2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
– The honorable senator can do that after notices of questions and motions have been given, and questions without notice have been asked.
At a later stage,
- Mr. President, I gave notice of the postponement of my motion No. 1, in terms of standing order 102, not standing order 62.
– Yes, but the honorable senator must read the two standing orders together. The routine for carrying on the business of the Senate is as follows : - First, reading of prayers ; second, presentation of petitions; third, giving notices and questions without notice; fourth, questions on notice; fifth, formal motions ; and then the rearrangement of business.
– I beg your pardon, sir. I have frequently done what I did just now - given fresh notice of a motion.
– If the honorable senator gives fresh notice of a motion, that is another thing, but I did not understand him to do that. He is quite in order if be gives fresh notice of the motion.
– That is precisely what I did.
– Can the honorable senator give fresh notice of a motion which is already uponthe notice-paper?
– Yes, if he chooses.
– I desire to ask the leader of the Senate, without notice, whether he will kindly state what arrangements, if any, are going to be made for continuing the use of Government House, Sydney, as the lease of the property will expire on the 30th June?
– Last session I promised that this matter would be submitted to the Senate. It will be submitted shortly to both Houses by Bill, and then the honorable senator will be in a position to see what we propose to do.
Punishment or a Witness.
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until ten a.m. to-morrow.
I take this course for the purpose of drawing the attention of the Senate and the Government to a matter of urgency, namely, the discharge of an employe, one James Stone, by the British-Australasian Tobacco Company, in Sydney, because of certain evidence given by him before a Royal Commission appointed by the Government to inquire into the existence of a monopoly in the tobacco industry, and to ask the Government to take action in the matter.”
– The honorable senator has given me the requisite notice under the standing order, and it is now necessary for four honorable senators to rise in their places.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places.
– The honorable senator can now proceed.
– Not a soul on the other side rose.
– As we knew nothing about the matter that could not be expected.
-Col. Gould. - We have not been privileged to hear the nature of the grievance.
– I have no complaint against honorablesenators on the other side for not rising. I only asked certain senators to rise, and they did. As the Royal Commission on Tobacco Monopoly has Handed in its report to the GovernorGeneral, it has ceased to exist, and, therefore, cannot deal with this case. I merely intend to quote the facts for the information of the Senate, and the Government, and to ask thelatter to look into the case, and see if it is not possible to take such action as will protect this witness against the alleged attempted intimidation. The first paper I propose to read is a statutory declaration by an employe of this company, who has been discharged -
I, James Stone, of Mills-street, Carlton, in the State of New South Wales, Commonwealth of Australia, tobacco plug coverer, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that : -
I have been for twenty-nineyears in the employ of the British-Australasian Tobacco Company Limited, and was in their employ in December, 1905. I was dismissed on the 18th of June instant.
In December last year Igave evidence at
Sydney before the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Tobacco Industry in Australia.
And I make this solemn declaration, conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Oaths Act 1900.
Subscribed and declared at Sydney this nineteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and six, before me. - M. R. Aaron, J. P.
I shall now read the evidence upon which James Stone based the statement, namely, the sworn declarations of two employes of the company.
– Is the honorable senator going to read from a report which has not- yet been tabled here ?
SenatorPEARCE.- These sworn declarations never came before the Royal Commission. They were supplied to me by James Stone, and up to that time I had not seen them.
– Are the two employes who made the declarations still in the service of the company ?
– I cannot say, but they were when the declarations were made.
– They did not give evidence before the Royal Commission ?
– No. One declaration reads as follows : -
I, Horace Reginald Herington, of Palacestreet, Petersham, in the State of New South Wales, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that -
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Oaths Act1900.
Horace Reginald Herington.
Subscribed and declared at Sydney this tenth day of December, One thousand nine hundred and four, before me. - L. W. Fienberg, J. P.
Honorable senators will perceive the meaning of that when I quote presently the evidence which was given by James Stone before the Royal Commission. The other statutory declaration reads as follows : -
I, Richard Henry Bartlett, of Spofforth-street, Cremorne, in the State of New South Wales, Commonwealth of Australia, traveller, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that -
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to betrue, and by virtue of the provisions of the Oaths Act 1900.
Richard Henry Bartlett.
Subscribed and declared at Sydney this nineteenth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and six, before me. - M. R. Aaron, J. P.
In order that honorable senators may see the value of these declarations, I shall now read the evidence which was given by James Stone before the Royal Commission at Sydney on the 13th January, 1906, and for which an apology was demanded.
James Stone, tobacco worker, and Secretary to the Tobacco Workers’ Union, sworn and examined.
By the Chairman. - Do you propose to give evidence on behalf of the Union to which you are secretary ? - Yes.
Passing over that portion of the evidence whichrefers to other questions, I come to the first mention of the matter in respect of which he was afterwards called upon for an apology. It reads as follows: -
The only deputations from the union that have waited on the firm have been since the females were brought in. One thing always thrown at the men is that the women are more economical. We have good reason to dispute that. When I met Mr. Shaw, on 29th August, 1904, he quoted to me that the girls were beating us by£3 in the hundred. I told him, if he wished it, he could’ put two females alongside of me, and I would guarantee to give him a better output in the number of blocks and in the average of leaf, but he said they looked on me as an expert. I then told him that any man in the room could do it. He wrote back telling us he would run out the month of September, and that he found the females were making further advance on us, and that it was not advantageous to his company. During that month we were all supposed to be on a test, and Mr. Shaw threw out a challenge. The union accepted it, on the condition that they be allowed an arbitrator, because we knew the leaf was tampered with. The boys at the bin said that when the men knocked off at half-past 3 it was disgraceful to see what was done with the leaf. After that members of the union used to stay behind, and they caught the foreman bringing the females’ returns and mixing them in with the leaf, so that when they came next morning to start it would be taken as an average. No test was made. Everything went on the same till November last year, when we had occasion to approach Mr. Weeks, and I consider it unjust on his part to make such a demand on account of the leaf they had to work. They commenced to weigh out the leaf not up to the standard. Mr. Laurence, assistant manager, told the men if they did not average 10 lbs. work out of every pound of leaf he would discharge them. Against that the union protested, and Mr. Laurence called the men up and cautioned them. They showed the foreman the class of leaf they had to work, and that it would be impossible to get the required number from it. The union met the manager, Mr. Weeks, in November, and explained the stand taken up. He said the females were averaging 10 lbs. out of every pound of leaf, which we disputed, as we received the same as they did. He said it came out of the same hogshead, but we told him that every hogshead did not run alike. We also had to speak about the making of the flake. I am sorry to have to say so, but the work has to be taken to the foreman to be passed, and if it is returned the employe has to forego his day’s work. The flake was that bad that I could not make a decent job of it. We wrote to Mr. Shaw, asking him to receive a deputation on the subject, and although he replied that we had made certain charges against Mr. Weeks and Mr. Laurence - the union wrote telling him they could prove them and could produce documents - but he would not listen to us unless there was a report posted up in the factory. We told him it could not be done till the deputation took their report back to the union.
That is the whole of the evidence given by that witness as regards this particular part of the work. I propose now to read a letter which was sent to the witness by the company -
British- Australasian Tobacco Co. Ltd,
Sydney, 7th June, 1906.
Mr. James Stone, Coverers Department, B.A.T. Co. Ppty. Ltd., Sydney.
Dear Sir, - You are aware that the opportunity offered you of proving the charge of dishonest practices, made in your statement before the Royal Commission, was brought to a standstill by your solicitors, Messrs. Brown and Beeby, stating in their letter of 27th February that the Union, on further reflection, declined to be parties to any inquiry into the truth or otherwise of the statements made, and suggesting that the company had recourse by instituting a prosecution against you for perjury.
The matter was allowed to stand in abeyance pending the arbitration case, when we fully expected that this charge would have been again brought up, seeing how important a bearing it had on the question of the economy in wrappers as between men and women.
You did, at the Arbitration Court, repeat the charge originally made before the Royal Commission, and this time went so far as to mention names in support of your evidence, but beyond your own bald statement no witness was called, nor evidence whatever produced.
Seeing the enormous advantage such evidence would have been to your party during the recent proceedings, it is not to be conceived that your legal advisers would have failed in producing it, and so we are forced into the belief that they also gave no credence to your statement.
Our duty, therefore, first to Mr. Lawrence, the foreman, whom we consider you have so grossly wronged, is that you shall make reparation to him in the form of an approved apology ; for had your charge been proven he would have lost his situation; and secondly, an equalapology to ourselves, whom you have endeavoured to hold up to public discredit.
At the close of the Arbitration Court proceedings we expected that you would probably tender an apology, and we have delayed writing in consequence. (Signed) W. G. Shaw,
To that letter, which was placed beforethe Tobacco Workers’ Union by Mr. Stone, the following reply was sent on 7th June, 1906 : -
Sir, - I have the honour, by direction of my Union, to respectfully acknowledge the receipt of your letter bearing yesterday’s date. In reference to Messrs. Brown and Beeby’s letter of the 27th of February last, I would with all due respect point out that the Union only acted on the advice of those members of the Royal Commission that they saw.
I respectfully ask you, sir, to look over the report of the Royal Commission, and you will find therein that I said as follows : That I had in my possession two statutory declarations, sworn to by two of your employes. They were working for the B.A.T. Co. during the foremanship of Messrs. Newman and Lawrence, and during the alleged test. Every evening, from June to September, the female returns were brought and mixed in with the wrapper leaf which the men had to work next day.
That I had been informed by two other of your employes to the same effect. I have never stated from my own knowledge that the act you complain of had been done.
As soon as it is decided what is to be done I will immediately inform you of same. (Signed) James Stone, Secretary.
On the 9th of June, the BritishAustralasian Tobacco Company Limited wrote to Mr. James Stone as follows: -
Dear Sir, - We this morning have your letter of 7th inst., in reply to ours of the day previous.
Your endeavouring to explain away your position by saying you were acting under advice of certain members of the Royal Commission does not, it seems to us, have any bearing on the case, which is very simple. You, in the witness box, before the Royal Commission, made certain very gross and damaging statements against the foreman and ourselves. You had every opportunity of proving them - 1st., at the Royal Commission; 2nd., at our invitation, which you through your solicitors positively declined ; 3rd., at the recent arbitration. proceedings.
Having failed to even make an attempt at establishing your charge, one which, as we have already stated, if proved would have meant the immediate discharge of the foreman concerned, we demanded an apology, and shall be glad to hear your intentions as early as possible.
To that letter Mr. Stone made no reply; but on the 18th June he received the following letter from the British-Australasian Tobacco Company : -
Dear Sir, - Having failed to conform to our request, as again stated in our letter to you of 9th inst., and to which letter you have not even replied, there remains now no other course open to us than to inform you that your services are no longer required, and you will please accept this notice as your discharge from the factory.
Your work will be weighed off to lunch time to-day. (Signed) W. G. Shaw,
That letter has upon it the stamp of the British- Australasian Tobacco Company, and the signature of the managing director. It will be noticed that in the course of this statement Mr. Stone refers to the Royal Commission, and he says that he declined to go any further with the statement, acting on the advice of the members of the Commission. The only thing of which I have any cognizance in regard to the matter is that some time after Mr. Stone had given evidence before the Commission in Sydney, he came to me in the precincts of this building, and told me that the British-Australasian Tobacco Company wanted him to make a statement in a public manner, and that they would have an inquiry made, and would- abide by the re.-ult. Hp told me, also, that his solicitor had advised bini that the company could proceed against him for perjury, if they thought he had committed perjury, and could prove it; or could proceed against the two persons who had made the statutory declarations. He asked me what I thought he ought to do under the circumstances. I told him that of course my advice was simply that of a layman, and that he had! to decide for himself ; but that, so far as I could see, if the company wanted redress, it could get it by proceeding against him for perjury, or by proceeding against the persons who made the declarations upon which he based his statement. I added that if I were in his place I should leave the company to take the course open to it.
-Col. Gould. - Were the names of the persons who made the statutory declarations given?
– They were not published at the time.
-Col. Gould. - So that the company did not know who they were?
- Mr. Stone said that he made the statement upon the authority of persons in the employment of the company. He did not give their names before the Royal Commission, although he may have done so for aught I know before the Arbitration Court.
– Under what circumstances were those statutory declarations made?
– All that’ I know is that they were forwarded to me to prove that this man had some authority for the statement he made in his evidence.
– Did he say in his evidence that he made the statement upon the authority of some one else ?
– He said that he was stating what he had been told.
– He did not say who told him?
– No. He said he had been informed.
-Col. Gould. - It is a strange thing, when evidence on oath is being taken,, to permit a witness to repeat what some one else said; without giving the names of the authors of the statement.
– A Royal Commission is not conducted with the same strict legality as a court of law. In fact, the Commission regarded the statements as a mere side issue. I did not think it necessary to pursue the subject even to the extent of asking for the authority for the statements. We had before us in the following week in Melbourne the general manager of all the factories, Mr. Wilkins ; and although Mr. Wilkins took exception to statements which had been made by Mr. Stanley in Melbourne, and also to statements made by Mr. Stone, he did not take exception to this particular statement. So that whatever importance may be attached to the statement by others, the Commission did not attach much importance to it, and did not follow up the question. I do not pretend to be in a position to say whether the statement made by Mr. Stone could be corroborated or not, but it was made in evidence, and there is a remedy if false statements are made in evidence.
– As the witness only repeated hear-say statements, how could he be proceeded against for perjury?
– He could not be.
– I have always understood that if a witness slanders any one, even upon the authority of some one else, he can be proceeded against for having repeated the slander.
– Not when he gives evidence on a privileged occasion or before a privileged body like a Royal Commission.
– Surely if I make a false statement, even on the authority of others-
– It is not false under those circumstances; the statement is “Some one told me so,” and that is not incorrect.
– If the statement is not false, why should Mr. Stone be called’ upon for an apology? He made a statement upon certain sworn declarations made by other people, whose names no doubt he was prepared to give to the company.
– They appear to have asked for the names, according to the letters read bv the honorable senator.
– They have not asked for the names.
– I understood the honorable senator to say that they wrote to Mr. Stone, and that he refused to reply.
– He refused’ to put himself in a position in which he might be sued for libel. By refusing to do so, he was in the position that the company, if it sued him, would have to prove that his statement was wrong.
– He only had to prove that two men told him certain things.
– And he, by making that statement, would make himself responsible for the statement of those men. On the other hand, the men who made these sworn declarations made them with a knowledge of the consequence of breaking the Oaths Act, and upon them, therefore, rests the responsibility.
– Were those sworn declarations made recently ?
– No, Chey were made some time ago. The powers, privileges, and immunities of this Parliament in reference to matters of this sort are declared in section 49 of the Constitution to be the powers, privileges, and immunities of the House of Commons, until we declare them. We have not yet declared our powers, privileges, and immunities, and therefore we have to fall back on those of the House of Commons. I find, on re ference to May, that there is full power to take action for the protection of witnesses. For instance, there is a case mentioned on page 174 of May -
On the 7th April, 1S9.2, a member of the House, who was a director of the Cambrian Railway Company, attended the House in his place, and two other directors and the manager of the company, at the Bar, under an order of the House, made in consequence of a special report from the Select Committee on Railway Servants (hours of labour). The Committee reported that, in the course of their inquiry, it came to their knowledge that allegations were made that certain persons had been reduced or dismissed from the service of the company, in consequence of the evidence, they had given before the Committee, and that in the case of one person, John Hood, he was dismissed by the company mainly in consequence of charges arising out of the evidence given by him before the Committee.
The member was heard in his place, and the whole of the directors were reprimanded by Mr. Speaker. Another point is that the House of Commons has declared its powers by Statute. I have here the Witnesses Public Inquiries Protection Act of 1892, which is an Act for the better protection of witnesses giving evidence before Royal Commissions, Select Committees, or other bodies conducting public inquiries. It covers the case under notice. Section 2 provides -
Every person who commits any of the following acts, that is to say, who theatens, or in any way punishes, damnifies, or injures, or attempts to punish, damnify, or injure, any person for having given evidence upon any inquiry, or on account of the evidence which he has given upon any such inquiry, shall, unless such evidence was given in bad faith, be guilty of a misdemeanour, and be liable upon conviction thereof to a maximum penalty of £100, or to a maximum imprisonment of three months.
Some of the facts of this case are to hand, and the whole of them can be obtained. All I ask is that the Government will look into the case that has been presented, and if necessary, give the other side an opportunity to bring forward their facts. That having been done, I trust that the Government will investigate the matter, and determine whether it is one .in which the law ought to be put in motion.
– The law to which the honorable senator has referred is’ not in force in Australia.
– I [venture to say that it is. We have the powers and privileges of the House of Commons, and when it provides by Statute for the protection of those powers and privileges, I think that the Statute must apply to this Parliament.
-Col. Gould. - The evidence was given before a Royal Commission appointed, not by the Parliament, but by the Governor- General in Council.
– I think that all Commissions are appointed by the GovernorGeneral in Council.
-Col. Gould. - And so is a Judge of the Supreme Court, but if the evidence had ‘been given before the Supreme Court we could take no’ action.
– This Act applies to Royal Commissions in [England. and it seems to me that it applies to Royal Commissions here.
– The honorable senator will not say that the section of the Constitution to which he has referred makes Imperial Acts operative here ?
– I venture to say that, by virtue of that provision in the Constitution, the powers and privileges of the House of Commons, ,so far as they are declared by Statute, are applicable to this Parliament. All I ask is that the Government shall look into the matter, and see that justice is done to both parties.
-I do not know whether I ought to interfere in this matter, but I am informed by Mr. Boydell, who was then Acting Secretary of the Select Committee on the Tobacco Industry, that it was converted into a Royal Commission on the 2nd January, and that the evidence in question was not given until the nth January. That . being so, the question, raised does not relate to the powers and privileges of the Senate. The evidence was given before a Royal Commission, and that Commission will deal with it.
– But does not the action taken affect the privileges of the Senate?
– The evidence was given, not before a Select Committee of the Senate, but before a Royal Commission.
– The English Act applies to evidence given before a Royal Commission.
– All that Senator Pearce hag asked is that the Government shall make an inquiry. Personally, I promise that all the necessary inquiries shall be made, and a report submitted to the Senate. It is a wellunderstood principle that a man giving evidence before* a Select Committee of the House must give it in absolute good faith. We do not protect a witness who casts unfair aspersions on others or tells untruths; but if a witness has given his evidence honestly, and in good faith, I think it is the duty of the Parliament to protect him. It is our duty to project to the greatest possible extent those who appear before Select Committees and Royal Commissions. It frequently happens that men will not give evidence before Select Committees or Royal Commissions lest it may lead to their dismissal from really good employment. One of the difficulties which Select Committees and Royal Commissions experience in investigating any matter submitted to them is the dread of employes to give evidence which may result ultimately in the loss of their employment. That being so, it is our duty to protect witnesses appearing before such bodies. The case brought forward by Senator Pearce seems to be a complex one. I followed his statements closely, and J” have no doubt that the Attorney-General will look into the matter, and appoint some one who has a knowledge of the law relating to the subject, and’ who has some training in the sifting of evidence to make inquiries. Tha!; having, been done, a report will be made to the Senate, and if we think it necessary, doubtless such action will be tak-?n as the law permits
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [3.7]. - I am sure that no honorable senator would defend any one who attempted to deal unfairly with a witness who had given evidence honestly and in good faith before a Royal Commission, butit is just as well that we should make the position perfectly clear. If a witness gives his evidence honestly and straightforwardly, he ought not to be punished for doing that which the law really requires him to do. But before bringing a matter of this kind before the Senate, we ought to be satisfied that such a step is justifiable. It would be competent for a man to give evidence before a Royal Commission that he had been told of various matters detrimental to the interests of some individual or firm.
– Or derogatory of some’ individual’s character.
.- Or derogatory of an individual’s character, and to say subsequently, “ I was told by an individual whose name I will not disclose, that the facts were as stated.” In this way, a witness might, with the object of injuring a firm, give evidence that was absolutely false, and we should not be able to touch him, since we could not prove its falsity. Who could prove that the information he gave to the Commission had not been, as he alleged/ communicated to him? If he were prosecuted1 for perjury, it would be for the Crown to prove his guilt ; it would not be for him ro prove his innocence. In these circumstances, we need to be careful as to what action we take. Senator Pearce has said that this witness made the statement in question honestly believing it to be true, because he had been supplied with declarations by two employes who alleged that it was. What has been done by the company? They have said to this man, “ We want an inquiry into this matter; if you can prove your charge, this employe* will be at once dismissed.” And if the manager chose to do such an unjust thing as has been alleged bv Senator Pearce, dismissal would be by no means a severe punishment. On the other hand, it is unjust to allow such a charge to be preferred against a man without any attempt being made to prove it. If this employe^ who says’ he has lost his position, had told the company that he made the statement upon mere hear-say, and had produced the declarations upon which he based it, he would have cleared himself.
– Why did he not produce the declarations?
.- I cannot say. According to Senator Pearce one of these declarations is dated December, 1904, or some time anterior to the evidence given before the Commission. _ When his employers wished to make an inquiry Stone ought to have handed his declarations to them, leaving them to deal with the matter as thev thought fit. Another point is that since the evidence was given an inquiry has taken place before the Arbitration Court of New South Wales. These men might well have given evidence before that Court. If thev had done so, the law of New South Wales would have prevented their dismissal. The New South Wales Arbitration Act provides that an employe* shall not be dismissed for giving evidence before that Court, the reason for this being that the Court requires at times to secure clear evidence on certain matters, even though it may be to the disadvantage of an employer. If this man has unwisely neglected the opportunity offered him to vindicate himself, and to declare his own position, is it reasonable that we should-
– He was guided by the advice of his solicitor.
– I care not who advised him. Having taken up a certain stand he now comes to Parliament, and says - “ Here are the declarations upon which I made my statement. I have been unjustly treated. I have had these declarations for two years, and have never attempted before to show what dishonest practices are taking place in the tobacco trade- “
– He knew he would do no good, and that his action would only lead to three of the men being dismissed.
.- Why did he not bring forward these declarations earlier? If the production of these declarations would have led to the dismissal of the men who made them, will not their production at the present time have the same result? One is inclined to believe that it was felt that their evidence would not stand the test of cross-examination. Had it been submitted to the Arbitration Court those whose honour is impugned would have had an opportunity to test it by cross-examination. Whilst I give Senator Pearce credit for doing what he believes to be just, I think he has made a serious mistake in bringing this matter before Parliament. Such an action tends to drag down individuals when there is really no evidence to substantiate the charge made against them. The declarations referred to are perfectly good until an inquiry has shown them to be false. The honorable senator is unwittingly doing a great injustice to the employers who have been charged upon such evidence as that to which he has referred this afternoon.
– What about the gross injustice to the man?
.- If he had been dismissed because of evidence given honestly and in good faith before the Commission, and which he was prepared to have investigated, he would certainly have been treated unjustly. But if a man chooses simply to say that some one has told him that his employer is a thief, and when asked to prove his statement seeks to shield himself by saying - “ I am advised not to tell you who gave me this information, and I shall not withdraw my statement,” what is the position of his employer?
– Reverse the position. Imagine an employer making such a statement about an employe-.
– Quite so. If the employer had said that Stone was a rogue and a thief, would he not have asked for an inquiry? I think so, and he certainly would have been entitled to it. I wish honorable senators to realize that all I ask is that justice shall be meted out to the employers, as well as to the employes. Neither should have more nor less than reasonable and just consideration, and I deprecate the bringing forward of matters in this way. The man was given an opportunity on two or three occasions to prove his allegations.
– Before what tribunal ?
.- The Arbitration Court of New South Wales.. Senator Pearce has said that Ave enjoy certain powers and privileges of the House of Commons. I would remind the honorable senator, however, that the evidence in question was given, not before the Senate or a Select Committee of the Senate, but before a Royal Commission appointed by the GovernorGeneral in Council. That being so, what can we do? What power have we to take action?
– What powers do the Government possess in this regard?
– That is a pertinent inquiry. As I pointed out by interjection just now, a Judge of the Supreme Court is appointed by the Governor in Council. Suppose this man had given evidence before a Judge of the Supreme Court, and he had been dismissed in consequence, could that have been said to be a breach, of the privileges of the Senate?
– It is not pretended that this is a breach of privilege; all that Senator Pearce asks is that the Government shall inquire into the case.
– Senator Pearce has said that we have certain powers of the House of Commons, but I do not think that this is a power that the House of Commons could exercise. Moreover, if the Government are to make inquiries about every difficulty and trouble that arises in the law courts, or outside Parliament, they will have time for nothing else. What relief could the (government give? Suppose the Government make an inquiry, and find that this man was improperly and unjustly dismissed, what could the Government do?
– How can the Government make an inquiry ?
.- I am assuming that the Government can make an inquiry.
– The Government cannot make an inquiry except by means of another Royal Commission 01 a Select Committee.
.- It is reducing parliamentary business to a farce to occupy our time with every trouble of this kind which may arise between employers and employed. The courts of law are in existence to deal with such matters.
– W - What does Senator Gould suggest to meet the case of a witness who is intimidated from giving evidence before a Royal Commission ?
– This man was not intimidated, but was asked to give his authority for the statements he had made. This the man declined to do, and, therefore, he has taken the whole responsibility on himself. If the man was neither prepared to prove his statements nor to withdraw them, can we be surprised that his employer got rid of him ? If an honorable senator opposite had in his service a man who was, he thought, attempting to injure him, would he retain that man in his employment for another day ? Senator Pearce has shown that there is no case to justify any interference by the Government, or even a debate in this House.
– I have not heard the whole of the case as presented by Senator Pearce, but, from what reached by ears, I am inclined to think that that honorable senator has been somewhat precipitate in bringing this matter before the Senate. I do not, however, agree with the dictum that this Chamber, or the Government, have not the power, which it seems to me they have, under the English Act quoted by Senator Pearce.
– The Act is not in force here.
– That, of course, is a question. I have not given sufficient consideration to the matter to express a definite opinion, but our Constitution provides that if we do not declare our powers in certain connexions the powers of the House of Commons shall prevail. I take it that this is a. power and privilege of the House of Commons, seeing that a
Statute specially protects witnesses who give evidence before tribunals appointed at the instance of that Chamber. Although Royal Commissions are technically appointed by the Crown, we all know that that is a mere fiction of the Constitution.
– Hear, hear.
– Royal Commissions are appointed by the Government of the day, who hold their authority from Parliament; and, therefore, any infringement, or any tampering with a witness before a Royal Commission, is practically a flying in the face of Parliament. Senator Millen may smile, but we all know that what I have stated is an absolute fact.
– We do not know that the English Act is in force here.
– I am not claiming that the Act is in force here, although it seems to me that Senator Pearce has good grounds for assuming that it is. At any rate, if it is in force, this is a matter with which the Government ought to deal. If the Act is not in force here, and as we have not yet declared our powers byStatute, I think the Government may act, and Senator Pearce ought to be satisfied with the promise given; certainly, I am. I confess at once that I do not know sufficient of the. question to form an opinion. The whole of the correspondence, voluminous as it appears to be, ought to be before us before we arrive at any decision ; and the promise of the Government is adequate for present purposes. But it is an unnecessary and gratuitous abnegation of our functions to say that the alleged action is not an infringement of either the powers or privileges of Parliament. Whether declared by Statute or not, undoubtedly we must protect, by the strongest possible means at our disposal, the complete independence of witnesses before tribunals appointed at our instance, as certainly this tribunal was. Whether there has been unjust intimidation or not, is a question on which I shall not express an opinion, because I regard the matter as too serious; an opinion ought to be declared only after such careful inquiry as the Government have undertaken to make. The Senate passed very strong Standing Orders, and, if I remember rightly, embodied them in a Statute in order to protect witnesses who– *
– That Bill was lost in the House of Representatives.
– The Senate undoubtedly dealt very stringently with the question, with the very object Senator Pearce- appears to have of protecting to the utmost the independence of witnesses before Commissions or Committees appointed at our instance.
– I am glad that the leader of the Senate has undertaken to institute an inquiry, which, I hope, will be searching.
– How is it going to be made?
– If the honorable senator will allow me to proceed, I shall tell him. These charges were made by a man named Stone at a meeting of a Royal Commission, appointed nominally by the Crown, but really by this Parliament. The language that the charges were clothed in was respectful enough, and to it no exception was taken ; the objection was to the statements themselves. From the evidence before us, I think that those statements were made bond fide,- and the proof of that is in the fact that two men employed in this factory have voluntarily signed statutory declarations that they are true.
– Why did these men not attend at the Royal Commission and give evidence ?
– I cannot say, but by making the statutory declarations they have brought themselves within the law if their statements are false. Stone, in his evidence, said that he had been informed as to the alleged facts, and 1 believe he said that bona fide. Of course, I know of no Court which would take evidence on hear-say ; and I do not think this evidence was admissible, or of any value; in fact, in my opinion, the subject was not one for the Royal Commission. The fact remains, however, that this employe* gave evidence, which, in my opinion, he thought was absolutely correct. The evidence was not clothed in offensive language; but, for giving it, this man was discharged after twenty years’ service.
– Should the man not have seen that the evidence was correct before he gave it?
– The man simply told the Royal Commission that he had been so informed; and since then the persons who gave him the informationhave made statutory declarations that his statements are true.
– Those statutory declarations were made beforehand.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.That only strengthens my position.
– Why discuss the question at the present time?
– The tobacco trust has a number of apologists, who do not like the question to foe ventilated, but I , am going to say what I think on the matter. It is a gross breach of the powers, privileges, and rights of Parliament for a witness to be dismissed for such a reason as that he had given evidence before a Royal Commission.
– What would the honorable senator have done had he been the employer ?
– I should’ have put forward witnesses to disprove the statement. If the statement was wrong, the foreman could have been called upon to give evidence in disproof. That was the proper course for the firm to adopt ; but instead of taking that course, they called upon the man to apologize for stating what he believed to be the truth.
– No ; they had previously asked the man to disclose the statements which had ‘been made to him, in order that they mightbe substantiated or otherwise by inquiry if necessary.
– The statement made to the Royal Commission by Stone was worded respectfully enough, and was to the effect merely that he had been told so-and-so. The fact cannot be contradicted that, because he made that statement, he was dismissed.
– That is not so.
– If he had not made the statement he would not have been dismissed’.
– He refused to verify the statement, orgive any opportunity for inquiry.
– That may be so, but, at the same time, he was dismissed because he had made the statement. In any inquiry that is made both sides must be heard, the firm as well as the employe ; but as a matter of principle, if we allow firms to dismiss employes who dare to give evidence before Royal Commissions, which are de facto appointed by the Parliament, though nominally by the
Crown, we shall bring about an extraordinary condition of affairs. We shall institute a reign of terror amongst employes. If it were necessary to inquire as to a monopoly or anything else thought to be injurious to the public interest, firms could declare that if their employes gave evidence the latter would be dismissed.
– The honorable senator is trying to raise a reign of terror amongst employers.
– In this case, a man was dismissed because he told what he ‘believed to be the truth.
– That is not a fact.
– I say it is a fact.
– Senator Pearce does not affirm that.
– The firm dismissed the man because he told what he believed’ to be the truth.
– Senator Smith would know differently if he had listened to Senator Pearce.
– If this sort of thing is permitted without any inquiry or protest from Parliament, any employe will be liable to dismissal if he dares to give evidence against the interests of his employer, and the result will be a reign of terror. What did the House of Commons do in a very analogous case ? When some men were dismissed for giving evidence before a Royal Commission, the directors of the company concerned were brought to the Bar of the Houseand made to apologise for their action, severe strictures being passed on them for daring to discharge a man under the circumstances. Have we no right to make inquiry when we find the House of Commons adopting such an attitude ? To hear some honorable senators talk it might be thought that to dismiss an employe in such a way, without inquiry, is perfectly right. I repeat that this man was dismissed because he said what he believed to foe perfectly true. I hope that the Government will institute a very searching inquiry.
– Does not the honorable senator know that the English case was not the case of a Royal Commission, but of a Select Committee?
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.That only makes my case all the stronger. If, in the case of a Select Committee, the House of Commons takes such drastic action, we are more entitled to take drastic action in the case of a Royal Commission, which is clothed with greater powers.
– I think that after Senator Pearce’s very impartial statement of the case, and the Minister’s promise of an inquiry, it would have been better to have allowed this matter to drop for the present, but certain statements have been made to which I think it only right to make some reply. For instance, Senator Gould said that it is a mere farce to bring the case before the Senate. Senator Gould may look upon the matter as a far:e, but to this man, who has to seek employment in an industry which is in the hands of a monopoly, it contains very little of the farcical element. It is rather a tragedy than a farce to him.
– Otherwise it would have been a tragedy to the foreman.
– I do not know sufficient of the case to be able to comment upon the position of any one. I look at the matter from the stand-point of Mr. Stone. He gave the evidence before a Royal Commission, which practically was appointed by the Senate, and before which witnesses were supposed to be safe in giving evidence. We know how difficult it was to get witnesses. The retailers in this trade were actually afraid to come forward. Why ? ‘Because they realized that they could be shut down upon. Mr. Stone was put forward by his Union to give evidence, and for that act he was afterwards boycotted. He has not an opportunity of going to another firm, because the whole of this tobacco business is practically in the hands of a monopoly. Is that a farce to Mr. Stone? It is a very serious matter, and the Senate is quite justified in getting a review of his treatment.
– He should have given the names of his informants?
– When the evidence was given, Senator Gray, who was on the Royal Commission, did not question Mr. Stone, nor did the people directly interested challenge his statements. Again, the statements which were made before the Arbitration Court were not challenged there.
– Where the firm were represented bv counsel.
– Would not Mr. Stone have acted very foolishly if he had made statements outside which were likely to lead to the initiation of legal proceedings against himself? On two occasions he made the statements in places where his employers could have refuted them if ‘ false, or taken whatever action they thought fit, but they did’ not do so. The man is now boycotted, and we have a just right to ask that his case should be investigated by the Government. I do not wish to say who is right or who is wrong, but I think that the Government would be failing in their’ duty if they did. not come to the rescue of a witness in this position.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) [3.40]. - Although I agree with a good deal of what Senator Trenwith said, the substance of this motion involves a good deal more than the immediate question in connexion with Stone. Every one of us is so imbued with the sentiment and determination that a witness, honestly giving his evidence, shall be protected in all circumstances, as he is in our Courts, and as he is in bodies which institute inquiries analogous to those heard in our Courts, that the temptation to bring forward matters which may concern the Chamber in relation to an infringement of that good sound rule is very great. Although, having heard the facts, I think it would, perhaps, have been wiser if the matter had not been brought before the Senate, still, as I have said, the temptation to take that course is very great, and the necessity of calling attention to any infringement of that old .rule is an excuse for any one doing it. No one can complain of the moderation of tone and statement which Senator Pearce displayed. It is what we expected from him : in this instance, the expectation has been fully realized. He stated the facts, read the letters, and mentioned what his desire was. I should have said nothing on the subject, probably, but for the remarks of Senator Smith. He did not exhibit that judicial mind, and quite that fairness in apprehending the facts, which we should have expected of him. When he stated emphatically that Stone was dismissed simply because he had given before the Royal Commission evidence which he believed to be true, he stated a point which Senator Pearce did not put forward and one which the facts submitted by that honorable senator do not support. Again Senator Smith was mistaken when he said that de facto it was a Royal Commission of the Senate. It may be de jure a Royal Commission of the Senate, but certainly it did not owe its power or authority to the Senate.
– No Royal Commission is appointed except at the instance of Parliament.
– The appointment of a Royal Commission is a purely Executive act, and it is made entirely irrespective of Parliament.
– Is it not always initiated bv Parliament?
– No; it is the exception for a Royal Commission to be initiated by Parliament. It owes no allegiance to Parliament in any shape. Its reports are not presented to Parliament except after they have gone to the GovernorGeneral, and then no doubt they are presented with a view to acquainting Parliament with the contents of the reports and the nature of the evidence. The Executive may bring down the reports to Parliament if they choose. A Royal Commission has in its essence and in its proceedings no relation to or connexion with Parliament, and no doctrine as to the privileges which concern a Select Committee has anything to do with a Royal- Commission.
– Have there not been motions made in the Senate that a Royal Commission be appointed, and have not Ministers said “that it would be appointed? Practically a Royal Commission is initiated by Parliament though actually it is appointed bv the Crown.
– That Parliament may request that a Royal Commission be appointed no one doubts, but the Governor-General or the Executive Government may 1 or may not make the appointment. In England the Government appoint Royal Commissions by the thousand without reference to Parliament. Therefore the Imperial Statute to which reference has been made has no bearing on this subject, and1 the sooner we disabuse our minds of any idea of that kind the better. If we want 10 legislate on the subject so as to have a specific law we can do so, though I really cannot see what the Government mean by saying that they are going to have an inquiry. Of course that is a very easy way of getting over a motion of this kind. I cannot understand what inquiry there can lie unless they appoint a Royal Commission or get a Select Committee of the Senate to investigate - what? Whether an employe of a tobacco company has been dismissed for just cause or not. Surely nothing of the kind will be done ! My honorable friend said that the Attorney-General would be consulted. What can the latter do? He can do nothing apart from a specific violation of a law. If an employer discharges an employe the latter has his remedy, but it is not a matter for Parliament to interfere with. Parliament may legislate and the Arbitration Court may inquire, but short of the tribunals which Parliament has appointed it does not seem to me that any inquiry can be more than a mere caprice. No result can possibly follow from it in this or any similar case. Let me recall the simple facts of Senator Pearce’s statements. I feel strongly that a witness before a- Royal Commission should be protected absolutely.
– A - According to the honorable senator’s statement there is no power to protect him.
– There is plenty of power in another way. The particular portion of Stone’s evidence which was referred to was entirely gratuitous. As Senator Pearce has said it was quite irrelevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry. Probably it was so regarded and Iras not further pursued. It certainly had no bearing on the question of the tobacco monopoly. Whether it was an honest statement made in good faith or not, it was a gratuitous and wanton statement, irrelevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry.
– It had an indirect bearing on it.
– I will say that it had a little bearing on the matter, and to that extent it was at least gratuitous. Let us be fair. What was the gratuitous statement? It was a statement imputing dishonest practices to the manager or foreman in this establishment. Nothing could have been more gross. Senator Pearce will, I am sure, admit that the statements, if true, not merely warranted, but demanded, the dismissal of the foreman.
– He was acting by direction.
– If my’ friend says that the foreman did this dishonest thing by direction of his employer that is a diabolical insinuation which the witness did not make. Every one of us must admit - even Senator Smith, who insinuated that we on this side are advocates of trusts, and I do not think that that was a very nice thing for him to say - that that statement was slanderous in the last degree.
– I apologize for saying that.
– It did a wrong to a fellow workman, and if it had been proved, the employers would not only have been justified but bound to dismiss their foreman. It was not merely an allegation of a dishonest practice, so far as the firm was concerned, but of a gross fraud ; a fraud committed for a purpose. That was the kind of charge that was made by Mr. Stone - made, it is admitted from hear -say. If that evidence had been tendered before a court of law, it would not have been admitted, but before a Royal Commission there is, as Senator Pearce very properly said, greater latitude, and sometimes we might say, perhaps, a little less regularity. And necessarily so. No one can complain of it. Making these statements on hear-say evidence, Mr. Stone did not give the name of his informants. The next step was that the employers did a right and proper thing. I am bound to say that they did what they ought to do. They wrote, saying, “ You must substantiate these statements. If you substantiate them, the foreman must go, but if you do not substantiate them you must go.” They had a perfect right to do that; and, Mr. President, there is not a fair-minded and just man in Australia who would not say that the employers were perfectly justified in tasking that course. If an employe gives evidence, in the course of which he imputes dishonest practices to a fellow-workman, he must either substantiate them or he must go. How could business be carried on otherwise? How could an employer keep a perjurer in his employment? He could not possibly do such a thing.
– How could Mr. Stone substantiate the statements?
– I am afraid that my honorable friend’s mind is not as judicial as it ought to be. This Mr. Stone was asked to make a statement publicly, not sheltered under the cloak of privilege, as a witness before a Royal Commission, but so that an action might be brought against him for slander. If he had taken that course it would have been possible for him to call his informants, and to’ substantiate what he had said. That was the only way in which it could be done. My honorable friend, Senator
Pearce very properly suggests that there was another way. If he will forgive my saying so, there was no other way. A prosecution for perjury would have been perfectly hopeless. A prosecution for making a statutory declaration in violation of an Act of Parliament would have been hopeless. The statement of Mr. Stone was made on information. The question whether the statement thus made was true or not could not have been investigated in the manner suggested. Therefore, with great respect to the view which my honorable friend, Senator Pearce hasput, I think that Mr. Stone ought to have accepted the offer made to him. He ought to have said to his employers, “ Certainly; I will make the statement to Tom Smith..” It need not have been made publicly. Such a statement, so made, would have enabled an action to have been brought against him for libel, and he would then have had an opportunity to substantiate his statement. That was a perfectly fair and just offer, and Mr. Stone would have been well advised to accept it. “Unhappily, he appears to have been advised to reject it. He refused to substantiate his statement. That is what it comes to. He was ill-advised also in respect of the letter from the union, in which, I think - I do not want to use any harsh term, because we are not here to sit in judgment - he evaded the responsibility which rested upon him of either Substantiating the charge of dishonest practice or withdrawing it. He was given the alternative, and I think it was his duty - if I may say so with all respect - either to withdraw the statement, and comply with the reasonable request of his employers, or to take steps to substantiate it. The company wrote him a letter. He did not reply. He took no notice of it. He literally defied them. He said, “I will not withdraw the statement, and I will not substantiate it.” In those circumstances, I cannot, for the life of me, see what other course they could have taken to protect their employes. We are not dealing with the question of trusts or no trusts, or with combinations or anything of that kind. We may ask ourselves, “ What could an individual employer do under the circumstances, if he was satisfied that one of his employes had committed perjury against another?” Every one of us in this Senate would, I am sure, if a witness had been discharged for giving evidence before a
Commission, denounce such conduct, and would stand by any action taken for the condemnation of the employers who had dismissed the witness. But when, as in this case, a man refuses either to withdraw or substantiate a statement defamatory of another employe, it seems to me that no other course could have been expected to be taken.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) £3.52]. - One is inclined to agree with such a great legal authority as Senator Symon upon a matter of this kind ; but his opinion only proves the difficult position in which an unfortunate employe’ stands under such circumstances as have been related. With respect to Senator Symon’s statement that Mr. Stone’s evidence was gratuitous, and had no connexion with the inquiry, I reply that it certainly had a connexion with it. Insinuations were made that women were doing the work of this monopolistic company, as it has’ been called, cheaper than men, and it was attempted ‘to prove that women were more efficient than men. A trial was made. Whether it was a fair trial 011 not we cannot say. It was stated by this witness before the Royal Commission that the women were given an unfair advantage over the men. The man has been dismissed on account of that statement. It is idle to argue that he was dismissed because he would not substantiate the statement. If he had never given that evidence he certainly would not have been dismissed. No one questions the fact that he gave it In good faith. Now, it is said that he was dismissed because he did not reply to the letters of the company, and prove the statement he made before the Royal Commission. I want to know what right the company had to expect him to prove it. The evidence was given before a Royal Commission appointed by the GovernorGeneral. If the witness gave it in good faith, it was the duty of the company ;o go before the Commission and rebut the evidence, not to ask the witness to make his statement outside with the threat that they would prosecute him if he did. How can witnesses be expected to go before Royal Commissions and give evidence on nath, swearing to speak the truth, if they know they are liable to be challenged by some powerful company, with a threat that it will prosecute them, and take them to the High Court, and possibly to the Privy Council afterwards? As far as I can see, the justice of the case would have been met if a representative of the company had attended1 before the Royal Commission and rebutted Mr. Stone’s evidence. If he had given false evidence, it would have been shown that he had done what was wrong. I have not the least doubt that the Government will make inquiries into the case, and do all that is possible to see that justice is done. Yet, I ilo not see how they can do justice to this man. The only obvious remedy is that which has been incidentally suggested by Senator Symon - for Mr. Stone to prosecute the tobacco monopoly for unlawful dismissal. But what possible chance would he have against so powerful a company ? The expenses would be piled up. It would be a glorious thing for the legal profession, before the unfortunate man got any justice. Senator Symon, in his usual brilliant manner, took Senator Smith to task for declaring that the Senate was in any way responsible. But it must be remembered that a resolution was passed by the Senate dealing, with the tobacco monopoly. There was much discussion on the subject all over Australia. Why was the Royal Commission appointed ? Was it not in consequence of the resolution of the Senate? Most decidedly. Therefore, to talk of the Senate having no responsibility is all nonsense. With respect to the heinous crime Mr. Stone alleged against this firm, and for his evidence concerning which he was dismissed, I can speak with some amount of knowledge. I am surprised that Senator Gray, who has had much experience amongst working men, did’ not ask Mr. Stone, when he was before the Royal Commission, a few questions on this subject. The same thing as Mr. Stone alleged against the company has been done by other companies and firms. It is done by working men themselves. Better opportunities are given to some men to do work for purposes of comparison than are given to others. I have seen it myself. I have seen it in the course of work on an ordinary building. A man would be engaged on trial, and I have seen the labourers give him bats to build a wall with, * whilst they gave others good bricks - just for the purpose of comparison. I have seen it done by Government inspectors and overseers. They would give a piece of soft ground to a good man to pick out in side ditching, and would form comparisons between what he did and the work of other men. Senator Fraser knows very well that it is done.
– I never saw it done.
– I should not like to attribute anything but the strictest veracity to the honorable senator, but really, he knows very little about railway work if he has not seen it done. I know that it was done on the railway on which I worked in South Australia, where the work was carried out by his firm. I worked under the firm of Barry. Brooks, and Fraser, side ditching and side cutting, on piece-work. A good man was put on to a piece of work, and was given a soft thing to do. The piece-work rate was fixed according to the standard that this man fixed. I have been through the mill, and Senator Fraser is a very innocent man indeed if he does not know that the piece-work price is ordinarily fixed according to the work of an individual who is getting every legitimate advantage in setting the standard. I do not say that a fair firm would give the man an illegitimate advantage. It is done for the purpose of fixing the piece-work standard of payment. It is done to Mie knowledge of every man who knows anything about work.
– Would the honorable senator have a good man used badly? .
– The honorable senator cannot deny the correctness of my statement. That practice is followed everywhere.
– Nonsense !
– Men set the pace.
– Certainly they do. Senator Playford has himself had to set the pace with the spade. This practice was followed at the great institution! in question for the purpose of proving that women were as smart as men, and the women were given an advantage over their competitors. That has been done in many other cases.
– Does the honorable senator know that the women are being paid the same wage as is given the men ?
– The women can easily earn the same wage, since they are given a better class of leaf.
– Why should that be done?
– I do not think that honorable senators understand what really has been done. The trial was to extend over a month, to determine whether the men or the women were the most competent. At the end of each day’s work all the refuse left by the women was mixed with the material which the men had to work up the following day.
– Is the honorable senator affirming that that was done?
– No ; I am only pointing out that that is the position as put to us. I am not affirming the statement, but I do not doubt its accuracy, because I have known such things to be done.
– “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”
– The honorable senator forgets many of these incidents ; he must know that such occurrences have taken place. Although I have no knowledge of this case other than that which I have gained by listening to the debate this afternoon, my experience teaches me to believe that the practice referred to may have- been adopted. The same trick has been played on me dozens of times, even when I have been working on Government jobs.
– But it never succeeded.
– No ; because I have always declined to work under such a handicap. These foremen were seeking to prove to their employers and the world at large that the women were better workers than the men, and they were carrying out the test in an unfair way.. I cannot see what can be done unless the Government, as the result of their investigations, discover a method of compelling the company to do justice to this man. He will never get justice by means of the machinery at present in existence to deal with the case. He may seek a remedy in the Courts, but he has not sufficient means to enable him to carry his case far enough to secure justice. For these reasons I hope that the Government will make the promised inquiry, that a report will be .submitted to the Senate, and that justice will ultimately be done to this unfortunate man. This is no farce, so far as he is concerned. He may hawk vegetables, if he pleases, but there is no possibility of his obtaining employment in a tobacco factory in Australia. Senator Gray has said that we are always finding fault with the employers. I have been a member of Royal Commissions appointed by the Parliament of South Australia, as well as by this Legislature, and heard both employers and employes give evidence. I have known Senator Dobson and others of the same school of political thought to declare that working men are all afflicted with the ca’ canny trouble, and are not prepared to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I have heard hundreds of statements of that description. If the unfortunate employe is always “ down. “ on the employer, it is only a case of tit for tat, judging by the examples we have had in the Senate and elsewhere of statements made by the one section against the other. It has always been the desire of the party to which I belong that no injustice shall be done to either an employer or an employe.
– The party have successfully concealed that desire.
– At all events, I hope that, as the result of the investigation promised by the Government, it will be impossible for such an injustice as that to which reference has been made to be re peated.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [4.7]. - I do not know how the Government can carry out the promise made by the Minister of Defence. Apparently, there are only two processes open to them - an inquiry by means of a Select Committee or by a Royal Commission. I rise to support an inquiry by the Government quite as much in the interests of the employers who have been so vigorously slandered as in the interests of the workman Stone. Some honorable senators have entirely overlooked the propriety of refraining from expressing an opinion on ex partestatements. We do not know anything about the men who have made the statutory declarations at the basis of the trouble. I do not think Senator Pearce gave us their names.
– If an inquiry be made, will Senator Pearce hand over these declarations to the Government ?
– I shall certainly hand over all the papers.
– Then the debate has profited something, since we have the names of the men who made the original statements.
– And it is more important still that we should have the actual declarations handed over to the Government.
– Quite so. I hope that the inquiry by the Government will afford an opportunity for the overseer, who has been attacked, and also Mr. Shaw, to State their case. I express no opinion ; for no facts have been put before us that would warrant any body of citizens, sitting as a jury, pronouncing a verdict. I am not going to follow the unhappy example set by Senator Smith, and to express an opinion on the facts.
– That example was also Set by Senator Symon and Senator Gould.
– I do not think that either Senator Symon or Senator Gould expressed an opinion on the facts; they confined their attention to an expression of opinion on the law relating to the matter. We may express what opinions we like on the law, but we have no justification for giving utterance at this stage to our views on the facts. Senator Pearce carefully steered clear of that mistake. I do not think any honorable senator could have brought the matter forward in a fairer or more straightforward manner. I have no complaint whatever to make against him. He stated what he understood to be the facts, and on that statement asked for Government intervention. I admit that there was no occasion for the heated harangues to which we have listened this afternoon. All of them were out of place. As the Government have undertaken to make an inquiry,we should let the matter rest. I shall be quite willing, at the propertime, to express an opinion, when I know what are the actual facts, and when the two sides, instead of only one side of the story are before us. As an inquiry has been asked for on behalf of one person who is alleged to be injured. I think I am perfectly justified in urging an inquiry in the interests of the others who have been attacked this afternoon.
– Does Senator Pearce wish to withdraw the motion?
– Before doing so, Mr. President, there is one point to which I desire to refer. It has been reiterated again and again by honorable senators opposite that the names of the persons making the statutory declarations were not disclosed before to-day. As a matter of fact, the firm in question could have asked a member of the Commission to call for the names of the persons making the charges. Another point is that we have here a letter addressed by the firm to Stone on 7th, June, in which they say -
You did at the Arbitration Court repeat the charge originally made before the Royal Commission, but this time so far as to mention names in support of your evidence.
– The mere disclosure of the names would not help the firm. “Until they had secured possession of the statutory declarations they could not take legal proceedings.
– The charge made against Mr. Stone by honorable senators opposite was that he made this statement, and did not disclose his authority foi! it. In answer to that charge I have read the letter written by the firm to Stone, showing that he not only repeated his statement in the Arbitration Court, but told them on whose authority he made it. I venture to surmise that he not only mentioned his authority, but said that sworn declarations “had been made.
– That would not help matters.
– Before the question was raised in the Senate, the firm were in possession of the names of those who made the statement. That being so, it is idle for Senator Symon to say that they had no remedy
– They had only the gist of the statements.
– They had the names of those who made them.
– Probably, as the result of the disclosures made by Senator Pearce, the firm will take action.
– In the circumstances, I hold that the firm had no grievance as to the non-disclosure of the names of the parties who originally made the statement in question. I am satisfied with the assurance of the Government that an inquiry will be made, and I have only to say. in conclusion, that I shall hand over to the Minister of Defence every paper I have used this afternoon. I am surprised that Senator Millen should have entertained any doubt as to my doing so. It was my intention from the first to hand over to the Government all the papers in my possession. I beg to withdraw the motion
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
– I have to lay on the table of the Senate a report by myself formulating and tabulating the decisions arrived at last session. It has been presented to the Standing Orders Committee, and adopted by the Committee to be laid before the Senate by myself.
Ordered to be printed.
Senator KEATING laid on the table
Provisional Regulations under the Electoral Acts. - Statutory Rules 1906, No. 42.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
In view of the difficulty of deporting all kanakas from Australia by “31st December, 1906 (excepting those possessing exemption certificates from the Queensland Government), and of its being illegal to afford even temporary employment after that date to kanakas whose engagements will have expired, will the Government take early steps to prevent such a state of affairs ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
The intentions of the Government with regard to the deportation of kanakas will be announced as soon as possible after the receipt of the reports of the Queensland Royal Commission now inquiring into the subject, and the advices that have been asked for from other sources.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Is the Government aware that the extra remuneration of a day and a half’s pay for Sunday work, authorized by this House, is being discontinued by the Public Service Commissioner, and time off for only one day being substituted : and, if so, by what authority are the instructions of this House being overridden ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Inquiries have been made from the Public Service Commissioner, who furnishes the following reply :-
The resolutions passed by Parliament were to the effect that it is not desirable to employ public servants more than six days a week, but when they are, and have to attend on Sunday, time and a half is paid for it, and the Public Service Regulations provide accordingly. Officers are, therefore, as far as practicable, given one day’s rest in seven, but where this cannot be done1; and a Sunday is worked, time and a half is allowed for it.
What is the rate of pay attaching to the position of Engineer Sub-Lieutenant recently advertised by the Defence Department?
What is the ruling rate” of pay in the Australian Mercantile Marine “attaching to the performance of duties such as are involved in the engineering sub-lieutenancy referred to in No. 1 ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Motion (by Senator Col. Neild) agreed to-
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate the remainder of the papers connected with the claim of Major-General Hutton, when G.O.C. Commonwealth Military Forces, to be paid the sum of One pound seven shillings and sevenpence halfpenny sterling in respect of a cable message having no relation to Commonwealth affairs.
Motion (by Senator Col. Neild) agreed to-
That there be laid upon the table of the Senate copies of the vouchers covering the travelling expenses involved in the return laid before the House of Representatives on the 31st May, 1904, pursuant to an Order of the House dated 26th May, 1904.
Motion (by Senator Givens) agreed to -
That there be laid on the table of this Senate a copy of the report of Mr. Atlee Hunt regarding the complaints made by Mr. J. R. Craig against the Government of New Guinea and against the manner in which he was treated by certain members of the said New Guinea Government.
Motion (by Senator Staniforth Smith) agreed to -
That a return be prepared and laid upon the table of the Senate showing : -
The total rentals paid by the Federal Government for offices in Melbourne?
The rental paid for each suite of offices, giving each service separately ?
The rental (if any) paid to the Victorian Government for Federal Offices?
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [4.25]. - I move: -
That the addressing to the Members of the House of Representatives only of paragraphs 12 and 13 of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral’s speech, at the opening of the present session of the Parliament, was in derogation of the position assigned to the Senate in the Commonwealth Constitution.
That as the constitutional status of the Senate has, on more than one previous occasion, been ignored in Vice-Regal speeches delivered to the Parliament, this Senate records its determination to, in future, decline consideration of any such speech containinga similar disregard of the position which this Senate occupies in and under the Commonwealth Constitution.
I submit this motion with an expression of great regret that it should be necessary for the Senate over and over again, by resolution and by deliberate action, to demand a due recognition of the position which it occupies in the Federal Constitution. In the four or five years that have passed, there has been sufficient action on the part of this Chamber of its insistence on its constitutional position being recognised, to have in all reasonableness rendered it needless for me to take the course which I feel it my bounden duty to take this afternoon. I do not wish to arrogate to myself the position of defender of the Senate, but, somehow or other, it has fallen to my lot on previous occasions to take action in this connexion. I do so again to-day in consequence of the remarkable manifestation of - I suppose the least offensive phrase I can use is - ignorance or neglect of the position to which this Chamber is entitled. I refer to paragraphs 12 and 13 of the speech of His Excellency the Governor-General at the opening of Parliament in this Chamber a few days ago. The paragraphs are as follow: -
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
The Estimates of Expenditure originating from you will be framed with economy, having due regard to the magnitude of the area and interests under control.
Plans for the redistribution of your electorates throughout the Commonwealth have been prepared by Commissioners appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, and resolutions for the purpose of giving effect to the Commissioners’ recommendations will be promptly submitted to Parliament for ratification.
When the question of addressing the House of Representatives only with reference to the Estimates was before this Chamber two years ago, special attention was directed by the present Minister of Defence to the words “your control,” which them appeared. As the word “ your “ has been omitted on the present occasion, while some portion, at least, of the old objectionable paragraph has been retained, it seems clear that now there is no question of oversight or forgetfulness on the part of those responsible for the framing of the paragraph. Clearly they had the previous speech of the Governor-General before them, and on the present occasion omitted the word “ your,” to which the present Minister of Defence directed attention two years ago. While there has been previous evidence of the ignoring of this Chamber’s constitutional position in reference to finance, I think paragraph 13 in the speech is infinitely more objectionable. It is addressed to the House of Representatives wholly and solely, with reference to the representation of the people in that House. There is not the most impalpable basis of an excuse in the Constitution for any person, in framing a speech to be placed in the mouth of His Excellency, to cause him to address solely to the House of Representatives a message or words relating to that matter. Surely the Senate is not absolutely without power and without authority of representation. I think it as well to have at least half-n-doz’en honorable senators in the Chamber when a question of this kind is being discussed’. [Quorum formed.)
– Will the honorable senator continue his remarks?
Government business, orders of the day, having been called on -
– If the honorable senator will refer to standing order 120, he will find that this course is imperative. It has always been our practice to call on orders of the day two hours after we have met. Of course, under that standing, order the Senate can otherwise order if it likes.
Motion (by Senator Col. Neild) proposed -
That Government business, orders of the day, be postponed until after the conclusion of the debate on notice of motion No. 1.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania) I4.12). - I would ask Senator Neild to remember that there is Standing in my name a motion dealing wish a matter “of considerable importance to a large number of persons. I do not know whether he will have any objection to the discussion on that motion being proceeded with after the discussion on his own motion is concluded.
– I have no objection.
– I have no objection to move that Government orders of the day be postponed until after the consideration of private business.
– I ask leave to withdraw my motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
– Does Senator Playford mean that private notices of motion will be dealt with until Government business is taken up?
– No, up to halfpast six o’clock.
– The honorable senator did not say that.
.- That is what was meant. In ordinary circumstances, Government business would not come on until after the dinner hour. I only intended to move that Government business be suspended until that particular time, so that honorable senators who have private business to submit, could occupy the time which is allowed by the Standing Orders. I move -
That Government business, orders of the day, be postponed until after the dinner hour, unless private business is previously disposed of.
– - I desire to ask Senator Playford whether, if it is the wish of She Senate, he will allow the debate on a motion which is unfinished at ha If -past six o’clock, to be concluded in the evening?
– The leader of the Senate has moved a motion which will not allow that to be done.
. - All I want is that private business may take precedence until the adjournment for dinner. If the debate on a senator’s motion is not finished then, I shall be only too pleased1 to meet his convenience, if possible, by allowing a quarter, or half-an-hour of Government time, so that it may be concluded
– I - I am quite satisfied.
– Will it not be necessary to suspend the Standing Orders to permit that to be done?
– No, because standing order 120 allows the Senate to otherwise order.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South mit, in as brief a speech as I could, all the facts in connexion with this matter, but it will be more convenient, perhaps, if I assume that honorable senators will look up Hansard, if they so desire, and learn for themselves what has taken place. There have been at least two motions submitted here taking exception to the omission of all recognition of the Senate in Vice-Regal speeches. One of the motions was carried and the other was withdrawn on a promise that the thing should never occur again. There have been several resolutions passed here in connexion with Supply Bills, insisting upon a due recognition of the status of the Senate. I shall, therefore, merely refer to what took place on the 2nd March. 1904. On that occasion, there occurred these paragraphs in the Governor-General’s Speech, and the extreme similarity of one of them to the first of the two paragraphs to which I take exception, in the recent Speech, is sufficiently remarkable to be worth notice. On the 2nd March, 1904, the Speech contained these two paragraphs -
The revenue derived from Customs and Excise has been equal to anticipations. As the incidence of duties under the Tariff contemplates the substitution of Australian for imported goods, no considerable expansion of such receipts under normal conditions is to be expected.
The Estimates of Expenditure will be framed with economy, having regard to the magnitude and importance of interests under your control.
The Estimates of Expenditure originating from you will be framed with economy, having due regard to the magnitude of the area and interests under control.
That an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General praying His Excellency that on all occasions when opening or proroguing Parliament, due recognition shall be made of the constitutional fact that the providing of revenue and the grant of Supply is the joint act of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and not of the House of Representatives alone.
On that occasion the Minister of Defence said -
I can assure the Senate that the same thing will not occur again.
It is a direct and intentional attack upon our rights.
Senator Symon said
Under the Constitution we are entitled to be consulted as to making the grant.
And with reference to a Supply Bill, Senator Playford said -
The House of Representatives have added words in which they claim precedence over the Senate.
My honorable friend was then in line with me in the motion that I carried for an instruction to the Committee. It was acted upon unanimously, and we sent back the Supply Bill a second time, until it was put in the form which acknowledged our status. The Minister said just now that this is only an old formula, but the very mischief is the introduction of the old formula here - the putting of old wine into new bottles. We have a new Constitution, and we are having Speech after Speech presented here, and, strangely enough, they all come from the same source of inspiration. There have been two other Ministries besides those of Sir Edmund Barton and Mr. Deakin, but these things have only occurred under their regime. They did not occur with the Watson Government or the Reid-McLean Government.
SenatorPlayford. - That had been altered before they took office. We had agreed to the form, and that makes all the difference.
This Senate records its determination to, in future, decline consideration of any such speech containing a similar disregard of the position which this Senate occupies in and under the Commonwealth Constitution.
That, I admit, is rather a strong phrase. It is no use to keep a house-dog merely to bark ; if he has no teeth, get rid of him and buy a fresh one. If is of no use for the Senate to pass resolution after resolution with reference to the non-acknowledgment of its status, and to be satisfied with an empty demonstration of words. I think it is necessary for the Senate to be prepared to bite as well as bark. My motion certainly will do no one any harm, if it is carried. The framers of the GovernorGeneral’s speech in the future have merely to avoid that which we have over and over again affirmed to be objectionable, in order to give the dbg no chance of biting. I hope that the motion will be carried as it stands, as a declaration of what our future intentions are, because, if, time after time, we are to pass resolutions asserting our rights, and do nothing to enforce them, the assertion is but as “ sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” We accomplish nothing whatever by protesting over and over again if we have not the manhood to see the thing through.
– I had anticipated that the representatives of the Government would have said something before I spoke. I merely desire to indorse the remarks made by my colleague, Senator Neild, when he affirmed that it was necessary to do something more than pass resolutions. The Minister of Defence has said that it is unnecessary to pass this motion ; but he overlooks the fact that, although, in this particular form, it has only been once before submitted to the Senate, there have been other occasions when the same mistake or offence has been committed It was the same in principle, if somewhat different in form, and for that reason I agree with Senator Neild that the time has really arrived when we ought, not merely to place a motion of this kind on record, but to do so with the determination to carry it out as far as we individually and collectively can. Judging from the fact that the Minister of Defence has not risen to speak, he appears to think that the statement which he made the other day will be sufficient. To my mind, it was sufficient whenhe made it, and I was content to let it rest” with that assurance of the Government that the lapse would not be allowed to occur again. But, after listening to the remarks of my honorable friend, Senator Neild, I can but congratulate him on bringing the matter forward in this form. It will probably be remembered that, in speaking on the Address-in-Reply. I pointed out that little by little the power of the Senate was being whittled away, and that we were gradually drifting into a. position in which we were in danger of being regarded as a subordinate House. It is our duty to put it on record that the Senate insists upon having its rights and privileges recognised and safeguarded. I accepted the assurance of the Government the other day that in future the representatives of the Ministry in the Senate will take care that what Ave complain of is not repeated, and I feel satislied that Senator Hayford will have due regard to our rights. But, notwithstanding that, I trust that the motion will be carried unanimously.
Senator WALKER (New South Wales) £4.52]. - Mv own impression is that mistakes such as have been complained about would not occur if there were in the Senate a fair share of Ministers holding portfolios. Although the Senate consists of half as many members as the House of Representatives, there are six Ministers with portfolios in the other House, whilst there is only one here. Had we had our fair share of representation in the Cabinet, or had we even had two porrtolioed Ministers in the Senate, it would hare been impossible for both of them to overlook the glaring mistake which has been made. I trust that the motion will be carried, and that, as long as the present Minister of Defence is in office, no repetition of the mistake will be made. It is unpleasant to have to stand up for the privileges of our House, but it is our duty to see that the Constitution is loyally observed
– I must admit that I do not- believe greatly in forms, and do not attach so much importance to this matter as some honorable senators do. I have admitted al] through, and I now admit, that the Senate has powers conferred upon it bv the Constitution which place it in an entirely different position from that Occupied by the ordinary Legislative Councils to which Ave have been accustomed. I have always stood up for the privileges of the Senate being properly attended to on every occasion when any important matter has been brought up; and when this particular Question arose, about two years ago, I admitted that the proper position of the Senate ought to be thoroughly recognised. As I then pointed out, the position is something like this: In the framing of the GovernorGeneral’s speech the old forms that used to be adopted were employed. We just fell into the usual practice. In the Governor-General’s speech opening the present session Ave say -
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : The Estimates of Expenditure originating from you will be framed wilh economy, having due regard to the magnitude of the area and interests under control.
Those are the usual phrases which occur in almost every Governor’s speech. When the
Commonwealth Avas first inaugurated, that form Avas followed. No objection Avas taken to it then.
– The substance is different in this instance, because the Senate is recognised in both paragraphs in which the House of Representatives is directlyaddressed.
– But the words are addressed to the other House.
– As the Senate cannot originate Money Bills, though it has quite as much power as the other House in passing them, I think it would be A’ery much better if all words especially addressed to the House of Representatives vere omitted. I have said that I will see about it on future occasions, and I repeat that I will do so. I made the promise two years ago, and I did see that it Avas attended to after then. A short time afterwards the Reid Government came in. The next time Parliament met a very short Governor-General’s speech was delivered and no reference Avas made to the Estimates or to economy. All that Ave were told Avas that a short measure would, be passed dividing certain States into electorates, and that Ave should then be sent about our business. When I came into office again the matter escaped my memory. The framing of the Governor-General’s speech in the manner complained of was not done intentionally. With regard to the second paragraph to which reference has been made, regarding the plans for the redistribution of the electorates, I do not think any harm has been done. The paragraph embodies a proper recognition of the exact position. The electorates are for the special representation of one House, and the statement there made is that the resolutions necessary to give effect to the Commissioner’s recommendations would be submitted - not “to you,” but to Parliament - to the two branches of the Legislature. I see no harm in that. I do not see why honorable senators should offer any special objection to it. because it absolutely states the facts of the case. My OWn opinion is. however, that it would be verv much better if no special references whatever were made to the House of Representatives. Then there would be no trouble. I will take care that if in future references are made to the Estimates being framed on economical lines, the remark shall be addressed to both Houses. Having made that promise, I have taken care that my secretary is acquainted Avith the facts, so that if I am not in my present position, he will bring the matter in the most prominent manner before any new Minister ; whereas, if I am here I shall take good care that no mistake is made. I do not see that there is the slightest necessity to pass a motion of this kind, but if the Senate thinks that there is, I shall not call for a division. I hope, however, that Senator Neild will accept my assurance, and will withdraw the motion.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [4.59] - So far as the Minister of Defence is concerned, I am quite prepared to accept his word, but I think it is desirable that there should be actually on record a resolution expressing the opinion of the Senate. This is a constitutional, not a personal, matter. It does not affect the Minister of Defence or any past Minister.
– There is one part of the motion as to which no individual can give an assurance - the latter part of it.
– There can be no assurance given as to the latter part of the motion; but I beg that Senator Playford will entirely appreciate that I hold him absolutely free from any imputation whatever, and regard the whole question as purely a constitutional one. I think it very much better that, the matter having gone as far as it has done, the motion should be placed on the records, than that we should have a kind of legislative stillbirth as a result of a withdrawal.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– - Before moving the motion standing in my name, I wish to thank Senator Neild for having allowed it to take precedence over that relating to another matter of which he had given notice. I desire at the outset, by leave, to amend my motion, which reads as follows: -
That; in the opinion of this Senate, as the introduction of the microbes proposed by Dr. Danysz for the destruction of rabbits in the State of New South Wales may prove inimical to human and other animal life of Australia, it should not be permitted except for laboratory experiments, by addling the words - until such time as Parliament or the Government, if Parliament is not in session, is satisfied that outside experiments will be harmless.
The motion will thus be brought into conformity with that passed by another place.
Motion, by leave, amended accordingly.
– I - In moving this motion, I may say that I think it advisable that it should be dealt with by the Senate as early as possible, in view of the action taken in another place with reference to the subject with which it deals. I am disposed to regret that another place should have passed the motion in this form ; but, since it has done so, I think it is as well that there should be unanimity of opinion between the two branches of the Legislature. The question ‘ has aroused considerable interest thoughout Australia, and thousands of people have been waiting anxiously for the decision of the Parliament with reference to it. Dr. Danysz was brought to Australia, I understand, by a number of pastoralists in New South Wales, and at their expense, with the object of inoculating the rabbits with a virus that would prove fatal to them, and so stamp out the pest. It is admitted, however, that the success of the experiment is still problematical, and Dr. Danysz himself is not at all certain that the virus he has introduced will achieve the object in view. In support of this statement I quote the following paragraph from a subleader in The Pastoralists’ Review of 1 5th March, 1905 : -
Dr. Danysz, of the Pasteur Institute, has replied to the New South Wales Minister of Lands’ invitation to visit Australia to inquire on the spot into the possibility of ridding the country of the rabbit pest, that he could come in April for five or six months with an assistant, and that the cost of his visit would be a fee of £600 per month, from the day of his departure until that of his return to Paris, besides all the actual expenses of conducting the inquiry. Dr. Danysz considers that the first thing is to discover diseases which would not be dangerous to other animal life, and that the search for this might be expected to occupy a year. Then he would proceed to study the conditions under which it would be necessary to propagate these diseases among rabbits so as to obtain appreciable results; in other words, he would found a bacteriological institute in Sydney, which would be a branch of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and carry on such investigations as seem advisable for discovering a disease suitable to the conditions of the problem. As we have said before, the difficulty of coping with the rabbit pest on so large a scale by disease renders it impossible to entertain much hope of any sufficiently contagious disease being discovered, but nevertheless Dr. Danysz’s suggestion appears to us worth following up, in view of the magnitude of the result in case of success. We do not take it upon ourselves to assent to or dissent from his terms, and there remains a good deal of detail to be filled up by scientific consultation before the Minister can definitely accept Dr. Danysz’s offer, but the idea of practically forming a branch of the best bacteriological institute in the world at Sydney to study the problem on the spot strikes us as being on the right lines. It insures the application of the best scientific knowledge under the most favorable conditions, and we hope that Mr. Ashton will be able to arrange for carrying it out on practical lines.
I have made this quotation from a journal which is specifically devoted to the interests of the pastoralists.
– And to the opinions of which the honorable senator does not often attach much importance.
SenatorO’KEEFE. - That is quite beside the question. This paragraph shows that, in the opinion of the writer, who, it may be, is the editor of the Revieiw, there is still some doubt in the minds of Dr. Danysz and the pastoralists of Australia as to the experiment proving effective. That being so, and since we know that other considerations are involved, we should be careful to take steps, as far as we may constitutionally do so, to obviate the dangers which might arise from the making of these experiments. I understand, from the information I have been able to glean, that a number of scientists are opposed to Dr. Danysz’s views.
– Can the honorable senator name them ?
– A - As I proceed I shall do so. The question has aroused much interest, and the Premiers of Victoria and South Australia were at one time opposed, not only to the original suggestion that the experiments should be made in a laboratory in Australia, but also to the carrying out of experiments on Broughton Island. It is stated also that the health officers of some of the States other than New South Wales have entered their protest against them.
– The health, officer of Victoria has not clone so.
– Is Is it not a fact that the Pasteur Institute, of which Dr. Danysz is a member, accepts no responsibility for his opinion with respect to this matter, and does not identify itself with it? The Institute has allowed Dr. Danysz leave of absence in order that he may prosecute his own private business, but it is not identifying itself scientifically with his opinions upon this subject. In an interview which he recently accorded to representatives of some of the Sydney newspapers, Dr. Danysz said -
Microbes to scientists to-day were like what trees were to a botanist. They had them all classified. It was an ill-founded fear that in introducing disease amongst rabbits it might spread to stock.
Dr. Tidswell, the micro bacteriologist of New South Wales, is of a different opinion. He assumes, I believe, that microbes belong to one family, are not easily, if at all, distinguishable, and may introduce diseases which have different symptoms, although the bacteria are practically identical. It is said, too, that diseases of this sort, passing through various hosts, may alter their form, their virulence, and their very nature, and that, consequently, a disease which in the rabbit may assume a certain form, may in a sheep or a human being assume an entirely different form. Dr. Anderson Stuart, who is, I believe, Professor of Physiology at the Sydney University, and also Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
– Has the honorable senator finished quoting Dr. Tidswell ?
– I - I have, for the present. Dr. Anderson Stuart, who was formerly President of the New South Wales Board of Health, and is, or was, Chairman of the Prince Alfred Hospital, said, in the course of a recent interview -
This is not a matter for New South Wales to act in alone, for if the experiments should result in a spread of disease, no frontier will exist in which to confine such disease.
As to the possible results of the proposed experiments, Dr. Anderson Stuart says -
They will find no organism that will exterminate the rabbits. All they can hope for is something that will be a superior kind of poison - superior in the sense of being a living organism that will be passed on from individual to individual, till, like every other organism of the sort, it loses its virulence.
It is interesting to note Dr. Anderson Stuart’s opinion as to the effect of plague upon rats. In this connexion he says -
What can be more fatal to rats than plague? But plague doe.; not exterminate the rats, neither will any organism exterminate rabbits. And whatever happens on Broughton Island there will still have to be experiments made in the interior of the continent.
Whatever may be the result of the experiments on Broughton Island, trials will have to be made on the Continent. Dr. Anderson Stuart’s opinions on this question, therefore, are worth noting, because he knows the Australian climate better than does Dr. Danysz. He says that different climates may have a varying effect on the experiment, and that -
This means that if they succeed in exterminating or greatly reducing the rabbits on
Broughton Island, their methods may fail entirely when applied in the interior of the continent; but, on the other hand, if they fail at Broughton Island, upon the whole, they are more likely to fail in the interior. This is somewhat difficult to express, but putting it in other words, a negative result on the island is more likely to be associated with a negative result in the interior, than a positive result on the island is to be associated with a positive result on the mainland.
I have quoted these opinions to show that there is a hick of unanimity amongst scientists with regard to this important question. I do not- intend to detain the Senate bymaking a long speech, but it seems to me that, since scientists have doubts as to the likelihood of these experiments being successful, we should proceed very cautiously. We are entitled to consider other phases of the question. If we cannot b’e assured that the introduction of the virus or the rabbit microbe will have the desired effect of killing off the rabbits - and I, in common with every one else, acknowledge that they are a parasite on a big industry, and a great curse in many parts of Australia - we certainly ought to pause. While we acknowledge the rabbits to be a curse in some parts of Australia, we have to consider another and very important aspect of the question. The rabbit industry, which is a very large one. is, I admit, what may be called a parasitic industry - it is parasitic in relation to another industry.
– The rabbit industry is quite legitimate if there is no risk elsewhere.
– W - We ought not to run the risk of injuring, and probably completely destroying, one industry unless we are satisfied that the experiments will be of good to the other industry. Unless -we are so satisfied, Parliament is justified in the step that has been taken elsewhere, and which I am now asking the Senate to take. The number of people employed in the rabbit industry throughout Australia is van.ously estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000, and it has been stated that the rabbits are being killed off at the rate of 4,000,000 a year. I do not know whether those figures represent facts, and I do not accept any responsibility for the statements. I do know, however, from figures coming from the New South Wales Export Department, that in 7905 the skins exported from that State represented a value of .£93,000, while the frozen rabbits exported represented a value of ,£92,000. I am given to under stand that, in addition, there is a small export trade to South Africa, Western Australia, and even to the East, which is. not recorded in the books of the Export Department, but which is approximatelyvalued at £10,000 per annum. If these figures are correct, the export trade of New South Wales in rabbits and skins was worth £1 95,000 in 1905.
– It is said that for all Australia the trade is now worth ;£i, 000,000.
– I - I am now dealingwith the only State in regard to which I have been able to obtain figures in the time at my disposal. The local sales of rabbits in New South Wales is estimated at £30,000 per annum.
– Where does the honorable senator get the estimate? Is it his own ? *
– I - It is not my own; it is an estimate supplied by persons engaged in the rabbit industry.
– Will the honorable senator name his authority ? We are getting such rash statements in the press, and occasionally here, that I would like to know the authorities.
– I h I have no objection to name my authority, which is the firm of Curtis and Curtis, of Sydney. They admit that their view may be taken to be a. biased one, seeing that they are engaged in the trade; but it is extremely unlikely that such a firm would supply figures that could be. very easily refuted if incorrect. As I say, this firm estimates the internal trade in rabbit carcasses at ,£30,000 per annum, and the value of the skins locally at a similar amount. Thev also inform me that the trade in preserved rabbits- represents about £5,000 per annum. I believe these figures to be given to me in absolute good faith, and I see no .reason why I should not accept them as correct until they are proved to be otherwise. At any rate, the figures I gave in connexion with the New South Wales Export Department cannot very well be doubted. It will be seen that, according to the figures I have given, the total trade in New South Waleslast year is represented bv about ,£250,000. The same firm assures me that during the first half of the present year the New South Wales trade in rabbits, both external’ and internal, has increased bv somethingover 100 per cent. That may seem an abnormal increase; but if that be the rate, and it continues over the year, the trade for New South Wales alone may be taken iis worth about .£500,000 a year.
– The total export trade; from all Australia in rabbits and skins was worth £530,000 last year. ‘
– T - That generally confirms what I have said. If that were the total for all Australia, then the trade of New South Wales would, last year, approximate to £250,000, and will probably be worth £500.000 this year. There are thousands of poor people, whose children would probably never get a bit of flesh meat more than once a week, if then, but for cheap rabbits.
– - Does the honorable senator know that rabbits are dearer than mutton in Sydney?
– I - If that be so, Sydney is the only place of which that can be said. In Tasmania rabbits are not more than half the price of other kinds of fresh meat, and in that State I know there are large numbers of people who are unfortunately circumstanced, and who, but for the rabbits, would not be able to obtain flesh food more than once a week.
– Rabbit is quite as good meat as mutton.
– Exa Exactly ; I believe the rabbits have, over and over again, been pronounced to be wholesome food, and a considerable factor in the daily life of poorer families in Australia. In addition, an enormous external and internal trade has grown up in rabbits and skins. Still, as I said before, the industry may, from one point of view, be regarded as parasitic. In some portions of Australia, especially on the extensive pastoral runs in the larger States, the carrying capacity of the land has been very much decreased owing to the presence of the rabbits. That, however, is only seen in an aggravated form where the runs are very large; at any rate, it is nothing like so serious where there is closer settlement, with small holdings, and ‘where wire netting and phosphorous poisoning have been resorted to. I have heard it said, not by town citizens, but by farmers, who have been interested for many years in the suppression of the rabbits, that wire netting, coupled with closer settlement, really form the best solution of the rabbit question.
– Does the honorable senator propose to apply that solution to portions of New South Wales where there are four or five inches of rainfall ?
– That applies to good: agricultural land, and not to poor or rough country.
– I - I know that that opinion, which I regard as a very fair one, is held by farmers.
– There is no difficulty in getting rid of rabbits om a 40-acre block, but what about the large areas of poor land ?
– Fro From the interjections of Senator Millen, I take him to be a supporter of the proposed experiments.
– I - I dare say that Senator Millen would really object to any restriction being placed ora the experiments ; at any rate, I gather that he is not quite favorable to the views I am expressing.
– Senator Millen would not like to see introduced the microbe which affects the rats -with bubonic plague.
– Senator O’Keefe, apparently, would like to see that microbe introduced, because the bubonic plague brought about a big industry in New South Wales.
– The There is no doubt that the rabbit plague, if it is a plague, is prevalent in New South Wales and other parts of Australia; but we must not forget that the presence of rabbits has created a considerable industry, and it is the danger to that industry, along with the other reasons I have presented, which is the justification for the action I ask the Senate to take. We may assume that, immediately a cablegram goes from Australia to those parts of the world where our frozen rabbits are consumed, to the effect that these experiments are being tried outside the laboratory
– Do not prophesy.
– I - I will prophesy. Immediately a cablegram goes to the effect that experiments are being tried outside the laboratory, whether on am island near the mainland, or on the mainland itself, it will undoubtedly have an effect on the purchase of our frozen rabbits.
– Pretty much the same effect as the Chicago revelations have had on the meat trade.
– T - The honorable senator verv aptly says that there may be the same effect as that of the Chicago revelations on the meat trade in Great Britain. The meat trust people in America are crying out bitterly about the enormous decrease in their sales of packed meat. If it is stated in the newspapers, or the impression gets abroad in Great Britain, that Dr. Danysz, or any other scientist, is experimentally inoculating Australian rabbits with the object of killing them off, the trade in rabbits will be seriously damaged. I do not intend to occupy the time of the Senate further. I believe that a. majority of honorable senators are in favour of my motion, as amended in a form which will make us safe for at least a period of twelve months. I should have much preferred to see the motion carried in its original form in another place, and also in this Chamber. But if the motion be carried in its amended form, there will be safety from the danger I suggest for, I should say, a vear, because the Federal Parliament, or if it is not in session, the Federal Government, will have some control over Dr. Danysz and his microbes. The effect of carrying a motion in each House, I take it, will be that the microbes will not be allowed to be taken outside the laboratory, and will, therefore, only be used for laboratory experiments until such time as scientific representatives of the “Federal Government are absolutely satisfied, as well as Dr. Danysz, that there will be no danger of this disease being communicated to other animals. And. after all, that is, I suppose, the most important phase of the question. By that time we may, perhaps, be in possession of further evidence as to the exact value, of the rabbit trade, internal and external, about which Senator Millen says there is a good deal of difference of opinion. We may be in possession of further evidence to suggest how far the existence of a large number of rabbits is an injury to the squatting industry. What [ am complaining about is that this proposal, which emanated from a few people in New South Wales, was put before the people, of Australia very suddenly.
– Why, the honorable senator quoted from the Pastoralists1 Review a statement that it was discussed fifteen months ago.
– The The honorable senator is only splitting straws. The knowledge of what was intended to be done did not come to the general public of Australia through the medium of the press until very recently, although, according to trie Pastoralists’ Review, a little circle of pastoralists opened up correspondence with
Dr. Danysz more than twelve months ago, an;1 asked him to come here to conduct experiments. It is a very good thing indeed that the Federal Government did step in and impound the microbes. I believe that this action was taken against the wish of the Government of New South Wales. I understand that the latter intended that the experiments should be made outside the laboratory without any further ado.
– The honorable senator is giving the lie direct to the statement of the Premier of New South Wales.
– I d I do not know what statement Mr. Carruthers has made in that connexion, but is it not a fact that it was intended to try to restrain the Premier and Parliament of -New South Wales by injunction?
– An effort was made to do exactly what the honorable senator is trying to do here.
– At At all events, the correspondence discloses the fact that the Premier of New South Wales has been in favour of making these experiments outside a laboratory and on an island.
– Not a single word can the honorable senator produce to justify the statement that anything would be done outside until inside work had proved the safety of the thing.
– U - Until who had proved the safety of the thing inside - Dr. Danysz ?
– No, Dr. Tidswell, and any other competent man whom the Governments of the other States might like to send along.
– I - I think it is well that the Federal Government have assumed control. I presume that there will be scientific men appointed to watch the experiments, who will be satisfactory to the Federal Parliament, and, therefore, to the other States, as well as Dr. Danysz and the gentleman who will be nominated by the Premier of New South Wales. Senator Millen knows that the action taken in each House of this Parliament has not been too favorably received bv at least some of those who were instrumental in opening negotiations with Dr. Danysz.
– How could they be?
– The They are quite at liberty to view that action in any way they like. My point is that it is a case of safeguarding the interests of the majority of the people of Australia as against the interests of a few persons. While I regret that the addition has been made to the motion, I hope .that in the amended form it will be acceptable even to Senator Millen, who seems not to be too favorably disposed towards it.
– Senator O’Keefe has expressed some regret that circumstances have induced him to make an addition to the motion. To my mind it represented an utter absurdity in its original form. It proposed practically to allow the introduction of microbes for laboratory experiments.
– B - Because they were already here.
– Although they were in a sense here they were impounded, and the tubes need not have been opened. After the lapse of a few weeks the microbes would have died.
– I - If Dr. Danysz had not been already here the motion would have passed in its original form in the other House, I think.
– I am dealing with the motion as it is and the motion which was submitted to the other House, and which was to the effect that the microbes should only be allowed in for the purpose of laboratory experiments. What is the good or object of an experiment ? What is the good of allowing an experiment if, before you know what it will show, you declare that you will allow nothing more tobe done? What is the purpose of an experiment but to enable you to see whether you can do something more by-and-by ? You test a thing to see whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. The motion, in effect, said, “We will allow the experiments to be made, but we tell you before you see the result, no matter what it is, we will not allow our precious rabbits to be touched.” I think that, with the addition, the motion is one which can reasonably be considered. My only objection to the amended motion is that it leaves to Parliament the decision in the matter. I do not think that it is a competent body to decide a question which, after all, is a scientific one.
– I presume that it will decide upon the evidence submitted.
– I am inclined to think that, if Parliament were asked to decide to-day, instead of being guided by the statements of scientists, it would decide ab solutely upon the clamour which is being made by a’ little handful of men who are getting a living out of this industry.
– A - A big handful.
– The honorable senator says that from 1:5.000 to 20,000 persons are employed in the industry. I shall accept his figures, although I do not think that they are correct. Last year the total export from Australia was about £583,000, which, if 20,000- men are employed, gives ,£25 to each member of the great army which my honorable friend, alleges is employed in the rabbit industry.
– W - What about the. internal trade?
– What the internal trade is worth neither I nor any other man can state, therefore every one must make his own estimate. But if I ad’d to that sum £100,000, it will be seen that the remuneration paid to this army only represents mere bread and butter for them. But, as a matter of fact, there are nothing like 20,000 persons employed in. the industry. The real position of affairs is that in certain favorable centres - and in New South Wales one can count them almost on the fingers of his two hands - industries have sprung up, and as a result the rabbit industry has created certain interests: In these places there are not merely rabbiters, but townspeople, who profit bv the distribution of their money. That is the whole secret of the agitation against the introduction of these microbes. There never was a whimper against their introduction when it was first mentioned, because the rabbit industry had not been started. The movement for the introduction of Dr. Danysz’s microbes had made considerable progress. Meetings were held in Sydney. Senator O’Keefe said that the people of Australia, did .not know of them until quite recently, but surely thev must have been cognizant of what was taking place:
– S - Sydney is not Australia.
– I am not saying that it is. but I assert that there was not a country newspaper in New South Wales - and, so far as I know, in the other States - which did not make the public familiar with the fact that this proposal was afoot.
– T - The honorable senator is entirely wrong in making that assumption, so far as the other States are concerned. .
– I do not know the condition of benightedness into which Tasmania may have fallen. I only know that in New South Wales there was not a single newspaper which did not make reference to this matter. The negotiations have been in progress for two years, and that fact has been commonly known for, at any rate, twenty months. What protest was there when, not on Broughton Island, five miles from the mainland, but on Rodd Island, in Sydney Harbor, experiments with microbes were carried out a few years ago? There was no protest entered because there was no rabbit industry in existence. There were no interests of a few people to be considered.
– W - Were the experiments successful ?
– Certainly not. , I am not dealing now with, that question, and I have not affirmed that Dr. Danysz’s experiments will be successful. I am pointing out that the whole of this agitation arose, not from fears on the ground of health, but from the selfish anxiety of those who, as the honorable senator admits, are getting a parasitical living out of the rabbit industry. If the agitation .had been founded on the possibility of injury to health, surely health was much more endangered when experiments were being conducted on a little island in Sydney Harbor than they would be if conducted on Broughton Island, five miles from the mainland. It is a curious thing that it is only now that this agitation has arisen. I am not going to say that I particularly blame a large number of persons who had the wisdom to disguise their real object in “Hie matter by making this appeal on the ground of .public health. I want to quote to the Senate the opinions of authorities to justify the statement that there is no danger to the public health in what is proposed by the Government of New South Wales. Senator O’Keefe has referred to scientific authorities who differ from Dr. Danysz im the matter, but he quoted no one who affirmed that there was any danger to the public health in the experiments sought to be carried out. The first gentleman whom he mentioned. Dr. Tidswell, said in the report which was presented to Sir William Lyne - and Dr. Tidswell was not only an officer of the New South Wales Government, he was an officer who was called in to advise the Federal Department - that there is no possible danger to the pub lic health in what is proposed. The speech of the honorable senator - and I have no fault to find with it - proceeded on exactly the same basis of error as appears in so many of the statements which have been published in the press, and have been made from the platform, in regard to this matter. First of ail, what is proposed? What is it that we have to guard against? One would assume from what is said that there was a proposal to let loose a certain disease amongst the people. What has been proposed by the pastoralists, what is contemplated by Dr. Danysz, and what has been permitted by the State Government? As a matter ‘of fact, all that has been proposed is that an eminent scientist shall be allowed to carry out certain laboratory experiments on Broughton Island. Nothing more than that ! It is true that it is contemplated, if the experiments prove successful - if it can be shown that there is no possible risk, not merely to human life, but to the fauna of Australia - that the experiments shall be carried further. But does the honorable senator tell me - does he wish to affirm - that if it can be shown beyond doubt from these experiments that this disease will exterminate the rabbits without injuring any one or anything else, the experiments should still be confined to the laboratory? Surely he will not go so far as that ! If he does it justifies the statement which I have made, that the question really is whether this wretched little rabbit industry, worth half a million pounds, shall be conserved at the expense of the great agricultural and pastoral interests of this country.
– S - Surely the honorable senator does not mean that the rabbits are going to kill the pastoral industry ?
– The honorable senator himself called the rabbit industry a parasite. If it is a parasite, what is it living on? It is living on the pastoral industry.
– T - The honorable senator is trying to make out that it is a question of one industry being stamped out by another.
– I say without hesitation that there would not be a pelt exported from Australia if the trapper of the rabbit paid for the grass which it consumes. It is quite certain] that the rabbit industry, if unchecked, cannot last under present conditions for any length of time, because if we are to have this as an established industry of the country, you are not going to have one man paying for the grass, and paying for the conservation of the water, and some one else walking off with the product, in the shape of the rabbit, and paying nothing by way of agistment - nothing for the grass which it eats.
– G - Give us .some figures showing the amount of loss involved by rabbits.
– Does the honorable senator say that there is no loss?
– T - The honorable senator talks as though other industries were being wiped out altogether bv the rabbits.
– And I repeat the statement. The question is simply this : that the rabbit and the sheep cannot run side by side, and this country has to make up its mind whether it will have the rabbit or the sheep.
– T - They are running side by side now.
– They are not.
– Let the honorable senator ask Senator Fraser how he keeps down the rabbits. These people should fence in their properties.
– Does Senator Higgs mean to say that any one could afford to put up rabbit-proof fences over a vast area in a country with a. rainfall of on] three or four inches? It is a 1,1 very well to say “ Fence in the estates and the rabbits will be kept out.” But you cannot adopt that policy in the parts of New South Wales where the rabbits are doing the greatest mischief. You cannot deal with country of that kind as you would deal with country that is fit for closer settlement. It is country that is not merely totally unfit for closer settlement, but it would be an absolute cruelty to people to endeavour to settle them there.
– How much country of that kind is there in New South Wales?
– There are 80.000.000 acres in the western portion of New South Wales, from six to eight million acres of which have been abandoned recently
– How much hav? the holders of that land got out of the Government bv means of subsidies ?
– If the Government has had to grant subsidies, it simply proves mv contention as to the absolute poorness of the country.
– I mean subsidies in the way of remissions and reductions of rents.
– Surely it is an utter misuse of terms to speak of a subsidy when your tenant comes along and says, “ I have become absolutely bankrupt on this property; I cannot live upon it”; and when the landlord turns round and says, !! I recognise that I have been rackrenting you in the past, the property is no: worth what you have been paying for it ; I want you to continue to hold the land ; do not go, and I will charge you a lower rent.”’ Ls that a subsidy ? The State was mighty glad to do it. Thousands of pounds have been Jost in the western portion of New South Wales, and scores of those who have invested their fortunes there have been ruinedI can give numbers of instances to the honorable senator ; and if he thinks that there is a good investment to ba had by taking, up some of these lands, he is welcome to try it. I can tell him of properties upon which two or three artesian bores have been sunk, wool sheds built, and rabbit-proof fences erected1, and vet they have had to be abandoned. I will give an instance. I know of one case in which £80,000 has been spent in improvements, and yet the property has been sold for £4,000. What are OU going to do with country like that? Are you going to use it for closet settlement? How are you going to get rid of the rabbits ? The moment we begin discussing this important question, honorable senators opposite say, “ Oh ! closer settlement-!” But if they are under the delusion that such country as that is suitable for small holdings. I am not.
– I thought the honorable senator believed in private enterprise ; et he is asking that the Government shall cai ry on these experiments.
– I am not asking for anything of the kind. I want the State to get out of the way. It is private enterprise that desires to carry on the experiments. All that I would say to the State is that which a certain classical philosopher said many centuries ago, “ Get out of the sunlight.” And that is all that private enterprise asks. But I do say that it is a monstrous thing in this particular case, that the State should1 not only not assist those who are fighting for their lives against this rabbit plague, but should absolutely be urged to prevent private enterprise [tom endeavouring to find a remedy which it hopes will be effective.
– D - Do I understand that the honorable senator is in favour of these experiments being conducted indiscriminately ?
– I am not, andI have never said so. No one objectsto proper precautions being taken. My objection is that while every proper precaution isbeing taken,my honorable friend opposite and his friends would stop the experiments if they could from being carried on outside the laboratory, even if they proved successful. No matter whether the experiments justified further work or not, they would not allow them.
– We have never said that.
- Senator O’Keefe’s motion in its original form said, in effect, “ We will only allow the microbest o be used in the laboratory.”
– D - Does not the honorable senator think that it would be wiser to confine the experiments to the laboratory until the result is known?
– The motiondoes not say so.
– T - The inference was clear enough.
– I cannot appreciate the intricacies of my honorable friend’s mind. I can only judge from what his motion says; and I take it to mean the absolute prohibition of the use of the microbes outside the laboratory.
– T - The honorable senator knows very well that it is not so.
– My honorable friends opposite know perfectly well that if they could stop the experiments in the interest of the rabbit industry they would do so. No one - neither Mr. Carruthers nor those associated with the movement and responsible for it. nor Dr. Danysz, nor any one else - ever proposed to do more than carry on laboratory experiments under proper safeguards. Yet. while that has been the proposal from the first, there has been this tremendous howl about it. If it were proposed to carry on the experiments in the open, I could understand the protests, but they havebeen made against the laboratory experiments, or there is no meaning in them at all. Of course, I can quite see that when honorable senators are brought face to face in public discussion with the facts of the case, they are bound to modify their motion. Now I want just briefly to show what has been said by the leading scientific men of Australia about this matter. Senator O’Keefe said that several scientists had expressed averse opinions. He did not quote a single one.
– He quoted three.
– He did notquote three in support of the contention that these experiments should not be carried out.
– I - I quoted Dr. Anderson Stuart and Dr. Tidswell.
– He never quoted Dr. Tidswell as to whether these experiments should be carried out or not. When he ceased quoting from Dr. Tidswell I asked him if he had finished quoting, and he said, “ No, I will quote further later on.” But he wisely forgot to do so. Honorable senators know, possibly as well as I do, that the Premier of New South, Wales has not only announced the intentions of the Government, but has drawn attention to the law on the subject of microbes to show that there is no risk to the public, and that nothing can happen outside the laboratory until the experiments fully justify further operations. Mr. Carruthers has further specially announced that these experiments are to be carried on under the supervision of scientists appointed by the Government. Not satisfied with appointing his own scientists:, he has invited the other Governments of Australia to send over scientists appointed by them to watch the experiments. This action on his part indicates that he was regardful of the interests of the other States. But what did the other States officers, do? As showing that the various States Governments are satisfied with the steps taken by Mr. Carruthers, not one of them has elected to send an officer over to New South Wales. Dr. Norris. the Chairman of the Board of Health of this State - and I invite the attention of honorable senators to this statement, as showing that there is no risk to the public health, and, as against the quotations which Senator O’Keefe read, and which had no bearing upon the point at all - said at a meeting of the Board of Health in Melbourne -
Since the last meeting the public had been placed in possession of information which would allay any fear or panic that existed in the matter.
I can give furtherquotations from his statement if it is necessary ; there is a great deal more to show that the experiments can be safely carried out. Dr. Ashburton Thompson, who occupies a similar position in New South Wales, was written to quite recently by the President of the Western District Council of the Farmers and Settlers’ Board, the head -quarters of which are at Dubbo. The President, Mr. Wurfel, wrote to know whether there was likely to be any danger to the public health from the introduction of these microbes. The reply of Dr. Ashburton Thompson was as follows : -
In response to your inquiry ofthe 2ndmst, whether there is ground for apprehending any danger to public health from the experiments in rabbit extermination about to be commenced by Dr. Danysz, . I have the honour to inform you that, in my opinion, there is no such ground. The reasons are as follow : -
It has long since been arranged that no experiment shall be madein the open until it has been ascertainedin the laboratory that the microbe to be employed is incapable of endangering the public health.
Because the microbes which must be employed are, as a class, harmless to man.
Because every kind of microbe likely to prove useful already exists in this country, in all probability the object of investiga tion being not so much to discover a microbe which will kill rabbits (many kinds being already known and here present) as to learn in what way its virulence can be kept up, and the best way of practically applying it.
To which I would add that all such diseases among animals lend to die out, and although they do from time to time kill all of a number collected together in particular places, as, for instance, individualpoultry farms, or individual large collections of guinea pigs they don’t spread and maintain their virulence over the country or over any considerable extent of surface area. The virus, when it has been selected, will have to be purposely carried by man from place to place, with great precautions necessary to keep it virulent.
– Who is going to carry it over the 80,000.000 acres of land to which the honorable senator has referred?
– It would be easier to carry than is phosphorized pollard. I have quoted the views of Dr. Norris, Chairman of the Board of Health of Victoria, and also those of the officer holding a corresponding position in New South Wales. I have already referred to the fact that Dr. Tidswell, in a reportprepared for the Federal Government at the instance of the Minister of Trade and Customs, has given an assurance that there is no possibility of danger to public health arising out of the carrying out of the pro posed experiments. Honorable senators may be disposed to discount the authority to whom I am about to refer, but I think he knows as much, or a good deal more, about the matter than we do, and is not likely to have lightly staked his reputation by giving a public assurance unless he felt sure of his facts. I refer to Dr. Danysz himself. In a letter recently published in the press, Dr. Danysz has pointed out that there is absolutely no necessity for grave fear of any danger arising or of the disease spreading broadcast throughout the State. He shows that at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, the most deadly diseases knownare experimented with daily, and students receive instructions there without dire results. Moreover, he tells us that -
The bacillus of chicken cholera has been introduced into California, and is now in constant use there for the purpose of decreasing the number of squirrels which for years constituted a serious menace to those on the land. The disease has had the effect of killing off thousands, and yet has not spread to other wild animals, nor have birds been infected in any way. Dr. Danysz cites other instances, and refers generally to his proposed experiments.
The doctor is not a man who would be prepared to lose his reputation easily. We may assume that he, like all other scientific men, is careful to pick his steps, and that he is indeed far more careful than those who are criticising his proposal would be. I cannot conceive it possible, nor do I think that any one who gives the matter a moment’s consideration will do so, that Dr. Danysz, or any one in his position, would attempt to take any step unless he was absolutely certain that it could be taken with absolute safety.
– The honorable senator will remember that Dr. Koch announced his cure for consumption before he was certain of his facts.
– Dr. Danysz does not affirm that he is going to be successful, nor do I. It would be mere recklessness on the part of a layman to predict anything of the kind. When Senator O’Keefe was speaking I suggested to him the inadvisableness of resorting to prophecy. He prophesied, however, that once it was whispered in England or in European countries where our rabbits are sold, that we were trifling with microbes, our export trade in rabbits would fall off. It may be assumed that when we use the microbes in the open - if we ever do - the export trade in rabbits will fall off, but not until then is any danger likely to accrue. The very object of taking the microbes into the open would be to stop the export trade in rabbits. No rabbits would be allowed to be exported once the microbes were used in the open.
– We do not wish to lose our export trade, and at the same time to fail to get rid of the rabbits.
– The need of anticipating such a contingency has been realized. The Government of New South Wales, recognising that alarmists might get to work in the old country, communicated with Mr. Coghlan, and directed him to be on the look-out for statements in reference to this question appearing in the public journals, and to contradict any that were incorrect. Mr. Coghlan has reported that he’ invited the representatives of the leading newspapers devoted to the game trade in England to investigate the matter, and that they sent to the Pasteur Institute in Paris a representative, who reported that he was quite satisfied! from the assurances given him, that there was absolutely no cause for alarm. If there is one broad way of ascertaining how a trade views any question of importance relating to it, it is furnished by the journals devoted to that trade. And here we have Mr. Coghlan’s assurance. The action taken by Mr. Carruthers shows that he is not acting recklessly in this matter, and the reply he has received from Mr. Coghlan - which appears in an official document - is a sufficient answer to the cry that has been raised. It shows that the trade at Home is not going to be alarmed! unless some cause for alarm arises. When the microbes are being used in the open there will be no cause for alarm about the export trade in rabbits, because there will be no1 such trade. I venture to say that the Federal, as well as the State authorities, would stop the trade the moment the microbes were used in the open.
– T - The honorable senator admits that it would be regrettable if the trade were injured until it was known that the experiment would be effective.
– I admit nothing. If I had mv way I would shut down the rabbit industry to-morrow. If those who are living on the industry are going to make it a vested interest, the people who own land will put a stop to it by refusing to allow rabbit trapping on their properties. That is a possibility of which we must not lose sight. At present the industry, as Senator
O’Keefe has said, is a parasite living upon the pastoral industry. Pastoralists and farmers, large and small, are at their wits’ end to know how to combat the rabbit pest. While they have no objection to rabbits being trapped, and carried away, we mayrest assured that if those who are earning a livelihood by taking away the grasseaters are going to build up a vested industry, and oppose the efforts of pastoralists to secure a remedy, the latter will find that the only cure is to stop the industry. That is really what is happening to-day. In certain districts land-owners are declining to allow trappers to go on their property, feeling that by building up this industry they are preparing a rod for their own backs. It is rather curious to note that on the evidence of gentlemen who, we may presume, are impartial and competent judges, trapping is iri no sense helping to lessen the evil. We have had in New South Wales, I am sorry to S:1 several prosecutions of trappers. Mamtrappers have been earning money from the trade .in rabbits, and they have also been subsidized by the landowners to carry on their trapping. We have had in New South Wales several prosecutions of men who. whilst receiving the subsidy from station-owners, and securing a profit bv the sale of the pelfs, have been releasing the younger rabbits found in the pit traps. That is one way in which the development of the industry of rabbit trapping is helping to perpetuate the pest. When I was drawn off the track bv an interjection, I was about to quote from ,a report by an inspector of the Pastures Protection Board at Gundagai, one of the towns which has been making itself heard in connexion with this matter. The rabbit trade has been developed there, and naturally local tradesmen and those dependent on them are warm in their support of this great national industry. The inspector, after going through his district, appears to have reported to his Board, and to have had another tale to tell. He SavE -
Trapping as a means of destruction was proving a blank. Upon holdings where there was extensive trapping, and which were within a stone’s throw of two freezing works, there were more rabbits than in any other parts
If we have to rely solely upon trapping as a means of destroying the rabbits, the outlook for those who hone to keep Australia for legitimate farming is certainly not hopeful. I have yet to learn of any holdings - apart from very small ones, close to railway lines, and possessing facilities for easy transit - that have been by this means kept clear of the pest for any period. Reference has been made to the value of the rabbit industry. The export trade in carcases and skins last year was valued at £583,000, but even if the figures were doubled, to what would they amount? I wish to emphasize the point that the rabbit industry is living to-day under conditions that are unlikely to continue. It is impossible to believe that men are going to pay rents to the Crown year after year - as a large number of occupiers of Crown lands in New South Wales are doing - on the supposition that the grass is to be turned into wool and mutton, and the cash product put into their own pockets when their grass is being eaten by rabbits, and the profits derived from their sale pocketed by others. The whole system must break down. If the lands of Australia are to be preserved for .grazing rabbits, in order that certain individuals mav turn those rabbits into money, we shall have to re-adjust our land system ; the Crown will have to be prepared to reduce its rentals on the understanding that the rabbits are to have free grass. I ask honorable senators to consider what this reduction of rentals would mean to New South Wales if we were to allow for the grass eaten by the rabbits there? Some one must pay for the grass so consumed. It is preposterous to imagine that one man is going to pay for the grass, while some one else walks off with the value of that grass in the shape of the rabbit that has fed upon it. What is the industry prepared to pay? A Mr. Benn, who has been making money bv freezing rabbits, recently gave certain figures showing his turnover. I think he said that it amounted to something like £60,000 a year. What is he going to pay towards the rentals of the Crown tenants of New South Wales? Who has to pav the rent? The man who secures the product of the land in the shape of rabbits, or the man who is trying to fight the pest? These are problems which we ought to consider. When those interested in the rabbit trade come forward with a proposition to pay for the grass, which the rabbits eat. thev will be entitled to say that it is an industry. At present, like the rabbit itself, it is a plague. It is surely unnecessary to go into figures to illustrate the absurdity of comparing a little tinpot industry of that kind with the .great agricultural and pastoral industries of Australia. We have no means of determining the extent to which rabbits depreciate the carrying capacity of the country, but we have a means of forming an estimate which for practical purposes should be some guide. New South Wales has to-day somewhere about 40,000,000 sheep.
– More than that.
– She may have, allowing for the lambing. I forget what were the returns for December last.
– There are 42,000,000 sheep in New South Wales.
– But for the phenomenal seasons she has enjoyed New South Wales would be heavily’ taxed in carrying that number of sheep. She has had a phenomenal season, .in common with other large portions of Australia - such a season, I suppose, as we have not had for many years. In spite of that, New South Wales to-day is fairly stocked with 40,000,000 sheep. But not long ago New South Wales was carrying over 60,000,000 sheep. However, I should tremble for the position of that State if it were carrying that number to-day, because, in spite of the phenomenal season, we should find the land overstocked. I do not say that the difference in the number of sheep is to be put down entirely to the rabbits, because much may be due to the long series of droughts which have to some extent depreciated the carrying capacity of the country.
– Was not New South Wales greatly overstocked with 60,000,000 sheep ?
– If New South’ Wales were put into the position it occupied in the early nineties, and the rabbits were removed, the State would, with the present improvements, carry 60,000,000 sheep. Improvements have been going on steadily, and the multiplication of artesian bores alone has very materially improved the carrying capacity of the country.
– The droughts were grass droughts, and not water droughts.
– We have overcome the water difficulty. A drought which lasts as long as the last one did is bound to become a grass drought.
– That was not so much’ a water drought.
– We have met the water difficulty, but a large portion of New
South Wales is now occupied at a period when it could not have been occupied ten years’ ago at a similar period, if the conditions were the same.
– New South Wales was overstocked with 60,000,000 sheep.
– New South Wales was overstocked in the then condition of improvements, but I do not think it would be overstocked to-day, in view of the greater improvements, but for the rabbits. I admit at once that that is an estimate, but much has been done since the early nineties in the way of ring-barking - a most potent factor in increasing carrying capacity - and in the multiplication of artesian supplies. But for the presence of the rabbits, New South Wales could carry with comfort the same number of sheep that was carried with some distress in the early nineties. I am not going to assume that all the decrease is due to the rabbits, nor can I estimate how many rabbits eat the same quantity of food that is required by a sheep.
– Fifteen rabbits.
– While fifteen rabbits may only consume the grass which, one sheep does, I venture to say that they foul more country than a sheep.
– The rabbits make country impossible for sheep.
– I cannot affirm to what extent the rabbits are destroying the carrying capacity of the country, but I say that the amount represented by the depreciation caused by them is far greater than that represented by the returns from the rabbit industry. Further. I say that the amount represented by that .industry is not as much, if any greater than the amount expended in the efforts to destroy the rabbits. While a few individuals and a few towns, with freezing works here and there, mav be making some profit out of the industry, from a national point of view that industry is a national loss both ways. It is a loss in reducing the income which comes in the ordinary way from the pastoral industry, and it is a loss inasmuch as the amount which it represents does not more than compensate for the expenditure in keening the rabbits down to a workable minimum. The industry is not one we are entitled to consider. The Question remains whether some means can be discovered bv which a check can be discovered of a. more economical character than those at present at our disposal. It. is only with that object in view that the experiments have been decided upon/. I have said that to the motion, as amended, the only objection I see is in the fact that it makes Parliament the judge of what is a matter for the decision of scientific men. I should have been quite satisfied with the amended motion if it had simply said that, until assurances had been obtained from scientific experts, the Parliaments of the States and of the Commonwealth would watch the matter. I am afraid that, in spite of what the experts may say, this wretched little industry may once more manage to raise such a clamour as to make people believe it to be of much more importance than is really the case, and to that extent may influence the judgment of Parliament. It may interest honorable senators, who seem to be so fearful just now about the introduction of diseases - I admit we ought to be cautious - to know what is being done in other directions. I suppose that one of the greatest troubles we ever had in the fruit-growing industry is the codlin moth. Senator Playford knows something of this matter, because he once gave us a graphic description of the moth, which he affirmed was “running wild “ in Western Australia.
– So it was.
– Senator Playford had never been there.
– That did not prevent Senator Playford talking of the Question with a great deal of confidence. The codlin moth was a serious pest, which caused great loss; but to-day the grub of that moth is being exported, in box afterbox, from New Zealand to California.
– There is plenty of codlin moth in California.
– Yes ; but I desireto show what California is doing in a scientific way ; and the information I havereads almost like a romance. Tn order to fight the codlin moth in California, the scientists there are raising a species of lady-bird
– No : the lady-bird will not stop the codlin moth. The lady-bird is a parasite to the red scale, and not to +he codlin moth.
– T shall deal withthe red scale later on. The journal fromwhich I am quoting. and which contains an official report, gives the Latin name- for a species of lady-bird. the parasite, which they are seeking to develop for the- purpose of destroying the codlin moth. The people of California experience some difficulty for a portion of the year in obtaining the food necessary in order to develop the parasite, which in turn is to prey on the mature codlin moth ; and, therefore, in view of the varying seasons, it is sought to obtain from New Zealand the grub of the codlin moth which is used to feed the parasite, the latter in turn being used to destroy the mature moth. Suppose the fruit-growers in California had got on their hind legs and howled about the introduction of the codlin moth from New Zealand !
– The cases are not parallel.
– No cases are parallel when we do not want them to be. I say that the cases are parallel, inasmuch as in each we have a disease, the introduction of which is known to entail very considerable loss. Scientific men in California experimented, as we propose to do here, until they found the possibility of a remedy, and they have carried matters so far that, not content with raising the parasite in favorable seasons there, they take advantage of the varying seasons and import the codlin moth in order to feed the parasite.
– The fact remains that they are not importing a new disease into California.
– The codlin moth was prevalent in California before it was known as a pest in New Zealand.
– I am not at all certain that the codlin moth is not one of the gifts that California owes to Australia.
– I found the codlin moth in California in 1883, and it certainly was not then in South Australia. We in South Australia got the codlin moth from Tasmania.
– A similar procedure to that in California is now going on in Western Australia in regard to the red scale. The Agricultural Department in that State is, according to the Western Australian Agricultural Journal, importing a small fly which preys on the red scale.
– It is a lady-bird
– According to the Western Australian Agricultural Journal it is not the lady-bird.
– A large number of lady-birds are being used for that purpose in Western Australia.
– But not for the red scale, I understand.
– A parasite for the fruit fly is also being used.
– I am speaking particularly of the red scale. I am not -well up in this subject, but I would point out that mining, agriculture, and grazing all require the aid of- science to-day. Mining and farming particularly are becoming matters of chemistry. To say, in relation to a matter so important as the future of the pastoral and agricultural industries, that we shall refuse the aid of science appears to me to be going back to the dark ages. All that is asked is that experiments shall be carried on under conditions which every scientific man declares to be safe - to carry on those experiments in the laboratory, and then, if it can be shown that they cam be extended without danger to the public health or to the fauna of Australia, to so extend them.
– I - If this outcry had not been made, was it not intended to carry out the experiments on the island ?
– Not outside the laboratory - that was never intended. The honorable senator appears to have got a contrary idea, as many other people have, owing to the clamour which has been raised, and to a great deal of irresponsible writing in the public press, and not to have taken the trouble to look into the matter for himself. All that was intended was that at first the experiments should be carried out in the laboratory. Microbes known to be fatal to rabbits, and which have been collected! from rabbits, are in the laboratories in Sydney to-day. Dr. Tidswell himself, not long since, in investigating an epidemic in the Wyalong district, succeeded in isolating the microbe, which to-day is alive in Sydney, and, so far as I know, well. That may be the very microbe which. Dr. Danysz proposes to use in Australia. If we prevent Dr. Danysz from opening the tubes he brought with him, it will be only a matter of a few months before he can develop other microbes to the same virulence from those already in Australia. If we were to block Dr. Danysz absolutely, and order his tubes to be thrown over the South Head, it would only delay him for two or three months.
– He would have to be content with the microbes already here.
– The microbes Dr. Danysz brought with him are exactly the same as those already in the country, except that the virulence of the former has been more developed. Dr. Danysz would merely have to start work from the commencement, and develop from the local microbe. In view of the assurance given by the State Government, and by Drs. Asburton Thompson, Norris, and Tidswell, and in view of the attitude of the Federal Government, there is no necessity for this motion. I had hoped that Senator O’Keefe, in view of what has transpired in the last few days, would consider the propriety of withdrawing the motion, but the honorable senator has not done so. Although I regard the motion as much less obnoxious than as originally drawn, it still is, in my opinion, unnecessary, liable to be misconstrued, and likely to become mischievous under certain circumstances, and, therefore, it has my opposition.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 20th June, vide page 422).
Postponed clause 4 (Definitions).
– I desire to refer to some criticism of the use of the word “ industrial “ in connexion with the word “ design,” in this definition clause. It is used in the same sense as it is used in what is known as an industrial exhibition, or in what are known as the industrial arts. But it has not been imported into the Bill for that reason alone. Throughout the articles of the International Convention the term used is not “design,” but “industrial design.” It is industrial designs that the contracting parties have agreed amongst themselves shall be protected each within its own sphere. The word “ industrial “ is not put into this definition as a. placard at all. The English Act was passed before the International Convention was entered into. But the Tasmanian Act has adopted the expression “ industrial designs,” and I presume for the same reason as we do.
Clause agreed to.
Postponed clause 5 (When design deemed to be applied to articles).
– It was suggested yesterday that the reference to the application of design contained in paragraph b was merely a repetition of the words contained in clause 4 as a definition of designs, but the latter is purely a definition, and has no enacting value. In that clause we define what a design is, and in this clause we enact what shall be meant by applying a design. Subsequently, in clauses 12 and 30, we make reference to applying a design. If we did not set out here what was the applying of a design, it would necessitate a considerable enlargement of those clauses. As they stand at present this clause precisely sets out their effect. For instance, clause 12 enacts -
Copyright in . 1 design means the exclusive right to apply the design.
Again, in clause 30, we provide that -
A person shall be deemed to infringe the copyright . . . if he . . . without the licence or authority of the owner of the copyright
applies the design, &c, or
sells or offers or keeps for sale any article to which the design …. has been applied in infringement of the copyright in the design.
In clause 5 we enact what shall constitute the application of a design. It is not in any way superfluous. Out of deference to the criticism of Senator Symon, I have gone carefully through the Bill. I find that this clause saves a considerable amount of verbiage, which otherwise would have to be used. Corresponding drafting was adopted in section 92 of the Trade Marks Act, and in a section of the Commerce Act.
Clause agreed to.
Postponed clause 26 (Certificate of Registration of Design).
– At our last sitting reference was made to the factthat this clause made the registration take effect from the date of the lodging of the application. That seemed to be, on the face of it, out of harmony with the provisions of the English Act. Strangely enough, that Act reads as if the registration should take effect from the time of the registration, but on further consideration of the matter, it seems that it does not, in effect, do so. Section 50 reads -
When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the design, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act. have copyright in the design during five years from the date of registration.
But there are rules under the Act, and the effect of them, it seems to me, is that the registration is dated back to the time of application. At page 408 of Coppinger’s Law of Copyright I find this passage-
The Principal Act gives to the proprietor of a design registered under that Act copyright therein for live years, dating from the day on which the application is received.
In a foot-note, the reader is referred to No. 20 of Designs Rules, 1890. The rules are not published with the Act itself, but in a separate volume. Rule 20 says -
Upon the sealing of a certificate of registration, the Comptroller shall cause to be entered in the register of designs the name, address, and description of the registered proprietor, and the date upon which the application for registration was received by the Comptroller, which day shall be deemed to be the date of the registration.
– That is extraordinary.
– The Act provides that it shall take effect from the date of registration, and then a rule prescribes that when the certificate of registration is used the date of the application shall be put in the certificate, and that that shall be the date of registration. So that by the operation of the Act, and the rule in England, they arrive at a result which we arrive at by the direct operation of this Bill.
– I wonder if the rule has ever been challenged?
– The text of the Act gives copyright in the design during five years from the date of registration, and then rule 20 makes the date of registration the date of application.
– There are such things as regulations which are ultra vires.
– It is referred to in the text-book as the practice. I do not think that it has ever been urged that the rule is not in harmony with the general provisions of the Act, but it is thought desirable that we should harmonize our provisions and procedure as far as possible with the English law and procedure.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Debate resumed from 20th June (vide page 439), on motion by Senator Keating -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I am extremely pleased to see that the Government have redeemed the promise given twelve or fifteen months ago in this matter, and that at last we have the pros pect of a federalization of the meteorological work of the Commonwealth. I also welcome the indication afforded by the Bill of a decision to separate meteorology from astronomy. I cannot speak from the happenings in other States, but I know that in New South Wales the meteorological work Has always been hampered by its association with astronomical research. We have had there at the head of the Sydney Observatory one or two very eminent gentlemen, whose training and inclination, unfortunately, have led them in the direction of astronomy rather than meteorology. I do not wish to in any way underestimate or decry the benefits which must result from pursuing astronomy as a science. But it does appear to me that in a country circumstanced as Australia is, and in its pioneering stages, more practical and immediate advantage is likely to result from meteorological work than from astronomical work. For that reason, I have always regretted the association of the two branches, as it has been to the prejudice of meteorology. This . is, as the Minister pointed out, an enabling Bill. I propose to invite attention to what appears to me to be its defects. Its value seems to me to depend entirely upon which of the two ways the power which the measure will convey is exercised. In the first place, we could have a federalization of meteorological work in absolute fact, or we could have the establishment of a Federal Meteorological Department, which would be subordinate to and dependent entirely upon similar institutions in the States. I wish to suggest to the Minister the grave danger which I think we should incur if we adopted the second of those courses. I listened with a great deal of interest and advantage to the extremely valuable speech of the Minister, whom, if he will permit me, I wish to compliment. But it was quite evident, whatever the decision may be as to the way in which it is proposed to administer the Bill, he has taken the very wise course of consulting both States Governments and States officials. Itwas in consulting them that he has evidently met with the first difficulty - the difficulty represented by the attitude of States Governments and States officials. But while I am quite prepared, as we all must be, to pay due regard to the opinions of States Governments and States officials, I think that there is a very great danger if, when the interests of Australia require it, we hesitate to override them.
Let me take the attitude of the States. It is a little contradictory, and, perhaps, not as conclusive as either the Minister or the Senate would have desired. I cannot help thinking that of late there has Seen a tendency to accept the decisions of States Governments as unduly binding upon the Federal Parliament. I am extremely desirous that in our legislative efforts we should, as far as possible, pursue lines agreeable to the States. But it does seem to me that we shall be sowing the seeds of future trouble if, when we can see a course clearly marked out as best in the national interest, we are persuaded from taking that course by undue regard to the wishes of those who control the States Governments. In this question an undue desire to follow the line of least resistance is manifest once more. I should like to make clear my object in suggesting’ what I regard as a weakness in this Bill. I wish to point out that wherever we have had joint action there has been more or less friction. I may refer to the efforts made in the earlier days of Federation to utilize State officers for the erection of public buildings. Friction arose there. We have another case now in reference to the Customs House, Sydney - a building utilized, as its name indicates, by the Customs Department, bub also utilized bv the State Department of Land and Income Tax. The Minister probably knows more about it than I do, but I am aware of the fact that a considerable amount of friction has arisen between the State and Federal authorities as to whether that building, used by both, is to be regarded as one of the properties to be transferred to the Commonwealth or not. We have also the matter of the deportation of the kanakas. There is some little trouble brewing there as to which Government shall do certain things. I only mention these instances to show that wherever we have points of contact there is always the possibility of friction arising. What I suggest, not only in regard to this Bill, but to all legislation, is that we should secure, as far as is practicable, as complete a separation of Federal and State functions as the circumstances will admit.
– We should increase the expense enormously bv following that policy.
– Not; necessarily. True economy is to be observed bv absolutely transferring the meteorological work of Australia to a Federal Department.
There may be cases - I can quite understand that there are many cases - in which economy may be promoted by joint action; and I am not at all advocating the appointment of two officers where one -will do. But my point is that where we are undertaking new functions - as in the case of the recentlycreated Statistician’s Department, and in the case of the Meteorological Department which we propose to create - one of two courses are open to us. We can either create the Federal Department as dominant, the States obtaining information and service from it, or we can leave the States Departments as practically dominant, and appoint Federal officers who will have to obtain all the information they want from the States Departments. It seems to me that to leave the States Departments, as this Bill proposes, exactly as they are, and to appoint one central meteorological observer, is to increase the expense without increasing the efficiency of the present service. I wish to avoid that. I have referred to the tendency, as it seems to me, on the part of the Federation to give way whenever there is a protest from a State against anything that is toeing done. Whilst there is that tendency on the part of the Federation,^ the same time there is a tendency on the part of the States to keep control as far as possible of the services, to throw the cost on the Federation, and then to blame the Federation because, naturally, the expenditure steadily mounts up.
– That would not matter if the State expenditure were reduced, but what is rightly complained of is that new Federal expenditure is created, and that State expenditure is not reduced.
– That is so; but I am not speaking of complaints from the electors, but of the complaints voiced by States Governments, who are the great offenders in the matter of extravagance, and are the very people against whose criticism I am now protesting. It is a fact that, although the States ha.ve been relieved of many of their services, they are to-day carrying on their business at greater cost than before Federation ; and no State is a greater offender than my own in that regard. I was dealing with the attitude of the States Premiers : and. as showing that the declarations made bv the Premiers are not to be taken as conclusive, the Minister has furnished me with a verv happy in stance. He quoted Tasmania, his own State, where we had the Premier making a declaration in favour of a certain course being taken, whilst a short time afterwards, when the Government in question had been displaced, and another one had succeeded, an entirely different conclusion was arrived “at. Neither in the first case nor in the second, however, was there any public expression of approval or disapproval, so far as I know. The sudden change of declaration on the part of the Government of Tasmania shows that we are not to accept as absolutely final and conclusive the declaration of any Premier. I cannot help thinking, that if there is anything in the elective principle at all, this Senate is better qualified to speak as to the opinion of the States, than is any State Premier, especially when dealing with matters of this kind, which really have never been before the electors; and’ nobody can say that they have been consulted on such a Bill as this. Therefore, we should not hamper ourselves unduly in regard to anything that appears to us to be wise and expedient, by the mere fact that the Premiers have arrived at a certain decision. I do not say that we should ignore their view altogether, because that is a term which might be misunderstood ; but we certainly should consider the question apart from their decision. As to the opinion of the officers, I quite recognise that thev are very able men, well qualified and equipped for their work. ; but I think we should be wanting in our duty if we accepted their decision in this matter, at any rate without a little inquiry as to the circumstances in which thev arrived” at if. These gentlemen at the present time are the peers of each other. Thev are the heads of independent Departments. Some of them have spent many, years in building up their Departments and they naturally take a pride - an understandable pride - in the results of their work. We can quite understand, therefore, that when they came to consider the question whether they should practically recommend that their Departments, at present independent, should become subordinate, they were affected bv some unconscious bias in the decision they arrived at. It was human nature that they should be. I am not saying this .as a reflection upon these gentlemen, but ann merely pointingout that the decision they arrived at is not one that ought to weigh with the Senate. Further than that, their decision indicates a narrowness of view which, I think, should preclude the idea of our accepting them as safe guides. I refer to the decision in which thev declared that no Government meteorologist ought to issue forecasts for conditions outside the borders of his own State. It seems to me to be little short of criminal, that any meteorological observer in this country, knowing of the approach of a storm which not only might mean damage to property, but, in the case of seafaring citizens, loss of life, should hold his tongue, and say nothing about it, merely to subscribe to the principle that he should not issue forecasts affecting conditions outside his own State. These considerations seem to me to justify the Senate in ignoring altogether the report of the meteorologists in conference. We may safely turn to the examples of America, India, Canada, and a large portion of Europe. We may assume that the meteorologists in those countries are free- from provincial feeling in a matter of this sort. They have had years of experience of meteorological observations made over a wide area, and that experience has proved that such observations are more serviceable, economical, and reliable than are observations cut out into .small areas. It is curious that, though our officials hesitated to affirm the desirableness of federalizing their work, they still showed the necessity for that federalization, because they recommended a certain course of joint action, which really was federalization in certain particulars. Apart from their recommendations, the very fact that they were at variance as to what ought to be done shows the necessity of some central control, and joint action. Therefore, although these gentlemen have met together and arrived at a decision adverse to the establishment of a Federal Meteorological Department, it seems to me that their report confirms the wisdom, of this measure. There is another point which supports the Bill, and that is the evidence of a belief on the part of the heads of meteorological science in the necessity for international action and interchange of international data. The Minister stated last night that the Government had had communications from India asking for an interchange of cables furnishing data for the purposes of weather forecasts. The same has happened between; America and Canada, and happens extensively in Europe. This shows the desirableness of the area of observation being made as wide as possible; and we can only come to the conclusion that a wide area of observation adequately equipped and efficiently managed involves placing meteorological observation under Federal control.
– If we were to obtain meteorological information from India it would cost us 2s. 6d. a word.
– The Indian Government is prepared to pay the cost of cabling meteorological information from this country.
– Senator Smith probably knows more about the cable business than I do, but I understand that there are such things as codes; and where you are dealing, as you would in this case, with certain well-known conditions, and have a constant repetition of certain phrases, the amount of information that could be conveyed by one code word would surely be considerable. The expense of cabling ought not to be great. Certainly I do not think it would be prohibitive. At any rate, I believe it would be one of the finest investments we could make. Speaking of India - although I wish the Senate to understand that I am not pretending to any meteorological knowledge - there is one matter that seems to me to be important from our point of view. It is well known that our monsoonal rains come from the north-west, and cross South Australia into Queensland, and sometimes into New South Wales and the southern States. At the present time, when the data upon which forecasts are founded is. obtained, it is wired, I suppose, to Perth, Adelaide, Sydney. Melbourne, and the capitals of the other States. The result is that we have a multiplicity of telegrams giving the same facts, and we have different officers working out the forecasts from the same data. These forecasts are published in the same newspapers for the same people. If honorable senators turn to the daily newspapers they will see forecasts, not only for the State in which the information is published, but for the other States. For instance, the Melbourne papers this morning contain forecasts relating to South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. Queensland, I think, is not issuing them at the present time. All this is an unnecessary duplication. By a true federalization of this work, great economy would be secured. It would put a stop to the endless duplication of the telegrams to which I have referred. There is another reason why we should take over this Department. I want honorable senators to understand that when I say that we should take over this Department, I mean, not the proposal in this Bill, but the absolute taking over of the whole of the meteorological work of the Continent.
– That is proposed.
– I think not.
– I think so.
– The Minister said that this is an enabling Bill, and I shall point out what it will enable us to do. I shall welcome a declaration from the Minister - and it is to secure a declaration from him that I am speaking - that it is intended, not merely to follow the course adopted with regard to the Government Statistician, but to do something more. The Bill suggests that it is simply proposed to appoint one officer as a Federal Meteorologist, and to allow him to be dependent upon the several States institutions for his information. That is not the federalization of this work to which I am looking. I desire to see an absolute transfer to the Commonwealth of the several States’ Departments. I invite Senator Best’s attention to clause 3, which provides that
The Governor-General may -
That is the first clause in the Bill which suggests to me that the intention is to follow the course we have adopted with regard to the appointment of a Government Statistician. It suggests to me that we are to appoint one officer, leaving him absolutely dependent upon Such information as the States officers may more or less grudgingly forward to him. That view is confirmed by Clause 5, which provides that the GovernorGeneral may arrange for -
That is perfectly right. It is extremely desirable that such a provision should be found in the Bill. But the clause continues -
– That refers to work done in outlying parts by States officials, such as railway officers.
– Some States railway officers do a lot of work for the Department.
– That is’ so. But there are two alternatives. We might, on the one hand, merely appoint one officer, to be called the Commonwealth Meteorologist, as provided for in clause 3, and leave him entirely dependent upon the existing States observatories for his information ; or we might allow him to .get independent information, with the result that, whilst various observers throughout the States were wiring to him for Federal purposes, in order that he might issue a forecast for the whole of Australia, they would also be wiring to the States Meteorologists information to assist them in issuing State forecasts. Neither economy nor efficiency would thus be gained. I want the Government, in diplomatic terms, to say, in effect, to the Governments of the States, “ We have passed a Bill creating a Meteorological Department. We wish to take over your Departments and your officers, and we shall be glad if we can arrange satisfactory terms with you.” If the States Governments agree to the transfer, well and good. If they do not, the course open to us will be to appoint our> own officers. It may be said that this would lead to duplication. I do not think it would. As soon as it was known that the Federal Government intended to have its own observers and its own officers, the States would willingly fall in with the arrangement. Here, again, the interjection made by Senator Walker that “ human nature plays its part “ comes in. The States are just a little bit jealous of being, as they think, shorn of any of their functions’.
– This is not one of their functions.
– The Constitution leaves the States Governments with power to carry on independent astronomical and meteorological observatories if they wish it.
– But the work is within our scope.
– Certainly it is. If it were not, this Bill would not have been introduced. I wish to see a federalization in fact, and not the mere appointment of one officer, who will be, to all intents and purposes, subordinate to the States observatories. I wish the Federal Government to take over the whole business. In that way alone shall we be able to secure an effective service. I would prefer to see no Commonwealth Department of Meteorology rather than that we should have one that was not truly Federal and effectives I have pointed out the trouble likely to accrue if we followed the course which this Bill would permit - if we simply appointed an officer who would become merely a recorder of the work already carried out in the various States observatories. I can see no use in appointing such an officer, unless, at the same time, we secure that the States officers shall become part of the whole machinery. If they were to carry on independently the work of issuing forecasts for the several States, there would be little use in appointing an additional officer, who would simply duplicate their work. The only justification for the appointment of a Federal officer would be the formation of the States observatories into one Department, where we should have uniformity of action and a central control. By such centralization very considerable economy would be secured in respect to the cost at present incurred in obtaining the necessary telegraphic information. I shall be very glad to hear the Minister give some indication of his views on the two alternatives which this Bill leaves open to the Government. Of course, the Minister would not care to say exactly what the Government are disposed to do, but it would be some comfort to me, and probably to other honorable senators, to know that they were favorable to the federalization of the Meteorological Departments of the States in fact as well as in name. I am sure we are all anxious to know whether they desire to secure a truly Federal’ control, or merely to appoint one officer to be called the Federal Meteorologist.
– I have listened with pleasure to the speech delivered by Senator Millen, and must say that I heartily indorse it. It is to be regretted that the whole of the States Departments of meteorology are not to be brought into line. It seems that it is proposed to appoint a Commonwealth Meteorologist who will have no power unless the States Departments choose to work harmoniously with him. I am afraid that our knowledge of human nature does not warrant the belief that thev will. Laws relating to meteorology and astronomy are within the scope of the Federal Parliament, and I cannot see what objection there should be to the States Departments being taken over and consolidated into one magnificent institution, which, if based on the J lines of the departments of Canada and the United States, would be of immense value to the Commonwealth. When I was on the hustings I pointed out that we had six Agents-General when one ought to suffice, and six Astronomical Departments when one should be sufficient. When Mr. Wragge was the Government Astronomer of Queensland great confidence was shown in his forecasts by mariners, and also by pastoralists in most parts of Australia. Queensland got rid of him in an extraordinary fashion.
– He was too dear for Queensland, and the whole of Australia would not pay for his services.
– Queensland had struggled under a long and serious drought, and the Civil Service of that State suffered most severely in the retrenchment which thus became necessary. It was found imperative to get rid of really good men, because of the dilemma in which the State found itself.
– It was hardly as bad as that.
– It was quite as bad.
– What could the honorable senator expect of the Governments of (hat daw which consisted of men of his own kidney ?
– It is a pity that the Government are not prepared, as it were, to put their foot down, amd to say, “ We will take over the States Departments that we have power to federalize.” I do not suggest that the States officials should be harshly treated. Thev would not suffer any loss of rights by being transferred, but those who had reached the retiring age should be pensioned off. In this way a great saving would lae effected. People complain with good cause that we have six Agents-General instead of one, that we have six Departments of Meteorology when one would suffice, and that we are spending large .sums in securing telegraphic information when the whole system should be simplified, amplified, and greatly improved. The producers, as well as the mariners of Australia, who, since the retirement of Mr. Wragge, have been lacking much information, would be greatly benefited bv the establishment of one Federal Department. The forecasts issued bv the Government Astronomer of New South Wales have certainly improved of late, but the information at the disposal of our pastoralists and mariners in regard to the weather is hot what it was in Mr. Wragge!s time. That gentleman had a wider experience, and i h’adj made a very careful study of the subject. It is better that the Bill should not to be passed than that one officer should be appointed and left dependent on the States Departments for his information. We need a strong Government, prepared to take the bull by the horns.
– The bull might take them on his horns.
– If the Government would only tackle him in a proper way they would find that he is, after all, only a very small animal. I do not suggest that these officials should be treated improperly or in a niggardly fashion. We have been in existence as a Commonwealth for five or six years, and this is one of the first matters of administration that should have been taken over. In Canada the Meteorological Department is looked to toy the whole State. In Australia for many months we have had monsoons, and have been flooded with inches of rains, and yet we have had no forecasts, beyond, perhaps, a telegram, which should have been published long before if proper arrangements had been made to cover a wider sphere. The people are determined that this transfer, which would result in much saving, shall be made; and I hope that the reply of the Minister will prove satisfactory.
.- I a.gree with honorable senators in congratulating the Honorary Minister on his lucid speech in introducing this Bill. If I have any exception to take to the measure, it is that it is not sufficiently comprehensive in its terms. We are seeking to acquire jurisdiction in regard to some of the subjects specially committed to our care - to exercise our power to make laws for peace, order, and good government in relation to astronomical and meteorological observations. It is admitted that this is an enabling Bill, tout it only enables us to take over the meteorological branch. In an enabling Bill we should, as far as possible, seek to take over all that we reasonably have an expectation of being able to acquire. Senator Fraser. I think, put the matter a little teo strongly when he said that it was the duty of a strong Government to take over at once the administration of all these mat- ters, quite irrespective of any objection or remonstrance on the part of the States Governments. That is not necessarily the contemplation of the Constitution. We may have abstract power to establish meteorological stations throughout Australia, quite irrespective of the stations which now exist, but I am sure that Senator Fraser would be one of the first to object to anything of the kind.
– Surely the States Governments would never object?
– That is one of the points with which I intend to deal. If the principle I have indicated is acted upon, the friction created may have a very alarming effect. The time is specially opportune to take over the complete control of both the Astronomical and Meteorological Departments. It will be noticed’ that these are associated in section 51 of the Constitution ; and, if I may so say, it is in the contemplation of the Constitution that they shall be taken over and dealt with together. I. do not say that that should necessarily happen ; but when we have an admission at the outset that this is an enabling Bill, coupled with the fact that the Premiers themselves have practically invited! us to take over both branches, now is the opportune moment for us to fulfil the contemplation of the Constitution, and secure complete jurisdiction. Iam not urging for a moment that it is essential that these two Departments should be dealt with together. I am urging that by the Constitution, the responsibility is cast upon the Commonwealth to assume jurisdiction ; and I ask the Ministerand the Senate to take advantage of the present specially opportune condition of affairs, though not by any overriding action on our part, or any autocratic assumption of power, to insist on securing jurisdiction that may be doubtful. Whenwe have an invitation on the part of the Premiers themselves to us to take over these two Departments, it is our duty to fulfil the responsibility cast upon us.
– Surely they will never object ?
– But they have been objectingall along. Up to the present time the States have spoken with several voices; that is to say. various Governments have come into power from time to time, and we have heard the views of each particular Government. Now, however, we have a unanimous resolution of the Premiers, who are at present in power, and with whom we have to immediately deal. Is there any likelihood of a more opportune time presenting itself for us to fulfil the contemplation of the Constitution ?
– The honorable senator is forgetting the report of the experts.
– At this particular juncture I do not think it wise to pay too much attention to the reports of the experts ; as Artemus Ward says, “There is a lot of human nature about man.” I have the highest regard for those officials, whose representations are entitled to every respect in regard to their scientific knowledge, but in a matter of administration they must, as the Premiers themselves acknowledge, yield to the terms of the Constitution. I am strongly disposed to think that it would be a reflection on ourselves, and entirely our fault if by further organization on our part, and toy a federalizing process, we could not make these Departments more effective than at present. It was thought by the framers of the Constitution that greater efficiency could be secured in this connexion.
– That was one of the reasons for Federation.
– Exactly ; and consequently, in a matter of this kind, I prefer to accept the advice of the Premiers of the several States Governments, and to cooperate with them. If that be the proper course, it is the duty of the Senate to invite the Minister to alter his Bill, so as to give the additional enabling power. This would not commit us to anything, but it certainly would enable us to carry out the Constitution. Senator Millen very properly urged1 that in many matters it is advisable we should act alone, and on our own responsibility. But we should somewhat hesitate, and be practically driven by necessity, before we do so. In this case, as I say, we have mutual co-operation, and thus we manage to avoid friction. The Government in the Bill before us. which I welcome most cordially, have adopted the wise policy of, first of all. proposing to appoint a Central Meteorologist. I was going to say that the Government ought to carry out the resolution of the Premiers’ Conference, but I am debarred from that, because, if I remember rightly that Conference declared that we must take over both or neither of the Departments. Still the process the Government propose is set forth in clause 5, under which they may make arrangements to take over the several stations as they now exist. That enables the Governor-General to arrange with the Governors of the various States - that, of course, means the States Governments - to take over the stations.
– Would there not be more difficulty after than before?
– But we do not, as a matter of fact, take the stations against the will of the several States.
– Under the Bill the Commonwealth Government may leave the States observatories in the hands of the States ; it is a matter of administration.
– Undoubtedly, but I say that it is desirable to work with the States Governments.
– Unless those Governments are altogether unreasonable.
– The scheme the Government propose in clause 5 is to make mutual arrangements with the States Governments to take over the! several stations. But there is difficulty in this regard. While it is desirable to do so, the Bill makes the attempt, in the face of the express resolution on the part of the Premiers that they will not deliver up one branch.
– The Premiers have not said that.
– The Premiers have said that we must take both or neither.
– We should take both undoubtedly.
– That is the point I am making. While I admire the process the Government adopt - a process which to my mind would be complete if it included enabling power to take over both branches - they are courting defeat in simply seeking power to take over one particular branch, in view of the fact that the Premiers have said we must take both or neither.
– That is hardly stating the position correctly ; what the Premiers affirm is that it is desirable we should take over both.
– I speak subject to correction, but I understood the Minister to say that the resolution declared that we should take over both or neither.
– That is practically the effect.
– The Premiers affirm the desirability of our taking over both, but they do not put the matter in the form of a demand.
– I am putting the case as I understood it from the Minister, who now says that the effect of the resolution is that we must take over both or neither. The Government have introduced a Bill to take over one particular branch, and, as the negotiations will necessarily have to be with the Governments at present in power - who have affirmed that we must take over both or neither - clause 5 may prove abortive for many years to come. If thatbe the position of affairs, it is a cogent reason why the more comprehensive measure I have indicated should be passed. As to the necessity for national forecasts, notwithstanding the scientific advice of the officials who have reported in this matter, the opinion of the public, for whom we have to cater has, I think, established beyond all question that such forecasts are essential, and in the best interests of Australia. We know exactly how they were appreciated when, in a very enterprising manner, that eminent meteorologist, Mr. Wragge, by the aid of his Government, gave Australia the benefit of his splendid knowledge. Australia, therefore, looks for the accomplishment of this work at the earliest possible moment. I can quire understand, as Mr. Wragge has urged that if he is furnished with the additional data which he desired, and which certainly is required, his forecasts must necessarily be infinitely more valuable. Ifhe has a wider area to judge from, and better data is secured to him’, then I understand from him that he may almost promise that about 95 per cent, of his forecasts will be verified. This is a matter of no small moment to Australia. It may mean thousands, if not millions, of pounds to its people.
– It means bread and butter.
– It means bread and butter to an enormous number of the population. Consequently, we must not show any niggardliness, but act in a generous manner. If it should be our good fortune to secure the services of so eminent a man as Mr. Wragge, Australia willbe greatly benefited by his experience and scientific knowledge in this direction. Experience dictates at once that these two great branches should be separated.
– Not necessarily.
– Judging from the experience of other nations, it is desirable that these twogreat branches should be separated, certainly so far as their work is concerned, but that does not mean for one moment that both branches should not be taken over. The Federal Government may, and no doubt would, work them separately if that was the more efficient manner of dealing with them. The Board of Visitors to the Melbourne Observatory have recommended that the astronomical branch should not be taken over, because they feel that the States observatories should maintain their present individuality. It would be rather a serious reflection upon the Federal body, if these institutions were to lose their efficiency or value by reason of having come under Federal control. I do not think for a moment that such a contingency is possible. It is quite true that we are justified in inquiring into the question of expense. Mr. Wragge must have stated the annual expense at a minimum when he estimated it at £10,000. Of course, it referred to meteorological work only, and certainly it would not include the cost of telegrams. But even if it were to cost ^£20,000 or £30,000, that would be a mere bagatelle, having regard to the magnitude and value of the work to be undertaken. In this connexion, it would be desirable for the Minister to supply us with some information, but he may assume that the Senate is not prepared to deal niggardly with the Government in regard to any proposals which thev have to make. One point which must be impressed upon the Government bv this debate is that, first of all, it is their duty to see that there is established, with the least possible delay, an effective meteorological service. If that is the object in view, then the most comprehensive manner in which it can be undertaken should be resorted to at once oy the Government.
– The Bill gives ali the power necessary, does it not ?
– My complaint is that it does not, and that unless the Minister is prepared to include the astronomical s well as the meteorological branch, then, in view of existing conditions, and the expression of opinion by the States Premiers, he will most seriously neutralize the value of the Bill. He will start with a very big handicap. He can. of course, appoint his Central Meteorologist, but the States Premiers have said that we must take over both services, or neither of them. The mere appointment of a Central Meteorologist will not satisfy the Senate, nor meet the requirements of Australia. Consequently, if the Minister purposes to go over the heads of the States Governments, and establish separate meteorological stations, that will mean an unnecessary duplication of affairs.
– That will not be our fault.
– It will be the fault of the Government, because they have the answer of the States Governments in advance. If the Government do what I have suggested, the whole efficiency of the service will be at once impaired, and the whole object intended to be secured by the Bill frustrated.
– Surely the Federal Parliament has another function than merely to carry out the wishes of some States Premiers ?
– Undoubtedly. What my honorable friend does not fully realize is that we have an expression of opinion that a mutual arrangement can be made.
– That is very tentative,; it mav be changed to-morrow.
– That is a further reason why it should be taken advantage of immediately. It is not likely to be changed for the next six months. The whole of these arrangements and the taking over of both services could be completed within that period. The responsibility is cast upon the Government of immediately taking, over both services while they have the States Premiers, who hitherto have been in discord, in accord.
– The contention that it is desirable and wise to provide in the Bill for taking over both the meteorological and astronomical branches is, to my mind, fallacious. The question with which the Bill deals is one of everyday importance to an enormous number of the citizens of the Commonwealth. If the meteorological branch can be taken over independently of the other branch, I think it would be wise to do so.
– The Constitution Act did not intend that one should be taken over, and not the other.
– It gave the Commonwealth Parliament power to deal with these questions, and at such times as might be considered to be convenient. In my opinion both branches are extremely important to the world, but meteorology is extremely important to Australian citizens. We mav be in a position now to take over one branch, and) yet consider it inexpedient to take over both branches. I think, with Senator Millen, that there would be very little use in appointing an officer who would be completely at the mercy of the officials of the States. Itseems to me that the Bill gives the necessary power. It is one to enable us to do something. It will not compel the Government to act if there does not appear to be a possibility of acting with economy and efficiency. But it will enable them, if an arrangement can be made, to take over and make efficient the meteorological services throughout the Commonwealth. That is a thing which is very essential if it can be clone.
– I think it will be much more difficult to make the service efficient if we do not take both branches.
– I think it would be well, perhaps, to take over both branches, but I am not so sure about that at this stage. For that reason, I approve of the partial character of the Bill. Of course, the time will come, and probably not in the distant future, when the whole question, of astronomy will come within the control of this Parliament. I believe that the Government are wise in proceeding gradually, and taking control as quickly as they can of that branch which is of dailyimportance to a very large number of our citizens.
.- In listening to the very interesting and instructive speech of the Minister, for which I desire to thank him, it struck me that this Bill was drawn to meet the facts and the difficulties that he presented to the Senate. I should like to deal shortly with two criticisms which have been offered. The only real criticism, of the Bill has come from Senator Best, who thinks that we are making a blunder in not giving power to the Government to take over the astronomical branch. I could not make out why that power was not taken in the Bill until the Minister read the report of the Board of Visitors to the Melbourne Observatory. These gentlemen point out that there is no connexion between the astronomical branch and the meteorological branch. They state that one does not depend upon the other, and that if both are taken over complicationswill arise. I quite agree with Senator Trenwith when he says that the meteorological branch is of practical importance to the life of Australia. The other branch deals with the matter of science. I do not know whether the Board of Visitors raised the question in their report, but it appears to me that, as the best way of dealing with astronomical matters, one of our universities might establish a chair of astronomy and enlarge the astronomical work to a very considerable extent; or the universities might establish a kind of Federal professorship, and tints get the work done a great deal better than it could be done by the Commonwealth. Although I am not prepared to say that that would be the best course to adopt, I can see, with the help of the report of the Board of Visitors, sufficient reasons for not taking the necessary power in this Bill.’ I do not at all agree that, because astronomy and meteorology are joined together in one line of the Constitution, we must not take over one without the other. I do not think that that was intended. We have a perfectly free hand to take over either one branch or both branches, just as it mav suit us to do. The more practical criticism against the Bill came from Senator Millen when he suggested that we may have a Federal Meteorological Department in name and not in fact.
– I should say that is hardly conceivable.
– I have not sufficient scientific knowledge to know what is the right thing to do, but I can quite imagine that when we come to negotiate with the States we shall find it just as well to leave some of them severely alone. I am not in the confidence of the Premier of Tasmania, but I believe that he decided this matter contrary to the decision of his predecessor, on the ground of economy alone. In Hobart we have a very efficient officer to attend to meteorological work, but he certainly does receive a starvation salary. I believe that the Premier of Tasmania said to himself, “ My present one-man department, which is doing good and efficient work, will serve Tasmania better and more cheaply than can the Commonwealth.” Whether that was the case or not, he has now given up his first opinion, and joined with the other States Premiers in wishing these two departments to be taken over.
– However good a man in Tasmania may be, he can do his work very much better in co-operation with other officers in the other States than by himself.
– When honorable senators talk about the practical value of meteorological observations, does it not all depend on the local men in each State making their observations correctly, and thus enabling the central officer to issue accurate forecasts?
– No, because the data would necessarily be collected by a multiplicity of private observers throughout the country, as it is at present.
– I am inclined to think that the forecasts which we want, and which would be of the greatest value to us, would be those based upon information collected by trained officers in each State, or at such stations as science may determine to be best for the collection of such information. I take it that in all probability the Federal officer will be a man who will have many duties to perform. Perhaps the greater part of his work will be to supervise a red-tape Department, and the skilled forecasts of State officers may really be the information of which the Australian public will get the benefit. I am really in some doubt - and Senator Millen did not make the point clear to me - as to what the Federal meteorological officer is to do. Is he to make separate forecasts for the whole of Australia, and for the coasts of Australia, and for areas hundreds of miles outside the coasts, based upon the observations of a number of observers, stationed at various points? I do not know that that will be the best way to obtain the meteorological information which we would require.
– What the meteorologists claim is that if a larger amount of data were available, collected from a greater area, they would be able to work out their forecasts with greater accuracy.
– But science has vet to determine upon what spot in Australia it is most advantageous that the Federal Meteorologist shouldbe situated. Is there one State which is better fitted than any other for this purpose? Is there one particular place where a meteorologist could better made up his forecasts, or is it immaterial where he is located, so long as he gets; accurate information from his observers? Are some stations more important than others ? I dare say that) they are. Therefore it seems to. me that the Government has done well to make this simply an enabling Bill. Senator Best has said that it is not comprehensive enough. It appears to me to be thoroughly comprehen sive. Senator Millen urges that it is not specific enough, but Senator Keating has pointed out the difficulties in the way of making it more specific, and! I can quite understand that those difficulties are real.
– What I say is that whether the Bill fulfils the objects in view or not will greatly depend on the way in which it is administered.
– Quite so. I wish to call attention to clause 5, and to ask a question about it. It says that the GovernorGeneral may enter into an arrangement with the Government of any State. It is purely an enabling Bill, because the usual phraseology is that the Governor-General may name a day for the transfer of the Department in question. Suppose the GovernorGeneral cannot make arrangements with one or two States, what would be the use of clause 5? Ought there not to be more power taken to enable the Governor - General, by proclamation, to take over State Departments ?
– We cannot compulsorily take them over. The Federal Government can establish a Department of its own, but that would be a most expensive process.
– What would happen suppose the Governments of four States out of the six refused to allow their Departments to be transferred ? It appears to me that clause 5 needs strengthening.
: - The statement just made comes rather as a “ staggerer “ to me. I am astonished to learn that we have not power to take over the Meteorological Departments compulsorily. I understood that this was one of the subjects handed over to the Commonwealth by the Constitution.
– One of the subjects, but not one of the Departments.
– I thought the Departments could be transferred upon proclamation ?
– The Constitution gives us power to legislate with regard to astronomical and meteorological observations, but there is nothing to prevent the States doing the same work simultaneously.
– My object in rising was to say, after listening to the debate, that I think there is something to be said in support of the suggestion of Senator Best. It seems to me that the two Departments, meteorological and astronomical, ought to be taken over by the Federal Government. I will give my reason. As regards meteorology, we desire to widen the area from which observations are taken. We desire to do away with the isolation of the States, which has rendered meteorological work of Less value to the Commonwealth than it was when Mr. Wragge acted practically as the Commonwealth Meteorologist. At that time, he practically gave Australia forecasts for the whole Continent, and he was only stopped from continuing that work by each State refusing to supply him with the necessary data.
– He was always opposed by the States officers.
– This Bill will make it necessary to carry on the work over a wider area. But as regards astronomy, it appears to me that the obverse is desirable. Instead of widening the area for astronomical observations, we need to centralize the work. Astronomy is not in the same category with meteorology. While it may be necessary to have observation stations all over Australia for the purpose of meteorological work, it may not be so necessary for the purposes of astronomy. One central observatory fully equipped, instead of halfadozen half equipped, would do for astronomical purposes.
SenatorFraser. - There will be less expense, and the work will be done in a much better manner.
– There will be less expense, more centralization, and better results. That seems to me to be a good argument for the two Departments being taken over by the Federal Government. What is the present position in my own State ? The meteorological and astronomical work in Western Australia is conducted in the same building.
– The same is the case in New South Wales, with unfortunate results.
– I have been over the Observatory in Perth. The astronomical instruments are side by side with the instruments for taking meteorological observations. It appears to me that if we are going to take over the one Department, and not the other, we shall have the singular state of affairs that in the one building there will be one set of officers using instruments under Federal control, and another set of officers using astronomical instrument under State control.
– They have separate equipment for the two Departments.
– I am quite aware that there are different sets of instruments, but the instruments for astronomical purposes are side by side with the instruments for registering the velocity of the wind., rain gauges, thermometers, and other meteorological apparatus. The officers who undertake meteorological work also conduct the astronomical observations. It would be a most higgledy-piggledy arrangement to make a line of demarcation in one building between two sets of officers. Why should we create that confusion when we can save money to the States and promote efficiency in the work by taking over both Departments? By exercising our powers under the Constitution we can obviate the necessity of the States continuing in the haphazard fashion they have followed. I venture to say that if we were to agree to take over both these Departments, the result would be that not only should we have better results from the meteorological point of view, but also better results from the astronomical point of view. We should save money, and we should obtain better scientific results in both Departments. That being the case, why does not the Minister meet the State Premiers in their request? If they are willing to hand over both these Departments, why not accept their offer, not only in the interests of the Departments themselves, but also in the interests of the taxpayers, and for the benefit of Australia ?
– I should like to say. in answer to some criticisms that have been levelled at the Bill, that honorable senators will be well-advised in supporting it not only on its second reading, but also in Committee. Senator Millen has invited my attention to the question of administration. He has pointed out that there are two courses open to the Government administering this Bill. One is that it should appoint a Chief Meteorologist, and rest satisfied with that. The Chief Meteorologist would be dependent for his information upon officers still in the employ of the States Meteorological Departments. That system, as Senator Millen has pointed out, would not give to Australia the great benefits and advantages that we hope to derive from the federalization of our meteorological service. The other alternative is to establish a complete, separate, and independent Federal meteorological service which may absorb, and should be intended to absorb, the existing States services. I can assure the Senate that the intention of the
Government is to establish a Meteorological Department of the Commonwealth that shall he effective and efficient, and that the transfer shall be as complete as possible. But, as has been pointed out in the course of the debate, it is not within the competence of the Federal Government to take over the existing States Departments by proclamation. The power given to us under the Constitution is to “ make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth” with regard to “astronomical and meteorological observations “ ; but although that power is given to us, the corresponding power that the States have hitherto enjoyed is not taken away from them. They may continue to exercise the power to the fullest degree.
– But if our legislation is inconsistent with theirs, the Federal legislation would prevail.
– Our legislationexactly; but there is nothing to prevent us from having a complete meteorological system, and, at the same time, if a single State thinks fit to incur the luxury and expense of having its own system, there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent that.
– We could legislate the State out of it.
– The honorable senator might, by ingenuity, endeavour to do that, but I’ do not see how we could deprive the States of their existing powers. If they should choose to be extravagant, and to maintain their own Meteorological Departments side by side with the Federal Department, that Would be their affair. Having regard to the fact that we cannot take over their establishments by proclamation, we have in this Bill taken power to advantage ourselves of the existing institutions.
– Are not the States agreeable to hand over their Departments?
– I thought I dealt with that aspect of the matter fully last night. I showed what had been the opinions of the States Premiers at different times. I also quoted the views of the States meteorologists and of the Board of Visitors to the Melbourne Observatory, whose views are entitled to respect and consideration. I ‘ do not think it is necessary for me to repeat them.
– Could the Premiers do that without legislation?
– No. I can assure the Senate that the object of this Bill is to have the Meteorological Departments of the States effectively and completely federalized. It is our object to establish the most efficient service that we can get in Australia directly and immediately under Federal control. The necessities’ of the case require that we must legislate in the form we propose. We make provision, therefore, for the Governor-General to arrange with the Governor of any State for the transfer to the Commonwealth of any of the equipment of any of the departments in any of the States, for - the transfer to the Commonwealth, on such terms as are agreed upon, of any observatory and the instruments, books, registers, records, and instruments used or kept in connexion therewith.
Senator Millen has stated that paragraph b of clause 4, gives rise to some doubt in his mind as to whether the Government intend to establish a central bureau, to be dependent upon the States institutions. That pargraph sets forth that the GovernorGeneral may enter into an arrangement with the Governor of any State in respect of- the taking and recording of meteorological observations by State officers.
Let me point out what is the object of this provision. In some of the States there are public servants in other than what may be called, the Meteorological Department, who for the purposes of that Department take such observations as are referred to in this paragraph. Many of these officers have been in the past in the Post and Telegraph Departments of the States, and have been transferred to the Commonwealth. Then, again, Customs officials in certain places may have been appointed to collect this in formation, and to supply it to the central authority.
– And railway officials.
– As my honorable friend points out, we have railway officials in different parts of the Commonwealth, who for the purposes of the Meteorological Department of their State have been appointed to take the necessary “ records in outlying centres of population, and to transfer them to the central* office. We have no power directly to require bv our legislation that a State railway officer, say, in, the extreme north of South Australia, or somewhere in the back-blocks of Queensland, shall take the necessary records and transmit them to our officers.
– I thought we had.
– If we have, we have not exercised it other than in the way now proposed.
– By express enactment.
– By making it a matter of arrangement between the Commonwealth and the Government of the States.
– We have postal officials to rely upon, and theyare more widely scattered.
– Quite so; but in some instances post-offices are under the control of persons who are not in our Public Service, or that of the State. This provision is to enable the Government of the Commonwealth to take advantage of the service of State officers in such centres. I think that Senator Millen will see that the clause should not be an indication to him of an intention on the part of the Government to simply establish a central bureau, which would be absolutely dependent upon the State institutions. I may point out to honorable senators that paragraph d, of clause 5, provides that the Governor-General may enter into an arrangement with the Government of any State in respect of - any matters incidental to any of the matters above specified or desirable or convenient to be arranged or provided for, for the purpose of efficiently and economically carrying out this Act.
That provision has been made as wide as possible, so that in every instance the Government will have power to enter into all arrangements necessary to make its organization as wide, as comprehensive, as complete, and as efficient as the necessities of such a service for such a country as Australia demand.
– It is all to be done by mutual arrangement.
– By mutual arrangement. The Governor-General will have power to establish observatories’ and to appoint an officer, called the Commonwealth Meteorologist. So far as the different States are concerned, it seems to me that it need not necessarily follow that because we have had six meteorologists in six States-
– They are called astronomers.
– Not all of them; Mr. Wragge is not an astronomer. Although we have had six meteorologists, each having his own particular State as the area with which he was more directly and intimately concerned, and in connexion with which he more closely worked, it does not necessarily follow that that separation or division would be the best division of Australia for Australian purposes. The Chief Meteorologist appointed by the Commonwealth may divide Australia into a larger or smaller number of divisions. These are matters for organization which must remain for the men who are to be put in charge of this work. This is one of the difficulties with which we are confronted in making legislative provision for these matters. Consequently, we make our Bill as wide and as elastic as possible, so that it can be adapted to the exigencies and requirements of the future.
– But surely one central bureau would be more effective than six separate ones.
– Certainly ; that is the whole basis of the Bill. I dealt as fully as I could last night with the severance of the meteorological from the astronomical services. I pointed out that we had some very valuable information before us in the correspondence between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Governments of the States ; and that valuable information was supplied by the Board of Visitors to the Melbourne Observatory. It cannot be suggested for one moment that the members of that Board had any axe, personal or political, to grind, or that they were influenced in their report by party or political considerations. But these gentlemen, including, if I remember rightly, Professor Lyle, Professor Kernot, Mr. Ellery, Mr. Theodore Fink, Captain Tickell, and other eminent men, reported most emphatically that the two departments of science were not related, and that the astronomical work at the Melbourne Observatory was suffering by reason of the fact that those who were charged with the carrying out of its work had super-added the duty of meteorology - a science with which astronomy is not necessarily related. I pointed out last night that, although the State Premiers had said that they were prepared to hand over both departments to the Commonwealth, the Premier of Tasmania, only a few weeks before the holding of the Conference at which that decision was arrived at, declared that that State was opposed to the establishment of a Commonwealth Meteorological Department. No dissent from the resolution of the Premiers is recorded, so that I presume the Premier of Tasmania was then agreeable to a proposal which would involve the Commonwealth taking over both the Meteorological and the Astronomical Departments of the States.
– We have no Astronomical Department in Tasmania.
– Senator Dobson has said that probably the opposition of the Premier of Tasmania to the establishment of a Commonwealth Department of Meteorology was based on economic reasons. I think not, for if that were so, how could he justify the attitude he took up in assenting to a proposal which would involve Tasmania in still greater expense if both the Meteorological and Astronomical Departments were taken over?
– That is very small.
– Itwas Senator Dobson who suggested that reasons of economy were responsible for the attitude of the Premier of Tasmania.
– But we have to be guided by the latest utterance on the subject.
– The position amounts to this : There is no Astronomical Department in Tasmania, and in Queensland the Astronomical Department is in no way connected with the State Department of Meteorology. It is a branch of the Survey Department of that State. It is a very small Department, and the Surveyor-General of Queensland is atthe head of it. I think it is agreed on all sides that it is essential that we should have, as early as possible, an efficient meteorological service. There is considerable doubt as to whether any advantage to the people of the Commonwealth or to those engaged in scientific investigation in Australia would flow from the immediate federalization of the astronomical work. Whether or not those doubts will soon be resolved I am not in a position to say. But, to my mind, there is this difference between meteorological and astronomical work in Australia : a Meteorological Department has a practical value to every citizen - a practical value which astronomical work has not. To the great bulk of the community astronomical work - the research which is involved, and the results of that research - has nothing but a theoretical value. On the other hand, meterological work has in it for us all something of practical urgency and necessity. That being so, why should we - in the face of the fact that there is a considerable difference of opinion among people in Australia who are competent to judge as to the value of federalizing our astronomical work - imperil or delay the assumption of the Federal control of the more important and practical Department of Meteorology? I ask honorable senators to consider the question from the points of view given, and to assist us in passing the Bill through its remaining stages as early as possible, so that it may be sent without delay to another branch of the Legislature. I have only to add that if arrangements cannot be made with any State to carry out the matters referred to in paragraphs a, b, c of clause 5, it may be possible under the general powers given to the Governor-General by paragraph d to surmount the difficulty that might otherwise arise in relation to our system.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
The Governor-General may -
establish observatories ; and
appoint an officer called the Commonwealth Meteorologist.
– Is the power sought by this clause quite wide enough? It seems to me that by sub-clause b we are limiting the appointment to one officer, while providing for the establishment of more than one observatory. I move -
That the following words be added - and such other officers as may be necessary for the purposes of this Act.”
Senator FRASER (Victoria [9.32].- Surely it is not contemplated that there shall be one officer in each State? If we appoint one officer for the Commonwealth, he will, I take it, have power to appoint his own officials.
– I am in doubt as to whether the Bill gives that power.
– I should not dream of putting those other appointments on a par with that of the Commonwealth Meteorologist.
– There will be only one Government Meteorologist.
Amendment agreed to
– - I should like to ask the Minister whom it is contemplated to appoint as Government Meteorologist.
– I do not know ; I have no information on the subject.
– It is freely stated outside that it is intended to import some gentleman for this particular position.
– We want the best man science. can produce.
– I have seen some as- tonishing statements in the press of Western Australia that are absolutely foundationless.
– I do not. know what foundation there mav or may not be, but the statement I have indicated is continually appearing. Sp far as I can see, Mr. Wragge, whose name has been currently mentioned here, is the very best man.
– Just now Mr. Wragge would have to be imported.
– I think Mr. Wragge has been long enough in Australia to rank as an Australian.
– But Mr. Wragge is not in Australia now.
– If Senator Millen were on a steamer at one of the islands off Australia, he would not regard himself as an importation if he were brought back again. Although there is at present a protectionist Government in power, the members of that Government seem to be suffering from the importing disease just as badly as anybody else. They think that nothing produced in Australia is good, and they would go outside for all they require. Australians have proved themselves good men in many of the scientific walks of life, but they are denied the opportunity to prove their ability and capacity in this country, and have to go elsewhere to win their name. These men, when the opportunity presents itself, are given the gobye, while the Government look abroad, as if there was some special qualification in an official who was imported. I move -
That the following words be added : - “ Provided that the Government Meteorologist so appointed shall have been a resident in Australia for a period of at least five years.”
Last year, when the Papua Bill was before us, we were frequently assured by the Government that an Australian would be appointed to administer the Territory in accordance with Australian) sentiment and ideas. It is an open secret now that the Government have no such intention, but propose to go abroad for an Administrator.
– It may be an open secret to the honorable senator.
– The Government do not know anything about the matter.
– The Government probably do mot know their own minds yet - they may not have, come to a final decision.
– The honorable senator seems to know the mind of the Government.
– I know what is current knowledge amongst those who are more in the way of ascertaining Government secrets than I am. I know nothing of my own knowledge. I do know, however, that in the case of Papua the Government, in response to a generally expressed desire from all sides of the Chamber, assured us that an Australian, who possessed the necessary qualifications, should be given the position of Administrator. So far, we have seen no disposition to redeem that promise, and, if rumour be correct, there is no intention to redeem it. A promise implied is just as binding as an explicit promise. I want the positions at our disposal to be given to Australians, and the only way I can see to successfully accomplish that end is to so provide in the Bill. If we trust this or any Government we shall have a very poor chance of attaining our desire.
– But suppose that no one in Australia, who was suitable, would take the position?
– I ami not in the habit of supposing impossibilities, or of trying to legislate for impossible conditions.
– I think that, in order to make the clause complete, there should be a slight alteration in Senator Givens’ amendment. I suggest’ that in the place of the words, “the Government Meteorologist,” the words “ all such other officers,” be inserted.
– I have no objection to adopt the suggestion.
– I do not know whether Senator Givens is serious in making this proposal j but if he bases his justification of the amendment on the argument he has put forward^, it rests absolutely on a shadow. So far as the consideration of the person to be appointed Government Meteorologist is concerned. I can assure Senator Givens that he, or anybody whom he could meet within the next twenty-four hours, knows as much about the mater as I or any member of the
Cabinet. If we are to legislate 011 rumor and gossip, we have come to a very pretty pass. Meteorology, as a science, has made considerable advance of late years in different parts of the world. Perhaps it has not advanced at the same rate in Australia as elsewhere, and if we deprive ourselvesof thepossibility of obtaining the services of some person in another part of the Empire or elsewhere, who is much more advanced than any one in Australia is, or possibly could become by the mere study of Australian conditions, even over an extended period, we at once sap the foundations of the system we intend to establish. I ask honorable senators to reject the amendment.
– For the position of Commonwealth Meteorologist we require a man who has a thorough knowledge of the latest scientific systems adopted in other countries. I think the trouble now before us may be got over. I do not suppose it is the intention of the Government in the next few weeks to take over the States Departments, or to appoint a Commonwealth Meteorologist. In the various countries that I have visited, if it is intended to appoint a skilled official to a position, he is given three months or six months to Travel to other places where the best systems are invogue, and the best information can be obtained. In the Malar Possessions, in Java, and the German Possessions, the authorities never think of going outside for officials of the kind. There are excellent Meteorological Departments in the places I have mentioned ; I do not suppose there is any place where meteorological information is better tabulated than in Java. If there was an Australian official who had some knowledge - perhaps the best man we could take - and if, before the Department was established, he was allowed six months in which to visit India or Java or whatever places have the most uptodate and scientific methods, I should think that that would get over the difficulty, and a competent Australian could be appointed.
– The honorable senator suggests that we could make the official competent by allowing him to go round and see a few places.
– I do not think that the question of meteorology is on anything like the same basis as the question of astronomy. From the little knowledge I have gained it appears to me a machine-like system. The information is telegraphed to the meteorologists from various parts.
– And they must understand the subject.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.Yes, but I assume that in the various meteorological departments there is a man who does understand something about the subject.
– As there may be some confusion ifI put the amendment, as at first suggested,I propose, unless there is an objection raised, to put the question to the Committee in this form -
Provided that such meteorologist and officers shall have been resident in Australia for a period of at least five years.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question” so resolved in the negative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 6 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
– I wish to point out to the Senate that the debate on a notice of motion standing in the name of Senator O’Keefe was interrupted by the suspension of the sitting for dinner, and that no order was made as to when it should be resumed. It is, perhaps, irregular to do it now, but I think that, under the circumstances, the honorable senator may ask leave to move that it be made an order of the day for some future day.
– - I would prefer that the debate should be resumed to-night, and I understand that the Government have no objection.
– No. Resume the debate on another occasion.
– I have no objection to the debate being resumed to-night.If that is not done, it may not be reached for some considerable time.
– Under the Standing Orders I do not know that anything can be done except by leave of the Senate.
– I d I did not think that there was any objection from the other side.
– There is no objection, except that the hour is too late.
– If the honorable senator will place his notice of motion upon the paper for to-morrow, I shall help him if 1 can.
– I a I am satisfied with the promise of the Minister, but I thought it was the wish of honorable senators on the other side to resume the debate to-night. By leave, I move -
That the debate on notice of motion No. 8 be resumed to-morrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.56 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 June 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060621_senate_2_31/>.