding as an absurd position.
– I should vote against it.
– T - Then the honorable senator would be taking a very dangerous step, because he would be declaring inferential ly that he approved of the GovernorGeneral, or the Governor of any State, taking sides in politics.
– Not necessarily so.
– I t I think that if the motion were amended in the way I have indicated, it would commend itself even to those honorable senators who do not think the Governor-General intended to express opinions on matters of controversial policy.
– I could vote for such a motion, but not now, because it would mean a slap in the face for Lord Northcote.
– I - In deference to Senator Pearce, who, I understand, has a prior amendment to move, I shall not submit my own amendment at this stage.
– I find myself unable to support the motion as it is placed before us. It undoubtedly has reference to the head of the Executive of the Federal Government, and Senator Higgs has plainly stated that it is based on the speech made by His Excellency in Perth in September last. I have read that speech very carefully, and I cannot see that the Governor-General has in any way committed himself to any definite military policy. On the other hand, His Excellency seems to have merely stated the facts in regard to Switzerland, and the facts in regard to Australia, and said that these must be taken into account in dealing with any military policy. Do we not all recognise that truth? The speech seemed to be delivered for the purpose of directing attention to the question of defence; and His Excellency very skilfully evaded party politics. He expressed his admiration for the Swiss system, and, at the same time, pointed out the difference in the circumstances of the two countries, and I consider he has rendered
Australia a service in directing public attention to an important question without involving himself in party politics. The objection I have to Senator O’Keefe’s amendment - which, I understand, may be moved by Senator Croft - is that it leaves the motion based practically on the grounds stated by Senator Higgs. While passing a motion affirming our belief that the GovernorGeneral did not interfere in politics, we base that motion on the speech which he delivered in Western Australia; and, in doing so, we practically say that in that speech HisExcellency did exceed his duty.
– T - The amended motion would ask the Governor-General not to do so in the future.
– I do not admit that the Governor-General has done so in the past.
– It is a case of “ not guilty; but don’t do it again.”
– Why pass the motion if the Governor-General has not exceeded his duty. Such a motion indicates either that the Governor-General has transgressed in the past, or is likely to do so in the future ; and, if he has not done so in the past, why need we fear he may do so in the future? I cannot see that the Governor-General, in this or any other speech, has transgressed the liberty that should be accorded to him. While I disagree with Senator Higgs on that point, I thoroughly agree with the view he takes of the action of the Governor of South Australia. No doubt Sir George Le Hunte has in the most direct manner interfered in a highly controversial question, and the manner of the interference makes it, in my opinion, even more criminal.
– I ask whether the honorable senator is in order in using such a word.
– I do not think that Senator Pearce ought to use the word “ criminal “ in this connexion.
– I withdraw the word, which was a slip of the tongue, and substitute “ culpable.”
– Say “injudicious. ‘ ‘
– Well, then, I will use the word “ injudicious.” My desire is to move a series of amendments which will make the motionread thus: -
That, in the opinion of this Senate, it is contrary to the established principles of constitutional and parliamentary government that the head of the Executive of the State of South Australia should have in public expressed himself on matters of controversial public policy.
In the report of Sir George Le Hunte there is what appears to be an extract from the State Hansard, as follows: - (Hansard, 7th September, 1905.)
GOVERNOR’S REPORT ON NORTHERN TERRITORY.
The Commissioner of Public Works told Mr. Smeaton that the report of His Excellency the Governor on his visits to the Northern Territory was the outcome of a visit paid to the Northern Territory by His Excellency as arranged by the late Government. It did not express the views of the Government. It ought not to have been laid on the table of the House, as it was for the information of Ministers; but, having been tabled, it was the intention ofthe Government to have it printed.
We all have a knowledge of the circumstances. The Jenkins Government tried to engineer the land grant railway, and it was that Government which, through the Premier, expressed a desire to people the Northern Territory with coloured labour. This Government asked the Governor to go to the Northern Territory, and to compile this report. What could have been the object, but an endeavour to secure the influence of the Governor’s opinion on behalf of their policy of land-grant railways, and of coloured labour for the Northern Territory ? That that was their intention is shown by the fact that when the report was sent in, although it was a confidential report for Ministers, the Government laid it on the table of the Legislative Assembly of South Australia, with the result that the press had access to it, and it became a public document.
– Which Government laid it on the table?
– I understand that it was the Butler Government, who were the successors of the Jenkins Government. When the Price Government assumed office, the position was that the document had been tabled1, and then it was ordered that it should be printed. I asked the Government of the Commonwealth to obtain copies of it. I say that the manner chosen by the Governor of South Australia for the expression of his opinions added to their importance. They were placed before the public, not in a report of a mere after-dinner speech, but in the form of a public official document, which will be handed down to posterity as a parliamentary paper. I contend that the Governor of South Australia, in consenting to make that report, in which he deals with Federal and highly controversial questions, must have known that he was taking up a party and controversial position. I have only to add that I think the Senate will be right in interfering in the matter, because while it may be said that the State Parliament of South Australia is the guardian of the dignity of the Governor of that State, His Excellency, in the report he has compiled, has ventured to express opinions on matters of Federal politics. We are, therefore, within our right, and I think it is our duty, to pass a motion expressing our opinion of his action. I hope that the Senate will pass the motion in the form in which I propose it should be amended. When the motion deals with the action of the Governor of South Australia, against whom we have some ground of complaint, there can be no objection to its being passed by the Senate.
– Senator Pearce will see that he is proposing to move a number of amendments, consequent on each other, and that if they are submitted in the form indicated they will prevent Senator O’Keefe from moving his amendment.
– To test the matter, first of all, I move -
That after the word “Executive” the following words be inserted, “of the State of South Australia.”
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).After some little consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it is a pure waste of time to discuss motions of this character.
Surely we have outgrown that condition when we ought to jealously criticise every public utterance of our Governor-General. I do not suppose that any one here cares less for the Governor-General than I do, knows less about him, or is less concerned about his opinion. I do not think the people of Australia care two straws what the Governor-General says on any public question. It does not affect them in the slightest degree. It appears to me to be a pure waste of time to discuss such a matter here. We have very much more important business before us than anything the GovernorGeneral canpossibly ; say upon any known subject. I do not believe in GovernorsGeneral or Governors at all, but if we have them here, why shut their mouths? What are they to talk about? If the Governor-General goes to a show and talks of the desirability of increasing the pig industry or the pumpkin industry, politicians will at once accuse him of interfering in a matter of public controversial politics. I have no more to say on the subject I think we have been wasting public time this afternoon.
Original question put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the Select Committee on Tobacco Mono poly have leave to extend the time for bringing up the report to this day four weeks.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper: -
Report of Lieut.-Colonels Bridges, Owen, and Le Mesurier, on 7.5 guns for North Fremantle : Statements of Senator Matheson.
Ordered to be printed.
Debate resumed from 5th October(vide page 3212), on motion by Senator Staniforth Smith.
– I hope that the Senate wilt not agree to this motion. It will be remembered that at the commencement of this sitting; I intimated that Ministers had before them the amended classification scheme, together with a very exhaustive report by the Commissioner, on the criticisms which had been offered thereon in both Houses of the Parliament this session. In moving this motionSenator Smith contented himself with merely remarking that he had dealt somewhat exhaustively with most of the matters therein mentioned when he took part in the general discussion on the classification scheme. The motion consists of five paragraphs, affirming five principles. I might, if time permitted, deal very exhaustively with each affirmation of principle. The first paragraph says -
That the female employés in the Civil Service possessing equal qualifications and aptitude should be placed in the same class and receive equal remuneration as male civil servants doing similar work.
That principle was not only affirmed in the discussion on the Public Service Bill, but has been given effect to by the Commissioner in his scheme. Of course, in a comprehensive scheme, which embraces the classification of over 12,000 public officers in the transferred Departments, it is quite possible that an individual critic or a hypercritical person may fancy that he or she can single out one or two cases where it is thought that the principle has been departed from. But I think that a careful analysis of the scheme will show that the classification, in each Department, has been based solely upon the character of the work done by each officer in his particular office, and absolutely irrespective of sex. From the statement in this part of the motion’, any one, would imagine that the female employes have not received any consideration since they were transferred to the Commonwealth and the Public Service has been classified. The largest number of female officers are employed in the transferred Departments in Victoria. We find that the female officers in the State number 343, that their salaries aggregated ,£25,266 in 1901, and aggregate £37,416 in 1905, showing an aggregate increase of £12,150. The average increase per” officer is £35, and the percentage increase which that represents on their previous salaries is 48. In other States, where the employment of female officers is not so extensive as it is in Victoria, the Commissioner has followed the same principle. I think it will be seen that he has had regard to the efficiency of the work, and has not in any case considered the sex of the officer in determining the amount to be paid. The second affirmation of principle in the motion is -
Tl1.1t .it least one-half of the total number of telegraphists should be in the 4th Class.
The Commonwealth employs a large number of telegraphists. Of course, the greater number of these officers are employed in New South Wales and Victoria; but it is considered that the work which the majority of them do is not, considering all the circumstances and the necessity of keeping the expenditure within reasonable limits, worth more to the Commonwealth than £160, that is to say the maximum of the fifth class. A number of the more important telegraphists are engaged on quadruplex and duplex lines, and also in many instances they act as supervisors. One-third of the total number of telegraphists nave been allotted accordingly to fill such places and have been put in the fourth class, and proportionately graded, receiving salaries ranging from £185 to £285. Prior to Federation, a telegraphist in New South Wales could advance by regular periodical increments to £125, but after he had reached that salary his progress was verv slow, and largely depended upon the number of vacancies which might occur. “Under the present system, the whole of the telegraphists in the fifth class who are sufficiently efficient, and whose efficiency is acknowledged in the annual reports, can advance automatically year by year until they obtain a salary of £160, as against a salary of £125 prior to Federation. In New South Wales fifty officers have been advanced to the fourth class since Federation. In Victoria the number of fourth class telegraphists has been increased by the classification from 14 prior to Federation to 93, and instead of being able to rise to a salary of only £235, they can rise to the salary of £285. It must be remembered that more than one avenue of promotion is open to telegraphists. In many instances telegraphists have first claim to the vacant positions or postmasters, especially where the officer is required to have a knowledge of telegraphy. Quite a number of such vacancies occur from time to time, andi these are additional to the ordinary avenues of promotion which are open to a telegraphist in his own class. There are some 500 positions of that character to which telegraphists are eligible for appointment as vacancies occur. It will be seen that they are not restricted in their opportunities of promotion to their own particular work. Out of 1,284 telegraphists, there are 856 in the fifth class, and these are eligible for promotion to a superior position when vacant, upon showing their efficiency. Besides those positions, they are eligible for promotion to the 500 positions of postmasters as vacancies occur.
– In many cases at a lower salary though.
– In most cases at a higher salary - certainly at a salary higher than that of a telegraphist in the fifth class. The positions I have mentioned do not include the positions of testing officers and supervisors. This proposal to place one-half of our telegraphists in the fourth class is, I submit, not justified on any grounds. Senator Smith did not assign any reason for his proposal, other than referring us to the views which he had expressed when discussing the general scheme. I submit that the value of the work does not warrant the Commonwealth in placing such a large proportion, of its telegraphists iri that class, nor is the proposal justified by any comparison with the conditions prevailing prior to Federation. There are so many avenues of promotion open to these men outside their immediate work that it cannot be said that there is an absence of due opportunities for pro- motion. The increased expenditure in connexion with the fourth class, as the result of the classification, comes to ,£3,000 per annum. If the proposal of Senator Smith were given effect to, the additional expenditure would be increased from ,£3,000 to £9,000 per annum. If the grading system were abolished, and telegraphists ‘were allowed to rise to the maximum salary of class 4, the increase per ‘annum would amount to ,£50,000. Of course it is very easy for honorable senators to take one or two isolated cases with the whole of the circumstances of which they are not fully cognisant ; but it is a serious matter to’ assert a series of principles which would have as one of their consequences such an increase of expenditure. I may point out that the classification scheme was published in June, 1904. The telegraphists throughout the Commonwealth have their own organization - and a very active and efficient one it is. I can fairly say of it, from careful observation of its proceedings, that it exists not alone to conserve the interests of the telegraphists, but also, as far as possible, to see that those who are engaged in public work shall look after the interests of the people whom they are serving. I think that, individually and collectively, through their association, the telegraphists have always shown their disposition to do that. Twelve months after the classification scheme was issued, a conference of representatives of Commonwealth telegraphists was held, and, according to records published in their journal, a scheme founded on a proportion of one-half of the officers being in the fourth class and divided proportionately, was considered. But that conference was unable to agree, and finally submitted the scheme to the various State associations for consideration. So far as I know, no finality has been arrived at, whilst some State associations are, I believe, opposed to this , proposition of their own conference. That fact itself serves to show that amongst the telegraphists themselves there cannot be anything like an unanimous agreement with the principle contained in paragraph 2 of this motion. Some passages, which indicate the difficulties involved in this matter, may be quoted from the service journal. For instance, it is stated, in reference to the proposal to put half the telegraphists in the fourth class -
The percentages suggested by the Conference are not so liberal to the three higher grades as the Commissioner’s scheme, because it would not have been possible to have persuaded the Commissioner to apply his percentages without unduly swelling the higher grades and necessitating a large expenditure of public money.
Another reference is -
The .suggested change must be more costly than the Commissioner’s scheme.
The problem is a difficult one to solve, and, at the same time, do justice all round.
Another passage, which I commend to the consideration of honorable senators from my own State, who have addressed themselves to the classification scheme, and who may be disposed to support this motion, is the following: -
Under the suggestions of the Conference the State which will suffer most will be Tasmania, for the highest paid telegraphists in that State would be j£210 per annum.
There is a table of figures published in the same journal, and the matter is summed up in this way - “ The above tabulated figures “ (referring to a published table) “will assist the Executive Committees when efforts are being .made to untie this hard knot.”
Passages like those clearly indicate that in the minds of these gentlemen, who are responsible for guiding and directing much of the work done by the telegraphists as a body in their association, there is no agreement as to the reasonableness of the principle that Senator Smith would have us affirm in paragraph 2 of this motion. The third principle which he enunciates is onewhich I have, to some extent, anticipated. It says -
That the three grades in the General Division should be abolished, and increments substituted up to at least ^50.
In the discussion on the classification scheme here and elsewhere, when references were made to the general division, the instances most frequently quoted were those of the letter-carriers. I find that, under the classification scheme, one-third of the lettercarriers of “the Commonwealth receive 7s. a day, one-third 8s., and the remainder 9s. It is considered that 8s. a day is a fair maximum rate for work of this character, but 9s. is Being paid to a certain number of officers as a recognition of their long service. Of course those who are receiving that sum will, year by year, become fewer. I will make a comparison between these rates and the salaries paid to letter-carriers before Federation. The average salary throughout the Commonwealth, under the grading system, is ,£122 per annum. Compare that amount with the average salaries paid in the States in the year’ 1901. They were : In New South Wales, £101 ; in Victoria, £120 ; in Queensland, £112; in South Australia, £113; in Western Australia, £116 ; and in Tasmania, £89.
– The expenses of living have gone up 20 per cent, since then.
– This is another case of King Charles’ head. The reference is, I suppose, to the Tariff, under which the honorable senator believes that the cost of the necessaries of life has increased by 20 per cent. I do not think that many other members of the Senate will indorse his opinion.
– I would rather take the opinion of a family man.
– There, however, is the fact - that £122 per annum is the average salary paid to letter-carriers in the Commonwealth to-day, whilst the highest salary paid in any State, in 1901, was £120 in Victoria; and the lowest was £89, in Tasmania. The adoption of the principle contained in this particular paragraph of the motion would involve an increased annual expenditure of £20,000.
– How does the honorable ‘senator arrive at that amount ?
– The estimate is one that has been furnished to me authoritatively. The increased expenditure involved in abolishing the grading for the general division, so far as concerns the letter-carriers, would be £20,000 per annum, and if that principle were applied to the general division altogether, the increased annual expenditure would be £75.000 per annum.
– Ought the cost to be considered before the justice of the case?
– ‘Certainly not, but before the’ Senate pledges itself to a principle involving such an increase of expenditure, verv cogent reasons should be given - certainly reasons far more cogent than any that have been submitted upon this . motion, or in the discussion of the classification scheme.
– I believe that only 1,500 letter-carriers are concerned.
– I do not think that those figures can be correct. The figures which I have quoted are given on the authority of the responsible head of the Department concerned, and I feel pretty certain that honorable senators can rely upon them. Possibly Senator Gray’s memory does not serve him correctly, or he is confusing two things.
– The Minister may be perfectly right.
– I am bound, in justice to the Senate, to give this information, which I think is relevant; and I repeat that before we assert a principle which would involve the Commonwealth in such an extra annual outlay, we should be careful that the most cogent reasons are given. As to paragraph 4 of the motion, in connexion with district allowances, T am inclined to think that Senator Smith had in his mind the circumstances of Western Australia more, perhaps, than those of any other State. We know that in 1900 and 1 90 1 the conditions of Western Australia were in some degree different from what they are to-day. I do not suppose that it will be said that the cost of living in that State has been increasing during the last five years. At all events the special Tariff has, in accordance with the Constitution, been lessened by one-fifth each year, and1 in the course of a very short time will disappear altogether. Consequently, so far as the special Tariff may have increased the prices of the necessaries of life, it is a diminishing quantity. It must be remembered that, to a large extent, Western Australia is a very new country, and, in most new countries, the conditions are such as to make the necessaries of life much dearer than they are elsewhere. But those conditions pass away, and I am inclined to think that Western Australia is no exception to the rule in that respect. However, it has to be said that, in Western Australia, during the last five years, however much the conditions of life may have varied, the salaries of officers have not decreased, but have steadily increased. The average salary paid throughout the State has risen within that period from £124 per annum to £134. There are 405 officers stationed at the General Post Office, Perth. Their salaries before Federation amounted to £59,037. They now amount to £66,566, or an increase of £7,529. That represents an annual increase of £18 per officer per annum. The last paragraph of the motion deals with the constitution, of the appeal boards. There are six appeal boards, presided over in each State by the Public Service Inspector of the State; and the substance of this paragraph is that the place occupied by the Public Service Inspector should be taken by a Judge or a stipendiary magistrate. It is argued that such a president would be a legally trained man, to take and sift evidence. It must be remembered, however, that an appeal board does not necessarily deal with cases in every respect in the same strict manner as does a court of law in determining an issue. The Public Service Inspector in each State is in constant touch with the Commissioner on the one hand and the public servants on the other.
– I think that the member of the board whom Senator Smith wishes to eliminate is the officer appointed by the head of the Department.
SenatorKEATING. - I am now dealing with the proposal of Senator Smith, and pointing out that the Public Service Inspector is familiar with the Public Service Act, and that he knows the classification scheme and the lines on which it has, so to speak, been built. All the Public Service inspectors in the several States have the same knowledge, and, consequently, in dealing with matters, must necessarily be guided by uniform principles. If, on the other hand, there be appointed a Judge or stipendiary magistrate who is not in touch with the Public Service of the Commonwealth - who may, or may not, be intimate with the administration of the Public Service Act and regulations of his own State - we shall have one who, by the necessity of his position, is not familiar with the principles and policy of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and classification. Such an appointment would immediately open the door to want of uniformity in the decisions of the appeal boards ; we should have one principle acted on in Tasmania, say, and another in Western Australia, and so on right through the States. Such a system could not lead to anything but chaos and confusion, whereas if the Public Service Inspectors guide and control the appeal boards, we shall have men in very intimate touch with the public servants of their own States, and only in degree less intimately in touch with the whole of the Commonwealth Service, and, as I have said, thoroughly acquainted with the principles of the Public Service Act and regulations. A Public Service Inspector can recognise how a determination in an individual case may affect not only the particular officer who is appealing, but also others of the same class in the same State who may not have entered an appeal.
– Is it fair that the man whose decision is questioned should decide the appeal?
– Undoubtedly. Surely the honorable senator does not think for one moment that personal reasons will operate with a Public Service Inspector, to the prejudice of an officer ?
– Not personal reasons.
– The appeal is made to a man familiar with the working of this comprehensive, and, if I may so call it, complicated system throughout the Commonwealth - who has been specially appointed to do this work, and who can see at once the full effect of his decision. He knows the class of work which is done by the man who appeals, and how that work is related to that of others in the same branch, and, further, he knows how the work compares with that of corresponding classes of officers right throughout the States. This system gives a harmony and uniformity, which could not be obtained by the scheme proposed in the motion.
– The right of appeal is only a farce in that case.
– Not at all. If the honorable senator was aware of the numerous successful appeals he would hesitate to express such an opinion. There is nothing new in the proposal that the person who makes the classification shall also be the judge in the case of appeal. It is a principle which is acted upon in the highest tribunals in the land. In Tasmania, where there are three Supreme Court Judges, appeals from the decisions of any one of them are heard by the three, and I think the same system prevails in South Australia. The Chief Justice of the latter State has, I believe, the distinguished record of never having had an appeal to the Privy Council made successfully against his decisions.
– That is Sir Samuel Way.
– Sir Charles Lilley, in Queensland, had a similar record.
– I have been told, however, that the South Australian Chief Justice very nearly had one of his decisions upset by the Privy Council. In a certain case which he heard, there was an appeal to the Full Court, and the Chief Justice, as a member of that Court, “ went back “ on his previous decision. The other two Judges, however, upheld the previous decision ; but when the case went to the Privy Council the finding of the Full Court was over-ruled, in favour of the later judgment of the Chief Justice. When the classification of the Victorian State Public Service was carried out in 1900, a Reclassification Board was appointed by Act of Parliament, and that board, which had prepared the original scheme, heard all appeals. The danger suggested by Senator Story is more apparent than real. After all, the Public Service Inspectors are not appointed in the interests of a private employer, or an employer whose interests are in conflict with the interests of the employé ; the inspector is there representing, to a large extent, the public servants as well as the Commissioner and the taxpayer. These different interests have to be carefully guarded in any scheme of the kind.
– The inspectors are there to keep down the cost as far as possible.
– Consistently with the efficiency of the service and justice to the men who do the work. The average increase of salaries under this scheme is very respectable, and speaks well for the improvement in the position of officers since they came under the Commonwealth.
– As I understand, the criticism is levelled at the presence on an appeal board of the officer appointed by the head of the Department.
– I am now dealing with the proposal to introduce an entire outsider who, however goodhis qualifications might be, would, by reason of his position, be liable to take an individual and isolated view, without regard to thehomogenity and harmony that is desired in the service.
– Need that other man be on the board?
– I decline to go beyond the terms of the motion, because, if I were to discuss all the different phases of the criticism levelled at the classification, I am afraid that we should not get through the debate this week. I know that the proposal of Senator Smith is supported by a plausible and specious argument, which I regarded as very reasonable when it was first presented to me. But I have since discussed the matter with those who are very competent to deal with Public Service questions, and who wish to study the interests of the service and the public, and I have arrived at the conclusion that it would be a very dangerous principle to introduce - a principle which, in its consequences, would inevitably tend to destroy the uniformity and harmony that should characterize the administration of the Public Service from Cape York to Cape Pillar.
Debate (on motion by Senator Croft) adjourned.
In Committee(Consideration resumed from 4th October, vide page 3119):
Postponed clause 4 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “ Artistic Work “ includes -
any engraving, etching, print, litho graph, woodcut, photograph, or other work of art produced by any process, mechanical or otherwise, by which impressions or representations of works of art can be taken or multiplied : “ Book “ means any book or volume, or part or division of a book or volume, or any pamphlet, newspaper, sheet of. letterpress, sheet of music, map, chart, diagram, or plan separately published, and any illustration therein : “ Lecture “ means a piece for recitation or any address, but does not include a political speech or a sermon delivered in a place of public worship : “ Publication “ in reference to a book, means the first offering of the book for sale, or the first distribution of copies of it, or the first making of the book accessible to the public with the privity, in each case, of the author : “ State Copyright Act “ means any State Act relating to the registration of the copyright or performing right, or lecturing right in books, or dramatic or musical works, or in artistic works or? fine art works, or in lectures.
– I move -
That after the word “multiplied,” line 9, the following words be inserted - “but does not include any engraving, etching, print, lithograph, woodcut, photograph, or other work of art designed to be used for any other articles of manufacture, or to be attached in any way to manufactured articles, or to bottles, boxes, and packages containing such manufactures articles.”
My object in moving this amendment is to endeavour to prevent artistic works which are practically used as trade marks from being copyrighted as such, and to compel them tobe registered as trade marks, if protection as trade marks is sought for them. To mention familiar cases, the picture known as “ Bubbles,” used in advertisements of Pears’ soap, and the picture used for the well-known brand of “ Bull Dog “ stout, might have been copyrighted, and they could then have been used as trade marks. The copyright would continue in operation for the full term, laid down in this Bill, whereas, if they had to be registered as trade marks, the protection afforded in that way would require to be renewed every fourteen years. While in one sense these are artistic works, as used in application to manufactured articles they are practically trade marks and should be registered as such. There is another kind of artistic work, and if this exception is not made in the definition of the term, I am doubtful whether they could be copyrighted. I refer to the familiar theatrical posters, which are often- very costly, but which may not be held to be artistic works. Honorable senators will see that the exception I propose will not include them, because they are not attached to articles of manufacture, nor are they used for articles of manufacture.
– Artistic works very often are not bought by manufacturers for trade purposes for perhaps two or three years after their first publication.
– So far as the picture itself is concerned, the copyright in it will continue to exist. In the case of the well-known picture, “Bubbles,” I understand that the copyright was sold to the proprietors of Pears’ soap. They have used it, not as an artistic work, but practically as a trade mark attached to their goods. The picture from which the “ Bull-dog “ stout brand has been reproduced’ was, I suppose, in the first instance a painting or artistic work, and it is now used as a trade mark. I do not say that these pictures have not been registered as trade marks, but I refer to them as instances in which the use of the picture can be safeguarded by copyright, while it may be used as a trade mark. I desire that in such cases the owner should register the artistic work as a trade mark.
– In the instances to which the honorable senator refers copyright in the pictures may still exist, but the honorable senator proposes that, if the owner wishes to use them as trade marks, they must also register them under the Trade Marks Act.
– That is what I desire. What I propose is not without precedent. In the United States it was found necessary to pass an amending Statute to meet the case. It will be found in the United States Statutes at Large, vol. 18, part 3, chapter 301 - “An Act to amend the law relating to patents, trade marks, and copyright.” After the enacting words I find this provision -
That in the construction of this Act the words engraving, cut, and print, shall be applied only to pictorial illustrations or works connected with the fine arts, and no prints or labels designed to be used for any other articles of manufacture shall be entered under the copyright law, but may be registered in the Patents Office.
This deals with the question of maintenance of actions for the infringement of copyrights, where notice has been given in reference to cuts, engravings, photographs, paintings, and prints perfected and completed as a work of the fine arts. Seeing that it was found necessary to deal with the matter in the United States, and that the practice of attaching these works of art as trade marks to articles of manufacture has become very common, it seems to me that there will be a loophole between the Trade Marks Act and the Copyright Act, bv which a manufacturer” might evade registration of his trade mark, and yet secure all the protection for it which he needs, by reason of the fact that it is copyrighted.
– What harm will he be doing if he does?
– I do not know that very much harm will be done, except that if a picture is used as a trade mark I think we should compel its registration as a trade mark.
– “Bubbles” has never been used as a trade mark, but as an advertisement.
– I am not sure that it has been, but I have no doubt that the “ Bull-dog “ stout picture is used as a trade mark. The practice to which I refer is becoming quite common. Particularly striking pictures, originally issued as works of art, are now commonly being used as trade marks. I move the amendment in order to provide that where they are so meed they must be (registered psi trade marks, and that we shall not give copyright protection to a trade mark.
– I have considered thi* amendment since Senator Pearce, on the second reading of the Bill, indicated his intention to move it. It would oe a very difficult matter to give effect to what the honorable senator desires in the way he proposes. We simply provide in the Bill for copyright in an artistic work, and we define “ artistic work “ to include, amongst other things -
Any engraving, etching, print, lithograph, woodcut, photograph, or other work of art produced by any process.
The honorable senator proposes to except from that definition any engraving, etching, print, lithograph, woodcut, photograph, or other work of art designed to be used for any other articles of manufacture. It is conceivable that a man might bring out a work of art, an etching, print, or photograph, without any intention whatever of having it applied to any other article of manufacture as a trade mark. He might subsequently sell his copyright in it to some one else, who might so apply it. Are we to ask the man who first brings out the work whether he intends that it shall be applied to such a purpose, and if he says “ No,” give him copyright in it, and if he says “ Yes, “ refuse to give him copyright in it. It might be brought out without any intention one way or the other; the artist might be indifferent as to whether it would be used for the purpose of a trade mark or not. For instance, the painter of a picture like “ Bubbles,” might say. “ I will sell this picture and the copyright in it to any one who will buy it at the figure I name.”
– The amendment would not interfere with that; but the copyright would not protect the man who bought it as against others using the picture for application as a trade mark to other articles of manufacture.
– I still think that if there was copyright in the work, and somebody used it with proper authorization as a trade mark, he would not necessarily acquire the rights of the holder of a trade mark in it, unless he complied with the provisions of the Trade Marks Act. I do not see how anybody would be served by this amendment.
– There is no objection to a man having the protection of both Acts.
– None at all.
– There would be nothing in the amendment to prevent that.
– No, there would not. I think that if a man desires to take advantage of the reproduction of a work of art by using it in the form of a trade mark, he would have to comply with the provisions of the Trade Marks Act. Take the instance of the “ Bull Dog “ brand picture, to which Senator Pearce has referred. Suppose the original of that picture were copyrighted, and a person desired a licence to use a reproduction of it on bottles of beer, and secured the consent of the owner of the copyright in the picture to reproduce it for that purpose, I think that consent would not entitle him’ to use it in that way unless he first complied with the requirements of the Trade Marks Act.
– It would prevent anybody else using it as against him, and that would be all the protection he would need-
– The honorable senator is thinking of a limited licence by the owner of the copyright to some one to use the picture in a certain way. I do not know that we require so lengthy an amendment to effect the object which he desires to attain.
– Would not the effect of the amendment be to deny copyright to a man whose work was used as a trade mark ?
– That would be the effect.
– I understand that Senator Pearce does not wish to do that.
– I think that what Senator Pearce desires might be effected by the insertion in paragraph b, after the word “art,” of the words “not being a print or label for application to other articles of manufacture.” A man paints a picture, and another, seeing it, says, “ If I could get a reproduction of that picture in a certain form it would make a very fine label for the article I manufacture.” Take the case of the “ Bull Dog “ brand picture. A man who wished to use it as a trade mark might get it reduced to a certain size for the purpose, and then, going to the owner of the copyright of the picture, obtain from him a licence to reproduce it in the form of a trade mark for the goods he manufactured. The owner of the copyright might agree to the terms proposed, and it would then be applied as a trade mark to the first man’s goods, whilst no one else could apply.
– It would not be registered as a trade mark.
– The effect would be the same as if it were.
– It is the intention of the Bill to give the author of an artistic work copyright in it, and I think we might let individuals use their works as they think fit. We should not, I think, limit the class of cases in which copyright shall be granted. The cases which deal with the question, of what is a work of art go to show that, so far as the Courts are concerned, they have not been very rigid in laying down any definite interpretation of what shall or shall not be considered artistic. It seems to me that it would be better that SenatorPearce should endeavour to give effect to his desire by the incorporation of his amendment in the Trade Marks Bill, and say that, where a person acquires a mark from a copyrighted work of art and uses it as a trade mark, he shall be bound to so register it. The insertion of the amendment would disturb the conditions of this Bill. I would urge the honorable senator, if he wishes to impose upon such a person the necessity of registering a mark as a trade mark, not to endeavour to do it indirectly in, this Bill, but to do so directly in a Trade Marks Bill.
– I am not quarrelling with the object aimed at by Senator Pearce, but it appears to me that his amendment will do the very thing which he says he does not wish to do. I understand that he does not wish to take copyright away from an artistic work simply because it is used for the purpose of a trade mark. Surely, if his amendment means anything, it would destroy the copyright in any artistic work which was used for the purpose of a trade mark or trade advertisement. The amendment provides that copyright in an engraving may not subsist except under certain conditions. That means that except under those conditions copyright in an engraving shall not subsist. It would open a very wide door to any one who wished to evade the law. If any person designed a picture which ultimately became a trade mark, he would lose his copyright therein, because the amendment distinctly says that the copyright shall not include those works which are used for the purpose of a trade mark or trade advertisement. I understood Senator Pearce to contend that a copyright shall not include a trade mark right.
– I do not go so far as the honorable member suggests.I think that the copyright in an artistic work ought to be taken away when it is used as a trade mark.
– At first I thought that the honorable senator referred to the mere registration of the copyright in an artistic work.
– When an artistic work is used as a trade mark it should be registered as such.
– Then the amendment clearly sets out the wish of the honorable senator, and it does not meet with my approval. It would be monstrous to enact that the copyright in an artistic work such as “ Bubbles “ should be denied simply because it was used as a trade advertisement.
– It could be registered as a trade mark.
– It is not a trade mark, but simply a trade advertisement.
– Then that is not a case in point. Take the picture of the bulldog which is used as a trade mark.
– Suppose that an artist executes a picture in respect of which he is entitled to copyright. Later on he may part with the right to use that picture as a trade mark to a manufacturer. I admit that the manufacturer, before he can claim the protection of the Trade Marks Act, must apply to register the picture thereunder as a trade mark. I do not think that the mere fact that a picture had been registered under the Trade Marks Act ought to destroy the copyright existing therein under this measure. The amendment seems to me to give a man the option of protecting himself under one law or the other, but not under both. It excludes from copyright a work which is otherwise artistic, and which may be attached in any way to manufactured articles. Clearly that goes further than a trade mark, and covers an advertisement.
– It can only be an authorized advertisement.
– It is not a trade mark. In addition to the large picture of “ Bubbles,” which is distributed by the owners of Pears’ soap, a small copy of the picture is wrapped round their higherpriced articles. Under this amendment copyright would be denied because that picture was attached to a manufactured article. I appeal to Senator Pearce, whether it would not be better to devise an amendment which, while respecting the copyright in an artistic work, would simply affirm that it should not give any rights under the Trade Marks Act.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I admit that Senators Keating and Millen have advanced strong arguments against the adoption of the amendment, but still I contend that it is necessary to take some step in this direction. Since the Trade Marks Bill is still in the possession of the other House, I would ask Senator Keating to consider whether an amendment cannot be introduced into the Bill before it is returned, or whether, on recommittal, an amendment cannot be inserted in this clause of the Copyright Bill. Undoubtedly, the case I have mentioned is not provided for in either Bill. But in view of the objections to the amendment as it is drawn, I do not’ intend to press it to a division.
Amendment (by Senator Keating) agreed to-
That the definition of “ Book “ be amended to read as follows: - “Book” includes any book or volume and any part or division of a book or volume and any article in a book or volume, and any pamphlet, periodical, sheet of letter press, sheet of music, map, chart, diagram, or plan separately published and any illustration therein.
– I wish to propose that copyright shall apply to sermons as well as to lectures. Perhaps the Minister will indicate what would be the best way for me to carry out mv intention ?
Senator KEATING (Tasmania - Honorary Minister). - I do not know that there is much doubt as to what is generally meant by a lecture, though there is an old copyright Statute which contains the curious provision that if a man wishes to preserve a lecturing right, he must give forty-eight hours notice to a justice of the peace. But I ami not aware that there is any statutory definition of a lecture for purposes of copyright. If Senator Dobson wishes to include sermons, perhaps the better way will be to make the definition read, “Lecture includes a sermon,” then we should have the benefit of English decisions, together with the fact that sermons would be included. I have no feeling one way or the other as to his proposal. Senator Symon . some time ago drew attention to the difficulty that existed as to what was meant by a “ piece for recitation.” There is also a little difficulty as to what is exactly meant by a lecture.
Senator- Millen. - Does not that constitute an obligation to try to define it?
– In Murray’s New English Dictionary the word “ lecture “ is defined as follows: -
A discourse given before an audience upon a given subject usually for the purpose of instruction. The regular name for discourses or instruction given to a class by a professor or teacher at a college or university. The instruction given by a teacher to a pupil or class at a particular time.
Amendment (by Senator Dobson) agreed to-
That all words after “Lecture” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “includes a sermon.”
Amendment (by Senator Keating) agreed to -
That the definition of “Publication” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following: - ““‘Publish’ and ‘Publication’ in relation to a book refer to offer for sale or distribution, in each case with the privity of the author, so as to make the book accessible to the public.”
– I have an amendment to move in the definition affecting publication, with the object of protecting publishers in Australia in the same manner as publishers in other countries are protected. The Senate has received a petition from the largest firm of publishers in Australia, pointing out that before copyright can be obtained in the United States, a book must “be set up in type there or must be printed from plates made there. That is a very good provision from the United States point of view, and one that might be copied in Australia, thereby removing a disability from which our publishers suffer, and placing them on the same footing as American publishers. The amendment which I have prepared is as follows : -
For the purposes of this Act publication of a book in the Commonwealth shall be deemed to be simultaneous with publication elsewhere, provided it is printed from tpye set up in the Commonwealth, or from plates made therefrom, and is offered for sale in the Commonwealth within fourteen days of its publication elsewhere.
If that amendment can be moved hereafter at the recommittal stage, I will forego my right to move it now upon the definition clause.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I would suggest to Senator Givens that whatever merit there may be in his proposal, it goes further than is desirable. What we require is to make a law of ‘this kind reciprocal. At the present time his amendment would deny copyright to any book published in England unless it was published simultaneously in Australia. But it is only the United States that acts as he has described, and if we desire to legislate against that policy, we need not impose restrictions against other countries that are treating us in a different manner. I think the honorable senator’s proposal ought to apply only to those countries which extend the same treatment to us.
– That is a matter for consideration.
– I suggest that Senator Givens should revise his proposal so as to give it a reciprocal effect. ‘
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - I do not think that the amendment which Senator Givens desires to submit will effect the object he seems to have in view. It proposes to deal with simultaneous publication, but that matter is provided for in clause 5, by which a margin of fourteen days is allowed. Clause 13, paragraph 2, provides that copyright shall subsist in every book which has been first published in Australia “ before or simultaneously with its first publication elsewhere,” and that clause might be amended, so as to provide that copyright shall subsist in a book which has been “ first or simultaneously printed and published in Australia.” If I remember rightly the petition referred to by Senator Givens does suggest that we should retaliate.
– I think it does.
– I think that the petition suggests that the only means of retaliation is by means of the Customs.
– A letter published by the same firm in the newspapers of Melbourne and Sydney admitted the difficulty of the situation, and recognised that an American copyright work, might acquire copyright in the United Kingdom, and thereby throughout the British Empire.
– That is because we have not made our legislation independent.
– There is no question of making the legislation independent. The Parliament of Great Britain has legislated for the. British Empire, and it may, or may not, be a fact that, as Senator Givens suggests, the provision in the American Act is a desirable one. That provision has been questioned very considerably in America itself, and I have the authority of people in the trade that it has been far from the beneficent enactment that was expected. If Senator Givens realizes that we cannot, in this Bill, make a provision which limits rights acquired, under Imperial enactment, for the whole of the British Dominions, and he wishes copyright, to subsist in a book which must be printed in Australia, the necessary amendment might be made in clause 13.
– My amendment cannot be moved separately unless on recommittal, and I ask the Minister whether he will allow me to take that course.
– I have no objection to give the honorable senator an opportunity to move his amendment as a new clause.
Amendment (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That in lines 26 and 27, after “ State Act,” the following words be inserted, “ in force at the commencement of this Act.”
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I thank the Minister for having attended to the point to which I previously directed his attention. But I fear that, with the amendment as drafted, there will be a possibility of complication in regard to other clauses. “ State Copyright- Act,” as defined, means only State laws in existence to-day, but clause 8 says that State copyright shallnot apply to any book or other work in which copyright subsists under the Bill. If it is meant by the Minister that the State may pass an Act after we have legislated, there is a possibility of a little complication.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania - Honorary Minister). - I do not think any State will have power to pass a Copyright Bill which would come into conflict with this measure, or to establish any system of copyright inconsistent with it.
– A State Act might not be inconsistent, and yet quite separate.
– A State may deal with a subject like designs, but I did not myself think that there was a necessity for considering clause 60 ‘in the way which suggested itself to Senator Millen. Any difficulty, however, might be met by the amendment I have proposed. The idea was to avoid the possibility of anybody who acquired copyright under a subsequent State enactment taking advantage of clause 60.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - Clause 60 ought, I think, to apply only to State laws existing to-day ; but it is a question whether we ought to make the limitation in the interpretation clause, and so apply it to the whole Bill.
– I have moved this amendment to meet the criticism of the honorable senator, but I think that the Bill asit stands is perfectly safe.
– While the inclusion of these words would have an advantage in clause 60, I think we are creating the possibility of danger elsewhere in the measure by inserting them in the interpretation clause, thus making them apply throughout. The observations of the Minister would show that he has a similar fear, and I suggest that, perhaps, the amendment had better be dropped.
– Does the honorable senator desire to make the amendment in clause 60?
– I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed clause 8 -
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - At the request of Senator Symon, I move -
That sub-clause 1 be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following : “ After the passing of this Act no copyright shall be acquired or be capable of being acquired in any book, dramatic or musical work, lecture, or artistic work under or by virtue of any State Act.”
The object of the amendment is that there shall not be two concurrent copyrights. Once copyright has been obtained under this Bill, it should not be obtained under a State Act. Honorable senators will recognise that the amendment goes a little further than the Bill. The Bill would seem to leave it open to any author to apply for copyright under a State Act or under the Commonwealth copyright law. It proposes that he should not do both, but he is left the choice of either. The amendment would not leave him the option, but provides that if he desires to obtain copyright, he must do so under the Commonwealth law. I submit that it is preferable to the provision of the Bill.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - The amendment certainly does go further than the clause as it stands, but it has not very much merit in that respect, because it goes very much too far. Seeing that it provides that copyright cannot be acquired or be capable of being acquired, it would mean that no copyright either under a State Act or under the Commonwealth Act could pass by the operation, for instance, of the law of insolvency in any State, or by the operation of the laws regulating succession to personal property.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator has not a grip of the clause ?
– Undoubtedly I have.
– Would passing by the operation of an insolvency law be “ acquiring?”
– Undoubtedly. Let me put it in this way. Suppose a man living in Tasmania enjoyed a copyright under the State law of Tasmania, or under the Commonwealth law, and he went insolvent. By the operation of the Bankruptcy Act of 1870, that copyright would vest in the trustee in the insolvent estate. The trustee would acquire that copyright by operation of the bankruptcy law of Tasmania.
– The amendment would not affect that.
– If Senator Dobson will read the amendment he will find that it provides that -
After the passing of this Act no copyright shall be acquired or be capable of being acquired - under or by virtue of any State Act.
– Does the Minister take exception to the use of the word “acquired,” and not to the object clearly aimed at by the amendment?
– I think that the object aimed at by the amendment is far better secured by the sub-clause it is intended to replace, whilst the amendment is certainly full of pitfalls and dangers.
– In the instance the honorable and learned senator gave copyright had been acquired.
– Of course, but a hundred people may acquire the same copyright in succession.
– That is not what the amendment means.
– It is probably not what the framer of the amendment intended. In the case of the death of a person who has acquired a copyright, whether under the Federal law, or under the State law at present, by the operation of the Deceased Persons Estates Act in Tasmania certain persons would acquire that copyright.
– I read “ acquired,” as it appears in the amendment, as referring to the original acquisition of copyright.
– The word “original “ will not be found in the amendment. It says, “ No copyright shall be acquired, or be capable of being acquired.’1 There are State Acts which have nothing whatever to do with copyright, but which deal generally with property-
– Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the language of* the amendment is defective, the Minister might address himself to the question whether iti is desirable to give people who wish to obtain copyright the option of obtaining it under a State Act or under the (Commonwealth Act.
– I shall deal with the amendment in its other aspects as well, but I remind the honorable senator that it is suggested in substitution for the present sub-clause t. on the ground that the latter is ill-drafted.
– It aims at something else.
– It does, but it does not achieve that, and it does achieve something which I do not think the Committee would approve. I point out that in this respect the amendment is very ill-drafted. It does not contemplate the possibility of copyright, like other personal property, being acquired by the operation of Acts other than Copyright Acts. They may be acquired on the death of person’s holding them through the operation of Statutes relating to deceased persons’ estates, and they may be acquired through the insolvency of the holders, by the operation of State enactments regulating the law regarding bankruptcy. Again, the honorable and learned senator who is responsible for drafting this amendment has used the words “After the passing of this Act no copyright shall be,” and so on. If honorable senators will look at the Bill they will see that it will not come into operation immediately it is passed. It is to come into operation on a day to be fixed by proclamation. After the passing of legislation of this character an interval is necessary before it is brought into operation, to enable those who will be responsible for carrying it out to be completely ready to continue the work of its administration from a certain day. If the interval in this case should extend for four or five months the effect of the amendment would be that during that period it would be absolutely impossible for any one to acquire copyright in any part of Australia.
– It “would be better to say “ From the date named in the proclamation bringing the Act into operation.”
– It is easy enough to suggest amendments, but when they are put into form it is possible that they will be found as susceptible of criticism as the clauses which they are intended to supplant. When the honorable and learned senator who is responsible for this amendment indicated his intention to move it he indulged in a great deal of criticism of subclause 1 of clause 8 as it stands. When honorable senators see that that sub-clause is not as open to criticism as is the subclause which it is proposed to put in its place, they will hesitate before they accept the amended form suggested.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).The Minister has devoted bis remarks almost entirely to a criticism of the draftsmanship of the amendment, and he has said practically nothing as to its purpose.
– I pointed out that its purpose would be disastrous.
– No; what the Minister pointed out Avas that the effect of the amendment, if adopted in its present form, would be disastrous, but he never said a word about the different object aimed at bv it as compared with clause 8 as it stands. The clause as it stands leaves it optional with any author to obtain copyright under a State’ or under the Commonwealth law, The whole purpose of Federation is to secure uniformity, and we shall not get uniformity if we allow one publisher to obtain copyright under the Federal law and another to obtain it under a State law.
Whatever may be its faults of draftsmanship, the purpose of the amendment is to provide that the only way in which an author can obtain copyright is under the Federal law.
– Or under the Imperial law.
– Of course, that stands. I am not responsible for the manner rin which the amendment has been drafted, though I have no doubt a very great deal could be said in support of it if the author of the amendment were present, but I am concerned with the object at which it aims. I ask the Committee to say that it is desirable to limit the right of an author to obtain copyright only under the Commonwealth law, and to deny to him the right to obtain it under a State law. In mv opinion the whole benefit of the Bill will disappear if we leave it optional with any author to obtain copyright under a State law or the Federal law. I am prepared to accept suggestions for the improvement of the verbiage of the amendment if that is thought necessary, but I hope that honorable senators will agree to the principle involved, and will provide that when this Bill comes into law it will be possible to obtain copyright under it, and under no other law.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - I hope, as I said before the suspension for dinner, that the Committee will remember that proper consideration has been given to the drafting of the provision.
– I do not propose to press the amendment any further.
– If that is the case, I shall proceed with the amendment which has been circulated.
– Does Senator Millen wish to withdraw his amendment?
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I do not care, sir, to withdraw the amendment, in view of the fact that original lv it was moved by Senator Symon. Therefore, in order not to hamper the Minister and to test the feeling of the Committee, I ask you to put the question for the omission of only the word “ the.”
Question - That the word “The,” line 1, be left out - resolved in the negative.
Amendment (bv Senator Keating) agreed to-
That after the word “Acts,” line r, the following words be inserted - “so f.nr as they relate to the copyright in any book, the per- forming right in any musical or dramatic work, the lecturing right in any lecture, or the copyright in any artistic or fine art work.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
That clauses 13, 33, and 60 be reconsidered.
Clause 13 (Copyright in books).
– Senator Givens, who is absent for the moment, has given notice of his intention to move an amendment to carry out the idea embodied in the petition which was presented to the Senate. I understand that the Minister has signified that if that principle, or any modification of it, is to be embodied in the Bill, it should be done in this clause.
– Perhaps the Minister will agree to postpone the consideration of this clause until the other two clauses have been dealt with.
– I have no objection.
Clause 33 (Protection of newspapers).
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I move -
That the following new sub-clauses be inserted : -
O (6) Subject to the regulations, the Minister may, if he is satisfied that any combination of newspaper proprietors exists for the purpose of obtaining news of any facts or events which have taken place outside Australia, and has refused, without reasonable cause, to admit any newspaper proprietor to membership or to the benefits of membership in such combination or to supply him at reasonable rates for immediate publication in his newspaper with such news obtained by such combination, order such combination to supply him with such news for publication in his newspaper at such rates and on such terms as the Minister deems reasonable, and if such combination fails to comply with such order the rights of such combination or the members thereof under this section shall, so long as such failure continues, cease to be exclusive as against the proprietor of such newspaper. For the purpose of this sub-section a rate in respect of any news shall not be deemed to be reasonable if it substantially exceeds the proportion of the cost of obtaining such news to any newspaper proprietor who is a member of such combination.
The Minister may from time to time rescind or vary any order made under sub-section (6) of this section as the justice of the case requires.
This amendment differs in several essential particulars from the amendment I moved on behalf of Senator McGregor. It was pointed out that the latter amendment contained some loopholes which would enable persons to inflict hardship and injury upon the newspaper proprietors referred to. It was alleged that if an ‘individual were not allowed to enter the combination, or obtain the news therefrom, it would open the door not only to that person, but to all other persons, so that practically a man of straw could be put up by others, and, by opening the door to them, destroy the copyright in the news. The amendment has been almost entirely redrafted in order to meet the objections from the stand-point of drafting, but it may not meet the objections which were urged against the adoption of the principle. It places full control in the hands of the Minister. He is made the judge of what is a reasonable rate, and, for the purpose of determining that point, he is empowered to allow it to exceed the proportion of the cost of obtaining the news, but it must not substantially exceed that proportion. He has to be satisfied that there is a combination, and to issue the order to the combination to admit an applicant at such rates and on such terms as he may deem reasonable. He will be in a position to lay down the condition either that cash shall be paid or that a substantial guarantee shall be given. On a previous occasion it was urged that there was no necessity for making this provision, because the combination had not operated in the way which I then described. I have been accused of ignorantly misrepresenting the position. On that occasion. I had no material to back up what I said. 1 verified my statements before I spoke; but it must be obvious to every one that it is difficult to produce the necessary proof when it is remembered that the persons who are in possession of all the facts are in the power of the combination. They might have their business destroyed by this combination if I were to use their names, as supplying me with facts. Therefore, the only facts that I shall give are those supplied to me by persons who are now out of the reach of the combine, and cannot be victimized by it. I have here a letter, dated Melbourne, 2nd October, 1905. It is as follows : -
You will have observed in last Saturday’s Argus an attempt to justify the method of the Australian press cable syndicate towards journals outside that combination. The Argus states that “ some newspapers obtain the use of the cable service at a purely nominal rate,” and that “ to them the service is an exceedingly cheap one.” These statements obviously need amplification. In the absence of full details they certainly do not warrant a relaxation of the effort to attach reasonable safe-guards to any copyright privileges granted by Statute to the syndicate’s cables. But my chief purpose in writing is to give you a leaf out of my own personal experience of this syndicate’s ways. I write after the lapse of over seven years, without access to books, accounts, or papers ; yet, subject to what the absence of documentary data implies’, I vouch for the substantial accuracy of this narrative, which you are free to use as you may deem fit. From 189^ to 189S I carried on a newspaper at Menzies, Western Australia. Menzies in the former year was on the frontier of civilization, and the paper was issued only once a week. The accession of population subsequently justified me in converting the weekly into a daily journal. From the commencement an arrangement iD respect of the supply of news existed between me and the proprietor of a daily journal at Berth. This arrangement was of a reciprocal character. My duty was to collect at Menzies - and by means of my correspondence throughout the gold-field - intelligence of all local occurrences worth recording. These items were transmitted by wire to the Perth paper, which repeated to the eastern press such portion of the news furnished by me as possessed any intercolonial interest. The Perth paper, on the other hand, furnished me with a summarized report of cable and intercolonial news. You will understand readily that a newspaper published in a remote country town, and serving a strictly limited population, could not afford space for the fuller news service supplied to the metropolitan press. Moreover, much of the news had little or no interest for the community in which the paper circulated. For these reasons, and also because even the inland telegraphic charges on a full service were beyond my means, I arranged for a condensed report, prepared by one intimately acquainted with my requirements. The value of the work performed bv each party to the arrangement was supposed to be equal, so there was no monetary payment by either to the other. T entered into this arrangement and carried it on in complete innocence tli.it it involved any infringement on the rights of the cable syndicate. I had given, and continued to give, an adequate return for the service which was being rendered to me. No warning or protest had ever reached me from the cable syndicate. Suddenly, however, about May,’ /898, just when public interest in the Spanish-American War was at its height, and on the day when Mr. Gladstone’s death was expected, “I was informed, without the slightest premonitory hint, that- my cable intelligence was to be stopped forthwith. By this time a rival newspaper had been established^ Menzies, and it seemed that the cessation of foreign news must spell ruination, prompt and complete, to my enterprise. I pleaded for time to make arrangements with the cable syndicate. The reply of the other party was that he dare not, as the despatch of another day’s messages to me would result in his own supply being cut off. The result was that for some days I received no cable news whatever. Fortunately, the seriousness of my position was lessened by the fact that the rival paper found itself in the same plight. Ultimately, under the duress of circumstances from which there was no escape, I concluded a three years’ contract with the syndicate by which they were to receive a royalty at the rate of £150 per annum. This contract bound me to use their cables exclusively, so that I could have been penalized for the publication of a cable message obtained from any other source. A similar exaction was extorted from the rival journal.
That is the point upon, which I was contradicted when I spoke previously.
This was a crushing charge on small provincial journals having a sale of not more than 700 copies daily ; but the syndicate’s agent was adamant. No Shylock ever held more inexorably to his bond. But something even more intolerable than the royalty impost was to follow. My contract was, it appeared, for the full cable service ; and the full service, not any summary of it, the syndicate insisted I must take. This involved the payment of the inland telegraphic rate of is. Bd. per 100 words on reams of messages which were absolutely useless, and for which the paper had no space. I asked to be allowed to follow the former practice of having the news summarized by my Perth agent. The answer was “No; you must take the cables as we send them or not at all “ - an offer of freedom of contract somewhat after the Thunderbolt manner, but without Thunderbolt’s risks. Having ascertained that the executive officer of the syndicate was the managing partner of the Argus, I wired over to Messrs. Alex. Cowan and Sons, of Flinders-lane, of whom I was then a customer, to interview this gentleman on my behalf. They did so, and informed me later that they had seen a Mr. Mackinnon and a ‘Mr. Spowers, of the Argus, but that no modification whatever of the arrangement would be permitted. Soon afterwards Mr. David Syme, of the Age, another member of the cable syndicate, paid a visit to Menzies, and I placed the facts before him. He agreed that it was a hard case; promised to look into it on his return to Melbourne; but I never obtained any redress through him. The sequel is soon told. After struggling for some time under the heavy royalty and unnecessary telegraphic charges, ultimate ruin became unmistakable. The company interested in the rival paper evidently arrived at the same conclusion regarding their venture, and made overtures for the amalgamation of the two concerns. They probably found, as I had done, that it was impossible to carry on when some 50 per cent, of their total outlay was absorbed by royalty and telegrams.
– Could they run a paper on .£300 a year?
– The £150 was the amount of the royalty only. Telegrams had to be paid for in addition.
– Even then, a newspaper could not be run for that money, unless it was a very poor one.
– The letter proceeds -
So far as I was concerned, the intervention qf the cable syndicate compelled me to relinquish my business for about one-third of its value a year before. I was also forced to dis mantle plant and machinery which had cost me over *£1,000 * to keep it in idleness for some two years ; and to throw out of employment every person who had been engaged in the production and distribution of the paper.
That letter is signed by Mr. Hugh Mahon, who is now a member of the House of Representatives. Now, that is by no means an isolated instance. I have had numbers of other instances given to me by persons who are still struggling, but who dare not come, out into the open, and make statements, because if thev did. they would be punished by the combine for so doing. It is said, “ Why do not these people do as the combine is doing”? Fancy the owner of a newspaper, such as that to which I have been referring, attempting to get cables of his own from Europe! I have made the statement that there was an arrangement with cabling agencies, which other newspapers could not get. That has been contradicted ; but again I have been credibly informed that it is absolutely ‘ true, and I believe that some honorable senators are in a position to prove it.
– I wish the honorable senator would explain what he means by his statement about cable agencies.
– I am informed that the combine has an arrangement with Reuter’s and other cable agencies, by means of which other newspapers cannot get news from Europe ; because one of the conditions of the contract is that the agencies will not supply news to other newspapers. The combine has an exclusive contract.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that it is not possible for me to get news cabled through Reuter ?
– Does Senator Pearce mean to say that Reuter will not supply cables to country newspapers?
– I say that these agencies will not supply other newspapers with the news that they are sending to this combine. The combine has a contract which is exclusive. What I wish to point out is that men in the position of the newspaper proprietors whom I have mentioned, are absolutely precluded from getting into the same position that the present combination is in. For one thing, the majority of the powerful daily journals of Australia are already parties to the combine. Manifestly/ therefore, it is a powerful combination “from a monetary point of view. Also, the fact that they are the principal dailies means this - that a combine which could successfully compete with it would necessarily have to be equally influential. How would it be possible to have that under present circumstances in Australia?
– The honorable senator means that it would be necessary to have a larger one?
– How would it be possible to have a larger combine than the one now existing? It would require a thousand newspaper proprietors to form a combination such as the one to which I am now referring - that is to form a combine equal to the present one in regard to capital, and the circulation of newspapers in it. But I wish to relate another circumstance ; and I may say that I have not derived this information from the newspaper proprietors concerned. Therefore, I do not make this statement on their authority. It may be incorrect, but I give it for what it is worth. Some little time ago in Victoria, the two metropolitan journals brought influence to bear upon the Government with a view to have early morning trains sent out to the country districts for the purpose of enabling them to distribute their journals in those localities. There were already established in those districts provincial daily journals of fair circulation, and also of a fair character. When that privilege was first granted, and the early morning trains commenced to run, these provincial journals at once opened a campaign of attack on the Railway Department. It was alleged that the trains were run at an unpayable rate, and that the sending of the metropolitan newspapers into the country districts by that method did not give an adequate return to the railways. They made things pretty hot for the ‘ Railway’s Commissioners for a time. But suddenly, without any apparent reason, the attack was dropped in all the country newspapers simultaneously. From a. certain date, it is impossible to find a single article in one of them making any reference to the subject. No more information had been given by the Railway Department, and, so far as the public are aware, nothing had transpired to alter the previous attitude of the country newspapers. But there are certain people who say that they know what transpired. They allege that it was this - that the country newspapers were quietly informed that if they continued this campaign their telegraphic service would be stopped ; and they were so absolutely in the power of this combine that the country newspaper proprietors - who may be assumed to know their own business best - had to back down on the question. One has only to contemplate the power of this combine to see that it could make a most effectual threat, and that a choice had to be made between a loss of circulation or a loss of the cable service by the country journals. So that they had to surrender. These are only a few instances of the way in which this combine has used its powers. The amendment I have proposed will, I think, compel this combination to treat other journals with a little more fairness and justice. It cannot be regarded as -a fair contract, when it is between an association so powerful that it can crush the rival business of a man who is absolutely at their mercy. The amendment provides that the combination shall satisfy the Minister that the man, who desires the news, is asked to pay a fair and reasonable rate, and the applicant, on his part, must show that he is prepared to give such terms as will insure the payment of the rate. If the combination be prepared to distribute news on these terms, they have the protection of copyright, but not otherwise; and I do not think they should ask for more. AU they have a right to ask for is a fair return for the money they have expended, and are expending.
– What is the meaning of the words “subject to regulations?” The clause seems perfect in itself.
– There are a number of matters requiring regulations, which would, of course, be subject to the approval of Parliament. There must be certain machinery to enable the Minister to arbitrate; for instance, it will have to be shown to whom application has to be made, and in what form, and by whom the application shall be referred to the Minister.
– When this clause was previously before the Committee, I opposed an amendment of this character, pointing out that the proposal then submitted would not carry out the intentions of those responsible for it. I did not confine my argument entirely to the draftsmanship, but opposed the principle of the amendment, which seemed to depart altogether from the principle of the Bill. I do not take so much exception to the drafting of this amendment as I did to the drafting of the previous one, but we are now asked to assert a principle to which, as we have shown by our votes, we are opposed. The amendment provides that the Minister, who, for the time being, is charged with the administration of the Copyright Act, shall be invested with certain discretionary powers. He has to satisfy himself - and I suppose the method of satisfying himself will be prescribed by regulation- that there is in existence a combination, which has refused to a certain person the privilege of participating in the benefits of news gathered by the combination, and that the refusal is unreasonable - that the offer made by the applicant is one that would be considered reasonable. When the Minister has satisfied himself as to all these circumstances, the amendment empowers him to order the combination to allow the applicant to share the benefits of the organization which has been created for the express purpose of acquiring news. The latter part of the first paragraph provides that the charge made shall not substantially exceed the proportion of the cost which is borne by any member of the combination. But a combination of the kind may have been formed twelve or fifteen years before the application is made, and”, for the first five or six years of that period, there may have been only six or seven members, who shouldered the responsibility, and, perhaps, incurred risk and actual loss. It may happen that, later, further members have joined, and by the added circulation of their respective newspapers have made the combination pay. Under these circumstances, with a paying enterprise and larger membership, it may prove possible to fix a rate very much less than that originally paid by the founders. The amendment proposes that a man who may have calmly stood by, and, allowing others to take the risks, waited until the enterprise was successful and the rate was low, shall be able to claim to be allowed to participate on exactly the same terms. I ask honorable senators whether that is a reasonable and fair proposal? I do not for one moment attempt to controvert the statements made by Senator Pearce, because I myself know that many people have been very grievously affected by the operations of the combination, which is in existence for the purpose of economically obtaining news from Europe. At the same time, I do not think that the remedy proposed is the proper one. The amendment goes beyond the necessities of the case, and, as I have already said, leaves it open to a man to wait until the enterprise is an assured success, and then to come in and claim to share the benefits at a reduced cost.
– Would such an applicant be allowed to leave the combination when he liked ?
– That is another important point.
– A man might enter just when a war was on.
– A man might join for a month or six months. What provision is there in the amendment that an applicant shall remain a member for a definite period, or shoulder responsibility for any loss?
– Would that not be one of the terms of his membership?
– Yes, of course; that might be made a condition by the Minister. But, in any case, I draw the attention of honorable senators to that aspect. It is hardly conceivable that any person would desire to availhimself of the opportunity to get into the combination unless he thereby could obtain a good supply of news at a low rate, and could escape the financial risk necessarily associated with the establishment of another combination. Senator Pearce has said that the combination has been guilty of what is substantially a form of tyranny in regard to other newspaper proprietors. That may or may not be the case : but it seems to me that this Bill isnot the measure in which to deal with a matter of the kind.
– Why protect the members of the combination if they have been guilty of tyranny?
– As I said previously, we are affirming a principle which has been given effect to in some of the cases I have quoted as having been already decided in the Supreme Court of Victoria in the seventies. We should, and do, give protection to all newspaper proprietors, whether they are members of a combination or individuals, who acquire independent news from outside the limits of Australia. Such news is given twenty-four hours’ copyright, and the privilege is not confined to members of a combination. The Post and Telegraph Rates Act provides for reduced press rates for messages going from State to State, and I believe that press cable messages which are sent abroad pay a much lower rate than do pri- vate messages. Speaking in relation to this clause, and expressing my personal opinion, I should think a much more effective way to deal with a combination of the kind would be to have two rates prescribedone a very small rate for those persons who acquire news for distribution on fair conditions to any one who desires to publish it, and the other, a different rate for people who were getting news for publication, either by themselves or in a limited number of journals. I do not think we should attempt in this Bill to give a Minister such a power as this amendment would give him. I am not one who feels that it is desirable always to invest a Minister with a large amount of discretion or with great power.
– It would not be an unnatural feeling on the honorable and learned senator’s part now.
– I certainly should not like to be invested with the powers which this amendment would give the Minister. It would not merely invest him with a dangerous power, but it would place him in a very peculiar position. There are a couple of newspapers in nearly every city and town of any size in the Commonwealth, but in the majority of instances they are not in the same political camp. In the case of any town in which there were not two newspapers, and some person desired to establish one in opposition to the one then existing, the Minister, under this amendment, would be placed in a difficult and very delicate situation. No matter how he might exercise the power which this amendment would confer on him, his action, would in all probability be ‘criticised from a very undesirable stand-point.
– His position under it would be worse than that of a Judge of an Arbitration Court.
– It would be very much worse. No matter., how he exercised the power, he would be liable to adverse criticism from one side or the other, and it would to a large extent be coloured bv party bias. No matter how improved the present amendment is in the matter of drafting, I still ask the Committee to reject the principle involved, andi to leave it to Senator Pearce to take another and perhaps a better course to give effect to what he desires, to prevent these people having so many advantages as they now have, if they deal with others in the same line of business as themselves in the high and haughty fashion in which they have dealt with certain persons in the cases quoted by the honorable senator.
– I am in favour of giving these newspapers protection. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for coming together in the way they have done to supply us with news from all parts of the world. In pursuance of my view in this respect, -I moved that the protection afforded them should be extended from twenty-four hours to thirtysix hours, but my amendment was not carried. Senator Pearce has brought under our notice certain facts which I think deserve consideration. I am very glad that the Minister has suggested an alternative way of dealing with those facts. It appears to me that Senator Pearce, has made out a case in connexion with which we should try to do justice to both sides. Ordinarily, we have no right to interfere with freedom of contract, or to compel certain men to let others into a good partnership, unless we confer some advantage on the original partners. In this instance we are conferring upon the original partnership a certain copyright. We give them absolute protection for twenty-four hours, and we have, in the circumstances, a right to lay down terms which shall be fair for the admission of others, not s’imply for their benefit, but for the benefit of all our citizens, and especially of those in outlying parts of the Commonwealth. I confess that I do not like the stand - and-deliver terms in which the amendment is drawn, but I think that some amendment is necessary if we are to do justice. I did not quite catch the meaning of Senator Keating’s suggestion with regard to the adoption of different rates. Under the sub-clauses as drawn, the Minister is to be the sole arbitrator as to the rate to be paid and as to terms of admission. It struck me as very peculiar that the proposed new subclause 6 should begin by saying “ Subject to the regulations.” I do not think that if one were to search all the Acts in Christendom he would find a single case in which the Minister is made sole arbitrator and regulations are laid down. If the Minister is satisfied that the proprietor of a proposed new journal is refused admission to the combine on fair terms, as sole arbitrator he will need no regulations to enable him to act, because he will be a law unto himself. From the debate which took place a few days since, I judge that the Committee is in favour of seeing a fair thing done in this matter. A suggestion that occurred to me is that, whilst we should interfere as little as possible with freedom of contract, we ought to insert a clause giving the Governor-General in Council power by proclamation to withdraw the protection given to the combine if he sees fit ; that is, if it is found that the combine have taken action which will lead to injustice being done, or will prevent a new journal from being started.
– Is that not anti-trust legislation by Executive Council rather than by Act of Parliament?
– It is anti-trust legislation, but it would be authorized by this Parliament. I have suggested what I think is a better way in which to deal with the difficulty than the passing of a clause giving power to the Minister to lay down terms. We should give newspaper proprietors and the combine freedom to make such contracts as they please. If it is found that they have takenadvantage of the protection given them to inflict injustice we should interfere with them, but not before.
– The amendment proposed by Senator Pearce is his previous amendment in a new garb. The principle underlying it is exactly the same. The honorable senator has put the case as well as it could be put, and there are few members of the Committee who can state a case better. In the examples he has given, and especially in the instance quoted from Western Australia, there can be no doubt that cases of hardship have been disclosed. But I still think that we have no right to force a syndicate or a business partnership to admit other partners. If the newspaper proprietors who are now combined were to separate, and for the future make arrangements to get out their own cables, would Senator Pearce contend that they should be forced to disclose their private information?
– The amendment has reference only to combinations.
-I am pointing out that in that case the position would be exactly the same, so far as newspaper proprietors who are not in the combine are concerned.
– No; there would be equal competition then, and the proprietor of each newspaper would have to pay the same rate for his cables, whereas the proprietors of newspapers in the combine now get their cables for nothing.
– The honorable senator does not see my point, which is that if the proprietors of the newspapers in the combine were to get their cables out separately the position would be exactly the same, so far as the proprietors of newspapers who are not in the combine are concerned. I do not believe that Senator Pearce would contend that in such a case the proprietors of newspapers getting cables separately should be forced to disclose their information to the proprietors of other newspapers. The association of proprietors of certain newspapers in this case has been called a “combine.” It is generally considered in this Parliament that if there is a combination which secures a monopoly, and is burdensome to the people, it should be legislated against. Let us see if this so-called combine comes under that head. If the proprietors of the newspapers in the combine made an arrangement with the Eastern Extension Company and the Pacific Cable Company, and said, “ We will not have any cables unless you give them to us, and to no one else,” and if they further said that the newspapers supplied with those cables would be ‘sold at 6d. instead of at a penny, there would certainly be established a monopolistic combination, against which we should have the right to legislate. But we know that the proprietors of the newspapers in the combine have not monopolized the source of this particular commodity.
– Does the honorable senator assert that?
-I do. Any one can get out cables at the same rate as the proprietors of newspapers in the combine. No higher charge is made for their newspapers, and there is, therefore, no monopolistic combination injurious to the people.
– Is it not a fact that in Victoria, without the consent of the Age, Argus, and Herald, one cannot get any Reuter cablegrams?
– No ; it is not a fact. Any one can get as many cables from London as he pleases at exactly the same rate.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Suppose a private firm established a presscutting agency, and agreed to supply members of the Government party with information, should we have the right to step in and say that the ordinary protection given to such a firm should not be continued unless they supplied the Opposition as well. Suppose that a firm like Paterson, Laing, and Bruce imported certain commodities, and did not allow other firms to get a supply of the commodities at cost price, and distribute them, would we withdraw their registered trade mark? No. Then why should we take away from the newspaper proprietors their literary trade mark or copyright? I think that the cases are absolutely parallel. As a matter of principle, have we the right to say to this combination, “ You shall allow other partners to come in on exactly the same terms, although you have had to incur the expense of instituting the service, and run the risk of loss at its initiation “? I do not think we have. We ought not to say that, because certain persons pay for news to be cabled ‘ here, other persons must be allowed to have that commodity. It would be in the interests of the people if the cables to Australia could be distributed to every newspaper in the Commonwealth, so that the residents in the back-blocks could be placed in possession of news of national importance. I recognise that the supporters of this amendment have a splendid object in view, but I venture to’ think that they are going to work in the wrong way. I have on the notice-paper a motion for the adoption of a system by which every newspaper in Australia could get any news of national importance. As all the wealthy newspapers have combined to run a cable service^ the poorer newspapers cannot afford to Incur that expense, and therefore an injury is done to those persons who are beyond the reach of the large metropolitan newspapers. I propose that certain newspaper information of public importance should be sent over the Pacific Cable at the expense of the Government, and distributed to all the newspapers in Australia at their expense. The cables would reach Southport, in Queensland, everyday from England, and would be telegraphed thence to all parts of Australia.
-Order I The honorable senator is anticipating the discussion of a motion which stands in his name on the notice-paper for the 26th of October.
– There is another method by which valuaable information in regard to important events in various parts of the world could be conveyed to the people, without violating what I consider is a great principle by forcing a certain firm to admit partners against their will.
– Will the Government recoup the newspapers all the expense to which they have been put in years gone by ?
– Certainly not. The newspapers could still get out information in regard to race meetings, spicy divorce proceedings, interesting events in high life, as well as items of national importance. The present employes of the Pacific Cable Company are not working full time. On behalf of the Government, and practically at no expense, the High Commissioner could supervise the transmission of information of real importance to Australia. I refer to information concerning the markets of the world, the various phases of national life in Europe, and matters of great social importance. The adoption of (this plan would not interfere in the slightest degree with the right of the newspapers to get out any information which they desired to furnish to their readers. What we want is information of national importance, which could be sent to Southport, and thence distributed at small cost to the newspapers throughout the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator is again breaking the rule against anticipating discussion.
– I quite sympathize with the object of the amendment. I think that Senator Pearce and his supporters are trying to relieve the existing hardship by this amendment, when it could be redressed in .a much better way, at no expense to the Government, and without violating a great commercial principle.
– Al first, I was struck with the force of Senator Keating ‘s objection to the amendment ; but on comparing the condition that he supposed possible with conditions which have prevailed in other directions, and with which Parliament has dealt, the force of it was entirely removed. He pointed out with great effect that a newspaper or other combination may have been established at very great expense and risk to the initiators. He pointed out that such a combination may have acquired an advantage that would be equally beneficial to a large number of other persons who did not care to take the same risk, and that it would be unjust at a subsequent stage, after success had crowned the efforts of the initiators, to allow those other persons to come in on the same conditions. That sounds very plausible, and as a general principle I think that it might be” fairly admitted. But what we, as- legislators, have to consider is the common-weal. If it happened that a combination of that character acquired a position which enabled it to act in a manner prejudicial to the common-weal, then Parliament would be called upon to legislate against it. The facts in connexion with the newspaper combine for cable news are, that it has acquired the power to obtain information at a greatly reduced cost. I recognise that the public are indebted to the newspapers to that extent. But it is rather a disadvantage than an advantage to the community that .there should be a certain number of newspapers in that position, and no more. If it has happened that such a large number of newspapers have entered into a combine as to have power enough to secure news for general distribution, at a price’ at which no single individual could hope -to compete with them, it is prejudicial to the common-weal, and in restraint of the extension of newspaper information to the people. Suppose that we were conferring no advantage, we should still have the right, in the interests of the people, to legislate against such a combine. But, as a matter of fact, we should be conferring an advantage when we gave to the newspapers a protection which they do not possess now.
– In some States the newspapers have this protection, but in others they have not.
– The Bill says that the newspapers shall have this protection, and there is nothing unreasonable in making a condition in connexion with that advantage. When I rose I referred to the’ fact that we have dealt on somewhat similar lines with other combinations. When the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill was being discussed here, it was pointed out that the rules of certain trade unions contained conditions which rendered it practically impossible for any person to get into them ; thev had prohibitive rules. If there were such trade unions, their existence was prejudicial to the common-weal. But these societies were initiated at considerable risk, maintained and extended: at considerable expenditure of money and energy, and at the risk of ostracism and considerable loss. The Wharf Labourers’ Unions in
New South Wales and Victoria was cited. I believe that these trade unions had regulations which, if they did not bar, made, admission so difficult that very few persons could join them. Parliament said - and I think very properly said - “ If we are going to give these societies a protection which they do not possess now; if we are going to relieve them of the necessity to fight, incur expenditure, and endure hardship, we must demand that any person desiring to enter their ranks may do so on terms that are reasonable and practicable.” This is exactly a parallel case.
– This is not a monopoly.
– The , societies to which I referred could not be a monopoly, seeing that they were composed of a mere fraction of the whole community. It was quite competent for a number of people to form a distinct union. It seems to me that these cases are as nearly as possible parallel. Trades unions were started originally at very great risk. When numbers of persons did join, others stood back. The trade unions were carried on and extended’ with great advantage, not only to their own members, but to nonmembers at the same time; .and though some persons who might have joined at the inception stood back, we said, by Act of Parliament, that they must be permitted to come in upon reasonable conditions.
– If they did not join they were still able to get work.
– I am not going to be led into a discussion on that point. The point is that we gave trade unions an advantage which they previously had -not. We had a right to make the condition that they should not constitute close corporations - that they should not keep all the advantages for those within their own ranks - but should open their doors to eligible persons who desired to join. That is alf we are asking with reference to this newspaper trade union or combine. And there is a greater reason why we should do it in this case than in the case to which I have referred in connexion with the Arbitration Bill ; because the difficulty in the case of newspaper cable services is very much greater. Those are the reasons which have induced me to decide to vote for this amendment. As honorable senators know, on a previous occasion I voted against an amendment seeking to achieve .the same object, because I was afraid, judging from its’ terms, that an injury might be done that we did not desire to do. Senator Keating has said that if this amendment were carried the effect would be to place the Minister in an extremely unenviable position. I quite agree with that. But, after all, the reason why we have Ministers at all is to do things which are in the interests of the community. It is not a question of whether what they have to do is pleasant or unpleasant to them. What we have to consider is what is the best way by which a certain end can be reached. In this instance it appears to me that it would not be so harassing as Senator Keating thought for the Minister to discharge the functions laid upon him ; because, after all, it would not be a matter between one newspaper and another in one constituency, but between one newspaper and all the other newspapers in the combine. As there is in the clause a provision giving power for the newspapers themselves to admit additional subscribers on conditions mutually satisfactory, it would only be when there appeared to be hardship - or not merely hardship, but a condition prejudicial to the commonweal - that the Minister would be called upon to act, and in such a case, however disagreeable it might be, we have a right to call upon the Minister to do something for the general well-being.
– I am sure we were all glad to hear Senator Trenwith, who has expressed his views so clearly; but it appears to me, with all due deference to him, that he has shown no reason whatever why a company or syndicate could not be formed consisting of all the newspapers that do not belong to the present so-called combine. The present case is simply one of the “ have-nots “ wanting to take advantage of the enterprise of the “ haves,” whose advantages have been gained after years of labour, and at great expense. It is useless to say that there is any monopoly in cabled news. There is no reason whatever why other combines should not be formed. I believe in the right of private enterprise, and this proposal is an interference with it. As such I strongly object to it. With some newspaper proprietors it appears to be a case of “heads I win, and tails you lose.” They want to get all the advantage arising from a telegraphic service secured by the enterprise of the combine, but without running any risk. There is a newspaper published in Melbourne which Senator Trenwith loves - the Age. That paper professes that it does not believe in monopolies.
-i do not run the Age, as the honorable senator must know.
– The Age wants the sugar refining industry to be nationalized. Surely people who are so conscientious as the conductors of the Age profess to be would not belong to a monopoly !
– Surely the Argus would not be at the head of a monopoly!
– I refuse to believe that Reuter would decline to supply news to newspapers that were prepared to pay for it. Besides that, there is no objection to other people starting in the same line of business.
– The honorable senator is always for the capitalist and against labour.
– Is it a sin to be a capitalist? Every working man tries to be a capitalist. Honorable senators opposite would all be capitalists if they could. I am quite persuaded that it is possible for newspapers that are not satisfied with the work of the combine to unite together to obtain cable news of their own. As the Scotch say, “ Mony mickles mak a muckle.” Let them form a syndicate of their own. Possibly the introduction of competition would enable the country newspapers to get their news cheaper than they can do at present. I hope that the Committee will reject the amendment by a strong majority.
– I am pleased that Senator Trenwith has spoken, because in his energetic and forceful speech he has put the case for this amendment much more ably than I could have done. But I wish to lay before the Committee some correspondence bearing out the statement which I made when this matter was last under discussion. The facts are as follow : - Early in 1904 it was proposed to start a new daily newspaper in Adelaide. The manager of the company, Mr. T. T. Opie, desired to ascertain on what terms he could obtain cabled news from the existing combine. Accordingly he wrote to Messrs. Wilson and Mackinnon, Melbourne, asking them for terms for the association’s cables. To that letter he received the following reply : -
The Argus and Australasian.
Melbourne, 2nd February, 1904.
Dear Sir. - In reply to your letter of the 1st instant, asking on what terms you could be supplied with the Cable Association’stelegrams, we beg to say that so far as Adelaide is concerned the matter rests entirely with the proprietors of the Register and the Advertiser as to whether they would consent to another journal there joining in the service, and we therefore refer you in the first instance to the conductors of those papers.- Yours faithfully, Wilson & MacKinnon.
Mr. Opie then wrote to the proprietors of the Register and the Advertiser in Adelaide. He received the following replies.
The first letter is from the Register: -
The Register Office,
Adelaide, February 3, 1904.
Co., of S.A., Ltd., Bray-street, City.
Dear Sir. - In reply to yours of even date, we beg to say that at such short notice we are not in a position to give an answer to your request in regard to the cable service to-day.
The following letter was received from the Advertiser: -
Advertiser, Chronicle, and Express Offices,
Adelaide, 3rd February, 1904.
Dear Sir. - We have your letter of to-day’s date. Before we can furnish a reply we shall have to consult our partners in the other States.
Per Robt. Cooper.
– There seems to be a little bit of co-operation there !
– They are as innocent as school boys !
– Codlin refers you to Short and Short to Codlin.
– After waiting a week, Mr. Opie wrote again to the proprietors of the Adelaide newspapers, drawing their attention to the fact that he had written a week previously. He then received the following replies. The first letter is from the Register : -
The Register Office,
Adelaide, February 10, 1904.
Mr. T. T. Opie, Manager The Herald,Adelaide.
Dear Sir. - In reply to your further letter of February 9 regarding the Cable Service, we wish to statethat we are still in correspondence with our friends in the other States, and cannot therefore give you a definite reply to-day as requested.
We hope, however, to communicate the decision of those concerned next week.
The next letter was from the Advertiser: -
Advertiser, Chronicle, and Express Offices,
Adelaide, roth February, 1904.
Dear Sir. - Replying toyours of9th, we beg to inform you that correspondence between ourselves and our partners in the other States is still passing, but we hope to be able to give you a final reply in the course of a few days.
Per Robt. Cooper.
A week later Mr. Opie received the following, joint note from the Register and the Advertiser : -
Adelaide, 17th February, 1904.
Dear Sir. - In reply to yours of the 3rd and9th inst., enquiring regarding the proposed sharing of our cable service, we wish to explain that the joint Inter-State agreement regulating that servicecontains a clause which says “that no message shall be supplied to the proprietary of any newspaper published either in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, or Brisbane, other than in respect of the newspapers mentioned in this agreement without the unanimous consent of the parties hereto, except to the proprietary of any evening newspaper or newspapers which may hereafter be published in Melbourne.” In conformity with this obligation we have communicated with our partners in the other States, and we find that it is impossible to obtain the “ unanimous consent “ provided for in the clause just quoted. - Faithfully yours,
In these letters it is freely admitted that there is a combination, the news obtained by which cannot be distributed without the unanimous consent of the members. Senator Keating and Senator Smith, in their tender regard for the interests of the large newspapers which are in the combine, entirely overlook the interests of other independent newspapers, and also the interests of the general public. It is a fair proposition that if the interests of a few newspaper proprietors, no matter how wealthy, conflict with the interests of the general public, we should, at any rate, lean towards the latter.
– Where does the general public come in? Newspapers are now cheaper than ever.
– In the course of his remarks, Senator Smith expressed the opinion that if the price of newspapers were raised to sixpence, there would be injury to the public ; and though the public are not disadvantaged in that way, they are in another. Where there are only two or three large newspapers in a State, it is easy for them to combine, as has already been done, and fix the rate which the public shall pay for all advertisements. There have been complaints on this score for a considerable time, and the public of South Australia gladly welcome the idea of the establishment of another newspaper, but I have already shown one of the great difficulties which stood in the way of that project. I hope the Committee will take the view that the interests of the general public are at least as important as are the interests of wealthy newspaper proprietors.
– When the question was last before us I discussed it at some length from the trade union point of view of preference to unionists and preference to newspapers, and I do not intend to occupy time in dealing with the matter from that aspect on the present occasion. In the light of the correspondence which has been read by Senator Story, there can. be no further doubt as to what is our duty to the public.
– Any newspaper proprietor can get the news, if he pays for it.
– Quite true, if that newspaper proprietor is prepared to pay as much as half-a-dozen members of the combine pay amongst them for the same news. It is very easy to sit in a wellcushioned chair and give generous and cheap advice to struggling newspaper proprietors in the country, to pay for this news if they want it ; but it reminds one forcibly of an illustration in Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, where a man on board a steamer in “mid- Atlantic is told that he is quite at liberty to walk ashore if he chooses. Those struggling newspapers, under present circumstances, are unable to compete in any way with the well organized newspapers which form this combination. Fair competition is impossible under the circumstances, and, instead of extending and strengthening the monopoly, it is our duty to equalize conditions as far as lies in our power. Hitherto, in Federal legislation, much consideration has been given to the press, and the big and strong newspapers are better able to take advantage of the privileges thus offered than are the smaller newspapers in the country. The rates for press telegrams are very low, and surely, in return, there ought to be some consideration shown for the public weal. The newspapers are permitted to send press messages of too words at the same rate as a private citizen pays for sixteen words ; and, therefore, we have a right to lay down the terms on which others shall be admitted to the combination, which we know to exist, and which’ it is almost impossible to break up. If we legislate in such a way as to strengthen this monopoly, we shall merit the condemnation of the people of Aus tralia. We ought to extend to the journalistic “goose” the same treatment that was given to the very lean trades union “ gander “ when the Arbitration Bill was before the Senate; we ought to say to this combination that unless the members are prepared to give to others the same right which they themselves enjoy, they shall have no kind of “ preference “ under the Copyright Bill. There is very little originality about the news which comes to Austra- , Iia by cable ; and it is not the sort of matter that is generally regarded as having a claim to copyright. The news is culled from the newspapers of the old country, and is of a very second-hand quality, with no great merit of its own.
-Much of the news is very useful, and it is an advantage to us to get. it.
– I grant that the news is almost essential in present day affairs, but that does not enhance the quality from the stand-point from which I am viewing it. It is not the work of some independent brain, which produces thought worthy of being transmitted over the wire. It is mere news.
– It is what the people want.
– That is so, and no newspaper can exist unless it publishes news, which, however, does not receive its value because of any merit it possesses in a copyright sense. We desire some equality in these affairs, and I intend to support the new clause. I dare say that Senator Smith’s proposal, when it is submitted, will be found to contain its good points, but every motion should be dealt with on its merits.
– W - We are able to give practical effect to the proposal before us, whereas we might not be able to do that with the proposal of Senator Smith.
- Senator Smith’s proposal is not before us now ; and if Senator Smith desires to have his motion considered on its merits, I hope he will extend the same treatment to the amendment of Senator Pearce.
– The mover of the motion, Senator Pearce, first of all made some ex parte statements about the hardships inflicted some years ago, and went on to complain that Reuter will not give to other people news already sold. I contend that our newspapers are to be commended, and Australia has been congratulated on the journalistic enterprise which gives such satisfactory results. When these newspaper proprietors purchase a certain amount of news from Reuter-
– They purchase every word, and Reuter is not allowed to sell to any one else.
– Why should we invoke the law, as proposed, and thus interfere with private enterprise and pri- vate property ?
– Private property ! Cheap Government rates !
– The news must cost a great deal of money, despite the cheap rates. The smaller newspapers ought in some way to be helped to get news, because it is a public benefit in outlying districts that there should be published reports of more than merely local affairs. But we are not on the right track when we endeavour to make Reuter’s Agency dispose of news which has already been sold to others.
– I admit at once that the amendment now submitted is to my mind robbed of much that was pernicious in the one previously submitted on behalf of Senator McGregor - that it is free from some of the more glaring objections which marred the earlier proposal. But I think I can show that, apart from the principle involved, there are difficulties in the method by which it is proposed to carry out the principle. First, if it is desirable that this matter should practically be left to arbitration, no worse man could’ be selected for arbitrator than the Minister. It happens that one of the members of the present Government - I am merely stating a fact, without wishing to suggest anything improper - is taking a very active part on the directorate of one of the’ big metropolitan newspapers, and it might happen that this Bill would be administered by the very Department which he controls. ‘ That would be placing the Minister in a most invidious position, which he ought not to be called upon to fill, and which, even if he were something more than human, would leave him open to suspicion on one side or the other. T do not wish to refer to the objection suggested by Senator Keating - the local influences which might surround the Minister and might unconsciously warp, his judgment. If it is desired to leave the matter to arbitration, as between the applicant for admission to the combine and the members of the combine, it would, I think, be. better at once to take advantage of the machinery -of our law Courts. It would not require a very comprehensive alteration of the .amendment to provide that, instead of the Minister, the Judge of the High Court, deputed to deal with arbitration matters, should be the tribunal to whom disputes of this kind should be referred. I invite Senator Pearce to consider that suggestion. I have to deal now with another objection to the drafting of the amendment. It provides that the Minister may order the combination to supply the applicant with news. The ordinary acceptation of the term “supply” is to hand over. I presume that the term here means that the applicant shall have access to the news. It is a very different thing to say that I shall have access to news when it arrives by cable, and that I shall be supplied with it.
– The combination might supply it in a printed form the next day.
– Exactly. I might be carrying on a newspaper at Menzies, and does Senator Pearce mean by his amendment that the combination would have to supply me with news there? What is intended, I suppose, is that the applicant for admission to the combination .is to have access to the news at the point at which it reaches Australia.
– At the same place as that from which the proprietors of the newspapers already in the combine get it.
– I Question very muc[h whether in the agreement which exists between them the term “ supply “ is used as it is in this amendment. I am opposed to the. principle of the amendment, but if the Committee is determined to accept it, in common with other honorable senators, I should like to see it expressed in the best possible form. I have to point out now a far more serious defect in the drafting of the amendment. Its operation is not limited to news received by cable. It would apply to news of events happening beyond Australia, irrespective of the way in which they reach this country, and in this respect it goes quite beyond the combination to which such frequent reference has been made. The proprietors of two newspapers may decide to engage the services of a man recognised as eminent in his profession as a war correspondent. He may travel to a scene of active hostilities, and when his news arrives here, whether by cable or by letter, the proprietor of any other newspaper can claim to join with the proprietors who have engaged this special, correspondent, and share, not merely in cable news supplied to their newspapers, but in the special information supplied by the man specially qualified to provide it.
– Do not the great daily newspapers steal the brains of the universe every day?
– Is Senator Findley an advocate of the extension of the art of stealing ?
– The outsider would have only to wait twenty-four hours until the copyright would expire, and he could then get the information he wanted for nothing.
– In the meantime, the two newspaper proprietors, to whom I have referred, would have had twenty-four hours’ protection for their special news. Senator Pearce must recognise a very great difference between ordinary cable news and communications of the kind to which I have referred.
– Does the honorable senator know of any case in which the matter supplied to a newspaper by a special war correspondent has been copyrighted ?
– I feel sure that Senator Findley can call to mind instances in which newspapers acting in combination sent correspondents to South Africa during the war, and elsewhere to supply information of other big national events.
– They did not copyright it.
– It was copyrighted, by publication, for more than twenty-four hours.
– Does Senator Findley contend that communications supplied, by special correspondents should be participated in by the proprietors of outside newspapers, who might claim the right to make use of them? I appeal to every honorable senator who supports the amendment to say whether that is its intention, or whether the intention is not that its operation should be limited entirely to the ordinary cabled news? If it is intended “that it should be so limited, the amendment requires drastic alteration. In the event of an outsider being admitted to the combination, what steps are to be taken to determine the period during which he shall remain in it? I cannot conceive it possible that what, is in tended is that the Minister should fix a period of two or three years, as might seem reasonable to him, as the period during which the applicant is to continue to be regarded as a, member of the combination. Suppose that in the course of time, two, three, or four of those admitted to the combination drop out. It seems to me only fair that once an outsider is admitted to the combination ““he should be obliged to remain in it as long as it continues to exist, or until, as in’ the case of an ordinary company or partnership, it is wound up. The amendment does not provide for that.
– Possibly the Minister would make that one of the terms of admission.
– The honorable senator is asking the Committee to legislate in this matter, and he should certainly provide for cases which are not imaginary, but! which are almost certain to occur. Instead of that, he proposes to shuffle out of all responsibility, and leave everything to the Minister.
– I do not propose to leave everything to the Minister, but I should leave that to him.
– That is a matter which I am not prepared .to leave to the Minister. I have known Senator Pearce to be as strenuous as any member of the Committee in his objection to trust the Minister.
– What term would the honorable senator suggest - life?
– I say that once an applicant is admitted to the combination
– He should become subject to all the conditions attaching to members of the combination.
– Exactly . He should not be at liberty to go when he pleases, or when the Minister pleases to let him. He should accept his share of responsibility for carrying on the combination. Otherwise we might have the Minister fixing three years as the term during, which an appli-cant should remain in the combination after admission, and theo if it seemed likely that some other combination would be arranged from which he could get better terms, he would drop out and leave the original members of the combination to shoulder the obligations of the concern. That would not be fair.
– The original men might drop, and leave the men admitted later to shoulder its obligations.
– I admit that; but that would not be fair either. Once an applicant is admitted to the combination, he should continue to share the responsibility of partnership, as he would in any other business partnership, or until the concern is wound up. Is an applicant, on admission to the combination, to pay, in proportion to the number of members in the combination, or in proportion to the value of the cable news as supplied to his particular newspaper ?
– The Minister is to be the judge of what is a reasonable rate.
– Then I presume that, in order to decide what is a reasonable rate, he must take into consideration what is the size of the newspaper owned by the applicant, its circulation, and the value which particular cables will have if inserted in that newspaper.In the case of a suburban newspaper publishing news simultaneously with the great metropolitan dailies, I suppose that he would decide that it was of merely nominal value to the suburban newspaper.
– It is not at all likely that suburban newspapers will publish cable news simultaneously with the metropolitan dailies.
– Very well; I will take the case of a newspaper published at Menzies, with a circulation which has been stated at 700, and which, from my experience of country newspapers, would probably mean 500. The Minister is to determine the value of cable news to a paper with a circulation of 500, and he may also have to determine their value to a newspaper, with a circulation of 1,000, and their value to newspapers published at different prices. That is one view with which I deal, because Senator Pearce has given that as his definition.
-I do not accept the honorable senator’s conditions as to the size of the paper, its circulation, and so on.
– Surely when an honorable senator is asked to vote for an amendment, he is entitled to know what it is intended to effect? I ask Senator Pearce on what basis the Minister is to determine the proportionate amount which an applicant for admission to the combination must pay?
– We might easily get at it by first ascertaining the cost to the great dailies, and it is stated that they get the cable news for almost nothing, because they form the combination.
– Then, I suppose the honorable senator would allow the applicant to come in on payment of his share of nothing? There is another way in which the matter may be dealt with. Presuming that there are ten members in the combination, and the news costs£1,000 to obtain, is the eleventh man, when he comes in, to be called on to pay oneeleventh of the total cost?
– The amendment refers to the cost of obtaining the news.
– But Senator Pearce does not, and it is because there is this contradiction between Senator Pearce and his amendment that I am dealingwith the point. One portion of the amendment appears to indicate that if a man wishes to become amember of the combination, he must pay such a share of the total cost as his individual membership bears to the total membership. But another portion of the amendment leaves it entirely to the Minister to apportion the sum which the applicant for admission must pay. Which alternative does the Committee propose to accept? Surely we ought not to insert a provision which is vague as well as complicated on the all-important point to which I have referred. Only that I know better I might have gathered from the discussion that honorable senators really do not know the meaning of the word “ monopoly.” It has been used by them so frequently that I almost suspect that they, in their eagerness to champion the cause of the smaller newspapers, have allowed themselves to apply to the word quite an exaggerated meaning. On several occasions, the question has been asked by interjection, “ What is a monopoly?” but no one was particularly keen to furnish a definition. I assume the term to mean the holding or obtaining by a person or combination of persons of an advantage or opportunity which is denied or closed to other persons. If that is so, what opportunity is denied by the newspaper combination to any one else ? What avenue have they closed against any one else? Senator Story and others have quoted letters to the effect that the combination declined to allow other persons to associate with them, but that does not constitute it a monopoly.
Senator- Trenwith. - It does practically in this case.
– Can the honorable senator tell me what is to prevent the 500 newspapers in New South Wales from combining together, and by each subscribing 5s. or 10s. a week, getting their own independent cable service?
– I could, but it would take too long.
– I admire the adroitness of the champion of a hundred platforms. There is an utter absence of a monopoly, because the combination cannot for a moment debar any one from cabling out certain pieces of news. If the country newspapers will enter into an arrangement to appoint an agent in London for the collection and dispatch of news, and an agent in Sydney and Melbourne - the firm of Gordon and Gotch is the great supplier of news from the capitals to the country press - the road is just as open to them as it was to the big metropolitan newspapers when they started their enterprise. If, however, it is thought that there is a trust springing up here, I agree with Senator Keating that anti-trust legislation ought not to find a place in a Copyright Bill. Senator Pearce has given us to-night some facts which have arrested the attention of honorable senators, certainly of myself, but I hardly feel called upon to jump to a conclusion or to legislate on the strength of evidence, when practically no opportunity has been afforded to the other side to give any explanation which it may be possible to furnish. His statements are conclusive enough on one point, but they do not seem to establish a case for legislation. I do not care to suggest very, many reasons which occur to me for statements which have been made here to-night, because necessarily they could be only surmises.
– Does the honorable senator say that the letter from Mr. Mahon is a surmise?
– No; but there are many things which I could suggest in regard to that letter, and which I should have done if the name of the writer had not been- disclosed.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the letters quoted by Senator Story are surmises?
– I admit the existence of a combination, and I ask why should it not exist?
– Why should it have the privilege of copyright for twenty-four hours ?
– It is not given to the members of this combination alone, but to every newspaper in the Commonwealth.
– It was stolen in the case of the combination, because an effective combination of the other newspapers cannot be got.
– The moment this Bill is passed the country newspapers will have to cease publishing cables, or come to terms with the existing combination, or form a combination of their own.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that the big newspapers could not carry on if it were not for the fact that Reuter collects news all over the world for them.
– The honorable senator talks without knowledge. What does he suppose it would cost to institute a service to supply the country newspapers with the ordinary cable news which they want ? I can only hazard a guess. There must be nearer 1,000 than 500 papers of all kinds in the country districts of the Commonwealth.
– Weekly papers do not want cables.
– My honorable friend is again talking without knowledge. For some years ago I published a weekly newspaper, and I beat down the opposition of twenty years’ standing, simpy by publishing cable news. The country newspapers of New South Wales hold an annual conference in Sydney. When this Bill is passed they will not entertain the idea of dispensing with cable news. In self defence the country newspapers must obtain their cables from the existing combination or from another source, and there is nothing to prevent them from instituting an independent service. I venture to say that the moment the existing combination recognises that, unless they come to terms with the country newspapers, another combination will be started they will open the door of negotiation readily enough. Thev are not likely to throw away half-a-sovereign because they cannot get a sovereign; in other words, they will take half-a-Ioaf rather than have no bread. Senator Trenwith sought to draw an analogy between this legislation and the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. By the latter measure a monopoly was sought to be created, because registration was only allowed to one union in the case of each trade. When we said to a body’ of men, “ We will allow only one union of your trade to register, but you must admit every member of your trade on reasonable and fair terms,” that was logical. But there is no proposal made in this clause to give copyright to only one combination of newspapers.
– The practical effect is the same.
– Until Senator Pearce can show me that there is an insurmountable difficulty in the way of a combination of other newspapers, I must decline to believe that there is a monopoly, or that the practical effect of the existing combination is a monopoly. That its existence may have deterred one or two men from starting a newspaper, I can quite believe ; but so have other things quite apart from cable news. In Sydney not long ago a proposal was made to start another daily newspaper, and one measure taken by the existing newspapers to extend a very chill welcome to the’ promised competitor was to prevent their agents from distributing it. This amendment does not meet that case at all. Senator Pearce will see that there are other ways in which a combination can act.
– I am not concerned in that question at the present time. One thing at a time is quite enough.
– It is a little too much for my honorable friend. It was also claimed, on behalf of the trade unions, that there should be preference to trade unionists. The first form of preference was registration of only one union, and the second was preference to trade unionists. Both these provisions created a monopoly, and therefore it was only right to say that every man in a trade should be entitled to the fruits of the monopoly. But there is no monopoly created by this clause. It does not give copyright in cable news to certain newspapers or combinations. All the amendment says is that because half-a-dozen newspapers have, by their enterprise, developed a business other persons can come along and share it with them. If a proposal were made here to apply that principle to the industries or enterprises in which honorable senators happen to be engaged, I venture to say that they would take a very different view. I earnestly ask Senator Pearce to consider whether it is not better to leave the exer cise of the power he proposes to convey to a Justice of the High Court, rather than to a Minister who may be subject to outside influences, who ordinarily does not possess a trained legal mind, and whose decision, whether it was fair or otherwise, would always be marked or open to suspicion. In the first instance I move -
That the words “the Minister” be left out of the amendment, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the .words “a Judge of the High Court.”
– I repudiate the idea that, because some of us may be opposed to the amendment, we lack sympathy with the large number of newspapers which are carried on in country towns under somewhat hard conditions. I feel sure we all recognise that they are exceedingly valuable to people who otherwise would be without the news that assists to make social conditions in the country districts congenial. I admit that if these, newspapers could get cheap cable news it would be a great advantage to them. But the principle involved in this proposal goes even further than its application to newspapers. It applies to all kinds of legitimate business. Newspapers are not conducted for philanthropic purposes; not even for the well-being of the Commonwealth- of Australia. They are purely business concerns, planted on business lines, and having in view the same objects as have other kinds of business, namely, the making of money. I take it that there is nothing illegal or harmful in the making of money. I know of no business in which the initial difficulties are surrounded with so much risk, and in which there is so much speculation, as in regard to newspapers. I am acquainted with’ several newspaper people in the old country. I can call to mind the case of one, whose proprietors spent over 30,000 before they earned a single penny. I believe that more money has been lost in newspapers than in any other form of business enterprise.
– And more money has been made out of newspapers than out of any other business.
– I quite agree that large revenues are earned by successful newspapers, but many of them have had to go through a very severe ordeal before attaining to a successful position. I cannot for the life of me see why we should ask a business concern to give away part of its goodwill simply because it is a newspaper, any more than we should ask a manufac- turer or a shopkeeper to give away part of his goodwill. In Melbourne there is a growing firm, which has sixty retail grocers’ shops, the proprietors being thus enabled to buy their goods at prices at which even wholesale firms cannot compete, owing to the large number of shops they have, and their advantage over other shopkeepers in being able to purchase in large quantities at ber-rock prices. The supporters of this amendment might as well tell me that, because those shops are under one management, and the expenditure is thereby curtailed, a shopkeeper who has only one shop is entitled to partake of the advantages that the owners of the sixty shops enjoy by reason of their application, industry, and business skill, as say that because certain newspapers have successfully arranged for cable purposes they should be compelled to share their advantages with smaller newspapers. There is a firm in Sydney which is one of the largest in the world. It has attained to that proud position in consequence of the energy and ability displayed from father to son. Honorable senators might as well tell me that the advantages possessed by that firm in buying goods should be shared by smaller concerns, as tell me that the proprietors of the principal newspapers should be compelled to share their advantages with others. Senator Millen has stated that the association of newspapers for cable purposes is in no sense a monopoly. I would not even call it a combine. It is simply an association of newspapers, whose proprietors have arranged amongst themselves that the news which they require shall be concisely cabled at the common expense. Why should these journals be called upon to give to others the advantages which they have gained after many years of tribulation and great loss of money? Suppose there is a newspaper witha circulation of 700 copies in a country town. Would such a journal require the news paid for by a combination of journals having a circulation of from 50,000 to 100,000 copies per day ? It would not. The country newspapers, as Senator Pearce has admitted, do not want the whole of the cable news received ; they only want a concise summary of it suitable for their special purposes. Who is going to apportion the equitable conditions under which these large newspapers are to hand over to the small journals the particular news which they require, and who is going to decide at what price it shall be fur nished? The whole proposition is absurd. But I take the higher ground, that if a number of business men choose to arrange their business on certain conditions, which conduce to economic working and greater convenience, they are absolutely entitled to do so, and Parliament has no right to ask them to give to others the benefit of the advantages which their own brains and energies have created. There are at least a thousand newspapers in the Commonwealth of Australia. They could, if they liked, combine together to get cable news from England. They might make better terms than they are able to make with the present so-called combine. If they were “ cute “ enough to do so, would it be reasonable, after ten or fifteen years, for Parliament to insist that other newspaper proprietors who had taken no such risks should be allowed to participate in the arrangements thus made upon the same terms and conditions ?
– The amendment does not say so.
– It says that any newspaper shall have a right’ to get the cable news upon the same terms and conditions as the present partners to the arrangement. It is ridiculous to intrust a Minister with such a power over the press of Australia, as is here proposed. Any Minister would hesitate before taking such a responsibility upon his shoulders” unless he were a man of such a character that he thought it would be to his own advantage, or that of his friends, or of his Government, to exercise it. Personally, I object to the proposal on the broad principle that if we have a right to impose such conditions upon newspapers, we have an equal right to impose them upon other forms of business enterprise. I shall, therefore, oppose the amendment in every shape and form.
Question - That the words “ the Minister,” proposed to be left out. be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
– I think that the Committee have made an error of judgment in not accepting the amendment of the proposed amendment. I am in favour of a provision such as the new subclauses indicate; but there is a right way and a wrong way of carrying that intention out. If we are to have simple and absolute arbitration, it is not fair to make any Minister the arbitrator.
– We have no power to charge a Judge with administrative work.
– But if my amendment had been carried, surely the sub-clauses could have been consequentially amended?
– With all due deference to Senator Keating, I submit that it is judicial work that is contemplated. I am going to vote for the proposed subclauses without the amendment, but with reluctance, and in the hope that the provision will be amended in another place. There is no doubt that if the amendment had been carried, it would have been found necessary to recast the sub-clauses.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales). - I again ask, whether it is intended to apply this provision to all news, or to only cable news? It is all very well, for the purpose of securing a triumph for a principle to which honorable senators may be wedded, to push this amendment through, but surely it ought to be made satisfactory.
– Has the honorable senator an amendment acceptable to the Committee ?
– Judging by past events, I fear that no amendment of mine on this amendment would be accepted. It is clear, from the speeches of all who have supported the proposed sub-clauses, that the desire is to limit their application to this combination and cable news. It has been contended that there is a combination, the object of which is to secure some advantage in regard to cable news - an advantage participation in which is denied to other newspaper proprietors - and it is proposed to give those other proprietors, subject to the Minister’s approval, the right to enter the combination. I am sure that it was never intended that other newspaper proprietors shouldhave the right to join with the members of the combination in the despatch, for instance, of a correspondent to a war, or of a correspondent with a Polar expedition. That, however, is what the clause provides at the present time. I move -
That after the word “ obtaining,” line 4, the word “ telegraphic “ be inserted.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - Does Senator Keating think that the words “ newspaper proprietor “ are sufficient ? A man may try to contract for cable news before he starts publishing a newspaper. We should either define “ newspaper proprietor,” or insert the words “ newspaper proprietor or person proposing to publish a newspaper, or press agency.”
Amendment agreed to.
Question - That the amendmentas amended be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 60 -
The owner of any copyright or performing right in any literary, musical, or dramatic work or artistic work entitled to protection in Australia by virtue of any Act of the Parliament of the-
United Kingdom or entitled to protection in any State by virtue of any State Copyright Act shall on obtaining a certificate of the registration of his copyright or performing right under this Part of this Act have the same protection in the Commonwealth against the infringement of his copyright or performing right as the owner of any copyright or performing right under this Act.
Amendment (by Senator Keating) agreed to -
That after the word “ Act,” line 6, the words “in force at the commencement of this Act” be inserted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to. Postponed clause 13 -
– I move -
That after the word “ has,” line 3, the following words be inserted : - “ been printed from type set up in Australia, or plates made therefrom, or from plates or negatives made in Australia, in cases where type is not necessarily used, and has”
I have submitted my amendment to the Parliamentary Draftsman, and he has given effect to my idea ‘in the form which I have just read. Its effect will be very easily understood. What I desire is that the same protection shall be afforded in Australia to local printers and publishers that is afforded by American legislation to printers and publishers in the United States. As a protectionist, I believe that it is exceedingly desirable that we should have a printing and publishing business in full swing in Australia, in order that Australian authors shall not be compelled to go outside of the Commonwealth to find a publisher for their works. The Commonwealth has adopted a protectionist policy, and I think that it should be followed in connexion with the business of printing and publishing. It is the most common thing in the world to find a piece of music, composed in Australia by Australian musicians, being offered for sale in almost every music shop in the Commonwealth, and if it is examined it will be found to bear the imprint “ Printed in Germany,” or in Bavaria, or anywhere else other than Australia. That is a state of things which this amendment is designed to put a stop to. At this hour it ‘is not necessary that I should labour the point very much. The reasons which should recommend the amendment must be obvious. With regard to books, music, and everything else to which this Bill purports to give the protection of copyright, it is desirable and necessary, in the interests of Australia, that the printing should be done here.
– Then the “honorable senator does not discriminate between England and the United States?
– I do not, any more than in our Customs Act we discriminate between them.
– Then why refer to American action.
– I referred to that because one of the most important publishing firms in Australia has petitioned the Senate, in connexion with that phase of this question.
– And because of that petition the honorable senator would penalize the mother country ?
– No, I was prepared to move this amendment before the petition was presented to the Senate, and I refer to it only in order to strengthen my argument. If it is necessary that we should protect Australian publishers against American publishers, it is equally necessary that we should protect them against the publishers of Great Britain, and especially of Germany, Bavaria, and other countries where printing is done at extremely low rates, and the employes of printing firms are sweated, and receive a miserable wage, which is barely sufficient to keep body and soul together. The amendment is designed, also, from a national point of view, to make Australia independent in the matter of publication, so that Australian authors may have Australian publishing houses of standing to go to to secure the publication of their works.
– Publishing here would not give them copyright elsewhere.
– Of course it would not, but let me point out that all we ask is that simultaneous publication shall imply simultaneous printing in Australia also. At present, in order to secure copyright here, there must be simultaneous publication, and that merely means that the work shall be published in Australia within fourteen days of the time at which it is published and offered^ for sale elsewhere. The amendment is designed to improve upon that by providing that simultaneous- publication in Australia shall mean that “the work shall be printed from type set up in Australia or from plates made from that type, or where type is not necessary from plates and negatives manufactured in Australia. I am satisfied that every protectionist member of the Committee will be prepared to vote for the amendment, but I appeal to a higher motive, and I ask honorable senators from a national point of view to agree to make Australia independent of the publishing houses of the outside world. The amendment will assist to establish in Australia publishing houses of standing and repute, who will provide a market for the works of Australian authors and publishers, and will find for them a large circulation.
– As Senator Givens has said in moving his amendment, he has, since he previously proposed to introduce something of the same kind in the interpretation clause, given effect to his proposal in the form now before the Committee. I offer no opposition to the insertion of these words in clause 13.
– I would ask whether the amendment will not come into conflict in some way with the Imperial Act?
– I understood the Minister at an earlier stage of the discussion on the Bill to affirm that it would. By the acceptance of this amendment no copyright will be given except in books printed in Australia.
– No. We deal with international and Imperial copyrights subsequently, and in particular divisions of the Bill assigned to them.
– If I understand the position, copyright is not to subsist in any book unless it is printed in Australia.
– That is right; but the Bill in part 6 deals entirely and completely with international and State copyright.
– I can take no exception to the way in which the amendment is submitted, and it is not the fault of the mover that it is brought forward at this hour; but I wish to make it abundantly clear that by this amendment it is sought to make this Bill a measure practically to carry out a policy of protection as applied to certain trades. It is proposed to deny copyright to any work unless it is printed and published in Australia.
– Without this amendment, copyright would be granted only on simultaneous publication in Australia.
– Seeing that the Minister submitted the Bill drawn on .entirely different principles, it has come as a surprise to me that at the last moment, and with hardly a word of explanation, he should accept an amendment which completely alters the whole design and scope of the measure.
– Not at all. I have pointed out that there are two classes of copyright - those which subsist under the Bill, and in respect of which we can make any conditions we please; and Imperial and international copyright, which we are bound to recognise, and for which we have made provision in the Bill.
– What the Minister really says is that we can make any law we please ; but the question is whether the law we are now asked to make is a wise one. When a Minister introduces a Bill to give copyright irrespective of where a work is printed, so long as it is published here, and then, with scarcely any reason given, suddenly accepts an amendment of this kind, it is not a little surprise, because, as I have said, the amendment absolutely destroys the original design and scope of the Bill. Late as the hour is, I must impress on the Committee the effect of the amendment. Senator Givens has frankly stated that he has moved it as a protectionist. I can have no objection whatever to a believer in protection advocating the faith that is in him. I do as a free-trader, but I contend that the proper way to determine what measure of protection is to be given to various industries is not by an amendment in a Copyright Bill. We ought not to have protection introduced in small instalments, and by insidious methods. Not only in the case of this Bill, but in other ways, we are gradually adopting a higher and higher measure of protection, without any reference to the wish of the electors. Partly by administration, and partly by amendments of this character, we are going still further in a direction which, whether it is right or wrong, is one upon which the electors should be consulted before they are committed thereto. When I come to consider the fiscal aspect of the question, it is not a matter of great surprise to me that Senator Keating accepted this amendment so readily - probably for the reason which
Senator Playford has given that it was all right, To a lover of peace, and a protectionist, like Senator Playford, it may be “’ all right, “ but to me it is all wrong.
– It is a protective Bill from beginning to end.
– In a sense, every Bill is protective, but I refer to the policy of protecting those who carry on business within our borders. We ought, at least, to consult the elector and ascertain to what extent they wish us to go in that direction. The lateness of the hour prevents me from speaking at greater length on the subject. In conclusion, I protest against the principle embodied in the amendment, the easy acceptance of it by the Government, and this growing practice of imposing upon the Commonwealth a higher and highermeasure of protection without a mandate from the electors.
– I intend to vote against the amendment. So far as copyright is concerned, there is no country, save the United States, which adopts this protective policy. Not even protective countries like Germany and France adopt the principle in connexion with copyright. If the amendment be carried, practically it will place Australia in the same position as the United States in this connexion. I would ask the protectionists in the Chamber to seriously consider whether they are wise in placing Australia in a position to invite retaliation from other countries. If the amendment were so worded as to provide that a United States author could not get copyright in the Commonwealth unless he printed and published his book therein, it would rob my objection of a considerable amount of its force. But it is aimed at countries like Germany, France, and England, that do not impose any restriction upon Australian authors. For that reason I cannot support it.
– I do not know whether Iquite understand what would be the effect of the amendment, If an author who writes a book in Australia gets the book printed in England, and registers his copyright there, will it be good out here?
– Then what is the use of the amendment?
-He can do that, whatever provision is inserted.
-I take it that Senator Givens and the other supporters of the amendment are under the impression that it will cause printing to be done in Australia ; but it will have no such effect. The reference to the United States is entirely out of place. British copyright has no effect in that country, and therefore authors can be compelled to have their books printed and published there. If the amendment has any effect it will be to drive printing away from Australia, because an author, if he is considering the question of cheapness, can get his book printed in Great Britain, or anywhere on the Continent, arid when he registers his copyright in Great Britain it will be good in Australia. The amendment is absurd.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania- Honorary Minister).- I have pointed out that the Bill provides for different classes of copyright. It provides for those copyrights which are international and Imperial, and which we recognise according to our obligations. It also provides for Australian copyrights. When a petition was presented to the Senate some weeks ago, ail honorable senator, at my suggestion, moved that it.be printed. During the course of the proceedings on the Bill at various times I indicated that it would be necessary for me at a later stage to consider the whole question of what would be publication under the Bill. Before the suspension of the sitting Senator Givens indicated his intention to move an amendment of this character in the interpretation clause, and I said that if it were moved in what I considered was the more appropriate place - in clause 13 - I should have no objection. He has moved the amendment in this clause, and I intend to fulfil the promise I made to him.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …. 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported, with amendments.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Keating) read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Keating) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to know whether copies of the electoral rolls of the States cannot be furnished for the use of honorable senators, and placed in the club-room?
– The rolls of all the States ?
– I think so. At any rate, I should like to have the Queensland rolls made available.
– I will have the honorable senator’s request brought before the officers in . charge of the Electoral Department, who will, no doubt, see that he is convenienced.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.2 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 October 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19051012_senate_2_27/>.